Here's a bit of good news for all you original Eee Pad Transformer tablet PC owners. Android 4.0, otherwise known as Ice Cream Sandwich, is ready to deploy, all it needs is a green light from Google. Asus North America confirmed as much in a Facebook post in response to a question posed by Transformer owner Michael Sullivan, who like many others can't wait to bite into Google's most delicious Android build to date.
Apple's first iPad tablet launched in the U.S. on April 3, 2010., while the iPad 2 came out less than a year later on March 11, 2011. It's a small sample size, to be sure, but following the 11-month release cycle, we wouldn't be surprised to see the iPad 3 come out in February, though the latest chatter has Apple's third generation tablet PC making its debut in March.
Tablet PCs have flirted with mobile gaming, and there are some fun titles out there that are playable on higher end Android and iPad devices. But it's not a true gaming platform, at least not yet. Give Razer a chance to shake things up. The gaming peripheral maker is throwing its hat into the tablet ring with its "Project Fiona PC Gaming Tablet" (from here on out it's just "Fiona"), a concept slate designed to play today's most popular PC games with a funky (Razer says "intuitive") control setup.
Rumors have been swirling for weeks that Apple's working on a smaller version of the iPad (insert iPod touch jokes here) to compete with Amazon's lower cost Kindle Fire device, but maybe we've been led astray. Maybe Apple has no intentions of releasing a 7-inch iPad -- Steve Jobs always scoffed at the idea anyway -- and perhaps it's Google, not Apple, who will ultimately fight Fire with, well, something.
The days of having to spend a small fortune in order to have a tablet that doesn't suck are over. With the introduction of the Iconia Tab A200, Acer throws its hat into the ring of low(er) cost slates. It's priced at $330, and while that's higher than Amazon's Kindle Fire ($199) and Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet ($249), the A200 is a full-size slate measuring 10.1 inches with a promised upgrade path to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS).
Isn't it swell to be heard? Sometimes all it takes is a collective effort to help raise your voice loud enough for the recipient to get the message, and if you need a case in point, look no further than Asus. We reported earlier today that Asus was telling the modding community to chillax while it works up an official statement regarding the Transformer Prime's locked bootloader, and we (correctly) guessed the news would be good...mostly.
It looks like the power of the Internet prevails once again. After word got out that Asus was shipping its Eee Pad Transformer Prime tablet with a locked bootloader, there was a call to arms in the modding community to storm the castle and let Asus have it via Twitter, Facebook, email, and wherever else. A day after it all hit the fan Asus is telling modders to relax, presumably because everything's going to be okay.
We're seriously starting to question the intelligence level of tablet makers, or at least their ability to predict consumer reactions to price cuts. Exhibit A is Hewlett-Packard's $99 TouchPad fire sale. HP's goal was to clear out existing inventory, and it did, but not before owning the world's most popular tablet, and arguably the hottest tech item around. What did Research In Motion learn from this?
We're not out to make a mountain out of a mole hill, but it's interesting on a number of levels that a chip giant like Intel would cut down the tablet market in order to promote its own Ultrabook form factor. It's interesting because Intel doesn't typically diss on form factors, and also because the Santa Clara chip maker would love to challenge ARM on what's become its home turf, and in fact will make a serious run at slates later this year.
One of the most popular tech categories in all of 2011 was the tablet PC. For the most part, Intel and Microsoft missed the boat, but luckily for both, the tablet ship hasn't sailed and looks to be just as popular in 2012 as it has been for the past 12 months. Come Q3, Acer and Lenovo will punch their ticket with tablets built around Intel's Clover Trail platform rocking Microsoft's Windows 8.