CES 2013: Acer announces entry-level 7-inch Acer Iconia B1-A71 tablet

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Jan 072013

Acer Iconia B1-A71Acer today unveiled a new entry level tablet aimed at new users, “families opting for a 2nd tablet for their children.” As you would expect from a tablet that will be among the cheapest when it launches, the Acer Iconia B1-A71 (a name that just rolls off the tongue) will not sport impressive specifications. But it may find a niche among those looking for such a device.

The Iconia B1 is an affordable entry level device to the wide family of Acer products and is designed for the everyday usage of Modern Day Explorers – in this case young explorers or busy mobile explorers. The Iconia B1 is, like its Acer family products, a device which provides the most premium experience at its price point.

Acer Iconia B1-A71 specifications:

  • Processor: 1.2GHz dual-core Mediatek MTK 8317T
  • Operating system: Google Android Jelly Bean
  • Cellular connectivity: None
  • Other connectivity: GPS, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Display: 7-inch WSVGA (1024×600)
  • Input: Multitouch capacitive touchscreen
  • Memory: 512MB RAM
  • Storage: 8GB onboard and microSD cards up to 32GB
  • Rear-facing camera: None
  • Front-facing camera: 0.3MP
  • Connectors: 3.5mm audio jack, micro-USB 2.0 port
  • Battery: 2,710mAh
  • Dimensions / weight: 197.4 x 128.5 x 11.3 millimeters / 320 grams

Acer did not provide specific availability details but indicated that it will sell for less than US$150 when it launches.

Read more: Acer

Facebook Pages Manager now available for Android

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Jan 052013

Facebook last month launched a revamped native version of its Facebook app. It yesterday rather quietly launched the Android version of its Facebook Pages Manager app. As the name implies, it will allow Facebook Page administrators to manage their pages by letting them:

  • Post new updates and photos and respond to comments as their Pages
  • View and reply to private messages sent to their Page
  • Get notifications about new activity on their Pages right away
  • View their latest Pages Insights analytics

Facebook Pages Manager

Facebook first launched Pages Manager for iOS devices back in May 2012. The Android version is still not not quite as full-featured but hopefully it will catch up in the coming months.

Facebook Pages Manager is currently available in Canada as well as Australia and New Zealand. It will be made available in more countries in the coming weeks.

Read more: Google Play (Source: TheNextWeb)

Apple’s “Do Not Disturb” iOS 6 bug to fix itself on January 7th

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Jan 022013

Apple today posted a support document acknowledging that the “Do not disturb” feature is currently not deactivating itself at the scheduled end time. The bug first surfaced on New Year’s Day. In the document, Apple explained that the feature will resume working correctly on January 7th:

Do Not Disturb scheduling feature will resume normal functionality after January 7, 2013. Before this date, you should manually turn the Do Not Disturb feature on or off.

To turn off the scheduling feature, tap Settings > Notifications > Do Not Disturb and switch Scheduled to Off.

The timing of the bug is particularly ironic given that Apple launched a new ad touting the feature on the same day that it first surfaced

It’s not the first time that Apple and the iPhone have run into a New Year bug. Non-repeating alarms did not function correctly on New Year’s Day back in 2011. They started working again correctly on January 3rd.

What is it with Apple and New Year’s bugs?

Read more: Apple

LG to unveil Tab-Book hybrid tablet-notebook device at CES 2013

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Dec 282012
LG Tab-Book

LG has taken the unusual step of announcing its new 2013 PC lineup ahead of CES 2013. The new devices will be on display at the show, including the LG Tab-Book, a hybrid tablet-notebook device.

“This year, we are introducing several innovative PCs designed with one goal in mind — to meet the needs and desires of consumers in an environment which is quickly transitioning to touchscreens,” said Il-geun Kwon, Senior Vice President and Head of the IT Business Unit at the LG Home Entertainment Company. “At CES, LG will be displaying a diverse PC lineup, truly deserving of the next generation moniker.”

Powered by Windows 8, the LG Tab-Book will look like a typical if slightly larger tablet with an 11.6-inch display. 15.9 millimeters thick, a QWERTY keyboard is concealed in the tablet and slides out from underneath the screen when needed. It will also come with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, an HDMI output, a USB port and a microSD slot. It will weigh 1.05 kilograms.

Two variants will be available. The LG Tab-Book (H160) will come with an unspecified processor while the Tab-Book Ultra (Z160) will be powered by an Intel Core i5 processor.

More detailed specifications, pricing and availability were not announced but all should be revealed at CES 2013.

LG will also show off the Windows 8-powered LG Z360 Ultrabook with a Full HD display and the LG All-In-One (AIO) V325 with a 23-inch touchscreen display.

Read more: LG

Upcoming Nokia Windows RT tablet to sport battery-equipped keyboard cover?

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Dec 242012

New details have emerged about Nokia’s rumoured 10-inch Windows RT tablet.

Most interesting is that Nokia will offer a battery-equipped cover accessory for the tablet. Wrapping around it like a book cover, it will come with a keyboard and kickstand. Its built-in battery will kick in once the tablet’s own battery runs out. It will also sport two USB ports.

The report also confirms that the tablet itself will sport a 10.1-inch display. It will also include cellular connectivity as well as HDMI and USB ports. AT&T looks to be first in line to offer the tablet in the U.S. Perhaps we will see it in Canada as well.

Nokia will reportedly unveil its Windows RT tablet at MWC in February. It may only build a small number of tablets initially, likely to gauge market reception. A positive reaction would likely see it increase production and potentially look at a Windows 8 tablet as well.

Needless to say, the company said that it does not “comment on market rumour or speculation” when asked to confirm its tablet plans.

Read more: The Verge

HTC working on Windows RT tablets for 2013?

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Dec 212012

HTCAfter being rebuffed by Microsoft earlier this year, it now appears that HTC will launch some Windows RT tablets next year. Citing “people familiar with the matter,” Bloomberg reports today that HTC is working on both a 12-inch model as well as a 7-inch one with phone capabilities. Both will be powered by Qualcomm chipsets.

HTC could be among the first to offer a 7-inch Windows RT tablet. It would allow Microsoft and its partners to compete against competing 7-inch tablets such as the Amazon Kindle Fire, Apple iPad mini and Google Nexus 7.

HTC recently confirmed its exit from the U.S. tablet market. It left the door open to a return and it now appears that it could do so in Q3 2013 with its new Windows RT tablets. Could these be the “something unique” HTC has been looking for?

HTC reportedly recently cancelled a large-screen Windows Phone 8 smartphone over concerns that its resolution would not be high enough to compete against competing similarly sized devices.

Read more: Bloomberg

Google Nexus 7 docking station coming soon for US$39.99

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Dec 202012

Despite the success of the Google Nexus 7, Google and ASUS have been slow to offer accessories for it. So far, we have only seen a cover (available in three colours) and a charger. Earlier this month, we got a peak at an upcoming docking station. It is now listed on the B&H for US$39.99 (or CA$39.53). It is not available yet but you can sign up to be notified when it will be.

The dock comes with a 3.5mm audio port and micro-USB port at the back. It requires Android 4.2 and audio output requires that the USB AC adapter be connected.

Google Nexus 7 Dock

The site lists an expected availability date of December 30th, 2012.Given the lack of Nexus 7 accessory availability at the Google Play in Canada, you’ll be relieved to know that B&H ships to Canada.

Read more: B&H

New entry-level Google Nexus 7 tablet to cost more than US$99?

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Dec 202012

Google NexusThe rumours that Google will launch a new entry-level tablet continue. The latest report indicates that a lower-priced Nexus 7 could launch as early as Q1 2013 although the companies could also wait until Q2 as the first quarter traditionally sees slower sales.

According to Digitimes, Google is working with ASUS rather than Quanta Computer as it reported in the past. The two companies are still hoping to hit the US$99 price point but anonymous market observers expect that supplier costs (including those of touchscreen maker Shenzhen O-Film Tech) may force them to sell for slightly more. If component costs cannot be driven down further, it could sell for between US$129 and US$149 instead.

Google and ASUS will reportedly aim the new tablet at emerging markets. If so, we may not see it in North America where the Nexus 7 already sells for as low as US$199. Initial shipment volumes could reach 600,000 units.

Could this new entry-level Google Nexus 7 tablet be none other than the ASUS ME172V spotted over at GLBenchmark.com recently?

Read more: Digitimes

Nokia to unveil 10-inch Windows RT tablet at MWC 2013?

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Dec 192012

NokiaRumours that Nokia was working on a tablet have been around since at least November 2011. Since then, there have been numerous hints and suggestions that Nokia was working on a Windows 8 tablet. At one point, it was looking like Nokia would launch one before the end of the year.

It now appears that Nokia’s first tablet will finally see the light of day in early 2013. According to Digitimes, Nokia will unveil a 10-inch Windows RT tablet at Mobile World Congress in late February. Few details are available but Nokia has reportedly been developing it with Microsoft, Qualcomm and Compal Electronics, the same partners as in earlier reports.

The report adds that Nokia in fact delayed the launch of this tablet after finding out that Microsoft would be launching its own Surface tablet in late 2012. Nokia opted to take a wait-and-see attitude to see how the Windows 8/RT tablet market would fare and instead remained focused on its smartphone business.

Nokia has yet to commit to any order volumes and has yet to settle on its marketing plans for the tablet. This would suggest that it may still take a bit of time before the still-unnamed Nokia tablet hits the street.

Read more: Digitimes

Apple releases iOS 6.0.2 with Wi-Fi fix

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Dec 182012

AppleApple today released iOS 6.0.2, a small update aimed primarily at the iPhone 5 and iPad mini. According to the changelog, it fixes a single issue: “a bug that could impact Wi-Fi.” It will hopefully address complaints about poor Wi-Fi performance exhibited by some users of both devices.

To update Over-The-Air, users can select ‘General’ > ‘Software Update’ vai the Settings app. It is also available through iTunes.

The next major iOS update, version 6.1, is expected in early 2013. Apple iOS 6.1 beta 4 is currently available to developers.

Read more: AppleInsider

Next-generation iPad mini to sport Retina Display?

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Dec 142012

AppleThe next-generation Apple iPad mini may address one of the biggest complaints against the first-generation model: The lack of a high resolution display. According to Digitimes, enhancements in the iPad mini’s successor will focus primarily on the display.

The report adds that sources are still unsure whether the new tablet will use a Retina Display with a resolution of 2,058 by 1,536 pixels and 326 PPI or one with a somewhat lower resolution – but still higher than the current iPad mini’s XGA (1024×768) display. If so, Apple will need to address the higher power requirements of such a display.

The next-generation iPad mini may not launch until next fall if Apple’s past product refresh strategy is any indication.

Apple will also reportedly redesign the next iPad to use a single LED light bar instead of two to reduce the weight of that device.

Read more: Digitimes

Google Nexus 7 shipments to top one million in December

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Dec 122012

Google Nexus 7Despite competition from the new Apple iPad mini and other Android tablets, sales of the Google Nexus 7 tablet remain strong and are even growing stronger. In late October, ASUS indicated that it was nearing sales of 1 million tablets a month and it now appears that it will hit that milestone in December.

According to Digitimes‘ supply chain maker sources, ASUS shipped between 800,000 and 900,000 Nexus 7 tablets in November and will ship over 1 million in December. A breakdown of the sales of the different models (including the new 32GB models) was not provided.

In comparison, Apple’s suppliers are expected to ship two million iPad mini tablets in the same month, up from about 1.5 million in November. Amazon, which does not provide tablet sales numbers, is expected to ship up to 4 million Kindle Fires via its ODM Quanta in Q4 2012.

It looks like more than a few people will find a 7-inch tablet under the Christmas tree this year!

Read more: Digitimes

RIM sued by Wi-LAN over Bluetooth patent

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Dec 112012

Research In MotionResearch In Motion is the latest company to be sued by patent licensing company Wi-LAN Inc. The latter accuses RIM of infringing one of its Bluetooth technology patents, U.S. Patent No. 6,260,168.

Wi-LAN did not provide any further details, including what damages if any it was seeking from RIM.

Wi-LAN has also recently launched infringement lawsuits against Apple and HTC among others over LTE patents.

Update: Wi-LAN’s lawsuit is looking for both unspecified financial damages as well as preliminary and permanent injunctions against RIM’s smartphones and PlayBook tablet.

Read more: Wi-LAN (Source: Reuters)

Sony Xperia and Box extend cloud storage partnership into 2013

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Dec 092012

Sony Mobile CommunicationsSony Mobile Communications this week announced that its partnership with Box would be extended into 2013.

Announced before the 2011 festive season and initially running for a year – Xperia smartphone and Sony tablet users can now grab free 50GB cloud storage for life, by signing-up or accessing existing Box accounts from their devices before 31st December 2013.

Sony and Box first announced their partnership last year. Unlike many similar offers, this one is for life!

The Box app can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store. All Sony Xperia 10 smartphones and more recent devices (except for the Xperia X10 mini, X10 mini pro and devices with Android versions prior to 2.1) and Android tablets are eligible for the 50GB of storage from Box.

Read more: Sony Mobile Communications (Source: XperiaBlog)

SwiftKey working with Google on Android 4.2 update bug

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Dec 042012

If you upgraded to Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, you may have run into an issue where your SwiftKey keyboard has disappeared. It may be completely gone or simply disabled. SwiftKey is aware of the issue and is working with Google on a resolution:

This is a rare but unfortunate report that we’ve recently been made aware of. We have contacted the Android development team to understand what caused this in their code. We are doing what we can on our end to resolve this issue for those affected.

While SwiftKey works on a permanent fix, there is a fairly simple fix: Redownloading and reinstalling SwiftKey. Be sure to download it using the same account and store you bought it from originally to avoid being charged a second time.

It does not affect everyone – Gadgetorama’s own Nexus 7 did not exhibit this behaviour either during the 4.2 or the 4.2.1 upgrades.

Read more: SwiftKey