2015 Saw Biggest Ever Decline in PC Sales

PC sales in 2015 were the lowest since 2008 – shipping below 300 million units – and the on-year decline of 10.6% is the largest decline ever experienced, beating a previous drop of 9.8% in 2013, IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker announced in a press release on DigiTimes.

“The PC market continued to face persistent challenges from longer-PC lifecycles and competition from mobile phones and tablets, despite the slowing growth in those markets,” IDC reports. “However, economic issues like falling commodity prices and weak international currencies, as well as social disruptions in EMEA and Asia Pacific that disrupted foreign markets were a larger factor for 2015.”

The industry is confident that, despite a steady decline over the last few years, the PC market is set to level out in the coming years.

“The PC market remains competitive and the economic environment weakened further with the recent drop in the China stock market,” Loren Loverde, Vice President of IDC, said. “However, PC replacements should pick up again in 2016, particularly later in the year. Commercial adoption of Windows 10 is expected to accelerate, and consumer buying should also stabilize by the second half of the year. Most PC users have delayed an upgrade, but can only maintain this for so long before facing security and performance issues. We continue to believe that a majority of these users will purchase another PC, motivated by new products and attractive pricing.”

“Changes in the OS market also had a significant impact with the end of support for Windows XP and promotions of low-cost PCs driving a surge in replacements in 2014 that combined with the launch of Windows 10 and a free upgrade program to delay new system purchases in 2015,” the IDC press release continues.

“Lastly, while some very attractive new PCs have been launched, the market is taking some time to respond to new OS and hardware configurations – deciding when to upgrade and evaluating slim, convertible, detachable, and touch variations versus more traditional PCs. Nevertheless, many of these products have received positive reviews and there’s potential for a faster commercial transition to Windows 10 in 2016 than we saw for prior versions of Windows.”

The market saw substantial growth with detachable tablets, which are counted as separate to PCs, with sales up 3% in 2015.

Image courtesy of PC Advisor.

US Cop Creates Gadget to Snoop out Stolen Gadgets

When we hear the phrase “US cop”, most of us probably think of a big guy hanging out in his police cruiser while stuffing his face with donuts and reading a boulevard magazine; we can thank Hollywood for that image. It is probably true that there are some of those too, but there are also some really bright people in the force.

An Iowa City police officer named David Schwindt has now invented a little USB gadget that can detect stolen gadgets by their Wi-Fi signals MAC address. The whole thing is rather simple and that is probably the beauty here. By using basic methods of publicly available data and comparing it with a database of stolen items, he’s able to not only detect that they are in range, but also in what direction they are located.

Officer Schwindt rigged a USB thumb drive with an antenna and cooked up his own software for it. Once connected to his squad car’s laptop, it is able to sniff out media access control addresses (MAC) within range and compare them to a database of stolen items.

MAC addresses are often called a burned-in address (BIA), an ethernet hardware address (EHA), or simply a “physical” address, because they are literally assigned (by the IEEE) and stamped into your network card by the company that manufactured your hardware.

Now, we all know that MAC addresses can be spoofed and often are for legitimate purposes as well as illegal. However, most people don’t think of that on their mobile gadgets as much as they do on PCs, and the L8NT gadget, as the author dubbed it, will most likely be highly effective.

The device has a range of 300 feet and a directional antenna can be attached to pinpoint specific devices located. The tool won’t be used to find the occasional stolen iPod or laptop and it won’t give the police access to personal or private information such as many other surveillance tools. It is more designed to find devices from larger series of break-ins and more bring down organized criminals that work in this field.

There will no doubt be cases where the officer’s L8NT system won’t work, but David Schwindt still has big plans for his device. It was developed as a proof of concept and he already got a provisional patent on the device and he is planning to apply for a full patent shortly.

Thank You Naked Security for providing us with this information

Five of the Best Gaming Tablets

Gaming on the go has not only been empowered by innovation, but it is now positively encouraged. Offering an experience to match console and desktop gaming, smartphones and tablets have advanced to a level where they deliver incredible graphics, responsive controls and immersive fun.

The range of tablets for gaming is particularly diverse at present, so here are five of the best to set you on your way.

The Nvidia Shield Tablet

The world’s first dedicated gaming tablet, the Nvidia Shield is an impressive 8-inch, Android influenced slate that provide players with access to a huge range of games. Powered by an advanced processor and equipped with a stylus for responsive use, the Shield also enables cross-platform gaming experiences and is available with standard controller to help players make the transition from consoles.

The EVGA Tegra Note 7

While this tablet is not designated for gaming purposes, it’s pure Android base offers users access to an incredible range of games and apps through the Google Play store. It also includes a functional and extremely well-integrated stylus, which optimises gameplay and makes for a more responsive experience when playing some titles.

The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7

Powered by a depth of innovation, the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 has been equipped with an incredibly powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 system-on-chip. It also features an extremely slick and impressive display, while the delivery of frame rates is second only to the all-conquering Nvidia Shield. Despite the competition, this is one of the finest Android tablets on the market, whether you have a set of casino games to play or an episodic adventure to enjoy online.

The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9

Succeeding the previous tablet was a tall order, but this is something that has been achieved with some style. This 8.9 inch Fire HDX also boasts the impressive and purposeful Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 system-on-chip, while the screen manages to retain its sharpness and clarity despite being enlarged. The larger display makes for an even better experience as it happens, although it is obviously a little more expensive.

The Google Nexus 7

One of the first and few tablets to support the open source software OpenGL 3.0, this tablet makes up for the lack of cutting-edge GPU hardware with a support system that supercharges the performance of the device’s Snapdragon S4 Pro. Players are therefore able to optimise the performance of device and elevate their enjoyment of individual games onto new and ground-breaking levels.

Apple Drops the Original iPad Mini from Sale

The Apple iPad Mini has been around for three years now. Since the launch of the first iPad, they have sold more than 258.6 million tablets.

According to the Daily Mail, this totals up to a whopping $8.9 billion dollars in revenue. That is a lot of tablets and a whole lot of money too. No wonder Apple are rolling in money!

The iPad mini original was the last iOS device Apple had available for purchase without a Retina display, with its display panel pumping out a measly 1024 x 768 or 163 pixels per inch. The device was also the last iPad running on a 32-bit framework.

In March last year, Gartner said customers bought nearly 121 million tablets running Google’s Android operating system, which accounted for 61.9 percent of the market.

Apple reportedly dropped from a 53-per cent share of the market to 36 percent with 70.4 million sales.

However, refurbished iPad minis are still available to buy on the multi-billion dollar retailers website while resellers will still have some stock available for the time being.

The decision has followed Apple deciding to remove the iPod from its website menu, with users now having to click on the Music part of the site to find more details about the mp3 playing device.

Last year, Apple put the final nail in the coffin of the iPod Classic by deciding to quietly retire the device.

Thank you to DigitalSpy for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Tech Crunch.

PC Sales Expected to Nosedive This Year, Despite Windows 10

Shipments of personal computers are expected to drop by -6.2% this year, according to data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, marking the fourth year in a row that PC sales have declined, despite the release of Microsoft’s new Windows 10 operating system this Summer, with tablets and smartphones set to continue to dominate the market.

“Microsoft and PC vendors still need to convince users of the advantages of the new OS and new PCs, which will take some time,” Loren Loverde, Vice President of Worldwide PC Trackers, said. “In addition to educating clients, they’ll face tough competition from other devices, and weak spending in many regions. As a result, we see PC shipments stabilizing in 2016, followed by limited growth for the next few years.”

PC Shipments by Product Category and Region (Shipments in millions)
Product
Category
Region 2015
Shipments
(M)*
Market
Share
2019
Shipments
(M)*
Market
Share
5-Year
CAGR
Portable PC Mature 87.9 30.4% 90.4 30.7% 0.7%
Emerging 79.3 27.4% 85.0 28.9% 1.7%
Portable PC Total 167.2 57.9% 175.4 59.6% 1.2%
Desktop PC Mature 47.1 16.3% 45.4 15.5% -0.9%
Emerging 74.7 25.8% 73.3 24.9% -0.5%
Desktop PC Total 121.8 42.1% 118.8 40.4% -0.6%
Total PC Mature 135.0 46.7% 135.9 46.2% 0.2%
Emerging 154.0 53.3% 158.3 53.8% 0.7%
Grand Total 289.0 100.0% 294.1 100.0% 0.4%

Source: IDC Worldwide Quarter PC Tracker, May 29, 2015

The IDC suggests that the PC market could recover, but that “Microsoft and PC vendors still need to convince users of the advantages of the new OS and new PCs, which will take some time.”

Thank you VR-Zone and Business Wire for providing us with this information.

Court Rejects Lawsuit Challenging the Use of Personal Electronics During Flights

A court has overturned a lawsuit challenging the Federal Aviation Administration’s decision to loosen restrictions on the use of personal electronics in-flight. A Washington, DC court said Friday that the FAA had the authority to allow the use of gadgets at various stages during a flight, Ars Technica reports.

The lawsuit argued that the use of personal electronics during flights could pose a danger by distracting passengers from the various safety announcements before take-off or becoming projectiles during turbulence or other issues. Due to differences in aircraft the rule was not always applicable but in all modern aircraft there is little to no risk from having a personal device.

In 2013, the FAA made the official decision to allow the use of electronic devices during most phases of a flight. By 2014, around 96 percent of US commercial plane passengers were allowed to use small electronics during takeoff and landing, the AP reports.

The FAA stated in 2013:

Passengers will eventually be able to read e-books, play games, and watch videos on their devices during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions. Electronic items, books and magazines, must be held or put in the seat back pocket during the actual takeoff and landing roll. Cell phones should be in airplane mode or with cellular service disabled – i.e., no signal bars displayed—and cannot be used for voice communications based on FCC regulations that prohibit any airborne calls using cell phones.    If your air carrier provides Wi-Fi service during flight, you may use those services.  You can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.

1. Make safety your first priority.

2.  Changes to PED policies will not happen immediately and will vary by airline. Check with your airline to see if and when you can use your PED.

3.  Current PED policies remain in effect until an airline completes a safety assessment, gets FAA approval, and changes its PED policy.

4. Cell phones may not be used for voice communications.

5.  Devices must be used in airplane mode or with the cellular connection disabled. You may use the WiFi connection on your device if the plane has an installed WiFi system and the airline allows its use.  You can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.

6. Properly stow heavier devices under seats or in the overhead bins during takeoff and landing. These items could impede evacuation of an aircraft or may injure you or someone else in the event of turbulence or an accident.    

7. During the safety briefing, put down electronic devices, books and newspapers and listen to the crewmember’s instructions.

8.  It only takes a few minutes to secure items according to the crew’s instructions during takeoff and landing.

9.  In some instances of low visibility – about one percent of flights – some landing systems may not be proved PED tolerant, so you may be asked to turn off your device.

10. Always follow crew instructions and immediately turn off your device if asked.

I’ve used my phone and laptop on a plane before and I’m still here!

Thanks to The FAA and The Verge for providing us with this information.

Kodak Launching Android Smartphones in 2015

Kodak is launching some Android smartphones, with the first to be shown at CES in January. However, this is not a comeback for Kodak in a different business per say, this is more like Kodak licensing their brand to someone else’s phones.

As well as that first phone, there will be a “4G handset, a tablet, and a connected camera” all designed by British company Bullitt Group.

“Kodak is one of the world’s most recognisable brands. It is trusted by consumers as a marque of quality and innovation,” says Oliver Schulte, CEO Bullitt Mobile. “We’ve taken that heritage and used it to inspire a range of beautifully designed devices that will let users take great pictures and edit, share, store and print them in an instant.”

This is a practice that isn’t too rare these days, especially for now former giants like Kodak. Polaroid for instance slaps their logo on TVs they don’t even have a say in. The question is though, will this help a previously almost bankrupt Kodak get back on its feet?

Source: The Verge

Tablets in Trouble Again – iPad Shipments Decline Further

The world isn’t as interested in tablets as we once were and not even Apple is able to stay perched on top a cloud of fan-boys and drones.

Shipments of tablets worldwide will increase by only 7.2% in 2014, compared to a 52.5% growth last calendar year. In exact numbers this equals a 235.7 million total shipment number for tablets, globally. Amongst this is an IDC prediction of Apple’s iPad sales to sit at 64.7 million total units, seeing a decline of 12.7% comparative to 2013 – this is opposite to their Mac computer and iPhone sales which have reported growth in each area respectively.

Alongside these results, global shipment numbers of PCs and smartphones have seen a rise. We’ve reported on similar stories in the recent past, with a few different theories as to why smartphones continue to rise and tablets are falling. One of the main examples seems to be that due to smartphone screens getting larger (iPhone 6 Plus, Samsung Galaxy Note 4), there seems to be less and less reasons to purchase a tablet for day to day usage. If your phone already has a powerful Intel processor, a 5″ screen, 4G internet and copious applications, is there really a need for you to spend $400+ on a high quality tablet to match it? People are starting to think not.

Tim Cook, Apple CEO, has reportedly expressed hope that iPad shipments will be back in the green year-on-year, but so far it’s simple not the case. However, Apple personally are expecting a possible boost through an enterprise partnership with business kings IBM – set to deliver mobile devices customized with cloud, management and analytical software.

The predicted growth ranging up to the year 2018 is expected to sit at around 5.4% total, however an addition of Windows 10, Google OS and Apple’s new technologies may see this alter slightly.

Information thanks to PC World
Image courtesy of
OBJ

Google Search Updated for Phones and Tablets

Google search on phones and tablets has received some major updates to its shopping feature.

Searches for products can now deliver 360 degree images and much more detailed information, along with handy customer reviews.

By tapping on a an image of a product, Google search will now bring up a Street View-style view of the item (if the seller has posted such an image) that allows you to see it in all its glory.

Reviews now come with helpful charts that allow you to get a good idea of whether something is worth buying, as well as access to customer feedback and tips.

Source: VentureBeat

LUXA2 P-MEGA 41600mAh World’s Largest Power Station Review

Introduction


Power stations and rechargeable battery packs are becoming  necessity in this day and age, especially for those on the go such as myself. I’m an avid iPhone user and I maximise the full potential of my device in terms of using it as a phone, diary, email client, web browser, social media hub and much more. With this great amount of power in the palm of your hand, comes a great power loss in terms of battery life. While iPhones are notorious for their battery life, it’s Android and Windows devices too, and it’s happening on a larger scale as well.

The iPad is renowned for having amazing battery life, whereas other tablets aren’t as fortunate, and suffer with much poorer battery life, and while you’re on the go, it always seems to be that point when you desperately need to use your device, to find it’s about to get cut short. You can try the obvious of turning the brightness down, disabling Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, location services and such, but sooner than later; it’s going to die. When you are faced with this situation, you can buy a mobile battery charger, which range from the cheap Chinese knockoffs to the plethora of more expensive certified units on the market.

We’ve looked at them from a variety of brands in the past, and generally you’ll find everyone is making them including ADATA, Coolermaster Mobile, Patriot and more, but these generally hover around the 5000mAh mark. Of course there are smaller capacities, which demand a smaller footprint, making it perfect for handbags and pockets. Others can warrant a 9000mAh capacity but of course, with this, comes a larger, bulkier device. The question is; what if you want something for you and your friends?

Picture this if you will; you are off camping, and while you have the bright idea of taking  an in-car charger and relevant cable, you will generally only have one cigarette lighter point, and 5 of your friends want to charge their devices at the same time, as you all sit around the fire Whatsapping and Facebooking each other, though you are only 2 feet away. Luxa2 believe they have a solution to this socially awkward situation with the P-MEGA 41600mAh power station with its ability to charge up to 6 devices at once with 3 being able to give that extra juice at 2A for tablet devices in a relatively small form factor device.

This device isn’t for the faint-hearted and if you think that you mis-read, I will confirm that this is a staggering 41600mAh power station that can easily charge 3 tablets and 3 mobile phones concurrently, making this perfect for friends and family when your smart devices really are your livelihood.

The biggest issue with the P-MEGA is that every media outlet has exclaimed that it’s huge but looking from the dimensions above, for something with such a huge capacity battery, it’s pretty well sized. The box reflects this well and makes a big marketing stand to tell us that it’s the “World’s Largest Power Bank”.

The back of the packaging highlights some of the main features of the unit and also gives us a glimpse of how it can look when you have 6 devices connected to it.

Inside you get a handy leather bag to transport the unit, a quick start guide, power connector cord and three different plug faces including US, European and UK.

Google Demanding Android Smartphone Makers To Only Use Android KitKat

Google is about to get tough on Android smartphone makers. Google is seeking to enforce a new rule that all smartphone makers must ship their smartphones with Android 4.4 KitKat if they offer their phones with access to Google’s Services Framework and the Google Play Store. Google have apparently spoken to all major smartphone vendors like Samsung, HTC, LG, ZTE, Motorola and others to inform them of the change. The main justification for a new strict policy on the Android operating system is because of the criticism Android has faced for its version fragmentation.

That is to say that currently the Android market is comprised of a wide range of smartphones and tablets running on different versions of Android which makes it problematic for developers to develop apps that work on all versions. According to the most recent figures Jelly Bean is installed on 59.1% of devices (35.9% 4.1.X, 15.4% 4.2.X and 7.8% 4.3), Ice Cream Sandwich on 16.9% (4.03-4.04) and Gingerbread on 21.2% of devices (2.3.3-2.3.7). Android KitKat (4.4) has just 1.4% of the market share which is barely ahead of Froyo (2.2) which has 1.3%.

Google’s memo apparently reads:

“Starting February 2014, Google will no longer approve GMS distribution on new Android products that ship older platform releases. Each platform release will have a “GMS approval window” that typically closes nine months after the next Android platform release is publicly available. (In other words, we all have nine months to get new products on the latest platform after its public release.) “

Given Android 4.4 was released on the 31st of October a 9 month window gives Android partners until the 31st of July to ship everything with Android 4.4.

Google getting tough on its partners certainly could work to the consumer advantage. The measures will mean that whether you buy a budget smartphone or a high-end smartphone you will still have the latest version of Android which should bring better performance and better features across the board. However, some partners and consumers will not like the idea that they are being “forced” to run the latest version of what is supposedly an open source operating system. Some hardware may simply not be compatible with Android KitKat so how will Google deal with those instances?

Image courtesy of Google (Android.com)

Source: MobileBloom

Latest NVIDIA Maxwell Based Graphics Cards Reported To Be Very Power Efficient

News regarding the latest Maxwell chips from NVIDIA show that the GPU is created with mobile and battery optimisations in mind. NVIDIA enjoyed a lot of success with Kepler that grabbed plenty of design wins in the notebook space and eventually it also ended up in the upcoming Tegra K1. The plan is that Maxwell should build on this this success, as Fudzilla reports in its article.

Maxwell is said to scale from 200W+ discrete graphics cards down to 2W to 3W SoC Tegra parts and should offer much better performance per watt compared to Kepler generation. The first card codenamed GM107 should be coming as a desktop part and mobile parts are shortly behind. Mobile versions will reportedly be ready for Intel’s Broadwell notebook refresh that should happen in the second half of 2014.

Tegra based on Maxwell is said to come in 2015 and should offer significant performance boost compared to Tegra K1 SoC parts. Maxwell will also be NVIDIA’s first GPU to be licensed to various SoC makers. The cost of GPU IP in mobile SoCs is relatively low, but licensing might help Nvidia gain more market share and reap the benefits down the road.

Gaming on phones and tablets is rumored to become a lot better and mature, but still games on tablets are years behind next generation console or mainstream PC gaming. Battlefield 4 and Titanfall as well as Call of Duty and similar games would continue to look their best on PCs and next-gen consoles, but older titles are said to find their way to future tablets and make the gaming on tablets and phones a bit better.

To put it plainly, the latest tech for desktops from ten years ago will be considered latest tech for mobile phones today. And to make it even better, the gap between PC and mobile is likely to start closing in rapidly in the future as well.

Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with this information

3D Corning Gorilla Glass For Curved Displays Announced

The Corning Gorilla Glass is known for its scratch-resistant properties, and can be found on displays spanning from smartphones, to tablets, laptops and so on. It is reported that Corning announced a new type of Gorilla Glass, called 3D-shaped Gorilla Glass, destined for the next wave of handsets and smartwatches with curved displays.

3D Gorilla Glass is called so because of a new manufacturing process that can make the glass into unique shapes, without losing any scratch-resistant properties or gaining thickness. With the future looking like it’ll be filled with curved displays, the ability to protect them with Gorilla Glass is an important step.

The new process from Corning is in partnership with G-Tech Optoelectronics Corporation (GTOC), which allows Corning to produce everything from flat to curved pieces of glass under the one roof. This may not matter much for consumers, but it means Corning can produce different glass products faster and with reduced logistical complexity.

Gorilla Glass, currently in its third revision, is the standard glass used in most smartphones, designed to be extremely scratch resistant and shatter-proof. It’s not without its flaws, due to the nature of glass itself, but generally speaking it does a great job at keeping your phone scratch-free, even if you attempt to damage it with keys or a knife.

Thank you Tech Spot for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Tech Spot

Google Might Head Into The ARM Chip Business In The Near Future

Google already has its own smartphones, tablets, the operating system to power them all, and the best search engine to go with it, but it seems it’s not enough. According to Bloomberg, Google is thinking about designing its own processors using ARM technology. The news comes from a source with more knowledge on the subject that says the move would allow Google to better manager the relationship between hardware and software.

Although the possibility of Google-designed chips for phones and tablets will be a big step forward for the company, it could also mean Google won’t need to rely on Intel as much for server processors. According to Bloomberg, Google is currently Intel’s fifth largest customer, spending around $500 million on Intel chips each year. That might change if Google’s designing its own processors.

Based on the Bloomberg report, a Google spokesperson said it is “actively engaged in designing the world’s best infrastructure” and that this includes both hardware and software design. As always. the company refused to comment further than that.

“We are actively engaged in designing the world’s best infrastructure,” said Liz Markman, a spokeswoman for Google, in an e-mail. “This includes both hardware design (at all levels) and software design.” Markman declined to say whether the company may develop its own chips.

Thank you Tom’s Hardware and Bloomberg for providing us with this information

PCI Express M.2 Specification Rev. 1.0 Released

PCI-SIG announced the release of the PCIe M.2 Specification Revision 1.0 to its members. It is said to be a next-generation form factor for ultra-light and thin platforms, which increases design flexibility to support high-end performance and enhanced data rates for power-constrained platforms, enabling the higher integration of functions onto a single form factor module solution. PCI-SIG, or Peripheral Component Interconnect Special Interest Group, is an electronics industry consortium responsible for specifying the Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI), PCI-X, and PCI Express (PCIe) computer buses.

The smaller M.2 form factor is designed to meet future market requirements for applications in thin mobile platforms, such as tablets, portable gaming devices, smartphones and devices requiring SSDs. Its extensible design provides scalability for multiple technologies and host interfaces, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, SSD and WWAN.

“As users switch from legacy PCs to compact mobile devices, their demand for robust and power-efficient computing platforms endures,” said Al Yanes, PCI-SIG chairman and president. “The M.2 form factor offers tunable I/O technology, allowing developers to create the optimal balance of power and performance in their platform implementations.”

The new M.2 specification allows for the manufacturing of larger PCBs, maximizing the use of the card space and leaving behind a minimal footprint. The specification also helps to address the demand for mobile device I/O solutions with new specifications targeted at ultra-light and thin platforms.

Revision 1.0 M.2 connectors support both single and double-sided module cards and are available in connectorized or soldered-down forms. The connectorized forms allow single-sided modules for low profile solutions, or dual-sided modules for increased integration within the platform. All soldered-down module cards are single-sided and are intended for use in low profile applications.

Thank you Guru3D for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of PCI-SIG

MediaTek To Shift Its Focus To Tablet SoC and LTE Enabled Chips In 2014

MediaTek is planning to shift its target to the tablet SoCs and LTE enabled chipsets for smartphones next year. According to TelecomTiger(via Fudzilla), MediaTek general manager of international sales and marketing Finbarr Moynihan said the company wants to “democratize” smartphones and bring them to new markets. He noted that five to six billion people in India, China, Asia and Africa are moving into the middle class and generating demand for smart devices on a budget.

It is somewhat surprising that MediaTek is also targeting the high-end segment, whereas the company has already announced its first A15 big.LITTLE processor, it seems we are also going to see more high-end products next year.

MediaTek is going to release up to eight new tablet parts, along with mid-range phone chips. Taking a leap to the high-end chip market means rivaling with Qualcomm and NVIDIA, but MediaTek might have its own secrets which will maintain its chips at the high-end competition line.

Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with this information

Tablets Through The Years

When Moses came down from the mountain with the stone tablets, the people said: “That’s all very well, but what are we supposed to do with them?” Moses was so angry that he smashed them to pieces and had to go and get some more from God, and that’s more or less what happened with Steve Jobs and the first iPad. Except Steve Jobs didn’t smash the first iPad, thankfully.

What’s The Point?

You may just be able to remember thinking; “What’s the point of these tablet things?” You’ll certainly remember the first time you used one, at which point you probably thought “I must have one right now.” The sleek, shiny appearance; the powerful, crisp graphics; the silky-smooth touchscreen, and the endless options enabled by its powerful connectivity, all go together to make the tablet the must-have electronic device of the decade.

Games

The ability to play online games practically anywhere is a huge part of the attraction of a tablet. Wi-fi, 3G and 4G technologies provide the connectivity, while the superb screens and touch/tilt functions of modern tablets allow intuitive control of games. Whether it’s puzzle based games like Candy Crush Saga, mobile gambling apps, classics like GTA Vice City or brainteasers like Words With Friends, mobile gaming has come of age with the tablet.

Early Days

It wasn’t always this way. Before the iPad, the precursors of the modern device often struggled to find a place in the computer market. The GRiDpad may have been popular with the US Army, but who else remembers it now? PDA’s like the Palm Pilot and the Apple Newton had a decent number of fans in the 90’s, but they were far more work-oriented than today’s multifunctional machines.

Early Windows-based tablet computers appeared a decade or so ago. Pen-enabled machines like the Lenovo X61 gradually gave way to touchscreen devices, but the real explosion in the format’s popularity began in April 2010, with the launch of the first iPad.

Android

The spread of the iPad’s competitors, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Google Nexus, has been assisted by the success of the Android operating system. The huge quantity of mobile gaming apps available for both iOS and Android is partly responsible for the expansion of the market. Games like Angry Birds are often the first thing a new user experiences on a tablet. Quality apps, experienced for the first time on a well-designed device, can help to answer the question; “What’s a tablet for?”

Images courtesy of Wikipedia  and oldcomputers.net

Microsoft Makes $2 Billion From Android Every Year From Patent Royalties

Android may be one of Microsoft’s biggest rivals when it comes to fighting it out in the global computing market, yet Microsoft still manages to make money out of Android in a strange way according to Business Insider. We all know that Android are putting Microsoft under pressure – they are outselling Microsoft’s products dramatically in the tablet and smartphone markets and Android is even beginning to take hold in the desktop market too. Yet not many people know that Microsoft earns patent royalties on 70% of Android devices that are sold around the world each year. The report by Business Insider says Microsoft makes, on average, $5 per Android device sold by the likes of HTC, Acer, ViewSonic, Samsung, LG and Barnes & Noble. This $5 is made up purely of patent royalties.  It isn’t specifically disclosed which patents Microsoft use to generate this revenue but one thing is for sure, with the acquisition of Nokia’s handset division earlier on this year Microsoft accumulated a large number of additional patents it can apply to the smartphone market and we will no doubt see Microsoft vigorously enforce those to continue reaping the rewards from Android’s success.

Image courtesy of Nethope.org

iPad Air Dethroned By Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 In Terms Of Display Quality

While the iPad Air is receiving a lot of praise, Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX took it in a display shootout, and won apparently. When DisplayMate Technologies tested the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, the iPad Air, and Google’s Nexus 10, the Fire 8.9 “leapfrogged into the best-performing tablet display that we have ever tested,” according to the results posted Monday.

The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 significantly outperformed “the iPad Air in brightness, screen reflection, and high ambient light contrast, plus a first-place finish in the very challenging category of absolute color accuracy,” DisplayMate continued.

The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 also was rated tops in power efficiency, compared with the Air and Nexus 10. But that doesn’t mean the Air didn’t receive any plaudits. Both the Fire and the Air have very accurate colors, image contrast, and picture quality, DisplayMate said. “They are most likely better and more accurate than any display you own (unless it’s a calibrated professional display),” the display testing firm said.

DisplayMate also revealed the display technologies that the Air and Fire use. The Fire has a Low Temperature Poly Silicon (LTPS) LCD — that’s the type of screen tech typically used in LCD-based smartphones. The Air uses an IGZO Metal Oxide LCD — “significantly better than the a-Si amorphous Silicon LCDs being used in most current displays,” according to DisplayMate. One of the reasons that the Nexus 10 got a relatively low score was because its display tech is aging.

“The 2012 Google Nexus 10…is at the end of its annual product cycle,” DisplayMate said. “Presumably the soon-to-be-introduced 2013 Nexus 10 will take care of that.”

Thank you Cnet for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of Cnet

Windows 8 Apps To Run On The Xbox One

A few months ago rumors were spreading out which said that Windows 8 apps would be ported over to the upcoming Xbox One game console. It made a lot of sense too, since the new Xbox is pretty much entirely based on PC architecture, and runs Microsoft’s own code. But up until now, we had not heard about any such cross-platform compatibility from Microsoft’s side, or even from AMD. However, Dell decided to break the ice here and spill the beans on this “little” project. A pre-order page for the Xbox One on Dell’s official website lists a very interesting feature which, in a million years, wouldn’t miss a keen eye.

Here’s what the official statement looks like:

“Consider the game officially changed. With all your favorite Windows 8 apps able to be run on and synced to your Xbox One, now your phone, desktop, tablet and TV can all give you a unified web and entertainment experience.”

The information provided is enough proof for every non-believer. What we are wondering is when would Microsoft have announced this feature, or is everybody supposed to have found out about it on their own?

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of NextPowerUp.

ASUSTeK Revenues Reach 13 Month High – Driven By Tablet Sales

In the world of technology ASUS have always had a massive presence – particularly in the enthusiast sector where we conduct most of our work – ASUS make some of the best motherboards, graphics cards, audio equipment, notebooks and so on. Yet the technology market is changing and has been changing for a while, tablets and smartphones now reign supreme. ASUS has been quick to act on that and already has a well established and extensive range of tablets which Digitimes claims has driven ASUSTeK’s best monthly revenues for 13 months. September 2013 represented a 2.97% increase in revenues on the previous month and a 13.05% increase over the previous year – impressive figures from ASUS. The indication is that this growth has mainly been driver by “booming shipments” of the Google ASUS second generation Nexus 7 tablet as well as sales of own brand tablets like the ASUS MemoPad HD 7 pictured above. Digitimes’ sources state that ASUSTeK wil ship 4.3 to 4.5 million notebooks for Q3 of 2013 and 7 to 8 million tablets for H2 of 2013.

Image #1 courtesy of ASUSTeK and image #2 courtesy of Digitimes

American FAA Approves Use Of Smartphones/Tablets During Takeoff And Landing

Up until now if you were using a tablet, smartphone, notebook/laptop or any other electrical device during the takeoff or landing procedure on a flight then you’d of been asked to turn those electrical devices off – irrespective of what you’re doing on them. For many years this has long been the standard procedure for the airline industry. That’s all about to change though after the American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ruled otherwise, reports Engadget. a 28 member committee decided that flyers should be able to use “most” devices during takeoff and landing on the condition that most connectivity is not engaged – e.g. you should not be streaming data and you should not be engaged in voice calls. The FAA recommends that flyers should be able to continue to work away on documents, listen to music or watch videos (providing these are all done from local storage – no streaming).

Amazon was part of the 28 member committee in the FAA which developed this new ruling and they stated that:

“We’ve been fighting for our customers on this issue for years – testing an airplane packed full of Kindles, working with the FAA, and serving as the device manufacturer on this committee…This is a big win for customers and, frankly, it’s about time” Said Amazon’s Drew Herdener.

If the FAA decides to continue with the recommendations it is anticipated changes could come into effect by early 2014, though the airline industry is expected to be slower to adopt the new standards. Indeed the ruling does not necessarily mean anything will change either as the FAA can ignore the recommendations generated by the 28 member committee.

Image courtesy of Engadget

Vine Is Now Bigger Than Instagram On iOS and Catching Up On Android

Vine is Twitter’s video service and its popularity is growing rapidly. Unsurprisingly it is has been popular than Instagram on Twitter for quite some time thanks to Twitter natively integrating it into their website yet it is also taking Android and iOS by storm.

On iOS Vine is now the most popular free app (at least it is at the time of writing) and Instagram is languishing down in 15th place. If Vine can maintain this type of popularity on iOS then it bodes well for its Android success as iOS has a huge number of users capable of influencing other Android users.

On Android, at the time of writing, Vine was taking fifth place whilst Instagram was taking fourth place. The two apps have been occasionally swapping back a forward for the past few days now and we should expect to see a more clear difference between the two apps emerge over the coming weeks. Yet Vine isn’t being received that well by users on Android with an average rating of 2.7 and nearly more 1 star ratings than 5 star ratings.

What we all want to know is will Vine still be this popular in say 6-12 months from now? Or will it just be a short-lived social media trend? What do you think?

Image courtesy of Vine

Hynix Develops World’s First 8Gb LPDDR3 RAM Chips

Low Power DDR3 modules are going to be vital to the future of the mobile markets as they allow for large capacities of DRAM to be attached to small mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. SK Hynix have been innovating in this market segment recently being the first to create 8 Gigabit LPDDR3 modules, that is 1GB LPDDR3 modules to you and me. SK Hynix say these new 1GB LPDDR3 modules can be stacked to a capacity of up to 4GB or 32 Gigabits.

Furthermore SK Hynix are claiming a dramatically reduced height over previous 4 Gigabit LPDDR3 counterparts and rated speeds of 2133 Mbps, or 2133MHz, which surpasses the 1600 Mbps of previous generation LPDDR3 modules – SK Hynix are claiming the world’s fastest DRAM. The 32 bit I/O processes up to 8.5GB of data per second in single channel mode or 17GB per second in dual channel. SK Hynix have managed to get these modules functional with just 1.2 volts.

These new modules from Hynix can be used in PoP (package on package), eMMC (embedded multi-media card) and on-board form factors. They make use of the latest advanced 20nm memory process. Hynix expects these new modules to hit the market in smartphones and other mobile devices by the end of the year.

Image courtesy of SK Hynix

Global Integrated Chip Market Up 16% For 2012 Over 2011

Nvidia’s Tegra 4 Integrated Chip

2008, 2009 and 2010 were relatively crappy years for sales of integrated chips. 2011 saw tentative improvements and according to the latest figures 2012 continued that trend of improvements. The market for Integrated Circuits (ICs) rose by 16% in 2012 when comparing to the previous year 2011.

Foundry customers went through a period of massive restocking last year as surging demand for tablets and smartphones drove a simultaneous rise in demand for IC components that are needed to construct them. This trend of rising demand for ICs is probably one that will continue through 2013 as smartphones and tablets certainly show no signs of slowing down, at the expensive of the notebook and desktop markets.

Gartner Analysts believe that in 2012 the value of global IC shipments was up by 16.2% over the year 2012 to a total of $34.6 billion / €25.5 billion. According to Gartner 28nm and 40nm process based manufacturing were by far the biggest earning market for ICs.

It is also revealed that for the first time, EVER, the amount of revenue generated from semiconductors for mobile devices exceeded that generated for PCs and notebooks.

“2012 was the first year that the semiconductor revenue for mobile devices surpassed that of PCs and notebooks, It also marked the first year that advanced technology for mobile applications drove the foundry revenue. Furthermore, 2012 saw not only major foundries improve the yield of 28nm technology, but also many foundries fine-tuned the device performance of legacy nodes.” said Samuel Wang. research VP at Gartner.

What are your thoughts on this? Are you sad to see the mobile IC market finally become more profitable than the desktop/notebook equivalent? Or is this just a sign of the times?

Source

 

4K Tablets Expected By The End Of 2013

Tablet displays are evolving very quickly, managing to move comfortably from 1280 by 720 (Nexus 7) to 1920 by 1080 (Xperia Tablet Z) to 2048 by 1536 (iPad 4 Retina) even to 2560 by 1600 if we look at Google’s latest Nexus 10 tablet. This accelerating trend towards higher resolution displays is something we are seeing all smartphone and tablet manufacturers get involved with. The bigger the resolution of the display the more bragging rights and marketing power they are going to have against their competitors.

Despite it taking more or less 5-6 years to become a standard on the PC and TVs, 1080p is now relatively common on tablets and smartphones, emerging in a couple of years. Now it seems that the tablet platform will launch into the lead opting for the 3840 by 2160 4K displays well before the PC and TV platforms. In fact anyone who is a PC user out there will know the PC display market has been pathetically slow to innovate and bring prices down with regards to higher resolution displays such as 2560 by 1600 and 2560 by 1440.

Apparently Taiwan based manufacturers will be ready to provide the 4K tablet screens by the end of this year while Sharp is making the 4K displays for laptops and notebooks. Panasonic has been one of the first to show off 4K tablet demonstrations, as the picture above shows, and they are expected to be one of the first companies to come to market with 4K tablets.

Expect pricing to be very high on initial launch but demand for tablets should help bring those 4K prices down. Maybe this will lead to cheaper 4K displays for everyone else and the PC & TV markets?

What are your thoughts on 4K tablets by the end of 2013?

Source

Intel’s Next-Gen Haswell Processors Now Being Shipped To PC Makers

Intel has started shipping its mainstream processor lineup, the 4th Gen Intel Core Series called ‘Haswell’ to major PC makers. Haswell will be launched later during this quarter by June.

Haswell will be the next generation mainstream processor from Intel and will be powering up many systems, Ultrabooks and notebooks. Intel’s CEO Paul Otellini said in a statement,”The single largest generation-to-generation battery life improvement in Intel history.”

Intel will also be shipping its next generation “Merrified” Atom chips to their smartphone partners by the end of this year. During the end of the year, the manufacturers who partnered with the Chip maker will also be released tablets with ‘Bay Trail’ Atom chips as well.

But there was a concern about Haswell’s where USB flash drives which are connected on systems powered by Haswell. It was found that these USB drives do not get detected after the system started from standby. Bright Side of News also made a report that in some cases, the removable drives do not get detected by the system even after reconnecting the drive.

Therefore, Intel released a note to the media during Friday Afternoon:

4th gen Core is on track for a mid-year launch. Intel issued a PCN documenting a chipset USB errata and stating that chipsets with the errata will be in production during the initial ramp. But Intel has confirmed that there is no chance of data loss or corruption. This issue has only been observed with a small subset of USB SuperSpeed thumb drives and does not affect other USB peripherals. We take all customer issues seriously and should any customer have a question or concern they can always contact Intel customer support.

It should be noted that the newer stepping will not have this problem, as highlighted by Ryan.

Source: CNET