Tablets

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.

 

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. 

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. 

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”. 

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.

 

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 Germany