July 2013

Tablet adoption reaches nearly 50% of U.S. broadband households
Park Associates reports that 48% of U.S. broadband households own at least one tablet. Tablet ownership increased by nearly 33% in one year, with 22% of households reporting a tablet purchase, while only 7% purchased an e-reader in 2012, down from 9% in 2011. Growth in tablets will continue as OEMs release more tablets aimed at the high and low ends of the tablet market. "Amazon has expanded the low end of the tablet market with the Kindle Fire, whereas Microsoft is making a credible push at the higher end," said Jennifer Kent, senior analyst, Parks Associates. [See Park Associates press release] -- Posted Friday, July 26, 2013 by chb

Review: Samwell Ruggedbook PC-750
The Samwell Ruggedbook PC-750 provides full Windows 7 functionality in a rugged tablet form factor. Measuring just 10.8 x 7.8 x 1.1 inches and weighing just over three pounds, the Intel Atom N2600-powered PC-750 is considerably lighter than most full-size rugged tablets. Its excellent 10.4-inch resistive touch screen with 1024 x 768 pixel XGA resolution offers enough space to run Windows comfortably. There is plenty of wired connectivity on board, all the connectors are standard size, and there is a wealth of wireless functionality, and also dual integrated cameras. [See full review of the Samwell Ruggedbook PC-750] -- Posted Tuesday, July 23, 2013 by chb

Microsoft takes $900 million write-down on Surface RT tablets
Microsoft announced its quarterly financials, making a US$5 billion profit on revenue of US$20 billion. Despite the dismal situation in PC sales and the lackluster acceptance of Windows 8, those figures are actually better than the same quarter last year (US$18.1 billion sales, US$492 million loss). But analysts had expected much better. Of note to tablet enthusiasts: Microsoft took a US$900 million write-down on unsold Surface RT tablet inventory. Ouch. US$900 million is 30 times the entire-year sales of a tablet pioneer such as Xplore Technologies, and it's more than the annual sales of a sizable company such as Intermec. While we liked the Surface RT (see here), apparently, customers didn't go for tablets that run only a limited version of Windows. Hmmm... didn't we learn that 15 years ago with Windows CE "Jupiter" devices? [See Microsoft press release] -- Posted Friday, July 19, 2013 by chb

Digitizer pioneer Wacom celebrates 30th anniversary
Wacom held its 30th anniversary celebration party on July 12, 2013 at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo in Roppongi, Tokyo, with partners from around the world, across a wide range of industries. Wacom, of course, supplied its unsurpassed active pen technology to the first wave of pen computers back in the early 1990s. Ten years later, Microsoft built the Tablet PC around Wacom digitizer technology. And today, professional (and increasingly, consumer) tablets still rely on Wacom pen technology for accurate pen functionality. And that's in addition to the various lines of innovative digital pen tablets used by artists, professionals and enthusiasts the world over. Congratulations, Wacom, on a wonderful job! [See illustrated Wacom press release]
-- Posted Tuesday, July 16, 2013 by chb

Worldwide PC shipments drop 10.9% Q2 2013
According to market research firm Gartner, worldwide PC shipments dropped to 76 million in Q2 2013, a 10.9% decrease from Q2 2012. That's the fifth consecutive quarter of declining shipments, the longest in the PC market's history. As for vendors, Lenovo eked out HP for the leas, with Dell third worldwide. In the US, HP leads Dell and Apple (whose PC shipments also declined). At this point it seems pretty clear that tablets are replacing many PC sales. -- Posted Friday, July 12, 2013 by chb

iOS inching closer to Android in smartphones
According to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, US smartphone sales have remained stable in the three months ending May 2013, compared to the same period 2012. Android marketshare stayed at 52%, while iOS rose from 38.4 to 41.9%, benefitting from Blackberry's collapse from 4.6 to 0.7%. Windows increased its share from 3.7 to 4.6%. In network share of smartphone sales, Verizon pulled farther ahead, increasing from 32.0 to 34.6%, mostly at the expense of T-Mobile, which dropped from 13.5 to 10.1%. While AT&T's OS sales share remained at 2:1 in favor if iOS, Verizon, at Verizon Android is ahead 50.5 to 43.8% over iOS. [See report] -- Posted Monday, July 8, 2013 by chb

Apple's DoCoMo predicament/DoCoMo's Apple predicament
Smartphone historians will remember that Japan's NTT DoCoMo had created a rich set of apps and an interface optimized for smartphones when the rest of the world still used WAP, and years before the iPhone and Android redefined smartphones. DoCoMo is still Japan's largest mobile provider with 60 million customers. Problem for DoCoMo is that it isn't carrying the the iPhone, which had a commanding 43% marketshare in Q4 2012. Working together would seem a win-win for DoCoMo and Apple, but DoCoMo wants its logo and proprietary apps on the iPhone, and Apple won't allow that. Stalemate. But for how long? [See Reuters press release] -- Posted Friday, July 5, 2013 by chb