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February 26, 2015
Apple has sent out invites for a "Spring Forward" event in San Francisco March 9 that is likely to cover its next wave of products. The headliner is likely to be the Apple Watch.
The timing of the Apple event is notable given that Mobile World Congress kicks off in Barcelona next week. Apple's event is timed to let the Android crowd show off its wares and then swoop in for a final say.
As for the specific product announcements for March 9, most observers are expecting more details on the Apple Watch. Estimates for initial units are all over the map. BMO Capital analyst Keith Bachman is expecting 19 million Apple Watch units to be sold in calendar 2015 with 10 million of those in the December quarter.
While the Apple Watch could be front and center, the company could also outline the plan for the iPad.
Market share for top two tablet vendors Apple and Samsung fell to 43 percent as total shipment volume growth slowed to 6.6 percent in 2014. According to two new Strategy Analytics’ Tablet & Touchscreen Strategies (TTS) reports, growth is likely to continue along this trajectory but leading tablet vendors cannot rely on inertia alone to hold market share while smaller players compete on price on the low end and innovative new form factors on the high end.
February 25, 2015
February 24th marks what would have been Steve Jobs’ 60th birthday. The late Apple co-founder died in 2011 after a long battle with cancer, and was instantly honoured as a “visionary” and the “father of the digital revolution”.
On the first anniversary of his death, Apple dedicated the home page of their website to Jobs, complete with a video tribute to the company’s former CEO.
Jobs was pivotal to a host of industries, and has been credited with revolutionising not only the computer, phone and tablet industries, but also music through iTunes, and even film through another company he co-founded; Pixar.
So, what sort of world would we be living in if the adopted son of Paul and Clara Jobs had never existed? Let’s take a look.
February 24, 2015
OneNote last week went completely free on the Mac and PC for consumers; OCR and handwriting recognition boost it in tight race
Eager to best Evernote and other smaller competitiors Microsoft had dropped hints in recent months that it would take the app fully free in the PC space. In March Microsoft launched a free variant of OneNote for Windows and OS X computers. That free app would be a key selling point of the 12-inch Surface Pro 3 hybrid laptop/tablet which aired last May.
New Features on the iPad -- OCR and Handwriting Support
Windows 10 cross-device apps will sway enterprise hardware decisions
If Windows 10 lives up to the hype, it will push enterprises toward adopting the next generation of Windows PCs and tablets.
The latest Windows operating system represents a major step toward an omnichannel, cross-device world. As long as you are playing in the Microsoft ecosystem, Windows 10 enables employees to work with documents in Office in a universal app format, allowing you to pick up where you left off seamlessly across devices. That sounds like a recipe for a strong user experience, but the new cross-device capabilities work best with the combination of a Windows PC, a Lumia phone and a Surface Pro 3 tablet, of course.
So what does this mean for the enterprise hardware market? Microsoft hopes that Windows 10 can nudge companies toward purchasing Surface tablets instead of cheaper PC and tablet alternatives from other vendors.
February 23, 2015
Movie-themed Oscars iPad Ad Shot on an iPad
Apple premiered its newest iPad commercial during the Oscars Sunday night, and the ad showing high school students filming movies with iPads was shot on an iPad , too. Martin Scorsese provided a voice over extolling the importance of exploring our creativity, and like Apple's other iPhone and iPad ads, was more about empowering users than touting device features.
The superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District has announced that the district is abandoning its much-ridiculed plan to supply a computer to every student, saying it is too expensive and describing the original vision as a “gimmick.”
“I don’t believe we can afford a device for every student,” superintendent Ramon Cortines said last Friday night, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Education shouldn’t become the gimmick of the year.”
Cortines also said that the plan was half-baked from the start, as the district never developed a fully-realized plan for how to use the devices in class, or pay for replacements over the long haul.
Going forward, he said, the district will instead follow a conservative plan of maintaining fewer computers and doling them out when needed for particular lessons or tests.
February 20, 2015
7 great uses for an old phone or tablet
Upgrading to a new gadget always feels like Christmas morning, but it also leaves you with an old smartphone or tablet taking up space. Usually, nothing is wrong with your old gadget. You just don't need it anymore.
Or do you? Before you decide to sell it or give it away, there are some very cool things you can do with it. You'll definitely want to give these a try.
1. Security camera
You don't need a complete security system just to watch a single room, closet, drawer or jewelry box. A single Internet-connected security camera can do the job, but why spend the money?
With a simple free app, you can transform your Android or Apple gadget into a motion-activated security camera that records images and alerts you when someone comes snooping. Check out Salient Eye (Android; free) or Manything (Apple; free). Then, click here to learn how to make them work and what to do if you need more security in your home.
3. Universal controller
Tired of juggling remotes for your TV, streaming box, Blu-ray player and more? You can turn your old gadget into a universal remote control for your entire home entertainment system.
Most new Internet-connected TVs, Blu-ray players and streaming video boxes have remote apps. Simply load the app on your gadget and you have complete control over Wi-Fi. For older gadgets, you can get an IR transmitter adapter like the Zmart Remote PRO or a Wireless-to-IR base station like the Logitech Harmony Hub.
If you have other Wi-Fi enabled appliances in the house, like smart light bulbs or thermostats, you can control those as well. And you don't have to stop at your entertainment system and appliances. An app like Remote Mouse (Android, Apple; free) lets you control your computer using your smartphone or tablet over your network.
February 19, 2015
A couple of weeks ago, Microsoft slashed $100 off the price of any new Surface Pro 3 -- except the base configuration. It also planned to end the deal on February 7.
Like all other Yoga tablets before it, Lenovo’s latest Yogas stand out from the crowd with their single, cylindrical edge and built-in kickstand. Neither tablet may have the most impressive spec sheet, but we’re fond of the astonishing battery life and outlandish design.
Its quirky, built-in kickstand is totally awesome
Lenovo’s Yoga tablets can never be lumped together with average Android slates, simply because their design is so unique. Instead of the standard, black, plastic, rectangle that other tablet makers are so fond of, Lenovo’s Yoga Tablet 2 features a cylindrical battery pack and a built-in kickstand on one side of the device. I found this design incredibly useful and refreshing. Typically, when you buy a tablet, you end up getting one of those cases that folds up like origami to make a stand for when you want to watch movies or type a message. Not so with the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 – This tablet has a kickstand right out of the box that can adjust to almost any angle you want and stay in place.
The 13-inch Pro version has a projector
There is a small 50-lumen projector built into the side of the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro (it shoots right out one of the ends of the cylinder). It’s a great addition that we had a lot of fun with, but ultimately stopped using after the novelty wore off. It can project well in dark rooms and even angles the image to the wall, so it isn’t distorted at angles, but we often had a tough time focusing it, and if anyone turned on the lights, you couldn’t see a thing. Finally, we often had to prop up the end of our tablet to get the screen to be straight on the wall. These are all minor issues and didn’t prevent us from having a good time, but because of them, it’s unlikely that you’ll use the projector on a regular basis. It’s a fun little emergency tool. And again, only for the 13-inch version.
Google is on an iPad app streak. Shortly after introducing a version of Google Play Music for iOS that works natively on Apple’s tablet, Google has done the same thing for Inbox by Gmail. Google’s new email app—designed to surface the most important messages and better organize the rest—first came to the iPhone in October.
The impact on you: The iPad version is once again a Material Design copy of what you get on Android and the iPhone, only bigger. The main part of the screen is taken up by your messages and bundled categories such as “Updates” and “Social.” The slideout drawer on the iPad has all the same menu options you see on other apps, including the Inbox view, snoozed messages, and bundle categories like travel, purchases, and finance.
Inbox is still an invite-only app. To try it out you either need to snag an invite from someone you know, or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org in the hopes of receiving one.
February 18, 2015
It's a brave new tablet-filled world, but it's not without new concerns. The thin confines of a tablet make worries about heat buildup all the more important—especially when that heat is literally in hand. Touch screens add a new opportunity for frustration when taps and touches won't register properly, and the opportunities offered by docks and accessories also open up the chance to misplace a valuable part of your PC while out and about—say what you will about tablets, but you'll never misplace your keyboard while using a laptop.
We've gone wading through the tablet swamp so you don't have to, testing and comparing dozens of tablet PCs to tell you what works and what doesn't. Here are our top 10 picks for Windows tablets. If you're not married to Windows, be sure to also check out our 10 best tablets overall, as well as tips on choosing the right tablet.
This week Microsoft has rolled out a new update to its iOS Office suite of applications enabling users of Apple smartphone and tablet devices to save the their Office documents into Apple’s iCloud storage service.
Offering accessibility to the documents across Mac and iOS systems, and even the ability to open them with Apple’s alternative apps such as Pages and Numbers.
The surprise update by Microsoft enabling it users to save to competitors cloud storage service rather than their own OneDrive cloud storage. Indicates that Microsoft is trying hard to help their Office suite of applications spread further a field rather than just its be used own Windows operating systems.
The new Office iCloud features works on devices running Apple’s iOS 8 mobile operating system and provides the ability to open, edit, and save your documents to iCloud.
“Now Word documents look better than ever on your tablet and phone. When you edit or create documents, you can be confident they will look exactly how you want across PC, Mac, tablet and phone. Word has the familiar Office look and feel along with an intuitive touch experience, so you’ll be up and running in no time. The core Word experience is free, including viewing, creating and editing documents. You can unlock the full Word experience with a qualifying Office 365 subscription.“
February 17, 2015
Toshiba excels with convertible Portege Z20t
It's a rare event, and a hopeful sign of progress, when a device turns up that fixes just about everything that was wrong with the versions that preceded it.
Sony managed it with its Xperia tablets, turning them from objects of derision into objects of desire, seemingly overnight. Microsoft did it with its Surface Pro 3 convertible PC, creating what was for us the surprise Gadget of the Year in 2014.
And now Toshiba has done it with its Portege Z20t convertible, turning something we badly wanted to break (the Z10t) into something we badly want to own, just by adding 10.
Or, at least, we would want to own a Z20t, if we didn't already have a Surface Pro 3. The Z20t is a convertible Windows tablet/notebook, just like the Surface Pro 3, so it would be greedy to own both of them. Though now that I think about it there's enough to separate the Portege from the Surface that one could find space in one's heart to want them both.
The Portege has more than double the battery life of the Surface, for instance. Almost triple, in fact, once you count the extra battery in its detachable keyboard. And it's got built into that keyboard an old-fashioned Ethernet port which could be of untold utility in a hotel, where the wired internet connection is often 10, 20 or even hundreds of times faster than the Wi-Fi internet connection
Apple is sending out invitations today for a special event, according to a February 16 report in T-GAAP, although the actual date is questionable. This special event is expected to occur on February 24. Coincidentally or not, February 24 is Steve Jobs' birthday.
Whatever the exact date, Apple is expected to use this February special event to review the Apple Watch and perhaps showcase additional Apple Watch features. Introduced in early September 2014, with Apple's new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the Apple Watch fuses software and hardware in a well-designed timepiece that is expected to disrupt the high-end watch market.
Around the time of Steve Jobs' death in October 2011, Jony Ive and his Apple designers saw that the “obvious and right place” for Apple's first wearable device was the wrist. If one imagines users reaching into their pockets to retrieve their iPhones to check the time or messages the way users reached into their pockets to extract their pocket watches 100 years ago, then it is logical to see the iPhone “migrate” to the wrist—the way that pocket watches did.
The Apple Watch is a convenient way to access the capabilities of the iPhone that is in a user's pocket. But besides checking email, notifications, reminders, messages and making calls, the Apple Watch also provides new, fast ways to communicate with taps and sketches. The Apple Watch is also an activity and fitness monitor that can act as a personal health trainer.
The next generation Samsung Galaxy Tab S may be providing specs that will trump its rival, the Apple iPad Air 2.
According to new reports, the next version of the popular Android tablet will come in two sizes and per SamMobile, the second-generation device will take design cues from the iPad maker, Apple.
Based on the site's sources, "Galaxy Tab S2 will be thinner than the Apple iPad Air 2. Continuing the trend of using premium materials in its high-end devices, Samsung will use a metal frame in the Galaxy Tab S2 to make it feel even more premium."
Fans can expect a two-model device, the smaller one clocking in at 8-inches and a larger version at 9.7-inches. Both are shrunken sizes compared to the Galaxy Tab S which were offered with an 8.4-inch variant and another 10.4-inch.
The publication notes that aside from the more petite size, the tablet -- going for a more "premium" look -- will be even thinner than Apple's slimmest tablet to date, the iPad Air 2 which measures just 6.1mm thick.
February 16, 2015
Dell Venue 10 and Venue 10 Pro Tablets Preannounced
Dell has given the world its first glimpse of two upcoming full-size tablets in its Venue line, even though these won’t be available for some weeks. The Dell Venue 10 and Dell Venue 10 Pro were included in an announcement of this company’s strategy for education, but most details on these models were left out. Still, some specs were revealed.
Both will feature a 10.1 inch display, but the screen resolution and operating system for these tablets will differ.
The Dell Venue 10 will run Android 5.0 Lollipop, the newest version of Google’s operating system for tablets and phones. It will have a 1280 x 800 (WXGA) screen, and is scheduled to be available at some point this spring. There has been no word on pricing.
The Venue 10 Pro, on the other hand, will have a 1920 x 1080 display, and run Windows 8.1. Dell says it will start at $329.99, and will be available in the U.S. and select countries starting March 3.
The UAG Surface Pro 3 case is available as Rogue (red) or Scout (black) for $69.50 and I was sent a Rogue one to test out. UAG makes attractive and functional smartphone and tablet cases that meet military drop-test standards. The Rogue and Scout meet MIL STD 810G 516.6 when the Microsoft Type Cover is attached.
The UAG Rogue for the Surface Pro 3 is a one piece case with impact resistant honeycomb-textured rubber material in the inside. Rigid rubber is used along the sides with each corner having extra thickness for corner drop protection.
There are openings for all of your ports, vents, and the camera with buttons for power and volume control. A rigid piece extends along the bottom with a cutout so you can actually use your Microsoft Type Cover without compromise. The Surface Pro 3 is optimized for the Type Cover so UAG developed a protective case that supports its use.
There is a small elastic lanyard in the upper right corner that you can use to flip over the corner of your Type Cover to help keep it closed on the display in the event of a drop.
Most of the cool technology of this case takes place on the back. Here you will find UAG's awesome Frogskin Technology back material, in red or black. This is a soft rubberized material that helps you grip your Surface Pro 3 even if it gets splashed and is wet. The typical UAG design screws and ridges are found on the back to provide added back protection.
Since the back of your Surface Pro 3 is now covered, the integrated kickstand cannot be used. UAG includes a beefy aluminum kickstand that provides five viewing angles. The angles work well for using the Surface Pro 3 and the keyboard so I doubt too many will miss all the available angles on the integrated kickstand.
February 13, 2015
Toshiba Portege Z20t: Expensive, but well worth the price
Toshiba's Portege Z20t, is dubbed a detachable ultraportable. What it means is that you can detach the screen (tablet half) from its keyboard dock, flip it around and slot it back into the dock. This presentation mode is offered by almost every hybrid device in some form or other.
The Portege can be used as a stand-alone tablet. The computing bits are all in the tablet half, though the ports are all micro-sized versions that require adaptors. Meanwhile, the keyboard dock has a secondary battery (with the same 36Wh capacity as the one on the tablet) and full-sized ports and connectors. When running on battery power, the tablet will run down the dock's battery first.
The dock also has a cable-lock port that secures both the tablet and the keyboard. So one cannot just walk up to the Portege, detach the tablet and get away scot-free.
The tablet weighs 730g, which is lighter than the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (800g). Both slates have 12-inch screens. Add the dock and the weight of the Portege roughly doubles to 1.51kg, which is typical for a high-end ultraportable.
Business users will find the touchscreen much to their liking. Firstly, it is matte, and so less reflective than a glossy one. This is important for those who work in well-lit offices.
Inside this hybrid is a new Intel Core M chip that should be capable enough for most business users. The low-power chip and the extra battery is likely the reason that this device lasted an incredible 13hr 15min in our battery-life test. By itself, the tablet should have more than six hours of up-time.
Apple offers free iWork for iCloud to all Windows users
Apple has opened the beta of its iWork for iCloud application suite to Windows-only users, letting people without an iOS device or OS X-powered Mac create an Apple ID needed to access the Web apps.
Apple in mid-2013 launched iWork for iCloud -- the browser-based versions of its productivity apps Pages, Numbers and Keynote -- requiring an Apple ID for access. Apple IDs are normally associated with an Apple-made device, such as an iPhone, iPad or Mac. Consumers who owned a Windows PC but also, say, an iPhone, had an Apple ID and thus were able to access iWork for iCloud.
Yesterday's change gave anyone, including those without a stake in the Apple ecosystem, access to iWork for iCloud.
February 12, 2015
Microsoft makes tablets that use digital pens and N-trig makes those pens. The Israeli company is the brains behind the stylus included with Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3. So perhaps the stories of Microsoft buying N-trig for $200 million are true.
Globes Online in N-trig’s home country reported the deal, which isn’t yet confirmed by either company. It makes sense on several levels though. Microsoft invested in N-trig previously, which has raised $130 million over the course of eight rounds, says Globes and honed its focus solely on digital pens. Financially, N-trig has been challenged of late, canceling a planned IPO and losing $117 million in the first half of 2014.
he pen revolution is really just beginning in the grand scheme of things. Microsoft investing more in it now seem appropriate, particularly as it builds its own pen-enabled devices. With an N-trig deal, Microsoft can better control the overall hardware and software experience, helping to make the pen a more standard part of computing.
February 11, 2015
The iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus were launched last year and these two are still being talked about by many who feel that they are the best smartphones ever from Apple. Gamers were also not left behind as they also got to test Xbox One from Microsoft as well as Sony PlayStation 4, with the latter managing to scoop the gadget of the year award. So, with the many devices that came out last year, what can we expect from these manufacturers this year, 2015?
Microsoft Surface Pro 4
Many have responded very well to the introduction of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and with the looming Surface Pro 4, even much better are expected, especially with the gadget expected to come with loads of new features, new hardware and software as well as additional functionality, considering the new release of Windows 10 by this company. If the rumors stand, enthusiasts of Microsoft products can expect to put their hands on this Surface Pro 4 gadget come the end of May 2015.
Handwriting Isn't Dead—Smart Pens and Styluses Are Saving It
the very technology that has put pen and paper on life support is now trying to save it.
Styluses, which used to be no match for our pudgy fingers, now work and feel more like real pens. And smart pens—ones that write on real paper—sync with our devices and the cloud better than ever. There’s even a hybrid product that combines both of those modern writing methods into one crazy package: Hewlett-Packard ’s brand new Pro Slate tablet with its magical Duet Pen.
“People who handwrite reframe the content, and understand it better. On a computer, they write it all down without thinking about it,” Pam Mueller, co-author of “The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard,” a 2014 study published in Psychological Science, told me.
February 10, 2015
Surface Pro 3 - Reinvent
How do you reinvent the laptop? Microsoft answers that question with the Surface Pro 3, the ultrathin, ultralight laptop with a pen, touchscreen and a detachable keyboard. The Surface Pro 3. The tablet that can replace your laptop.
Apple Pay Now Accepted By JetBlue
JetBlue Airways is the first major airline to approve the new Apple Pay for simplified in-air mobile payments
Apple Inc. Pay revolutionized mobile payments, making it easier and safer to pay for items or services. Apple customers with the iPhone 6 and / or the upcoming Watch can use this service to make transactions and protect their identity. Many stores already accept Apple Pay including Chevron Corporation ) DuaneReade, FootLocker, Macy’s, McDonald’s, Meijer, Nike Inc , Panera Bread, Subway, Walgreens, Wegman’s, Whole Foods and more. Now we can add JetBlue Airways to the list, as customers will be able to purchase food and other amenities during their flights.
As part of the Apple Pay rollout, over 3,500 JetBlue crewmembers will receive iPad Minis and NFC-enabled cases. Each iPad Mini will be pre-loaded with a custom iOS app called the Inflight Service Assistant.
February 9, 2015
Microsoft has gained a lot of new fans with its Surface Pro line, with last year's Microsoft Pro 3 being the most enthusiastically received among the range. Recently, there have been rumors that Microsoft is planning a major release for 2015, which will see not one, but two Surface Pro models.
Rumors claim that the new Surface Pro 4 will have the same 12-inch screen as its predecessor, however, other reports say that it will have a bigger display at 14 inches. Another persistent rumor is that Microsoft will release a smaller version of the Surface Pro 4 which will have a screen size of eight inches.
The Surface Pro 4 is expected to have an Intel Core M Broadwell processor, which is said to be more efficient, but less powerful than the Haswell Intel Core processor in the Surface Pro 3. According to AndroidOrigin, Intel claims that the Core M processor provides up to 30 percent reduction in energy consumption compared to the Haswell Intel Core processor, making the Surface Pro 4 significantly more environmentally friendly than other Surface Pro models. Moreover, the smaller Surface Pro 4 is said to have an Intel Atom 64-bit chipset. The Surface Pro 4 is also said to come with a stylus pen, and that it will also be a better version compared to the stylus that comes with the Surface Pro 3.
It is speculated that the Surface Pro 4 is going to be announced within the third quarter of this year and that it will arrive with the latest Windows 10 OS. The new operating system is expected to bring improvements to the device and will feature an updated UI design.
Dell, which recently launched the clumsily named Venue 8 7000 Series (I’m just going to call it the Venue 8). The $399 Venue 8 is part of a design renaissance at Dell (along with the new XPS 13 laptop), showcasing premium materials and killer displays. It also acts as a vehicle for some never-before-seen mobile technologies from Intel. There are really two things that matter with the Venue 8, and they're why anyone is spending time talking about it: its design and its camera array.
Flip the Venue 8 over and you find not one, but three camera sensors. They work together to form a depth-sensing array, much like the DuoLens camera on HTC’s One M8 smartphone. The main, 8-megapixel sensor takes the actual photos, while the dual 720p cameras can measure distance and determine depth information. That lets you do things like artificially blur the background or isolate your subject with color while making the rest of the photo black and white. The Venue 8 can even act as a digital tape measurer, telling you how tall certain objects in the frame are. But unsurprisingly, all of these tricks require ideal lighting conditions, and don’t work well in the dimly lit rooms where so many pictures are actually taken. You wouldn’t want to use the Venue 8 to draw the blueprints for your next home, that’s for sure. The special camera array may actually be the whole reason Intel and Dell built this tablet, but it’s not a reason for you to buy one.
Despite its premium materials and compact size, which make the Dell look stunning at first glance, the quirks in the Venue 8’s design make it awkward to use in many situations. The rear cameras are easily obscured by my fingers when I hold the tablet in portrait or landscape orientations, leading to a lot of shots with a finger in the frame. The low position of the front camera lends to up-the-nose selfies and video chats, and it too is easily blocked if I hold the tablet with my left hand. And while the front-facing speakers are loud, clear, and much better than side- or rear-mounted speakers, the stereo spread only makes sense when the tablet is in portrait orientation. Turn the tablet on its side to watch a movie or play a game, and suddenly the left channel is below and the right channel is on top. Dell would have done better to just use a single speaker here, instead of trying to work in a stereo configuration.
Still, despite its ergonomic challenges, the Venue 8 offers better build quality and materials than virtually every other Android tablet. I shouldn’t have to praise a tablet for being "well-built," but thanks to the flimsy build and boring design of so many Android tablets I’ve used, it’s a win for the Dell.
February 6, 2015
Microsoftshipped over 2 million Surface tablets in the fourth quarter, according to a report from market researcher Canalys.
That number includes Surface RT tablets, which are reportedly being phased out.
Canalys is one of the few research firms to publicize shipment numbers on Microsoft’s Surface.
“Microsoft’s own-branded devices accounted for just over a third of worldwide shipments of Windows tablets as Surface Pro 3 sales continued to gain momentum,” Canalys said.
Surface Pro 3 appears to be a relative success — at least by Microsoft and Window tablet market standards.
“I think they got it right with the third generation,” said Canalys analyst Chris Jones in a phone interview. “It’s taken some time to resonate with consumers but [Microsoft] keeps pushing and pushing [the marketing],” he added.
The Pro 3 is sold as a tablet but a proprietary Microsoft keyboard — sold separately — is an essential part of the package.
It started as an offhand brag, but turned into a dare. I was telling my Gizmodo colleagues why I loved my Windows 8 tablet: it's fast, it's cheap, it's a fully fledged PC. Hell, I said, I could probably hook it up to a monitor and use it as my workhorse for a week.
Now I'm doing just that. It's not as bad as you'd think.
Before we get into this, let me tell you what I'm not talking about: the $800+ Microsoft Surface Pro. That's a fine tablet, but my device of choice is a $300 Dell Venue. The Venue 8 Pro is one of half a dozen cheap slates that punch well above their price tag. In fact, that's exactly why I bought it—Windows 8.1 loads web pages faster than my similarly priced Android tablet ever did. It's a real PC. So this dare is totally going to work out in my favor... right?
My quest was almost over before it began: the Venue 8 Pro has only one tiny micro USB port, and I quickly learned that it refuses to charge the tablet if you plug literally anything else in. My keyboard, mouse and DisplayLink monitor adapter all forced the tablet to use its battery instead. It doesn't matter how capable the slate's little Intel Atom processor is—if I couldn't get it to last through a work day, I'd lost the dare. So, I did what anyone would do: I asked Google. And Google pointed me to an entire community of people trying to find an answer.
Buried deep within the "Dell Venue 8 Pro Owners Lounge" on the TabletPCReview forums, I found answers: some users had modified their USB hubs to trick the port into accepting both power and data connections. (Others gave up, opting for wireless keyboards and Miracast monitors instead.) And one particularly enterprising group actually designed and Kickstarted a purpose-built hub just to get their tablets to become makeshift desktops.
February 5, 2015
The final nail in Windows RT's coffin
Microsoft was the last maker of Windows RT tablets. But with the retirement of the Nokia Lumia 2520, nobody is left to prop Windows RT up, and that's just fine.
The workplace is changing dramatically, with more and more workers being disbursed outside of the office. The office isn't going away, so what are the best ways to collaborate? Microsoft just announced a new hardware product called Surface Hub that tries to attack the problems.
The Surface Hub surprised me and others when Microsoft announced it alongside their major Windows 10 event that I attended last month, but it isn't totally out of left field. The Surface Hub is designed to be Microsoft's premier hardware solution for the future of live, collaborative work, combining customized hardware, Windows 10 and new collaboration apps. The Surface Hub also highlights Microsoft's continued intentions to be in hardware and just how serious they are about fighting the battle for the conference room against Google, Cisco and Polycom.
Surface Hub Details
The Microsoft Surface Hub comes in two flavors, a 55-inch 1080p version as well as an 84-inch 4K model, both of which feature very high refresh rate 120Hz displays for zero lag writing. The Surface Hub's display is optically bounded for extra clarity and supports up to 100 simultaneous touch points. This would mean that five people could theoretically share a single Surface Hub and have every finger be recognized on it at the same time. This is a vast improvement over the original Surface table which only supported 50 simultaneous touch points and was in a table form factor rather than a TV- or Whiteboard-like environment.
The Surface Hub also supports up to three pens simultaneously, meaning that you could have up to three different people drawing on the same board while also having others touching with their fingers. This support for multiple pens really makes collaboration and white board brainstorming type sessions possible. When I used Surface Hub at the Microsoft event two weeks ago, the writing was the best experience I've used with a pen. There was absolutely no lag even when two other people were writing at the same time. That's hard to do.
It also features two wide-angle 1080p cameras for videoconferencing and a very high quality microphone array in order to capture audio effectively and clearly. It also has support for plugging in external devices including HDMI, USB, Bluetooth, Miracast and NFC connectivity. All of this is powered by an Intel 4th Generation Core i5 processor, giving it the performance it needs to run smoothly in any situation.
February 4, 2015
The new touch-friendly versions of the Microsoft Office apps have arrived. Microsoft rolled out preview versions of its Word, Excel and Powerpoint apps for Windows 10 Wednesday.
The free apps are available to anyone who has installed the latest version of the Windows 10 technical preview on their laptop, tablet or PC.
The universal apps, designed with touch in mind, aim to provide the same functionality to all users regardless of what device they are on. In Microsoft Word, for example, users are able to create or edit a document on their phone or tablet and pick up where they left off on their PC.
When Windows 10 ships later this year, the Microsoft Office suite will come pre-installed on all Windows Phones and tablets. Microsoft is also working on an Office 2016 suite for PC users without touchscreens, which Microsoft says will be available later this year.
Best new tablets 2015: Nokia N1
Expected launch date: February
This one's a definite: having sold off its Lumia brand of smartphones to Microsoft, Nokia is shifting focus to tablets. The N1 may be another Android tablet to add to the already huge list, but Nokia's innovative Z Launcher certainly adds more value to the package.
Another bonus is the expected sub-£200 price, which isn't bad considering the specs: it will be a lot cheaper than the iPad mini with which it shares quite a few on-paper specs.
Best new tablets 2015: Microsoft Surface Pro 4 / Surface Mini
Expected launch date: May
Having make some crazy decisions such as putting Windows RT on the original Surface tablet, Microsoft came good with 2014's Surface Pro 3. Will the company launch another 2-in-1 hybrid device? There are no guarantees, but with Windows 10 due to be released in 2015 and knowing that Microsoft wants to put it on as many devices as possible it's likely there will be a new surface this year.
Quite obviously, the Surface Pro 4 would use the latest Intel chip, probably Broadwell, which could improve both performance and battery life.
The current rumours are that there will be two new screen sizes: 8- and 14inches, which would mean a Surface Pro Mini would join the ranks. Let's just hope that Windows 10's tablet interface is a big step up from Windows 8's.
Best new tablets 2015: Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
Expected launch date: July
Sooner or later, Samsung will launch new tablets in 2015. The Tab S impressed us back in June 2014, and the firm is sure to update the two models - potentially keeping the same 8.4 and 10.5-inch screen sizes.
Since the original models had 32-bit processors, the most obvious upgrade will be to 64-bit chips. They'll also run Android Lollipop, just like virtually every other Android device which will launch in 2015.
Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus 2
Livescribe 3 smartpen
February 3, 2015
-Motion Computing® today unveiled two powerful new tablet PCs – purpose-built for the needs of utility, oil and gas, mining, manufacturing, public safety, and healthcare workforces. Within its iconic chassis design, Motion has packed in critical upgrades to connectivity, processing power, security, and image capture technology. The new F5m and C5m rugged Windows®-based tablets make field workers more productive by increasing efficiency, helping to reduce data capture errors and improving real-time communication capability resulting in better decision making and labor cost savings.
Designed to deliver connectivity when it matters most, the F5m and C5m Tablets include new ultra-high speed 4G XLTE broadband radios that equip mobile workers with twice the bandwidth to boost productivity capabilities in the field. In combination with the tablets’ integrated 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology for local access network connectivity, the devices’ mobile broadband solution ensures reliable voice and data support in both high-traffic urban locales and remote job sites.
Motion has also given the F5m and C5m series a significant upgrade that delivers high-end, lasting processing power. The addition of 5th Gen Intel® Core™ processors (Broadwell-U 2+3), including the highest performing i7 vPro™ chipset, provides the power to quickly move through computation-intensive applications, while increasing overall power efficiency. Paired with the ability to hot-swap the battery in the field, the F5m and C5m series tablets give you the power you need to stay productive for the duration of the job.
The tablet market has, since 2010, been soaring. But new data shows that things aren't so rosy any longer.
Total worldwide shipments of tablets and so-called 2-in-1 devices (hybrids of laptops and tablets) during the fourth quarter of 2014 hit 76.1 million units, declining by 3.2 percent compared to the 78.6 million tablets that headed to store shelves in the fourth quarter of 2013, IDC reported Monday. This was the first time that tablet shipments have declined since a wave of devices, including Apple's iPad, ignited the market in 2010, IDC said.
Nearly all of the major tablet vendors had a disappointing fourth quarter. While the iPad was the market leader in the fourth quarter with 21.4 million units shipped, that was down 17.8 percent compared with the year-earlier period. Second-place company Samsung, which offers a host of devices, including its Galaxy Tab line, saw shipments decline by 18.4 percent to 11 million units. Amazon suffered the worst year-over-year decline, with Kindle Fire units tumbling 70 percent to 1.7 million units shipped.
Lenovo was the only company in the top five to actually have a stronger fourth quarter as shipments rose 9.1 percent year over year to 3.7 million units. (The other member of the top five, Asus, saw shipments decline 25 percent.)
February 2, 2015
Congratulations to the 2015 Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots