BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins' prediction this week that tablets would decline in popularity flies in the face of widespread industry forecasting for an explosion of tablet shipments through 2017. But his comments also provoked debate on what will happen over the next five to 10 years to smartphones, tablets and laptops -- even wearable computers -- and what devices users might favor.
Some analysts said Heins could be setting the scene for eliminating the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, which launched in 2011 but hasn't gained market traction. Others said Heins is likely envisioning a world where the smartphone acts as a hub to other displays in rooms or on what users wear to provide processing power and wireless access to data in the cloud. Read more...
Lenovo on Tuesday said it will open its first computer manufacturing plant in the U.S., where it will make laptops, PCs and tablets sold under its Think brand.
Lenovo will open the factory early next year in Whitsett, North Carolina, where it said it will create about 115 manufacturing jobs. It will be Lenovo's first factory in the U.S., supplementing plants in Mexico, Brazil and its home base of China. Read more...
This year at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin vendors introduced and demonstrated a plethora of ultra-high resolution TVs, hybrid tablets based on Microsoft's upcoming operating systems, as well as the first device based on Windows Phone 8.
Here are some of most interesting trends at IFA 2012 and the products they have spawned:
LG Electronics, Sony and a number of other vendors all showed so-called 4K TVs, which increase the resolution from the current 1,920-by-1,080 pixels to 3,840-by-2,160 pixels. The term 4K comes from the horizontal resolution. Read more...
Much to the chagrin (and much against the ill wishes) of wireless carriers such as AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile, people are buying Wi-Fi-only tablets. In fact, some studies have shown that in 2011 up to 90 percent of all tablets sold in the United States relied on Wi-Fi, rather than on 3G or 4G LTE.
Today's Wi-Fi-focused tablets include the Wi-Fi only version of the Apple iPad, the Amazon Kindle Fire, the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity, the Google Nexus 7, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab, to mention a few.
I hate to say it, AT&T, but this makes sense: Wi-Fi only tablets are cheaper (and I'm not talking exclusively about the Wi-Fi-only iPad, but also about tablets that never had a data option, such as the Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7), and people are discovering that they just don't need an extra data plan. Don't believe me? Check out these 10 tips for getting the most out of your Wi-Fi-only tablet. Read more...
Taiwanese analyst outfit Trendforce thinks Microsoft’s forthcoming Surface devices will cannibalise the market for ultrabooks, put price pressure on Android tablets and confuse consumers.
The analysts’ WitsView service recently published a note in which research director Eric Chiou says that Surface devices’ 32GB of storage is a higher spec than that on most ten-inch Android tablets, justifying a higher price of US$599.
At that price Chiou feels Surface will “inevitably cannibalize ultrabook sales” and goes on to say that “Microsoft may not be pleased to see a competition between its own products.” Consumers may also be confused by the overlapping prices. Read more...
Motorola's Xoom tablet does not infringe on some of Apple's community designs, the regional court of Dusseldorf ruled on Tuesday. Apple wanted a Europe-wide ban on the Motorola tablet, a court spokesman said.
Apple tried to get the Motorola Xoom banned in Europe because it said Motorola infringed on three of its community design rights, unitary industrial design rights that protect the intellectual property of products sold in the European Union. The judge decided that the Xoom does not resemble the iPad enough, said Andreas Vitek, spokesman for the regional Dusseldorf court.
Motorola filed a counter claim against Apple, demanding that the court decide that Apple's community designs were invalid, Vitek said. However, the judge also denied that claim, he said, adding that while both companies lost their claims, Apple had to pay two thirds of the litigation costs and Motorola should pay one third. Vitek could not say how much each company had to pay. Read more...
Advanced Micro Devices will detail its upcoming low-power CPU for tablets code-named Jaguar at the Hot Chips show in August, and share the stage with IBM, Oracle and Fujitsu, which will provide further insight into next-generation server processors.
AMD's Jaguar CPU will be in tablets that will become available next year, and will be integrated in a chip alongside a powerful graphics processor. AMD is expected to use the Jaguar architecture in a dual-core tablet chip code-named Tamesh next year, and also in low-power laptops such as netbooks.
Jaguar was introduced earlier this year after a new management team discarded the old road map and reconfigured the company's product line. AMD did not share details about the processor core at the time, but Jaguar will succeed the Bobcat processor, which will be used in an upcoming tablet chip code-named Hondo, expected to be launched later this year alongside Microsoft's Windows 8 OS. Read more...
A teardown of the Nexus 7 tablet reveals Google is likely to break even on the $199, 8 GB version of its tablet while earning a modest profit on the 16 GB version, priced at $249.
IHS iSuppli said the 8 GB version of the Nexus 7 has a bill of materials (BOM) and manufacturing total cost of $159.25. The 16 GB version total is $166.75.
"Google will at least break even on the 8 GB model ... and will make a modest profit on the 16 GB version," IHS said in a statement last week.
With the 16 GB version, Google is charging $50 more at retail by adding only $7.50 more in memory cost, adding $42.50 to Google's bottom line, IHS said.
IHS said its teardown totals are preliminary and don't include software, licenses and royalties.
IHS analyst Andrew Rassweiler said the Nexus 7 competes more with Amazon's Kindle Fire, also a 7-in. tablet that sells for $199, than the
$499, 9.7-in. iPad. Read more...
Tablets and smartphones -- and users' infatuation with them -- continue to pummel the PC market.
Worldwide PC shipments were flat this past quarter, just like they were for the previous six quarters before that, according to a report out Wednesday from the research firm Gartner.
PC shipments globally totaled 87.5 million units in the second quarter of 2012. That is a decline of 0.1% from the second quarter of the previous year.
"In the second quarter of 2012, the PC market suffered through its seventh consecutive quarter of flat to single-digit growth," Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, said in a written statement. "Uncertainties in the economy in various regions, as well as consumer's low interest in PC purchases, were some of the key influencers of slow PC shipment growth."
Kitagawa noted that despite analysts' and PC makers' high expectations for ultrabooks, which are thin and light laptops with long battery life, not enough were sold in the second quarter of this year to have an impact on the market. Read more...
Most tablets in use today are iPad-size. That's because most tablets in use are iPads.
This reality has led pundits to believe that iPad size is the right size for a touch tablet. But I've come to believe that in just two years, iPad-size tablets will represent a small minority of the market.
It's hard to believe now, but experts used to argue about whether there was room in the space between a phone and a laptop for any kind of consumer electronics device.
Now it has become clear that there are major markets for two sizes: An iPad size in the 10-in. diagonal range, and a smaller size in the 7-in. diagonal range.
Not only should these two form factors be considered distinct, but in many ways they should be considered opposites. The big one is portable (home, office, coffee shop) and the other is mobile (absolutely everywhere). Read more...
Samsung tablets do not infringe on a registered Apple design because "they are not as cool" and the Galaxy Tablets "do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design," a U.K. judge said in a ruling on Monday.
Samsung sought a declaration that three of its tablet computers, the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Galaxy Tab 8.9 and Galaxy Tab 7.7 do not infringe on Apple's registered design that describes the shape of the iPad. The Samsung tablets and the iPad had to be seen as members of the same family, rather then the same devices, Judge Colin Birss said in his ruling.
"Samsung products are very thin, almost insubstantial members of that family with unusual details on the back. They do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design. They are not as cool. The overall impression produced is different," and therefore Samsung tablets do not infringe on the Apple design patent, he concluded. Read more...
Some IT shops provide technical support for personal smartphones, tablets and laptops used at work, but the percentage is still relatively small, a Gartner poll found.
Of 938 businesses surveyed in nine countries, 32% said they support personal smartphones, while 37% said they support tablets, Gartner said Thursday. Laptops owned by workers got the highest level of IT technical support, at 44%.
The overall level of support for personal devices was 44% in Brazil, Russia, India and China, known as the BRIC countries, which have a larger number of young workers and growing economic power. The five non-BRIC countries surveyed, U.S., U.K., Germany, Australia and Japan, had support levels at 28%, Gartner said. Read more...
Sony's Music Unlimited service is poised to invade Apple's line of smartphones and tablets this Friday, May 25, with the release of the Music Unlimited iOS app. The app will push Sony's upstart mobile music offering to millions of new compatible devices, and offer iPhone and iPad owners another iTunes alternative. Read more...
According to Digitimes, original equipment manufacturers are having a hard time meeting price targets for tablets that will run Microsoft’s forthcoming Windows 8 RT operating system, which is coded for touch input.
This is no small matter. TNW has written on topic a host of times, fretting publicly that Windows 8 devices may be too expensive, and thus price themselves out of contention for mass market consumer dollars.
However, Digitimes has some encouraging figures, and some that sting. From its report [Edited and condensed by TNW]:
“[The tablets], based on estimated general BOM costs of US$300-350 for 10-inch tablet PCs and US$150-200 for 7-inch models, are struggling to meet vendors’ price targets [...] because of the additional US$90-100 fee for Windows 8.” Read more...
Intel's upcoming Core i-series processors based on the Ivy Bridge architecture are being pitched at Ultrabooks, but the company is now extending the chips to high-performance tablets with Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 operating system.
Intel hopes the new Ivy Bridge chips will make it to tablets, according to a slide from this week's Intel Developer Forum trade show in Beijing. The slide shows one tablet with gaming controllers attached on both sides and another tablet with a keyboard attached to it.
The tablets will provide "leading performance," Intel said on the slide. The tablets could have processors with up to four CPU cores, low-power memory, and other power-saving features to extend battery life, according to the slide. Read more...