Hands-on With a Giant Smartphone - or Small Tablet - The Samsung Galaxy Note

Subject: Mobile | January 10, 2012 - 09:04 PM |
Tagged: tablet, Samsung, mobile phone, galaxy, CES

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One of the more unusual products debuted by a major manufacturer this CES has to be the Samsung Galaxy Note. It’s a 5.3” device that runs Android 2.3 with the Samsung TouchWiz interface.

The Note is unusual because of its size. The 5” to 7” range is a bit of a no man’s land in the world of mobile devices. Such products are considered too small to be a real tablet, but also too large to be a decent phone. Though there have been attempts to enter products in this range, they haven’t sold in huge numbers.

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Apparently, Samsung thinks the market is worth some serious effort. They’re making a big deal of this device – to my eye, it looked as if there were more of these available on the show floor than any product the company offers. And as if to drive the point home, the CES bus I took back from the convention center today – like most of the buses at CES – was wrapped in Samsung Galaxy Note advertisements.

So what’s it like? Well, it’s like a big phone. Or a small tablet. Since it runs Android 2.3 and uses TouchWiz, the interface is basically identical to the rest of Samsung’s massive line of Android phones. Plastic is the material of choice in the construction of the chassis, which doesn’t lend the product a premium feel. 

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It does make the Samsung Galaxy Note light, however. Official numbers put it at 178g (about .4 pounds) which is less than half the weight of your typical 7” tablet.  The thickness of 9.25mm (about .4 inches) doesn’t seem outstanding, but the curved rear cover helps reduce perceived thickness. 

Samsung is known for its mobile displays, and the Note doesn’t disappoint. It uses a Samsung AMOLED with a resolution of 1280x800. This allows the small Note to offer as many or more usable pixels then much larger tablets, and it also contributes to an extremely sharp image. Unfortunately there wasn’t streaming video available to view at the time I used the device, but games look excellent. Maximum display brightness was high, as well. 

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Like the ASUS MeMO, the Note includes a stylus. Useful? Not so far as I can tell. Sure, it does a fine job of accepting handwriting, but I have a hard time seeing this smaller device used as an electronic notepad. Is there really an audience for that outside of some enterprise environments? 

Inside there is a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor as well as 1GB of memory and 16 or 32 gigabytes of internal storage. In my use the device felt smooth, but no more so than most other high-end smartphones I looked at both during CES and before.

The Note is equipped for use with cellular networks including HSPA, 4G LTE and EDGE. North American availability will come via AT&T. Pricing is not announced - $199 is of course typical for high-end handsets, but Samsungs have gone for higher prices before. The $249 to $299 price range (with contract) seems more likely.

Will the Note be a success? Perhaps. Samsung has already sold over a million units in Europe, where the Note was introduced late last year. However, the Note so far is planned to ship in North America without Ice Cream Sandwich support built in (an upgrade will bring it, but there’s no release date). That could be a major knock against the Note. Availability will be in spring, so we’ll soon find out the Note’s fate.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Samsung

Panasonic Launches Ruggedized ToughPad A1 and B1 Tablets

Subject: Mobile | January 10, 2012 - 08:52 PM |
Tagged: toughpad, tablet, ruggedized, Panasonic, mobile, CES, Android

Panasonic dropped a new tablet on us at CES. Literally, they dropped the tablet on stage to show just how tough their new ruggedized ToughPad really is. The A1 and B1 ToughPad tablets are Android powered 10" and 7" tablets rated to be dust and water resistant. Both tablets are MIL-STD-810G and IP65 rated and ready to perform in very extreme work environments.

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The ToughPad A1 is Panasonic's 10" Android tablet and brings some decent hardware to bear. On the outside, the ruggedized exterior and rubberized edges absorb shock and keep dust and water out. The front of the tablet includes a 10" multi-touch display with a resolution of 1024 x 768 and 500 nit brightness. The touchscreen can be used by either finger gestures or an included digitizer. Further, the front of the tablet houses a 2 megapixel front camera as well as microphone, ambient light, accelerometer, and digital compass sensors. The tablet internals include a 1.2 GHz Marvell dual core processor, 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal memory, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR, and optional 3G or 4G modems. A lithium Ion battery rated at 7.4 volts, 4690 mAh is also nestled inside. A microSDHC card slot, micro USB 2.0, and micro-HDMI connector as well as a stylus holder are also present. The device runs Android 3.2 and supports TPM chips and hardware encryption. It weighs 2.1 pounds (the price of going rugged, I suppose) and has an MSRP of $1200 USD.

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The B1 model is the 7" version and will be available in the fall. Exact specifications on this model are not yet known; however, expect it to follow closely in line with it's bigger sibling's dual core processor, 1 GB of RAM, ruggedized exterior, and hefty price tag.

Unfortunately, all I can think about when looking at this tablet is how the heck Panasonic expects to sell this for $1200 bucks. This is definitely not a consumer tablet and moreso something businesses will invest in for workers in harsh (to electronics anyway) environments.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Fujitsu Launches New Arrows Line Of Tablets and Smartphones

Subject: Mobile | January 9, 2012 - 10:39 PM |
Tagged: tablet, smarphone, Japan, fujitsu, CES

Fujitsu showed off a new line of tablet and smartphones at this year's CES 2012. Known as the ARROWS series, the devices are thin, lightweight, run Android 2.3, and more interestingly are waterproof. Currently, the ARROWS series consists of the ES IS12F smartphone and Arrows tablet.

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The Arrows ES IS12F smartphone is an Android 2.3 device measuring 64 x 127 x 6.7mm, and weights 105 grams. The phone features a 4 inch AMOLED touchscreen display with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels and a 1.4 GHz Qualcomm MSM8655 Snapdragon processor. Further, the smartphone includes a 5.11 megapixel camera with CMOS sensor, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. The software includes the ability to transfer data between the phone and computer using a Wi-Fi network. Corning Gorilla Glass and being water resistance are also features. The water resistance falls under the IPX5/8 designation, which means that the phone is able to function up to a depth of 1.5 meters in tap water for 30 minutes and/or sprayed with water from a nozzle "with a diameter of 6.3mm at a rate of 12.5 liters per minute from a distance of 3 meters for 3 minutes." The smartphone is currently available in Japan in glossy black or red colors. More specifically, the phones will be available in Japan starting January 7th from KDDI Corporation and Okinawa Cellular Telephone Company.

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Meanwhile, the Arrows tablet is a 10" Android machine that the company is currently selling in Japan and is "definitely working" with US suppliers to bring it to the United States. This tablet is waterproof just like their Arrows smartphone, and both Tom's Hardware and Tekzilla noted that it was fully functional after being submerged in a fish tank. Further, the Arrows tablet is powered by a 1 GHz (likely Qualcomm Snapdragon) dual core processor, 16 GB of memory, the Android 3.2 operating system, and a 10" screen with 1280 x 800 resolution. Tom's notes that, while it is not going to overthrow the iPad it is lightweight and a solid performer. Depending on price, it could sell quite well in the states. Unfortunately, there is no word yet on pricing or when it will be available in the US. Tekzilla managed to catch a video of the tablet being submerged, which you can see below.

Waterproofing is a useful feature for sure if you are prone to bad luck like me, but more importantly will be pricing. If these devices are priced right they could certainly sell well but they will need to be priced very competitively to catch on.
 

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Fujitsu

NVIDIA Shows Tegra DirectTouch and $249 ASUS Tegra 3 Tablet

Subject: Mobile | January 9, 2012 - 09:26 PM |
Tagged: tegra 3, tablet, nvidia, mobile, CES

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Much of today’s NVIDIA CES conference focused on small milestones, including the implementation of apps and new app features. The company showed multiplayer LAN gaming, easy access to your PC’s desktop via an app called Splashtop, and highlighted the NVIDIA Tegra Zone curated gaming app store. All of this is interesting – but not new 

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There were a couple tricks up the green team’s sleeves, however. One is a new feature for use with Tegra 3 processors called DirectTouch. This allows the fifth low-power hardware core on Tegra 3 to act as a touchscreen controller. Usually an independent piece of hardware performs this task, and it’s much slower than the low-power Tegra 3 core. As a result, touchscreen sampling speed can be increased by up to three times – allegedly resulting in a smoother touch experience. We’ve yet to see how it pans out in execution, but the idea is promising.

Another interesting piece of tech that will be made available by Tegra 3 is called PRISM. It attempts to compensate for the image fidelity reduction that occurs when a mobile device is used with its display at a low brightness setting.

Availability for both of these features is not yet clear. 

The remaining big announcements came via ASUS. First was the decision to release Ice Cream Sandwich on the Prime today, January 9th.  As of the time of this writing it should be available for download via the built-in OS update functionality of Honeycomb. 

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Second was an ASUS 7” tablet featuring ICS, Tegra 3 and a low $249 price point. Oddly, the tablet was not named at the conference, but it appears to be the ASUS Eee Pad MeMO 370T. To clarify earlier information, the MeMO 171 is the version with a Qualcomm processor, stylus and cellular networking support, while the MeMO 370T offers Tegra 3.

The reasons for being excited about a $249 Tegra 3 tablet are obvious. That’s the same as a Nook Color and not much more than a Kindle Fire – both of which run far older versions of Android (Gingerbread) and use older dual-core OMAP processors.

Last, and unfortunately least, was a demonstration of Windows 8 on a Tegra 3 reference platform. While Microsoft’s new OS looks very sleek on the device, nothing new was announced, nor were new features introduced. It seems we’ll have to wait awhile longer to see products pairing Tegra 3 and Windows 8.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Hands-On with the ASUS Eee Pad MeMO 171 Tablet

Subject: Mobile | January 9, 2012 - 03:33 PM |
Tagged: tablet, memo, eee pad, CES, asus

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We already reported on the announcement of the MeMO, but today we had the chance to go hands-on with the device. You’d expect it to be nothing more than a 7” version of the Prime – but you’d be wrong. The MeMO, as the name implies, is designed to enable easy use as a note-taking device.  As such it includes somewhat large bezels on the right and left (when held in landscape mode) to provide an easy grip. There’s also a stylus. Yes, that’s right – a stylus. It may seem old-fashioned, but it works with bundled software to make hand writing simple. 

You don’t have to rely on the stylus, however. Choose to ignore it and you have an attractive 7” Android tablet. Though the version we looked at was running Honeycomb, ASUS plans to ship MeMO tablets with Ice Cream Sandwich. We also had the opportunity to use a Prime running ICS after we checked out the MeMO, and though we could not run benchmarks, first impressions told us that web browsing in ICS is much snappier even when the same hardware is available.

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Unlike other 7” tablets, the MeMO 171 isn’t asking users to sacrifice resolution to obtain a smaller size. The MeMO is to ship with a 1280x800 display, the same resolution as the current Transformer Prime.  It’s also bestowed with an IPS display. This gives the tablet a substantial hardware advantage over the small tablet competition we’ve seen so far.

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Speaking of hardware advantages, the MeMO 171 is powered by a dual-core Qualcomm 1.2 GHz processor. The reason for this is compatibility with mobile carriers. We were told that the Qualcomm version will be usable as a mobile phone (though ASUS is still working with North American carriers – none are planning to offer offical MeMO support yet). 

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Because sticking 7” tablet to your face would be a bit ridiculous there will also be a small handset and media control that can be paired with the tablet. ASUS did not have a functional version to display, however – perhaps indicating that the kinks aren’t worked out just yet.

Overall, the MeMO looks like a promising tablet. It is sleek, fast and small. However, pricing is not yet available. I’m hoping for $299 to $349. While this is in essence a smaller version of the Prime, it is packing a stylus and potential mobile network support – things that can really ramp up a device’s price. 

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: ASUS

CES 2012: ASUS Eee Pad MeMO ME370T 7-in Tablet with IPS Screen, Stylus

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2012 - 09:32 AM |
Tagged: tablet, stylus, memo, ME370T, eee pad, CES, asus

ASUS is hitting on all cylinders today and is announcing the new 7-in tablet called the Eee Pad MeMO ME370T.  The company claims the device has "an emphasis on entertainment, media and light productivity" and with an IPS display and both capacitive and included-stylus touchscreen, the MeMO is a very unique product in the US market.

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The hardware of the MeMO includes a 1280x800 resolution, dual-core Qualcomm 8260 1.2 GHz processor and 1GB of memory.  I am kind of intrigued that they didn't use any currently available NVIDIA Tegra SoC on this though I won't speculate on why just yet.  

It will be available in both 16GB and 32GB storage capacities and has 802.11n, Bluetooth 2.1 and dual cameras for the front and back of the device; 1.2 MP front, 5.0 MP back.  The unit will have a micro USB port, an audio jack that can be used for either output or input, Micro-SD memory card slot and micro-HDMI as well.  Apparently a SIM card slot is included as well though I am not sure how that will work in the US market.

Coming in at under 1 pound, the MeMO is very light.

The Eee Pad MeMO will ship with Android 4.01 aka Ice Cream Sandwich when it is available in Q2 of 2012. 

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Toshiba unveils plans for world’s thinnest 10-inch tablet at CES

Subject: Mobile | January 9, 2012 - 06:28 AM |
Tagged: toshiba, tablet, CES, Android

Last year, Toshiba unveiled their first offering into the mobile tablet frenzy with the 10.1-inch Thrive, which was moderately successful by many people's standards because of its unique form factor that included an HDMI port, USB port, and full SD slot. New information has been trickling in about their latest Excite X10 tablet, which is being touted by Toshiba as the "world's thinnest 10.1 tablet".

 

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Courtesy of Toshiba

The Excite X10 is being released at this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and the specs are somewhat unusual with the inclusion of a Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 1.2GHz dual-core processor versus other multi-core offerings from NVIDIA or Qualcomm. The Excite X10 is just 0.3 inches (7.7mm) thin and weighs a little more than a pound (1.18 lbs) and includes micro-USB and HDMI ports, a micro-SD slot, and wifi and bluetooth connectivity. They also added a 1280x800 resolution display that showcases a scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass display with an anti-smudge coating. There are also 2MB front and 5MB back cameras (with flash) for photos and 1080p video recording and conferencing.

The Excite X10 tablet will be available in the first quarter of this year for $529.99 for the 16GB model and $599.99 for the 32GB model.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Toshiba

CES 2012: One Laptop per Child -- but get a tablet too!

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2012 - 10:19 PM |
Tagged: tablet, OLPC, CES 2012, CES

While tablets are so CES 2011, that does not stop that segment of consumer products from having a large showing at CES this year. You might consider them be a year too slate to the party, but that would have too many layers of pun-laden irony. One Laptop per Child Association (OLPCA) and OLPC Foundation (OLPCF) are non-profit organizations responsible for the popular One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project. OLPC is responsible for highly affordable laptops aimed at the education of youth with a particular focus on developing countries. OLPC’s XO-3 is the project’s latest announced product and their attempt at an educational tablet.

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Just a touch of Sugar…

Photo Credit: The Verge

Joanna Stern from The Verge conducted an interview with Ed McNierney, CTO of OLPC, to examine the product. While the specific system internals is not precisely known apart from their use of an ARM-based processor backed with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of permanent storage, there are two noteworthy comments regarding their ports. Firstly, while the power adapter is apparently a custom design, it is done in such a way that permits voltages between 10 and 25 volts; specifically, the OLPC is very apathetic when it comes to the purity of the inbound power and can even be charged by OLPC’s hand-crank generator. The other point-of-note for the XO-3 regards its audio jack: it is designed to be extensible to various non-auditory input devices such as a thermometer. This is not a tablet that you should be expecting under your tree both because it is not your typical consumer tablet as well as it not having a set release date -- and why do you still have gifts under your tree in January anyway? When the tablet does launch, it is expected to come along with a price-tag below $100.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: The Verge

Asus Hints at Future Products and CES Announcements

Subject: Mobile | January 7, 2012 - 11:30 AM |
Tagged: windows 8, transformer prime, tablet, eee memo pad, CES, asus, arm

CES isn't until next week, but many companies are talking product announcements beforehand. According to Engadget, a spokesperson at a company event in Taipei promises several mobile devices from ASUS that are coming out this year (some of which may make an appearance at CES).

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Among the promises devices, Asus hinted at a version of the Transformer Prime with a 3G modem and possibly an improved AGPS chip. Be sure to check out our review of the Transformer Prime to get an idea of what you are looking at for the new version (though obviously minus the 3G). Further, the Eee Memo Pad, a 7" tablet running Android and used primarily in a vertical orientation (judging from where the ports are located). It packs a 1.2 GHz dual core Snapdragon ARM based processor, 3G and WiFi, up to 64 GB of internal storage, and a resolution of 1280x800.

Finally, although not quite ready in time for CES (or will it be?), Asus is committed to bringing an ARM powered Windows 8 tablet to the market. Allegedly, the new Windows 8 device will resemble the physical dimensions and look of the current Transformer Prime and will be released towards the end of this year. It will be interesting to see how the quad core Tegra chip handles Windows 8.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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Source: Engadget
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction, Design and Ergonomics

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The original ASUS Eee Pad Transformer was a bit of an upset in the tablet market. Before its launch, there was no particular reason to believe that ASUS would be able to provide a better product than any of the many other PC manufacturers entering the Android tablet fray. Sure, I like most of the ASUS products that I’ve been able to review, and I believe they have some good engineers. But they also had no experience beyond a few Windows tablets and convertible tablets. 


Yet they were successful. At the time I called the Transformer "the best Android tablet on the market today” and gave it with a Gold Award. Consumers apparently agreed, as it flew off shelves with such speed that ASUS has decided to debut a follow-up only half a year after the original hit the market.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS Transformer Prime tablet!!