Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about consumer technology.
At AsiaD this week, Google’s Andy Rubin noted that there were at least six million Android tablets in use. That number included only those running Google services. One could question whether the briskly selling Nook Color — which is not open to Android apps at large — is relevant to that tally, at least from a developer perspective. It will certainly be the case, though, that the Kindle Fire — also expected to be a hot seller — will be an important addition to the number moving forward.
Still, Rubin conceded, it was a tally far behind that of the 30 million cumulative units of the iPad, which broke open the modern-day tablet category, extended its lead with the iPad 2, and will likely see another revision this coming spring. When Apple introduced its tablet device, it set a precedent for third-party developers by rewriting core applications to take advantage of the iPad’s larger display with “HD” versions. And while there are still far fewer native iPad apps than iPhone apps, Apple is far ahead in the race for native tablet software.
But not everyone wants to join that race.
Continue reading Switched On: Android’s tablet traversal
Switched On: Android’s tablet traversal originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 23 Oct 2011 16:37:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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Shortly after information started leaking out about the warmly-named Amazon tablet, gdgt offered up some supplementary details from sources explaining why the Fire looks an awful lot like the PlayBook. According to the anonymous informants, the thing was built using the same template as RIM’s device. Apparently the product is more or less being rushed out the door to make it out in time for the holidays. It seems that there may be another pressing reason for the rush to bring the reader-friendly tablet to market — namely a much improved second generation device, which is currently on-tap for the first quarter of next year. Why so close? Well, the newer tablet’s release date has supposedly been secured for some time, while its predecessor was pushed back for various reasons. It wouldn’t be the first time that Amazon launched two Kindle products months apart, with the Kindle DX arriving shortly after the Kindle 2. It’s not exactly the same thing, given that one device wasn’t meant to replace the other, but it certainly doesn’t bode well for the company’s ability to schedule. There are still some questions here, of course — even if the above is true (and that’s certainly a big “if”), that doesn’t mean that this second-gen tablet will hit its own mark. If it does, however, a lot of early adopters may get burned by the Fire.
Is a second generation Kindle Fire tablet hitting early next year? originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 27 Sep 2011 15:19:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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Have a look at what we found lurking deep within IDF’s technical showcase: the Novero Solana. Contrary to what its name might imply, it’s not a fancy European shaver, but actually a thinner, more rectangular Inspiron Duo lookalike. Seeing as it’s imprisoned behind glass — just like that other tablet — the only specs we can confirm are that it’s Cedar Trail-based and Windows 7 powered. Want to get a little more acquainted with it? Check out the gallery below, and peek after the break for our eyes-on video.
Myriam Joire contributed to this report.
Continue reading Novero’s Solana is a Cedar-Trail Inspiron Duo from the future (video)
Novero’s Solana is a Cedar-Trail Inspiron Duo from the future (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 14 Sep 2011 09:39:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
When it comes to the economy, things appear to be pretty shaky in the land of feta and olive oil, but at least Greece’s neighbor to the east is ready to spend, considering a very ambitious (and costly) investment in its education system. Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan just completed a tour through Seattle and Silicon Valley, making stops to meet with executives at Apple, Intel and Microsoft along the way. Caglayan’s stateside mission was to discuss Turkey’s FATIH Project, which somehow stands for “Movement of Enhancing Opportunities and Improving Technology” and aims to equip 15 million students with tablets within the next four years. The official seems to have left with a positive impression, telling the Turkish Weekly that “upon agreement, Microsoft teams will come to Turkey to cooperate with Turkish firms on the project.” He went on to say that Apple executives expressed interest in having iPhone and iPad accessories manufactured in Turkey as well. Doesn’t exactly sound like a firm commitment from either company, but 15 million tablets would be nothing to sneeze at, so we’d be surprised if the tablet makers didn’t end up making formal bids. With South Korea and now Turkey making commitments to improving education, perhaps we’ll see a similar plan hit stateside soon?
Apple, Microsoft meet with Turkish minister, may bid to supply 15 million tablets to schools originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 20 Aug 2011 01:41:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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RIM’s 7-inch PlayBook may be lovely to hold, and that gesture area along the bezel is downright genius, but the QNX-powered slate hasn’t had the easiest time taking on the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Apple’s iPad 2. Still, RIM’s following is amongst the most loyal in the industry, and those who wouldn’t leave the house sans a BlackBerry handset may have been inclined to give this guy a go. If that’s you, we’re overly interested in hearing how you’d do things differently. Would you have preferred a larger screen? Android app support right out of the box? A beefier software store? Go on and get creative in comments below — something tells us RIM isn’t exactly in a position to turn a deaf ear.
How would you change RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook? originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 31 Jul 2011 22:53:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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If you’re still waiting to pull the trigger on an Android 3.1 tab, decision day may be coming soon. Back in June, Archos revealed two G9 models: the 8-inch 80 and the 10-inch 101. Well… in case you needed time to save up a little extra dough from your paper route, pricing has been revealed ahead of the September release. The smaller of the two tablets will start out at $299.99 and the more stout of the pair at $369.99 (both 8GB base models), a cool Jackson more than originally reported. Just as a quick refresher, keep in mind that beastly 250GB options are available for both, boasting Seagate’s 7mm Momentus Thin HDD technology. You know, if you’re wanting to carry around your entire Metallica bootleg discography on one of these bad boys.
Archos G9 tablets priced: $300 and up, ship in September originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 18 Jul 2011 06:31:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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Usually the trumpets blare when a new Android-based slate hits the town, but the IT-friendly Cisco Cius isn’t really the type to get all hot and bothered over. We’ve had plenty of signs that this deceptive looking not-a-video-phone was coming to Big Red’s Enterprise accounts and official word from the operator means your side of the cubicle will be getting some locked-down, Angry Birds-less tablet love later this summer. There’s a whole bit of 4G LTE buzz buzz buzz in the release, but we have to stress that it’s mobile hotspot only — meaning this WiFi-equipped pad isn’t the full office-on-the-go you might’ve hoped for. Out-of-context Moses and the Greeks PR allusions after the break.
Continue reading Cisco Cius headed to Verizon late summer, IT departments celebrate
Cisco Cius headed to Verizon late summer, IT departments celebrate originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 15 Jul 2011 01:57:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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Well, that oversized Kindle didn’t become the textbook killer Amazon hoped it would be, but at least one country is moving forward with plans to lighten the load on its future generation of Samsung execs. South Korea announced this week that it plans to spend over $2 billion developing digital textbooks, replacing paper in all of its schools by 2015. Students would access paper-free learning materials from a cloud-based system, supplementing traditional content with multimedia on school-supplied tablets. The system would also enable homebound students to catch up on work remotely — they won’t be practicing taekwondo on a virtual mat, but could participate in math or reading lessons while away from school, for example. Both programs clearly offer significant advantages for the country’s education system, but don’t expect to see a similar solution pop up closer to home — with the US population numbering six times that of our ally in the Far East, many of our future leaders could be carrying paper for a long time to come.
South Korea plans to convert all textbooks to digital, swap backpacks for tablets by 2015 originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 03 Jul 2011 06:39:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Whoa. Every so often, a giant in Round Rock pokes it head up above water long enough to put forth a truly mesmerizing design, and while it’s no Adamo, this is most definitely the freshest take we’ve seen on tablets in a very, very long time. The gallery below showcases a prototype that’s lounging around within Dell’s top secret labs, a 7-inch slate that’s adorned with a slide-out keyboard. Said keyboard, however, is hardly typical — it’s rocking a split-key design that’s not at all dissimilar to the virtual layouts recently showcased within iOS 5 and Windows 8. So far as we can tell, the entire alphabet’s present and accounted for, and there’s a rear camera that’ll be more than happy to make your child’s next birthday party a bit more awkward. Outside of that, we’ve no other details to pore over, but it’s safe to say that we’ll be doing our darnedest to change that. Oh, and if you’re doubting that this thing has a future as a real-deal product, there’s a shot just south of these very words showcasing what looks to be a commercial / press render. Delicious.
Exclusive: Dell’s prototype 7-inch tablet touts slide-out split QWERTY keyboard originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 08 Jun 2011 20:30:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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Remember how Microsoft unveiled that whole “Windows 8” thing earlier today? It’s back for more: here at Computex 2011 in Taipei, prototype ARM-based Windows 8 slates and smartbooks are coming out of the woodwork. Foxconn, Wistron and Quanta all unveiled early hardware for the new OS, with chips from Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and NVIDIA powering their live tiles — including NVIDIA’s upcoming Kal-El, which got both a tablet and a super-slim prototype notebook to call its own. Dell’s also got a XPS development station up on stage, which Microsoft used to demo the UI — it’s bulky and ugly as such things are, but it suggests that Dell’s also likely to have a portable Windows 8 machine at some point. For its part, Qualcomm is promising a chip that can instantly wake from sleep, and one of the devices showed that USB host support works fine and dandy. Unfortunately, none of these machines will make their way to market, but it’s nice to know that the OEMs care enough to show their solidarity here.
Update: Video now added after the break.
Continue reading Microsoft reveals ARM-powered Windows 8 prototypes (eyes-on)
Microsoft reveals ARM-powered Windows 8 prototypes (eyes-on) originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 01 Jun 2011 22:44:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.