Speculation surrounding a Google-branded Android tablet is ramping up with a new rumor suggesting that the search giant has partnered with ASUS to release a 7-inch tablet, an Android fan site reported on Monday. The slate is expected to retail for $199 and include a quad-core Tegra 3 processor with a stock version of Android Ice Cream Sandwich. According to the blog, Google was highly impressed with ASUS’ previously announced $249 MeMo tablet. The Mountain View-based company reached out to ASUS to see if they could reduce the cost of materials — possibly internal storage — and reach the coveted $199 price point. The final product name is unknown, although the company has been reportedly purchasing domains referring to “Google Play.” The tablet should enter production in April and ship around June, possibly at the company’s annual I/O conference on June 27th if these rumors pan out. More →
Toshiba on Wednesday confirmed that its ultra-slim and light Android tablet, the Excite 10 LE, will be available on March 6th for $529, a day before Apple’s iPad 3 unveiling. The slate, originally called the Excite X10, was announced at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show and is equipped with a Gorilla Glass-covered 10.1-inch HD display with a dual-core TI OMAP 4430 processor clocked at 1.2GHz. The device also features 16GB of internal storage, a microSD slot, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, a 5-megapixel rear camera and Android 3.2 Honeycomb, with an upgrade to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich promised to be coming in the spring. The Excite 10 LE is also “the world’s thinnest and lightest 10-inch tablet measuring just 0.3 inches (7.7mm) thin and weighing just 1.18 pounds (535g).” Toshiba’s press release follows below. More →
Analytics firm Chitika on Tuesday revealed the findings of a recent study that shows the latest Blackberry PlayBook operating system update is already running on 43.7% of devices after just one week. “It would seem that this rapid rate of adoption is expected given that the upgrade was free and in many cases automatic,” Chitika said in its report. “If the use of the OS continues to grow at this rate with 50% decay, market majority will be achieved in two weeks, and by three weeks 75% of all PlayBook OS eligible devices will be running the upgrade.” The highly anticipated update to Research In Motion’s struggling tablet brought a number of much needed improvements to the PlayBook. Perhaps the most important additions were native email, contacts and calendar functionality, while BlackBerry Messenger support is still nowhere in site. After the update, PlayBooks also benefited from the addition of RIM’s Android app player, which allows repackaged Android applications to run on RIM’s tablet. Read on for Chitika’s press release.
As promised, ASUS has released a bootloader unlocking tool for the Transformer Prime. The tool is packaged in an APK that can be downloaded from the company’s website. Once downloaded and installed, the Transformer Prime will have the ability to run custom ROMS, however ASUS warns that unlocking your bootloader will void your warranty. “Once you activate the [unlock app] you will not be able to recover your ASUS product (“Original Product”) back to original locked conditions,” ASUS stated. “You also acknowledge ASUS does not guarantee service satisfaction to any Revised Product, including events involving paid service requested by you to be performed to the Revised Product.” More →
Samsung has partnered with Blockbuster to stream thousands of movies to the company’s smartphones, tablets, ultrabooks, laptops, smart TVs and Blu-ray players, reports Smarthouse. The service will reportedly be rolled out in the United States and Europe in the first half of 2012, with an Australian scheduled to take place by early September. Samsung is also rumored to be developing a new global billing system that will allow users to easily log-in and pay for media content right from their devices. Blockbuster is the largest provider of rental movies in Australia, although in recent years the company has lost ground to both Netflix and Redbox. The deal is considered a win-win “for both Samsung, Blockbuster and Australian movie watchers,” according to Paul Uniacke the CEO of the Franchise Entertainment Group who has the rights to the Blockbuster brand in Australia. More →
Barnes & Noble on Tuesday unveiled a new version of its popular Nook Tablet to compete directly with Amazon’s Kindle Fire. Lining up with earlier reports, the new Barnes & Noble slate features the same specs as the earlier Nook Tablet, however the device’s internal storage has been halved to 8GB. “For any customer who likes to read digitally, watch movies or TV shows, browse the web, or help their kids read and learn through interactive books and apps, our new $199 NOOK Tablet with 8GB is the best product value on the market,” Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch said in a statement. “NOOK Tablet is the highest-rated wireless media tablet in the 7-inch class, ultra-portable at under a pound, offers our exclusive VividView screen technology, and since its introduction this holiday has received rave reviews from customers about all its great features. We’re pleased to now offer customers the ability to experience NOOK Tablet’s unmatched content experience for only $199.” Barnes & Noble also stated that its previous-generation Android tablet, the Nook Color, will drop to $169, undercutting the Kindle Fire by $30. The company’s full press release follows below. More →
Earlier this month, images of the next-generation ASUS Eee Pad Transformer tablet leaked onto the Internet. The slate’s “TF300T” code name was in line with the original naming convention used on the Transformer (TF101) and the Transformer Prime (TF201), indicating it was next in line in the Transformer family. According to a purported screenshot of the tablet’s spec sheet obtained by Polish site Tabletowo, the TF300T is will feature a 1.2GHz quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor with a 10.1-inch 1200 x 800-pixel IPS display and 1GB of RAM. The slate will also come equipped with 16GB of internal storage, an 8-megapixel rear camera (no flash), a 1.2-megapixel front facing, a microSD slot and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Oddly enough, the device is both heavier and thicker than the Transformer Prime, measuring 9.9 millimeters and weighing 640 grams. The Polish site’s leaked document also indicates that the new high-resolution Prime will be equipped with a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8060A processor clocked at 1.5GHz, rather than the quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3. ASUS is expected to reveal its new Transformer tablet at this month’s Mobile World Congress trade show. Tabletowo’s screenshot follows below.
A German court affirmed a preliminary ruling on Thursday that determined Samsung’s reworked tablet does not look so much like the iPad that it should be banned. The ruling comes as another blow to Apple, which is in the midst of several other lawsuits with rival smartphone and tablet makers over intellectual property. The court said that there were “clear differences” between the Galaxy Tab 10.1N and the iPad, reports Reuters. Apple and Samsung have been tangled in what seems like an endless patent battle in Germany, the Netherlands, the United States, Australia, Japan and Korea. Thus far, courts in several countries including the Netherlands, the United States and Australia have decided to allow Samsung to continue selling its Galaxy smartphones and tablets despite Apple’s continued efforts. More →
NPD In-Stat recently issued a report in which the firm said it expects smartphones, tablets and notebooks — which are all included in its “mobile magnet platforms” category — to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of of 25.7% through 2015. The company also said it expects the overall mobile market to grow 8.7%. “The technology driver of all these smart devices is the mobile technology, because it represents the largest and fastest growing segment of the entire electronics market,” Jim McGregor, Chief Technology Strategist for NPD said. “The innovation of the mobile market is being driven by four key factors: richer content, network access for communications and content, increased bandwidth to enable this access, and new technologies. These four factors form a self-sustaining circle of innovation that feeds from and enables each factor.” The market research firm also expects that smartphones to grow from under 20% of all phones sold in 2010 to 43% of all handsets sold by 2015. NPD’s full press release follows after the break. More →
Images of a possible next-generation ASUS Eee Pad tablet have leaked onto the Internet through Taiwanese website NCCC. The mysterious 10.1-inch slate could be a followup to the Transformer Prime — with its “TF300T” code name, the device’s pre-release moniker is somewhat in line with the original naming convention used on the Transformer (TF101) and the Transformer Prime (TF201). Aside from a couple of blurry photos, there are no specs or other details to report at this time. Hit the break for a second image of the device. More →
Demand for Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet has started to cool off according to one study. ChangeWave published results of a survey on Thursday, which found that just 2% of customers in January were “very likely” to buy a Kindle Fire, down from 4% in December. Respondents who were “somewhat likely” to buy the tablet fell as well, from 13% in December to 10% in January, though demand following the holidays is expected to slow. Amazon’s tablet has better satisfaction ratings than several other tablets, however. ChangeWave’s survey found that 54% were “very satisfied” with the Kindle Fire, compared to 49% of those surveyed who were “very satisfied” with other tablets and 74% who were “very satisfied” with the iPad. Read on for more. More →
The Munich Regional Court in Germany on Wednesday rejected Apple’s request to ban Samsung’s local subsidiaries from selling the Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone and Galaxy Tab 10.1N tablet. “Samsung has shown that it is more likely than not that the patent will be revoked because of a technology that was already on the market before the intellectual property had been filed for protection,” Judge Andreas Mueller said. In September, Samsung’s local retailer arm was banned from selling the original Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet but the South Korea-based company skirted the ban by released a tweaked device called the Galaxy Tab 10.1N. Apple felt the new tablet still infringed its patents, however, and asked the court to ban that device as well in November. In late December the presiding judge over the case said Apple was unlikely to win a ban on the Galaxy Tab 10.1N and a Dutch court rejected a similar request from Apple on January 24th. More →
Amazon on Tuesday reported its earnings for the fourth quarter, during which it took in $17.4 billion in revenue. While its net sales were up 35% from the $12.95 billion reported during the fourth quarter last year, the company missed analyst estimates of $18.26 billion in revenue for the quarter. Amazon’s net income decreased 58% to $177 million during the quarter, or $0.38 per diluted share, compared with the net income of $416 million it reported during the same quarter last year. Net sales for the year jumped 41% to $48.08 billion, up from the $34.20 billion the company reported in 2010. Amazon said its Kindle Fire tablet has been the #1 best-selling, most wished-for and most gifted product on its website for the past 17 weeks. In addition, the company said the nine-week holiday period ended December 31st, 2011 resulted in a 177% increase in Kindle unit sales, which includes the Kindle Fire. Amazon expects net sales to fall between $12 billion and $13.4 billion during the first quarter of this year, up between 22% and 36% from the first quarter last year. Amazon’s full press release follows after the break. More →