Tag Archives: tablet

Apple dates iOS 8.1 with Apple Pay & OS X Yosemite, intros updated iPads, iMac & Mac mini

On Thursday Tim Cook and company took the stage in Cupertino to make some new Apple hardware and software announcements. In addition to announcing an updated iPad Air, iPad mini, iMac, and Mac mini, Apple also dated the next version of iOS and OS X both coming in just a few days time. For the full scoop, jump after the break. READ MORE Apple dates iOS 8.1 with Apple Pay & OS X Yosemite, intros updated iPads, iMac & Mac mini

Google names latest Android OS Lollipop, loads it on new Nexus devices

On Wednesday Google finally revealed the name of the next version of its mobile operating system almost four months after teasing “Android L” at the tech company’s I/O developer conference. Android Lollipop and its consistent look called Material Design will make its debut this fall on two new Nexus devices: the tablet Nexus 9 and the phablet Nexus 6. And “in the coming weeks” it will land on Nexus 4, 5, 7, 10 and Google Play edition devices.

The Nexus 9, manufactured in collaboration with HTC, sports a 8.9-inch 2048 x 1536 LCD display with a 4:3 aspect ratio and reinforced with Gorilla Glass 3. It’s powered by the 64-bit NVIDIA Tegra K1 Dual Denver processor at 2.3GHz and 192-core Kepler GPU. It’s got 2GB RAM and offers 16GB and 32GB storage options. 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 are inside. An 8-megapixel camera sits on the back with auto-focus and LED flash, and around front there’s a 1.6-megapixel shooter. Dual front-facing speakers with HTC BoomSound technology are also included. Sold separately is a keyboard that attaches to the tablet magnetically that allows you to type at different angles. The 9 will be able available for preorder this Friday, October 17. When it releases November 9 it will start at $399 for the 16GB WiFi-only model. A $479 32GB WiFi-only and a $599 32GB WiFi plus LTE model will also be offered. Colors include Indigo Black, Lunar White, and Sand.

The Nexus 6, with hardware by Motorola, has a 5.96-inch 2560 x 1440 QHD AMOLED display with a 16:9 aspect ratio and Gorilla Glass 3. Humming inside is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 805 SOC at 2.7GHz and the Adreno 420 GPU. The rear cam is a 13MP shooter with optical image stabilization and dual LED ring flash, and it can capture 4K video at 30fps. The front-facing 2MP camera can do HD video conferencing. WiFi, Bluetooth, and NFC inside. 32GB and 64GB storage options are offered. Hardware shades include Midnight Blue and Cloud White. You can preorder the Nexus 6 starting October 29. It will go on sale in November starting at $649 with no contract. AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular will sell the handset at an undisclosed discounted price.

In addition to announcing the Android Lollipop powered Nexus 9 and 6, Google also outed a new set-top box called Nexus Player. Made with Asus, the Player runs Android TV and is primed to rival Apple TV and Amazon’s Fire TV as it will provide a one-stop destination for entertainment and gaming needs. The Google Play store is fully integrated to stream movies and TV shows, and apps such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, and YouTube are accessible, too. The box comes with a voice-activated remote to enhance navigation and search, and sold separately is a gamepad for those who wish to play their Android games on the big screen with a video game console-like controller. Also, the Player is Google Cast-ready, meaning it acts very much like Google’s Chromecast dongle allowing you to wirelessly stream media content from your phone or tablet to the big screen. Preordering begins October 17, and the Nexus Player releases on November 3 for $99. The Gamepad will go for $39.

Jump after the break to meet the sleek new Nexus family.

[Via Google 1, 2] READ MORE Google names latest Android OS Lollipop, loads it on new Nexus devices

Google’s Chromecast makes streaming affordable, portable (also, Nexus 7 tablet refresh)

On Wednesday Google made a couple product announcements and what we’re doing now, we’re diving right in.

First up is Chromecast, a new way to wirelessly stream content from your personal devices to your big screen TV. The hardware itself resembles a small USB stick, except inside of plugging into a USB port it goes into an HDMI port located on your HDTV. After being plugged in, Chromecast requires two things to function: it needs power (using included cables you can either plug it into a standard wall socket or a USB port on your TV) and WiFi. Land on the correct TV input and blam, you’re connected and ready to go.

Chromecast doesn’t actually boast a user interface. Everything is streamed and controlled by your personal device. For example, if you want to stream an episode of Arrested Development from Netflix, you’d open the Netflix app on your computer, smartphone, or tablet and click the “cast” button to wirelessly stream the video content to your TV. Once the content is projected to the TV, the device you’re streaming it from becomes the remote control allowing you to play, pause, and scrub through whatever you’re watching.

In addition to Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, Google Play Music, and Chrome are currently compatible with Chromecast. In addition to streaming video and music with those apps, the inclusion of Chrome allows you to stream Tabs so you can browse the Internet on your TV. Google is letting developers get their hands on a Google Cast SDK preview so that more apps can become compatible with Chromecast. In the pipeline already is a new version of Pandora that will work with Chromecast with more promised on the way. And Chromecast works across a variety of devices; in addition to Android phones and tablets it also functions with Apple products like the iPhone and iPad, as well as Macs and PCs.

So why buy Chromecast, especially if you already own an Apple TV or Roku or the like? I can think of two reasons right off the bat: one, it costs $35. Yeah, that’s it. You’ll want to own this thing just because you can. And then there’s ease of portability. Sure, you can unplug your Roku and bring it around the house, TV to TV, whenever you like. But can’t you imagine how simpler it’d be to transport something as small as a USB stick to get the job done? The only issue here, of course, is that Chromecast doesn’t support Hulu and Amazon Instant Video and all the other video streaming services out there. Yet. But once it does, Chromecast has the potential to shake things up in the entertainment space. For now, though, see it as an extremely portable and affordable way to bring Netflix, YouTube, and other Google services with you provided an HDMI slot is available to play.

Chromecast is sold at Google Play, Amazon, and BestBuy.com.

Hop after the break to learn about Google’s other product announcement, if you dare. READ MORE Google’s Chromecast makes streaming affordable, portable (also, Nexus 7 tablet refresh)

The new iPad sees a bump to 128GB

News flash: Apple is adding a new storage option for the iPad with Retina display. Come Tuesday, February 5 the new iPad will sell with 128GB of valuable space in black and white for $799 (Wi-Fi model) and $929 (WiFi + Cellular model). Once it’s out, the latest and greatest fourth-gen Apple slate will be available in 16, 32, 64, and 128 gigabyte variants. Perhaps this will pave the way for iPhones and iPods to finally see storage capacity bumps in the future.

[Via Apple]

Microsoft announces Surface for Windows 8 Pro release date, new Surface accessories

Microsoft’s more powerful version of its Surface tablet finally has a release date. Surface with Windows 8 Pro comes to market February 9. It comes packed with Intel’s Core i5 processor and it supports apps available in the Windows Store as well as legacy programs that run on Windows 7 and other previous OS’. More Pro advantages: this slate sports a 1920 x 1080 full HD display, 4GB of RAM, a fast USB 3.0 port, a Mini DisplayPort, and a pen with Palm Block technology. The Pro starts at $899 for the 64GB model; alongside it is a 128GB model that will sell for $999. Unlike the RT version, the Pro doesn’t come bundled with a keyboard cover. The Touch Cover and Type Cover sell separately for $119.99 and $129.99, respectively.

In addition to fully fleshing out the Pro’s future release, Microsoft announced a new pricing option for the Surface for Windows RT. This is the 64GB model but it ditches the keyboard cover to sell for $599. It joins the standalone 32GB model ($499), the 32GB model with Black Touch Cover ($599), and 64GB model with Black Touch Cover ($699).

And there’s more. Microsoft is adding more to its Surface accessory lineup. Three new limited edition Touch Covers featuring funky designs in red, magenta, and cyan are coming soon; they’re priced at $129.99. Also on deck is a wireless Wedge mouse whose design is inspired by the modern look of the Surface; it’s priced at $69.95.

Take a look at the Surface with Windows 8 Pro, along with the new accessories, in the gallery below.

[Via Microsoft]

Microsoft reveals Surface for Windows 8 Pro pricing, a January release

Windows 8 is out, and Microsoft’s been pushing its own hardware dubbed Surface to highlight the best its tablet-friendly OS has to offer. When Surface was first announced, Microsoft detailed two different models: one running Windows RT and another with Windows 8 Pro. Surface for Windows RT was released into the marketplace the same day as Windows 8–on October 26. Surface for Windows 8 Pro would be saved for a later date.

We still don’t have a specific release date for the more powerful Surface, but this week Microsoft did announce pricing. As expected, the slate running Win8 Pro is pricier than its WinRT sibling (which starts at $499). Surface for Win8 Pro starts at $899 for the 64GB model; a second option with 128GB of storage space will go for $999. Microsoft is calling these “standalone versions” since they do not come bundled with an attachable keyboard cover. The Touch Cover and  Type Cover sell separately for $119.99 and $129.99, respectively.

So you want to know the differences. Let’s start with software. As explained in a previous post, Windows RT runs off ARM processors and does not support legacy applications made for Windows 7, Vista, XP, and so on. RT will only run apps downloaded from the Windows Store. Windows 8 Pro, on the other hand, supports x86 processors and will run all legacy apps just fine. What makes this version of Windows 8 “Pro” are its enhanced security features including BitLocker encryption.

Moving onto the hardware side of things, Surface running Win8 Pro packs a more powerful processor with Intel’s third-gen Core i5 chip, double the RAM at 4GB, a higher resolution 1920×1080 full HD display, a faster USB 3.0 port, a Mini DisplayPort that can enable an external display up to 2560X1440 resolution, a larger 42 W-h battery, and it supports pen input. It ships with a pen and display tech called Palm Block that “prevent[s] your handwriting from getting interrupted if you accidentally place your palm on the screen as you write.” This enhanced Surface boasts the same 10.6-inch screen size, but its body is bigger and its weight heavier; it measures 10.81 x 6.81 x 0.53in (compared to Surface for WinRT: 10.81 x 6.77 x 0.37in) and it weighs half a pound more at 2lbs.

So there you have it. Surface for Windows 8 Pro is coming in January. Keep your eyes peeled at Microsoft’s portal, and when the release date becomes apparent you’ll know.

[Via Microsoft]

Google intros Nexus 4 smartphone, Nexus 10 tablet running the updated Android Jelly Bean 4.2

On the same day that Microsoft launched Windows Phone 8 and detailed a hardware lineup, Google decided to announce new hardware along with a new version Android.

Google leaves it up to many third party smartphone manufacturers to develop devices to run Android. Once in a while, however, the search engine likes to inject its own cream into the crop with devices branded Nexus. The next smartphone featuring vanilla Android is the Nexus 4 and it’s a collaboration between Google and LG this time. Here are the hard specs: 4.7-inch WXGA True HD IPS Plus display (1280 x 768 resolution, 320ppi) with Corning Gorilla Glass 2 protection; Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor; 2GB RAM; 8 megapixel rear camera with 1080p video recording and 1.3 megapixel front camera; 2,100mAh battery promising 15.3 hours talk time and 390 hours of standby; 8GB and 16GB storage capacities; WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth; supports NFC and wireless charging; ports include Micro USB, SlimPort HDMI, and 3.5mm headphone jack; it’s 9.1mm thin and weighs 139g; and it supports 3G (WCDMA) and HSPA+ networks. The Nexus 4 comes loaded with the latest version of Android (Jelly Bean 4.2) and it releases November 13 at $299 (8GB) and $349 (16GB); it will be sold as an unlocked device at those prices in the Google Play store. Buy the 16GB model from T-Mobile with a new two-year contract and you can get it for a more affordable $199. On launch day it will be available in the US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Spain and Australia and it’ll start to roll out to Europe, Central/South Americas, Asia, CIS and the Middle East beginning in late November.

Google is already in the tablet game with the Nexus 7, and today they’ve decided to up their game with an even larger slate to directly compete with Apple’s iPad. A collaboration with Samsung, the Nexus 10 packs–you guessed it–a 10.055-inch WQXGA display with an incredible 2560 x 1600 resolution (300 ppi) and Corning Gorilla Glass 2 coat of protection. Other specs include: dual-core Cortex A15-based 1.7GHz Samsung Exynos 5250 processor; Mali T604 GPU; 2GB RAM; 5 megapixel rear camera and 1.9 megapixel front camera; front-facing stereo speakers; 9000 mAh battery promising 9 hours of continuous video playback and 500 hours of standby; 16GB and 32GB storage capacities; WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth; supports NFC; ports include Micro USB, Magnetic Pogo pin charger, Micro HDMI, and 3.5mm headphone jack; and it’s 8.9mm thin and weighs 603g. The Nexus 10 too comes preinstalled with Jelly Bean 4.2 and it releases November 13 at $399 (8GB) and $499 (16GB); these slates are WiFi-only.

Google’s original Nexus 7 slate is seeing an update. The 8GB model is no longer offered; in its place are 16GB ($199) and 32GB ($249) flavors. Available today are those WiFi-only models, and come November 13 a 32GB model with WiFi and HSPA+ data (with AT&T and T-Mobile in the US) will sell for $299.

In addition to announcing a new smartphone and tablet, Google injected new life into Android with the latest version of Jelly Bean 4.2. Photo Sphere allows you to take pictures in every direction and stitch them together for immersive panoramic images; Gesture Typing brings Swype-like interaction to the virtual keyboard; support for multiple user accounts gives your friends and family their own personal spaces on a single device (this feature is limited to tablets only running v4.2); Daydream allows you to personalize your screensaver with photos and news; and Google Now and Google Search have been updated with more cards and an enhanced interface, respectively. For more, click the source link below. (Update: The Google Search app for iOS has been updated with improved voice search that rivals Siri. Download here, video demo after the break.)

And just like that, Google has their very own lineup of Android-powered Nexus devices in three different sizes. Get a closer look at the Nexus 4 phone and Nexus 10 tablet in the galleries embedded above; after the break there’s video.

[Via Google 1, 2] READ MORE Google intros Nexus 4 smartphone, Nexus 10 tablet running the updated Android Jelly Bean 4.2

Let Microsoft’s first Surface commercial dance right into your heart [Update: Pricing & specs revealed, preorder today, ships 10/26]

With the release of Microsoft’s radically new operating system coming out so soon, the company has let loose a fun commercial touting its in-house tablet dubbed Surface. Directed by Jon Chu (Step Up 3D) and choreographed by Christopher Scott and Jamal Sims, the spot incorporates an infectious track and aggressive dance moves to market its snazzy slate to a young crowd. Though it doesn’t offer specs and pricing, it does highlight the Surface’s ability to snap to a cover/keyboard hybrid the company calls Touch Cover and Type Cover, and it also puts the device’s built-in kick stand in the spotlight. It also screams that Windows 8 begs to be touched.

Surface for Windows RT releases day and date with Windows 8 on October 26.

Update: Now there’s even more to celebrate. Today Microsoft put up a product page for Surface with Windows RT and it includes a final spec list and pricing. Three separate SKUs are offered. The tablet starts at $499 and that gets you a 32GB slate. For $599 you get the same storage capacity and the slate is bundled with a black Touch Cover. And for $699 storage jumps to 64GB and you’ll get a black Touch Cover. The company is selling Touch Covers separately at $119.99 in a variety of colors including black, white, red, cyan, and magenta. Also sold separately is the Type Cover at $129.99 in black only. According to the site, the cheapest SKU ships “within three weeks” while the other two will arrive on your doorstep on Windows 8 launch day October 26. Preorder today.

When Microsoft announced Surface in June, they didn’t fully divulge all of the tablet’s specs. Now we’ve got ’em all. Been wondering what the 10.6 inch display’s resolution is? It’s 1366 x768. For a full list of juicy specs, jump after the break for the official PR. Glance at new images that just surfaced below.

READ MORE Let Microsoft’s first Surface commercial dance right into your heart [Update: Pricing & specs revealed, preorder today, ships 10/26]

Xbox 360 dashboard update rolling out today, Xbox Music coming to Microsoft devices this month

Flip on your Xbox 360 today and you might find an update waiting for you to download and install. Microsoft releases updates to its video game console every fall and spring, and we’re well into October so this refresh shouldn’t come as a giant surprise. Nor should most of its features since the most prominent ones were highlighted at this year’s E3. But let’s recap. With nearly every update comes a refreshed dashboard with user interface tweaks; overall the design and layout largely remain the same, but you’ll notice that each hub now houses more tiles. Some of them are tailored to your gaming habits, recent activity, and content ratings, while others are merely advertisements. You can create a personalized folder of “pinned” items; you can pin your favorite games, movies, TV shows, and music to an easy-to-access destination on the dashboard. Bing search has been enhanced to allow for search by genre; for example, you can speak to your Kinect and say “Xbox, Bing sci-fi” and related content will show up. And last but not least there’s the introduction of Internet Explorer; Xbox nabs a web browser. Where’s Xbox SmartGlass? Microsoft is holding off on the second-screen experience until Windows 8 launches; when it does users will be able to control their consoles via tablets and smartphones and interact with content in new ways. (Learn more about SmartGlass here.)

Here’s how the rollout will work, according to Xbox’s Major Nelson. “To ensure a stable release, this will be a gradual deployment across subscribers and regions over the course of the next week. Our initial deployment will reach approximately three million consoles worldwide, with additional users being updated over the course of a couple weeks.” So there you go.

Announced separately from this fall’s dashboard update is the rollout of Xbox Music. With Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 on the horizon, Microsoft wants to forget the Zune era and start anew with a cloud-based music service that extends across the desktop/tablet OS, the phone OS, and the home console. Currently Xbox Music is available on Xbox 360. Users will notice a newly branded destination to browse, stream, and download music. In the Music hub there’s an Xbox Music tile that takes you to Microsoft’s collection of 30 million songs. To access the content, users must sign up for an Xbox Music Pass that goes for $9.99/month or $99.90/year. With the Pass, you can stream individual songs and full-length albums, ad-free. A free 30-day trial is offered if you feel so inclined to dip your toe.

When Windows 8 ships later this month on October 26, Xbox Music will be the destination for music consumption from Microsoft there, too. Unlike 360 owners, desktop/tablet users will have free unlimited, ad-supported access to the music database. Purchase an Xbox Music Pass and the ads go bye-bye; and also with the Pass, you’ll be able to save songs for offline listening. A feature called Smart DJ allows you to personalize a radio station based on your favorite artists. Since Xbox Music is a cloud-based service, your entire music collection (including playlists and Smart DJ data) is synced across devices including your desktop/tablet, phone, and console. Start streaming a song on your Xbox, pause it, and continue exactly where you left off on your tablet. You get the idea. Feel the urge to download a song for keeps? Purchase it in the Xbox Music Store, available on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.

Speaking of Microsoft’s phone OS, Xbox Music will begin to rollout to WP8 devices as they ship after the OS’ release later this month. Xbox 360’s rules apply to WP8 devices–an Xbox Music Pass is required to access streaming content. To reiterate, free ad-supported streaming is only available to Win8 users. Microsoft notes that they plan to expand the service to other platforms (think Android, iOS) sometime in the future.

In review: your Xbox is about to be injected with new life, and Microsoft is ready to take on the likes of Apple, Amazon, and Spotify with the launch of their very own cloud-based music streaming service and storefront. If you’ve got an Xbox, you can explore Microsoft’s new offerings today; for the rest of you it will come baked in Windows 8 when it releases in just over a week.

[Via MajorNelson; Microsoft]

Amazon outs new Kindle Paperwhite e-reader, adds to the Kindle Fire tablet family

The third major tech company to take the spotlight this week was Amazon. On Thursday they updated their e-reader and tablet lineups with the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kindle Fire HD.

The Kindle Paperwhite is the fifth-generation Kindle e-reader and it houses “the most advanced e-reader display ever constructed,” says Amazon. How so? It contains 212 pixels-per-inch making room for 62% more pixels than before and this allows text to appear crisper and clearer and images are sharper and richer. In addition, the blacks are blacker and the whites are whiter thanks to 25% higher contrast. What Amazon is really touting here is the patented front-lit display that makes reading with or without natural or artificial light a better experience. With the light left on all the time, the Paperwhite will still give you 8 weeks of battery life. The new e-reader packs a 6-inch capacitive touchscreen for input; there are no physical buttons for page-turning. Amazon describes its size like this: “[it’s] thinner than a magazine [at just over a third of an inch thin] and weighs less than a typical paperback [weighing 7.5 ounces].” Software enhancements include Time to Read, a feature that helps readers know the amount of time it will take them to finish a chapter or a book; X-Ray, a feature that lets readers see all passages across a book that mention ideas, fictional characters, historical figures, places or topics that interest them, as well as more detailed descriptions from Wikipedia; WhisperSync for Voice that allows readers to start an audiobook on one device and pick up where they left off on another; and new typeface options. A Wi-Fi only version of the Kindle Paperwhite goes on sale October 1 for $119. A 3G version will sell for $179. Preorder today.

In addition to introducing a second generation Kindle Fire (more on that device soon), Amazon added two new Android-based devices to the Fire family. The Kindle Fire HD comes in a 7-inch and 8.9-inch versions. The larger display model features 254 pixels per inch with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 (1080p full HD). The smaller display model has a lower resolution of 1280 x 800 (720p). New LCD technology reduces glare by 25% compared to the third-generation iPad. Also, integrated IPS allows for wide viewing angles. Other specs include: 1.5GHz dual-core OMAP4 4470 processor (in the Fire HD 8.9″), 1.2GHz dual-core OMAP4 460 processor (in the Fire HD 7″), Dolby Audio with dual stereo speakers, a front-facing camera for video chat, and built-in Bluetooth, HDMI-out, and 40% faster WiFi (compared to the latest iPad) thanks to dual-band support, dual antennas, and MIMO technology. To size ’em up, the Fire HD 8.9″ is 8.8mm thin weighing 20 oz. and the Fire HD 7″ is 10.2mm weighing 13.9 oz. Amazon shares that the smaller model gets 11 hours of battery life. Software enhancements include X-Ray for books, movies, and textbooks, allowing users to augment their tablet experience with expanded information from Wikipedia, IMDb, and YouTube; and FreeTime, a set of parental controls that allows parents to limit their kids’ screen time by content type. Pricing and availability. The Fire HD 8.9″ comes in four flavors: WiFi-only 16GB ($299), WiFi-only 32GB ($369), 4G LTE 32GB ($499), and 4G LTE 64GB ($599). For $49.99 customers can receive 4G LTE from AT&T, 250GB of data per month for one year, plus 20GB of Amazon Cloud storage and a $10 credit in the Amazon Appstore. The Fire HD 8.9″ is up for preorder today and goes on sale November 20. The Fire HD 7″ comes in two flavors: WiFi-only 16GB ($199) and WiFi-only 32GB ($249). These are in direct competition with Google’s Nexus 7 tablet. They’re also there to preorder and will release sooner on September 14.

Now I told you I would return to the successor of the original Kindle Fire. Amazon is still calling it the Kindle Fire, and it still features the same 1024 x 600 non-HD 7-inch display. What’s changed? It’s got a 40% faster processor for better performance (1.2GHz dual-core OMAP4 430), twice the memory (1GB), and longer battery life (8.5 hours). The sole 8GB model goes on sale September 14 for $159.

Want to know what the rest of the Amazon e-reader line looks like today? In addition to the Kindle Paperwhite, the latest generation OG Kindle is still hanging in there. A slightly updated new model ships September 14 with 15 percent faster page turns and at a lower price point, $69 (ad-supported). Also still available is the Kindle Keyboard with 3G for $139 (ad-supported) and the giant Kindle DX with 3G at $379.

Get a closer look at the new Kindle Paperwhite e-reader and Kindle Fire tablets in the galleries below (in order Kindle Paperwhite, Fire HD 8.9″, Fire HD 7″, OG Fire). After the break, video and PR.

[Via Amazon 1, 2, 3] READ MORE Amazon outs new Kindle Paperwhite e-reader, adds to the Kindle Fire tablet family

Google I/O 2012: Nexus 7 tablet, Nexus Q media streamer, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, Google+ & Project Glass

Google announced a slew of new hardware and software at this year’s I/O event for developers. From tablets to a funky-looking media streamer, to the next version of Android and even the futuristic Project Glass, the boys of Mountain View covered it all so let’s dive right in.

Nexus 7

The Nexus 7 serves the same purpose as the Nexus smartphone lineup: it provides a pure Android experience, but on a tablet. The 7-inch slate was made in collaboration with hardware manufacturer Asus, and it packs a 1280×800 back-lit IPS display with scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla glass. It measures 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm and weighs an impressively light 340 grams. A quad-core Tegra 3 processor from NVIDIA and 1GB of RAM power the tablet, and a 4325 mAh battery 9 hours of HD video playback and 300 hours of standby time. As far as sensors go, there’s an accelerometer, GPS, a magnetometer, and a gyroscope. WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, and NFC are also on board. Ports include Micro USB and a 3.5mm headphone jack, both located on the bottom of the device. There’s rear-facing camera, but you’ll find a 1.2MP front-facing camera for video chatting. 8GB and 16GB storage capacities are available to pre-order today through the Google Play storefront at $199 and $149, respectively. The tablet ships later this month and comes with a $25 credit for the Play store plus a copy of Transformers: Dark of the Moon and other media-related extras. It runs the latest version of Android (that is 4.1 Jelly Bean, more on this later) and Google says it was “made for Google Play.” On the homescreen you’ll have quick access to games, your music, movie, and TV show libraries, and your book and magazine collections. In related news, the Google Play store has been updated and now sells magazines, TV shows, and movies can be rented and purchased.

READ MORE Google I/O 2012: Nexus 7 tablet, Nexus Q media streamer, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, Google+ & Project Glass

Apple announces the new iPad, updates iOS, Apple TV & iCloud, and intros a mobile iPhoto

On Wednesday Apple announced the next generation iPad. No, it is not called the iPad 3 or the iPad HD; it’s simply the new iPad. In addition to updating what Apple CEO Tim Cook calls “the poster child of the post-PC world,” the March 7 keynote also introduced enhancements to iOS, iCloud, Apple TV, and the mobile versions of iWork and iLife. First let’s focus on the most talked about news at hand, the new iPad; then jump after the break to read about everything else.

First and foremost, the new iPad features Apple’s Retina Display technology. They’ve managed to pack four times more pixels into the new iPad’s 9.7 inch multitouch screen than the tablet’s predecessor. The new iPad sports an impressive 2048 x 1536 resolution with a 3.1 million total pixel count (264 pixels per inch) and 44% greater color saturation over the iPad 2. This means that the new iPad contains more pixels than your average HDTV (1920 x 1080)! Packing all of these pixels in a relatively small space means: razor-sharp text, richer colors, and when viewed at a normal distance iPad owners will not be able to discern individual pixels and this makes for a better overall user experience.

Powering the new iPad is the Apple A5X high-performance low-power system-on-a-chip. It serves as a dual-core processor with quad-core graphics. The new chip will help the iPad run faster and support the millions of pixels glaring out of the Retina Display. It will also manage the tablet’s equally impressive battery life. The new iPad boasts the same longevity as the iPad 2: 10 hours of use on WiFi and 9 hours on a cellular network.

The camera on the backside of the iPad has been upgraded to iSight Camera status. It’s a five-megapixel shooter and full HD 1080p video recorder. The camera features backside illumination, f/2.4 aperture, a 5-element lens, a hybrid IR filter, an Apple-designed ISP (Image Signal Processor) that allows for auto exposure, auto-focus, auto face detection, auto exposure lock and auto focus lock, and auto white balance. In video recording mode, you’ll notice video stabilization and temporal noise reduction. On the front you’ll still find a FaceTime camera that takes VGA-quality stills and also shoots video at up to 30 frames per second.

Although Siri has yet to make her way to the iPad, Apple has included a piece of the personal assistant in the new slate. The virtual keyboard now features a new Voice Dictation key (it’s a microphone icon) that translates what you say into the text you want to type. Dictation supports English and other languages like British, French, German, Japanese, and Australian. It’s also compatible with third-party apps meaning you can dictate your Tweets or Facebook status updates if you like.

With the new iPad, Apple has embraced 4G LTE data speeds. Again they are working with AT&T and Verizon to bring these ultrafast speeds to consumers in the US. The new iPad features the most wireless bands ever shipped in a device; check them out: the AT&T model includes 4G LTE (700, 2100 MHz), UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz), GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); and the Verizon model includes 4G LTE (700 MHz), CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (800, 1900 MHz), UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz), GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz). Rate plans can be viewed here. Elsewhere Apple is collaborating with Bell, Rogers, and Telus to bring these speeds to other countries around the world. Additionally, the new iPad can act as a personal hotspot to share its data speeds with up to five devices over WiFi, Bluetooth, or USB. And speaking of which, the new iPad also packs Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth 4.0 technology.

At 9.4mm thin and 1.4 pounds, the new iPad will come in black and white variants and maintain the same capacity and pricing scheme as its predecessor. It’ll start at $499 for the 16GB WiFi-only model and will reach up to $829 for the 32GB WiFi + 4G model. The iPad 2 will remain on the market at one Benjamin cheaper; it will only sell in the 16GB capacity at $399 for the WiFi-only model and $529 for the WiFi + 3G model. The new iPad will release on March 16 in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia. One week later it will come out in 25 more countries making the new iPad the fastest product rollout for Apple. It’s available for preorder today at Apple’s website.

Jump after the break for more on iOS, iCloud, Apple TV, and updates to the mobile versions of iWork and iLife. READ MORE Apple announces the new iPad, updates iOS, Apple TV & iCloud, and intros a mobile iPhoto