Microsoft's Windows 8 includes a host of new features and capabilities to keep desktop PCs a centerpiece of business and consumer computing in the age of smartphones and tablets.
Microsoft made the Windows 8 Release Preview version available Thursday, marking one of the final steps before the new version of the operating system hits the streets and computers around the world. Windows 8 includes a host of new features and capabilities, and represents a big bet by Microsoft that it can keep desktop PCs a centerpiece of business and consumer computing in the age of smartphones and tablets. We'll show you some of the key features Microsoft is counting on to accomplish that in this slideshow.
For businesses, Windows 8 is designed to maintain corporate security and manageability as more workers bring in their own consumer-style gadgets. "Windows 8 will deliver no compromise experiences on a range of devices from tablets and PCs to desktops," Microsoft chief operating officer Kevin Turner said earlier this year. "It will give people functionality they love and the enterprise-grade capabilities that IT departments demand."
Windows 8 will be available in two versions when it launches later this year. One version will run on x86 PCs, laptops, and slates or tablets powered by Intel or AMD chips, and will offer users the choice of working in the familiar Windows Explorer desktop or in the new, touch-centric Metro mode. The other version will run on tablets that run Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, or Nvidia chips based on the ARM reference design, and will only offer the Metro interface.
Lenovo's IdeaTab is a $350, 9.7-inch tablet that's slightly thinner and lighter than the iPad, runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich and offers a dual-core processor.
Lenovo continues to prove it's ready to make a name for itself with U.S. consumers. On May 30, it enhanced its tablet lineup with the addition of the IdeaTab S2109, a 1.27-pound, one-third-inch-thin slab of multimedia savvy running Android 4.0, or Ice Cream Sandwich.
The 9.7-inch tablet has an In-Plane Switching (IPS) display that Lenovo calls "beautiful" and "extra-bright," though it's hard to imagine it matching the new iPad, with its 9.7-inch "resolutionary" Retina display, as Apple likes to call it.
Sharp has been showing off a 10.1” prototype of a tablet aimed at the education market, according to NetBookNews. With Apple making a strong play for moving its iPad into more education settings, Sharp’s not-yet-released offering for that same market bears examination.
Acer Inc., Toshiba Corp. and Asustek Computer Inc. will unveil tablets running Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 8 operating system next week, people with knowledge of the matter said, challenging the dominance of Apple Inc.'s iPad.
Acer will display a tablet based on Microsoft's new software at the Computex show in Taipei, while Toshiba will show a tablet and a notebook-type device, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans haven't been made public. Asustek will present tablets with detachable keyboards similar to its current Transformer model, the people said.
Acer, one of a trio of manufacturers expected to commit early to Windows 8 on tablets, is the first onto the floor with an announcement on the eve of the Computex trade show in Taipei. Just days after Microsoft began offering its Release Preview version of Windows 8, Acer announced a pair of Windows 8 tablets that the company expects to ship later this year.
The Acer Iconia W700, billed as the “performance” Windows 8 tablet, sounds especially intriguing. It packs an 11.6-inch 1920 by 1080 pixel touchscreen, a spec that immediately makes it infinitely more interesting than most of the Android masses we've seen of late. Like the W510, it has a multipurpose dock; here, you can tilt the display up to 70 degrees, or 20 degrees for more convenient touch. It can also be positioned vertically, useful for reading pages of documents or browsing the Web.
For added versatility, Acer includes three USB 3.0 ports on board. That, coupled with the high-def display and Acer's claim of up to eight hours of battery life, makes the W700 very compelling.
Acer Iconia W510
The W510. It has a 10.1-inch IPS touchscreen at 1280 by 800 pixel resolution; that resolution puts it in line with the vast majority of existing Android tablet displays.
Acer is hyping the W510's “unique” tri-mode, so a user can “touch, type, and view.” The unit will have a detachable clamshell keyboard dock -- similar to what's on the current W500 -- that doubles as an extended battery, similar to how Asus' Transformer series' docking station functions. Acer says the extended battery life should hit up to 18 hours using Windows 8.
Both the Iconia W510 and the Iconia W700 are Intel-based, both using x86 architecture, which means they should be able to run full-on Windows 8, including the desktop mode. (Windows 8 tablets using ARM system-on-chip processors will be limited to just Windows RT, which can access only the new Windows Metro interface and not the desktop interface for use with classic apps.)
While the viability of ultrabooks is being questioned, Lenovo product chief Peter Hortensius believes a drop in prices and the arrival of Microsoft's Windows 8 OS will signal a major shift in laptop computing and trigger more interest in the product category.
Lenovo has already shown the IdeaPad Yoga, a tablet-ultrabook hybrid with a touchscreen that can be folded to work either as a tablet or an ultrabook. While Lenovo has done touchscreen laptops before, the previous Windows operating systems were retrofitted with touch capabilities. Microsoft has designed Windows 8 from the ground up with touch as a core feature.
"Windows 8 ... enables a bunch of new capabilities. It enables a new segment," Hortensius said. "Historically when you look at transitions, consumers switch quickly because they want the latest and greatest."
Intel envisioned ultrabooks a year ago as a category of thin-and-light laptops with tablet-like features such as touchscreens, long battery life and always-on connectivity. Intel hopes that ultrabooks will reinvigorate a slumping PC market, which has taken a beating from the growing sales of tablets.
Toshiba's Digital Products Division (DPD), a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., today announced its roadmap of new computing devices designed for Microsoft Windows(R) 8. Toshiba's new mobile solutions showcase the advanced functionality and capabilities Toshiba plans to bring to market while enhancing the experience of the new operating system.
"These inspiring new PC and tablet designs will allow consumers and business users to interact with Windows in amazing new ways," said Carl Pinto, vice president of marketing, Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., Digital Products Division. "These products reflect Toshiba's long history of engineering breakthrough computing hardware in thin and light form factors and our close relationships with Microsoft and our silicon partners to bring them to market."
Fujitsu is kicking off the summer product season today, introducing two LIFEBOOK(R) Ultrabook(TM) devices -- the 14" LIFEBOOK U772 Ultrabook(TM) designed for business professionals and the 13.3" LIFEBOOK UH572 Ultrabook ideal for consumers -- powered by the 3rd generation Intel(R) Core(TM) processors, which enable improved performance and extended battery life. Stylish and durable with magnesium alloy housing, both Fujitsu Ultrabook systems offer large touchpads with integrated buttons and multi-touch gesture support.
In addition to the new LIFEBOOK Ultrabook systems, Fujitsu introduced the refreshed Fujitsu LIFEBOOK NH532 desktop replacement notebook featuring a 17.3" HD+ display and powered by a new 3rd generation Intel(R) Core(TM) processor.
To kick-start the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Microsoft Corp. on Monday unveiled a bold new vision for enjoying entertainment at home and on the go with Xbox SmartGlass, an application for Windows 8, Windows Phone, and other portable devices that connects phones, PCs and tablets with Xbox 360 console to make entertainment smarter and more interactive. Xbox SmartGlass delivers companion content and control to enhance the TV experience.
“With Xbox SmartGlass, we are lighting up entertainment across your phone, tablet, PC and TV in a completely new way. If you love to play games, watch TV and movies, surf the Web, or listen to music, there has never been a better time to be on Xbox,” said Don Mattrick, president of the interactive entertainment business at Microsoft.
Intel is seeking a reboot in the tablet market with its upcoming Atom Z2760 chips code-named Clover Trail, and 20 tablets are in the works with the new chips, the company said on Tuesday.
"Our customers have 20 designs in their labs based on Clover Trail," said Hermann Eul, president of Intel Mobile Communications Group, during an interview at the Computex trade show in Taipei.
Many of the tablets currently in the labs are planned for release in conjunction with Microsoft's Windows 8, a touch-optimized OS due for release later this year. Asus at Computex announced the Asus Tablet 810 with an 11.6-inch screen, Intel's Clover Trail processor and the Windows 8 OS. Lenovo has already said it will release a ThinkPad tablet with Windows 8 running on Intel chips, and Dell has said it would release a Windows 8 tablet later this year.
Intel currently offers the Atom chip code-named Oak Trail for tablets, which is used by companies like Hewlett-Packard and Dell in Windows 7 tablets. But the new Clover Trail chip signals a new start for Intel in the tablet space.
"The real tablet market starts with Windows 8," Eul said. The Clover Trail tablets will be targeted at consumers and businesses, and offer long battery life.
“Staples Worry-Free PC Promise.” allows customers to purchase any new computer and receive free online training, free phone support, and a $15 Visa prepaid card when they update to Windows 8
Many small business owners are already planning to upgrade to Windows 8, attracted by the software’s ability to work across a range of devices such as tablet computers, according to a new survey from Staples Inc., the office-supply giant headquartered in Framingham.
The survey is called the Staples Small Business Index. Small businesses make up a core customer group for Staples, which sells computers as well as paper clips and paper.
The index highlighted the growing importance of tablets to small business owners, with 28 percent of respondents saying they use company-owned tablets, Staples said in a press release.
The chief executive of computer processor maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. said Wednesday the company expects tablet computers that run on Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system will in five years grab a 20% share of the global tablet market so far dominated by Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iPad.
AMD CEO Rory Read said in an interview that Microsoft's next-generation Windows 8 operating system, which is expected to become available this fall, will help Windows-based tablets become more appealing to consumers.
Windows tablets currently account for only 2% to 3% of the global market, he added.
Mr. Read's comments come as traditional personal computer industry players, such as PC hardware makers and chip makers, are looking to gain more presence in the tablet market with the help from Windows 8, which has an interface optimized for touch-screen use.
Taiwan-based PC makers Acer and Asustek this week unveiled new tablets that run on a preview version of Windows 8, and plan to launch the devices in the fourth quarter.
The market for tablets, one of the fastest growing segments of consumer electronics, has so far been dominated by the iPad, while other tablets that run on Google Inc.'s Android operating system have been trying to increase their market share.
Research firm IHS iSuppli forecasts worldwide tablet sales to surge 85% to 126.6 million units this year, and expects Apple to hold 61% of the market, about the same as last year. IHS projects Android-based tablets' share at 38%.
In our latest media leader Q&A, OMD U.S. CEO Alan Cohen explained how marketers can make the most of tablets, whether magazines should sell ads in tablet editions separately and why everyone at his agency gets training in Apple technology.
Advertising Age: How do you see tablets fitting into the media mix?
Alan Cohen: Tablets are one of the devices that ultimately change engagement and the way people digest media, because tablets enhance advertising and content blending.
Mr. Cohen: Tablets are anywhere from 1% to 3% of the total circulation right now for magazines, so they're not about scale or efficiency. But they're a way to test more engaging and innovative opportunities. We've done that, for example, with Lowe's and Gatorade. Gatorade looked at tablets as an extension of print and wanted to be an innovator, so it partnered with Sports Illustrated in tablets.
Lenovo is taking a slight deviation from the recent yet well-trodden path of the ultrabook with a number of new products. One of these is the Yoga, a 13.3-inch tablet PC made for Windows 8. At 17 mm thin and weighing a mere 1.47 kg, what makes this ultrabook differ from the rest is its flip-and-fold touchscreen.
The multi-point (10-point) capacitive touchscreen has a resolution of 1600 x 900 and its solid hinges allow it to fold into several different positions. For example, you can flip the keyboard all the way back to use the Yoga as a tablet, lay it horizontally with the screen facing vertically forward to watch movies, or flip the device into "tent mode" as shown righ.
One thing apparent at Computex this week is that computer makers really aren't sure what consumers want in a PC, and they're throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks.
There might never have been such a wide variety of computer styles on display as there are here in Taipei. Many use Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 OS, or the Windows RT version for ARM-based processors. Others run Google's Android software, though that OS has been less visible this year than last.
There are laptops with screens that twist and fold in every direction, some with touch-screens and some without. There are 7-inch tablets and 10-inch tablets, and tablets that come with attachable keyboards and others that don't. The line between a tablet and a laptop has almost ceased to exist.
There's an all-in-one PC with a large monitor that can be unclipped and carried like a giant tablet, and other monitors that can be turned on their side in portrait mode. There's a smartphone that snaps into a tablet that snaps into a keyboard, turning the whole thing into a laptop.
eachers need to observe and make notes about how well students learn to use the tablet computers to be distributed to Prathom 1 (grade 1) students this year, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said on Thursday.
The Chinese-made tablet computers will be distributed to all Prathom 1 students during this academic year, and later to Mathayom 1 students.
"We have to work together with teachers, who should collect data on the students' learning development when they study using the tablet computers," Ms Yingluck said.
"This scheme is not only about handing out tablet computers to children. We would like to increase their knowledge beyond the textbooks our children are issued. That is our goal."
The premier was speaking during the official launch of the One Tablet PC Per Child scheme at Government House.
Vendors have found few ways to differentiate their tablets. A low price seems to be the major factor in attracting consumers to buy tablets other than iPads, according to Gerry Xu, market analyst at IMS.
Low-end tablets have sold well and vendors with products in this category have helped lower average prices, according to IMS. Today low-end tablets typically have prices below $200.
Also, white-box tablet makers have lowered prices below that price point and have as a result have won widespread adoption of products in the first quarter, primarily in emerging countries, said Xu. However, to balance performance and profitability with a low price remains challenging for most tablet vendors, he said.
Chiefexecutiveofficer of Advanced Micro Devices said in an interview that in around five years time media tablets powered by Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 8 and its successors will control around 20% of slate-type systems market. He did not comment about AMD's abilities to compete in the segment, but with Windows 8 the chip company will obviously find itself in a better position when it comes to tablets.
Rory Read, the head of AMD, said in an interview with Fox Business web-site that Microsoft's next-generation Windows 8 operating system (OS), which is expected to become available this fall, will help Windows-based tablets become more appealing to consumers. As a result, the chief exec of the world's No. 2 supplier of x86 microprocessors, expects 20% of tablets to be powered by Microsoft Windows in 2017. Thanks to the new version of Windows, traditional makers of personal computers will be able to compete against Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab and other leading tablets.
As I compose this post, Microsoft's TechEd keynote is underway, while Apple will kick off Worldwide Developer Conference in just a few hours. Both events will put forth very different views of the cloud-connected device future, which Gartner says will start as soon as 2014, when the cloud replaces the PC as everyone's personal digital hub.
For Apple, iOS 6 will be center stage, whetting consumers' appetites and giving them another weapon in their bring-your-own-device assault on workplace IT. Meanwhile, Microsoft pitches new wares for the enterprise -- Office, Windows 8, RT and Server, for starters. Where the two companies meet is the tablet, and there's no room between them for Android.
Android tablets haven't gained market share fast enough to secure solid footing. Windows RT can easily push them aside, as well as Windows 8 combos with touchscreens and keyboards. If Android loses the tablet wars it could easily lose the broader mobile platform wars -- even smartphones. Look at the United States, where, according to comScore, one in four smartphone users already own tablets. With Windows' established install base as leverage, RT tablets will offer much more from the same OEMs as Android and court the majority of the same developers.
Platform 101 economics is this: The must successful platforms make money for third parties. In tablets, that's more likely to be iOS or Windows RT/8 than Android. The Android Army should worry about advancing Microsoft more than Apple territory before it.
The Samsung Series 7 Slate takes a different path from that of other recent Windows 7 tablets, packing more-powerful components that include an Intel Core i5 processor and a 128GB solid-state drive. But the fancy ingredients aren't cheap: the Series 7 retails at around £950.
Samsung is no stranger to the tablet world, but this model is its first attempt at a Windows-based slate. The Samsung Series 7 Slate benefits from Samsung's overall design experience; at 1.29cm thick, the Series 7 Slate is particularly thin for a Windows 7 tablet.
The touchscreen's responsiveness is great. In my hands-on testing, I experienced no missed taps; and with the larger screen, I could expand the onscreen Windows keyboard to near-touch-typable size. The tablet instantly recognized my swipes and flicks.
One in every ten tablet users views video content almost daily on their device, according to a new report by comScore. The study also found that tablet users are nearly three times more likely to watch video on their device compared to smartphone users.
The lesson in all of this? Video apps for tablets are an area of tremendous potential. It explains why there is such interest from Facebook in social video apps like Viddy and Socialcam. Facebook knows video is going to be crucial in the coming years, which is why it is sniffing around Viddy - a potential Instagram for video.
The biggest video site on the planet, YouTube, is already adapting to the fast-emerging tablet market for content. Over the coming months on ReadWriteWeb, we'll be profiling other growth stories in tablet video. Stay tuned!
[T]ablets have quickly reached a critical mass in the U.S. with 1 in every 4 smartphone owners using tablets during the three-month average period ending April 2012. The study also found that tablet users were nearly three times more likely to watch video on their device compared to smartphone users, with 1 in every 10 tablet users viewing video content almost daily on their device.
Apple announced Monday an improved version of its Siri voice-control software is coming to the new iPad, which has been shipping since March. The decision creates a wider gulf, features-wise, between the iPad 2 and the "new" (3rd-generation) model, which are priced $100 apart at the low-end (16GB, Wi-Fi).
The additional of Siri could spur sales of cellular-enabled iPads as well. Recent studies show that tablet owners prefer Wi-Fi-only slates over those with cellular connections. The primary reason is financial: When you're already paying a pricey cellular bill for a smartphone, you don't want to add a second data plan for a tablet.
A Siri-enabled iPad could get slates out of the house (or Starbucks and other Wi-Fi zones) more often, however, particularly if Siri's tight integration with Apple's new mapping features--as outlined in Monday's demo at WWDC 2010--work as advertised. Given Siri's past problems, however, its performance as a roadworthy assistant remains to be seen.
The fabled Google tablet, a seven-inch device to be co-produced by Google and Taiwan PC maker Asus, is coming out by end-June at a price of $150 to $250, an Android enthusiast site reported.
Android Authority reported the 7-inch slate to be manufactured by Asus will sport an Nvidia quad-core Tegra 3 chip.
"Perhaps the most important tidbit we’ve learned so far about the Google tablet is its pricing, which will supposedly be in the $150-$250 range. Now that we’ve seen Nvidia’s Kai platform and Acer’s Iconia Tab 110, the $200 price tag seems increasingly probable," it said.
It said Google is likely to launch the Nexus tablet at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco at the end of June.
The site quoted an Asus representative who requested anonymity that the Google tablet will come by the end of June, "and that can only mean one thing – Google I/O."
The Iconia Tab A700 goes on pre-sale today, and will be shipping later this month at retail and directly via Acer in black or silver.
Acer was one of two Android tablet makers to introduce a high-resolution, “Full HD” 1920 by 1200 pixel display earlier this year at CES 2012.
Calling a new Android tablet a potential iPad killer is a cliche. But make no mistake: Acer's Iconia Tab A700 has its sights set on doing just that thanks to an impressive set of specs that includes a 1920 by 1200 resolution display and 32GB of storage; and a $450 price that comes in at 25 percent under the price of a same-capacity iPad.
As the company's premium tablet, Acer goes all-out with the rest of its specs. This model packs an Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
While numerous companies have already deployed apps for Apple's iPad, Microsoft officials said the majority are holding out for a platform that provides deep, out-of-the-box integration with their backend infrastructure and security services. Their pitch: that platform is the Windows 8 client.
"The Windows 8 tablet is the tablet they've been waiting for," said Erwin Visser, senior director for Microsoft's Windows Commercial group, at a press conference. "We're investing not only in the personal role, but also making sure Windows 8 is a great client within the enterprise."
Visser said the Windows 8 client, particularly the Pro version that runs on x86 and x64 chips, provides management, security, and virtualization features that the iPad and Android tablets can't match. Windows 8 gives enterprises "what they already know from Windows," said Visser.
Among those features are BitLocker security, Hyper-V virtualization support, System Center compatibility, and backwards compatibility on Intel devices, combined with the new, touch-friendly and tablet-optimized Metro interface.
"During our meetings with multiple vendors on the Computex Taipei, we were talking about pricing options for taking the Windows RT route instead of (free) Android from Google," reports VR-Zone. "While it was rumored that Microsoft decided to change their ways and offer a price of about 35 dollars – the reality is that Windows RT will cost staggering USD $80-95 dollars, with $85 being the most commonly quoted price."
Which means, a Windows RT tablet with the same hardware specs as an Android-based tablet won't be equally priced unless the Microsoft partner plans to take a hit in the wallet. Nvidia's own bill of materials (BoM) has surpassed $100, leaving virtually no room for a sub-$500 tablet.
While the iPad and Android clones primarily focus on entertainment, at the core of Windows 8 is the concept of productivity. Or, put another way, while the two earlier platforms are focused more on media consumption, the Windows 8 product remains focused on content creation. It emulates iOS in areas that have been well received, such as experience control and application curation, but remains distinct because its core mission as a product is so very different.
Essentially, Windows 8 tablets should trend larger, especially for those creating content who will gravitate to 12” and larger screens (consumption is fine at 11” and under). Think about it - this is perfectly consistent with how we currently buy laptops, as content creators simply require more screen real estate. As such, successful Windows 8 tablets will eventually be focused on a different user experience. While they might initially look a bit like iPads (because OEMs do like to copy) they should evolve a distinct user experience rather quickly.
An interesting session here was led by 3 IT executives planning to deploying Windows 8 tablets aggressively. Why? Windows 8 is expected to be more secure, useful (productive), compatible (hardware and software), and manageable than either iOS or Android.
Interestingly enough, the hardware showcased at TechEd is far better than what is currently in the market, although Windows 8 tablets appear to be strengthening sharply as we approach launch. If this trend continues, Google's second place tablet lead will be at risk, and if Microsoft can pass Google, well, even beating Apple eventually becomes possible.
The Samsung Galaxy 7.7 tablet is an impressive piece of machinery that is an Apple logo away from being the next big product. But because it is a Samsung product, it's likely a product you haven't heard of.
The Galaxy tab is a slim, seven-inch touchscreen tablet that operates on the Android Ice Cream Sandwich platform and retails for $249. And at that price point, it's the best performing tablet this tech guy has seen.
It also has a screen that rivals that of the iPad. With this tablet, Samsung utilizes what they call, Super Amoled (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) technology on a screen with a 1200 x 800 resolution that has 197 pixels per inch. All of that technology speak may sound confusing, but I can summarize for you: the screen is awesome and will be great for watching movies or viewing pictures.
Acer is finally taking pre-orders for its Iconia A700 tablet. This is, on paper at least, a beautiful machine. It's a 10.1" Android 4 tablet with a Tegra 3 (quad core) processor and 32 GBs of storage on-board, plus support for up to an additional 64 GB via MicroSD card. The screen is 1920 x 1200 in a 16:10 ratio putting it somewhere around 224 PPI. If you get tired of looking at that 1080P screen you can use the built-in mini-HDMI port to pipe video and Dobly surround to your home theater. The A700 weighs 1.47 lbs and is a little under a half-inch thick (.43"). It comes in silver or black and the best part is the cost: just $449.00. That's what Acer is selling the Iconia 510 for, so I expect we'll see a price cut there.
Microsoft didn't just announce one Surface tablet today -- it's announced one for each of the main varieties of Windows. That includes the Surface for Windows 8 Pro, which is slightly larger and decidedly more Intel-based than its ARM-fueled counterpart for Windows RT. In addition to the more full-fledged OS, it packs a larger 42 W-h battery, an Ivy Bridge Core i5 processor (at least in the model on display today), USB 3.0 ports instead of 2.0, and your choice of 64GB or 128GB of storage (double the standard offerings of the RT Surface). The screen is the same 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD display found in the RT model, but it comes wrapped in a package that's 13.5 mm thin and weighs 903 grams (compared to 9.3 mm and 676 grams). That's apparently not big enough to disqualify it from Microsoft's new keyboard-laden covers
Here at its mysterious, last-minute press event in Los Angeles, Microsoft just confirmed it will sell its own Microsoft-branded Windows 8 RT tablet under the Surface badge. Measuring just 9.3mm thick, the Surface for Windows RT is built around an angled, all-magnesium VaporMg case that weighs just under 1.3 pounds, with an NVIDIA-made ARM chip powering the whole affair. Microsoft's hardware partner has also gone all-out on extra touches, such as a built-in stand, twin 2x2 MIMO antennas for WiFi, and a 10.6-inch optically-bonded, Gorilla Glass 2-covered HD display.
Two mystery Mondays in a row: after Apple’s WWDC 2012 keynote last week, now here comes Microsoft with a surprise announcement of its own, believed by many to have a tablet at its core. Speculation about a new Microsoft-branded device – or devices – has resurfaced over the past week, though as before it’s a haze of rumor around a few nuggets of “trusted source” insistence. Partnerships with Barnes & Noble, the spread of Xbox LIVE, or even a gauntlet thrown down to Microsoft’s own OEM partners: one thing most agree on is that it’s a new slate in the offing, but that leaves plenty of angles Microsoft could take.
What’s certain is that Microsoft has gradually been building up its portfolio of functionality, strengthening its position in gaming (particularly Xbox LIVE, which is also tipped to be included in the B&N tablet collaboration), enterprise, homeentertainment, mobile, and the cloud. The company has been paying lip-service to the idea of convergence and inter-connectedness for years now, but has yet to show us all of the pieces slot together in an holistic way. If it can do that on Monday, it could mark a significant resurgence from a company you’d be wise not to count out.
Rumors swirling around Microsoft's mystery event on Monday have repeatedly centered on a tablet, but if TechCrunch sources are right, Microsoft may only play a partial role in the project. The unveiling, according to the claims, may instead be a tablet, e-reader or a crossover of the two built in teamwork with Barnes & Noble -- a company that just recently established a vague partnership with Microsoft after many months of legal wrangling over Android and the Nook. The slate may not include Windows 8 RT at all, despite earlier assertions, but that's not to say that Microsoft wouldn't be breaking ground in other areas.
Idolian Mobile announces IdolPad PLUS, a new Tablet PC model at a low price of $98. The newest Idolian Tablet PC features the Android 4.0 operating system and a 7-inch capacitive touch screen. At $98, the IdolPad PLUS is the lowest priced 7-inch Android Tablet PC currently available in the market.
IdolPad PLUS offers a capacitive touch screen which has a lower response time and is more sensitive than a resistive touch screen. Also, the capacitive touch screen transmits 90 percent of the light emitted from it which provides a better viewing experience. It also offers a Cortex A8 1 GHz CPU processor, 512MB RAM and 4GB storage. The design is very thin and light with fully functional Android Google Play and Adobe Flash Player. And with its price tag of $98, the IdolPad PLUS is significantly less expensive than competitors, such as the Apple iPad and the Amazon Kindle.
Yesterday, Microsoft announced a new tablet called "Microsoft Surface," a device with a 10.6-inch screen that runs on the company's new Windows 8 operating system.
It features a magnesium case and built-in stand, said the company. A keyboard and touch pad are built into its cover, and cameras are built into the front and back.
It will come in two versions, the company said, each weighing less than two pounds.
"It's a whole new family of computing devices from Microsoft," said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO, from the stage of a Los Angeles auditorium packed with reporters. "It is a tool to surface your passions and creativity."
Some critical specifications were not mentioned -- including price, screen resolution, battery life or the specific release date.
The design credentials and the specs for Microsoft's new Windows RT tablet are impressive and in the flesh this is a delightful piece of hardware that looks good – and is practical too.
It's thin, it's light, it's comfortable to hold, it runs Windows RT as excellently as you'd expect, it makes you want to touch it but it's also designed so you can snap the magnetically attached cover into place – in no way similar to any competitor idea...
The front is sleek black glass, precision bonded to the magnesium alloy chassis Turn it on and the 10.6" screen fills most of the Surface's front display, but the four edges have half an inch of bezel so you can hold it comfortably.
Microsoft’s announcement about its Surface tablets left a lot of unanswered questions. One key point that will help determine how the tablet does in the market has yet to be determined — the price. The Surface comes in two flavors: a version that runs Windows RT and a version that runs Windows 8 Pro. That means only the latter will be able to run all your Windows programs, meaning that it’s likely, though not certain, to get a higher price tag.
But even without all the details in place, it’s clear that Microsoft has produced a product that is intended to compete with high-end tablets and even ultrabooks. Here’s a look at the tablet, by the numbers, against Apple’s iPad.
Users can get the Surface with 32GB or 64 GB of memory on the RT tablet; or pick up its big brother with 64 GB or 128 GB. Overall, that’s more memory on offer than the 16GB, 32 GB or 64GB options you have with the iPad.
Microsoft touted a strong WiFi connection on Surface, but didn’t mention any cellular connectivity. The iPad, of course, has a WiFi and cellular option that runs on AT&T or Verizon networks.
Powered by the new 3rd generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i5 or i7 processor, all three LIFEBOOK notebooks feature optional SSD cache or SSD drives with Intel(R) Rapid Start Technology for powering up with the speed of an Ultrabook(TM) device. In addition, the notebook trio offers a versatile modular bay allowing users to remove the optical drive to lighten the load when travelling or to install a second battery, which along with the high-capacity standard battery provides up to 15.5 hours1 of operation.
With an optional anti-microbial keyboard for protecting against harmful bacteria, the notebook trio is ideal for deploying in shared environments such as schools, reception desks, and libraries. All three notebooks are also equipped with a webcam LED indicator to signal when the webcam is operational.
Microsoft’s trump card against Apple is a suite of productivity software aptly named Office.
In my own research, more than half of the corporations my employees have surveyed are reluctant to deploy Apple iPad widely because it does not run Microsoft Office natively. Our research also shows that about 20% of consumers have been reluctant to buy iPad because it does not run Office.
The allure of Office on a mobile device is so powerful that I may buy Microsoft Surface as soon as it becomes available. This is the case even though I have no attraction for the physical keyboard offered in Surface. I have even considered switching to the Nokia (NOK) Lumia phone because it comes pre-loaded with Office.
The Microsoft Surface tablet is big news. So big, in fact, that it may revolutionize how we use tablet computers altogether. But the same was said about the iPad, and although we see that that claim isn’t exactly true, the iPad is by far the best tablet available. The iPad brought tablets out of the shadow of Windows, and now Microsoft is proposing to marry what Apple has done for user interface and design with the traditional computer operating system.
But device to device, which is best? What will win out? There’s no doubt that the Surface tablet will release before the next iPad iteration, so potential buyers will have a choice between the two. What should you pick?
The Internet is on fire right now with the recent announcement of the Microsoft Surface tablet device. Surface is the company's answer to the new iPad from Apple; and the device is expected to be available by the end of the year in two flavors, one running ARM, the other Intel x86. The big question many have on their mind is how does the Surface compare to the new iPad when it comes down to the raw numbers. We'll be taking a keen look at that.
Microsoft Surface, Windows RT Edition
Microsoft's first tablet device, Surface, packs quite a punch, and should be more than capable of competing with the new iPad ten times more over. The Windows RT version, which runs on ARM, weighs in at 676 grams, thickness at 9.3 millimeters, and a ClearType HD display that is 10.6-inches big. When it comes down to battery, there's a 31.5-watt battery inside, however Microsoft did not made it known how many hours future users should expect. On the side of storage, there will be two versions, one a 32GB, the other a 64GB, which should be more than enough for most tablet users. On the outside, you will find microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2x2 MIMO antenna.
Microsoft Surface, Windows 8 Pro Edition
The next version of the Microsoft Surface tablet runs on x86 Intel i5 Ivy Bridge processor. What does this mean? It will be faster, you will be able to use this version of the tablet the way you would do a PC, and it is bigger than the Windows RT version.
Toshiba has announced its complete Back to School product line-up will be available for purchase from select U.S. retailers starting on June 24. Offering a full suite of products for every type of student, Toshiba’s latest offerings come equipped with key features at affordable prices.
Tablets: One Size Does Not Fit All
Toshiba’s latest tablets – the Excite™ 7.7 and Excite™ 10 – are perfect for students looking for a portable system for note-taking during lectures and game-playing during breaks. The Excite 7.7, the latest addition to the Excite tablet family, features a stunning 7.7-inch diagonal AMOLED display made of scratch-resistant Corning® Gorilla® Glass that makes it not only sturdy, but also ideal for mobile entertainment, including gaming and movie-watching. The Excite 10 hosts a bright, HD 10.1-inch diagonal AutoBrite™ LED Backlit display with 1280x800 resolution and 10-finger multi-touch support, making it ideal for Web browsing, reading, games and apps.
Both the Excite 7.7 and Excite 10 are equipped with the NVIDIA® Tegra™ 3 processor to deliver brilliant performance with GeForce® graphics , 1GB of memory , numerous built-in ports and are powered by Android™ 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich. Both are extremely portable, with the Excite 7.7 weighing a mere 13.4 ounces and measuring 0.3 inches thin and the Excite 10 weighing just 1.32 poundsand measuring 0.35 inches thin.
Around the time the iPad came out more than two years ago, Microsoft executives got an eye-opening jolt about how far Apple would go to gain an edge for its products.
The incident was one of many over the last several years that gradually pushed Microsoft to create its own tablet computer, unveiled last week. The move was the most striking evidence yet of the friction between Microsoft and its partners on the hardware side of the PC business. It is the first time in Microsoft’s almost four-decade history that the company will sell its own computer hardware, competing directly with the PC makers that are the biggest customers for the Windows operating system.
Steven Guggenheimer, a Microsoft corporate vice president, said in a statement that the company’s hardware partners were not a factor in Microsoft’s decision to create a tablet computer of its own. “Microsoft has tremendous respect for our hardware partners and the innovation they bring to the Windows ecosystem,” Mr. Guggenheimer said. “We are looking forward to the incredible range of new devices they are bringing out for Windows 8.”
One of the best illustrations of how Microsoft came to the decision to create its new tablet, the Surface, is the company’s sometimes rocky relationship with Hewlett-Packard, the world’s biggest maker of PCs. Even before the iPad was announced in early 2010, Microsoft executives understood that computers were on the verge of a transformation, to touch-based controls from keyboards and mice.
A decade earlier, Bill Gates, Microsoft’s chairman, had even introduced a forerunner to the iPad — called the Tablet PC
If you were to imagine the ideal devices to knock Apple’s iPad off its throne as the king of tablets, they might look a lot like the Surface slates that Microsoft announced a week ago.
I’m not ready to call the Surface devices iPad killers. There remain too many unanswered questions about the tablets and Microsoft’s ability to compete in the market. One key factor will be price. Microsoft implied that the two model lines will start at about $500 and $1,000, respectively. That seems too high.
I recently tested a beta version of Windows 8, the upcoming version of Microsoft’s flagship operating system. I hated running it on a laptop. But that’s because Windows 8’s interface, with its large app tiles and gesture support, seemed designed for use with a touchscreen, not a mouse and keyboard. I thought at the time that it would be ideal for tablets.
Microsoft seems to be listening to its corporate customers and addressing their concerns. There’s a growing interest in tablets among those customers. But many corporations want the tablets they buy to be able to run older Windows applications. Some corporate and business customers have used Windows-based tablets in the past and liked their support for pens and handwriting.
Once again, Asus delivers a complete package with its Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 Android tablet. The long-awaited Infinity maintains the slim, stylish, multipurpose tradition of its predecessor, the Asus Transformer Prime, while bringing an improved Nvidia Tegra 3 processor and a 1920-by-1200-pixel display along for the ride. This tablet blasts ahead of the pack to establish itself as the best-performing Android tablet we've seen to date, on all of our metrics except battery life.
On the outside, the Infinity is a virtual twin of the Prime: At 10.4 by 7.1 by 0.3 inches and 1.31 pounds, it measures a mere 0.08 inch (0.2mm) thicker, and weighs just 0.03 pound (12g) more than the Prime. That makes the Infinity one of the lightest and slimmest Android tablets on the market today.
Microsoft announced its new Surface tablets last week. Microsoft’s foray into tablet hardware signals historic importance.
This time, the stakes are too high to rely on partnerships or dismiss the consumer market as small or irrelevant. The tablet market is growing too fast for Microsoft to wait for a killer product from its partners. Tim Cook pointed out in March at the New iPad debut that Apple sold more iPads in Q4 2011 than any PC maker sold of PCs.
Microsoft, despite its enormous installed base, risks being considered passé, cumbersome, archaic, despite its usefulness. Microsoft needs to create a market position in the tablet market or risk losing its foothold, and it needs to do so quickly. Microsoft would be well served to carve its position in the tablet segment by being something different: create its own category that sits somewhere between a tablet and a notebook that caters to document creation. Those that tried to compete with Apple head-on have lost; those like Amazon Kindle Fire that define themselves as something tangential have had more success, at least initially. And as Amazon has noticed, this strategy would require an enormous amount of agility to defend.
Tennessee drivers will get a break when applying for license renewals, thanks to Apple iPad kiosks that have been installed throughout the state.
The Department of Safety and Homeland Security has installed 72 iPad automatic self-service electronic terminals (ASSETS) kiosks inside 26 driver service centers to speed renewals and replacements. Most of the terminals are in urban areas of the state.
"Reducing the wait time at driver service centers is one of our top priorities. These self-service iPad stations will cut down on the number of customers waiting for service from a driver license examiner and will help reduce the overall wait time for all customers," Bill Gibbons, security commissioner, said in a press release.
Drivers can fill out the form electronically and pay using a debit or credit card. They should receive the new license within minutes. The kiosks can also be used to change drivers' addresses or pay reinstatement fees.
Microsoft once again is at the top of technology news, this time with the introduction of its Windows 8 Surface tablets. A glance at a photo of them and one might think they were Apple iPads—a year or two from now.
Certainly these tablets, with their innovative designs, beautiful appearance and cutting-edge operating systems, could not be from Microsoft. Certainly not. But they are.
Even some of the most jaded in the technology press are using words like awesome, bold, Hail Mary, mysterious, sick, and just plain cool to describe the Surface tablets.
June 27, 2012
Introducing Nexus 7 - Google Tablet
With a stunning 7" display, powerful quad-core processor and all day battery life, Nexus 7 was built to bring you the best of Google in a slim, portable package that fits perfectly in your hand.
And like that, Google is officially in the tablet hardware business. Google is mere minutes away from kicking off its yearly I/O conference and perhaps the biggest news of the show, the announcement of the Nexus 7, was spoiled by the Google Play Store. Here is the Google/Asus Nexus 7 in all its glory.
Both 8GB and 16GB models pack a 7-inch 1280×800 HD display (216 ppi) back-lit IPS display covered in “Scratch-resistant Corning glass”. A Terga 3 SoC powers Jelly Bean (Android 4.1) and Google promises the 4325 mAh battery should provide up to 8 hours of use. There’s NFC, GPS and and 1.2MP front-facing camera.
Microsoft is definitely thinking ahead when it comes to its Surface tablet. At a TechEd event held in Amsterdam today, the company has said that it believes tablet sales will overtake PCs within the next year. Antoine Leblond, vice president for Windows Web Services, spoke about how touch interfaces will become the dominant platform in the coming years, and that tablets will outsell traditional PCs for the first time.
“Touch is coming to PCs and that’s going to change the way UIs are designed very dramatically, just like the mouse did,” Leblond said at the event, going on to detail how Microsoft’s new Metro interface has been specifically optimized for touch operations. Still, the company won’t be shunning those keen to cling to laptops and PCs: “[Metro] works equally well on a desktop or a tablet.”
Ernst & Young LLP announced that Matt Miller, President of MobileDemand, the nation’s leading provider of Rugged Tablet PC systems in Transportation, was honored as a finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2012 program in the Central Midwest region. The award recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. Matt was selected by a panel of independent judges.
Matt founded the company in 2003 when an opportunity presented itself with Anheuser-Busch. The company needed a way to deliver data to and from the field sales team at the point of transaction. Matt knew that the best way to deliver this data was to automate field sales with Rugged Tablet PC systems that would withstand the rigors of that environment. He left his then current job to focus on developing a business based on this market opportunity.
As expected, Google today unveiled a new Android-based tablet, the Nexus 7. The device, being produced with PC maker Asus, will have a 7-inch screen, an Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core CPU, the new Android 4.1 OS – Jelly Bean! – and a price tag of $199. It ships in mid-July.
A threat to the Apple iPad it is certainly not.
Topeka Capital analyst Brian White sees nothing for Apple to worry about here. True, the Nexus 7 will sell well below the entry level $499 price for the latest iPad, but the iPad 2 starts at $399, both with a larger 9.7-inch screen. He also thinks an Apple iPad mini is coming later this year; his guess is a fall launch and a price tag of $250-$300. White notes that the resolution of the new Google pad – 1280-by-800 – is far lower than the 2048-by-1536 on the iPad with a Retina display. And he notes that the Nexus 7 is WiFi only; you can get an iPad with 3G connectivity.
As White notes, the devices seems more like a competitor to the Amazon Kindle Fire than it is a true rival for the iPad.
Microsoft's Surface tablet has got PC makers hopping mad. So, they're going to do something about it.
"[PC makers] are pissed off and they are looking for strategies now to not only counter the iPad but counter Surface," said a source at a large company that's part of the ecosystem -- the component suppliers and device manufacturers -- that does business with PC makers.
Separately, Roger Kay, principal analyst at EndPoint Technologies, told CNET last week that there was no shortage of "teeth gnashing" among PC executives and managers in response to the Surface launch.
Microsoft announced the Windows 8-based Surface tablet -- the first Microsoft-branded PC device in the company's roughly 40 year history -- last week to a generally favorable reception.
You can’t stop the future; You can’t rewind the past; The only way to learn the secret … is to press play. ” — Jay Asher
The Google Nexus 7 tablet is the product of a very different vision than the Microsoft Surface. The Nexus 7 is a consumer product for content consumption. The MS Surface is a perpetuation of Windows and content creation in a Windows environment. Which one will survive?
Another important gestalt related to tablets is that in order to be a consumption device, they must be backed by an ecosystem of content. As Google’s Andy Rubin observed, according to AllThingsD“Rubin admits that he was upset a year ago that Android tablets just weren’t selling. After looking into some of the reasons, Rubin learned that while hardware really matters on phones, consumers are buying into a content ecosystem with tablets. Or, in Google’s case, not buying into an ecosystem.”
In other words, consumers buy a tablet, not based on phonecontracts or CPU technical specifications, but rather what they can do with the tablet: shopping, browsing, music, books, videos and games.
Microsoft, inspired by Apple, at first seemed interested in the concept of a tablet. There was that famous concept video of the Courier. Ultimately, the Courier was cancelled because it didn’t support and perpetuate the Windows ecosystem. J(ames) Allard and Robbie Bach lost their crusade (and departed) and Steven Sinofsky won.
The result was a two year pause while Microsoft regrouped and came to realize that a stab at postponing the Post-PC era was to develop a tablet that supported Windows and Windows apps, and wrap the product in the guise of content creation. That was evident in the Steve Ballmer’s, Steven Sinofsky’s and Michael Anguilo’s introduction to the Surface. To paraphrase, the focus is on “what we know.” Personal, technical and business software for creation. Steven Sinofsky said, the Surface is “a tablet that’s a great PC.” Steve Ballmer concluded with, the “Surface is a PC. The Surface is a tablet.”
The Tablet PC is a fully functioning mobile computer that runs Windows XP, Tablet PC Edition which includes new, advanced handwriting and speech recognition capabilities that enable the creation, storage, and transmission of handwritten notes and voice input. Tablet PCs come in three styles, Convertible, Slate and Hybrid.