Mobile Devices

Apple Causes Fray with Second iPad

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Surprising exactly no one Apple unveils its second iPad, with CEO Steve Jobs halting his current leave of absence (due to health reasons) to take to the stage for the announcement.

ipad2The improvements on the original come as expected-- thinner, lighter, 1 GHz dual-core A5 chip, HDMI connectivity (through separate dongle, of course), x2 cameras and a choice of colours (black or... white).

One can easily say Apple hasn't done enough with the new tablet; the screen's resolution and IPS LCD technology remain the same (whereas Motorola's Gingerbread-powered Xoom has a higher-resolution screen), it lacks an SD card slot, the company's infamous 30-pin connectors continue handling connections and maximum storage size remains 64GB.

The new iPad's true winners? Its Taiwanese manufacturers, including sole assemblers Hon Hai, glass-based touchscreen module manufacturers TPK and Wintek and camera manufacturer Largan.

Some might describe Apple's competition as the losers, especially if taking Jobs' describing the likes of Samsung and RIM as "flumoxed" and "copycats" at face value. Others would differ, but reports already emerge of Samsung being in a bit of a panic-- Samsung's mobile division executive VP Lee Don-joo tells Korea's Yonhap News his company "...will have to improve the parts that are inadequate..." in reference to the soon released Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Meanwhile the iPad2 will hit (Apple) stores on March 11, with all the news stories on store queues that will entail.

Go Apple iPad

Go iPad 2: Winners and Losers (Financial Times)

Go Samsung Sees iPad 2's Thinness, Price as Challenges

Flying HTC Announces Tablet

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HTC FlyerThe HTC Flyer is the next in a whole series of Android tablets at Mobile World Congress 2011-- one with a 7" touchscreen and HTC Sense technology.

Under the hood is a 1.5GHz processor and 32GB worth of storage space (expandable via microSD). It carries the standard 2 cameras (1.3MP front and 5MP back), a number of sensors (ambient light, g-sensor and compass), micro-USB port and HSPA+ connectivity.

The Flyer does have 2 tricks up its sleeve-- a pen stylus with "Scribe" technology allowing for handwriting recognition, SRS surround sound and OnLive integration (the cloud-based gaming service whose company HTC purchased recently).

It should be available sometime "early 2011".

Go HTC Flyer

Galaxy Tab Goes 10.1

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Samsung shows off its Galaxy Tab follower at Barcelona's World Mobile Congress, named after its 10.1" (1280 x 800 resolution) sized screen-- one of a slew of Android 3.0 tablets to hit the market.

Galaxy Tab 10.1A 1GHz dual-core Tegra 2 processor powers the Tab 10.1, and it comes with either 16GB or 32GB memory. It also carries the usual extras-- x2 cameras (one back-facing, the other front-facing), USB/bluetooth/wifi/HSPA connectivity, gyroscope, accelerometer and digital compass.

Dual speakers also provide surround sound, alongside a standard 3.5mm audio jack.

Construction is now plastic, not metal, making the device lighter (and weighing a total of 599 grams).

The device should be available in March, with no pricing details out yet.

Go Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Echoes Through Dual-Screens

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Kyocera EchoKyocera unveils a first-- the Echo, a dual-touchscreen Android smartphone.

The set carries x2 3.5" touchscreens (each with 480 x 800 resolution), which one can open into a 4.7" 960 x 800 surface. The screen can either close for use as a regular touchscreen handset, unfold into a flat tablet-style surface or prop up into a laptop-like configuration.

Connecting the screens is what Kyocera describes as a sliding liquid-metal hinge.

Powering the device are a 1GHz Snapdragon processor running Android 2.2-- customised to handle dual-screen support for 7 core apps (for example, the email app can show mails one screen, and a keyboard on the other). Kyocera also says the phone can run optimised apps simultaneously, with each app on a different screen-- or at least appear to do, as it switches apps in and out of hibernation.

Finally the set also comes with other smartphone standards, including 5MP camera, GPS and 3G/wifi connections

Go Kyocera Echo

2011: the Tablet's Year?

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TabletsCharis & Co. analyst Robert Cihra predicts global tablet sales will grow by 226% (56m units) this year-- with Apple's iPad claiming 67% of units.

This means 2011 iPad sales will total 36m in 2011.

Cihra says the iPad will dominate the year, thanks to its delaying most tablet launches (by sending them back to the drawing board). As expectation for the iPad's second version grows, iPads will also ignite growth towards thin-client Access computing.

Meanwhile the global PC market is predicted to slow down to 9% growth-- from 2010's 14%. The slow in growth is due to the tablet market's cannibalising into the netbook market.

Go 2011-- the Year of the Tablet