Tablets

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Smart watches, TVs and cars featured prominently on Wednesday as Google laid out its plans for pushing its Android smartphone software into new fields. At its annual I/O developer event in San Francisco, “wearables” had pride of place, with news that the first smartwatches based on Android Wear are now on sale – before Apple unveils its much-anticipated iWatch. With Android TV and Android Auto, on the other hand, Google was playing catch up with Apple. The event pointed to how the battle for the next big tech markets beyond the smartphone will be fought. Richard Waters and Tim Bradshaw were at the Moscone Center for this round. 

Have we been taking too many tablets?

It seems markets are reaching saturation point with growth in the category slowing to 28 per cent year-on-year in the fourth quarter – down from 87 per cent a year earlier. Read more

It sounds improbable. Dogged by closed borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan, a narrow export base, pervasive monopolies and an over-reliance on remittances from abroad, Armenia’s economic future poses plenty of questions. Could one answer come in the shape of a tablet?

In December, Technology and Science Dynamics Inc/ArmtabTechnologies Company, an American-Armenian joint-venture, announced the first tablet and smartphone made-in-Armenia. Both Android-run, the ArmTab and the ArmPhone were designed in Yerevan and will be assembled in Hong Kong and the US. The producer said the devices, available for wholesale in a few weeks and to retailers in late 2014, were aimed mainly at the regional markets.

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Who says the PC is dead? Lenovo’s notebook sales rose 8 per cent year-on-year in the three months to September, a period when global industry shipments fell by 12 per cent.

Fiscal second quarter results on Thursday showed clearly that the Chinese company is not just the world’s biggest PC maker, it is also the only one that has its act together: Acer this week lost its second chief executive in three years, HP still has at least three years to go in its turnaround plan, and Dell has retreated from the public markets to nurse its wounds. Read more

As Apple launches the iPad Air, rivals such as Samsung, Lenovo and Amazon are coming out with their own challengers. Even Nokia has joined the fray with its first tablet. With so much choice, there is increasingly a tablet for everyone.

Images of the U.S. variant of the Galaxy Note 10.1 for business life

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Tim Bradshaw

On a brisk, foggy Tuesdsay morning in San Francisco, Apple unveiled the iPad Air, a new tablet which is thinner and faster than the previous devices, in a bid to consolidate its grip on the high end of the tablet market.

In what it called the “lightest full-sized tablet in the world”, Apple said it had a “dramatically different experience” but the new tablet did not include the fingerprint reader that some had expected after it was introduced for the latest iPhone. The company also unveiled a new iPad mini and cut the cost of the original smaller tablet to $299, the cheapest price for an iPad ever.

Revealing a whole host of updates from mobile apps to its Mac OS update, it announced that it would now offer its software for free. Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said the move was “turning the industry on its ear”.

Tim Bradshaw and Hannah Kuchler followed the launch for the FT’s Apple liveblog as Tim Cook took to the stage at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in downtown San Francisco.

 

Indian makers of tablet computers are elbowing their way into the domestic market, which is expected to expand rapidly in the next few years, writes Avantika Chilkoti

Although Samsung and Apple feature strongly in the Indian tablet market, figures from the International Data Corporation, an information technology research company, show India’s two leading domestic manufacturers have grabbed a market share of more than 20 per cent.

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Chris Nuttall

Microsoft’s Surface Windows 8 Pro tablet is on sale from Saturday, costing 50 per cent more than its equivalent Windows RT forerunner – from $900 rather than $600 in the US for the 64Gb versions.

At first glance, the two look identical in their size and dark titanium design, but Microsoft is providing quite a few more features for the money. Whether they are enough to justify this price for a tablet is debatable. A review after the jump. Read more

Amazon chief executive Jeff BezosMicrosoft recently opened a store near my home in the San Francisco Bay Area, marking the occasion with a concert in the car park by Kelly Clarkson, the first American Idol talent show winner, and an appearance by a famous American football player – Jerry Rice of the San Francisco 49ers. I had not seen such a local commotion since another famous football player, George Best, opened a fish-and-chip shop in my home town near Manchester around 1970. All this fuss, just for piles of boxed copies of Windows, I thought.

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Back of Google Nexus 10

Google’s latest addition to its hardware range, the Nexus 10, has landed. This time Google partnered with Samsung to produce an iPad-beating spec sheet and what they tout as the ‘highest resolution display in the world’. Priced at £319 in the UK and $399 in the US, could the Nexus 10 tempt Android holdouts? Read more

Richard Waters

If you’re one of those people who has been dying to use Excel or Word on a touch-optimised tablet, your wait is over. But that may not be enough to justify paying a premium for a device that is both Microsoft’s first foray into personal computing hardware as well as the flagship for the new Windows 8.

Try, for a moment, to put comparisons with the iPad out of your mind (admittedly not so easy on the day that Apple has just shown off the new iPad mini and a souped-up 10in version). The Surface, which goes on sale on Friday, deserves to be judged on its own terms: as a tablet that is designed to function equally well as a notebook PC. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Microsoft has announced its Surface tablet, due to go on sale next week with the launch of Windows 8, will be priced from $499 in the US.

The initial Surface tablets will have Windows RT installed – a version of Windows 8 designed for Arm-based processors – and will come in three versions. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Intel has introduced the low-power Atom processor – codenamed Clover Trail – that carries its hopes of making a dent in the tablet market when Windows 8 launches on October 26.

But first, the chipmaker had to carry out a damage-limitation exercise at the launch event in San Francisco on Thursday, clearing up remarks reportedly made at a private company meeting in Taiwan by Paul Otellini, chief executive, that Windows 8 was still buggy and not ready. Read more

Chris Nuttall

A year after launching its first tablet, Sony has announced a next-generation version, the Xperia Tablet S.

The new slate is a slimmer version of the original, battery life has been boosted from eight hours to a claimed 10 hours and new accessories have been added.  The Tablet S was unveiled at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin along with new smartphones, hybrid PCs and an 84in 4K LCD TV. Read more

Google Nexus 7

Google’s Nexus brand showcases its latest Android software and its manufacturing partners’ advances in hardware. Now it has ventured beyond smartphones to unveil the Nexus 7 – the brand’s first tablet, which is manufactured by Asus.

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Joseph Menn

Smack in the middle of the ultrabook and tablet hoopla from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas comes a sobering report from the market researchers at IDC: PC shipments in the critical fourth quarter were down 0.2 per cent from a year before. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Toshiba showed off its new Excite X10 tablet at CES on Sunday evening, coupling it in demonstrations with its latest lineup of Smart TVs.

The Excite is a 10.1in tablet, which Toshiba claims is the world’s thinnest and lightest at that size – 0.3in thin to be specific and weighing 1.2lbs. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Marvell and One Laptop Per Child will unveil their first tablet prototype at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Sunday evening.

The chipmaker and the non-profit trying to bring affordable computing to schoolchildren worldwide plan to show a fully functional version of the long-awaited X0 3.0, which they describe as “a low-cost, low-power, rugged tablet computer designed for classrooms around the globe”. Read more

A year after they charged into the annual Consumer Electronics Show with more than 100 devices, tablet makers are returning to Las Vegas next week as a ragged and battle-scarred army that has failed to dent the success of Apple’s iPad.

Despite the deep war wounds – most notably HP’s abandonment of its TouchPad and Research in Motion’s $485m writedown as it was forced to discount deeply its PlayBook device – the iPad rivals are banking on a new Android operating system, the arrival of Windows 8 and improved content offerings to help them cut into Apple’s two-thirds share of the market.

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Joseph Menn

Apple had a bad week in its multi-front patent war, capped by the real possibility of an iPhone and iPad import ban in GermanyRead more