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All posts tagged "tablet"


Monday, July 23, 2012

Notes from an iOS User: My Week with a Google Nexus 7

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Android Slates/Tablets & Accessories" @ 01:30 PM

"My first Android experience has been very, very positive, thanks to Google's Nexus 7 and Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). I received my tablet a week ago, and also received a $25 Google Play credit as an early purchaser. My initial thoughts were that I'd use the tablet primarily as a reader - but it's much more than a Kindle (Fire) replacement."

As a longtime iOS device user, and like most modern device users, I have my biases, and have kept them firmly in mind when using an Android device for the first time. But, maintaining objectivity has been easy with this tablet. I'm guessing that skipping the earlier Android releases have saved me from some amount of frustration, just as skipping earlier iOS versions would have in the iDevice world. The bottom line is that so far I'm not finding much missing from Android.

I have several "must haves," including Banking, Browsing, Calendaring, Contacts, Dropbox, Email, Facebook, Foursquare, Kindle reader, LinkedIn, MS Office-type apps, PDF reader, Search, Skype, Text editing, and Travel apps. All present, and arguably equal to the iOS versions. Not as many app choices from Google Play, but all I need is one of each.

Things that I like so far, in no particular order: Android 4.1.1 - already one patch automatically downloaded to Jelly Bean; Battery life is very good; Customization is as simple as the iPad - the home screen is easy to configure; the display is very, very good - not quite up to the new iPad, but excellent for much less money; Sound quality is good; Security is good - face recognition login authentication can be configured to require a blink, making security stronger; Performance is excellent - I haven't noticed anything crapping out or any lags in performance, at the app or UI level; Shutting down running apps is a breeze, much simpler than iOS; Removing apps is easy; Reading is a breeze on this form factor - no more carpal tunnel holding and reading an iPad. Comfortable to hold and use. Many pros to this device!

Things that are less than stellar (and I admit freely that maybe I just don't know enough about Android yet): Apps on the home screen cannot be ordered or arranged for a whole screen - must be dragged and bumped individually; Setup options are not as rich as iOS; iCloud mail is handled a bit better in iOS, as one would expect; Google Play Store doesn't seem to have an easy way of selecting "tablet-only apps," aside from Staff Picks for Tablets. A pretty short list of cons.

Overall, a very positive experience so far, and, while I'm not dumping my iPad, my Nexus 7 is already getting more use than my earlier small tablets, a Nook tablet and a Kindle Fire, both of which were too restrictive for me, and were sold pretty quickly. For the money (I got the 16GB model), this is a superb tablet, and the Android experience is a pleasure. I like the fact that it is not "carrier specific," so it has none of the bloatware associated with subsidized devices. The Nexus 7 is a keeper!


Friday, July 6, 2012

The ASUS Google Nexus 7: A Performance Beast

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 09:00 AM

http://www.wired.com/reviews/2012/0...y-number-7/all/

"Note to all tablet makers not named Asus: This is how you make a 7-inch tablet.

The Nexus 7, the first tablet to wear Google's Nexus brand, sets a new standard for smaller slates, proving that just because it isn't as big as Apple's iPad doesn't mean it can't be just as useful, as fast, or as fun. If you've been on the fence about Android, or tablets in general, this is the tablet you've been waiting for."

Most of the initial hands-on reviews for the wifi-only Nexus 7 are positive, and this one is no exception. The biggest complaint so far has been the lack of tablet applications for Android, so, for example, the user can be "stuck" with up-sized phone apps for popular apps like Facebook and Twitter. The near-IPS quality 1280x800 screen, at about 216ppi, is superb, and the quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 coupled with 1GB of RAM and either 8GB or 16GB of storage, is, as the author puts it, a beast. The first Android 4.1 Jelly Bean tablet screams, with none of the earlier OS hiccups, and the price is right, at $199 for 8GB, and $249 for 16GB. Out of the box, the tablet is obviously Google-centric, but can be tweaked, and the full Google Play store is available. Early purchasers (I was one) receive a $25 credit for the store, so I'll be able to add my obligatory "MS Office" equivalent. Shipping is scheduled for mid-July 2012 (I hope) so check back here as we review more real world experiences with the Google Nexus 7 from ASUS.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1: Mediocre, Less Expensive

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 11:30 AM

http://www.engadget.com/2012/05/15/..._medium=twitter

"When we review a second-generation product there are certain things we tend to take for granted: this new thing, whatever it is, will be thinner, faster, longer-lasting, maybe even with more bells and whistles in tow."

It seems that cheaper isn't always better for the consumer. Samsung has taken their original Galaxy Tab 10.1 and released a "refresh" that is nearly identical, but in some cases have downgraded peformance. But it's cheaper, so it's now competing at the $400 price point with many other tablets (Surprise, Samsung - everybody lowered their prices!). Rather than progressing with design and performance, Samsung took the safe route, and kept to the middle of the road = minimal change. Compromises have been made.

Still sporting a quality 1280x800 display, Samsung has moved the speakers from underneath of the front side, eliminating the muffle effect when lying flat, but they're still buzzy at high volume. Performance lags its Tegra 3 competition, and the user experience is less-than-thrilling, as the OS suffers inexplicable lags and stutters, and the screen becomes unresponsive at times. Battery life comes in at about 9-hours in real life, oddly almost an hour less than the original galaxy Tab 10.1. Apps are pretty standard, on top of ICS 4.0.3 and Samsung's TouchWiz UI-layer. The onboard cameras are pretty dismal, even by tablet standards.

Overall, Samsung has produced an upgrade (or refresh) destined to get lost in the market shuffle of $400 tablets. Really nothing to recommend it over any other tablet in this price range, and there are better choices. Disappointing.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Samsung Wants Everyone In Your Family to Have a Different Galaxy Tab

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 03:00 PM

http://gizmodo.com/5901142/samsung-...-little-cheaper

"And now there's the Galaxy Tab 2, with two models (7.0 and 10.1) that are very slightly improved, but not enough to justify a few hundred bucks."

There are two more tablets from Samsung that are not a lot different from the others. With the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 they are coming in at a nice low price point of $250. The 7.0 has a 1024x600 display and the 10.1 has a 1280x800 display - both are PLS (Samsung's form of IPS) LCD displays. Maybe the biggest change compared to previous Galaxy Tabs is that they both come with Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0). Samsung did add a MicroSDHC slot to both the 10.1 and the 7.0 models. They're also using TI dual-core processors which, while they're great, they're generally a little slower than Samsung's own Exynos processors that were in some or all older models. The camera's are nothing to brag about with a 3MP in the back and VGA in the front. If you're not sure, VGA was good in about 1992. At least the 3MP is good enough to do 1080p video which both tablets can record at 30fps. One interesting feature on both Galaxy Tab 2's that apparently isn't new to Galaxy Tabs is an IR port for controlling your home audio and video equipment.

Really, you'd think Samsung could have just put Ice Cream Sandwich on some of their older Tabs that haven't sold and lower the price but I guess "newer" is "newer". Lots of people love their Galaxy Tabs so maybe there is more of a market for these than it seems. What do you think?


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Toshiba Thrive is Dead - Long Live the Excite

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 11:00 AM

http://www.engadget.com/2012/04/10/...0-13-announced/

"You complained, Toshiba listened. After its Thrive tablets were widely panned for their short battery life and chunky, cheap-feeling design, the outfit decided to put those models out to pasture and start anew. So bid goodbye to the Thrives, then, and say hello to the Excite 7.7, 10 and 13 (yes, 13). If you've been paying attention, these are the same tablets we first saw in prototype form at CES (and again at Mobile World Congress), complete with their slim builds and textured aluminum backs."

Interesting that Toshiba has decided that a 13-inch tablet (with a 1600x900 display) will resonate with consumers. The aluminum-backed Excite series certainly looks better (the Thrive was rather clunky), has some high-end specs (but WiFi-only), but isn't cheap in the larger configurations! Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) is standard on all three, and they each have NVIDIA's quad-core (or, more accurately, 4+1 core processing) Tegra 3 SoC. The Excite 7.7 weighs 13.4-ounces, the Excite 10 model weighs 1.32-pounds, and delivers 10-hours of battery life, and seven days of standby power, while the Excite 13 weighs 2.2-pounds and claims 13-hours of battery life, and the same standby power rating of seven days. Availability is May 6, 2012 for the Excite 10, and June 10, 2012 for the Excite 7.7 and the Excite 13. Prices vary according to the configuration, but oddly enough the Excite 10 is less expensive than the Excite 7.7, according to Toshiba's press release. A 13-inch tablet sounds a bit unwieldy to me, thoughts?


Monday, April 9, 2012

Instagram Update Adds Better Tablet Support and App2SD

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android Software" @ 09:30 AM

http://www.engadget.com/2012/04/06/...pdated-tablets/

"The latest one to hit today (1.0.3) promises expanded support for tablets and WiFi handsets, app installation on the SD card for storage-limited users and fixing an audio mute bug during capture."

I'm not sure I can think of an App, maybe Angry Birds, that had as much hype as Instagram. Those who use Instagram seem to love it and that number grew a lot last week when it was finally released for Android. With the latest version including better tablet support and support for App2SD I'm sure the number of users will grow even more.

It's great to see a developer not just putting their product out there but responding so quickly to what people want and quickly releasing updates that address the issues.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Let The Satechi R1 Hold Your Tablet

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad" @ 05:00 AM

http://www.mactech.com/2012/04/03/s...iety-situations

"Tablets and larger mobile devices have changed our lives since the debut of the iPad, and we love holding those devices in our hands. We touch, create, and consume all while we have the device on our laps or hands."

But sometimes it is helpful to have a handy stand available, just like this one. At $49.95 USD it isn't too cheap, but it appears to be pretty functional, and it works for any number of devices that have a 7" to 10" screen, such as Galaxy Tabs, Kindle Fires, Asus Eee Pad and the Blackberry Playbook. You can find out more about this device at the Satechi site.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Coby Releases a Bunch of ICS Tablets

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 10:00 AM

http://androidcommunity.com/cobys-c...lable-20120327/

"It’s a sad but nonetheless true fact that small and sometimes unconsidered manufacturers can often get their act together faster than larger and well-regarded ones. So it is with American low-end electronics maker Coby, which has just made its latest round of Android tablets available for purchase, according to Liliputing."

Many of these have strange and/or poor displays like 9.7" 1024x768 or 8" 800x600 but the 9" and 10" models with 1280x800 resolution could be just what you're looking for. While only a single core CPU they still have 1GB of RAM, MicroSD slot, HDMI port (I'm guessing it's MicroHDMI), and USB port (I'm guessing MicroUSB here too). Not sure about the GPU but it should be something respectable for an ICS tablet. I'd be more concerned about the GPU then having a dual-core processor as far as it being a useful device. One down side, they don't have access to Google Play Store but it comes with GetJar installed for you to find your favorite apps. The Amazon Appstore is always an option too.

So, would you buy a tablet from Coby? For only $279 to get the best model that's not a bad deal. Of course there are deals out there on dual-core tablets from last year that could come close to this price.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Google Talks About Android App Security

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android Talk" @ 11:30 AM

http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/20...d-security.html

"The last year has been a phenomenal one for the Android ecosystem. Device activations grew 250% year-on-year, and the total number of app downloads from Android Market topped 11 billion. As the platform continues to grow, we’re focused on bringing you the best new features and innovations - including in security."

I've never had a problem with a bad app doing serious damage. The worst problem I had was an app that was giving me advertisements as notifications. It wasn't hard to find the app and after I removed it the notifications stopped. This blog post explains some of the safeguards that are in place to protect your Android phone. One thing they highlight is the "Bouncer" service that Google developed to scan the Android Market and look for bad apps. It's good to know that however bad this problem is on Android Google is taking it seriously.

Have you ever had a problem on your Android device caused by a virus or malware?


Monday, January 30, 2012

HTC UK Planning Less New Phones for 2012

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 12:00 PM

http://www.mobiletoday.co.uk/News/1...arket_hero.aspx

"HTC UK chief Phil Roberson (pictured) told Mobile the manufacturer will return to a strategy of launching a limited number of high-spec devices this year, with a focus on second quarter releases."

Releasing less phones sounds like a smart move to me. They also said they're not going to focus on tablets. I'm guessing that HTC US will do the same thing.

I think HTC and Motorola are both guilty of releasing far too many phones. The result is OEMs and carriers can't provide the level of support (bug fixes, OS updates, etc.) they should for any of their phones. Hopefully in 2012 we'll see fewer, but more polished, phones from all manufacturers!


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Flygrip Will Ease Your One Handed Fears

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad" @ 03:00 AM

http://www.ubergizmo.com/2012/01/fl...e-handed-usage/

"So you're walking with your iPhone in one hand, and a Starbucks latte in the other, and granted it is possible to use the iPhone in one hand, it could prove to be "fatal" since one hand tends to offer less support compared to two, and we all know that heart wrenching feeling when your brand new gadget slips out of your hand and onto the hard pavement."

Basically very simple, as all this does is attach to the iPhone case or the iPhone itself and you slide your fingers in and can start using your iPhone one handed without fear of dropping it. I can also be attached to the back of your iPad, or any other tablet for that matter. As you can see from the photos, it doesn't have to be an Apple product to work. Three sizes (small, medium and large) depending on the finger size and you can get them for $29.95 USD each from the Flygrip store located here. That seems a bit spendy to me, and I think I would rather just spend that on a better case. What are your thoughts?


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

ASUS Announces New High-End Tablets

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 11:30 AM

http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/09/...former-prime-t/

"Flustered with the original Transformer Prime you just purchased? We'd advise you to have a seat. ASUS just took the wraps off an all new Transformer Prime (the TF700T) here at CES, which is presumably designed to rival Acer's newly-announced Iconia Tab A700."

There are tons of new devices being announced at CES right now! How about a new ASUS Transformer Prime TF700T. It's a 10.1" quad-core tablet but with a 1.3GHz Tegra 3 CPU/GPU and a 1920x1200 Super IPS+ display!!! It also just weighs over a pound and will come with Ice Cream Sandwich! It will be compatible with the current tPrime keyboard/battery dock and is due to hit North America next quarter.

If you've been eyeing up the Kindle Fire you may want to consider the ASUS Eee Pad MeMO (ME171). It has a 7" 1280x800 IPS display and a 1.2GHz Qualcomm CPU/GPU along with 1GB of RAM and 16 or 32GB of built in storage. The Eee Pad MeMO will also ship with Ice Cream Sandwich.

Make sure you check the article for all the details on both of these tablets. Does either of these look like what you've been waiting for?


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

ASUS Announces Bootloader Unlocking Tool and ICS for Transformer Prime

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 02:00 PM

http://www.slashgear.com/asus-trans...nlock-03205655/

"ASUS has announced that due to the response they’ve had on the subject, they’ll be releasing a bootloader unlock tool for the device as well! Developers and hackers alike will be able to work with their NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core toting Transformer Prime on an intimate level, and will be able to do it with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich as well, starting on January 12th, 2012!"

In case you missed it there was a public outcry due to the locked bootloader on the Transformer Prime over the weekend. Because of that ASUS said it will release a bootloader unlocking tool on January 12 and also start pushing out Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) to the Transformer Prime at the same time!!! This should make everyone happy! I'm impressed that they'll have ICS ready for the Transformer Prime so soon. Hopefully this will push other manufactures to get on the ball and release ICS for their devices sooner rather than later.


Saturday, December 31, 2011

Engadget Reviews the New Toshiba Thrive 7"

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android Talk" @ 06:00 AM

http://www.engadget.com/2011/12/27/...hrive-7-review/

"Indeed, the Thrive 7" looks near-identical, and even packs the same Tegra 2 chip, 16GB of storage and vanilla take on Honeycomb. Still, it brings an LED flash, keeps its big brother's 1280 x 800 display and costs less than the original did when it first came out."

There were a few things I liked about the 10" version of the Thrive. For one thing it had a full size SD slot, as well as full size USB and HDMI ports! It also had a mini-USB (oddly not micro-USB) and a Toshiba developed "Resolution+" technology for scaling phone apps and making them look decent on a tablet. The Thrive 7" drops the full size ports as you may expect but it does keep the Resolution+ and the 1280x800 screen - which gives it a high dpi for a tablet of 216. Unfortunately it sounds like performance isn't very good, the screen isn't great, and battery life is poor for a current tablet. Still, depending on your needs this could be the right tablet for you. Check out the full review for the details.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Google Announces Scribbles for Gmail on Mobile Devices

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android Software" @ 06:00 AM

http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2011/...e-creative.html

"Now you can quickly convey that eureka moment to a colleague, or simply brighten a loved one's day with a personal scribble in Gmail for the mobile web browser and the Gmail app for iOS. In the compose view, click on the scribble button to open up the drawing window."

This is for phones and tablets. It works from in your mobile browser. What a great idea! Sometimes it's just easier to draw a quick doodle for someone rather than explain it with words. Now you can do that right from within Gmail! Give it a try and let us know what you think!


Friday, December 16, 2011

LifeHacker Updated Their Android Rooting Guide

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 11:30 AM

http://lifehacker.com/5868228/weve-...rooting-methods

"There are a ton of Android phones out there, many of which have their own special rooting methods or notes, and since updates are pushed out on an individual basis, we can't possibly keep up with it all. We recently combed through the guide and fixed everything we could find that was out of date, much of which due to lots of new phones getting Gingerbread."

Just in time for that new Android device you find under your Christmas tree LifeHacker has updated their Android Rooting Guide. They fixed the rooting directions for some older devices with new methods or notes where needed and they added new devices as well. If you want to root this is a great resource to use!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Unofficial Ice Cream Sandwich Build for the Kindle Fire

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 11:00 AM

http://liliputing.com/2011/12/andro...officially.html

"Sure, installing CyanogenMod 7 on an Amazon Kindle Fire is cool and all. But xda-developers forum member x1011999 decided to skip Android 2.3 Gingerbread and port Google Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to run on Amazon’s $199 tablet."

The Kindle Fire has some decent hardware in it. While it only has 512MB of RAM, a little light especially for a tablet, it does have a dual-core 1GHz OMAP CPU and a decent SGX540 GPU. The Ice Cream Sandwich build for the Fire is still in the early stages. Basic features like audio and WiFi are not working. But if you like to play with bleeding edge ROMs on new hardware you should definitely look into this a little more. Check out the source article for a video of ICS in action on the Kindle Fire.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

HTC Flyer 3G Gets Honeycomb Update

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 11:00 AM

http://www.engadget.com/2011/12/05/...c-flyer-owners/

"HTC just confirmed over on Facebook that the GSM 3G version of the Flyer gets the Honeycomb update today, the update for WiFi-only users is "coming soon.""

It's great to see HTC doing the right thing here! Anyone with the HTC Flyer should be pretty happy about this. As far as I know Samsung still has not released an update for the original Galaxy Tab to bring it up to Honeycomb. Have any of you updated your Flyer to Honeycomb? If so, how's it working for you?


Monday, December 5, 2011

Acer ICONIA TAB A200 Now Available: Somewhere

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Acer Iconia" @ 06:30 PM

http://www.netbooknews.com/40795/ac...ially-launched/

"Acer has officially launched a their new 10.1 inch Android tablet the Acer ICONIA TAB A200 which will be running Nvidia’s Tegra 2 dual core platform. Initially, the tablet will ship with Honeycomb but will quickly be upgraded in January to Android 4.0. According to the press release shipments of the tablet started in November to select countries and these tablets will be running Android 3.2."

Several component refreshes distinguish the latest tablet effort from Acer. Specs are good, especially for multimedia - hopefully potential buyers will be able to see (or even find) this tablet over the holidays. Featuring Acer's Ring interface, the A200 ships with Android 3.2 today, with V4.0 promised for January 2012. Acer promises a "very affordable price." Availability is yet-to-be-determined.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Engadget Reviews the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 11:30 AM

http://www.samsung.com/us/microsite...ytab/index.html

"We've already established that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a great tablet. Then, just recently, we summarily found that the 1.2-inch smaller Galaxy Tab 8.9 is an even better tablet -- at least for anyone who wants to take their slate places. So, following that logic, the even more petite Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus should be the best of the three, right?"

I'm not a fan of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 because of the lack of MicroSDHC, MicroHDMI, and MicroUSB. The Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus actually adds MicroSDHC so that's cool but it has a 1024x600 screen instead of the 1280x800 screen on the larger models. Keep in mind though, while the resolution is lower the screen is significantly smaller so it actually has a higher dpi then the 10.1 at 170dpi compared to 149dpi on the 10.1 - so it will look sharper at the same distance. The 8.9" model actually has the same dpi as the 7" at 170dpi. One interesting difference is the inclusion of an IR port and software that let you use the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus as a universal remote. The review shows good performance, thanks to a 1.2GHz processor and 1GB of RAM, and battery life so if you're looking for a 7" tablet you should definitely check it out.


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