Posts tagged tablets

Sub- $100 Android tablets could be coming this year

6a00e54f916452883401901d5beb5e970b-320wiWhile Asus just announced a small Android tablet that will sell for a little over $100, there are reports that we could see tablets sell for under the triple-digit point later this year.

Unveiled last week, the new Asus MeMo Pad HD 7 – obviously with a 7-inch screen – will sell for $129 in the U.S.

The specs aren’t record-setting, but they’re actually quite respectable.

The base version will have 8 GB of on-board storage space, a quad-core processor only a front-facing camera for video calling.

Expandable memory via a microSD slot, along with no rear-facing camera, means Asus can keep this thing cheap – yet the fast processor makes it cheerfully fast.

Besides – who uses their tablet to take photos? And cloud storage is the way to go, these days.

So this raises the question – what will it take before tablets sell for less than a hundred?

DigiTimes is reporting that 7-inch tablets may sell for less than $100 in the third quarter of this year.

Citing forecasts from manufacturers, they seem to think the smaller tablet market will grow as the price sinks.

Do you think we’ll see sub-$100 7-inch Android tablets? Could you live without a rear-facing camera?

France considering tax on tablets, smartphones

Consumers buying iPhones and Galaxy tablets in France could soon be paying a little extra to get their digital doses of mobile technology.

The government there is also weighing the possibility of taxing foreign music and video streaming services, such as YouTube.

What could possibly prompt a government to stack an extra fee on to a smartphone, or a viral video from Psy?

In France, there are several taxes and fees tacked on to various items – these are taxes and fees that help pump almost a billion dollars into the country’s film industry, for example.

That money helps filmmakers produce French films. But as more people get music from iTunes and watch video from YouTube – on mobile devices – the government (and artists) miss out on possible revenue.

So it seems the solution, at least in the eyes of French policymakers, is to add a new tax.

A special panel set up to solve this cultural crisis has pitched a 1 per cent tax on “Internet-connecting devices,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

This levy would apply to everything from smartphones to tablets to laptops and desktops – even web-enabled TV sets and gaming consoles.

It’s not all about rolling out new tax grabs. The WSJ also reports that the panel suggests the government nix a massive and expensive anti-piracy department, that’s been as successful at convicting illegal downloaders as the Leafs have been at advancing to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

France isn’t the only country considering new revenue sources from digital streams. The United States Senate has approved a tax on things bought over the web.

The motion still needs to get approval in the House of Representatives, but it’s passed at least one hurdle.

Would you be opposed to paying a tax on your smartphones? Or on the music and video you get over the web, just to support the cultural entertainment industry?

Canadians buying tablets in impulse purchases

Microsoft Surface Pro, with the Surface Pen, appears in this supplied photo,

Microsoft Surface Pro, with the Surface Pen, appears in this supplied photo,

When shopping for electronics, do you hunt for the best deal? Or do you thoroughly research things, exhausting all tools available online before putting down the plastic?

If you’re buying a new tablet, chances are that it’s an impulse purchase and not something you’ve mulled over, a new study suggests.

According to The NPD Group, a third of all tablet purchases in Canada are made on the spot.

Compared to desktop and notebook purchases, tablet shoppers aren’t mulling over a laundry list of features and hopping from retailer to retailer (or website to website) for the cheapest deal.

“Shoppers are impressed not only by the technology, but also by the ease and mobility of these devices,” says NPD’s director of tech and technology, Darrel Ryce.

They seem to want a healthy heaping of apps and a tablet that’s portable and convenient to stash wherever you may go. (more…)

Tech I travel with – what’s in my bag?

Laptop, tablet, headphones and smartphones for travel.

Laptop, tablet, headphones and smartphones that are good for travel.

As a big gadget guy, it’s tough for me to leave home without my toys. So what do I bring with me when I travel? And how do I pack light?

Laptop:

You’ll see I pack my Ferrari-red Lenovo Thinkpad x100e. With an 11-inch screen, it’s not the biggest of laptops. But with a keyboard and a 64-bit processor under the hood, it’s a smart laptop that works for me. Other than the awesome colour, the keypad features the classic IBM eraser head-style mouse in the middle of a well-sized keyboard – making it great to type and navigate windows with.

The battery charge is enough to get me across Canada. When it’s not on, I use it’s active power USB port to charge up my next gadget.

Note: The Thinkpad has since been replaced with a Microsoft Windows 8 based Lenovo Yoga, which is yet to make its maiden voyage. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Tablet:

I love reading magazines on long flights for two reasons: it’s usually the only time I’ll read, and reading sometimes puts me to sleep (I can’t nap while travelling). The full-size Apple iPad gets the job done for all the right reasons.

It also doubles as a handy device to get caught up on news and email when I’m away from home – and I can find good places to go see (and eat) without having to wait for my laptop to boot up.

I recently took the smaller iPad mini with me on a trip. While the smaller size meant I could break it out while waiting in lines and stash it in a small carry-on bag, the non-Retina display didn’t make it very comfortable for reading.

Headphones:

I used to bring my biggest headphones and blast the music to drown out the drone of jet engines. Then I discovered noise-cancelling headphones.

The sound from my Sennheiser cans sound great – and the noise-cancelling function dramatically cuts down the steady racket of air travel. When it’s time to land, they fold up into a small and stashable carrying case that keeps them protected.

Sunglasses:

It’s important to see the world in all it’s glory -whether you’re out on a patio or carving down the slopes. They’re not the most stylish sunglasses, but my Adidas sport sunglasses do the trick. The polarized lenses also help cut out glare and pump up the colours.

What else?

You might see there’s an LG phone in there. I’m often testing out gadgets, so there’s a good chance I’ll put one to the ultimate test when I’m away from home. Did I mention I really love the LG Optimus G? Ok, there you go. Quad-core power is awesome.

 

Hands-on preview: Microsoft Surface

Microsoft Surface

While Microsoft is launching a major new operating system, it’s also rolling out a major new piece of hardware: Surface.

Like the Xbox, Surface combines hardware and software developed by Microsoft. The company has taken full control over not just the operating system, but the physical device.

At first glance, it looks like just any other tablet, except this one has a 10.6-inch screen that displays 16×9 video beautifully.

Microsoft says a great amount of design has gone into developing the Surface. The batteries, which it claims can last a workday of use, are specifically designed for the Surface and are spread evenly through the device.The two MiMO antennas are designed for optimal connectivity and signal strength, helpful considering how reliant this device is on having a good Internet connection.

During my brief demo period with one, the Wi-Fi connection was being bombarded with traffic from others, rendering the device somewhat useless for connected apps and services.

The Surface feels really solid, however, as it has been made using VaporMg, a magnesium shell prounounced “vapour mag.”

Together with the Gorilla Glass screen, the Surface is the sturdiest consumer tablet out there. Surface team lead Panos Panay says it can be dropped more than 60 ways without the device breaking. I tried three – and had not so much but a scuff on a corner due to the Surface making contact with concrete.

Pricing – starting at $519 in Canada.

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