International Data Corporation reports a slowdown in tablet shipment growth
According to latest data published by International Data Corporation (IDC), tablet and two-in-one device shipments dropped to 50.4 million units in the first quarter of 2014, which represents a 35.7 percent sequential decline and just 3.9 percent jump compared to the same quarter a year ago. IDC believes larger size smartphones are eating into the tablet category. In addition, existing tablet owners seem content with their current devices and are no longer upgrading as often.
A budget priced 7-inch slate with an Intel dual-core foundation
Acer has tapped Intel to power its forthcoming Iconia One 7, a 7-inch tablet with a 1280x800 LED-backlit display and Atom Z2560 engine. The Intel Atom Z2560 is a System-on-Chip (SoC) that's part of the Clover Trail+ platform. It's a dual-core chip clocked at 1.6GHz with Hyper Threading support, 1MB of cache, and support for up to 2GB of LPDDR2-1066 memory with a max throughput of 8.5GB/s, along with integrated SGX 544MP2 graphics clocked at 400MHz.
Acer on Tuesday unveiled what it's calling a 2-in-1 Aspire Swtich 10. The 2-in-1 designation is based on the Aspire Switch 10's ability to function as a laptop or a tablet, though that's a bit of an undersell here. Acer could have marketed the device as a 4-in-1 if choosing to focus on its four modes or orientation, which include the traditional laptop setup, tablet mode, display mode, and tent mode.
Android tablet reportedly packs an Intel Atom Z2560 chip
Acer is reportedly getting ready to make another addition to its Iconia B1 series of dirt cheap Android tablets. A German tech site recently published images and specs purported to be that of an upcoming 7-inch tablet called the Acer Iconia B1-730 HD.
Samsung on Wednesday announced that it's Galaxy Tab 4 family of tablets will be available in the U.S. beginning May 1 starting at $200. There are three different size options -- 7-inch, 8-inch, and 10.1-inch, all three of which will be available to pre-order tomorrow. Though each of the three tablets features a different size display, each one has the same resolution (1280x800).
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.
Looking at Microsoft’s hardware model, you might think that all Windows tablet/laptop hybrids fall into one of two camps: capable-but-pricey, à la the Surface 2 Pro, or the opposite of that, i.e., the ARM-toting, Windows RT–sporting Surface 2. Luckily, not all PC manufacturers see things so black-and-white. Hence we have the Asus Transformer Book T100, which not only offers Intel’s new x86 Bay Trail Atom processor and a full version of Windows 8.1, but is also priced at an affordable $400 for the 64GB model reviewed here ($350 for the 32GB). Shoot, an ARM-based Surface 2 with 64GB of storage costs $550! And that’s with the funky, fuzzy, flat TouchCover keyboard. That makes the T100 a compelling value proposition, to be sure. But we wanted to know how this combination tablet/laptop fares in actual use.
Note: This review was originally featured in the January 2014 issue of the magazine.
Score two free games and a wireless Xbox controller with purchase of a Surface 2 Pro
Microsoft is hoping to convince gamers to purchase a Surface Pro 2 tablet by giving away some free games and accessories. In partnership with Geek and Sundry, PC gamers who purchase any variant of the Surface Pro 2 will also receive two free downloadable games -- War Thunder Mustang Advanced Pack and Farming Simulator 2013 -- plus an Xbox Wireless Controller for Windows.
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).