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.
Like clockwork Barnes and Noble has outed new slates to compete head-to-head with Kindle’s new Fire tablets. There’s two of ‘em, a 9-inch and a 7-inch, and they take aesthetic tips from their predecessors Nook Tablet and Nook Color, so let’s dive right in.
The 9-inch Nook HD+ boasts a full HD display (1920 x 1280 resolution, 256 pixels per inch) and it’s powered by a 1.5GHz OMAP4470 dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM. It’s lightweight at 515 grams and promises up to 10 hours of reading and 9 hours of video playback. As far as ports go there’s a 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack, one HDMI-compatible port, microSD, and a charging port. WiFi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth are built-in. It comes in a black “slate” color in 16GB ($269) and 32GB ($299) storage variants. The HD+ is up for preorder today and goes on sale in November.
The 7-inch Nook HD packs a 720p display (1440 x 900 resolution, 243 pixels per inch) and it’s powered by a 1.3GHz OMAP 4470 dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM. It’s even lighter than it’s more powerful sibling at 315 grams and its battery promises nearly the same life expectancy. The ports, expanded memory, and wireless connectivity remain the same. It comes in not one but two colors–black “smoke” and white “snow.” The 16GB models will sell for $199 and the 32GB models will go for $199 when the HD releases this November. Like the HD+, it’s available for preorder today.
So if you’re in the market for a new device that delivers reading experiences (books, magazines, newspapers), video and music playback, and apps, the competition (read: Google, Amazon, Apple) just heated up.
With Microsoft’s next iteration of Windows on the horizon, the company has decided to go head-t0-head with its longtime industry competitor Apple by introducing its very own tablet. Though Microsoft is best known for its software, it has developed hardware over the years including innovative mice and keyboards. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made this case: “Much like Windows 1.0 needed the mouse to complete the experience, we wanted to give Windows 8 its own companion hardware innovation.” Meet Surface. And no, the company is not referring to its bulky, pricey multitouch Surface table; this is a brand new line of tablets running Windows 8.
Currently the new Surface family consists of two devices and two covers. Surface for Windows RT is powered by an NVIDIA-based ARM chip. It is 9.3mm thick and weighs 676 grams. It packs a 10.6-inch ClearType capacitive multitouch display, front and rear-facing cameras, a 31.5Wh battery,USB 2.0, microSD, and Micro HD Video ports, and 2×2 MIMO antennae for “the best WiFi performance possible” no matter how you hold it.
Surface for Windows Pro is powered by an Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor. It is slightly thicker and heavier than the RT model measuring at 13.5mm thick and weighing 903 grams. It too packs a 10.6-inch optically-bonded ClearType capacitive multitouch widescreen 16:9 display, but this one outputs full 1080p HD. Front and rear-facing cameras are present, as is a larger 42Wh battery, speedier USB 3.0, microSDXC, Mini DisplayPort, and 2×2 MIMO antennae. Surface for Windows Pro supports digital inking and comes with a magnetic stylus that sticks to the side of the device when it’s not in use. Built into the display are sensors that detect when you’re using the pen versus your finger on the touch display. The display won’t trip out when you’re drawing with the stylus while your palm rests elsewhere on the screen; Microsoft calls it Palm Blocking.
What the two models share is an extremely durable design Microsoft calls VaporMg (pronounced Vapor-Mag). Surface is the first PC with a full magnesium case. Described as “incredibly strong yet airy,” Surface boasts a permanent search and ware-resistant design and the display has a protective layer of Corning’s Gorilla Glass 2.0. Edges are beveled away at 22 degrees “so the PC itself fades into the background.” The design makes room for a built-in kickstand that morphs the tablet into a functional laptop. And every laptop needs a keyboard and trackpad… (Click here for more…)
Today Motorola announced the successor to its Android tablet the Xoom. Expectantly the new tablet is called the Xoom 2. It features the same 10.1-inch widescreen display as its predecessor, runs Android Honeycomb 3.2, and is powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz processor. 16GB of storage is on board, as is 1GB of RAM. A five megapixel shooter sits on the back, and around the front you’ll spot a 1.3 megapixel camera for video chat. Ports include HDMI, microUSB, and 3.5mm headphone jack. And to highlight a few more key differences from the original Xoom: the Xoom 2 weighs approximately 100 grams lighter than the first Moto tablet, it is also much thinner measuring at 0.35 inches thick, the display is brighter and more vibrant than before, it features new splash-guard coating for protection against spilled liquid, Gorilla Glass protection will help deter scratches, it is compatabile with a separately sold Motorola Stylus for note-taking, and an enhanced battery will support more than 10 hours of video playback. Additionally, the body sports an elegant design with angular cut-away corners that takes cues from the recently announced Motorola smartphone the Droid RAZR; Moto promises better ergonomics because of this.
And then there’s the Xoom 2 Media Edition. It’s essentially a Xoom 2 with a smaller 8.2-inch display. A few other things distinguish the Media Edition from its larger brother: it features a wide 178 degree viewing angle, it has a 20 percent improvement in graphics performance over the original Xoom, and it weighs under a pound.
A press release, in full after the break, says that the WiFi-only versions of the Xoom 2 (£379.99) and Xoom 2 Media Edition (£329.99) tablets are headed to Ireland and the UK later this month. No word on when they will hit stateside. People who do get their hands on a new Xoom can expect a future update to Google’s upcoming OS Ice Cream Sandwich, so they are future-proof in that sense. Get a closer look at the Xooms below and jump after the break to watch a promo.
They say good things come to those who wait. After sitting through two iterations of Apple’s tablet, Facebook for iPad has arrived. On Monday Facebook dropped a dedicated app to access to the social network in the App Store. The house that Zuck built is calling it a “hands-on Facebook” that takes advantage of the tablet’s large, hi-res display. Organizing and flipping through photo albums is easier than before, as is chatting, playing games, and navigating around. Facebook also went ahead and updated its iPhone/iPod touch version to make its aesthetic match that of its bigger brother. The iPhone version of the app features the same left-hand navigation pane for a more streamlined experience and search is more comprehensive. Download the new Facebook app for iOS devices today, gratis.
[Via Facebook Blog]
A little under a month after previewing it, Sling Media has released its SlingPlayer for Android Honeycomb tablets. Just like the iOS and Windows Phone 7 versions that came before it, this one costs $29.99. A press release, in full after the break, clarifies: The SlingPlayer application for Android Phones will continue to work in “Compatibility Mode” on tablets at no extra charge. The Android Phone version of the application streams from all Slingboxes, but not at the higher quality resolutions available on tablet devices. Go and get it at the Android Market today.
Android smartphone users have been slinging live TV to their devices via the SlingPlayer Mobile app for some time now. Now running through the pipeline is a Honeycomb version of the same app. That’s right: in the near future both Android-powered phones and (Android 3.0 and higher) tablets will be able to run SlingPlayer. The app upgraded for larger screens will go for the same price it always has: $29.99. Click here and sign up to be notified about its release. For now, prepare for the release by watching the video demonstration above.
In April 2010 HP acquired Palm for $2.1 billion. Since then HP announced three products powered by Palm’s secret sauce known as webOS: the next-gen Pre3, the tiny Veer, and the TouchPad tablet. Due to a number of factors (including but not limited to manufacturing delays, almost no buzz, and as a result of that poor sales figures), HP has decided to discontinue all webOS devices. A press release outed Thursday states:
HP reported that it plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.
So what does this mean for ex-WebOS engineer Job Rubinstein’s creation? Well, HP refuses to say that the innovative OS is dead. The majority of industry insiders believe that HP might go on to license the OS to other hardware manufacturers. So in a nutshell, HP will continue shaping the OS for the future but the devices it will run on will be made by other manufacturers. (It’s like what Google and Microsoft do with their cell phone businesses; Android and Windows Phone 7 are developed internally and they are pushed out to consumers on devices made by other manufactures like HTC and Samsung.) For now, however, the manufacture of the Pre line, the Veer, and the TouchPad will be ceased and when the current supply of inventory is gone, that’s the end of it. If you’re in the market for a decent tablet, though, now’s the time to splurge: HP is having a major TouchPad fire sale to get rid of all the remaining inventory. The 16GB ($399) and 32GB ($499) models are seeing a significant price drop today; they are now going for $99 and $149 respectively. Check out Slick Deals to see the retail outlets that have the price reduction in effect.
In the same press release HP also announced that “its board of directors has authorized the exploration of strategic alternatives for its Personal Systems Group (PSG).” In other words, the company is pondering a way to spinoff their consumer-oriented hardware wing so that they can focus all their attention on building software. You see, the company’s PSG includes HP desktops, laptops, printers, webOS devices, etc. HP is in talks with Autonomy Corporation plc about handing over their hardware unit, but according to HP CEO Leo Apotheker it’ll be another 12 to 18 months before any major decisions are made regarding the new focus for the company.
It’s clear that this is a time of transition for HP. They spent billions on a fading hardware company and that went bust. Now they are taking a step back from the consumer industry and considering a big move towards software and services. When all the dust settles, though, there’s one thing that remains to be said and makes a lump form in my throat: with Rubinstein working on other projects and webOS on death row, this time Palm really is dead.
Chandra Rathakrishnan, CEO of Fusion Garage, hosted an intimate event yesterday afternoon to introduce a new tablet experience unto the world. The creator of the failed JooJoo tablet (2009) is back and hopes to regain consumer faith with his second attempt at creating a new kind of post-PC device. Rathakrishnan ran a lengthy and expensive viral marketing campaign leading up to yesterday’s unveiling; he invented the faux company TabCo (short for Tablet Company) and posted viral videos at the site WhoIsTabCo.com. The campaign had the public at large buzzing about who might be behind TabCo. Now that we know it’s Fusion Garage, journey downward to learn more about the forthcoming products and decide if the hype was worth it. (Click here for more…)
Yesterday and today Google hosted its renowned developer’s conference dubbed Google I/O 2011. Literally thousands of developers flocked to San Fransisco’s Moscone Center to find out what Google’s been cooking up on their end. This year’s event proved to be leaps and bounds more exciting than last year’s conference. Google introduced their new cloud-based music service called Music Beta; they unveiled Ice Cream Sandwich, the next version of Android that promises to bridge the gap between Gingerbread and Honeycomb; Android is going into the home automation business with Google’s impressive initiative Android@Home; Chrome OS is finally ready for the big leagues–Samsung and Acer are prepping Chromebooks for mass consumption; and Angry Birds has landed in the browser!
So much to discuss–it’s all a hop, skip and a jump after the break. (Click here for more…)
Today Adobe announced that they’re delivering on their promise to bring updated Flash support to Android devices next week. Flash Player 10.2 will be available for download via Android Market on March 18th. The new player will work on the three most recent versions of Android–that is, 2.2 (Froyo) and 2.3 (Gingerbread), and 3.0 (Honeycomb). It remains in beta form for the tablet version of the OS. The update is detailed after the break, PR-style.
That’s for you to decide. (Music is was Strict Machine’s “Goldfrapp” if you’re interested. Looks like YouTube stripped the audio.)