The 404 co-host and known iPhone user Wilson Tang joins us this week and gives us Android guys a fresh perspective on this week's Android news. Speaking of the news, getting around your carrier's tethering restrictions just got a bit harder with carriers blocking tethering apps in the Android Market; Amazon and Barnes & Noble prepare to go head-to-head in the next round of the tablet/e-reader war; and we get news of a whole slew of upcoming Android phones, including a massive 4.5-inch model and the first Android phone targeted specifically at women. All of that, plus the answers to your emails, on this week's episode of Android Atlas Weekly with Antuan Goodwin and Justin Eckhouse. … Read more
Tablets are big news, but that usually means Apple's iPad, Android tablets, or even the BlackBerry Playbook. Windows, by far the largest operating system on consumer PCs, has been largely left out in the cold.
It's ironic, as Windows tablets have been around for years, in the form of slates and convertible laptops with touch-screen lids that rotate and fold down over the keyboard. To date, none of these has been terribly successful, largely because they failed on both the software and hardware fronts. The Windows OS is simply not designed for fingertip (or even stylus) input, and the CPUs used to power most Windows tablets have been so underpowered as to make these devices mostly useless.
Stepping into the ring following the launch Apple's second-generation iPad is the Acer Iconia W500. Similar to Lenovo's (still MIA U1) Hybrid and the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, the 10.1-inch W500 consists of a touch-screen slate and a separate keyboard dock. When combined, the two halves form something close to a traditional laptop. The W500 is $549 with Windows 7 Home Premium, or $619 with Windows 7 Professional. Both versions have 2GB of RAM and a 32GB SSD. Acer also has a dockless Android version, called the A500. … Read more
Intel's power-efficient 3D transistor couldn't have come any sooner. IDC on Thursday, in its quarterly forecast, is listing not just Intel-compatible PC chips but other categories of processors, namely ARM--the power-frugal silicon of choice in the tablet and smartphone world.
"For the first time, IDC is forecasting PC microprocessor units by processor architecture, including those based on x86 (Intel and Advanced Micro Devices) and those based on ARM," IDC's Shane Rau wrote in a research note dated Thursday. ARM chips are made by Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Apple (via Samsung), and Nvidia, to name a few. … Read more
Could an Amazon tablet reach consumers later this year?
Sources quoted by tech site DigiTimes claim that Taiwan-based Quanta Computer has already gotten orders from Amazon to build the retail giant's first tablet PC. The new tablet will apparently use E Ink's Fringe Field Switching LCD technology, suggesting it will be a color LCD touch panel (a departure from the black-and-white E-ink Kindles we've seen to date)."
The tablet will start shipping as soon as the second half of the year with monthly orders expected to hit 700,000 to 800,000 units during the peak … Read more
Do you own an Android-powered smartphone or tablet? If so, how's your battery life?
I ask because based on what I've heard from others and experienced myself, it's atrocious. And I'm wondering if it's symptomatic of the Android platform as a whole, or just the nature of modern-day mobile gear. Cast your vote in our poll, then meet me below for more discussion.
As I noted in a recent BNET post, "The dirty Android secret no one's talking about," I first encountered battery issues with the Virgin Mobile Samsung Intercept. Out of the box, it couldn't last 24 hours--even with e-mail sync and other battery-consuming tasks disabled.
Rather, I'd start the day with it fully charged, and by late afternoon it would be dead. Thankfully, freeware app JuiceDefender made a huge difference, allowing me to go a full two days without AC assistance.
Then I updated the OS from 2.1 to 2.2 (Froyo), which I'd heard was much better at power management--and battery life actually got worse. Now, once again, I'm lucky to get 24 hours.
Last week I had the opportunity to review Samsung's Galaxy Tab Wi-Fi, which I found to be excellent overall--until the next morning, when I woke up to--wait for it--a dead tablet. The aforementioned JuiceDefender helps a little, but ultimately the Tab is seriously hobbled by its battery. And I am seriously disappointed.… Read more
When CNET reviewed the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook, we found a number of things to like about the tablet, but the selection of apps was certainly not one of them. The number of available apps is still pretty meager, but we're thrilled to see that RIM announced new video chat and Facebook applications for the PlayBook today at BlackBerry World 2011.
The PlayBook video chat app will allow for one-click video and voice calls over Wi-Fi. Users can make calls in several different ways, including a friends list, recent call log, or by entering a contact's BBID e-mail address. … Read more
Future versions of Motorola's Atrix smartphone-laptop combo will be rolled out as Android "alternatives" to tablets and other newfangled devices, Motorola's chief executive said this week.
The phone maker's first crack at the Atrix smartphone-laptop convergence wasn't perfect. CNET Reviews said the lack of Google's Chrome operating system hurts (Atrix uses a FireFox-centric "Webtop" operating environment). And performance in the laptop configuration (i.e., the 'lap-dock") is sluggish.
But that doesn't mean it's toast, considering all of the praise the Atrix 4G and laptop dock received at CES … Read more
Verizon Wireless and Motorola were poised to issue another software update to the Xoom tablet earlier today, but apparently have pulled back at the last minute.
On Thursday, Droid-Life was first to report that an HMJ078 update was expected to start hitting the Android 3.0 tablet today. The site even grabbed a screen capture of the enhancements and new features.
Among the list of coming changes were improvements to Web and data access, easy viewing and transfer of photos from digital cameras, and support for Bluetooth mice. Noticeably absent from the list, however, is the ability to use the … Read more
Oh, Google Nexus, you're such a tease! Earlier today, the official Twitter account for the Google Android phone sent out a message saying that a surprise was on its way and to "Stay tuned!" We're still waiting for the news to drop, but you know that's not going to stop us or you from guessing.
Thus far, the Nexus name has only been associated with smartphones, so it's possible we could see another handset by the end of the day. However, as IntoMobile notes, it would make more sense to introduce such a device … Read more
If it weren't for tablets, the global PC market wouldn't be as healthy as it seems to be, a new report from research firm Canalys has found.
Worldwide PC shipments in the first quarter of 2011 reached over 88.6 million units, representing a 7 percent gain compared to the first quarter of 2010, when 82.8 million PCs shipped, according to Canalys. Hewlett-Packard once again led the way in the first quarter of 2011, shipping more than 14.6 million PCs for a 16.6 percent share of the market. However, its total shipments were down 5.… Read more