Tag Archives | Tablet PCs

Vizio Set to Shake Up Tablet Industry?

Vizio looks set to introduce the Android-powered tablet that it first demoed at CES back in January. This Is My Next has images from a reader in Indiana showing that a local Walmart already making space for the device. According to the image, the tablet will retail for $349.

That would make it $150 cheaper than the lowest-cost version of the iPad. The Vizio Via does look an awful lot like the iPad from the front: it includes an 8-inch screen, a1-GHz processor, a front (but no rear) camera, 802.11g/n wireless, and integrated GPS.

An important feature of this device is Via Plus, which is intended to act in concert with the company’s line of televisions and offer some neat integration such as viewing of content across devices and a remote-control featuee.

We’re still not sure what version of Android this tablet’s going to run — Walmart’s placard isn’t too specific on what’s inside of this bad boy. But the price sounds right, and Via Plus could be a point of differentiation in a market full of me-too tablets.

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Will — And Should — Microsoft Sell Its Own Tablet?

Digitimes — a site with an erratic record record on scoops — is claiming that Microsoft may be in the process of considering marketing its own tablet that would launch sometime next year. This would be around the same time the company would be debuting its somewhat-tablet-centric Windows 8 operating system.

The Redmond company has supposedly called on Texas Instruments and several Taiwanese manufacturers to make the device a reality. And why not? What better way to market your brand new OS and highlight its features than your own device?

Now, is it a good idea for Microsoft? That’s up for debate. To date, the Xbox 360 is the only success that the company has had at retail outside of accessories such as mice and (of course) software. The Zune music player and the Microsoft Kin phone are two of its most notable failures.

If Digitimes’ rumor is the real deal, I think Microsoft should launch this device alongside Windows 8 to give it the most pop. Here’s my suggestion to Redmond: bring this device to Windows 8 launch events. The launch of the OS is going to be a big deal — akin to the 95 and XP launches — so make sure that Microsoft staffers are demonstrating the hot new  Windows 8 features on a Microsoft tablet. In other words, build buzz not only about the OS itself, but the product you created to show it off.

I think it’s a good idea, but it needs to be done right. Can Microsoft do it?


A Look At WebOS 3.0 Beta

Precentral.net got its hands on the first beta bits of the next generation of WebOS (Their site may be down, looks like the influx of traffic got the best of them!). Of course, this is an early beta, but I’m certainly impressed at where the platform is going. Of course it always comes down to apps, but it’s a start…

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The Tablet Bubble May Be Ready To Burst

We may want to file this one in the so-obvious-it-doesn’t-need-an-analyst department: the tablet sector may be en route to a shakeout later this year. JP Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz wrote in a report released Wednesday that competitive pressures put on companies by the iPad 2 might be enough to cause the “bubble” to burst.

Let’s face it, CES 2011 was a sea of tablets from just about every company known to man. I’ve heard some accounts that the number of devices shown off the show was near a hundred, so it’s obvious some will fail in the marketplace or not even see the light of day.

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Report: BlackBerry Tablet Is The Real Deal

My colleague Tim Conneally over at Betanews has a scoop that has seen a bit of play in the tech media over this past weekend: the BlackBerry Tablet is indeed real. While there have been a few stories that quote a research report by Rodman & Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar, this is the first one I’ve seen that appparently sources somebody from within the company.

The device will have a 7-inch screen and run on a 1GHz processor, and include a front and back facing camera for video-conferencing. Tim adds that his source also says RIM plans to add Flash support to the device, complete with a hardware-based Flash accelerator. If true, it certainly would be interesting to see how Apple responds, given it has been so adamantly against Flash.

No further details have been given about any possible date of launch, but speculation is that it would be released during the holiday season. “Seasonal buying has done wonders for devices like the Motorola Droid which launched during last year’s holiday season and went on to become the best-selling Android phone to date,” Tim writes.

I’m not sure what to make of any potential BlackBerry-powered tablet, or venture a guess on how well it might do. But I think it would probably be a worthy alternative to the iPad for enterprise environments that already employ RIM’s line of smartphones.

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Sub $100 Tablet on Tap from OLPC by 2012

One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) officials on Tuesday outlined an ambitious program to bring a tablet PC to market within two years at a price of less than $100. This would be combined with efforts to upgrade and bring down the cost of the current XO laptop which has become the effort’s signature product.

An upgrade to the current model is due at a $200 price point next month. This will be followed by a touchscreen version of the XO laptop in 2011 at a price point of around $150, and finally the tablet which would make its way to market the following year.The tablet would be made of flexible plastic and would be a drastic departure from the current design of the laptop, officials say.

OLPC has struggled recently as the company was forced to lay off 50 percent of its workforce earlier this year. This likely had a lot to do with the worsening economy, which hit the tech sector fairly hard. But the initiative is trudging on, determined to complete its mission of providing technology to children in the developing world. Admirable, but of course a bit costly.

I for one am super curious as to how these folks are going to pull this off. I know you can’t tell much from pictures, but that looks like an awfully advanced device. How are you going to be able to build something like that for $100? I understand that advancements in technology these days are moving faster and faster, but we don’t even have products like this available to the general public right now, much less underprivileged kids around the world.

Hopefully this isn’t going to end up as vaporware, but right now it sure looks like it.


The Inevitable Slow-Motion Death of the Tablet PC

billtabletpcTodd Bishop’s TechFlash site has a worthwhile read up on the unhappy response of Tablet PC enthusiasts to Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie’s description of the Tablet PC as a “niche” product at last week’s PDC event. I feel for those fans–and as I think about it, Tablet PC lovers are among the most passionate boosters of any Microsoft product I’ve ever met. Whenever I encounter someone who has a Tablet, I ask him or her how she likes it; virtually without exception, those folks are huge boosters of the platform. Microsoft could use a lot more customers like that.

That said, the Tablet PC, which turns seven years old this month, always felt like a doomed platform, at least if the benchmark of success was wide, ongoing mainstream acceptance. A few thoughts on why after the jump.

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