Microsoft Offers $150 Discount On Surface RT

Microsoft has announced a rather large discount on the Surface RT tablet on their website. The discount sees $150 knocked off the Surface RTs with new prices of $349 (down from $499.99) for the 32GB Surface RT and $449 (down from $599.99) for 64GB Surface RT (tablet only prices).

We don’t know exactly why Microsoft has planned these discounts but speculation would suggest they are preparing new tablets for later on this year and want to clear existing stock. Additionally with Windows 8.1 coming they probably want to sell tablets pre-loaded with Windows 8 to make way for new tablets with Windows 8.1 pre-loaded ready for the October 2013 Windows 8.1 released which will no doubt have a Windows 8.1 RT variant too for the Surface RT series to continue.

The discount does not apply to any accessories however so the Surface Type Cover remains at $129.99 and the Touch Civer at $119.99.

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Microsoft’s Surface Mini Costs $299, Will Be Released In Q4

Microsoft’s Surface Mini is a much needed addition to the Microsoft tablet portfolio to help capture that lower market price point. According to a Focus Taiwan report we should expect to see Microsoft’s new Surface Mini tablet arrive in Q4 (October-December) of this year. Additionally the expected price point of such a tablet is to be $299/ €230 though Microsoft is still in discussion with 2-3 Taiwanese ODM producers about the device. Microsoft obviously wants to get the best deal so is “shopping around” to see what Taiwan can offer.

With a Q4 release it is likely that the Surface Mini will spearhead the official Windows 8.1 release (and possibly a separate Windows 8.1 RT release if there is one). The device is expected to have a 7.5 to 8 inch display and be powered by a low-power Intel Atom x86 processor. The tablet would be designed to compete with Apple’s iPad Mini.

We will bring you more details on the Surface Mini as we get them. What do you guys think about the Surface Mini? Will it be able to compete against sub-8 inch tablet favourites like the iPad Mini and Nexus 7 which have been mainstays of the tablet market for quite some time now?

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Intel Bay Trail 30% Faster Than Best Snapdragon ARM SoCs

The latest benchmarks have come out revealing the performance of Intel’s Silvermont smartphone/tablet processor. This dual core x86 processor from Intel is around 30% faster than Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 processor clocked at 2.3GHz – and given that is the fastest ARM chip on the market this is a large blow for ARM and an even bigger blow seeing as the Intel CPU was running at just 1.1GHz.

An early production sample of Intel’s Bay Trail managed to score an impressive 43,416 which is much faster than the 25000-30000 we normally see on ARM Snapdragon 800 quad core parts, additionally it also runs lighten on the power consumption. Bay Trail-T is the platform of the Silvermont processors and Intel is claiming that its 22nm based Silvermont architecture is capable of 3X the performance of the Medfield/Clover Trail platform with 5X less power usage. Some of the features of Silvermont are borrowed from Westmere (a desktop CPU design) and they include out-of-order execution, more efficient branch processing and prediction, and faster recovery from pipeline collisions/crashes.

When the final Bay Trail-T SoC platform ships in commercial devices such as tablets and smartphones we could see clock speeds up to 2.1GHz which would suggest an AnTuTu score of up to 90,000 almost three times that of the Snapdragon 800. Only time will tell if this performance actually translates, but let’s wait and see because things could get very interesting if these new parts from Intel are competitive on power consumption.

Image courtesy of Extremetech.com

Microsoft Will Launch 256GB $1200/€950 Tablet

Many complained about the lack of storage on Microsoft Surface tablets and Microsoft seems to be finding a way around this, though it is at the expense of making affordable options. According to WPCentral a listing on CDW.com revealed a 256GB version of the Microsoft Surface. This tablet will use a 256GB SSD running Windows 8 Pro with a staggering $1199.99 price tag for the tablet only. This is roughly €950 or £850.

Microsoft themselves have yet to comment on the speculation but with it due in four to six days we could see this new tablet by the end of this week. While it shows no signs of being a Windows 8.1 tablet we could expect this same hardware configuration to be offered with Windows 8.1 when that is released later on this year.

The rest of the hardware is pretty standard for an premium x86 powered tablet. We’ve got an Intel Core i5 3317U processor, 4GB of RAM, a full HD 1920 by 1080 display, Intel HD 4000 graphics, N WiFi and a 1 year limited warranty.

Expect more details from Microsoft soon.

Image courtesy of CDW.com

1440p Windows 8 Tablets Inbound

Microsoft has stated that it is looking for Windows 8.1 to be a springboard for a whole new range of Windows mobile devices and one of the latest proposals, according to the Verge, is to make some high resolution display tablets. Currently Microsoft’s Surface tablets, and other Windows 8 based tablets, seem to stop at 1920 by 1080. This leaves Apple’s Retina display devices and Google’s Nexus 10, among a handful of others, unchallenged in the high resolution display market.

Microsoft is looking to combat this by releasing a new wave of high resolution display tablets with screens up to 2560 by 1440. As far as details go that is literally all we know, of course they will be running Windows 8.1 based operating systems but we do not know whether Microsoft will be making these or if their partners will be making these, or both. Microsoft has also been rumoured to be producing an 8 inch Surface tablet and in general Microsoft is really looking to kick start their tablet sales with the launch of Windows 8.1.

For those of you who didn’t get a chance to read it you may remember there were rumours about Microsoft having a one year plan to take over the tablet market, this is surely part of such plan if it does exist. Microsoft also released a wave of adverts to smear the name of the iPad and make Windows-based tablets appear better.

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Systena Unveil Tizen-Linux Powered Full HD Tablet

The Tizen operating system is essentially a WebKit runtime running on top of the open source Linux Kernel and it was developed with some key players like Intel, Samsung and the Linux Foundation. The Source Developer Kit (SDK) of Tizen 2.0, the latest incarnation, is entirely licensed to Samsung so despite the open-source nature of Tizen 1 the newly released Tizen 2 “Magnolia” is proprietary. Yet we are now seeing the first tablet on the market running this Tizen OS courtesy of Japanese company Systena according to a report by NotebookCheck.com. If we ignore Android tablets for a second this is probably one of very few Linux powered tablets in existence.

The hardware of this Tizen powered tablet is impressive as it boasts a 10.1 inch 1920 by 1200 WUXGA display, a quad core 1.4GHz ARM Cortex A9 processor, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, 32GB of storage, N WiFi,  dual cameras and a microSD card slot for storage expansion. As we’ve mention the device runs the Tizen 2.0 “Magnolia” operating system but is expected to get Tizen 2.1 when that is released for general usage.

While the tablet market is currently crowded out by Android and iOS, and Windows based operating systems to a much lesser extent, we could see Tizen take off if it is successful. Furthmermore with Ubuntu currently being worked on for tablets and smartphones and Mozilla developing their FireFox OS as a rival to Android it could be an exciting new year for fresh tablet innovations.

Image courtesy of Systena

AMD Has No Intention Of Licensing GPU Tech Like Nvidia

According to a story we brought you earlier Nvidia has begun offering its GPU technology to the mobile market in return for licensing fees in a similar way to ARM. However, AMD has now told X-bit Labs that it has no intention of doing the same.

This is hardly surprising given that AMD scored such a win with the next generation of consoles where it will be at the heart of the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. Nvidia seems to have turned its hand to the smartphone market to try and make up for losing out on the console business while AMD is likely to be running at full capacity for the next generation of consoles.

While AMD is keeping its chips as PC and console products, it will still be pushing ahead into the Windows tablet market and developing ARM based server products in the forseeable future – though it is unlikely we will see AMD powered smartphones at any stage.

“We have made no announcements regarding the license of GCN or our graphics IP. […] In additional to our ambidextrous approach, our semi-custom business offers customers the ability to tap into AMD’s extensive IP portfolio across x86, ARM, multimedia, and of course our industry-leading graphics,” Travis William, a spokesman for AMD’s embedded and semi-custom business units”

Image courtesy of AMD

Second Generation Nexus 7 Shows Multiple LTE Band Support

Google’s Nexus 7 was an incredibly popular tablet but if anyone had complaints it was that the device lacked LTE and network support, being a WiFi only device – although it was possible to get mobile WiFi for it. According to fresh reports from Droid-Life the second generation Google Nexus 7 will pack LTE support.

The new Nexus 7 was spotted recently as the ASUS K009 undergoing FCC certification and it has also made an appearance in Bluetooth SIG certifications too.  Now with LTE band support it should be able to host Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile LTE connectivity. The second gen ASUS Google tablet will have LTE bands 2,4,5,13 and 17 support. Furthermore it will also support GSM bands 850 and 1900MHz making it compatible with AT&T GSM bands and potentially T-Mobile HSPA+ bands when/if they make a full transition to 1900MHz bands.

I think this is pretty big and exciting news because the Google ASUS Nexus 7 will be a much more versatile device after getting native mobile network support.

What are your thoughts on the next generation Nexus 7 getting LTE support?

Image courtesy of Droid-Life

Microsoft Giving 10,000 Surface RT Tablets To Education Sector For Free

Microsoft’s Surface RT sales may have been slightly sluggish in the consumer market but they are still great products. In an attempt to do some good for society, or maybe just shamelessly self promote themselves, Microsoft are giving away 10,000 of their Surface RT tablets to educators for free.

The move is part of Microsoft’s “Windows in the Classroom Surface Experience Project” and they have teamed up with the International Society for Technology in Education to distribute these 10,000 tablets.

“This bold move is illustrative of Microsoft’s commitment to the effective use of technology in education. It’ll be fantastic to watch attendees take their conference learning experience to the next level through the power of their new Surfaces and to hear about the ways they use them with their students.” said Brian Lewis, CEO of the ISTE.

Online registration for the ISTE conference will end on June 18th so interested parties must register by then and that can be done at the following location. The event kicks off in San Antonio, USA, on June 23rd. As far as I can tell from the T&Cs this is a promotion for the whole world but naturally non-U.S educational establishments are disadvantaged as you are required to visit the San Antonio conference to redeem your free Surface RT tablet.

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Computex: MSI Display Primo 73 Budget 7 inch Android Tablet

In addition to their Primo 75, Primo 81 and Primo 93 Android tablets, MSI has one last Android tablet for us to see at Computex 2013 and that’s the Primo 73. The Primo 73 uses the lowest quality display of all four Primo models displayed at computex with a 1024 by 600 non-IPS LCD display. The device weighs a tiny 298 grams and is 107.6mm narrow, which according to MSI is the narrowest 7 inch tablet in the world.

In terms of the internal specifications MSI are stating this unit uses a dual core Allwinner A20 ARM CPU along with 1GB of DDR DRAM and 16GB of internal storage. The battery gives 3000 mAh while the operating system of choice is Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. Given the budget conscious nature of this tablet we are expecting a price point that is sub $130, possibly even as low as $100/110 if MSI can get a good enough deal with suppliers.

Expect this to hit the market in July along with the other new Primo tablets from MSI.

Stay tuned to eTeknix for more Computex coverage in our Computex section.

Image(s) courtesy of eTeknix at Computex

Computex: MSI Show W20 3M AMD Powered 11.6 Inch Windows Tablet

MSI has been showing off a very unique tablet at Computex 2013, that is an AMD “Temash” SoC powered Windows 8 tablet. The reason it is unique is it is one of the first AMD powered tablets using the brand new Temash System On Chips. The AMD A4-1200 “Temash” SoC present in this MSI W20 3M tablet runs at 1GHz on each of the two cores. The display it powers is a 1366 by 768 11.6 inch IPS panel with 10 point touch.

The device features 2GB of low profile DDR3 RAM and a 128GB mSATA SSD for storage purposes. 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, 3G and optional LTE provide the wireless connectivity options. Another nifty feature MSI have implemented is finger print log in. The device is charged by USB but MSI didn’t specify battery size or expected battery life. The device measures in at less than 9.9mm thick and weighs less than 750 grams.

Pricing and availability are still TBA.

Stay tuned to eTeknix for more Computex coverage in our Computex section.

Image(s) courtesy of eTeknix at Computex

Computex: MSI Unveil Primo 75 IPS Android Tablet

We’ve already taken a look at MSI’s Primo 93 and Primo 81 Android tablets, so be sure to check those out if you haven’t already. The Primo 93 is the one on the left and the Primo 81 is the one on the right but in this article we are going to have a quick overview of the Primo 75 in the middle that MSI showed us.

The MSI Primo 75 has an IPS display panel sporting a 800 by 1280 resolution, it measures in at 7 inches making it virtually identical to the Google Nexus 7 screen. The entire system is powered by an Allwinner A31S quad core ARM based CPU and GPU combination. This is supported by 1GB of DDR RAM as well as 16GB of internal storage and expansion support with a MicroSD card slot. MSI have given this unit a 3200 mAh battery which should be plenty for such an energy efficient ARM unit.

MSI did not disclose pricing but they have been quoted saying the device is available from July.

Stay tuned to eTeknix for more Computex coverage in our Computex section.

Image(s) courtesy of eTeknix at Computex

Computex: Sapphire Exhibit FingerFun Android Tablets

Android tablets seem to be the all the rage lately and every company seems to be having a go at them. The latest company to do that is Sapphire with their FingerFun series of tablets. Some of the models include the FingerFun A973, A703, E812 and E602.

The FingerFun A703 uses a 7 inch 1280 by 800 display with a quad core Cortex A9 (RockChip 3188) processor, 1 GB of RAM, 16GB of flash memory and card readers supporting up to 32GB. Android 4.1 is the OS of choice and there is a front 2MP camera and rear 5MP camera. Connectivity includes WiFi 802.11n and Bluetooth. Mini HDMI and micro USB top off inputs and outputs.

The FingerFun E812 is an 8.1 inch Android tablet that has 1280 by 800 display, dual core MTK [MediaTek] 9377/6577 Cortex A9 CPU, two cameras, cellular GSM + WCDMA support, module GPS, proximity and light sensors, FM radio and an upgraded battery from 3200 mAh on the FingerFun A703 to 6000 mAh.

Furthermore Sapphire are developing a 9.7 inch model with a 2048 by 1536 display resolution. This rather beefy model uses a 10000 mAh battery and has the same features as the A703 model except the bigger screen/res and larger capacity battery.

Sapphire released no pricing or availability but expect them to come soon and if Sapphire want them to do well we can expect some aggressive pricing strategies.

(Oh and finally to anyone thinking along the same lines as me…that’s what she said – apologies for being immature but it had to be done.)

Stay tuned to eTeknix for more Computex coverage in our Computex section.

Image(s) courtesy of eTeknix at Computex

Computex: MSI Reveal Primo 93 9.7 inch IPS Android Tablet

In addition to the Primo 81 Android tablet MSI also showed us the Primo 93 tablet at their pre-Computex event. This tablet features a 9.7 inch IPS display with a relatively modest 1024 by 768 resolution. The whole tablet is powered by an Allwinner A31S quad core processor and has 1GB of DDR RAM and 16GB of storage. It uses a 6800 mAH battery and supports 3G and GPS functions.

MSI’s operating system of choice is Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. The Primo 93 has a front facing camera and a 2MP rear facing camera than can record 720p video. Expansion includes MicroSD cards and there is a MicroUSB port and Micro-HDMI port plus a 3.5 mm audio jack. 3G is supported by the provided SIM card slot.

MSI did not announce pricing or availability for us but we expect this to be quite a budget orientated tablet given the relatively low display resolution.

Stay tuned to eTeknix for more Computex coverage in our Computex section.

Image(s) courtesy of eTeknix at Computex

Computex: MSI Showcase Primo 81 Android Tablet with IPS Display and Quad Core

MSI has been making tablets and notebooks for quite some time now, although they are more famous for their gaming notebooks than their tablets. Despite this MSI used their pre-c0mputex event as an opportunity to show off their new Primo 81 Android tablet.

This 7.85 inch tablet from MSI is pretty impressive in terms of its specifications. It uses an ARM Allwinner A31S quad core processor and has 1GB of DDR2 memory as well as 16GB of storage. The operating system of choice is Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. The display is IPS with a resolution of 1024 by 768 and has a slim frame design.

MSI claim a weight of just 323 grams and a thickness of 7.8mm. The device appears to have a front facing camera and uses a 3500 mAH battery. MSI didn’t disclose any other specifications, pricing or availability details but this looks like it has the potential to be a very competitive high performance 8 inch tablet. If MSI get the pricing right they could be onto a winner with this tablet.

Stay tuned to eTeknix for more Computex coverage in our Computex section.

Image(s) courtesy of eTeknix at Computex

Tablets Vs. Desktop Which Is Better?

Tablet, Palm Pilot, Netbooks over the years we have had many different technologies released and we see them improve as time moves forward. Over the years people have purchased PCs that may have been more powerful as they needed, the more we use technology we realize more of what we need, some of us are able to use a simple smart phone in order to conduct our day to day lives, while others need to have a tablet. Some of us really don’t need to have a desktop PC or even a laptop, using our electronics to check our email, or perhaps only checking our email. While others might be using their computers for work or personal use.

For some it may be a convenience factor, others it is may be a necessity.  As a general rule of thumb I feel that a computer will last a user anywhere between 3 and 5 years causing many to not have a real need to upgrade frequently, while in the tablet world there is always the new coming in, being newer and better than the last. For example, Apple’s iPad has only been around for a little over 3 years first released April 3, 2010. Very little has changed since the iPad’s first release, but every time a new one comes out, people rush for that upgrade. Tablets are like cellphones everyone wants the newest and the best. While with computers, users only need to upgrade when it gets to be to slow for their needs or it breaks down and would cost to much to repair.

Some numbers for you: 363 million PCs shipped in 2011, 349 million in 2012, only 321.9 million units are predicted for 2013 which is another substantial drop.

Do you feel that PCs are on their death bed, or are they going to recover. Perhaps people are just repairing what they have, or building their own computers. Will tablets take over the world? I guess we will just need to wait and see.

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Haswell Mobile Has 50% More Battery Life Than Ivy Bridge Equivalents Claim Intel

According to what Intel have been telling PC World Australia, their new Haswell mobile based notebooks will offer 50% higher battery life than the Ivy Bridge equivalents. Rani Borkar, corporate vice president and general manager of the Intel Architecture Group, told PC World Australia that Haswell architecture had been design specifically with laptops and tablets in mind and was designed mainly to reduce power consumption. Indeed if you check our news detailing the performance of a Haswell i5 4670K based on a review from China, then you will see Haswell performs only 6% better than Ivy Bridge with the same clock speeds yet has dramatically lowered power consumption of around 17% less under full load and 21% less in a wide range of usage scenarios.

This improved battery life doesn’t come at the expense of performance and most of the gain comes in idle or standby mode where battery life is up to 20 times better than Ivy Bridge thanks to Haswell’s new C6 and C7 sleep states.  These new improvements to battery life are going to be vital for Intel to produce better Ultrabooks and gain some traction in the tablet processor market where currently x86 processors are let down by poor power consumption.

What are your thoughts on 50% more battery life with Haswell mobile? Could you be tempted to grab a Haswell mobile based Ultrabook/Notebook/Tablet now?

Image courtesy of PC World Australia

Rumour: Microsoft Has One Year Plan To Take Over The Tablet Market

Microsoft is setting its targets high and wants to take over the tablet market in the next couple of years according to WinSuperSite.com. We can perhaps already see the beginnings of this “takeover” plan in the way Microsoft are assaulting the iPad 4 in their latest adverts. Microsoft wants to use the 2014 fiscal year, which starts on July the 1st, as a key marker in this plan. By that date Microsoft wants to have sold no less than 25 million tablets and wants to become the number two provider of tablets in the retail sector.

In addition Microsoft is also looking to push into the education sector and industry by aggressively bidding for every single opportunity in the market. Another trick up Microsoft’s sleeve is expanding into new markets so Columbia, Poland, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, India, and Malaysia are all on the list for market expansion among many other countries. In addition Microsoft is considering an 8 inch tablet to help it capture the lower price points in the market.

If Microsoft’s real goal is to take over the tablet market by mid 2014 then expect a bucket load of new devices from them to capture different price points and market segments, and expect the aggressive advertising campaigns to continue too. So keep your eyes peeled for a new Surface tablet in the coming months. Whether this one year plan actually materializes or whether it is indeed just a rumour will soon become apparent.

What are your thoughts on Microsoft’s apparent “one year takeover plan” for the tablet market?

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Microsoft Making Controversial Anti-iPad Adverts To Market Windows 8 Tablets

Microsoft has launched a couple of short adverts on its Windows YouTube channel recently that directly attack the iPad. Microsoft does an iPad 4 vs ASUS VivoTab series comparison to show off the functionality of Windows 8 and the design features which they are implementing.

The main focus of these adverts is to pick up on productivity, by pointing out features Windows 8 tablets can do that Apple iPads cannot. The first advert can be seen below:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86JMcy5OqZA[/youtube]

In the first advert it draws upon the fact the Windows 8 tablet delivers live  notifications and updates on the home screen, can multi-task and run multiple apps at the same time and can run PowerPoint natively. While obviously the iPad can do none of these things. It also goes on to point out that the iPad 4 64GB costs $699 while you can get the ASUS VivoTab Smart 64GB for $449.

The second advert is a bit longer and you can see that here:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgu9uo2UpPg[/youtube]

This one draws on a comparison between the iPad 4 and the ASUS VivoTab RT.First the advert takes a shot at the design features and shows that the VivoTab RT is thinner measuring in at .32 inches compared to the iPad 4’s .37 inches and it shows it is lighter weighing in at 1.16 lbs compared to the iPad 4’s 1.44 lbs. Next it takes a hit at productivity pointing out the ASUS VivoTab RT comes with Microsoft Office but the iPad 4 comes only with the OneNote app and also that the ASUS VivoTab RT can do two things at once while the iPad 4 cannot. It then proceeds to show how the Apple lacks MicroSD compatibility which requires buying and using an adapter while the ASUS VivoTab RT comes with native support for MicroSD. Finally it shows how the ASUS VivoTab RT works with most printers yet the iPad 4 needs a special Apple “AirPrint” printer.

What do you think of these two adverts from Microsoft? Are they justified adverts or is it cheap marketing?

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Nvidia Focusing On The Android Gaming Market

Nvidia have been doing some very strange thing recently, not only have they decided to let AMD run amok in the next-gen console race, but they’ve also taken to market with their own, expensive, handheld gaming device, one that seems a little too obscure for many, but Nvidia seems to think they’re on the right path and what do I know, they’re the ones making millions of dollars from their ideas, not me.

The Nvidia Project Sheild will set you back $349, is powered by the Tegra 4 Soc and it will allow you to play high end mobile games on it’s snazzy little screen and controller, but it will also allow you to stream games rendered by your home PC to your mobile device, much like a PC edition of what Nintendo do with the Wii U tablet, or Sony are doing with their handhelds. There might not be much room in the market for this right now, but Nvidia is planning for the future, not just for a quick profit in today’s market.

Rob Csonger, the VP of Investor Relations for Nvidia was speaking at a recent investor event where he said that Shield cost Nvidia around $10 million, which is a bit of a bargain in this industry and that Nvidia can leverage its GPU R&D in the mobile SoC space, saying that if something doesn’t cost too much to develop then it’s worth a try for Nvidia. In other words they have the money to try brave new things. He was also quick to point out that a whopping 76% of revenue on Google Play is from gaming.

“The Android market is roughly 600 million gamers, any game and in addition to that you can have physical controls and you can project this and play it on your TVs, the second thing you can do it is you can stream from your PC,” he said. “The PC gaming market is 100 million users. So between those two, we believe this is something that we have an opportunity… We haven’t given any kind of guidance or revenue expectations for Shield, we just simply wanted to build this device and it leverages a lot of the work that we’re already doing.”

This is a promising idea from Nvidia, I for one am not sold on Project Sheild but it’s great to see someone trying to do something different and dare I say unique in the games market right now, whether or not this idea will pay off for Nvidia is a different story, but it seems likely they’ll and try again until they find something that does.

Are you an Android gamer, personally I own a Tegra 3 device and I have to admit I am impressed at how far mobile gaming is coming, but even I don’t know for certain if there is a bigger future ahead of that market.

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AMD Believes Tablets Will Be Replaced By Hybrids

Tablet sales may be booming more than ever, but that doesn’t mean companies like AMD aren’t speculating about the future. AMD believe that the Tablet market won’t last in its current format and it’s interesting they should think that given that even Blackberry’s top brass have been saying the same thing in recent weeks.

Andrew Muscat is the AMD UK Retail Business Development Manager and in a recent interview with T3 he said that while tablets are a hot product, they do tend to have their limits, which as anyone who has tried to write a long email or perhaps even do some work on their tablet, will know all too well. It’s possible, but it can get fiddly using the touch screen for heavy work loads.

“You’re going to see a shift I think, while tablets are good you’re still restricted when it comes to content creation, there’s always going to be a need for notebooks. I think it’s moving a lot more towards taking tablet technology and effectively turning it into notebook technology.” said Andrew.

Effectively I think he is right, but I wouldn’t say the tablet market is dead yet and the switch to Hybrids is basically a fancy way of saying “tablets with detachable keyboards” and I see a lot of promise here. With products from Intel, AMD and Nvidia churning out immense performance hikes in the mobile market year on year, not to mention brands like Qualcomm and TI to name but a few, there are definitely signs that people are shifting not only from Notebooks to tablets, but from standard tablets to hybrids, effectively the sweet spot between the two devices.

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Specifications Leaked On The Next-Gen Google and ASUS Nexus 7

The Current Nexus 7

An analyst at KGI securities, Ming-Chi Kuo, has publicly announced that Google will be unveiling the next generation of Nexus 7 tablet next week at the Google I/O 2013 event. In addition the analyst also revealed some potential specifications that are very impressive to say the least:

  • 7-inch LTPS display with 1920×1200 (WUXGA) resolution
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, quad-core (the same processor in the Nexus 4)
  • 5-megapixel camera on the back
  • HD front-facing camera
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC
  • 4000mAh battery with Qi wireless charging
  • Android 4.3 – Jelly Bean

As you can see the specifications rival that of some high end smart phones that are priced in the $400-600 region yet the next-gen Nexus 7 is expected to cost only $199. The analyst also detailed who he thought would be the suppliers of the next-gen Nexus 7 and he believes that Google and ASUS are still partnering together to build these tablets.

With all those specifications at a widely anticipated $199 price point the next-gen Nexus 7 looks sure to kill the iPad Mini. The only blemish is that the 4000 mAh is slightly less than the 4325 mAh on the current Nexus 7, although if it uses more power efficient components then this shouldn’t matter.

What are your thoughts on these rather impressive specifications? More importantly, what do you think the chances are of this arriving at a $199 price point? Will you be buying one if these are the final specifications?

Source, Via

Rumour: Nokia Developing 6 Inch “Phablet” To Rival Samsung Galaxy Mega

Samsung launched two rather large phablets (phone + tablet) a month ago, the Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8 and 6.3. Samsung are one of very few companies to offer up such large phablet devices to consumers and it is a product segment that Nokia has never really tackled before. However, if rumours are to be believed then apparently Nokia is venturing into the phablet market looking to product a six inch device.

The rumour states that this new six inch phablet will be dubbed the “Lumia X” by Nokia. On the face of it it boasts incredibly impressive specifications. At the heart of the Lumia X is a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1.6GHz quad core ARM processor supported by 2GB of RAM. The GPU is unspecified but given the 5 inch 1080P AMOLED full RGB ClearBlack screen we can probably expect to see the Adreno 320 GPU to give it enough graphical power.

On the camera side Nokia is opting for a 12 megapixel PureView rear facing camera and 2 megapixel front facing camera. This is all surround by a bezel-less frame and uses a stylus with a WACOM digitizer. The Lumia X will have 4G LTE support and a 3000 mAH battery with wireless recharging capabilities. The operating system will be Windows Phone 9.

Prices have even been detailed too. If you choose to grab the handset on its own without a contract it will cost you $299 for 32GB, $399 for 64GB and $499 for 128GB – certainly decent prices compared to the competition.

What are your thoughts on these rumours? Would a device like this be popular considering it is running the not-so-popular Windows Phone OS?

Source, Via

Apple and Samsung To Ship A Staggering 110 Million Tablets This Year

Watching Apple and Samsung wage war in the tablet and smartphone markets has become the norm now for the past few years. The companies have traded blows back and forth while both raising sales and the reputation of their own companies at the expense of the rest of the marketplace. According to the latest figures published by Digitimes we can expect Samsung and Apple to shift a huge 110 million tablets in 2013.

In addition to Samsung and Apple shipping 110 million tablets it is expected that other international vendors will shift 50 million and white box vendors (mainly based in China) will shift a further 100 million units for a mammoth total of 260 million tablets in 2013.

These figures have emerged are Taiwanese based tablet and tablet display makers published figures about the number of orders they had received. AU Optronics (AUO), Innolux Corporation and Chunghwa Picture Tubes (CPT) are three of the companies expected to benefit significantly from this staggering number of tablet shipments.

While Samsung are expected to dominate Android tablet sales, Apple can be expected to dominate the overall tablet market with sales of its latest iPad(s).

What are your thoughts on these huge tablet numbers? Have you joined the “tablet revolution” yet? If so, which tablet did you get?

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Blackberry CEO Says Tablets Will Be Dead In 5 Years!?

I’m not sure what the CEO of BlackBerry  is smoking these days but he certainly has some interesting predictions about the future of the mobile industry that I just can’t quite wrap my head around. Stating, without a doubt that Tablets will be dead in five years time.

As many of you will know, BlackBerry haven’t got the strongest portfolio behind them as it is and their recent detachment from the Tablet business is one that comes with the ideal that they would be flogging a dead horse. Thorsten Heins believes that even while Samsung, Amazon, Google, Apple and countless others have built a significant tablet business over the last few years, that is no indication that the industry will last. Of course there is a chance that he might be right but for the time being the mobile industry is seeing steady growth as it has for quite some time now, this includes tablets.

This could of course be a case of jealousy as the BlackBerry PlayBook didn’t exactly get off to a good start in the market and an excess of unsold inventory caused a $485 million loss for BlackBerry in 2011, which is why BlackBerry have left tablets alone and are now hedging their bets on their new mobile devices and platform.

Either way it looks like BlackBerry are wanting a more focused pieces of the smartphone market and with the rise of “larger” smartphones taking up more of the market, maybe tablets could die off in popularity but on the other hand BlackBerry could be missing out on one of the best parts of the industry by dismissing what is in my opinion, the only good thing they ever made, the PlayBook.

What are your thoughts on BlackBerry, not just their business, but also their devices? They obviously have a unique product range to a certain extent, so maybe that gives them a unique perspective on the industry that giant like Samsung and Apple just don’t see.

Antec Mobile Products A.M.P. Mobile Power Roundup Review

It wasn’t all that long ago that we took our first look at some of the products on offer from the new division at Antec, known as Antec Mobile Products, or A.M.P., if you missed that article the first time around you can check it our here. Today I will be continuing our look at their new product range and seeing just what else they have to offer to the world of mobile components.

Today I’ll be taking a closer look at two of their mobile power products, the PowerUp 6000 and the PowerUp Slim 2200, both of which are USB rechargeable recharges for mobile products such as tablets and smartphones. I’ll be taking a look at their USB car power adaptor and finally their USB recharging hub, which should be everything you need to keep your devices powered on the move.

“Antec Mobile Products (a.m.p.) is a global consumer electronics company committed to putting state of the art mobile and audio technology into the hands of every user. As a division of Antec, the world-renown market leader in PC hardware, a.m.p. is committed to bringing Antec’s winning VIP principles of Value, Innovation and Perfection to the mobile world.” – www.antecmobileproducts.com

“Technology is taking on an increasingly greater role in our lives and changing the relationship between user and device. People are not only demanding products that make their lives easier, but are also seeking devices that let them use, share and interact in new ways. By harnessing new technologies, Antec is changing the way people experience life through their mobile devices. a.m.p. understands that mobile products are more than just devices, they are extensions of ourselves: our tastes, habits and curiosity. a.m.p. is committed to the concept of fashion technology by providing you with devices that are not only attractive, but reflect your own unique personality.” www.antecmobileproducts.com

Antec is absolutely right with their statements, the mobile market is too big to ignore, and the demands of mobile consumers are just as demanding as any other industry. Even the biggest computer component manufacturers can’t ignore the scale of the mobile market and Antec are right to make a move into this sector.

So let’s get started and take a closer look at what these devices have to offer, starting with the PowerUp batteries.

Analysts Predict Netbooks’ Death By 2015

The decline of the netbook is a well documented one. Since the rise in popularity of the tablet PC, netbook sales have fallen off a cliff. The year 2010 marked a high point for netbooks and ever since then sales have been plummeting at an alarming rate. This hasn’t gone unnoticed as analysts, IHS iSuppli, predict that shipments of netbooks will be zero by 2015. According to their statistics in 2010 netbooks sold an impressive 32 million units yet this year, 2013, we will see 3.97 million – around 15% of 2010’s figure. What’s more, by 2014 shipments will be down to just 250,000 then by 2015 they will have vanished.

This is quite a sad development for the once popular netbook but the way the market is going doesn’t leave much room for them. Mainstream laptops seem to make up the majority of the 13″-17.9″ market, Ultrabooks are rising  in the 11″-15.6″ market and everything smaller than that is now more or less exclusively occupied by tablets. It may seem a strange connection but the growing power and functionality of modern smartphones is probably also in part to blame for the decline of the netbook – very often people would get a netbook because they didn’t quite need a laptop but didn’t quite have the power or functionality required on their phone. Now tablets and smartphones fill that in between market.

Even though innovation in the tablet market has stagnated you can still pick up at decent netbook for €200 these days if you do some hunting around. In most cases they provide much better value for money than most tablets, Ultrabooks or laptops. Despite this fact, they still look set to die out so the advice is grab one while you can and expect netbooks to have drawn their last breath by 2015.

What are your thoughts on these gloomy netbook predictions?