Our very own Gordon Ung summed success in the tech world pretty succinctly in this month's issue: if you want to make your product a hit, it helps to make it cheap. Looks like Chinese manufacturer ZTE was paying attention. This Super Bowl Sunday, the company is releasing a new 7-inch Android Honeycomb tablet -- the ZTE Optik -- with pretty decent specs and a $100 price tag that undercuts the Kindle Fire by half.
A U.K. vendor has pulled a batch of Transformer Prime tablets off its virtual store shelves after discovering problems it rooted out via internal testing. Clove made the decision to cancel all pending orders and will not resume selling the tablet until Asus works out whatever glitch has the vendor bugged. In the meantime, Asus is scratching its wondering what the frack Clove is talking about.
Tablets are nifty, but for the most part, they're built to be walled gardens; Apple is notorious for its heavy-handed curation, Microsoft plans on keeping Windows 8's Metro-style apps close to the chest, and the hot-selling Kindle Fire is a deeply tweaked and thoroughly managed variant of Android. One Linux developer hopes to make things more customizable with Spark, a Mer/KDE Plasma Active-powered tablet that's fully unlocked and open for tinkering.
Break out the Apple cider if you live in/near Cupertino, California, and toast your hometown PC representatives for dethroning Hewlett-Packard as the worldwide client PC vendor in the fourth quarter of 2011, but only if you're willing to include tablet shipments in the overall tally. If you are, then congrats, Apple's iPad put your home team over the top and was three times more responsible for the achievement than Macs.
One of the biggest complaints against Amazon's Kindle Fire device is you can't download apps directly from Google's Android Market unless you root it. You can also sideload apps onto the Fire, but by and large, the average user isn't savvy enough to venture away from Android's own App Store. Even so, Kindle Fire users are proving they're just as capable of consuming Android apps as anyone else, perhaps more so.
Big things might be in store for Motorola Mobility if Google's acquisition is able to proceed unabated, but for the fourth quarter of 2011, the mobile device maker posted a net loss of $80 million, albeit that figure is largely the result of write-off costs related to the proposed takeover. Still, it's a complete reversal of fortunes compared to the fourth quarter of 2010 when Motorola Mobility posted an $80 million profit.
In terms of market share numbers, Apple's iPad has been dominating ever it came out nearly two years ago, and it still does right at this very moment. Give it a few more quarters, however, and the sheer number of Android tablets could thrust Google's open source platform into the No. 1 spot, overtaking Apple just as it did in the smartphone sector.
Time flies when you're having fun, which would explain all the lost productivity to mobile apps like Angry Birds, Temple Run, and Kingdom Rush. These and other titles look and play great on tablet PCs, but if you're not careful, your intended 5-minute-turned-60-minute diversion can lead to aches and pains in your head, neck and wrist, a new Harvard study warns.
Intel's move into the mobile market is less than two weeks old and already the company's looking to make waves. At CES, CEO Paul Otellini revealed that Intel's Atom Z2460 -- aka "Medfield" -- chips would be powering Motorola and Lenovo phones in the second half of the year. Although Lenovo's Atom-powered K800 was on display at the show, no Intel-based smartphones have actually launched yet -- and Otellini's already talking about plans to make a mobile System on a Chip that includes integrated 4G capabilities.
With all due respect to Samsung, Apple, Asus, and others, your wimpy tablet has nothing on GammaTech's newly announced Durabook RT10C. Don't take offense to that, the RT10C is a burly slate designed to stand up to the rigors of industrial work and military applications. It's a thicker, rugged tablet that's able to withstand sandstorms, torrential downpours, and other harsh conditions.