Microsoft is reportedly in the process of porting its Office productivity suite over to iOS and Android devices. This isn't the first we've heard of Office Mobile, nor has Microsoft officially confirmed the news, but screenshots and inside information have all but tipped the release as imminent. It will ship first to iOS and then Android, starting in early 2013, perhaps as early as February.
The iPad Mini announcement sent Apple fanboy’s into a mouth foaming frenzy, however, just about everyone else had one minor issue with the companies new entry level tablet. Without putting too fine a point on it, the $329 starting price that Apple is so proud of isn’t actually all that competitive given the hardware specifications, especially considering the economies of scale the company enjoys. We knew Apple probably wasn’t going after the $199 tablet market, however the $130 delta between the Kindle Fire HD and iPad Mini seems to have helped Amazon immensely.
Normally when someone claims big brother is tracking their every move, we'd recommend rolling an aluminum foil deflector beanie to stay one step ahead of 'the man,' but what happens if they were right all along? Like something out of a suspense thriller, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) got caught in possession of millions of Apple device user IDs, and suddenly everyone is playing dumb. Here's what happened.
The high profile Samsung vs. Apple trial has finally come to a conclusion, and the Jury has delivered a stunning $1.05 billion settlement in favor of Apple. The fine isn’t unsubstantial, but the bigger message here is that Apple now has legal precedent for many of the patents that cover the gadgets we love, and the rest of the industry will need to quickly fall into line. This will mean higher licensing fees, and ultimately, higher prices for consumers. The Verge did an excellent job of summarizing the verdict as it came down, but to put it in just a few words, this changes everything.
The Apple vs. Samsung saga has been unfolding at a rapid pace over the last few weeks, and several new developments about what went on behind the scenes is starting to emerge. According to court fillings, Apple considered Samsung a “strategic partner”, and offered them the option to license key patents in order to restore peace between the two companies. “Samsung chose to embrace and imitate Apple’s iPhone archetype,” Apple said in an Oct. 5, 2010 presentation to Samsung. “Apple would have preferred that Samsung request a license to do this in advance. Because Samsung is a strategic supplier to Apple, we are prepared to offer a royalty-bearing license for this category of device.”
With all due respect to Symbian, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, and any other mobile platform not named Android or iOS, you're all just a bunch of also-rans in what's becoming "unquestionably a two-horse race," according to data and analysis by International Data Corporation (IDC). Android and iOS set a new combined smartphone OS record in the second quarter of 2012, with the two platforms feasting on an 85 percent share of the market, leaving just 15 percent in scraps for all others to fight over.
Over half (54.9 percent) of U.S. mobile subscribers were wielding a smartphone at the end of June 2012, according to Nielsen. The smartphone segment continues to grow, and if Nielsen's figures are correct, two out of three mobile phone shoppers now opt for a smartphone rather than a feature phone. Google's Android platform is the biggest benefactor of this trend, which claims the lion's share of the smartphone OS market.
Browser options on Apple’s iOS platform are pretty grim, however one bit of defense Apple will no longer be able to use is a lack of demand. Chrome for iOS was released last week at Google IO, and since then it has shot like a rocket to the top of the app charts. The UI for iOS Chrome emulates pretty closely what we’ve seen over on Android, however it does have a few significant, and disheartening differences.
APPLE DIDN'T CALL the newest iPad the iPad 3 or the iPad HD—just the iPad. And that’s fitting, because while it’s a handsome upgrade to the best tablet on the market, it’s not a huge leap forward. If you’ve used any iPad for more than 10 minutes, this won’t blow you away—the revolution was two years ago. Now it’s time to iterate.
Yes, it’s a little bit thicker: 9.4mm, compared to the 8.8mm iPad 2. And it’s a skootch heavier: 1.44 pounds, or 1.46 pounds if you get Wi-Fi + 4G; the iPad 2 ranged from 1.33 pounds for Wi-Fi to 1.35 pounds for the AT&T version of the Wi-Fi + 3G. We bet you won’t notice. What you will notice is the 4G/LTE speed and the Retina display.
The bright 9.7-inch display’s dizzying resolution is now 2048x1536, or 264ppi. That’s four times the pixels on the 1024x768 iPads of yore, and the best screen we’ve ever seen on a hunk of electronics. It’s got a million more pixels than a 1920x1080 HDTV, plus better color saturation than the iPad 2.
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.