IFA Berlin is in full swing and we're starting to see a number of Windows 8 product announcements emerge. One of them is Toshiba's Satellite U925t convertible tablet, or "tablet meets Ultrabook," as the company describes it. Sleek and slim, the Satellite U925t looks every bit a tablet, but a slide out QWERTY keyboard quickly transforms it into a makeshift Ultrabook with some pretty impressive hardware inside.
Samsung isn't letting a little thing like losing a billion dollar verdict to rival Apple disrupt its mojo. Rather than sit around and feel sorry for itself, Samsung today surprised everyone by announcing the Ativ S, the world's first Windows 8 smartphone, edging in front of Nokia and every other Microsoft partner that's planning to launch devices of their own. Ativ S is one of a handful of devices in Samsung's newly branded Ativ Windows 8 product line.
Handheld consoles don't seem to be the hot commodities that they used to be back before everyone owned smartphones, but don't tell Archos there isn't a market for such a thing. Not only does Archos believe there is, the company is betting big on it by launching its Android-powered 'GamePad' device with a 7-inch capacitive display and physical gaming control buttons and analog sticks.
Just because Apple scored a sweeping victory against Samsung in its patent trial in the U.S., which led to the nine panel jury awarding the Cupertino company more than a billion dollars in damages, it doesn't mean the whole matter of Android versus iOS is settled. Far from it, in fact. Days before the verdict was reached, Google's recently acquired Motorola Mobility division filed a patent suit of its own against Apple, one in which it will try to ban Apple imports in the U.S. Interestingly, Apple appears willing to go to trial, especially with the Samsung case under its belt, but in Germany, the company caved and reached a licensing deal with Motorola.
T-Mobile has never been invited to the iPhone party, and that's probably not going to change when Apple unveils the iPhone 5 next month. Instead, an internal company memo leaked to the Web suggests T-Mobile is working on a strategy for "Selling Against the iPhone," which would be an awfully awkward thing to train its employees to do if, in fact, the wireless carrier was receiving iPhone devices.
The Curiosity rover on Mars isn't the only thing NASA is busy with these days. According to reports, NASA is getting ready to send a pair of cube-shaped nano-satellites weighing just over 2 pounds into space, but just as interesting as the size and weight is the fact that they're powered by Android smartphones. It's part of a nifty project called PhoneSat overseen by the agency's Small Spacecraft Technology program.
Rumor has it the iPad Mini -- a smaller, 7.85-inch version of the iPad tablet -- is real and nearly ready to ship. It's the type of device the late Steve Jobs never approved of, having once unaffectionately referred to 7-inch tablets as "tweeners," and slides into a trending category of mobile products currently led by Amazon's Kindle Fire, Google's Nexus 7, and Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet (not necessarily in that order).
It was a close call, but rather than leave the 5.8-inch market untouched, Samsung has come out with a media player that fills the void. The 5.8-inch category, if we can call it that, is one of the few screen sizes Samsung had been ignoring, a situation it addressed by announcing its new Galaxy Player 5.8 -- phew! It's the largest size Galaxy Player yet and is sure to test the elasticity of your pants pocket.
Apple scored over a billion dollars in damages from Samsung in what can be considered a sweeping victory over patent infringement claims in the U.S. and was quick to gloat. In a statement provided to The New York Times, Apple spokeswoman Katie Cotton said her company was "grateful to the jury" that found Samsung guilty of ripping off the look and feel of iPhone and iPad devices. Samsung also provided a statement, saying the "verdict should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer." Google, meanwhile, was eerily quiet in the aftermath of the trial, until now.
With Google's recently launched Nexus 7 tablet encroaching on what had been Amazon's territory led by the Kindle Fire, the e-tailer is busy beefing up what it hopes will prove a trump card. You can't stream Amazon Prime Instant Video to the Nexus 7, but you can on the Kindle Fire (provided you didn't root the device and feed it Ice Cream Sandwich), which will now enjoy access to an even larger catalog courtesy of an expanded content licensing agreement with NBCUniversal and New Media Distribution.