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Someday, There Will Be a Great 7″ Tablet

 With all due respect to Steve Jobs, I’ve never been convinced by his stance that 7″ tablets are a bad idea. But I haven’t been able to mount a convincing case that he’s wrong, either. The original 7″ Samsung Galaxy Tab suffered from using a version of Android meant for phones.  RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook had even bigger problems. Neither one was a 7-incher you could use to refute Jobs’ argument. On the other hand, though, it was factors other than their screen size that hurt them–so I continue to hold out hope that someone will make a 7″ tablet that’s just plain nice.

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Question #1 for RIM: Will the New BlackBerries Make Lance Happy?

One memory sticks in my mind from the Dive Into Mobile conference that All Things Digital held in San Francisco last December. It was when my friend Lance Ulanoff of PCMag.com waved his BlackBerry Torch at RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis and asked, basically, why RIM couldn’t give him a BlackBerry phone based on hardware as potent as a current iPhone or Android handset.

Lazaridis didn’t really have a good answer for Lance. Actually, it was hard to tell exactly what his response was, but it sounded like it involved RIM opting out of the current phone hardware wars and waiting until it can build BlackBerries that incorporate dual-core processors and run a version of the QNX-based operating system that’s on the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Well, RIM made a gaggle of announcements today at its BlackBerry World conference in Orlando, and among them are two new BlackBerries due this summer–the Bold 9900 and 9930–that come closer to being the phone that Lance was asking about than any BlackBerry to date. (They don’t run QNX, but do have BlackBerry OS 7–a new version of RIM’s old platform that isn’t backwards-compatible with earlier handsets.)

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Notes on the iPhone 4's "Retina Display"

[A NOTE FROM HARRY: Here’s a guest post by my friend Dr. Ray Soneira, founder of DisplayMate Technologies, whose display-testing products are widely used by manufacturers and tech publications.]

The article by PJ Jacobowitz “Is the iPhone 4’s LCD the Best?” on PCMag.com with lab measurements comparing four high-end smartphone displays is especially interesting because it has the first published lab results for the iPhone 4 Retina display. Below are my own comments for some of the PCMag article results.

The iPhone 4 is 25 percent brighter than the iPhone 3GS, which was the previous record holder, so the iPhone 4 is now the brightness king for smartphones.

Steve Jobs promised a Retina display Contrast Ratio of 800 and PCMag measured 1097, 37 percent more than the Apple advertised spec. That’s very impressive because you seldom ever see manufacturers conservatively understate their specs to that degree – but then see my widely reported (and often misquoted) comments on the iPhone 4 Retina Display, where it falls short on that spec. The iPhone 4 is a tremendous improvement over the iPhone 3GS, which only had a measured Contrast Ratio of 138. But note that the Motorola Droid remains the Contrast Ratio king of mobile LCDs with 1436, which I measured in our own DisplayMate Lab tests.

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