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.
Somewhere out there, perhaps in an alternate timeline or in another universe millions of light years away, Hewlett-Packard's TouchPad tablet is the one to beat after living up to its potential as an iPad killer. But in this timeline and in this universe, the TouchPad is an obsolete relic that was pulled from the market almost as quickly as it appeared, and the future of webOS lies in the hands of open source developers. Could things have worked out any differently?
Android modders have hit the ground running in 2012 with a call to arms after discovering that Asus is using an encrypted booloader on its Eee Pad Transformer Prime, effectively preventing users from easily rooting and modifying their swank new slate. It's not an unprecedented move by Asus, but typically manufacturers refrain from locking down Wi-Fi only tablets, reserving the practice primarily for smartphones.
Google may be gearing up to launch a tablet of its own, one that could serve as a benchmark for other Android tablet makers to follow when designing their own slates. Eric Schmidt, Google's Executive Chairman, reportedly told an Italian newspaper during an interview that the search giant plans to market a premium quality tablet within the next six months.
You won't find too many people beating down virtual or brick and mortar doors to get their hands on an Acer Iconia Tab. The demand just isn't there, not when there are sexier, slimmer, more capable, and less expensive alternatives available (some of which are a combination of more than one of those), and the Iconia Tab line hasn't sold particularly well as a result. Be that as it may, Acer isn't waving the white flag.
As promised, Amazon has begun rolling out a new update for Kindle Fire owners, but there are some things you should know before you dive in. If you're a modder, be aware that the Kindle Fire 6.2.1 update removes root privileges on tablets that have already been rooted, and once it does that, you're unable to re-root it using the SuperOneClick utility with the new firmware installed.
Time is running out if you still haven't slid any presents underneath the Christmas tree (for those of you who celebrate the holiday), and you have even less time if you prefer to shop online. But it's not too late to snag a Kindle online, not yet anyway. Amazon is offering free two-day shipping -- a deal normally reserved for Prime members -- to customers who order any Kindle device, including the Kindle Fire, by 8PM PT on December 21 (tomorrow).
Research In Motion can't seem to get a grip on this whole tablet thing, figuratively or literally. Playing out like an episode of The Sopranos, thieves hijacked a truck carrying 22 pallets of BlackBerry PlayBooks from an Indiana truck stop while the driver was using the local facilities to shower and grab a bite to eat. It's estimated the truck was carrying 5,000 PlayBook devices worth around $1.7 million.