Full-featured Honeycomb tablet tries to steal discount slates' thunder
TIMES ARE, LET'S SAY, challenging for anyone who makes a 7-inch tablet but doesn't also own some type of bookstore. The Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet could look the Thrive 7" square in the eye and say, "You're good, kid, but as long as we're around, you'll always be second best, see?" It hardly matters that the Thrive 7" has the full Honeycomb 3.2 OS, more storage, and superior screen resolution, because it also carries a price that's almost twice that of the Fire and without all the Amazon ecosystem advantages, to boot.
With that said, for those discriminating individuals who do appreciate the finer things in life, the Thrive 7" furnishes the highest resolution of a 7-inch tablet and costs a bit less than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 Plus. Graphics in games and videos on the Thrive 7" look crisp and finely detailed, with excellent black levels. It's a great tablet display for reading ebooks or websites.
On the downside to browsing the web, the Thrive 7" performs pretty poorly with web browser screen redraws and scrolling and exhibits demonstrable touch‑response lag. Several other Honeycomb tablets we've tested also suffered from such problems to a degree belying their hardware specs, but the Thrive 7" felt particularly laggy, if only intermittently. Similar problems occurred with certain other apps, on the home screens and menu screens, and when waking up the tablet. These behaviors were only occasional, but still common. Benchmark tests also showed results inexplicably lower than other Tegra 2 devices with similar specs.
THE MARKETING BLITZ swirling around the Droid Razr’s launch drive home these twin selling points: thin, yet powerful. This wafer of a smartphone measures just over a quarter of an inch thick along most of its chassis before filling out at the top where the camera lens and flash; speaker; and HDMI, USB, and headphone jacks reside. A layer of Kevlar fiber drapes the backside, and the Gorilla Glass covering the 4.3-inch display has a water-repellent coating for protection against errant spills and inevitable raindrops.
For all its vaunted thinness, the Razr feels very sturdy in your hand, while its substantial surface area assures that it doesn’t feel small. If anything, it’s a bit unwieldy for one-handed operation. The thin build has its share of downsides, too: The side-mounted power and volume buttons are too small, and this is one of the rare Android form factors that doesn’t let you remove the battery.
We do, however, cherish the generous qHD Super AMOLED Advanced display, which exhibits vivacious colors and deep black levels. The Razr is one of the first smartphones to allow Netflix streaming in HD; and for what it’s worth on a screen this size, movies, other HD video, and games look extraordinary.
Tablet sales are expected to reach 118.9 million units by the end of the year, a nearly two-fold increase (98 percent) from 60 million units in 2011, market research firm Gartner predicts. It's no surprise that Apple's iPad leads the way and, if Gartner's crystal ball is in proper alignment, the iOS platform will account for more than 61 percent of worldwide tablet sales by the end of 2012. That too isn't shocking. But would you have guessed that Android will still be chasing iOS through 2016, and perhaps longer?
Apple’s legal team has been waging a war for years now against Android OEMs, and if Reuters sources are to be believed, they probably should have spent a bit more time reviewing e-book negotiations instead. Word on the street is that the Justice Department is close to reaching a settlement agreement with Apple, and several of the major book publishers will probably be on the hook as well. The allegations began several years ago when Apple launched iBooks, and Steve Jobs boldly declared to the world how he planned to take on Amazon.
You can't walk down the street without noticing at least one person wielding a smartphone, and in more busy areas such as airports or even on the bus, you're likely to spot bipeds bouncing their fingers on a tablet. Connected devices are everywhere, and according to data released by International Data Corporation (IDC), shipments of smart connected devices, including PCs, media tables, and smartphones, topped 916 million units with revenues of more than $489 billion in 2011. By 2016, IDC expects shipments to reach 1.84 billion units, along with a changing of the guard.
The new iPad can’t play Crysis, its also practically useless for productivity tasks, but ohhh did we mention it’s really shinny? Regardless of what you think of the iPad, or tablets in general, there is no denying Apple is doing a great job of exploiting the trend. Annual refreshes have added more horsepower and features while holding the line on price, but are the same margin’s possible with a display that rivals most 24-inch desktop panels?
It's going to be a madhouse at Best Buy retail locations this Friday, March 16, starting at 8 AM when Apple's new iPad goes on sale. Actually, it will be nuts even before then, because it's always a safe bet dozens and, in some locations, even hundreds of people will line up outside way ahead of time. That's the way it goes with Apple product launches these days, but even with the rabid fan base in place, Android tablet shipments will overtake iOS by 2015, International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts.
The latest data from market research firm comScore underscores the old adage 'The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.' In terms of mobile market share, Google and Apple are the two fat cats living high on the hog, while Microsoft, Research In Motion, and Symbian fight over the leftover scraps, and there were less to go around in January 2012.
Apple news rarely makes the headlines around here because, well, we love our PC’s. iOS devices on the other hand is a completely different story. Since the vast majority of iOS users are in-fact running Windows, (an interesting bit of trivia you’ll never hear them advertise), it never hurts to bring up the odd news tidbit. This week we would like to bring your attention to the controversy surrounding Foxconn, and the allegations which basically accuse Apple of running a modern day, high tech sweat shop. To try and counter the mounting consumer unrest, Apple is pulling open the kimono, and letting ABC Nightline reporters take a tour of the assembly lines, and interview key personnel.
The silver lining when you hit rock bottom is there's no place to go but up (actually, you can move sideways as well). Flip those words of wisdom upside down and you have a situation where Android, which has been sitting on top of the world, suddenly has to deal with its first ever decline in market share, according to data released by market research firm ABI Research.