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July 30, 2015
The wait for Windows 10 is over. You can upgrade your tablet from Windows 8.1 to the newest version of Microsoft’s iconic operating system right now. But should you?
Microsoft is making this a free upgrade for everyone who has a computer running Windows 8 or Windows 7, as long as the new version is installed some time in the next year. So millions of users Microsoft, Dell, and Lenovo tablets are asking themselves, is now the right time to make the move?
The right answer for you depends on what you use your tablet for. Are you a casual user, who primary uses this device for accessing the Internet? Or are you a hardcore user to whom your tablet is productivity tool you use daily?
Casual Tablet Users
For many, their Windows tablet is a convenient way to check their email, access the Web, catch up on Facebook, and maybe pay a game or two. They don’t use Office on this computer, and probably don’t have an external keyboard for it. If this sounds like you, you probably should hold off upgrading your device for a few months… just not forever because Windows 10 has some great new features.
Windows 10 isn’t just a combination of versions 7 and 8; it brings some new features to the table as well. Among the most notable is Virtual Desktops. With this feature, you can have one desktop with your personal email and Facebook open and arranged just as you like them, and also have a second desktop with Word, Excel, and Outlook open and nicely arranged. Switching between the two requires just a single key combination. There can be as many virtual desktops and open applications as your hardware is capable of handling.
Apple develops tablet stylus to simulate textures of on-screen objects
Apple is working on a stylus which can simulate the feeling of writing and drawing on a range of different surfaces and textures. The stylus could be used for the widely rumoured iPad Pro tablet, due later this year to compete with the Microsoft Surface.
Despite Steve Jobs once saying no one wants to use styluses, Apple has shown increasing interest in developing such a tool for use with a new generation of iPad. The latest patent application, filed in January and published on 20 July, details how a stylus would use complex haptic feedback to make the user feel like they are drawing on a range of different surfaces.
This has the potential to make sketching on the glass screen of a future iPad feel more like drawing on a sheet of paper. Apple refers to the technology as a "touch implement with haptic feedback for simulating surface texture," and explains how feedback felt through the stylus will change as the user drags it over different parts of the screen.
July 29, 2015
I've had a couple weeks of hands-on time with the final release of Windows 10. I say "final," but Microsoft is taking a new strategy of "Windows as a service" and constant updates with Windows 10. This just means that there really is no such thing as final code. Improvements and patches can roll out at any time. In fact, there's no more Patch Tuesday with Windows 10, and for most people automatic updates will be switched on by default, which has caused some consternation, but seems like a good thing as far as security goes.
The bottom line is this: If you're running Windows 7 or 8.x on a desktop, laptop, or convertible laptop, you'll want Windows 10. Tablet users may want to hold off a while, as Windows 8.1 still will suit them better in some ways. You see, while Windows 8 was the OS where Microsoft made tablet use a priority, Windows 10 favors laptop and desktop users.
Windows 10 is finally here, and it's apparent that Microsoft has been hard at work taking the best features from Windows 7 and 8, while weeding out some of the not-so popular ones.
Unfortunately, as it is with every new operating system upgrade, there's a bit of learning curve involved when it comes to mastering Windows 10. In order to help you get up to speed, we've detailed some tips and tricks worth knowing.
We plan to update this piece over time as more bits are discovered, so keep tuning in.
Start button and Metro integration
One of the first things you'll notice about Windows 10 is that the "Metro" interface is gone. Although, not completely.
The action center (accessible under the icon in the bottom right of the task bar) serves as a hub for quite a few settings and features. Most notably - the list of actions that require your attention. You'll see updates for various apps here.
OneNote is quickly accessable here, and it reminds you that all notes are saved automatically. Settings and VPN settings can be accessed from here, as well as the Quiet Hours tile (presumably to use while you're reading or watching a video, as it will prevent any notification popups while active).
Including a digital assistant directly into Windows is new territory for Microsoft, but Cortana may become central to your daily use. Cortana is present right in the task bar, and can be used to search by saying "Hey, Cortana" when you enable the setting (also, it only works if you have a microphone).
Windows 10 Home vs Pro comparison
Windows 10 Home vs Windows 10 Pro: Which version am I entitled to?
Windows 10 is shaping up to be a very impressive and useful operating system that brings back the familiar feel of Windows 7, while adding several new, modern features. The Home edition will suffice for the vast majority of users who just want to browse the web, do a little work, and manage their media files. There’s certainly a few benefits for the Pro version, with its focus on security and compatibility, but of course the value of these features will come down to whether you actually intend to use them or not.
For all packages Windows Media Centre will be removed, as Microsoft seems to see it as superfluous to the future of Windows, and you’ll also need to download third-party software if you want to watch DVDs on your machine. For a list of other features that will be retired in Windows 10 read our Worst Windows 10 Sacrifices guide.
Windows 10 Home vs Windows 10 Pro: What do they have in common?
For the majority of users the differences between Windows 10 Home and Pro will be negligible, as both provide pretty much everything they need for everyday computing. The main differences affect business users.
All versions of Windows 10 come with Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual assistant, that can make calendar entries, take dictation, open applications and local files, search the web, and give directions, all from voice commands on your PC. This feature could become quite key in the future, as Microsoft has recently announced the upcoming release of Cortana apps for Android and iOS phones, alongside the full integration it enjoys on Windows Phone. You can read here how to use Cortana in Windows 10.
Windows 10 Home Vs Windows 10 Pro: What are the differences?
While Windows 10 Home is focused firmly on the consumer, Windows 10 Pro is more for power-users, and those running small to medium businesses. This can be seen in the advanced security features found in the Pro package.
July 28, 2015
Lenovo ready to launch Windows 10 devices with enhanced software
Lenovo announced it will begin shipping a wide selection of products preloaded with Windows 10 starting immediately. Lenovo has worked with Microsoft Corp. to make the process of upgrading simple, for people with qualified Lenovo PC running Windows 7 SP1 or 8.1 to upgrade to Windows 10. Starting on July 29, the updates will roll out. If you reserved your copy of Windows 10, you will be notified and Windows 10 will be downloaded on your system. Lenovo has an extensive list of products eligible for this upgrade including popular models like the YOGA 3 Pro and YOGA 500.
Exclusive Lenovo Apps Enhance Windows 10 Experience
To give users consistent experiences across devices and operating systems, the preloads include a suite of Lenovo applications. The new Lenovo Companion 3.0 optimization tool keeps devices running at peak performance and can be used at any time to run a full-scale checkup and report back with specific actions to free up space and speed up the device. Companion also provides exclusive Lenovo content to help people get the most out of their PC. Lenovo experts author how-to articles, tips and tricks, and other news to keep users up to date on their PC.
As a “smart” device control hub, the new Lenovo Settings lets users easily adapt and modify the way their device behaves. Settings also showcases a robust “Power” section, which offers customization unique to Lenovo, such as a “Battery Stretch Mode” and “Charge Mode”, which lets users super-charge their battery replenishment.
With SHAREit, customers can quickly transfer files between devices. For tablet users WRITEit takes the pen to a new level of functionality allowing users to write in any input field with their pen and the handwriting is converted to text.
As announced at Tech World in May, Lenovo and Microsoft have worked to integrate Cortana and REACHit, Lenovo’s groundbreaking app that allows users who opt-in to search for and manage their content across multiple devices and cloud storage platforms. With REACHit, Cortana becomes even smarter and more personal, enabling users to find their content such as emails, photos and videos. Cortana and REACHit gives users a seamless, intuitive way to search through natural language and contextual understanding
Sony's Xperia Z4 Tablet is the latest 10in Android tablet on the market and a rival to the iPad Air 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5. Here's our Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet.
We expected the Xperia Z4 Tablet to come in at £399 matching the iPad Air 2 but it costs £100 more than that. Before you panic and run to the Apple store, this is because it comes with the Bluetooth keyboard dock so there is a reason for it.
Sony's main Android rival for the high-end 10in tablet is Samsung's Galaxy Tab S which was £399 but can now be purchased for under £300. It's a long way from being old and decrepit too, so represents quite a saving in comparison to Sony's new tablet.
The more expensive model with additional 4G LTE connectivity will set you back £579 placing it only £60 short of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 which it is competing against considering the laptop style keyboard dock.
It's a real shame Sony has decided to only sell the tablet this way as many consumers will no doubt want just the tablet and it's not like you can sell the keyboard because other users will have one as standard. Retailers are saying the keyboard is free but it's clearly factored into the price and we hope Sony changes its mind in the future.
July 27, 2015
Microsoft’s Windows 10 is nearly upon us, and from what we’ve seen so far, it looks like a seriously huge improvement over the disaster that was Windows 8.
But regardless of how much better Windows 10 is than its predecessor — which, again, was awful — the big question on many minds will be: How does Windows 10 compare to Apple’s OS X?
Microsoft Surface 3 Review: Best of Both Worlds
The Surface 3 ($798) is run on Intel’s new Atom x7-Z8700 processor released in March, a quad-core SoC (system on chip) that has a maximum burst speed of 2.4GHz, the most powerful among the Cherry Trail family. An aspect ratio of 3:2 accompanies the 1,920 x 1,280 resolution and 10.8 inch ClearType Full HD Plus Display, only slightly smaller than the Pro 3.
You’ll be surprised by the image quality. It plays 1080p videos with stunning detail and its audio quality isn’t too shabby either considering its compact nature.
It also includes a full-sized USB 3.0 Port, Mini DisplayPort, and even a microSD cardreader. The Surface 3 also comes with a kickstand at the back that allows to you alternate between 3 different angles depending on your preferred viewing position.
It’s better off as a laptop for another primary reason: It feels uncomfortable as a tablet. It’s heavy-ish. The Surface 3 weighs 622g, almost 200g more than other tablet competitors such as the iPad Air 2 and HTC Nexus 9. It also feels awkward to carry around due to its ergonomic trapezium profile, which means it doesn’t fit into your hand with as much ease as the standard tablets with rounded curves.
Enter the Type Cover ($199), and suddenly it becomes clear. It is immensely light as a laptop. The cover’s magnetic stability feature allows it to be easy to slap onto the Surface, doubling as a keyboard and well, its cover. Available in black, red and blue, it looks surprisingly sexy.
Reportedly, the Apple iPad Mini 4 will be more of a shrunken iPad Air 2, with some upgrades such as the new generation A-9 processor
According to a report, in its latest iteration of the Mini iPad series, the rumored iPad Mini 4 will be similar to the Air 2 in many ways. As per the report, Apple could be working on three different iPad lines altogether; Mini, Air, and the rumored Pro.
Apple Insider reports, an industry source filled in the Japanese-language Apple News site Macotakara with the details of the upcoming iPad Mini 4. Apparently, the source reported that Apple will bring an array of new features to the iPad Mini 4. In contrast, the iPad Mini 3 was equipped with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor but this time with the iPad mini 4, Apple is expected to bring a lot more to the table.
Apple Insider has dubbed the device a “shrunken version of the iPad Air 2", which means most of the hardware specs seen on the iPad Air2, only in a smaller package. The upcoming package will equipped with an 8 megapixel iSight camera and 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity. Moreover, an A8 processor is also reportedly part of the package; the iPad Air 2 also had the same processor under its hood.
According to Master Herald, the iPad Mini 4 will sport the storage capacity of a larger device, that is, an internal memory of 2 GB. However, the site also reports that the tablet will have much more to offer, such as the latest A-9 processor as opposed to the reported A-8.
July 24, 2015
Cortana on Windows 10
What does Cortana coming to Windows 10 actually mean for you? Here's where the personal assistant is going to lend a helping hand.
While Cortana uses a Bing-powered search database to provide answers to your questions, she does a lot more, arguably more than rival voice assistants Siri and Google Now.
Cortana gets to know you and helps you get things done, learning your preferences and making recommendations. As with the mobile version, Cortana’s Notebook is home to everything she knows about you, just as a real-life assistant’s notebook would be. Opening this up will show exactly what Cortana knows, from frequent locations, to what time you get up in the morning.
Of course, if you’re not into voice controls, or you’re in a place where talking to your computer simply isn’t practical, then you can type your commands instead.
Earlier today in this blog post, we announced that Surface 3 (4G LTE) is on sale in the United States beginning today, July 24th. It seems we were little too excited and jumped the gun on U.S. availability through Microsoft stores, authorized resellers, and partner retailers. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused our customers. To clarify, Surface 3 (4G LTE) is on sale through AT&T beginning today, and business customers can purchase Surface 3 (4G LTE) at T-Mobile @Work beginning July 31. However, unlocked Surface 3 (4G LTE) will be available in the U.S. through Microsoft stores, authorized resellers and partner retailers in late August.
A few weeks ago we announced the availability of the mobile broadband-capable Surface 3 (4G LTE) for business customers in France, Germany, Spain, and the UK, with the promise that details for consumer availability and launch dates in additional markets, including the United States, would be forthcoming. Today I’m happy to announce that Surface 3 (4G LTE) is on sale in the United States beginning today, July 24th.
We offer two unlocked versions – 64GB and 128GB versions – through Microsoft stores, authorized resellers and partner retailers. U.S. Microsoft stores also have AT&T and T-Mobile SIM cards on hand to help you connect quickly to your network and get down to work.
July 23, 2015
An Austrian company has developed an intriguing tablet for the blind and visually impaired, using "Smart Liquid" to convert text into braille letters on its display.
The rise of mobile technology has invaded virtually every aspect of our lives, and smartphones and tablets are now nearly ubiquitous. We now have a vast array of information available at our fingertips, but a standard touch screen is useless for the blind and visually impaired.
BLITAB now aims to change that, as it is a haptic tablet that proposes a method of converting text into braille on a tablet's touch screen.
"BLITAB is the world's first tactile tablet for blind and visually impaired people," touts the company. "BLITAB is a next curve Braille device for reading and writing that displays one whole page Braille text, without any mechanical elements."
As the company further explains, the BLITAB is similar to an e-book, but it has a smart liquid display that renders "small physical bubbles" on its surface, instead of using visuals on a traditional LCD screen. Thanks to smart liquid technology, these bubbles turn into text.
"They rise and fall on demand, in a result one whole page can be read and can be written via Braille Perkins Keyboard."
Why High-Tech Parenting Won't Destroy Your Kids
Renesas Electronics Corporation, a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, today announced its new lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery fuel gauge IC, the RAJ240500, designed to extend battery life for connected mobile devices such as tablets, notebook PCs and smartphones. Leveraging its extensive design expertise in fuel gauge and charging ICs for mobile devices, Renesas has developed a single-chip device that delivers high-precision battery charge measurement and control that reduces the burden on the battery and contributes to longer device battery life. In addition, in order to facilitate the development using this product, Renesas is offering sample codes and evaluation tools as solutions, including the reference card circuit diagram.
Battery life has become an important decision factor for consumers purchasing mobile devices such as tablets and notebook PCs, creating strong demand for efficient battery charging and control technologies. In the past, battery control circuits had to treat the battery as being at ‘zero charge’ even when there was still some capacity remaining, and as ‘fully charged’ even when charging was not yet complete, in order to assure the safety of the battery. The resulting design challenge was a shorter battery life relative to charge capacity.
July 22, 2015
Following Stephen Elop's departure from Microsoft, Surface VP Panos Panay is stepping into a much bigger, far-reaching role at the company. Panay will now lead engineering on all "premium" Microsoft hardware, according to ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley. Aside from Surface, that also includes Xbox, Lumia (what's left of it, anyway), the Microsoft Band wearable, and HoloLens. Panay will steer clear of duties that aren't directly tied to engineering or design, so he won't have any hand in finance or supply chain decisions around those devices, the report notes.
Panay's specific new title isn't yet known, and the Windows and Devices groups are now both led by Terry Myerson. But when it comes to shaping Microsoft's future, flagship devices meant to showcase Windows 10, it sounds like Panay is now the guy.
Productivity may be the biggest battleground for the tablet market in 2015. Apple announced during its WWDC 2015 keynote that iOS 9 will bring more productivity features to the iPad, including better support for Bluetooth keyboards, keyboard shortcuts, a new QuickType keyboard for easy text selection and multitasking windows.
Microsoft announced that as a part of Windows 10, tablets, like the Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3, will gain more multitasking options through Snap. A new feature called Continuum allows tablet owners to connect a keyboard, for example, and have the user interface change to a desktop experience. Remove the keyboard, and the UI adapts with bigger icons for finger-friendly touch input.
Apps, which traditionally played a large part in device adoption, may become less significant. Standardized technology like HTML 5, better browsers, more robust internet connectivity and larger screens mean that tablet owners need to rely less on apps.
July 21, 2015
Are YOU Ready for Windows 10?
With the launch of Windows 10 only 8 days away, here's links to our previous blog posts to help you prepare for the new operating system. With millions of users already on Win 10, Microsoft is dedicated to providing the greatest OS on the face of the Earth, and we think you'll agree once you get your hands on it.
10 Features of Windows 10 That You'll Love - Start Menu, Cortana, Edge and more. An overview on what's new and what's updated compared to previous versions of Windows.
Also, check out Microsoft's very first Windows 10 commercial that launched yesterday.
Dell is no stranger to rugged PC products, though its new Latitude 12 Rugged Tablet is the OEM's first truly tough slate for adventure seekers and emergency responders alike, along with anyone else who often frequents locales that would send wimpier tablets into hiding.
The Latitude 12 Rugged Tablet is designed for the "harshest conditions" and can withstand water spills, sand and dust, drops from over four feet high, and extreme temperatures, Dell says. However, it's rough and tough construction doesn't come at the expense of performance.
Fifth Generation Intel Core M processor options power the rugged tablet's 11.6-inch "Direct-View" HD display, which Dell says is outdoor readable. It also boasts glove-enabled multi-touch capabilities and Gorilla Glass 3 protection.
Efficiency Meets Flexibility with the Microsoft Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3
Office Depot, a leading global provider of office products, services, and solutions and parent company of Office Depot and OfficeMax, today announced that the new Microsoft Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3 tablets are now available for purchase online at officedepot.com.
Surface 3, available at $499, features the same beautiful design and premium materials as the Surface Pro 3 in a more compact and efficient device. The thin and lightweight design offers a 10.8-inch screen, and with a simple snap or click, transform the device from a perfectly balanced tablet to a full-functioning laptop and back again.
“At Office Depot, we recognize the need for, and value of, Surface 3’s ability to serve all purposes and enable consumers to perform at their peak,” explained Ron Lalla, executive vice president of merchandising for Office Depot, Inc. “The Surface 3 is designed to maximize productivity all in a lightweight, portable package.”
July 20, 2015
Samsung announced on Monday morning that its latest tablet, the Galaxy Tab S2, will be out next month.
Samsung has pinned August as the release date for its latest tablet, the Galaxy Tab S2 in 8 inch and 9.7 inch models.
The specifications state the devices will be 5.6mm thick, with the Wi-Fi only 8 inch and 9.7 inch tablets weighing in at 265 grams and 389 grams respectively.
The Galaxy Tab S2 will operate on Android Lollipop version 5.0 with both models giving consumers the option of LTE, either 32GB or 64GB in storage capacity with storage expansion available via a MicroSD slot.
Samsung claims they have recreated "the same viewing experience of browsing through traditional print media" thanks to employing a super AMOLED display. In addition, the Galaxy Tab S2 will support the ability for users to view and run two apps simultaneously.
Rather than apply a permanent price cut to its Surface Pro 3 range, Microsoft has instead fallen into a strange habit of offering discounts of up to $150 off its tablets every few weeks. And now, it's that time once again, as the company has served up another round of chunky price cuts on several models in its range.
The Microsoft Store is now offering $150 off four Surface Pro 3 models - all of those that include 8GB of RAM:
These models will remain available with $150 off until August 1. The prices of the other two models in the Surface Pro 3 range (Intel Core i3 / 64GB / 4GB RAM - $799; and Intel Core i5 / 128GB / 4GB RAM - $999) are unchanged.
HP Pro Slate 8 Review: Is It Good for Business?
Tablets have the potential to make notepads obsolete, especially with stylus technology getting better all the time. But let's face it: Some people still prefer the feeling of pen on paper. If that's you, HP's Pro Slate 8 might be of interest. The 8-inch Android tablet uses ultrasonic sound waves to capture handwriting on ordinary paper, instantly creating a digital copy. That means you can take notes the old-fashioned way, and still wind up with a digital backup in the end
Packed in alongside the Pro Slate 8 is a special stylus that HP calls the Duet Pen. As its name implies, there are two different ways to use it.
The first way is to use it as a conventional stylus, writing directly on the tablet's display. Unlike a typical capacitive stylus – the kind you'd buy for your iPad, for example – this stylus offers full-pressure sensitivity. In other words, it can detect how hard you're pressing down, letting you feather your lines and vary your line weight, just like you would with a regular old ink pen.
Writing on the Pro Slate 8 feels pretty good, even if it's not quite as smooth as writing on the Surface Pro 3. The above example shows that HP's pen produces lines with a slight wobble, while writing on the Surface 3 is silky smooth. Wacom pens like the one that come with the Encore 2 Write also feel a bit better than the Duet Pen.
The second way to use the Duet Pen is where the magic really happens, though. The plastic stylus nib at the end of the pen can actually be removed and flipped around to reveal a regular ballpoint-ink pen tip. When you write on a paper pad placed next to the tablet, your marks will be mirrored onto the tablet's display in real time.
July 17, 2015
If it all goes according to plan, you could soon be able to switch mobile carriers by going to the settings page on your smartphone.
On Thursday The Financial Times (paywall) reported that Apple and Samsung are in “advanced talks” with telecom operators from all over the world to launch new electronic SIM cards. These e-SIM cards would be standardized among both smartphone makers and come embedded in their devices, creating a “common architecture.” Unlike physical SIM cards, e-SIM cards offer more flexibility to users. Instead of being locked into a cellular plan, you will be able to sign up to a new plan or switch plans instantly.
Mobile carriers that are reportedly a part of this new e-SIM initiative include AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Hutchison Whampoa, Orange, Telefónica, and Vodafone.
“With the majority of operators on board, the plan is to finalise the technical architecture that will be used in the development of an end-to-end remote SIM solution for consumer devices, with delivery anticipated by 2016,”
July 16, 2015
Microsoft has officially opened an online store that combines its Windows Store and Windows Phone Store into one big virtual shopping mall.
The new so-called universal app store is part of the company's attempt to unify the Windows 10 experience across all devices -- PCs, tablets and mobile phones. In the past, Windows PC and tablet owners looking for apps would have to browse the Windows Store, while Windows Phone users would have to check out the Windows Phone store. But now the new one-stop shop is geared for everyone.
From the universal app store homepage, you can scroll down to view the top Windows apps and Windows Phone apps. You can click on the Store menu at the top, drill down to Apps and then view all apps or view those for the Xbox. You can also look for a particular app by typing its name in the search field at the top of the page.
Clicking the name of a specific app brings up its description page where you'll see details about it along with ratings and reviews. For now, the new universal app store seems like a work in progress. You can browse or search for apps through the store but you can't actually install apps from the website, either directly or remotely to your device, the way you can with the Google Play store. To install apps for now, you still need to open the Windows Store on a Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 device or the Windows Phone Store on a Windows Phone handset.
On Wednesday, Microsoft took its universal Office mobile apps for Windows 10 out of preview, meaning that they are now generally available to anyone using the new OS. As such, these apps will now require an Office 365 subscription on PCs and larger tablets for full functionality, as previous announced.
Microsoft noted that it has added “Mobile” to the app names on PCs and big tablets to help distinguish them from the desktop-based Office application suite, but that actually happened quite some time ago. On phones and small tablets—i.e. on Windows 10 Mobile—these apps will simply retain their normal names (Word, Excel and PowerPoint), with no Mobile added.
That’s … weird. But it’s not super confusing. This is:
With Windows 10, the dividing line between Windows 10 Mobile and the more full-featured Windows 10 versions (Windows 10 Home, Pro and Enterprise, plus a few others I keep trying to pretend don’t exist) is a screen size of 8-inches. That is, a new PC/device with a screen size of 7.99-inches or smaller must be sold with Windows 10 Mobile, whereas anything 8-inches and up gets some other Windows 10 version.
But with Office, the dividing line between getting the full functionality of the Office mobile (or “Office Mobile”) apps for free is … 10.1-inches. That is, if you are running a phone or a tablet/PC with a screen size at or under 10.1-inches, not only can you download and install the Office Mobile apps, but you will be able to use their full functionality for free. But if you have a tablet/PC with a 10.2-inch or bigger screen, you will need an Office 365 subscription to get the full functionality for free. If you do not have such a subscription, you can’t use any editing features.
Apple is considering killing off the iPad Mini, new report claims
Apple's next iPad Mini could be its last, if a new report turns out to be true.
Chinese language publication Economic Daily News — which has a mixed track record when it comes to accuracy — is claiming that Apple is considering axing the iPad Mini to focus on other products.
The report quotes Liaoxian Li, an investment advisor at Fubon Hardware, who says the next iPad Mini could killed off so that Apple could focus on its larger iPads, according to MacRumors.
The report also says Apple may push the launch of its next-generation iPad Air to next year in order to emphasize its larger iPad, which is expected to debut later this year. Apple has not yet confirmed plans to create a larger iPad, but reports from The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg have indicated the company plans to release one this year.
July 15, 2015
Yesterday, a Microsoft executive indicated that it would not be possible to buy new PCs with Windows 10 pre-installed on July 29, when the OS launches, but said that they would arrive "very soon after" that date. However, the company has since backtracked on that, clarifying that some OEMs will have devices with Windows 10 pre-installed available to buy on launch day.
The Apple rumor mill has churned out some "giant" news.
A DigiTimes report raised speculations that Apple will be launching a 12.9-inch iPad, with sales reportedly beginning after mid-November. The most recent models, the iPad air 2 and iPad mini 3, were released in October 2014 and are 9.4 and 7.87 inches high, respectively.
CNET senior associate editor Iyaz Akhtar told CBS News the device, which he calls the iPad Pro, has been a rumored product for a long time and he expressed skepticism at the report.
Yet the rumor raises the question: Why a giant iPad?
The new device could have something to do with the June introduction of the latest Apple operating system, iOS 9, which includes multitasking support.
"There's only one device right now that can take full advantage of iOS 9, and that's the iPad air 2," Akhtar said. "It seems a little strange that Apple only has one tablet that can fully take advantage of this, so a larger one could probably be more for productivity."
July 14, 2015
Microsoft is working to signal that it is not done with hardware.
There are three recent data points worth our time: Microsoft saying this morning that Lumia handsets running Windows 10 are coming, that the firm is expanding sales channels for its Surface line of tablet-hybrids, and that the company is ramping production of its Surface Hub wall computers.
Let’s tackle each in reverse order of screen size. So, phones first.
At its partner conference, which is currently underway, Microsoft’s Terry Myerson said the following: “Last week we announced a focusing on our Lumia lineup, but let me be clear: soon you will see premium new Lumias designed for Windows 10.”
Moving to Surface, Mary Jo Foley has the good stuff:
In short, ahead of what people are generally presuming will be the Surface Pro 4, Microsoft is ramping its partner network up to get the device sold. Hardly a retrench, let alone a surrender.
July 13, 2015
A 2-in-1 that holds its own for its price tag
Laptop-tablet hybrids seem to be all the rage right now. And while Acer has introduced a few two-in-ones to the market, the Aspire R11 is its smallest entrant yet.
However, at 1.58kg, the R11 is still significantly heavier than a few of its competitors. That weight, plus its thickness, just does not seem to justify its use as a tablet.
Still, at S$599, the R11 is one of the most affordable not only in its class, but also among laptops in general. It is around two and four times cheaper than the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and Lenovo’s Yoga 3 Pro, respectively.
The R11 feels very solidly built, and its chassis is supposed to be scratch-resistant. The design of its chassis is also fairly unique: Its fabric-textured cover feels almost like a carbon-fibre hard shell, letting users enjoy a very firm grip. The review set I got came in a nice matte-blue finish (there is also a cloud-white option), which distinguishes it from all the metallic-like surfaces in the market today.
The R11 also has a 360-degree hinge that lets users easily switch among four viewing modes.
Performance-wise, the R11 does not offer much to shout about: It is a bit slower than some of the other devices I have tried, although it is decent enough considering its price tag. The R11’s 11.6-inch (30cm) display is slightly disappointing. First, its 1,366x768 pixel resolution comes nowhere close to that of the Surface Pro 3 (2,160x1,440) or Yoga 3 Pro (3,200x1,800).
Businesses and customers purchasing the new Surface Hub will have to wait longer than initially expected. The original shipping date was September 1, 2015 but that has been pushed back. No new date was specific but more details are on the way. The Surface Hub is a highly anticipated device within business circles and according to a blog post by Microsoft its popularity has required Microsoft to adjust their manufacturing process.
Surface GM Brian Hall added that they will “continue to take pre-orders” while they alter the manufacturing process.
The aim of the device is to help users collaborate. It has multi pen support, 55” and 84” models, works well with other devices, and is designed to facilitate collaboration in meetings. Some features of the Surface Hub were shown off at today's Worldwide Partner Conference.
July 10, 2015
Tablets are everywhere today, with multiple new touch-friendly models released by every major manufacturer. Spurred on by the tablet-friendly Windows 8 and new hardware that fits PC power into slimmer and lighter devices, these handy PCs won't be disappearing anytime soon. But just because they're the hot new thing doesn't mean that every tablet PC is great. That's why we're here in the first place—to weed out the clunkers and help you know what's best, and why.
We've seen standalone tablets, dock-friendly slates, and a collection of accessories that range from keyboards to gamepads to variations on the simple stylus. The unifying thread that runs through all of these isn't hardware, or even accessories, but software. Setting these tablets apart from all of the iDevices and Androids is Windows 8.1, an update to Windows 8 that refined the overall experience and reintroduced features like the Power button and added an easy-to-use Search button. And Windows 8.1 isn't the hobbled look-alike Windows RT. This is a full-blown Windows 8 operating system, with x86 support for all of your software.
Long-time Windows users will be glad to know that Windows 10 brings back something they know and love—the Start menu. Of course, it also comes with a host of other goodies as well. For anti-malware protection, for example, Windows 10 offers Windows Hello, Microsoft Passport and Windows Defender; all of which come with Microsoft’s promise to deliver free, ongoing security updates for the supported lifetime of the device.
Windows 10 also comes with the new Microsoft Edge browser and promises to deliver a more personal and natural experience, while making you more productive. A key way it hopes to accomplish this goal is through the Cortana personal digital assistant. In a nutshell, Cortana learns users’ individual preferences and then uses this information to provide relevant recommendations, fast access to information and important reminders via talking or typing.
One upcoming Windows 10 device that businesses, in particular, might find appealing is Surface Hub, Microsoft’s new large-screen collaboration device. The device is Microsoft’s answer to improving productivity for a group of people, rather than just individuals. It does this by bringing together the power of Windows 10, Skype for Business, Office, OneNote and Universal Windows apps to deliver an experience that Microsoft says is just as compelling for users working together in the same room as those remotely connected. As Mike Angiulo, corporate vice president, Microsoft Devices, points out, “Just as the PC revolutionized productivity for individuals, Surface Hub will transform the way groups of people work together.”
July 9, 2015
Windows 10 is twenty days away from launch. Here's 10 features of the new operating system that we think you'll love.
Upgrade a Small Tablet or Laptop to Windows 10
One of the many questions swirling around Windows 10 in these confusing days leading to the launch is how it will handle upgrades on storage-constrained Windows 8.1 devices like mini-tablets and mini-laptops. But recent builds finally include the functionality I first heard about back in January. So now we can finally see how it works.
I heard about this change last week from a few readers while I was away in Ireland. I’m not exactly sure when Microsoft added this functionality, but if you’re on the most recent Fast Ring build (10162 at the time of this writing, though I’m expecting a new build as soon as today) you should be able to test it now.
First, be sure to make a recovery drive and to do so on a USB stick that is big enough that you can “back up system files to the recovery drive.” I’ve found that this process is especially dicey on 16 GB mini-tablets, so don’t skip this step.
And that’s the issue with these devices: Windows 10 needs several gigabytes of free space during install, and then several gigabytes of space to store the Windows.old folder, which can be used for a few weeks after the upgrade to revert back to Windows 8.1. So now Windows 10 Setup will examine your free storage space and note that your PC requires removable storage if there isn’t enough.
July 8, 2015
Forgot your pen? No problem, the Yoga Tablet 2 Anypen lets you write on it with a pencil, pen or even a fork.
When last I communed with a Windows-powered Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 (the 10-inch version), the experience was soured by the worst auxiliary keyboard I’ve ever experienced. Thankfully, Lenovo didn’t see fit to saddle the Windows version of the smaller $300, 8-inch Yoga Tablet 2 Anypen with something similarly irritating. The Yoga Anypen is a neat little tablet with an innovative design and versatile digitizer, though not necessarily a platform for serious business use.What 'Anypen' means
The headline feature of the Yoga Tablet 2 Anypen is its advanced digitizer. You can use a pencil, ballpoint pen, or just about anything with a metal tip 1mm or larger. Most digitizers require a capacitive stylus with at least a 5mm tip. You might want to avoid X-Acto knives, but other than that you’re good to go. You may of course, also use your fingers.
Another unique aspect of the Yoga Tablet 2 design is the cylinder running along one edge that allows for a far larger battery than a normal, flat tablet can accommodate. The battery tube also allows a grip that uses all your fingers, yet doesn’t place your thumb near the display. Many is the time I’ve accidentally flipped pages on an iPad Mini.
The Yoga Tablet 2 (both sizes) has a distinctive kickstand that jackets the battery tube. It clicks into place at about 42-, 85-, and 180-degree angles, but you can manage angles in between due to the large amount of friction. Even more unique is the hole in the kickstand for hanging the Yoga Tablet 2 on a wall, for storage or an ad-hoc cinematic experience.
Sony’s Xperia tablets — and tablets in general — have the opposite problem: they’re blessed with all the advantages of high design and precise engineering, but none of the purpose of the humble netbook. This year, Sony is addressing that issue by pairing its latest Xperia Z4 Tablet with a keyboard dock and essentially creating the netbook of the future. It’s a 10-inch ultraportable machine that runs Microsoft Office and promises long battery life, and it has the potential to serve as Android’s answer to Apple’s MacBook and Microsoft’s Surface computers. Can the addition of a keyboard give real meaning to the existence of yet another splendidly thin and powerful Android tablet?
In spite of its name inflation, the Xperia Z4 Tablet is actually the successor to last year’s Xperia Z2 Tablet, and very little has changed in the way it looks and feels. This is still one of the best-engineered electronic devices on the market, feeling featherweight and durable at the same time. That’s is an important and powerful combination, as it allows you to toss the tablet around like a literal notebook, not having to worry about the added fragility of it being a piece of high-tech equipment.
July 7, 2015
Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published an interesting Samsung granted patent that relates to a flexible display for a foldable TV and/or or tablet. What was interesting was Samsung stating that they could flex both OLED and LCD displays to my surprise. I was under the impression that only OLED displays were flexible. At the end of the day, Samsung is in search for their next killer display that could give them the edge over Apple's iPhone and/or iPad mobile devices.
Samsung Granted Patent: Flexible Display
Samsung was granted a patent today for their invention relating to a display device, and more particularly, to a display device having a flexible display panel.
According to Samsung, "Another embodiment of the display panel employs a liquid crystal display (LCD) technology. According to some embodiments, the flexible display panel is greater than 8 inches in size." This would be in the range of a Galaxy Tablet product.
Chalk this up as a rumor of a rumor. There’s been no confirmation that a Surface Pro 4 is officially going to exist. In addition to the device only being rumored to exist, the potential release date in the second half of 2016 is speculation as well. That being said, there’s enough information here to peak interest and speculate.
Business Korea Magazine and Engadget Japan reported information that Newsburn added insight to. Microsoft and other “high profile tech outfits” have reportedly ordered a large amount of 256 GB SSDs that use Samsung’s NVME technology. SSDs like this can reportedly transfer data at 2 GB/s which is over three times the speed of the Surface Pro 3’s 600 MB/s. This would be a dramatic increase that would differentiate between the Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 4.
There are reportedly 20 million SSDs that are scheduled to be shipped during the second half of 2016 which would push the release of any device running them to later next year.
Rumors surrounding the Surface Pro 4 have ranged from a release accompanying Windows 10 this summer to now a mid to late 2016 release. To be frank we don’t have verification of any of these rumors. What is interesting is the concept behind this idea. If Microsoft is going to release a Surface Pro 4, which many believe that they are, it will have to be substantially better than the Surface Pro 3 which is selling well.
Who needs a keyboard, anyway? Nearly half of workers are doing all their work on a tablet, a proportion that's set to rise rapidly.
According to research from analyst firm IDC, tablets are now 40 percent of business users' only enterprise device, a figure that rises further when two-in-one hybrid devices are added into the mix.
While the majority of tablet users in enterprises currently still have at least one other work device, such as a desktop PC or notebook, according to Marta Fiorentini, IDC senior research analyst, standalone tablets' share is set to increase.
"Tablets are already used by waiters instead of pen and paper, by doctors and nurses to replace paper-based files, or by pilots as a substitute for bulky manuals," Fiorentini said, and IDC believes there are more opportunities for tablets to replace paper.
There's a strong link between a person's job and their tablet usage. Workers that create or edit documents - executives, marketing and sales staff, or engineers - tend to use their tablets in addition to desktop or notebook. However, workers who are on the road, in the field, or facing customers are more likely to rely solely on a tablet. According to IDC, production workers equipped with slates use them as their only work device in 64 percent of cases. In comparison, only 38 percent of executives and 44 percent of white-collars work purely on their tablets.
July 6, 2015
If you’re looking for a screen that’s larger than your smartphone’s but smaller than the one on your laptop, there’s no better option than a tablet.
Sure, your iPhone 6 Plus might have a huge screen for a phone, but when it comes to watching movies and playing games, nothing beats a tablet.
But getting a tablet doesn’t have to break your budget. In fact, there are a number of wallet-friendly slates available for $300 or less that can do almost anything their more expensive counterparts can.
It has been rumored that Microsoft’s laptop killer, the Surface Pro 4, will be coming out by the end of this month along with Windows 10. The prospect does not sit well with Apple as one of the major laptop manufacturers in the world too.
Apparently, the American tech giant is now grooming its 2016 MacBook Air to take on the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 tablet-laptop combo line when the former officially hits the market early next year, notes the Ecumenical News.
Reports have it that the 2016 Apple MacBook Air will be officially launched by the Cupertino-based tech company this coming October but will be released to the markets in March next year.
Microsoft Surface 3 review
Microsoft's Surface tablet has been through several versions, with the latest Surface Pro 3 version finding almost universal acclaim among professionals. But now Microsoft is having a stab once again at a smaller, cheaper tablet in a bid to satisfy the general consumer and student end of the market.
The Surface 3 runs the full Windows 8.1 operating system (not 8.1 Pro), unlike it’s rather unsuccessful small-screen predecessor, the Surface with Windows RT - the first consumer-level Surface tablet running special cut-down version of Windows, which never appealed to a mass market.
You also get a one-year subscription to Microsoft Office 365 and a free upgrade to Windows 10 when it comes out later this year.
The 13-watt power supply unit is unique to the Surface 3, but is smaller and lighter (148g) than the Pro version’s (217g) power pack. However, you can also charge the Surface 3 with any standard third-party micro-USB charger, which are common for smartphones. This is handy if you’re caught running low while out and about.
You can connect the Surface 3 to an external monitor using a Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter ($100) or via an adapter for the built-in Mini DisplayPort (sold separately). Other built-in connectivity is via Wi-Fi (802.11ac) and Bluetooth 4.0.
July 4, 2015
July 2, 2015
Lenovo Yoga 3 Review (14-inch model): Better is Bigger
The Yoga 3 14 employs a remarkably thin (0.7 inch) and rigid frame which exhibits little to no chassis flex. This is largely due to the magnesium-aluminum alloy body which excels at repelling fingerprints as well as providing a sturdy resting place for hands. Lenovo’s Yoga series is designed with four distinct modes of use in mind, traditional laptop, tent, stand, and tablet. Based on what position is selected, the computer will automatically enable and disable features or rotate the screen.
The lid is ringed with soft rubber that has a knurled texture to help guard against wear and tear. A gentle curve continues as it covers all of the computer’s edges; those same curved edges mean the Yoga 3 14 lends itself to being held as a tablet. The entire typing surface is solid in laptop mode, making this laptop an excellent example of Lenovo’s business-class build quality.
The Yoga 3 14’s ability to open its display a full 360 degrees stems directly from its well-engineered zinc alloy hinges. There is ample resistance to help lock the screen into any desired position which will even allow the display to be used as a kick stand. Despite their somewhat oval shape, the hinges stay flush at any position.
Ports and Features
The Yoga 3 14 isn’t designed to deliver the same variety of ports as one of Lenovo’s 15-inch workstations, but this convertible still packs more than enough to satisfy most users on the go. You’ll find two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, a memory card reader, a dual-purpose 3.5mm headset jack that also works with headphones or external speakers, and a micro HDMI port. Bottom line, this convertible notebook has most of the bases covered. This might be bigger than a Microsoft Surface 3 or 3 Pro, but you get more ports with that extra bulk.
Tablets replace need for multiple devices in the enterprise
Businesses are increasingly turning to tablets as their only computing device, according to analyst firm IDC.
In a recent study, IDC found that tablets were the only business device used by 40% of respondents. Analysts reported that hybrid products designed to replace portable and desktop PCs are driving up tablet adoption in the enterprise.
The study also showed that hybrid devices – in either the detachable format, whereby the removable keypad allows the touchscreen to double as a tablet, or the convertible form factor, in which the notebook's hinge rotates 360 degrees for a similar effect – are usually purchased with larger screen sizes than standard tablets.
For instance, Microsoft's recently introduced Surface 3, powered by the Intel Atom processor, offers a 10in 1920x1024 high-definition screen and 64GB of SSD storage. Given that it runs Windows 8.1, such hybrid devices can be a good fit for businesses since there is no need to find alternatives for existing PC applications.
It doesn’t take long for cutting-edge mobile devices to become all but obsolete because they run so slowly. Here are some easy ways to restore the performance of your Android or Apple tablet or smartphone.
Smartphones and tablets tend to slow down over time, and for good reason. What once were cutting edge specifications soon become yesterday’s technology, and updates to both operating systems and apps can place extra strain on processors, memory and storage space. Components that can’t be upgraded, course.
That’s not to say the only solution is to buy a better model and there are steps you can take to ensure your smartphone or tablet, (whether you own an iPad or a Tesco Hudl) lasts for as long as possible. So if a simple restart hasn’t restored your gadget to its usual speedy self, here’s what to try next.
July 1, 2015
If you’re heading to the beach this summer, you’ll probably be packing some tech along with the SPF 50 sunscreen and that cheesy E.L. James novel. You’ll want to keep your gear safe from the sand and the surf; you may also want to bring wireless speakers, chargers, and other gadgets along for the ride.
Microsoft has been promising an LTE version of its Surface 3 tablet for months, and is just now starting to deliver.
Starting Friday, Microsoft will sell the Surface 3 with 4G LTE to business customers through Deutsche Telecom in Germany and O2 in the United Kingdom, following a quiet launch in Japan a couple weeks ago. Spain’s Movistar and France’s Orange Business Services will follow shortly after.
As for retail sales, the Surface 3 with 4G LTE is coming to the United States (on T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless), France, Germany, and the United Kingdom in the “coming weeks.” In the United States, these models will cost $100 more than their non-LTE counterparts, at $599 with 2 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage, and $699 with 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage.
The 3-in-1 Dock is a maker project to build a portrait VESA-mounted dock for Microsoft Surface Pro 3. With this dock you’ll be able to use the bright and beautiful Surface Pro 3 screen at eye-level, right next to your desktop monitors, dock with zero-insertion force, and secure the tablet with the optional lock
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