March 2011

Acer CEO gone
Just four months after Acer CEO Gianfranco Lanci declared the iPad too closely focused on the US market and thus destined to fade away while Acer would grab the rest of the world and rule the tablet market, the optimistic exec is gone. That's because Acer has so far failed to get traction in tablets while tablets demolish Acer's traditional low-cost notebook and netbook markets. [See Reuters article] -- Posted Thursday, March 31, 2011 by chb

Media Tablets 2011 table: updated
It took a year for the industry to come up with serious competitors to Apple's iPad, but now customers increasingly have vendor/platform/features options when it comes to selecting media tablets. We've compiled a spec table of the major media tablets, 22 in all, and will keep adding to the list, so check back frequently. [View updated 2011 Media Tablet Spec Table] -- Posted Wednesday, March 30, 2011 by chb

Synaptics ClearPad in Huawei IDEOS S7 media tablet
With media tablets coming on so strong, the battle among touch technology providers is heating up, too! Synaptics, which has been providing human interface solutions for 25 years, announced that Huawei has selected its ClearPad 7010 single-chip solution (see product PDF) for the Android 2.2-based IDEOS S7 Slim tablet. -- Posted Tuesday, March 29, 2011 by chb

Asus releases Eee Pad Transformer in Taiwan
Asus has launched the 10-inch 1280 x 800 Tegra 2-powered Android 3.0 Eee Pad Transformer tablet in Taiwan. The "Transformer" part of the name refers to an optional keyboard dock that also serves as an extension battery. Announced models come with 16 or 32GB, 3G versions may become available later, and pricing in Taiwan is at the US$575 level for the 32GB version; the keyboard will add about US$125. Problem is that this is not a very novel concept and there isn't much transforming going on, indicating the difficulty of generic Android tablet vendors to differentiate their products. -- Posted Sunday, March 27, 2011 by chb

Motion webinar: Motion J3500 Rugged Tablet PC Overview
Motion Computing will hold a free webinar entitled "The Motion J3500 Rugged Tablet PC Overview" on Tuesday, March 29 at 1:00pm CDT. Those who attend the webinar will not only learn all the details on the Intel Core i7/i5 powered J3500, but they can also receive $500 off the purchase of a new Motion J3500 tablet. [Click here to register] -- Posted Friday, March 25, 2011 by chb

DAP launches next-gen Atom-based rugged dual-OS tablet
DAP Technologies added the M9000 line to its growing lineup of rugged handhelds, vehicle-mounts and tablets. The M9010 tablet is a significant tech update to the M8910, using an Intel E660T Atom processor to run either Windows CE 6.0 or Windows Embedded Standard 7. There's a bright 7-inch touch-display, support for the emerging ZigBee wireless standard, CAN bus, expandable I/O, and enough battery power for full shift operation. [See description and specs of the DAP M9010] -- Posted Tuesday, March 22, 2011 by chb

LXE introduces rugged Thor vehicle-mount computer
The LXE Thor is a compact Intel Atom-powered vehicle-mount computer with an 8-inch touch display as well as a QWERTY keyboard and function keys. Depending on the intended application, the Thor can be operated with either Windows Embedded Standard or with Windows CE 6.0. The devices carries IP66 sealing, a very wide operating temperature range, and strategic parts are field-replaceable. The Thor offers extensive communications capabilities, including optional Gobi 2000. [See description and specs of the LXE Thor vehicle-mount computer] -- Posted Tuesday, March 22, 2011 by chb

Eurotech releases lighter, more powerful wearable
Eurotech has released the WL1500 wearable computer as a lighter, more versatile and more powerful follow-up to their original WL1100. The new model runs Windows CE 6.0 on a Marvell PXA320 processor, has a numeric keypad, an optional integrated 1D/2D barcode scanner, and extensive communications capabilities. The QVGA display measures 3.5 inches diagonally, and the device has a microSD port as well as USB host/client ports. [See description and specs of the Eurotech Zypad WL1500] -- Posted Monday, March 21, 2011 by chb

AT&T to buy T-Mobile USA
AT&T announced it intends to purchase T-Mobile USA from its parent, Deutsche Telekom. If the deal is approved, it would add T-Mobile's roughly 34 million subscribers to AT&T's current 95 million, boosting AT&T past Verizon. If approved, the deal would wipe out whatever little choice US-based GSM customers have had in the past. We wouldn't shed tears over T-Mobile (they sent our T-Mobile account to collection three years after we properly closed it to switch to iPhones without ever once contacting us), but being at the sole mercy of what is the lowest-rated wireless company in the US is not a pleasant prospect. -- Posted Monday, March 21, 2011 by chb

ThinkPad convertible gets yet another upgrade
You gotta hand it to Lenovo: they are doing their darndest to make the most of the IBM PC business they took over a few years ago. Their latest ThinkPads look every bit as impressive as they did under Big Blue, and they are keeping things up-to-date. The ThinkPad X220 tablet is a follow-up on the X200/X201, but with new "Sandy Bridge" processors, a wider display (1366 x 768 pixel), dual input (multi-touch and active pen), and very impressive battery life. [See description and specs of the Lenovo ThinkPad X220] -- Posted Monday, March 21, 2011 by chb

Full review: Panasonic U1 Ultra rugged UMPC
The latest version of the Panasonic Toughbook U1, the U1 Ultra, is a very small and compact Intel Atom-powered Windows 7 computer with a 5.6-inch 1024 x 600 pixel touch screen. It's an ergonomic, fanless design that's easy to use, easy to hold, and easy to carry with a weight of just 2.5 pounds as tested, and hot-swappable dual batteries that combine for up to nine hours of uninterrupted operation. Because it is so unique, the Toughbook U1 requires a bit of learning, adapting, and some sacrifices. If that's not an issue, the IP65-sealed Toughbook U1 provides full Windows 7 computing power in places where handhelds will not do and notebooks just can't go. [See full review of the Panasonic Toughbook U1 Ultra] -- Posted Friday, March 18, 2011 by chb

Fujitsu's Tablet PC History
Fujitsu created a most informative history of their involvement in tablet computers. It shows all of the company's the tablet PC innovations and advancements (see here), and then presents individual pages for about three dozen Fujitsu tablet and notebook convertible computers going all the way back to the Poqet PC in 1989. [See Fujitsu Tablet PC History -- Posted Thursday, March 17, 2011 by chb

Motorola matches iPad 2 price with WiFi Xoom
Stung by criticism over its high pricing for the Xoom tablet, Motorola announced the upcoming availability of a 32GB XOOM Wi-Fi edition for US$599, the same as Apple charges for the 32GB iPad 2. It will be available in the US starting March 27 from Amazon, Best Buy, Costco, RadioShack, Sam's Club, Staples and Walmart through both online and retail store channels. -- Posted Wednesday, March 16, 2011 by chb

Intermec acquires Enterprise Mobile
Intermec announced the acquisition of Massacusetts-based Enterprise Mobile, a provider of lifecycle services for mobile devices (iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Embedded/Phone) including device deployment, training, help desk, replacement and repair, refresh and recycling/end-of-life. Intermec expects the acquisition of Enterprise Mobile (which had partnered with both Intermec and Motorola) to help it become the leading provider of rugged mobile business solutions by extending its hardware, software and lifecycle services for enterprise mobile applications including the ability to extend these services to the non-rugged market. [See Intermec press release] -- Posted Wednesday, March 16, 2011 by chb

DisplaySearch on touch screen shipments 2011 and 2012
According to the DisplaySearch Q111 Touch Panel Market Analysis update, touch screen shipments for tablet PCs are forecast to reach 60 milliom units in 2011. Apple will likely continue to account for the majority of tablet PC touch screens in 2011 and 2012, yet other brands could catch up in 2012 and beyond. DisplaySearch forecasts total touch panels for tablet PCs to reach 260M units in 2016, up 333% from 2011.
-- Posted Tuesday, March 15, 2011 by chb

iPad 2 vs Moto Xoom contemplations
Marc Weber Tobias wrote an excellent, detailed article on tablets, and especially the iPad 2 and the Motorola Xoom, in his "The Travelgeek" blog on the Forbes website. While discussing general issues, technologies, background and impressions, the author's stated goal is to make a case for which tablet represents a better business tool. [See Marc Weber Tobias' Apple iPad 2 vs. Motorola Xoom] -- Posted Tuesday, March 15, 2011 by chb

Getac releases rugged smartphone
Getac announced up a handy, GPS-enabled device that splits the difference between a smartphone and a rugged handheld computer. The new MH132, powered by Windows Mobile 6.5 and a Qualcomm MSM7227 chipset, has a 3.2-inch HVGA touch screen, A-GPS, a 3-megapixel camera, WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, 3.5G mobile broadband, IP65 sealing, a wide operating temperature range, and a 5-foot drop spec. Initially sold in European markets, the MH132 starts at US$999 (€800, £699). [See full review and specs of the Getac MH132] -- Posted Monday, March 14, 2011 by chb

IDC: almost 18 million tablets shipped in 2010
According to market research firm IDC, 18 million media tablets (which IDC defines as "devices with color displays larger than 5 in. and smaller than 14 in. running lightweight operating systems) were shipped in 2010, with Apple having an overwhelming market share. Samsung's Galaxy Tab was the primary competitor in the holiday season, beating other players to market and capturing more than 17% share, while a number of smaller regional players also participated. IDC expects Apple to maintain a 70-80% share of the market, and described the Motorola Xoom as "a worthy competitor in function, although the relatively high price is expected to be a barrier to gaining significant share." [see IDC release] -- Posted Friday, March 11, 2011 by chb

iPad 2 causing competition to postpone launches
According to DigiTimes, Apple's announcement of the iPad 2 is causing several notebook brand vendors to postpone their own tablet models as the iPad 2's low US$499 price is hard to meet or beat, and higher cost models could not compete. Digitimes' sources pointed out that tablet PCs will need to be priced below US$399 to have chance to enter the tablet PC battlefield, and none of the current Wintel or ARM/Android platform are capable of achieving such a price level. -- Posted Tuesday, March 8, 2011 by chb

Full review: Fujitsu Lifebook T580
Fujitsu has a long history of providing innovative convertible Tablet PCs in various sizes. With the Lifebook T580, the company offers a netbook-sized, but far more powerful and versatile, solution for road warriors, students, and anyone who wants a handy notebook that can double as a tablet. The 1366 x 768 pixel 10.1-inch wide-format display supports both touch and a pressure-sensitive pen, performance is very good, and the price reasonable. [Read full review of the Fujitsu Lifebook T580] -- Posted Monday, March 7, 2011 by chb

Apple's iPad 2 -- Upping the ante
Here's a more detailed explanation of theApple iPad 2 and our assessment of it: iPad 2 -- Upping the ante -- Posted Thursday, March 3, 2011 by chb

iPad 2 available March 11, 2011
Steve Jobs announced the iPad 2 on March 2. The new model looks almost exactly the same, but is considerably thinner (0.35 vs 0.5 inches) and weighs less (1.3 lbs. vs 1.5 lbs.). It will be powered by a 1GHz dual core Apple A5 processor that, according to Jobs, is twice as fast and offers 9x graphics performance. There are now two cameras (VGA in the front, 720p in the rear), a gyroscope for additional functionality, the 25 watt-hour (unchanged) battery will last the same ten hours, there's HDMI-out via a cable, and the iPad 2 comes in black or white, and in AT&T and Verizon versions. No word on cost of data plans, no obvious changes in the display, and no dual speakers. Pricing remains exactly the same as for the original iPad: US$499 (16GB), US$599 (32GB), US$699 (64GB) for the WiFi-ony versions, and US$130 more for 3G versions. Apple also announced iMovie, and GarageBand for iPad (US$4.95 each). [See iPad 2 specs and see how the iPad 2 compares to the competition.]

-- Posted Wednesday, March 2, 2011 by chb

Microsoft releases Windows Embedded Compact 7
A couple of weeks ahead of the originally announced release date, on March 1, 2011, Microsoft announced the general availability of Windows Embedded Compact 7, the next generation of Microsoft's Windows Embedded CE platform. EC7 includes a special version of Microsoft Silverlight; the ability to customize the interface; multi-touch support; easier transfer of media and content between devices; symmetrical multi-processing; and updated mobile Office applications. See a history of Windows CE, a video of the people behind EC7, and the official Windows Embedded Compact 7 page. -- Posted Wednesday, March 2, 2011 by chb

N-trig expands work with ISVs
N-trig, which makes the DuoSense pen and projected capacitive multi-touch solution enabled over a single digitizer, announced they are expanding their partnerships with ISVs to support the development and increase of pen-enabled applications for the rapidly growing slate market. N-trig also said that DuoSense will be integrated in a number of Android- and Windows-based slates due to be launched in 2011. [See N-trig release] -- Posted Tuesday, March 1, 2011 by chb

Detailed review: Dell Inspiron Duo
With the Inspiron Duo, Dell seeks to extend the netbook concept with tablet functionality. For a netbook, the dual core Intel Atom N550 powered Duo sports impressive specs (1366 x 768 resolution, Broadcomm Crystal Media HD accelerator, up to 320GB disk), but there are some puzzling omissions (no onboard video-out, no onboard card slots, weak battery). As a tablet, despite the inclusion of the touch-friendly Dell Stage interface/suite, Windows 7 simply doesn't work well here, so the big question is: Who is the Duo for? Read Dan Rasmus' detailed review of the Dell Inspiron Duo. -- Posted Tuesday, March 1, 2011 by chb