Google became an open source champion of sorts when it introduced its Android platform to the world. The search giant then took it a step further by mostly turning a blind eye to third party developers who saw fit to hack the OS and build their own custom ROMs. Now we're hearing that Google is restricting access to Android 3.0 (Honeycomb), shunning developers who don't have a special agreement in place to build tablets around Honeycomb. The ones that get the nod are mostly large corporations, like Motorola. What gives?
Acer wants to be a major player in the emerging tablet market, which will require capable devices, tantalizing price points, and carrier support. The company is ahead of the game on that latter bit, with AT&T announcing plans to carry Acer's Iconia Tab A501 4G tablet later this year. When the dust settles, Acer hopes to have grabbed a 10 percent share of the tablet market.
It seems premature to start thinking about a Xoom tablet, but with the recent emphasis on ultra-slim tablets, maybe the time is right, after all. There are reports that Motorola's planning to reduce orders for its Xoom tablet beginning in the second quarter of this year, suggesting that a follow-up act is on the way.
Samsung this week unveiled a pair of new Galaxy Tab tablets sized 10.1 inches and 8.9 inches. Part of what makes these additions so special is that they measure a scant 8.6 millimeters, slightly thinner than Apple's trend-setting iPad 2, which measures 8.8
It's been a long wait for Motorola to drop its Wi-Fi only Xoom tablet, and those living in Canada will have to hang tight just a little bit longer. Motorola on Monday announced it will begin shipping and selling its Wi-Fi Xoom slate to Canadians beginning sometime in April, though stopped short of offering up an exact release date, or price for that matter.
While Motorola didn't want to get into pricing details, you can find the Xoom for pre-order on both Best Buy's and Future Shop's Canadian portals, with each one offering up the Wi-Fi tablet for $600, the same price as here in the States.
"Motorola Xoom brings PC-like power to a tablet, providing consumers with an easy-to-use, lightning fast experience designed with fun and productivity in mind, and we're thrilled to bring it to Canadians," said Jeff Miller, corporate vice president, Motorola Mobility.
Likewise, Canadians should be thrilled to have access to a viable alternative to Apple's first and second generation iPad tablets. As we noted in our review, the Xoom has a shot at being an iPad killer, but it's critical to get the Wi-Fi only version out there in the wild for people have no need or desire for the 3G radio, which carries a pricing premium.
Our condolences to anyone who purchased a first generation iPad shortly before Apple launched the iPad 2. Since the launch, Apple and its partners dropped the price of all iPad 1 models by $100, meaning you could purchase a 16GB Wi-Fi iPad for $399. That's a pretty good deal, but AT&T just took things to a whole new level by slashing the price of the flagship 3G 64GB iPad 1 by $300.
As a Web-only special, AT&T is selling the top-end device from last generation for $529, down from its original selling price of $829, and still $200 cheaper than what Apple is trying to unload first gen iPads for.
The one "gotcha" is that you're required to sign up for one of AT&T's DataConnect Personal Data plans, which are active for 30 days and then automatically renew every month unless you cancel service. That's the only obligation, however, as this isn't a subsidized price based on a 2-year service agreement.
If you've been following our coverage of Motorola's Xoom tablet and watched our "Motorola Xoom: 5 Killer Features, 5 Frustrating Faux Pas" video, then you know that one of our biggest gripes is that there is no Wi-Fi only version available for sale. To jump on the Xoom bandwagon, you have a buy a 3G ticket, as well as pay for a month of service up front. What's an enthusiast to do who has no need for 3G? Wait a couple of weeks.
Market research firm did what a lot of you would probably like to do -- it took a chainsaw to an iPad 2, tore it open, and spread its guts out all over the floor. Okay, we might be exaggerating just a tad, and iSuppli's purpose wasn't to destroy an Apple product, but to figure out the tablet's bill of materials (BOM). Turns out it costs about the same as an iPad 1.
While the Apple faithful made sure Apple's iPad 2 launch was a success, you sat at home thinking, "Big whoop, it's an iOS device. I'm holding out for the Wi-Fi Xoom!" That's not a bad plan, assuming you're willing to pony up $600 for a superior spec'd Android tablet, and while it was initially looking like you'd have to wait until April, new information suggests you might be able to snag one by the end of March.
If we've learned anything from the modding community, it's that they don't mess around. Give them a goal and they'll get it done, as is the case with the iPad 2. Apple's second generation tablet went on sale just before the weekend, and it's already been jailbroken, shedding the shackles of iOS 4.3.