Posts Tagged ‘tablet market’

Acer Rethinks the “Tablet Bubble,” Launching $99 Tablet

December 25th, 2012 12:08 admin View Comments


retroworks writes “In August 2011, Acer Chairman JT Wang declared that the consumer affection for tablets had already begun to cool, basically labeling it a fad. What a difference a year (and a half) makes. Acer now plans to introduce a ‘category killer’ $99 tablet. ‘In the past few months, we’ve made project roadmap changes in response to big changes in the tablet market,’ according to a source at the Wall Street Journal. ‘The launch of the Nexus 10 has changed the outlook for what makes competitive pricing.’ Acer is aiming the new tablet at emerging markets, competing with Chinese ‘white box’ tablets (already available in Shenzhen at $45 each).”

Source: Acer Rethinks the “Tablet Bubble,” Launching $99 Tablet

Nintendo’s Wii U Will Be Sold At a Loss

October 26th, 2012 10:35 admin View Comments


another random user tips news that Nintendo will be selling its upcoming Wii U console at a loss in the hopes that spurring earlier adoption will work out for the company in the long run. This differs from the Wii, which made money from the start, but it’s a similar strategy to those used with the Xbox 360 and PS3, which both lost money for their companies at release. “The Japanese firm’s president revealed the news after the firm cut its profit forecast. It marks a change in the company’s business strategy. The decision to abandon the prospect of immediate profits in order to maximize later earnings is part of a growing trend in the tech world. Nintendo might have altered course to take advantage of the fact that neither Microsoft nor Sony have announced their next-generation consoles yet. Its pursuit of the more casual gamer means it has also had to take account of the keenly priced tablet market which attracts a similar consumer.”

Source: Nintendo’s Wii U Will Be Sold At a Loss

Barnes & Noble’s Nook HD Tablets Face iPad, Kindle Fire HD

September 26th, 2012 09:10 admin View Comments


Nerval’s Lobster writes “It’s proven a busy month for mobile-device releases. First Nokia whipped back the curtain from the Lumia 820 and 920, its first Windows Phone 8 devices. The very next day, Amazon unveiled its new line of Kindle devices, including the Kindle Fire HD. Not to be outdone, Apple executives took to a stage in San Francisco the next week to show off the iPhone 5, complete with a larger screen and faster processor. But September’s not over yet, and the releases keep coming: Barnes & Noble has launched a pair of HD tablets, the Nook HD and Nook HD+, designed to maintain the bookseller’s toehold in the tablet space. The question is whether the Nook, even with upgraded hardware and new services, can successfully punch above its weight against the iPad and Kindle Fire, which are widely perceived as the dominant devices in the tablet market.” Nook HD specs (Android 4.0, Dual 1.3Ghz Cortex-A9, 1G RAM), and HD+ specs (1.5GHz Coretex-A9 and a larger screen). Nate the greatest writes with a job posting that may indicate B&N is defecting to Windows 8, or at least hedging their bets.

Source: Barnes & Noble’s Nook HD Tablets Face iPad, Kindle Fire HD

AMD’s Hondo Chip ‘A Windows 8 Product’

September 15th, 2012 09:02 admin View Comments


dgharmon points out comments from AMD’s Steve Belt, who was asked about the company’s upcoming Hondo APU. Hondo is their biggest attempt to date to break into the tablet market, and they’re doing so with a distinct focus on Windows 8. Belt said, “This is a Windows 8 product, only. We’re not doing Android on this platform, at least not now. … It is a conscious decision not to go after Android. We think the Windows 8 space has a lot of opportunity, there’s plenty of TAM [total addressable market] there for us to go at. So we don’t need to spread ourselves into other markets, we think Windows 8 is a great place to start. Down the road we may look at Android, right now we’re focused on Windows 8.” The article adds, “With both AMD and Intel readying Hondo and Clover Trail respectively for Windows 8 and pushing their respective customers to come up with designs at roughly the same time, it will be interesting to see just how many Windows RT tablets will appear at the operating system’s launch. However one thing is clear, neither AMD nor Intel will have Android x86 tablets running with their respective next generation ultra low voltage chips.” Fortunately, there’s nothing stopping users and manufacturers from running other OSes on Hondo.

Source: AMD’s Hondo Chip ‘A Windows 8 Product’

Apple Announces iPhone 5

September 12th, 2012 09:23 admin View Comments


Today Phil Schiller took to the stage at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, where he announced the long-expected iPhone 5. The casing is made entirely of glass and aluminum, and it’s 7.6mm thick, which is 18% thinner than the iPhone 4S. It weighs in at 112 grams, which is 20% lighter than the 4S. Schiller confirmed that the iPhone 5 has a 4″ display, with a resolution of 1136×640. It’s a 16:9 aspect ratio. The screen is the same width as a 4S, but it’s taller. To accommodate older apps, they either center the app or add black bars to make it look right. The new device also has LTE support. Tim Cook spoke earlier about the iPad, making some interesting claims: “Yes, we are in a post-PC world.” He also claimed 68% tablet market share for the iPad, and says iPads account for 91% of tablet-based web traffic. The event is continuing, and we’ll update this post as further announcements appear. A real-time liveblog is being quickly updated at Ars Technica

Source: Apple Announces iPhone 5

How Will Amazon, Barnes & Noble Survive the iPad Mini?

August 12th, 2012 08:39 admin View Comments


redletterdave writes “For about a year, and Barnes & Noble were almost completely alone in the 7-inch tablet market. It was nice while it lasted. The past few months have seen Google and Microsoft unveil their 7-inch tablet offerings — the Nexus 7 and Microsoft Surface, respectively — and it looks like Apple is about ready to get into the mini tablet game, too. If Apple releases its first ‘iPad Mini’ next month, what can Amazon and Barnes & Noble do to keep the Cupertino colossus at bay, as well as the other new competitors in the 7-inch tablet game?”

Source: How Will Amazon, Barnes & Noble Survive the iPad Mini?

Why the Tablet Market is Really the iPad Market

August 2nd, 2012 08:53 admin View Comments


Hugh Pickens writes writes “James Kendrick writes that after Apple introduced the iPad, companies shifted gears to go after this undiscovered new tablet market but in spite of the number of players in tablets, no company has discovered the magic bullet to knock the iPad off the top of the tablet heap. ‘What’s happening to the 7-inch tablet market is what happened to the PC market several times. Big name desktop PC OEMs, realizing that consumers didn’t care about megahertz and megabytes — yes, that long ago — turned to a price war in order to keep sales buoyant,’ writes Adrian Kingsley-Hughes. ‘Price becomes the differentiating factor, and this in turns competition into a race to the bottom.’ Historically, when a race to the bottom is dictated by the market, it’s more a sign of a lack of a market in general. If enough buyers aren’t willing to pay enough for a product to make producers a profit, the market is just not sufficient. Price is a metric that most people know and understand because it’s nowhere as ethereal or complicated as CPU power or screen resolution. Given a $199 tablet next to another for $299, the $100 difference in the price tag will catch the eye before anything else. But if price is such an important metric, why is the iPad — with its premium price tag — so popular? Simple, it was the first tablet to go mass market, and cumulative sales of around 85 million gives the iPad credibility in the eye on potential buyers. ‘So the problem with the Kindle Fire — and the Nexus 7 — is the same problem that’s plagued the PC industry. Deep and extreme price cuts give the makers no wriggle room to innovate,’ writes Kingsley-Hughes. ‘By driving prices down to this level so rapidly, both Amazon and Google have irrevocably harmed the tablet market by creating unrealistic price expectations.’”

Source: Why the Tablet Market is Really the iPad Market

Microsoft’s Mobile Strategy: The Windows 8 Infinite Loop

June 25th, 2012 06:08 admin View Comments

Microsoft is late to the mobile party. It’s never going to make a dent in the tablet market. It will never figure out the new era of hardware and the Web. It will crumble beneath the behemoths that are Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook. At least that is what the pundits have been yelling for more than a year. At this point, though, we know everything that Microsoft will do with Windows 8, and we can see more clearly what the company is up to. Microsoft has created a true cross-platform device strategy that will lead it into the next generation of computing.

What We Know About Windows 8

In recent months, Microsoft has been gradually releasing details about what Windows 8 and its iterations are going to entail. First came the user interface that will cross personal computers and tablets. Next came the developer and consumer previews. In the last week, we have seen Microsoft’s plans for its own built and branded tablet, the Surface, as well as Windows Phone. 

It is pertinent that the next version of Windows is number 8. As a symbol, an 8 has no beginning. It also has no end. You trace the line of an eight and eventually you will end where you began. That is what Microsoft has done with Windows 8. 

We are now seeing the tangible benefits of all the time that it has taken Microsoft to develop its PC, tablet and smartphone strategies. And, taken as a whole, it is comprehensive, detailed and smart. But will it allow Microsoft to take off in the mobile era?

The biggest aspects of Windows 8 for users and developers are how Microsoft has constructed both the hardware and user interface for the platform. Microsoft for the first time is developing options for both x86 and ARM processors. It has traditionally built Windows to run only on x86, a processor standard that has struggled to find a foothold in the new mobile ecosystem. Yet, with ARM (the chip family upon which most smartphones and tablets are built), Microsoft offers a new opportunity to use Windows on mobile devices. 

Tablets built for Windows 8 can use either x86 or ARM (running what Microsoft calls Windows RT). Windows 8 tablets on x86 will run a version of the operating system very similar to that of Windows 8 PCs, while RT tablets on ARM will have more limited functionality. Yet, developers looking to create applications for Windows 8/RT will be able to build for tablets, smartphones and PCs by making minor changes in their code base. 

There are two reasons for that. First, Microsoft is introducing the new Metro user interface that is heavily informed by the design first seen in Windows Phone 7. No longer will Windows PC, tablets (yes, Windows tablets have existed before, running Windows 7) and smartphones all have different designs and interfaces. Through Metro, Microsoft is making it simpler to design an application once and deploy it to all flavors of Windows 8. This will encourage both developers and consumers to adopt the platform. 

The second reason is the new common core base. Microsoft announced the common core last week when it unveiled plans for Windows Phone 8. Common core will allow developers to write applications for Windows 8 and easily port them to Windows Phone 8. In addition, Windows Phone developers will be able to write apps in C++/C code bases in addition to Microsoft’s standard C# and Web-based HTML5 rendered through Internet Explorer 10. In short, Microsoft has opened up app development with the different versions of Windows 8 to make it easier to create true cross-platform and -device solutions for developers. 

The kicker with Windows Phone 8 is that, once again, it breaks Microsoft’s mobile platform. Windows smartphones running the latest version of Windows Phone (7.5) will not be upgradeable to Windows 8. That is the cost Microsoft has to pay for integrating Windows 8 design and functionality into Windows Phone. All apps that have been written for Windows Phone 7.5 will transfer to Windows 8, but users who have bought any current Windows Phone device will never see the tangible benefits presented from 7.5 to 8. This is the second time Microsoft has done such a thing to its mobile platform, as Windows Mobile CE was not upgradeable to Windows Phone 7. But it should not happen again, as Microsoft has worked to make all versions of its platform interoperable.  

Microsoft’s Mobile Strategy Revealed

Taken as a whole, Microsoft has created a powerful ecosystem from both developer and consumer perspectives. Windows 8/RT/Phone devices will be cloud-connected with each other, have the same user interface and be compatible with just about every standard that Microsoft could reasonably accommodate in both the hardware and software environments. 

Windows 8 is like a snake biting its own tail. As a user, you can start from one end or the other and eventually be led around the loop back to where you began. At one end is the full-featured desktop version of Windows 8 running on x86 processors. At the other is Windows Phone 8 on ARM. Traditionally, those two classes of devices would be light years apart in how they functioned and what they looked like. With Windows 8, they are perhaps as close as they will ever get. 

The benefits are obvious. For Microsoft, this integrated platform will lead consumers to buy not just one device but a whole interoperable lineup. Microsoft will have desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones all running on the same system with the same interface and capabilities differentiated to suit the varying form factors. Tie it to the cloud and that becomes an extremely powerful marketing message. 

It was likely a painful decision for Microsoft to break Windows Phone yet again. But in the long run, it will prove beneficial. All aspects of Windows Mobile CE will have officially been abolished. The decisive shift clears the ground for the Windows 8 ecosystem to flourish as a whole. 

Microsoft also aligns itself with the industry trend of unifying desktop and mobile platforms. Apple has shown that it is willing to combine much of the functionality of its Mac OS X desktop operating system with iOS that runs on the iPhone and iPad. The idea is to get consumers (and businesses) into a platform ecosystem that they will have trouble escaping. If you own a Mac computer, it will be easier for you to integrate to an iPhone and iPad. Likewise, if you own a Windows 8 computer, it will behoove you to own a Surface tablet and a Windows Phone. Google would love nothing more than to have that type of cross-device integration between Android smartphones and tablets and its Chrome operating system on laptops. The industry giants hope to herd consumers onto a platform not just for one device, but all of their computing needs. Microsoft it taking its first steps toward that goal with Windows 8, and the strategy is compelling.

Whether or not it will be successful across device categories will be another question. 

Source: Microsoft’s Mobile Strategy: The Windows 8 Infinite Loop

RIM Drops Playbook Price By 66%

June 21st, 2012 06:13 admin View Comments


YokimaSun writes “Following on from the news that RIM’s partner was pulling the plug on its BlackBerry phones, RIM announced it was discontinuing the 16GB version of its playbook, PC Gaming News are reporting that the PlayBook is being discounted down by as much as 66% which is adding to the demise of RIM’s attempt at the tablet market. Can anything stop the all conquering iPad?”

Source: RIM Drops Playbook Price By 66%

Why Microsoft’s Surface Pro Will Be the First Real Business Tablet

June 20th, 2012 06:00 admin View Comments

The verdict on Microsoft’s new Surface tablet has been mostly positive. Reviewers have praised the device’s fit and finish, operating system and Touch Cover keyboards – not to mention Microsoft’s unusual willingness to try something new. But we haven’t heard as much about Surface Pro, Microsoft’s attempt to go beyond the consumer market and make tablets truly useful for business professionals and digital artists.

From a branding perspective, the consumer and business Surface tablets are essentially identical; even Microsoft’s spec sheets don’t differentiate between the two in terms of name.

But the Surface Pro is a lot heavier (903 g versus 676 g), with a battery that’s exactly a third larger in terms of charge capacity. That’s critical, because the Surface Pro foregoes the less powerful, cooler-running Nvidia Tegra ARM processor in favor of a faster Core i5 chip and a more powerful graphics processor. All in all, the Surface Pro’s specs create the impression of a serious business machine.

But will anyone use it? And for what?

While the iPad has found plenty of applications in businesses, those have largely arisen organically as users bring their own devices (BYOD) to the office, and companies – and IT departments – try to figure out exactly what to do with them. Apple has shown little interest in directly attacking the enterprise market. Microsoft is essentially trying to outflank Apple to establish a beach head in an environment it knows better than Apple does.

To date, only two companies have designed tablets specifically for businesses: Cisco’s Cius, now discontinued, and the RIM PlayBook. Cisco had no business being in the tablet market, and its “tablet” was little more than a front end for a VoIP phone. The PlayBook, for its part, has been forced to dig out from under a corporate reputation that’s declining fast. And its initial lack of email support turned the first PlayBook into a punch line, not a viable business tool.

Microsoft’s Surface is different. The BYOD trend doesn’t apply here. Microsoft is aiming the Surface Pro squarely at businesses, and the device includes a number of business-friendly features that separate it from consumer tablets.

It Isn’t Compatible With Windows, It Is Windows

While Android and iOS both offer hooks into Windows environments, for enterprises that have bought into Microsoft enterprise tools like SharePoint, Lync and even Outlook, Windows Surface should be a much more convenient choice. While it hasn’t given word, it’s logical to assume that Microsoft will provide tools that will let Surface tablets be managed by IT departments. The Surface Pro is due some 90 days after Windows 8 launches. Perhaps that time will be used to develop specific Windows integration tools.

The Touch Cover Keyboard

Tablets have been traditionally used to consume content. But with the Touch Cover keyboard/cover, Microsoft has flipped the script. Yes, you can type on a tablet. But with Touch Cover – and especially Type Cover, its thicker, even more keyboard-like cousin – the Surface suddenly becomes able to take on an increasing number of business tasks that now require a laptop.

In fact, the Surface Pro resembles an ultrabook (MacBook Air-style) laptop in many ways. That can be seen as a complement to Microsoft’s work on Surface. But many businesses that really need a notebook will still choose a traditional laptop. Surface offers greater portability than an ultrabook (although the lack of a solid hinge means you can’t really use it on your lap) but not as much flexibility or expansion options.

Digital Artist and Content Creators

Surface and Surface Pro should also merit a serious look from digital artists and content creators. Microsoft products aren’t always an easy sell to creative types, who typically live within the Apple ecosystem. But Windows 8 is fun and vibrant, and the Metro interface brings some new design cred.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions, though. Digital illustrators typically use a “tablet” – a digitizer from companies like Wacom – to sketch out their designs. Steven Sinofsky, the president of Microsoft’s Windows and Windows Live division who helped introduce Surface Monday night, demonstrated the Surface Pro’s digital ink capability. But he didn’t show pressure sensitivity and other features that artists demand. On the other hand, full-fledged digital graphics suites based on Windows 8 should work natively on Surface Pro – a big plus.

The Heat Index?

Tablets are a godsend on the road, and the Surface Pro should be a perfect one-size-fits-all tool for business travelers, providing both entertainment and full access to their standard work tools. But there’s a potential problem: heat.

Remember, notebooks based on Intel Core chips are notorious for running hot. Microsoft said it has designed an innovative cooling system that vents the Core i5’s heat via the “seam” so that the bottom of the device stays cool. Until we can test how well that works, there’s a real possibility that the Core i5′s speed will be severely restricted to keep the device from getting too warm. Or it may turn out that professionals will have to use the Surface Pro primarily in kickstand mode to avoid setting fire to their laptops and desktops.

That kind of annoyance could make the ARM-powered basic Surface – which shouldn’t run as hot – the choice of consumers and most professionals alike, especially those who can work entirely via the Web and don’t need the full range of Windows applications. But that version runs on Windows RT and may not enjoy full software compatibility with Windows 8 programs. And since the Surface Pro does exist, software makers may be in less of a rush to convert their packages to run on RT.

Still, the Surface Pro appears to be the instant leader in business tablets. With software compatibility and a truly useful keyboard, the Surface Pro could appeal to both business users and corporate IT departments. For some business users, it might even replace a laptop as their primary computer.

Put another way, Surface isn’t really about bringing your own device to work. It’s not BYOD, but BYOS, or Bring Your Own Style.

Source: Why Microsoft’s Surface Pro Will Be the First Real Business Tablet