Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Design

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Tablets may be the darling of the tech industry, but they’ve also received their fair share of criticism as well. One of the most consistent barbs throw towards them is the tablet’s inability to serve as a competent platform for content creature. While it’s technically possible to write a document or edit an image on a tablet, it’s certainly not enjoyable.

Part of the problem is the lack of a keyboard and mouse. Touchscreens are beautiful and intuitive, but they’re not precise. While third-party cases and docks have tried to solve this issue, they’re often both clunky and expensive.

It’s little surprise that a tablet designed specifically to work in conjunction with a keyboard dock has hit the market, but it is surprising that the first such device comes from ASUS, a company with relatively little experience building mobile products. The Eee Pad Transformer is already the second-best selling tablet on the market (after the iPad, of course) and reports indicate sales are constrained by supply rather than demand. What is it that has made the Transformer a quick success? 

Continue reading our review of the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer tablet!!

Will Windows 8 be for the tablet or the ultrabook?

Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2011 - 11:56 AM |
Tagged: ultrabook, tablet, windows 8, microsoft, Intel

Two contrasting opinions appeared this morning on the internet, concerned with not only the future of mobile computing in a possibly post-PC market but also touching on the impact Microsoft's Windows 8 could have on that choice.  DigiTimes has a report from Wistron, an original design manufacturer based in Taiwan, which is concerned with the ultrabook.  They see the coming year as dominated by the contentious ultrabook platform which Intel has been talking up recently.  The company managed US$21.1B in revenue last year, so they are neither a small player nor uninformed about the industry.  That does leave one wondering how they plan on making a profit if the bill of materials is as high as some manufacturers have claimed.  Still, that is where the manufacturer sees Windows 8 making the most difference to the market.

Ars Technica sees a different path for Microsoft to take, one that would be very different from the theory discussed by DigiTimes and very different from anything Microsoft has previously done.  In this article, Ars suggests that the PC market is at a standstill because we have hit a post-PC market thanks to the tablet.  While Microsoft has always considered the tablet to be a PC in a different form factor, Apple and other successful tablet marketers have visualized a completely different model.  While Apple may have taken it to the most extreme, with no visible OS nor even a USB connector so you can transfer files directly from a camera or thumbdrive, nor hook up a wired peripheral.  Other manufacturers have taken a less extreme approach but still hide the OS and have removed associated tasks like driver installation.  That is very different from Microsoft's version of a tablet or phone which runs a trimmed down but still very recognizable OS and tends not to sell very well.

The question becomes one of design incompatibility; if Microsoft wants to release a Windows 8 which emulates the successful tablet OSes of the competition it will have to design something so different from their past OSes that it would be unrecognizable as a PC.  In order to hide the OS and offload applications onto the cloud to make a perfect tablet the design choices would limit the effectiveness of Win8 as a PC OS.  On the flip side, if they choose to design for the Ultrabook, risky in that we still have yet to hear the end of the pricing issues, the OS will be much lighter than previous versions but will still have a recognizable file system, the ability to update or customize drivers and all the other features common to netbooks through laptops.  It will however not be a successful tablet OS, as history has shown with the failures of Microsoft's tablets and phones, some of which died before every being released.

The one thing that they can't do is try to make Windows 8 do both service as a laptop and a tablet OS.  If they go that way, users on both sides of the divide will likely lose as you end up with an OS not customizable enough to do duty on a more powerful notebook or desktop.  As well, it will have an interface which is similar to previous attempts by Microsoft to sell tablets which to this date have all failed against the competition.

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"The launch of ultrabooks and Microsoft's Windows 8 OS will serve as growth drivers for the notebook industry in 2012, according to Simon Lin, chairman of Taiwan-based notebook ODM Wistron.

Shipments of ultrabooks will account for 10-20% of Wistron's total notebook shipments in 2012, Lin estimated.

 

Despite current economic turbulence touched off by debt issues in Europe and the US, Wistron's target to ship 30 million notebooks in 2011 remains unchanged, said Lin, who added that notebook Wistron's shipments will grow by a single-digit rate sequentially in the third and fourth quarters.

However, the company has slashed its LCD TV shipment target for the year to 8.5 million units, from 10 million units projected previously, while also scaling down the target for mobile devices from 10-12 million units to nine million.

Wistron has reported net profits of NT$4.5 billion (US$154.77 million) for the first half of 2011, down 20.44% from a year earlier. The earnings translated into an EPS of NT$2.28 for the six-month period."

 

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Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Samsung

Introduction, Design and Ergonomics

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Courtesy of Samsung

Samsung's first product to make a splash into the Android tablet market was the original 7" Tab, and while its performance numbers were on par with other similar tablets produced in 2010, it left many consumers wanting more multimedia, gaming, and productivity features like what was available with Apple's iPad and iPad2. Many vendors, including Samsung, were dealing the same issues and challenges associated with the lack of tablet support in Android-based games and applications because Android's SDK only comes in one flavor for general mobile devices, not tablets with larger displays. 

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Courtesy of Samsung

After hearing feedback from consumers and hardware reviewers, Samsung completely redesigned the Tab 10.1 to accommodate users eager for enhanced video and gaming capabilities that take advantage of modern technologies like Android's latest Honeycomb OS and NVIDIA's Tegra 2 processor that support higher resolution displays beyond 1024x768 (the Tab 10.1's display runs at 1280x800). They also gave the Tab 10.1 a slimmer profile that is comparable to the iPad2. The Tab 10.1 can be purchased for around $499 for the 16GB version and $599 for the 32GB version, which is also on par with its Apple counterparts. We are reviewing the 16GB version to check out all the new features in Honeycomb and see what surprises Samsung included with the Tab 10.1 that justify the $500 price tag.

Continue reading our review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

AMD will be snubbing the smartphone

Subject: General Tech | August 9, 2011 - 03:30 PM |
Tagged: amd, tablet, smartphones, trinity

In a revent interview, AMD's SVP and GM, Rick Bergman restated that AMD has no current plans in the works to jump to the handheld market.  They will continue to focus on their current product lines and that the only ultramobile development currently underway is for tablets.  That could help them get a leg up on Intel's Atom, as Intel is definitely making a move for the hand held market.  Focusing on tablets gives them a less strict power limitation and may just give them a boost as they push to the 28nm process with only one ultra low power Trinity APU product line to design.  Check out The Inquirer for more.

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"CHIP DESIGNER AMD has ruled out making a move in the smartphone market, preferring to concentrate on tablets.

Rick Bergman, SVP and GM of AMD's products group told a conference that the chip designer has no plans to get into the smartphone market, saying that its expertise in graphics does not suit that market. Instead it will be up to AMD's Z-series embedded chip to push X86 into the tablet market."

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Source: The Inquirer

This Two Will Passed – Episode 4 released of total 5…ish.

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | August 6, 2011 - 02:19 PM |
Tagged: tablet, sony, S2, S1

Want to rest your eyes from all of the Quakecon coverage? How about another Sony tablet ad? The first three parts of Sony’s S1 and S2 ad campaign are behind us with the conclusion of this five part series occurring in the fourth part. Frankly I do not really understand it either, but apparently the fifth ad will be a collection of the previous four making the fourth one the actual finale of a series of five. I guess that somewhat makes sense: what better way to promote the products’ collective slogan “Open Your Imagination” than blowing your mind? I say nothing.

This Two Will Passed… okay? Go play it.

The title of this video is “Together anywhere” and features an unsurprising amount of tracks for anyone who watched any or all of the preview videos. Besides metal rails, be sure to pay close attention to the setup prior to the couch station because you will drop bricks at the end of the video. This is also the first time that lyrics appear in the ads which put a very uplifting feel on the campaign. While not as metaphorical as the first two parts suggested, I believe they got their point across. Now all that is left to do is see if it will translate to sales.

Source: Sony

Asus May Launch a Kal-El Powered Transformer Tablet This Year

Subject: General Tech | August 3, 2011 - 08:20 AM |
Tagged: tablet, nvidia, kal-el, asus

As Superman fans well know, Kal-El is faster than a speeding bullet, and NVIDIA’s new Tegra 3 Kal-El chip is no different. We reported on a demonstration of the Kal-El chip running games with dynamic lighting and realistic cloth physics earlier this year, and it is certainly an impressive mobile chip.

Speaking of “impressive,” Asus’ chairman Jonney Shih was quoted by Forbes recently in stating that the upcoming Transformer 2 device would be “impressive.” While Shih was not able to share any details about the device in question, he did mention that Asus will be unveiling new tablets before the end of this year. With the NVIDIA Kal-El chip set to launch this month, the timing is certainly favorable for a quad core Transformer 2.

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The Transformer 1, will the second iteration have even more oomph?

Of all the Android tablets, the Transformer has been one of the most well recieved; therefore, it seems likely that Asus would pursue another iteration of the device.  Whether that device will be powered by the Tegra 3 chip is still uncertain, however.  Do you think the rumor of a quad core Transformer is likely, or is this something that is "too good to be true?"

Source: Forbes

The Toshiba Thrive might be a little overweight but you won't have to buy it accessories

Subject: Mobile | July 20, 2011 - 05:19 PM |
Tagged: toshiba, thrive, tablet, Android

The basic stats of the Toshiba Thrive don't make it stand out, a 1GHz Tegra 2, 1GB of RAM, 8, 16 or 32MB internal storage and a 10.1" screen at 1280 x 800 pixels.  What does make this Honeycomb 3.1 device stand out is its support for peripherals, a full-sized HDMI port, 2 USB ports, one standard and one micro and a full-sized SD card slot.  That means this slightly weighty tablet doesn't need adaptors for your peripherals which might mean less total weight for you to carry around.  Even better, Ars Technica had absolutely no problems using the ports, it truly was plug'n'play.

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"When Toshiba asked if we'd like to review its Android tablet, called the Thrive, we were initially a bit skeptical of the Honeycomb 3.1 device. There are so many other Android tablets on the market, so why choose this one? Especially when it's heavy?

When you're fighting the iPad on one hand and multiple Android competitors on the other, you have to stand out. Toshiba chose to fight a battle of connectivity and convenience with the Thrive, and it added full-sized HDMI, USB, and SD ports. If those things matter to you, the Thrive succeeds admirably."

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Source: Ars Technica

MSI Launches New WindPad 110W Tablet Computer

Subject: Mobile | July 8, 2011 - 11:51 AM |
Tagged: msi, WindPad, AMD Z-01, tablet

CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif. – July 07, 2011 – MSI Computer Corp., a leading manufacturer of computer hardware products and solutions, today announced the first North American shipment of the WindPad 110W. MSI worked closely with Microsoft and AMD (NYSE: AMD) to create a tablet that combines powerful processing and Microsoft Windows® 7 operating system designed for professionals, including business travelers, healthcare and education professionals.

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"Bringing Windows 7 and AMD's newest generation processor together is a significant step forward for MSI's tablet line," noted Andy Tung, vice president of North American sales for MSI. "Our business customers want portability and multimedia entertainment on the go, and the new hardware and latest software gives us the ability to deliver that experience in a tablet form factor."

The MSI WindPad 110W combines security features with easy navigation tools to make using the tablet while away from a desk easy and secure.

"Microsoft is pleased to work with MSI to help bring their portable Windows-based tablet to market," said Nick Parker, Vice President of Worldwide Marketing in the OEM Division at Microsoft Corp. "Windows 7 is a great choice for commercial customers looking for a device that enables the productivity, mobility and security their businesses need to succeed."

The tablet also packs the new AMD Z-01 Accelerated Processing Unit (APU), offering powerful processing and display performance with 4GB of DDR3 RAM, 32 GB solid state drive, 1280x800 screen resolution, a USB port and mini-HDMI port included.

"The MSI WindPad 110W tablet featuring the AMD Z-Series APU with unmatched AMD Radeon™ graphics is an exciting new product and a perfect fit for end users that want DirectX® 11 capability and vivid HD media experiences," said John Byrne, corporate vice president and general manager for Americas Mega Region, AMD. "In addition to its integration with operating systems like Microsoft Windows 7, the AMD 2011 HD Tablet Platform enables enterprise-level security and offers support for HTML 5 and external monitors, enabling crisp graphics for enhanced productivity, streaming video, gaming and other multimedia."

The MSI WindPad 110W highlights and features include:

  • Trusted Platform Module (TPM): With the TPM, files and data are automatically encrypted for maximum security using the BitLocker functionality in Windows 7 Enterprise or Ultimate to provide encryption for the tablet and any removable HDD.
  • Easy Face Software: MSI's Easy Face software allows you to log in without typing a password. Instead, show your face to the tablet's webcam, and you will automatically be logged in to the system. The software employs your unique facial features to remember your passwords, so you don't have to.
  • Multi-control Navigation: The Smart Tracker provides smooth operation, so that you can grip both sides of the tablet and use small finger movements for navigation, an additional navigation control to using the touch screen. The SAS Hotkey performs the traditional role of the "Ctrl+Alt+Del" combination whenever needed.
  • Smart O-Easy Application: The user-friendly application delivers full-control panel at your fingertips and allows you to manage and find the functions or programs that are most often used, including volume, webcam, wireless, mute, standby mode and screen brightness.

The new WindPad110W has an MSRP of $599.99. It is available for presale at Newegg.com and Amazon.com.
For detailed specification and purchasing options, please visit http://www.msimobile.com.

Source: MSI

Acer's new Honeycomb driven Iconia Tab A500 tablet

Subject: Mobile | June 27, 2011 - 06:51 PM |
Tagged: tablet, honeycomb, Android, acer

As the table in AnandTech's review demonstrates, the interior of most tablets is dominated by a 1 Ghz ARM Cortex A9 with Tegra 2 doing the heavily graphical lifting.  This puts the onus for standing out among the crowd on the look of the tablet and the compatible peripherals as well as the pice.   Acer's design was not particularly well received at AnandTech, with several seams reducing their enjoyment of the tablet.  On the plus side is the peripheral support, with HDMI and both a microSD card reader and a miniUSB port you will have no problems interfacing with your other gadgets.  With a cost just under $400 AnandTech does like the tablet but they can't help but point out that with quad core ICS/Android 4.0 and Kal-El just around the corner you might want to wait for the next generation.

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"Next in our series of Honeycomb tablet reviews is the Acer Iconia Tab A500. The A500 was the second Honeycomb tablet to go on sale, and is one of four on the market at present, all of which are very similar. They share basic specs—10.1” 1280x800 displays, NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 underhood, 1GB LPDDR2 RAM, 16-64GB onboard NAND, front and rear facing cameras with HD video capture, basic wireless connectivity options, and stock versions of Android 3.0/3.1 Honeycomb (albeit with different preloaded software packages). The hardware similarities makes things like design and price that much more important, and the latter is where Acer seemed to have an edge."

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Source: AnandTech

Bumpday 6/22/2011: Honda-Vu

Subject: General Tech | June 22, 2011 - 11:01 PM |
Tagged: tablet, cog, bumpday

This past week Sony decided to release their first video in their new tablet PC ad campaign months before the release of their product. By the end of the campaign Sony promises five total videos parts (excluding a prologue and maybe more spin-offs just to make me a liar) which they hope will captivate you until the autumn. The first thing I thought of when viewing this video is the Honda Cog video so I guess it is time to bump it up in our memory.

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You forgot the uphill rolling tires Sony!

Back in April 2003 our web forum went abuzz with Honda’s stunning Rube Goldberg machine made mostly out of Honda Accord parts. It did not take long for discussion to devolve into picking on then-mocked FORD because most four-letter words are easy to make acrostic poems for. None of the links still work as they are 8 years old; however, it is still available to be viewed on Youtube and I would be irresponsible to embed it here as well. So nostalgia at the commercial, and nostalgia at the forum thread long since forgotten.

BUMP!

Source: PCPer Forums