Infants raised on iPads have trouble using building blocks, teachers say
Maybe parents should rethink giving their children a tablet this holiday shopping season, especially if their lifestyle makes it difficult to limit use to such devices. Members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers are speaking out against overexposure to tablets, warning that a growing number of infants aren't developing the proper motor skills to play with building blocks due to their "addiction" to tablet PCs and smartphones.
A smaller size Surface device may be in Microsoft's future
The neat thing about Microsoft's non-RT Surface gadget is that it's not solely a tablet, but also a full-fledged notebook PC, provided you connect it to a keyboard. Would the dual-form factor approach work on a smaller size display? Perhaps we'll get an answer to that question, as Microsoft is rumored to be working on a "Surface Mini" to compete against the iPad mini and other 7-inch class tablets.
At long last, users clamoring for 4G LTE broadband connectivity on a Surface 2 tablet are about to get their wish. Beginning tomorrow, Microsoft will begin offering a version of its Surface 2 slate with a built-in 4G LTE radio for $679. The tablet will be available to purchase from Microsoft's online and offline stores, as well as Best Buy (online, offline, and through Best Buy Mobile locations).
AMD looks to increase its presence in the tablet market
It's not just Intel that wants to twist some tablet market share out of ARM's grip. AMD sees an opportunity to generate additional revenue as well. The Sunnyvale chip designer is currently showing off a reference tablet built around its 28nm Mullins chip, which is a quad-core part clocked at 1.2GHz. It's also running a 64-bit operating system -- Windows 8.1 with performance described as being "quite good."
As 2013 came and went, there was nary a new Nook tablet in sight. It would be easy to assume Barnes and Noble had given up on tablet hardware, but apparently that's not the case. Instead, Barnes and Noble confirmed it's planning to release a new Nook model sometime this year, though details are sparse -- about the only thing we know is that it's going to be a color device (tablet) as opposed to a black and white model (e-reader).
One of the items Asus unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last month was its upcoming VivoTab Note 8 tablet. Apparently there were a fair number of buyers waiting for this slate -- Microsoft began offering the VivoTab Note 8 online for $329 over the weekend and it now shows as being out of stock. That's pretty impressive, assuming Microsoft didn't start off with just a small quantity.
One of the things that helped drive down the price of Android tablets is the proliferation of smaller size displays in the 7-inch range. This is partially what allowed companies like Amazon and Google to undercut the competition at a time when the market was flooded with 10-inch tablets for $500 and up. This correlation in price also works in reverse, as evidenced by Samsung's 12.2-inch Galaxy Note Pro commanding $850 at Office Depot.
It hasn't even been a full year since Microsoft launched its first generation Surface Pro for $900, a price tag that undoubtedly scared off more than a few buyers. When we tested the Surface Pro, we came to the conclusion that it has "more than enough power for any casual computing need," though cheaper and lighter solutions made it a tough sell. If pricing is all that held you back, take note that Best Buy is currently selling the original Surface Pro for $500, which is $400 off its original retail price.
It seems like forever ago when the only Android tablets on the market were the ones trying to compete with Apple's iPad line at the $499 price point and above. Fast forward to today and affordable Android tablets are fairly common, though not quite ubiquitous. Might that change this year? Well, we're off to a good start with Acer announcing two new Iconia slates starting at just $130.
Vendors don't want to get stuck with a bunch of 2-in-1 devices
There's still no clear cut indication from consumers whether or not hybrid notebooks that also function as tablets are all that desirable compared to keeping the form factors separate. That being the case, notebook vendors are reportedly having cold feet when it comes to stockpiling 2-in-1 devices, fearing that weak sales could leave them with a bunch of unsold inventory needing to be written off.