A tablet of a different colour, the Thor Quad FHD

Subject: Mobile | October 15, 2013 - 12:38 PM |
Tagged: iconbit, tablet, Thor Quad FHD, android 4.1

iconBIT is certainly not a brand that most people would recognize but they might be worth checking out when you are sourcing a new tablet.  It is run by a Cortex A9 @ 1.6GHz with the usual Mali MP400 GPU and comes with 16GB of storage with the older Android 4.1 OS installed.  The 10.1" screen is 1920x1080 allowing for proper HD playback and at 630g it is a little heavier than some tablets but also has sturdier construction.  MadShrimps liked the tablet overall and are glad to see some competition for the big names but perhaps their favourite part was that it ships with a matching leatherette cover.

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"The Thor Quad FHD tablet from iconBIT is quite balanced, featuring a Rockchip RK3188 Quad Core CPU at 1.6GHz, Mali MP-400 MP4 GPU, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of NAND Flash. Of course, we also have a microSDHC card slot for expanding the storage (supports up to 32GB cards). Besides those mentioned, it is also notable the inclusion of the 5MP camera with flash on the back, which provides better quality shots compared to lower specced models."

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Source: MadShrimps

Fujitsu Launches New Touch-Enabled Mobile Lineup

Subject: General Tech | October 13, 2013 - 09:37 PM |
Tagged: tablet, msata, Intel, haswell, fujitsu, Bay Trail-T

Fujitsu recently launched several new mobile devices for business users running Intel's latest Haswell and Atom chips. The "All New In Touch" portfolio includes three new Lifebook notebooks and two Stylistic slate-style tablets. All of the new devices are 14" or smaller, have long battery life (according to Fujitsu), and will be available later this month.

Specifically, the lineup includes the following devices:

  • Lifebook T734
  • Lifebook T904
  • Lifebook U904
  • Stylistic Q584
  • Stylistic Q704

The Lifebook T734, T904, and U904 are notebooks powered by Intel's Haswell processors. They come with Windows 8.1, DDR3 memory (up to 12GB on some models), several storage options, backlit keyboards, and high resolution displays. The 734 can be fitted with an optical drive or second battery pack. The 13.3" T904 has a 2560x1440 IGZO rotatable/convertible display with touch and pen support while the 14" U904 has a 3200x1800 IGZO display.

Fujitsu Lifebook U904 Ultrabook.jpg

The Fujitsu Lifebook U904.

All of the notebooks come with Windows 8.1, touchscreens, and enterprise-friendly security features.

Beyond the touchscreen-enabled notebooks, Fujitsu is launching two new tablets under its STYLISTIC brand: the Q584 and Q704. The Q584 is a 10.1" tablet with 2560x1600 display, smart card shell, and dockable keyboard. It is semi-ruggedized and is dust and water proof. It is powered by an Intel Bay Trail-T (quad core) processor clocked at 2.4GHz and either a 64GB or 128GB mSATA SSD. Other features include a 2MP front and 8MP rear camera and Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, and LTE radios.

Fujitsu Stylistic Q584 Business Ruggedized Tablet.jpg

The Fujitsu Stylistic Q584

The Stylistic Q704 steps the specifications up a bit to a 12.5" semi-ruggedized tablet powered by up to an Intel Haswell i7 vPro CPU, 8GB of LPDDR3 memory, and 256GB mSATA SSD. It has a 1920x1080 resolution display, 2MP front and 5MP rear cameras, and a smart card shell or dockable keyboard. Radios include Wi-Fi (dual band 802.11n), LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, and GPS.

The Stylistic tablets will come pre-loaded with Windows 8.1.

The entire Fujitsu lineup should be available later this month at various (not yet specified) price points. For business users, the new devices are worth a look (pending reviews that verify the battery life claims).

Source: Fujitsu

NVIDIA Tegra Note Tablet Platform Launches - $199 from EVGA, PNY

Subject: Mobile | September 18, 2013 - 09:04 AM |
Tagged: tegra note, tegra 4, tegra, tablet, pny, nvidia, evga

Over the past couple of months there have been several leaks about a potential NVIDIA-branded tablet based on the Tegra 4 SoC.  Most speculated that NVIDIA had decided to enter into the hardware market directly with a "Tegra Tab" in a similar vein to the release of NVIDIA SHIELD.  As it turns out though NVIDIA has created a platform for which other companies can rebrand and resell an Android tablet.

TegraNote_front_c.jpg

According to NVIDIA, the Tegra Note platform will enable partners to bring 7-in tablets to market packed with the feature set NVIDIA has been promising since the launch of the Tegra 4 SoC.  Those include stylus support, high quality audio, HDR camera capabilities and 100% native Android operating systems.

Maybe more interesting are the partners that NVIDIA is teaming with for this launch.  While companies like ASUS have already done the development work to prepare various size tablets based on Tegra chips in the past, NVIDIA is going to introduce a couple of its graphics cards partners to the mobility ecosystem: EVGA and PNY in North America.

TegraNote_back.jpg

While we have questions about the capability for either of these companies to truly support a tabletin today's market but the truth is likely that NVIDIA is handling most if not all of the logistics on this project.  What is not in question is the potential for high value: these tablets will start with a suggested retail price of $199.

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We already know most of the technical details about the Tegra 4 SoC including the 4+1 Cortex A15 CPU cores and the 72-core GPU.  NVIDIA claims they will get 10 hours of video playback with this platform but I would like to get data on the weight and battery size before calling that a win.  The display resolution is a bit lower than other competing high-end options in the market today but the sub-$200 price point does mean there had to be some corners cut.

UPDATE: I asked NVIDIA for more information on the size, weight and battery capacity and got a quick answer.  The battery capacity is 4100 mAh and the entire device weighs 320g.  Compared to the Google Nexus 7, the current strongest 7-in tablet in my opinion, that is a 4% larger battery (vs 3950 mAh) and 10% heavier device (vs 290g).  The Tegra Note reference is also a bit thicker at 9.6mm compared to the 8.65mm of the Nexus 7.

There are more details on the official NVIDIA blog post making the announcement this morning including direct OTA Android updates so check that out if you think you might be interested in one of these tablets in the coming months!

Source: NVIDIA

IDF 2013: Intel Plans $100 Tablets and 22nm SoC Smartphones

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | September 10, 2013 - 10:38 AM |
Tagged: tablet, smartphone, LTE, Intel, idf 2013, idf, Bay Trail, 22nm

This year at the Intel Developer Forum, Intel is announcing a slew of new products. Among the fray is a sneak peek at some of the mobile devices that will be utilizing the company's Bay Trail Atom SoCs. 

The first device Intel showed off was a small Lenovo branded tablet that is likely the Intel-powered alternative to the current ARM-powered S5000 that was announced at IFA 2013 in Berlin. The Intel powered tablet is using a Bay Trail Atom SoC.

Intel Tablet.jpg

The mysteriously specc'd Lenovo tablet is not the only kit to use Bay Trail, however. Intel claims that there will be a number of new tablets on the way, including models that will be available for under $100 in time for this holiday season. Of course, beyond that specs were not announced.

Intel Smartphone.jpg

Intel also showed off a new prototype smartphone that is powered by a new 22nm SoC. Ryan speculates that the chip is an Intel Merrifield-based SoC which is a mobile architecure derived from Silvermont. The company claims that the move to a 22nm manufacturing process for these mobile chips results in a 50% battery life improvement. Impressive, if those numbers hold true!

Intel Smartphone with 22nm SoC.jpg

The smartphone further features an LTE radio, and Intel shared a speed test of the LTE modem during the conference. Today, the smartphone uses LTE for data and 3G for voice calls, but by the end of the year products will be able to use the LTE radio for both data and voice connections.

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Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more IDF good-ness as it develops!

IFA 2013: Toshiba Launches 8-Inch Tablet Running Windows 8.1

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | September 9, 2013 - 12:14 AM |
Tagged: Windows 8.1, toshiba, tablet, skype, microsoft, Intel, ifa 2013, Bay Trail, atom

Toshiba has launched a new 8-inch tablet called the Encore at the IFA (Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin) consumer electronics show in Berlin, Germany. The upcoming tablet is an 8-inch device measuring 10.68mm thick and weighing 479 grams (~1.06 pounds). It runs the full version of Windows 8.1 and is coming in November.

Toshiba Encore 8-inch tablet.jpg

The Encore has an 8-inch 1280 x 800 multi-touch HFFS display surrounded by a shiny black bezel. There is a 2MP webcam, Windows button, and Toshiba logo on the front face. The back of the tablet has rounded edges and corners. It has a silver-colored finish and houses another Toshiba logo and an 8MP main camera. In addition to the webcam, the Encore tablet has stereo speakers and two microphones (for noise cancelation). IO includes a Micro SD card slot, micro HDMI video output, and micro USB interfaces.

Toshiba has opted for Intel's latest Bay Trail Atom SoCs to power its 8-inch Windows tablet. Specifically, Toshiba has packed a quad core Bay Trail SoC, 2GB of system memory, 32GB of internal storage. Internal sensors include a gyroscope, accelerometer, and GPS. Further, the Encore features a dual band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi radio. According to Toshiba, the tablet exhibits "exceptional battery life," but beyond that the company has not released exact numbers.

The Encore will come with Windows 8.1 pre-installed along with Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 and Xbox SmartGlass. Naturally, user-accessible internal storage will be limited due to the size of Windows 8.1. Luckily, users will be able to add additional storage via a Micro SD card. The tablet is Skype certified, as well.

The Toshiba Encore tablet will be available for purchase in November for $329.

Source: Hexus.net

IFA 2013: Panasonic Launches 20" ToughPad 4K UT-MB5 Tablet For Business Users

Subject: General Tech | September 8, 2013 - 10:49 PM |
Tagged: tablet, Panasonic, ifa 2013, 4k

At the IFA 2013 trade show in Berlin, Germany, Panasonic is showing off a prototype 20” tablet with 4K high resolution display called the ToughPad 4K UT-MB5. The tablet is aimed at professional users in sales and marketing as well as artists, architects, and engineers. The UT-MB5 will come in two models: standard and performance. The performance SKU features a faster Intel Core i5 vPro processor and NVIDIA discrete graphics versus the standard version.

The Panasonic ToughPad 4K UT-MB5 is a 20” tablet with a carbon fiber case that measures 12.5mm thick and weighs 2.35 kg (5.18 lbs) for the standard version. The performance version weighs slightly more at 2.7 kg (5.95 lbs). The front of the tablet is dominated by a 20” 4K IPS display with a resolution of 3840 x 2560 (230 PPI), aspect ratio of 15:10, and 176-degree viewing angles. Above the display is a 720p webcam. The UT-MB5 has USB 3.0, SD card, optical smart card, and headphone ports. Panasonic further offers a desktop cradle that allows users to use the tablet as a desktop system by connecting a wireless keyboard and mouse. The desktop dock also expands the IO options to include HDMI output and an Ethernet port. The tablet is ruggedized and rated to be able to withstand drops up to 76cm while turned on.

Panasonic ToughPad 4K UT-MB5.jpg

Internal hardware on the 20” ToughPad includes an unspecified Intel Core i5 vPro processor, discrete NVIDIA Geforce graphics, up to 8GB of RAM, a 128GB (standard) or 256GB (performance) SSD, and Windows 8.1 Pro. There are also wireless radios for 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Panasonic also provides an optional digitizer called the Electronic Touch Pen. The custom pen connects to the tablet using Bluetooth and uses an infrared camera that can reportedly identify every pixel on the high resolution display. The pen has 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity and can also report angle of tilt.

Panasonic rates the UT-MB5 tablet at around 2 hours of battery life off of a full charge. The company sees the device as a portable touchscreen rather than a mobile tablet, and at 20” and 5+ pounds it is more of a desktop replacement than a mobile device.

The Standard SKU will be available in November for GBP 3,335 (~$5,217) in Germany and Europe. There is no word on US availability yet, however. Panasonic has stated that the higher-end Performance UT-MB5's pricing and availability will be announced at a later date. In the meantime, users can check out the standard version at the IFA show in Berlin in Hall 5.2/101.

It looks like a neat device that should be a hit for professional artists, architects, engineers, and business users alike. It comes with a premium price tag but the display and accurate digitizer is likely worth it!

Source: Panasonic

IFA 2013: Lenovo Launches S5000 Thin and Light Seven-Inch Tablet

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | September 5, 2013 - 12:39 PM |
Tagged: tablet, s5000, Lenovo, ideatab, android 4.2

Today, Lenovo announced a new high end seven inch tablet called the IdeaTab S5000. The new tablet measures 7.9mm thick and weighs 246 grams (0.54”).

The chassis has a laser engraved “fabric feel” back cover finish and chrome accents on the side. A large 5” 1280 x 800 (350 nit) touchscreen display dominates the front of the device. A 1.8MP webcam sits above the display and a Lenovo logo is located below the display. The tablet also has a rear 5.0 MP camera.

S5000_Hero_01.jpg

The IdeaTab S5000 is powered by a MediaTek 8389 SoC with a quad core CPU clocked at 1.2GHz and PowerVR™ Series5XT GPU, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage (expandable via microSD card), and a 3,450 mAh battery. The tablet is rated at 8 hours of continuous Wi-Fi web browsing or 6 hours of HD video playback. It has a OTG (On The Go) USB port allowing it to act as a host and connect to devices such as external storage. The S5000 can further be configured with HSPA+ 3G cellular connectivity.

The S5000 runs Android 4.2 and comes with Lenovo suite of customized smart apps for document and photo editing (among other things). The IdeaTab S5000 will be available in Q4 2013 for an as-yet-unannounced price.

Source: Lenovo

Google Rolls Out JSS15Q OTA Update To Fix GPS and Multi-Touch Issues

Subject: General Tech | August 25, 2013 - 07:26 PM |
Tagged: tablet, ota update, nexus 7, gps, google, Android

Google’s new Nexus 7 was released in July with updated hardware and Android 4.3. One of the changes to the platform was the switch from the original Nexus 7’s Tegra 3 processor for a quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC. Qualcomm also built the GPS (and GLONASS) unit. Unfortunately, some users ran into issues with the GPS and touchscreen on the updated Nexus 7 due to software bugs.

In response, Google is rolling out an Over The Air (OTA) update to all new Nexus 7 devices. Among other minor bug fixes, the JSS15Q update resolves the GPS and multi-touch issues. Previously, the GPS would randomly drop the connection and a smaller number of users reported that touching the screen would initiate screen presses at multiple (unintended) areas of the screen on a shared axis from the actual touch point.

Updated Google Nexus 7 Android Jelly Bean Tablet.jpg

AnandTech reports that the JSS15Q update, which is being slowly rolled out to all of the 2013 edition Nexus 7 devices, has resolved the GPS issue. The XDA Developers site further reports that the update addresses the mult-itouch and user data eMMC corruption bugs.

Nexus 7 users can either wait for the JSS15Q update or flash the device with an updated Google-provided  ROM.

Source: Anandtech

Dell Refreshes XPS 12 Convertible Ultrabook With Better Hardware

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | July 16, 2013 - 04:09 AM |
Tagged: xps 12 ultrabook, windows 8, ultrabook, tablet, dell

Dell has announced that within the next few weeks, it will be unleashing a refreshed version of the XPS 12 convertible ultrabook (tablet/notebook). Although the base price will be increased by $100, the refreshed tablet features Intel’s latest Fourth Generation Core “Haswell” processor, a NFC radio, and a larger battery.

Specifically, Dell will be releasing at least three new XPS 12 SKUs. The lowest-end refreshed model includes an Intel Core i5-4200U processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. This ultrabook/tablet SKU has an MSRP of $1,199 and is an update to the original base model with an MSRP of $1,099.

Dell XPS 12 Convertible Ultrabook.jpg

Dell's XPS 12 Convertible Ultrabook (Tablet)

Beyond the starter version, users can upgrade the CPU and memory to an Intel Core i5-4500U and 8GB of DDR3 for $200 more ($1,399 MSRP).

Finally, users can take the $1,399 model and upgrade the storage to a 512GB solid state drive (SSD). This version of the XPS 12 has a MSRP of $1,999.

Dell claims that the updated ultrabook has up to 1.6-times the performance and 2.5 hours more battery life (8 hours, 43 minutes) thanks to the move to Haswell CPUs and a larger 50Wh battery respectively.  Of course, the original XPS 12 used Ivy Bridge CPUs and 47Wh batteries. The new models have started shipping and will be available for purchase around the end of July.

Source: Dell
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Lenovo

Introduction and Design

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As headlines mount championing the supposed shift toward tablets for the average consumer, PC manufacturers continue to devise clever hybrid solutions to try and lure those who are on the fence toward more traditional machines.  Along with last year’s IdeaPad Yoga 13 and ThinkPad Twist, Lenovo shortly thereafter launched the smallest of the bunch, an 11.6” convertible tablet PC with a 5-point touch 720p IPS display.

Unlike its newer, more powerful counterpart, the Yoga 11S, it runs Windows RT and features an NVIDIA Tegra 3 Quad-Core system on a chip (SoC).  There are pros and cons to this configuration in contrast to the 11S.  For starters, the lower-voltage, fanless design of the 11 guarantees superior battery life (something which we’ll cover in detail in just a bit).  It’s also consequently (slightly) smaller and lighter than the 11S, which gains a hair on height and weighs around a quarter pound more.  But, as you’re probably aware, Windows RT also doesn’t qualify as a fully-functional version of Windows—and, in fact, the Yoga 11’s versatility is constrained by the relatively meager selection of apps available on the Windows Store.  The other obvious difference is architecture and chipset, where the Yoga 11’s phone- and tablet-grade ARM-based NVIDIA Tegra 3 is replaced on the 11S by Intel Core Ivy Bridge ULV processors.

But let’s forget about that for a moment.  What it all boils down to is that these two machines, while similar in terms of design, are different enough (both in terms of specs and price) to warrant a choice between them based on your intended use.  The IdeaPad Yoga 11 configuration we reviewed can currently be found for around $570 at retailers such as Amazon and Newegg.  In terms of its innards:

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If it looks an awful lot like the specs of your latest smartphone, that’s probably because it is.  The Yoga 11 banks on the fact that such ARM-based SoCs have become powerful enough to run a modern personal computer comfortably—and by combining the strengths of an efficient, low-power chipset with the body of a notebook, it reaps benefits from both categories.  Of course, there are trade-offs involved, starting with the 2 GB memory ceiling of the chipset and extending to the aforementioned limitations of Windows RT.  So the ultimate question is, once those trade-offs are considered, is the Yoga 11 still worth the investment?

Continue reading our review of the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 Tegra 3 notebook!!