Latest news

The iPad 3 Rumor Mill…What’s likely to be true?

“Warp speed please Mr. Sulu!”

Please excuse the geeky Star Trek reference, but it seems the rumor mill for the upcoming iPad 3 has reached blinding speeds. All eyes are on Cupertino as we approach the possible March/April launch of the computer megalith Apple’s (AAPL) latest version of its game changing tablet device.

Since the day after the release of the acclaimed iPad 2 in March 2011, everybody and their mother has posted speculation on what the iPad 3 will launch with. There have been talks of 3D screens, thinner forms, double the on board storage, voice recognition, etc.

While some Apple enthusiasts have hit pretty close to the mark in the past, what can we really expect in this new social driven, media sharing year to come?

Let’s look at some of the most talked about features.

Release Date

With iPad releasing on April 3, 2010 and iPad 2 on March 11, 2011, it’s a pretty safe bet that we can see the newest iPad somewhere in between that same time frame. I have heard predictions of a February 24th (the late Steve Jobs’ birthday) release, but I’ll leave that for you to decide. Although that would be very dramatic, and we know how Apple loves the creative dramatics, it doesn’t seem likely. I could possibly see a small conference at the California headquarters announcing a release date and discussing the new features, but I don’t see one in our hands on that date.

Say Cheese…

We knew it was inevitable that the iPad 2 would have a camera. What we didn’t know was if the tablet would mirror the iPhone 4 in photo taking quality. The iPad 2′s camera was to most, a little disappointing. With the iPhone 4 weighing in carrying a 5 Mp (2592 x 1944 pixels) rear facing camera and LED flash, the iPad 2′s 0.7 Mp (960 x 720 pixels) camera and no flash was left cowering in the corner chanting “I coulda been somebody”.

The burning question is will Apple integrate the camera set that is in the iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S? My best guess is they will use the iPhone 4 specs. This includes the front facing HD camera for FaceTime which may get slight upgrades. Apple has traditionally kept the tablet one step behind the iPhone in regards to its camera capabilities. This comes with good reason. The average consumer doesn’t pull a tablet out of their pocket to take a quick photo.

Is Bigger Better?

One of the most important things to a mobile developer is screen real estate. Don’t get me wrong I’ve had a chance to play with Amazon’s new Kindle Fire which boasts a 7 in. display and it was quite nice. However, while poking around the display, I had trouble clicking small links on some web pages without zooming in. On my iPad (in which I’m using to write this article) there was no problem clicking any of the links I had trouble with on the Fire.

Photo viewing is nice on both. When it comes to gaming I prefer them on the iPad’s larger 9.7 in. display. Let’s not forget the interview with Steve Jobs attempting to obliterate the idea of a 7 in. tablet ever succeeding in the consumer space.

If you ask me we will see a 9.7 in. display on the iPad 3 as well. But hey, let’s get crazy. Why not? We could see a March released 9.7 in. iPad 3 and an October released 7 in. iPad 3S. What? That’s right. You read it here first!

What’s Inside?

It seems that every iPad doubles its on board storage. Does this mean that we will have models starting at 32 gig and topping out at 128 gig? It’s very likely that the iPad 3 will have these storage numbers; especially with the growing size of photo and video files. A top-of-line iPad could give us a potential 228 gig of storage. That would be 128 gig on board and for $100 per year another 100 gig of cloud storage.

The engine in the iPad 2 was a 1 GHz dual core A5 chip that boasted up to 4x processing power and up to 9x the graphics power over its predecessor A4 chip. Much speculation points to an A6 chip that could be quad core, which would even quadruple the previous numbers. With Samsung said to be making this A6 processor we know it will be of great quality and speeds.

Battery life on the iPad hasn’t been much scrutinized. It’s the handsets that are taking a hit. We can expect pretty much the same 10-12 hours and one month of standby that we’ve grown accustomed to.

Through The Looking Glass

Retina display on the iPad is on everybody’s mind. If you own an iPhone 4/4S and an iPad you can clearly see the difference in screen resolution. Retina display has been argued that the pixel density that the human eye can decipher is 326 ppi. The iPad 2 has currently 132 ppi – vast distance between the two.

I think it would be quite difficult for Apple to match that ppi and still keep its current price point. Also, with Kindle Fire coming in at $199, Apple must stay competitive. So, we will see an improvement in screen resolution but not 326 ppi, too expensive.

Talk To Me

Siri is definitely a great addition to the iPhone 4S and you can bet it will be on iPad 3 and most likely the next generation iPod Touch. I personally can’t wait for the personal assistant on my iPad.

The time is getting closer and everybody wants to know what we can expect to see from CEO Tim Cook when it comes to Steve Jobs’ favorite innovation. Will Apple stay the current course that was charted by the genius co-founder? Or will a new direction building off a monstrously successful platform be plotted? We’ll all have to just wait and see I guess. All I can tell you for sure is… I’m getting one!

HP’s TouchPad running Ice Cream Sandwich? Mmmm, thanks CM9 (video)

Another smote at the hearts of those who failed to reach the fire sale in time: CyanogenMod 9 is bringing some ICS flavor to the TouchPad and it’s apparently not far off. The video after the break gives us a glimpse of some remarkably stable operation, especially considering how tricky it was bringing CM7 to HP’s slate. It looks like everything functions except the camera and video playback, and the team behind the port promises it’ll give us “something to play with soon.”

[Thanks, Pedro]

Continue reading HP’s TouchPad running Ice Cream Sandwich? Mmmm, thanks CM9 (video)

HP’s TouchPad running Ice Cream Sandwich? Mmmm, thanks CM9 (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 13 Jan 2012 06:10:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

ASUS UX21 and UX31 laptops gain Elan Touchpad, new colors and improved resume / standby times

Not a lot new happening in the Zenbook world here at the 2012 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show, but for those thinking of splurging on a UX21 or UX31, we’ve a pinch of good news to share. ASUS has informed us that the UX series as a whole is now shipping with the Elan Touchpad, not to mention updated drivers that improve resume and standby times. Moreover, the range is available in Rose Gold and Hot Pink, neither of which should be possible to resist. In fact, let us know which hue’s tickling your fancy in comments below.

ASUS UX21 and UX31 laptops gain Elan Touchpad, new colors and improved resume / standby times originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 09 Jan 2012 12:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Tech’s biggest misfires of 2011

The past 12 months have been a boon of technological innovation, particularly in the world of mobile devices, where top companies have been waging an arms race for the top of the smartphone and tablet hills. Not everything has been smooth sailing, however — 2011 has also been dotted by delays, false starts, security breeches and straight up technological turf outs. Check out some of the lowlights from the year that was after the break.

Continue reading Tech’s biggest misfires of 2011

Tech’s biggest misfires of 2011 originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 29 Dec 2011 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

HP TouchPad Go gets reviewed, but remains already long gone (video)

While we already rode the white unicorns of HP’s now disintegrated webOS series, there was one little filly we didn’t get to saddle up. A developmental model of the seven-inch TouchPad Go has now made it into the hands of webOSnation and has been given a thorough going over. The major differences from its bigger brother? A rear-facing 5 megapixel camera and a smudge buffering matte finish on the back are the main signifiers. Aside from those (and an experimental build of the next firmware update), it’s a tiny TouchPad. The Go matches the resolution of the original, also packing the same processor innards of the defunct white TouchPad. Those unwilling to accept the future of webOS can still absorb the full critique of what could have been in a video review after the break.

Continue reading HP TouchPad Go gets reviewed, but remains already long gone (video)

HP TouchPad Go gets reviewed, but remains already long gone (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 28 Dec 2011 12:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

HP TouchPad returns in TigerDirect bundle, if only for a moment

“We’ve got TouchPads!” That’s the slogan, but even TigerDirect admits that it’s expecting its latest batch of TouchPad slates to evaporate in a matter of minutes. Strangely enough, we’ve seen the zombie-like webOS tablet on sale in a variety of locations during the past few months, and if you’re quick, you’ll be able to buy yet another from yet another vendor at 2:30PM ET today. The company’s not saying how many are in stock, but we’re told to expect the entire batch to be claimed “by 2:32PM ET.” The deal? $249.99 nets you a 32GB TouchPad, a 10.1-inch Belkin tablet case and Creative Labs’ D80 Bluetooth speakers, while a $299.99 bundle replaces the speaker with a Photosmart printer. Oh, and don’t even bother trying to order over the phone — this one’s online only, and it’s one bundle per customer. We’re telling you now so you’ve got time to memorize your credit card number. Feel free to talk about nerves, shaking limbs and tales of luck in comments below.

[Thanks, Andrew]

HP TouchPad returns in TigerDirect bundle, if only for a moment originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 15 Dec 2011 14:13:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Refresh Roundup: week of December 5, 2011

Your smartphone and / or tablet is just begging to get updated. From time to time, these mobile devices are blessed with maintenance refreshes, bug fixes, custom ROMs and anything in between, and so many of them are floating around that it’s easy for a sizable chunk to get lost in the mix. To make sure they don’t escape without notice, we’ve gathered every possible update, hack, and other miscellaneous tomfoolery from the last week and crammed them into one convenient roundup. If you find something available for your device, please give us a shout at tips at engadget dawt com and let us know. Enjoy!

Continue reading Refresh Roundup: week of December 5, 2011

Refresh Roundup: week of December 5, 2011 originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 11 Dec 2011 08:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Researcher brings modified Touchpad into the MRI room, breakthrough ensues

Yes, the Touchpad is officially dead, but that hasn’t stopped Stanford researcher Andrew B. Holbrook from using HP’s tablet in a somewhat unexpected setting: the MRI lab. Holbrook, it turns out, has been developing a new, webOS-based system that could make it a lot easier for doctors to conduct interventional MRI procedures. Unlike its diagnostic counterpart, this brand of MRI can only operate within highly magnetic fields, thereby posing a threat to many electronic devices. Holbrook, however, may have found a way around this barrier, thanks to a modified Touchpad. With the help of HP engineers, the researcher stripped his tablet of metallic components, including its speakers and vibration motor, resulting in what the manufacturer calls a “minimally metallic device that could be used almost anywhere within the magnet room.” With his Touchpad primed and loaded with apps for data manipulation, Holbrook went on to successfully integrate the device within an MRI system. He also developed a series of apps that allow technicians to monitor and manipulate an MRI procedure on their devices, regardless of whether they’re in the magnet room itself, or outside. Holbrook says he’s already started applying the same approach to webOS phones, in the hopes of providing doctors and researchers with an even more compact way to keep track of their patients. For more details on the system and future developments, check out the source link below.

[Thanks, Mina]

Researcher brings modified Touchpad into the MRI room, breakthrough ensues originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 08 Dec 2011 23:55:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Samsung Confirms Galaxy Note US Availability, Announces 1 Million Units Shipped

The Samsung Galaxy Read more …

Related posts:

  1. Samsung Announces Galaxy Note, Turns Out to be a Giant Phone With a Stylus
  2. Samsung Galaxy Note Reviewed — Is the Ink Worth the Size?

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 Price Settling in Around $650, Room to Drop?

The Samsung Galaxy Read more …

Related posts:

  1. Samsung Galaxy Note and Galaxy Tab 7.7 to be Available for US Purchase from Expansys
  2. Samsung Galaxy Nexus Officially for Sale in the US, Finally!

Samsung Galaxy Nexus Officially for Sale in the US, Finally!

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus Read more …

Related posts:

  1. Galaxy Nexus Now in Product Database, CPU Details Revealed — UK Availability on the 17th?
  2. Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 Plus Reviewed, Now on Sale Starting at $399

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 Comes out of Hiding in New Video

The Read more …

Related posts:

  1. Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 Features Impressive Super AMOLED Screen and 1.4GHz Dual-Core CPU – First Hands-on Video
  2. Samsung Galaxy 8.9 Hands-on Video Appears

The State of Android Tablets (2011): A Survey of Thoughts From Carrypad Staff

At the beginning of the year, if you would have told me that, by the summer, there would be a Read more …

Related posts:

  1. Acer has 4.8”, 7” and 10” Android Tablets planned for April 2011
  2. AT&T Promises All Android Phones Released in 2011 to get Android 2.3 Gingerbread, Atrix Update Available Starting Today

Amazon Kindle Fire: Owner’s Impressions and 13 Apps for Getting Things Done

I have only had my Amazon Kindle Fire for about four days. I have admittedly spent a lot of that time i Read more …

Related posts:

  1. Amazon Announces Kindle Fire Tablet and New Kindle E-Readers
  2. The Amazon Tablet — An Ecosystem Move

More Asus Transformer Prime Videos and Details

The Read more …

Related posts:

  1. Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime Hands-on First Look
  2. Transformer Prime Official Page Leaks Early. Manual, Details, Source Code Revealed

DisplayMate Pits iPad 2 Display Against Kindle Fire, B&N Nook Tablet

DisplayMate IPS Tablet Display Technology Shoot-OutWhere tablets are concerned, it’s all about the display, the primary part of the technology we interact with. The new kids on the block are Amazon’s Kindle Fire and its direct competitor, the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet, which feature smaller seven-inch screens at a more wallet-friendly price. But are they a match for Apple’s market leading iPad 2?

That’s what Dr. Raymond M. Soneira at DisplayMate Technologies Corporation wanted to find out for his latest IPS Tablet Display Technology Shoot-Out, dropping the inexpensive Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet into a cage match with the iPad 2 to see which display comes out on top.

Surprisingly, the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet landed in first place, with Dr. Soneira rating it highest in both lab measurements as well as viewing tests. While he touts the iPad 2 as having a “great display,” the reality is that the tablet is “starting to show its age” as newer, cheaper and smaller displays begin to swoop in and outperform the market leader — a gap that’s sure to narrow within months as Apple introduces the iPad 3.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire came in dead last for what DisplayMate calls “serious flaws” with a very high screen reflectance — despite Amazon’s insistence that the device features an “anti-reflective screen.” Dr. Soneira also called out the Kindle Fire for a major flaw in the Gallery photo viewer which washes out images, while noting that such issues will likely be addressed in a promised software update coming soon.

DisplayMate cautions that there is “no absolute winner” with this latest Display Shoot-Out, with all three tablets exhibiting flaws in many categories. Dr. Soneira also blames manufacturers rushing to meet the holiday season as part of the problem, with both the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet shipping before Thanksgiving, then allowing Amazon and Barnes & Noble time to provide “patches, tweaks and enhancements later.”

While it may be too late to use DisplayMate’s latest shoot-out as a buying guide for this holiday season, the full report is a worthwhile read for anyone in the market for a tablet, especially Dr. Soneira’s companion piece on the Next Generation of Tablet Displays which may provide a few hints as to what we’ll see next year.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter


Tuesday Recap: iTether Drama, iOS 5.1 Discoveries, Safari 5.1.2, Beatles Book App

iTether Mac appEveryone survive Cyber Monday? It looks like retailers sure have a lot to be happy about, and hopefully you’ll be able to do the same as those boxes of goodies start arriving later in the week. Now that you’ve blown your holiday budget and have no more money to spend, why not catch up on what’s going on around the rest of the internet? You know, the free stuff you might have overlooked? Here’s the latest for Tuesday, November 29, 2011.

iTether Arrives In App Store, Promptly Given the Boot

Ah, the strange and wonderful App Store drama once again rears its ugly head. Late Monday night, an app called iTether arrived for the iPhone, offering USB-based internet tethering for the one-time fee of $14.99. According to MacRumors, the developers worked closely with Apple to get it approved — but that wasn’t enough to prevent the app from being pulled around noon EST today, with Cupertino claiming “the app itself burdens the carrier network” and giving the developer “no way to remedy the situation.” The only good news to come out of this mess is that the app will continue to work for those lucky enough to download it — the rest of us will have to be content with our carrier’s official offering until the next time somebody’s lucky enough to slip one past the goalie (so to speak).

iOS 5.1 Beta References Sprint iPad 2, New Apple TV, iPhone 5

Apple started seeding the first iOS 5.1 beta to developers on Monday night, and in keeping with tradition, some new discoveries have been made from the software, as noted by 9to5Mac. Among the new products seemingly “outed” by the iOS 5.1 firmware are the still-gestating iPhone 5 (referenced as “iPhone5,1” in code strings), an iPad 2 with Sprint 3G data on board (referenced as “iPad2,4”) and most intriguing, a new Apple TV with the codename “J33,” which appears likely to come packing an A5 dual-core processor with 1080p video playback capability. We like the sound of all that!

Apple Releases Safari 5.1.2

Quick! To the Software Update cave! As noted by MacRumors, Safari 5.1.2 is out of beta and available to the masses, bringing a laundry list of bug fixes and performance enhancements. PDF files can now be displayed within web content, and Apple has addressed issues “that could cause webpages to flash white” as well as occasions where Safari would “cause hangs and excessive memory usage.” If you’re a Safari user, it probably all sounds good, so get downloading while the gettin’s good.

Rolling Stone Beatles App Coming Thursday

Publisher Wenner Media has some good news for iPad fans, with plans to introduce tablet versions of both Rolling Stone and US Weekly by “early 2012,” according to 9to5Mac. In the meantime, fans of The Beatles can tide themselves over with a new iPad book app entitled The Beatles: The Ultimate Album-by-Album Guide, which will arrive in the App Store on Thursday, December 1. The 122 page book includes more than 60 photos along with interviews and 30-second previews of each song. You’ll want to set aside $9.99 to buy your copy and Android fans will have to sit this launch out for the time being. Sorry, dudes…

Report: Kindle Fire Outsells iPad at Best Buy?

We’re fans of Amazon’s new Kindle Fire tablet, especially for the wallet-friendly $199 price. According to TechCrunch, we may not be alone — the website is reporting that retailer Best Buy has sold more Kindle Fires than the base model 16GB iPad. The news comes on the heels of Amazon’s chest-thumping on Monday about the Kindle Fire being the single best-selling item on their website over Black Friday. Does this spell gloom and doom for Cupertino’s wide lead in the tablet market? Not necessarily, but we’ll be watching this battle quite closely — especially with an iPad 3 likely right around the corner in early 2012.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter


Tuesday Recap: iPhone Camera News, LogMeIn Update, New iPad 2 Commercial

iPhone Lens DialStruggling to get through the day so you can do it all over again tomorrow, then indulge in some form of turkey product on Thursday? We feel your pain, and if you’re sick of sifting through all the early Black Friday promotions in search of some real news, then look no further — here’s the bits and pieces that are shaking loose from the newswire for this Tuesday, November 22, 2011.

Apple Airs New iPad 2 Commercial, “Love”

“We all have things that speak to us,” actor Peter Coyote states in the narration for Apple’s latest iPad 2 commercial, entitled “Love.” While cleverly avoiding the name of the actual product, Coyote closes with “Getting lost in the things we love has never felt quite like this.” Every time we see those noisy, overwrought commercials for Android-based products, we’re reminded of the simplicity and grace of Apple’s own advertising, and this is certainly one of those times. Head over to Apple’s website and have a look for yourself!

LogMeIn Introduces Dropbox, Google Docs Integration

As much as we love remote access apps, it’s often cumbersome to move files around with them. That may soon be a thing of the past now that LogMeIn Ignition has updated their universal app for iOS, blending “the best of cloud services and remote access into a single app.” The $29.99 app now features Dropbox and Google Docs integration so users can “quickly and seamlessly view, copy, transfer and save files between their mobile devices, personal and work computers and popular cloud services.” Dubbed “My Cloud Bank,” the feature is available in the new version 2.2.380, a 13.2MB download from the App Store and, as always, a free update for existing users.

iPhone 4S Already Second Most Popular on Flickr

Much has been written about how the iPhone 4 shot up the charts to become Flickr’s most popular camera phone — and now its followup is poised to soon do the same. According to MacRumors, the iPhone 4S is already perched in second place, beating back the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS and HTC EVO 4G. Anyone sensing a pattern here? Do Android device owners just not take a lot of pictures, or are they posted them somewhere else? Whatever the case may be, the iPhone 4S is likely to only continue its climb up the charts, where it will have to grapple with the iPhone 4.

NPD Reveals Just How Small the Non-iPad Tablet Market Is

In the market for an iPad? Apparently, you’re not alone, judging from new data released today from the NPD Group which shows a mere 1.2 million tablets sold this year that didn’t bear Apple’s logo. That’s still a respectable $415 million in revenue, with HP’s TouchPad temporarily taking the top spot with 17 percent of the market — a number poised to plummet now that the manufacturer has killed plans to make further webOS devices. That leaves Samsung (16 percent), ASUS (10 percent), Motorola and Acer (nine percent, respectively) to slug it out for the remaining spots in the top five. Once you factor in accessories, the revenue swells to nearly $700 million, but Apple definitely doesn’t have much to worry about for the time being — these numbers don’t include the newly unleashed Nook Tablet from Barnes and Noble, nor Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

iPhone Lens Dial Offers Fisheye, Telephoto and Wide-Angle

Have an iPhone 4 or 4S and a spare $250 laying around to drop on some new camera lenses? If so, Photojojo has just the thing for you. According to Engadget, the company is now shipping the iPhone Lens Dial, a bulky case which adds a ring with three different lenses for the stock camera — that would be fisheye, telephoto and wide-angle. Of course, to really use that extra glass you’ll probably need a tripod, but thankfully the case includes both portrait and horizontal mounts for that in its 10-ounce framework. It’s tempting, but who wants to be seen in public with one of these suckers attached to their iPhone?

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter


Amazon’s Rumored Smartphone Will Bring Serious Competition for Apple



Just imagine it handheld-sized. 

Citigroup’s research department is whispering hearsay that Amazon’s got its own ideas for a smartphone next year. The “KindlePhone,” as it’s referred to in the article from All Things D, is allegedly slated for launch in late 2012. It’s a fantastic idea for technophiles who have already adopted the Kindle Fire and are eager to step further into the Amazon ecosystem. And it’s an amazing opportunity for Amazon to beat Apple at its own game.

Amazon’s ecosystem is one that’s as powerful than Apple’s. Dare I say, it could be even more so if Amazon were to officially team up with Google and give them a key to the ecosystem, in exchange for Google’s web app enterprise. The trick is that you’re already a part of it as long as you’ve used Amazon to purchase something in the past. It greatly changed its game when it officially entered the Kindle Fire into the ring.  

Amazon’s tablet definitely had its appeal before it officially hit the market and arrived on people’s doorsteps. And while some reviews may look unfavorably upon the technological shortcomings of the device it’s still a game changer in many ways. It’s an Android tablet that locks you into an ecosystem you’ve long been a part of and have already been spending your money with, anyway. It’s an accessible, affordable, interactive alternative to simply perusing through the site through a browser window. And now you can give Amazon even more cash by signing up for a Prime account, which subsequently gets you speedy shipping on the hoards of products you purchase from the site and access to thousands of online videos. Oh, and let’s not forget one of iTunes’ biggest competitors: the Amazon music store and cloud storage. Amazon’s even got its own Android market place with daily free sponsored apps. Wait, what is Apple again?

So while iTunes is still getting its bearings on playing nice with all platforms — Apple has taken the most important step by ditching MobileMe for iCloud, which works with PCs — Amazon could really be planning the most powerful offense of all by entering the smartphone market. At least one thing’s for sure: 2012 is going to be a hell of a year for smartphones. 


Can Any Tablet Top the iPad?

We take an almost unbiased look at why every iPad competitor is a complete joke.

How often have you seen someone using an iPad competitor? If your experience is anything like ours, probably not very often. That’s because a non-iPad tablet is something of a unicorn in the wild, except it’s far less magical. We decided to take a look at what went wrong for these iPad challengers and determine whether they have a shot in the future.

Motorola Xoom

The Motorola Xoom wasn’t merely playing catch-up—it was supposed to be better than the iPad.

When the Xoom broke onto the scene, Motorola elected to position it as the hardcore alternative to the iPad. It had all the makings of a serious competitor, too: a controversial Super Bowl commercial, 4G capability, MicroSD, and, of course, Flash. There was only one problem—when it launched, it didn’t support Flash or MicroSD, and as of press time, there’s still no ability to upgrade to 4G. Those hardcore early adopters will have been left waiting for over six months. And did we mention the 3G version retailed for $800?

But how’d it sell? In its first three months, Motorola moved 440,000 Xoom units. Certainly not a number to scoff at — unless, of course, you’re comparing it to Apple’s 9.3 million iPad shipments during the same quarter.

BlackBerry PlayBook

The BlackBerry PlayBook proved specs aren’t everything.

The BlackBerry PlayBook was unique in that it didn’t attempt to be a carbon copy of the iPad. In fact, it’s one of the only major tablets on the market with a substantially smaller form factor that still managed to pack some awesome specs. It launched with 16-64GB of flash memory and 1GB of RAM. Unfortunately, it was plagued with a huge problem — incomplete software. In what can only be described as a huge disappointment, the PlayBook launched without native email or a calendar. As of mid-September, RIM still had yet to update the system software. Surprisingly, the PlayBook has actually sold fairly well. First-day sales were approximately 50,000, and first-quarter results came in at about 500,000 total. But can it keep up the momentum? All signs point toward “no” — RIM revised its second-quarter results from a predicted 1 million to 800,000.

HP TouchPad

A carbon copy of an outdated iPad is hardly the revolutionary product some were hoping for.

The TouchPad was perhaps the most dead-on-arrival “competition” the iPad ever had. Fans everywhere lauded the first webOS-equipped tablet, but the hardware was so weak that, by the time the TouchPad launched on July 1, it was already completely outdated. It was squashed by disappointed critics (no front-facing camera, similar dimensions and specs as the iPad 1) and sold embarrassingly few units. Eventually, HP saw the error in its ways and overcorrected in colossal fashion. It cut the entire division (along with a few others), and began a fire sale of $99 TouchPads. But hey, at least people wanted them then…

Kindle Fire

The Kindle Fire, announced on September 28th could be the tablet iPad-holdouts have been waiting for. It’s cheap — both in function and price, but it’s not made to contend with the iPad as a high-end device — and that might just be why it will. For $200, the pricetag is sure to lure in Mr. & Mrs. Dontknowtech. Whether or not it has any staying power, cracks when you breath on it, or emits flames every quarter hour is yet to be seen. But we like what we see, and competition is a good thing, even if the Fire isn’t set to burn through Apple’s marketshare. 


iPad 2

The iPad 2 is more than the front runner in the tablet industry — it’s really the only worthwhile tablet.

We all know the story of the iPad 2. Apple once again proved that there’s no “i” in “tablet” but there is in “win.” The thinner, lighter iPad came packing an Apple A5 processor and the cameras we all hoped for. Unfortunately, those cameras were also part of the iPad 2’s greatest flaw—they were the same quality as the iPod touch’s, making them ultimately useless for anything besides FaceTime. In the end, no amount of criticism or competitors could stop Apple’s second-gen tablet from selling like hotcakes. Online buyers in 26 countries had a wait time of three to four weeks to get their hands on the best tablet on the market.