"The transition from PCs to tablets has faded..." - Gartner
People are fickle creatures, and if you need proof of this, just turn your attention to the technology sector. Remember when netbooks were red hot? You couldn't go more than a couple of days without seeing a new netbook announcement. They've since disappeared (and arguably returned in the form of Chromebooks), and now tablets are the hot item. Or, they used to be. According to Gartner, the tablet market is showing signs of saturation, causing consumers to fall in love with traditional PCs all over again.
News of the Surface Pro 3's demise have been greatly exaggerated
It's not too often that Microsoft addresses rumors and speculation floating through cyberspace, so the fact that it stood up in defense of its Surface Pro 3 tablet amid talk that it's planning to cancel the product line is telling. Straight and to the point, Microsoft took to its Surface blog to reiterate to businesses (and anyone else) that it's not planning to discontinue the Surface Pro 3. Period.
The big news regarding Hewlett-Packard is that the OEM has again decided to split off its Printing and Personal Systems Group (printer and PC divisions), which is something former CEO Léo Apotheker wanted to do several years ago. However, that's not the only news related to HP. With nary a peep, the OEM just released the HP 10 Plus, a 10.1-inch Full HD 1080p (1920x1200) tablet running Android 4.4.2 KitKat.
For those of you who've been waiting for Nvidia to start shipping its Shield gaming tablet with 32GB of on-board storage and 4G LTE connectivity baked in, the wait is now over -- you can order the Shield 32GB LTE gaming tablet for $399 direct from Nvidia's website. That's twice as much storage as the 16GB model, plus you get LTE connectivity in addition to Wi-Fi access, additions that come at a $100 premium.
Samsung's and Apple's share of the tablet market is eroding, though they still lead the pack
It will be tough (not impossible) to catch up with and/or surpass Apple or Samsung in the tablet race, though the sprint for third place is a ferocious one led by Lenovo, Amazon, and Asus, as well as other "emerging vendors," according to ABI Research. Lenovo is especially well positioned to take the No. 3 spot in tablet market share and is expected to ship 21 million slates by 2019.
Microsoft's arch rival Apple is receiving some free publicity for its iPad line during NFL games. That's because TV announcers can't seem to tell fathom that not all tablets are iPads. Take the Surface, for example. After paying the NFL $400 million for Surface to be the official tablet of the league, Microsoft is understandably ticked that its slate keeps being referred to as an iPad on national television.
Amazon decided that releasing a new Kindle Fire HD tablet wouldn't be enough, so the e-tailer went and added more than half a dozen new slates and e-readers. It begins with the introduction of two brand new Kindles starting at $79 (Kindle) and $199 (Kindle Voyage). The Kindle Voyage ups the ante with the thinnest design yet for a Kindle device (0.30 inches) and a next generation paperwhite display.
The lightest 11.6-inch rugged tablet in its class, GammaTech says
Tablets aren't exactly known for their durability. Can you image dropping your Android slate or iPad down a flight of stairs? If the stairs are carpeted, you might get away with it (we don't recommend testing this out), otherwise there's a good chance the screen will end up busted. GammaTech's new Durabook R11 is a rugged slate that would probably survive such a tumble, as well as other harsh situations.
Not only did the NFL mishandle a major situation with Ray Rice's domestic abuse incident, but even comparatively minor tasks are turning into fumbles. Before the season began, Microsoft inked a $400 million deal with the NFL to make its Surface the official tablet of the league for the next five years. Under normal circumstances, that would be a sound (and even savvy) advertising deal on Microsoft's part, except for one little thing -- NFL announcers couldn't help but to refer to the Surface tablets as iPads.
Whether it's a low-cost Windows 8.1 tablet or a newly minted Chromebook model you're after, today's your lucky today. That's because Toshiba announced the retail availability of its Encore Mini, an affordable 7-inch Windows 8.1 tablet priced at a scant $120 MSRP, along with its second generation Chromebook model simply dubbed Chromebook 2 (pricing ranges from $250 to $330 MSRP).