Technologizer posts about Tablets

Kindle Fire: Not A iPad Killer, But…

By  |  Posted at 3:38 pm on Thursday, February 16, 2012

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Amazon’s Kindle Fire is making its mark on the tablet sector, grabbing a 14 percent share of the market and skyrocketing into second place in the market after you-know-what, IHS iSuppli has found. Amazon’s success came at the expense of Apple, whose share of tablets fell to 57 percent, however the company says it was the iPhone 4S that may have put a crimp in iPad sales.

Consumers who may have otherwise snatched up the iPad during the quarter instead opted for the iPhone 4S, causing shipments to fall short of the company’s estimates. “The rollout of the iPhone 4S in October generated intense competition for Apple purchasers’ disposable income, doing more to limit iPad shipment growth than competition from the Kindle Fire and other media tablets”, tablet analyst Rhoda Alexander says.

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Over at TIME.com, I did my darndest to do something that seems to be nearly impossible: Define “PC” in a way that makes sense for 2012 and beyond. (The comments are interesting: A couple of folks apparently believe that anything that isn’t a powerful desktop computer is not a PC.)

Posted by Harry at 9:47 am

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AllThingsD’s John Paczkowski, usually not a spreader of wild rumor, says that Apple will announce the iPad 3 in the first week of March and release it shortly thereafter:

As for the next-generation iPad itself, sources say it will be pretty much what we’ve been led to expect by the innumerable reports leading up to its release: A device similar in form factor to the iPad 2, but running a much faster chip, sporting an improved graphics processing unit, and featuring a 2048×1536 Retina Display — or something close to it.

Posted by Harry at 10:00 am

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I had lots of fun recording an episode of the Mac Power Users podcast with cohosts David Sparks and Katie Floyd. The topic was near and dear to my heart: It’s about using the iPad as a laptop replacement.

Posted by Harry at 2:13 pm

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Nomad Brush: Making iPad Painting More Painterly

By  |  Posted at 1:20 am on Monday, January 30, 2012

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When I attended Macworld|iWorld last Thursday and Friday, the show floor was bustling with attendees. And in terms of bustle-per-square-foot, the busiest booth I saw probably belonged to Nomad Brush, which makes brushes that can be used for digital painting on the iPad and other tablets. The company provided me with one for review.

The only input device that the iPad was designed to be used with is the human finger, and designing a decent iPad-compatible stylus is tricky–most of them have blunt, squishy tips that don’t feel like a pen point. But with a brush, being blunt and squishy actually works–and the nicely-made Nomad Brush feels like a real art instrument.

It doesn’t feel exactly like one: For one thing, real brushes, dipped in paint, have a fluid feel that you don’t get when you’re dragging a dry brush over a tablet. And while a real brush is the most gloriously pressure-sensitive input device of them all, this one, like standard styluses, isn’t pressure-sensitive. But in art programs like ArtRage, SketchBook Pro, and Brushes, using Nomad Brush feels much more painterly than working with a garden-variety stylus.

I tried the $39 Nomad Compose, a model with a long brush on one end and a stubbier one on the other. The company makes other models, including the Nomad Play, a stubby version designed for kids. If you paint. draw, or doodle on an iPad, check them out.



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Ice Cream Sandwich tablet
I’m still hoping that Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich will help make Android tablets interesting to consumers in a way that Honeycomb-based Android tablets have not been. I haven’t tried one for myself yet. But JR Raphael of Computerworld has an Asus Transformer Prime with ICS–and he’s put together a nice walkthrough of the interface.

Posted by Harry at 9:43 am

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Razer’s Project Fiona: A Tablet From Portable Gaming’s Alternate Future

By  |  Posted at 3:19 pm on Friday, January 13, 2012

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Unless your head’s in the sand, you know where portable video games are headed: Cheaper to develop, less expensive to sell, easier to pick up and less time consuming to play. Smartphones and tablets are slowly pushing the established games industry in that direction.

Razer is proudly not participating in that version of the future with Project Fiona, a concept Windows-based tablet that plays high-end PC games. The tablet has controller handles on either side of the 10.1-inch display, each with their own thumbsticks, buttons and triggers. Inside, there’s enough processing power to run games like Warhammer 40000: Space Marine and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on high settings.

When Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan was telling me all this a couple weeks before the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, I didn’t entirely believe the company could pull it off. But then I played with Project Fiona myself at Razer’s booth. I don’t know how the company did it–and I dare not fathom at what cost–but the concept actually works.

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From CES, a reason not to ditch Comcast: It’s bringing live TV channels to the iPad and other tablets. (The service only works when you’re in range of the Wi-Fi router connected to your Comcast cable broadband at home, and it’s launching only in parts of Nashville and Denver–but it sounds cool.)

Posted by Harry at 8:42 am

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Toshiba’s Thin Tablet is Coming to the U.S.

By  |  Posted at 12:36 am on Monday, January 9, 2012

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When I attended IFA in Berlin in September and CEATEC in Tokyo in October, one of my favorite products at both shows was the same item: Toshiba’s 10″ tablet. But back then, Toshiba wasn’t saying anything about plans to bring it to the U.S.

Now it is. In this country, the tablet will be known as the Excite X10, and Toshiba says it will show up in “mid-Q1 2012″. (I guess that most likely means February.) It’s one of the company’s major announcements at CES, which is beginning to get underway in Las Vegas even though the show floor doesn’t open until Tuesday.

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Smartphones and Tablets Get Their Gaming Buttons

By  |  Posted at 11:20 pm on Sunday, January 8, 2012

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As Sony and Nintendo cling to physical buttons as a major advantage of dedicated portable gaming systems, smartphone and tablet accessory makers have come up with an answer. At a CES press event, two companies were showing off attachable game controllers for smartphones and tablets, providing the tactile feedback that’s sorely needed for precision shooting and platforming.

I checked out one of these controllers, Gametel, from a Sweden-based company called Fructel. The controller clamps on to an Android phone or iPhone–or pairs remotely to an iPad–and communicates via Bluetooth. It includes a directional pad, four face buttons and two shoulder buttons on top. Gametel’s built-in battery runs for about nine hours before needing a charge from either mini USB or Apple’s 30-pin connector, depending on model.

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I’m still looking for the idea stylus for my iPad–I like to draw, and it’s way easier with a pen than it is with a finger. At the moment, I’m using Adonit’s Jot and mostly liking it, although I’m still not sure whether it’s possible to build a truly great stylus that works with an iPad. (I want one with a feel exactly like that of a good hard, pointy pencil.)

Serenity Caldwell of Macworld has spent way more time with digital styluses than I have. Maybe more time than anyone has. Here’s her amazingly exhaustive review. (The Jot scores quite well.)

Posted by Harry at 5:12 pm

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Fusion Garage, the strange company behind the JooJoo and Grid 10 tablets, is still in business. But once again, it’s in trouble. From an Engadget interview with its founder, the never-boring Chandra Rathakrishnan:

Is it possible to buy a device right now? Can I go on the website and buy a Grid 10?

No. We’ve stopped selling the device at the moment. We think that until we resolve the future of the company, it’s not fair to continue selling it. Until this situation with the existing customers has been resolved satisfactorily from their point of view, and until the future of the company is decided one way or the other, I do not think it’s fair to continue selling the device.

Posted by Harry at 10:40 am

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Boy, Microsoft is taking Apple’s iOS seriously these days. Today, it announced SkyDrive for the iPhone and Kinectimals for iPhone and iPad. Yesterday, it unveiled OneNote for the iPad and said it would soon bring its Lync integrated-messaging app to Apple devices.
 
All this activity doesn’t prove that Microsoft Office for iOS is on its way. But it does suggest it’s not a pipe dream, doesn’t it?

Posted by Harry at 5:04 pm

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At CNET, I wrote about the end of the Kindle Fire’s honeymoon–and why I’m still inclined to think that Amazon will do well in the tablet business.

Posted by Harry at 8:46 am

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At last, we know what’s next for WebOS

HP plans to continue to be active in the development and support of webOS. By combining the innovative webOS platform with the development power of the open source community, there is the opportunity to significantly improve applications and web services for the next generation of devices.

This could turn out to be good news. But even if it does, it might be years before we know for sure. (Mozilla was open-sourced by Netscape in 1998, but wasn’t until 2004–when Firefox was released–that it was clear the platform had a bright future. 
 
TechCrunch’s Leena Rao is reporting that HP says it’ll do a new WebOS tablet–I’m already thinking of it as the TouchPad II–but it may not show up until 2013. I wonder what the tablet market will be like by then?

Posted by Harry at 12:50 pm

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Like me, James Kendrick of ZDNet is too silly to realize that you can’t use the iPad for serious work. He’s shared some thoughts and tips about using it as a writing tool.

Posted by Harry at 10:04 am

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