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Are Windows tablets the best option for onscreen writing?
May 12, 2015 | 12:25 pm

f3eb2ff8-1958-4106-b55d-d807ff94f09eAs a diehard and inveterate Android user, it pains me to admit this, but my recent experience with the Windows 10 Technical Preview, and a dip back into Windows 8, reminded me just how good the onscreen handwriting implementation of the basic Windows OS is. This has been baked in to Windows 8 from the beginning, and was implemented in the tablet versions of Windows well before Microsoft, Apple or the rest of the world started to take tablets seriously. I was using a Fujitsu tablet with an active digitizer back in the mid-2000s, in Hong Kong, and the handwriting...

Fire HD 6 Tablet: First Impressions
May 6, 2015 | 1:07 pm

fire hd 6 tabletI received a Fire HD 6 tablet last week as a gift, and I've been happily using it for several days now. I plan a series of articles about my new device as I use it over the next few weeks, but I wanted to start with some initial impressions. Considering its size and the limitations of the Amazon app store, I doubt it will replace my iPad as my work device, but as an entertainment device, it has lots going for it. I intend to take it with me to meetings for the next few weeks instead of my iPad...

Acer’s new Iconia tablets make your pencil your stylus
April 28, 2015 | 10:25 am

            Acer has announced two new Android tablets, the Acer Iconia 8 and 10, that it claims offer "the most accurate touch experience, ever ... you can even use thin-tipped objects like pencils to make notes!" Other specifications for both models are fairly standard, with Intel quad-core CPUs and both running Android 5.0 Lollipop, but it's the screen technology that sets them apart, if it lives up to the hype. Acer Precision Plus, as detailed in a video here, involves fitting the tablets with a greater density of touch sensors. "When using your fingertips, you can select with greater accuracy and experience fewer...

HP Stream 7: A mediocre tablet but a great micro-laptop
March 7, 2015 | 6:29 pm

IMG_20150305_180333372_HDRI’ve had this HP Stream 7 tablet for a couple of days, and my first impression is that it’s fairly mediocre from a tablet standpoint, but it seems like a terrific micro-laptop. With one major caveat I’m still inclined to look upon it as a great bargain at $79—especially since it included a one-year subscription to Microsoft Office 365 (a $69 value) and a $25 Windows Store gift card. It’s like they’re paying you to take the tablet off their hands. I have come across one showstopper bug that colors my whole experience: its Wi-Fi adapter seems notably finicky....

Microsoft offers $79 HP Stream 7 Windows 8.1 tablet
March 5, 2015 | 1:58 am

hpstream7If you’ve ever thought you might like to try a Windows tablet, but didn’t want to risk a significant cash outlay, Microsoft is currently offering a great deal on a name-brand tablet. Microsoft.com has the HP Stream 7 Windows 8.1 tablet priced at $79, including a one-year personal subscription to Office 365 (a $69 value) and a $25 Windows Store gift card. It’s like they’re paying you to take it off their hands! The tablet has a 1.33GHz Bay Trail quad-core Intel Atom chip, 1 gig of RAM, and 32 gigs onboard storage. Unlike the Windows RT Surface tablets,...

Is our love affair with the tablet really over?
February 12, 2015 | 12:25 pm

tabletLast year I read an article which provoked such a strong reaction that I clipped it to Evernote and set a reminder to revisit it a year later. A year later, my reaction hasn't changed. The article was entitled, "Our Love Affair With the Tablet is Over," and I still disagree with much of what the author wrote. Yes, tablet shipments are down. We've covered that trend on TeleRead, but does it mean we don't love our tablets? Maybe not. I think declining shipments say less about how much we love them and more about how we don't upgrade them as often...

Latest IDC numbers: Another tablet upset?
February 3, 2015 | 4:25 pm

The latest International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker has brought joy to the hearts of Luddites everywhere with the news that: "worldwide tablet shipments recorded a year-over-year decline for the first time since the market's inception in 2010. Overall shipments for tablets and 2-in-1 devices reached 76.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 (4Q14) for -3.2 percent growth." This follows from the last quarter's IDC predictions which already forecast that the global market had hit peak tablet. All the same, "although the fourth quarter witnessed a decline in the global market, shipments for the full year 2014 increased 4.4%, totaling 229.6...

Jolla offers backers another swig of the Kool-Aid
February 1, 2015 | 12:23 pm

Finnish startup Jolla, creators of the Jolla Tablet, which garnered such great recognition - and funding - on Indiegogo a short while ago, has returned for another round of crowd funding, this time offering a 64GB version of the device and a larger battery. "After the successful first phase of our Indiegogo campaign in Nov-Dec last year, we’re now moved to the next phase, and continuing our campaign on Indiegogo at least until the end of February 2015," declares the official Jolla blog. "You now have the opportunity to contribute for the Jolla Tablet and secure your place among the first...

Size matters, as tablet makers go for the big time
January 24, 2015 | 12:25 pm

hp-pro-slate-12-800x420News has emerged of several tablet manufacturers targeting the mega-device space, with HP announcing an Android Pro Slate design with a 12.3-inch screen. According to the original HP announcement, the HP Pro Slate 12 and its little brother the HP Pro Slate 8 are: high-definition (HD) commercial-grade Android tablets. Available in 8-inch or 12-inch diagonal displays respectively, the tablets are powered by a Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 800 series processor, and support a 4:3 aspect ratio to easily view business documents and access business applications. Less than 8 mm thin, these lightweight tablets offer powerful computing and business-day battery life with enterprise-grade security and...

TalkTalk picks up Blinkbox from Tesco: Hudl tablet safe for now
January 9, 2015 | 10:25 am

tescologoUK ISP and media player TalkTalk Group has announced the acquisition of "the blinkbox Movies business and the Tesco broadband and fixed line voice base from Tesco Plc." And UK supermarket major Tesco, as many will remember, has won recognition for its own Hudl tablet brand, now expanded with its successor the Hudl 2. Mid-2014 Tesco also launched the Blinkbox Books ebook platform, which is not mentioned in the TalkTalk press release, but further statements by TalkTalk to The Bookseller indicate that Blinkbox Books, as well as the allied music service, remain ... ahem ... on Tesco's books. Tesco also confirmed...

Dell claimed world’s thinnest slice of tablet out at Best Buy
January 6, 2015 | 10:25 am

Something of a latecomer to the tablet market, despite its innovative mobile devices like the Dell Streak, Dell looks to be aiming for the innovation high ground again, with the debut of the Venue 8 7840, which it claims to be the world's thinnest tablet, at 6.4mm (0.24 inches) thick. And this device is already on sale at Best Buy for $399.00. This does actually put the Venue 8 in the same league as the iPad Air 2, which also weighs in at 0.24 inches thick according to headline numbers, albeit 0.3mm better off at 0.61mm. So although the thinnest tablet...

Groupon offers 16 GB 2013 Nexus 7 for $150
December 9, 2014 | 7:38 pm

If you were disappointed when Google stopped selling the Nexus 7, this deal on Groupon might make you feel a little better. Groupon is offering a new, not-refurbished 16 GB 2013 Nexus 7 for $149.99. That’s $50 less than Amazon’s price. That’s the generation 2 model, with a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU, 2 gigs of RAM, and a full 1080P display, capable of running Android 5.0 Lollipop without breaking a sweat. Made by Asus, branded by Google. The high-resolution, 323 pixels-per-inch display is one of the best you can get for e-reading short of an e-ink display. ...

Have we hit Peak Tablet? IDC says maybe
November 26, 2014 | 6:25 pm

IDC_logoA new study from International Data Corporation (IDC) minces no words about its prognosis for the global tablet market, predicting "a massive deceleration in 2014 with year-over-year growth slowing to 7.2%, down from 52.5% in 2013." The forecast also highlights "the expectation that 2014 will represent the first full year of decline in Apple iPad shipments." The conceptual nugget at the heart of this statistical breakdown is that: "in the early stages of the tablet market, device lifecycles were expected to resemble those of smartphones, with replacement occurring every 2-3 years," as Ryan Reith, Program Director with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile...

Jolla gets moolah with $1.2 million and counting for alternative tablet
November 24, 2014 | 2:22 pm

Finnish startup Jolla apparently tapped into a source of serious demand when it launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for its Jolla Tablet, a 7.85" display device running the Linux-based Sailfish OS 2.0. The crowdfunding campaign blew past its $380,000 target within a couple of days of its November 19th launch, and as of the time of writing, has secured over $1.2 million in pledges, or 318 percent of the target, with 16 days still to go. What could be the secret of Jolla's success? It might be the Sailfish OS, "mobile-optimized with the flexibility, ubiquity and stability of the Linux core and...

HP Stream series could herald new era for Windows 8 tablets?
November 10, 2014 | 12:25 pm

Windows 8 tablets have not exactly fared well in the market share wars so far, with Microsoft Windows tablets holding only 1.6 percent of the North American market, according to the latest Chikita Insights numbers. One of the factors could be price, although that hardly seems to have held the iPad back. If so, HP appears to be aiming for a solution, with the debut of the low end of its HP Stream series of devices, offering Windows 8 tablet power for just $100. The HP Stream 7, bottom of the range, offers a 1280 x 800 7" screen, as well as an...

Personal hotspots: Wal-Mart vs. Karma
November 5, 2014 | 6:12 pm

karmaIn March of this year, I took a look at the current options for pay-as-you-go cellular wi-fi hotspots—just the thing for giving wi-fi-only tablets and e-readers connectivity wherever you go. At the time, I switched over from TruConnect to Wal-Mart’s equivalent 3G MiFi, to get away from TruConnect’s $5 per month fee, and was more or less happy with it, as far as it went. But one of the other competitors I mentioned at the time, Karma, is about to change things up, and it looks like it might just be worth trying. A lot of people with smartphones...

Opening the Inbox: Google’s new paradigm for reading email
November 5, 2014 | 5:20 pm

Screenshot_2014-11-05-17-12-58If you’ve heard about Google’s new “Inbox” system for reading GMail, you’re just about to have your chance to request an invitation. Between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Eastern (3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Pacific) today (starting just about 40 minutes from now), Google will send invitations to everyone who requests one. Just send an email to inbox@google.com between 6 and 7 and you’ll get your invitation by 8 p.m. (5 p.m. Pacific). I requested an invitation the day it launched and got it the very next day. I’ve been using it since then, on my PC, tablet, and...

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