Samsung announces Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet

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Feb 242013
 
Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0

With MWC 2013 kicking off tomorrow, Samsung took the opportunity to sneak in an announcement before all eyes shift to Barcelona, Spain. This one should not come as much of a surprise given the number of rumours that precede it. As expected, Samsung announced the Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet, billed as “a new era of intelligent Note technology set to re-ignite the mid-size tablet category that Samsung established in 2010.” It essentially builds on the very successful Galaxy Note II by offering a larger display and optional phone capabilities (in certain markets).

“Back in 2010 the launch of the first Samsung GALAXY Tab with 7 inch screen opened a new chapter in the mobile industry. Now almost three years later, Samsung continues to evolve the sector that meets the demands of modern life.” said JK Shin, President of the IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics.

“The GALAXY Note 8.0 breaths fresh life into the category as it delivers the perfect fusion of portability and everyday productivity – the result is a pioneering, pocket-sized solution that enhances and enriches our everyday lives, whether at work or play,” added Shin.

The specifications of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 are as follows:

  • Processor: 1.6GHz quad-core Samsung Exynos 4
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.1.2
  • Cellular connectivity (Wi-Fi model): None
  • Cellular connectivity (3G model): HSPA+
  • Other connectivity: A-GPS/GLONASS (3G model), Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz), Bluetooth 4.0
  • Display: 8-inch WXGA (1280×800 / 189 ppi) LCD
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen, S Pen Experience
  • Memory: 2GB RAM
  • Storage: 32GB or 64GB and microSD cards up to 64GB
  • Rear-facing camera: 5MP
  • Front-facing camera: 1.3MP
  • Connectors:
  • Battery: 4,600mAh
  • Dimensions / weight: 210.8 X 135.9 millimeters / 338 grams
  • Colours: White

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 will be available from Q2 worldwide, including both Canada and the U.S. Pricing was not announced.

Read more: Samsung

Google Android 4.2.2 begins rolling out

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Feb 122013
 

About Google Android 4.2.2

It appears that the rumoured Google Android 4.2.2 update is indeed real and starting to roll out to devices today. A growing number of users are reporting that an upgrade is hitting the Galaxy Nexus (GSM model) as well as the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets and updating them to version 4.2.2.

A changelog outlining the changes to be found in build JDQ39 is not yet available. The description that comes up during the upgrade process promises only “performance and stability” enhancements. One expected fix should address the Bluetooth A2DP audio streaming issue will be included.

Let us know if you’ve received the update and what changes you have noticed.

Read more: AndroidPolice

Microsoft Surface Pro now available in Canada and U.S.

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Feb 092013
 

Microsoft Surface Windows 8 ProAs promised and despite the latest snow storm derailing launch plans in New York, today is the day that the Microsoft Surface Windows 8 Pro or Surface Pro as it is now known makes its debut in Canada and the U.S. Unlike the Surface RT, it runs Microsoft Windows 8 and allows users to run full gamut of Windows applications. As a tradeoff though, it will be slightly thicker and heavier and have a shorter battery life.

The 64GB version of the Surface Pro will sell for CA$919/US$899 and the 128GB version for CA$1019/US$999. Both versions will come with a Surface pen with Palm Block technology. Accessories including the Touch Cover (CA/US$119.99) and Type Cover (CA/US$129.99) will be sold separately.

The Microsoft Surface Pro is available through all Microsoft retail stores and microsoftstore.com. It will also be carried by chains such as Staples and Best Buy.

Read more: Microsoft Store

Full specifications of ASUS Fonepad revealed?

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Feb 072013
 

More details are now surfacing about the ASUS Fonepad, a 7-inch tablet that could come with voice and data connectivity. First, there an image of the back of the device showing an aluminium casing and an Intel logo that confirms which company is supplying the processor:

Rumoured ASUS Fonepad

A number of specification details have also been revealed. These align well with previous details.

Rumoured ASUS Fonepad specifications:

  • Model: ME371MG
  • Processor: 1.2GHz Intel Atom Z2420 with PowerVR SGX540 GPU
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
  • Display: 7-inch WXGA (1280×800) IPS
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen
  • Memory: 1GB RAM
  • Storage: 8/16/32GB onboard and microSD cards
  • Rear-facing camera: 3MP
  • Front-facing camera: 1.2
  • Battery: 4,270mAh
  • Dimensions / weight: 196.6 × 120.1 × 10.4 millimeters / 340 grams

ASUS may unveil the Fonepad as early as MWC 2013 with availability to follow in the second quarter.

Read more: Tablet.bg (in Bulgarian) [Google translation] (Source: UnwiredView)

Next-generation Google Nexus 7 to use Qualcomm S4 Pro processor?

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Feb 072013
 
Google Nexus

More changes appear to be in store for the next-generation Google Nexus 7 than had been originally reported. You can now add a change of processor to earlier rumours that it will gain a Full HD (1920×1080) display and thinner bezels. According to Pacific Crest analyst Michael McConnell, Google and ASUS will drop the NVDIA Tegra 3 processor in favour of a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro AQP8064 SoC for the upcoming tablet.

The report provides two reasons for the potential change:

“Supply chain conversations indicate two reasons for Google’s selection of the Snapdragon APQ8064 over Tegra 4: (1) competitive pricing and (2) a decision to single-source the application processor and 3G/4G modem to simplify logistics and create a fully pin-compatible platform interface.”

Google is expected to unveil its latest Nexus 7 tablet at Google I/O 2013 in May. Shipments would follow sometime in the second quarter (likely in the late May to early June time frame). Pacific Crest estimates that Google could ship up to 10 million next-generation Nexus 7 tablets between its launch and Q1 2014.

Google already uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro for its Google Nexus 4 smartphone manufactured by LG.

Read more: Barron’s (Source: UnwiredView)

Rumour: ASUS to launch 7-inch Fonepad at MWC 2013

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Feb 072013
 
ASUS

It appears that ASUS can’t get enough of the 7-inch tablet form factor. Aside from manufacturing Google’s Nexus 7 tablet, it offers its own entry-level ASUS MeMO Pad. Digitimes is reporting that it could unveil a third model, called the Fonepad (not to be confused with the Padfone which is also the topic of recent rumours), at MWC 2013.

Unlike most other 7-inch tablets, the ASUS Fonepad would support 3G connectivity (voice and data), GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Other specifications include an Intel Atom Z242 processor,a 7-inch WXGA (1280×800) IPS display, 1GB RAM and 16GB of onboard storage, and a 3MP camera. Most intriguing is the suggestion that it will have voice capabilities. Perhaps it will come with a Bluetooth headset as holding up a tablet to your head is nothing if not cumbersome.

The ASUS Fonepad will reportedly be priced in the US$300 range. ASUS would presumably focus on its voice capabilities to distinguish it from similarly-priced tablets (including the 3G version of the Google Nexus 7) but its lower processor and display specs may work against it.

We should know more at MWC 2013 should the ASUS Fonepad turn out to be real.

Read more: Digitimes

ASUS MeMO Pad 10 press shots leaked ahead of MWC 2013 announcement?

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Feb 032013
 

ASUS last month launched the entry-level ASUS MeMO Pad, a 7-inch tablet priced below most 7-inch tablets including the Nexus 7 (which it manufactures for Google). Leaked press shots now suggest that it is about to complement this tablet with a 10.1-inch model. Much as its smaller sibling, the ASUS MeMO Pad 10 will reportedly also target a lower price point than similarly sized tablets.

Rumoured ASUS MeMO Pad 10

Along with the leaked press shots, Dutch website TabletsMagazine reports that the ASUS MeMO Pad 10 will be powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It will come with a 10.1-inch WXGA (1280×800) IPS display, 1GB RAM, 16GB of onboard storage and a microSD card reader, front and rear cameras and USB and HDMI ports. It will be available in blue, white and pink. Unlike the ASUS Transformer tablets, it will not have any docking functionality.

Despite the fact that an announcement is reportedly set for MWC 2013, some Dutch are apparently already taking pre-orders for the MeMO Pad 10 for €299 (about CA$405).

Read more: TabletsMagazine (in Dutch) [Google translation] (Source: AndroidCentral)

Video: Samsung Super Bowl ad

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Feb 032013
 

BlackBerry is not the only hardware manufacturer with an ad set for today’s Super Bowl. Samsung has Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen making a pitch to Bob Odenkirk for “The Next Big Thing.” As you would expect from such a cast, hilarity ensues.

Unlike many of Samsung’s past Next Big Thing ads, this one focuses on the company’s entire Galaxy lineup of smartphones and tablets (when not playing second fiddle to Rudd and Rogen) and does not poke fun at Apple.

As if there was not enough star power behind ad, it is reportedly directed by Jon Favreau who wrote and starred in Swingers and directed the first two Iron Man movies (among others).

I found the trailer, called El Plato Supreme, for the ad funnier so I include it here for your entertainment:

What do you think of the ad?

Read more: Samsung [via YouTube]

Rumour: ASUS to announce Padfone 3 at MWC 2013

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Feb 022013
 

ASUS Padfone 2The ASUS Padfone 2 is less than six months old but Digitimes reports that ASUS will unveil the next generation of its smartphone-tablet hybrid device at MWC 2013 later this month. No details about the Padfone 3 (assuming that will be its name) were provided.

If the overall dimensions of the smartphone itself do not change, it could work with the current ASUS Padfone 2 Station, allowing ASUS to offer an alternative configuration to customers.

As for its predecessor, the Padfone 2 appears to be doing relatively well for ASUS. It is reportedly nearing global sales of 1 million units. With shipments ongoing, it should be able to surpass the million mark in the near future. Perhaps ASUS will expand availability to include North America with the next model.

The report adds that ASUS will announce the Padfone 3 alongside new smartphone models with large displays. An 11.6-inch Windows 8 tablet, the VivoTab TF810, will also be announced sometime this month (perhaps at MWC as well?).

There is little to go on here so take this with a healthy dose of skepticism for now. Let’s see if some corroborating evidence surfaces in the coming days.

Read more: Digitimes

Record tablet shipments in Q4 2012

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Feb 022013
 

Worldwide tablet shipments set another record in the last quarter of 2012. According to IDC, 52.5 million tablets were shipped over the quarter, an impressive 75.3% increase over the same quarter a year ago and a 74.3% increase over the previous quarter. Apple continued to dominate but its overall market share fell again as Android tablets continued to make gains.

“We expected a very strong fourth quarter, and the market didn’t disappoint,” said Tom Mainelli, research director, Tablets, at IDC. “New product launches from the category’s top vendors, as well as new entrant Microsoft, led to a surge in consumer interest and very robust shipments totals during the holiday season. The record-breaking quarter stands in stark contrast to the PC market, which saw shipments decline during the quarter for the first time in more than five years.”

Vendor 4Q12 Unit Shipments 4Q12 Market Share 4Q11 Unit Shipments 4Q11 Market Share Year-over-year Change
Apple 22.9 43.6% 15.5 51.7% 48.1%
Samsung 7.9 15.1% 2.2 7.3% 263.0%
Amazon.com Inc. 6.0 11.5% 4.7 15.9% 26.8%
ASUS 3.1 5.8% 0.6 2.0% 402.3%
Barnes & Noble 1.0 1.9% 1.4 4.6% -27.7%
Others 11.6 22.1% 5.5 18.5% 108.9%
Total 52.5 100% 29.9 100% 75.3%
Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, January 31, 2013 (preliminary data)

Microsoft’s entry into the tablet space with the Surface RT did not crack the top five. IDC estimated that just under 900,000 units were shipped and that Microsoft could expect the market to remain challenging.

“There is no question that Microsoft is in this tablet race to compete for the long haul. However, devices based upon its new Windows 8 and Windows RT operating systems failed to gain much ground during their launch quarter, and reaction to the company’s Surface with Windows RT tablet was muted at best,” said Ryan Reith, program manager, Mobile Device Trackers at IDC. “We believe that Microsoft and its partners need to quickly adjust to the market realities of smaller screens and lower prices. In the long run, consumers may grow to believe that high-end computing tablets with desktop operating systems are worth a higher premium than other tablets, but until then ASPs on Windows 8 and Windows RT devices need to come down to drive higher volumes.”

Overall, the tablet landscape appears much as the smartphone one does: Apple and Samsung dominating with everyone else scrambling to make a dent.

Read more: IDC

BlackBerry CEO confirms PlayBook BlackBerry 10 upgrades

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Jan 312013
 

RIM BlackBerry PlayBookResearch In Motion (now known as BlackBerry) confirmed back last May that PlayBook tablets would be upgraded to BlackBerry 10 shortly after the launch of its first BlackBerry 10 smartphone. No mention was made of this at yesterday’s launch though. Fortunately for those looking for an update, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins yesterday reconfirmed this in an interview with CNBC.

We will provide BlackBerry 10 software updates for all of the PlayBooks that are out there. So, the wifi and the 4G versions, they will all be upgraded to BlackBerry 10.

No timelines for when the upgrade will roll out were provided (nor were they asked for during the interview).

If you want to see more of what Thorsten had to say, here is the video:

Asked about their plans for the tablet market, Heins described it as one that has “special rules” and RIM would look at it from a “profitability perspective” but will “continue to be in it.”

Read more: CNBC

Apple announces 128GB fourth-generation iPad

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Jan 292013
 

Apple iPad (4th gen)Apple today announced a new 128GB version of its fourth-generation iPad with Retina display. Like its smaller siblings, it will be available in both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cellular options.

“With more than 120 million iPads sold, it’s clear that customers around the world love their iPads, and everyday they are finding more great reasons to work, learn and play on their iPads rather than their old PCs,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “With twice the storage capacity and an unparalleled selection of over 300,000 native iPad apps, enterprises, educators and artists have even more reasons to use iPad for all their business and personal needs.”

The 128GB iPad with Wi-Fi will sell for US$799 and the 128GB iPad with Wi-Fi + Cellular for US$929. Both will be available starting on February 5th in black or white.

Read more: Apple

Second-generation Google Nexus 7 to sport FHD display?

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Jan 292013
 

Google NexusAccording to Digitimes, Google is teaming up with ASUS again for a second generation of its Nexus 7 tablet. Recently released engineering samples suggest that the new model will feature a Full HD (1920×1080) display and thinner bezels. It adds that it will run Jelly Bean but that could be bumped to Key Lime Pie should the next major version of Android be announced before or at the same time.

The report adds that the next-generation Google Nexus 7 will be announced at Google I/O in May and will sell for the same price as current models (between US$199 and US$249). It’s not clear if the first generation models will simply be retired or continue to sell albeit at a lower price.

Total Google Nexus 7 shipments are expected to top six million units by the end of the month. With the expected second generation models, they are expected to exceed 10 million in 2013.

Read more: Digitimes

Apple releases iOS 6.1

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Jan 282013
 

AppleApple today released iOS 6.1 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The 99.6MB update includes unspecified bug fixes as well as the following enhancements:

  • LTE support for more carriers (a full list is available at www.apple.com/iphone/LTE
  • Purchase movie tickets through Fandango via Siri (USA only)
  • iTunes Match subscribers can now download individual songs from iCloud
  • New button to reset the Advertising Identifier

“iOS 6 is the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, and with nearly 300 million iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices on iOS 6 in just five months, it may be the most popular new version of an OS in history,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “iOS 6.1 brings LTE support to more markets around the world, so even more users can enjoy ultrafast Safari browsing, FaceTime video calls, iCloud services, and iTunes and App Store downloads.”

To download the update Over-the-Air, select Settings > General > Software Update.

Read more: Apple

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 tablets to follow Galaxy Note 8.0?

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Jan 272013
 
Samsung

Recent rumours have hinted that Samsung is readying a refresh of its tablet lineup with new models ranging in size from 7-inches to 10.1-inches. According to information obtained by SamMobile, it is working on three models in a new Galaxy Tab 3 family of tablets but not all may see the light of day.

Most likely to launch is the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1. It will be available in both Wi-Fi-only and LTE options. Samsung could also launch a Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 model but only if sales of the upcoming Galaxy Note 8.0 meet its goals. Like its larger cousin, it would come in both both Wi-Fi-only and LTE options. A Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 model has apparently been dropped.

Samsung also has a Galaxy Tab 3 Plus and a tablet known only by its Vienna codename in development. The latter could be a followup to the original Galaxy Note 10.1.

The report also provides codenames and model numbers for these tablets:

  • Galaxy Note 8.0
  • Codename: Kona
  • Model numbers: GT-N5100 / GT-N5110 (Wi-Fi) / GT-N5120 (LTE)
  • Galaxy Tab 3 7.0
  • Codename: Santos
  • Model numbers: GT-P3200 / GT-P3210 (Wi-Fi) / GT-P3220 (LTE)
  • Galaxy Tab 3 8.0
  • Codename: Santos
  • Model numbers: Unknown
  • Galaxy Tab 3 10.1
  • Codename: Santos
  • Model numbers: GT-P5200 / GT-P5210 (Wi-Fi) / GT-P5220 (LTE)
  • Galaxy Tab 3 Plus
  • Codename: Roma
  • Model numbers: GT-P8200 / GT-P8210 (Wi-Fi) / GT-P8220 (LTE)

Samsung has already confirmed that it will unveil the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 at MWC 2013. It remains to be seen if the manufacturer will also announce the Galaxy Tab 3 tablets.

Read more: SamMobile