Google I/O kicked off this morning and is still going on at the time of this writing, but rather than make you wait for a roundup of the highlights, we thought we'd pass along some of the more interesting developments that have already occurred. One of the biggest ones is the introduction of a streaming music service, as previously rumored, to go up against the likes of Pandora, Spotify, Slacker, and eventually Apple, to name a few.
Convenience is the name of the game, and today more than ever, mobility is playing a huge factor in consumers' buying decisions for electronic devices. Gadget makers are answering the call, and in the first quarter of 2013, they shipped more than 300 million mobile devices around the world, according to the latest data published by Canalys, a market research and analysis firm.
IHS iSupply tears down the Galaxy S4 from Samsung.
Barring a sale price or a promotion, you're liklely to pay $200 for a Samsung Galaxy S4 handset, not including the overall cost of a two-year service agreement to qualify for subsidized pricing. Data fees notwithstanding, that's $29 less than the bill of materials (BOM). Manufacturing costs add another $8.50 per device, so on paper, Samsung is paying $237.50 for every Galaxy S4 device it builds.
With so many low-cost tablets entering the fray, Barnes & Noble wants to make sure it's Nook HD and Nook HD+ don't get overlooked. To help put them both in the spotlight, B&N last week issued a firmware update that added Google Play access to the tablets, making it much more difficult to pigeonhole them as glorified eBook readers. And if that wasn't enough incentive, B&N just dropped the price by about 30 percent for Mother's Day.
Multiple sources are saying that Microsoft is currently working on another Surface tablet, one that will likely be smaller in size than the current models, and less expensive as well. If the rumors are true, then it means Microsoft received the memo that $500 tablets without an Apple logo are a tough sell. which is the same memo Google's hardware partners received long ago in reference to Android.
It seems like the whole world has gone crazy over tablets, and you can't go more than a week without some market research firm posting gloom and doom numbers on the desktop PC side due to consumer interest in mobile. Be that as it may, and despite falling prices for increasingly powerful tablets, not everyone believes the form factor will stand the test of time. Just the opposite, BlackBerry's Thorstein Heins -- the guy who runs the show -- believes tablets are a bad business model that will be lucky to last past 2018.
Nexus 10 successor said to pack an 11-inch display
Given Google's unwillingness to disclose sales figures pertaining to its Nexus tablets, we are left with no other choice but to rely on educated guesses by market analysts like Enders Analysis strategy consultant Benedict Evans, who recently estimated the total sales of Nexus 7 to be around 6.8 million units and that of the Nexus 10 around one-tenth as much. Evans’ Nexus 10 sales estimate in particular, if it bears any truth, is nothing to write home about. But, if a new rumor is to be believed, Nexus 10 manufacturer Samsung may be working on redeeming itself by launching the world’s first octa-core tablet.
There's no thinner 10.1-inch tablet, according to Sony.
Sony's wedge-shaped Xperia Tablet S didn't exactly take the Android tablet market by storm, and truth be told, we don't think the Xperia Tablet Z will either, though it's an interesting slate. The Xperia Tablet Z, which is now available to pre-order for $500 on Sony's website, is supposedly the world's thinnest 10.1-inch slate measuring just 0.27 inches thick and weighing barely more than a pound (1.09 pounds, to be precise).
Hewlett-Packard re-enters the media tablet market with 7-inch Android Jelly Bean tablet
If you are a PC vendor mulling a foray into the world of smartphones and media tables, there is perhaps no other platform more convenient than Android for this purpose. That is not to say that it is an option that readily appeals to everyone, especially those who give priority to control over convenience. But, as tempting as it might be, to have your own OS, it does not guarantee success and can be a very costly exercise. Just ask HP, which has taken almost two years to recover from the unmitigated disaster that was the TouchPad and re-enter the tablet market.