Tablets, phablets and rumors at CES


Tablets have already taken the market by storm, essentially killing PC growth while moving into ever increasingly different areas of our lives. A host of new or possible tablets are making the rounds this week at the International CES show in Las Vegas, and here are a few of the more interesting ones.

There are major names involved in some of the news, and some that you may have never heard of before, or never considered in context with tablets, like Audi. Yes Audi has a tablet, although it functions as an extension of a car’s entertainment and directional equipment.

The Audi Smart Display is one of the first fruits of the recently announced Open Auto Alliance and it is a tablet designed to be used with the cars’ in-vehicle infotainment system. The 10-inch tablet will allow passengers to control a car’s connected features including navigation, telephone, audio and other features. Expect this to be the first of many announcements over the next year from car manufacturers in this area.

Among the big names Samsung again stood out, even if you pay no attention to the 105-inch television with a curved screen or director Michael Bay’s melt down at the press conference! The company expanded its tablet lineup with an additional four offerings, and a phablet. They are the 12.2-inch Galaxy TabPro, a 12.2-inch, 10-inch and 8.4-inch TabPro products as well as the latest Galaxy Note phablet, called the Galaxy NotePro and available in a 12.2-inch format..

Count Panasonic in with its Toughpad FZ-M1, a 7-inch format tablet that will be running the Windows Pro 8.1 operating system. Designed to be used in the field in situations a good deal more rugged than more traditional models it has a sealed designed to keep out dust and moisture and has been designed to withstand falls of five feet. It has an Intel i5 Core, a 1280 x 800 resolution display, 128GB SSD that can be upgraded to 256GB supports Wi-Fi up to the ac standard and has a 5MP rear camera. Last year the company used the show to deliver a pair of ToughPads

If you are looking for a tablet that will help keep the kids occupied during a long cross country trip, or when you are watching the first full season of Boardwalk Empire you might want to take a gander at the Kurio 7x 4G LTE tablet unveiled at the show. Designed to be kid friendly the device is part of a pair of announcements from Techno Sources and KD Interactive, the other being a phone targeted at children.

Probably the best rumor from the show is about a possible hybrid iPad that Apple is supposedly working on. Actually the rumor started prior to the show but it has heated up a bit since it first made the rounds. What Apple is purportedly working on is an iPad that uses the iOS operating system in tablet mode and then when docked to a keyboard it would run Apple’s PC operating system OSX.

Another more or less confirmed rumor is a stylus using tablet from Asus, the VivoTab Note 8 that will run on the Windows 9.1 operating system although complete details on the device are still lacking.

I suspect that after the deluge at the show, and probably several major real announcements down the road this year, new tablets will be greeted much the way new PCs were in the past, interesting but hardly worth flying people across the country for. That spot will most likely be filled by the emerging class of wearable computing devices such as Samsung Gear and Google Glass.

Already at the show Sony announced that it was planning on expanding its wearable offerings come spring with several, as yet unnamed, offerings in its SmartWear Experience lineup. They will be based around a component that it calls the Core.

Intel is also fanning the flames with a “Make it Wearable” challenge that will award $1.3 million in cash and prizes to developers that create wearable devices that help advance computing to become even more wearable, I mean connected.

Apple Expands Storage Capacity with Latest iPad Upgrade


Apple has said that it has expanded the storage capacity options on its flagship iPad platform with the addition of models that will now have feature 128GB of storage, doubling what had been previously available.

The 128GB iPad with Wi-Fi and iPad with Wi-Fi + Cellular models will be available starting next Tuesday, Feb. 5, and will be available in both black or white models. The MSRP for the iPad with Wi-Fi model is $799 and will be $929 (US) for the iPad with Wi-Fi + Cellular model.

The models will have what is expected of this generation iPads including a 9.7-inch Retina display, Apple’s iOS 6.1 operating system that includes built-in support for LTE networks. It will be powered by the company’s A6X dual core processor and will include the FaceTime HD camera.

The move could be seen as designed to counter Microsoft which is planning to release its Windows Surface 8 Pro tablet on Feb. 9, a tablet that will also have a 128GB capacity. The Surface RT that was released late last year currently supports 64GBs of storage.

At the upcoming World Mobile Congress next month in Barcelona a number of tablets are expected to be shown, including four from Samsung. It will be interesting to see if that company follows along and has its latest offering available with 128GBs as well.

Apple has been under increased pressure from its competitors in the second half of last year and continuing into 2013 as they have started bringing out significantly better developed and built products that they had previously. Samsung and Amazon have been the two most aggressive but Microsoft has also entered the game late last year with its Surface platform, and is expanding that soon with a model that is expected to be much better received that its Surface RT.

While this move is certainly more evolutionary rather than revolutionary it will help it keep its products features at the top of the charts.

Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: Happy Cyber Monday

Apple is seeking to keep the pressure on Samsung in the legal game and this week has extended its infringement motion against Samsung to now include the Galaxy S3 Mini, the Galaxy Note 2, the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and the Rugby Pro according to TechRadar.

The move looks to be in retaliation for a similar push by Samsung which has added Apple’s iPad Mini and iPhone 5 to a list of devices that it claims infringe on its patents.

Tablet shipments top laptops in October
You knew that the day when tablets would pass PCs was coming, but there had been estimates that it would not occur for some time. Apparently those predictions were wrong. According to market research firm NPD Display Search, tablet sales passed laptop sales last month, based on its following of the panels used in both products. In October there was an estimated 16.9 million notebook panels shipped while there was an estimated 18.7 tablet panels shipped. However this may be a one month blip as the researchers also said that there were many notebook buyers holding back until after Windows 8 shipped.

Instagram rules on Thanksgiving
This is probably a no-brainer out there for most people but Thanksgiving was Instagram’s biggest day ever. The photo imaging service reported that it averaged 226 photos posted per second over a 24-hour period, with a total of 10 million photos shared over Thanksgiving. That is a lot of turkey. Or a lot of turkey pictures, anyway.

Microsoft planning a set-top box?
According to the Verge, Microsoft has an Xbox TV in the works that it has slated for release sometime in 2013. The device will enable streaming video as well as serve as a platform for the casual gamer, according to the article.

Most likely to be release roughly a year from now it will represent a two SKU strategy for Microsoft in the Xbox space with a dedicated Xbox that supports higher end games and the TV/Xbox combo for the everyday user.

Motorola repeats request for Apple Source Code
As part of one of its lawsuits against Apple, Motorola Mobility has requested access to Apple’s source code. Five times now, but who is counting? Motorola made the first request last May according to a story in the Inquisitr, and has now just made its fifth.

The case is being heard by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The request is for the source code for both the Mac OS X and iOS and Motorola is also asking for a specific date from Apple on when it plans to hand over the code.

Kickstarter kicked
Kickstarter launched a bit over a month ago in the United Kingdom and it now looks like one of is first projects is going to cause the crowdfunding site a few headaches. A successful funding effort landed a startup called Formlab over 2 million pounds.

Birthed from MIT’s Media Lab, Formlab is developing a 3D printer, however 3D Systems, a maker of 3D printers is claiming patent infringement and has sued the startup, as well as Kickstarter. The issue is over how a laser causes a synthetic substance to solidify as part of the 3D process.

According to a piece in PC Adviser, Kickstarter is also being sued by a rival crowd funding company called ArtistShare over the use of a database software program and how it can be used.

Mobile Sports Report Friday Grab Bag: Legos Leap, Ravens Grasp Social Media

It seems that all anyone could talk about at the start of this week was the amazing feat that Felix Baumgartner accomplished by setting a free fall record and breaking the sound barrier while doing so with a jump from 128,097 feet above sea level.

Now you can watch the entire event played out before you, by Legos!

Intel’s weak Q4 Outlook
Intel’s earnings were released this week and they disappointed, with its profits falling 14% amid a decline in sales of personal computers. The company had revenue of $13.6 billion and reported a profit of $2.97 billion.

The company warned about its outlook for the next quarter as it expects demand for personal computers to remain weak and the global economy to be soft. Also an issue is the demand for tablets, which appears to be siphoning away sales, although Intel will be looking to move further into this space when Microsoft releases its Windows 8 operating system later this month.

FBI warns on Android Malware
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has issued a release that said that a number of different malware apps are attacking mobile phones that run the Android operating system. Some of the latest known versions of this type of malware are Loozfon and FinFisher. Loozfon is an information-stealing piece of malware.

IC3 has a list of helpful hints that are designed to help prevent infection or to let you know how to deal with one when it occurs. Among them are use encryption is offered on the phone, use a pass code and be careful with apps that use Geo-locate.

NBC Sports Group in 4-year partnership deal with Formula One
NBC Sports Group will be showing all of the Formula 1 Grand Prix races starting next year including qualifying and practice rounds after it signed a 4-year deal with the Formula One Management. Four races will be on NBC and the remaining 16 will be available on NBC Sports Network.

The 2013 F1 Grand Prix schedule starts next March and runs through November and will include 20 races in 19 countries with the season starting on March 17 in Australia on NBC Sports Network and concludes on Sunday, Nov. 24 in Brazil on NBC.

NPD Group breaks down Windows Surface rumors
Want an advanced look at the forthcoming Windows Surface Tablet? Well we cannot help you there but the NPD Group has taken the trouble to parse down all the rumors and provide what appears to be a solid outline of the product and the company’s plans for it.

It looks as if there will be 3-5 million built and available on the initial run and that it will feature a Tegra processor, 32 and 64GB of flash memory, and a 1377×768 screen with a starting price in the range of $499 for a base model and the next step up at $100 more.

The Baltimore Ravens: Digital Powerhouse
There is an short piece in the Baltimore Sun about how the Ravens have embraced digital and social media as tools to not only reach out and embrace and inform the fans but also as a tool to publish and profit from that experience.

The image with the article is where the meat is, it shows that the team has a unified approach that includes Twitter, Facebook and mobile alerts along with mobile apps and other digital media all tied into its site.

Apple loses too cool appeal
Apple has lost its latest legal round with Samsung when Britain’s Court of Appeal backed a lower court’s earlier judgment that Samsung’s Galaxy Tablet did not infringe on Apple iPad copyrights. The reason the lower court used was that the Galaxy is “not as cool” as the iPad.

Can’t we all be friends? Google event to compete with Microsoft’s
It seems that increasingly plotting the date for a hot new release has become a tough chore as a requirement seems to be to steal a rival’s thunder as well as promote your own product. Many believe that Apple’s iPad event that is expected for next week is one such scheduling example.

Now Google has jumped on the bandwagon and is hosting an Android launch event in New York City on Oct. 29, the same day that Microsoft is launching Windows Phone 8 in San Francisco.

Key Competition Dates For First 24/7 Digital Summer Olympics

The Summer Olympics are so chock-full of events that the competition begins July 25 — two days before the Opening Ceremonies — and continues through the Closing Ceremonies on Aug. 12.

Olympic statistics are always numbing, but with the influx of digital broadcast offerings, the overwhelming statistic is that for the first time via multi-platform broadcasts available, sports fans have 24/7 access to competition during the London Games.

The official site of the Summer Olympics ideally details the schedule of each sport. Visit the complete schedule and results, here:

The official site of the Summer Olympics also details all of the official application option. Visit it here:

And here are the dates of the marquee competitions:

July 25 — Soccer matches begin and continue through Aug. 11 with the gold medal match

July 27 — Opening ceremonies. The pageantry and traditions of the Olympics begin.

July 28 — Basketball competition begins and continues through the bronze and gold medal games Aug. 12

July 28 — Gymnastics competition begins and continues the final four medal competitions on Aug. 7

July 29 — Hockey competition begins and continues through the bronze and gold medal games Aug. 11

July 29 — Swimming competition begins with two men’s and two women’s finals and continues through Aug. 10 with the men’s 10km.

Aug. 3 — Track & Field competition begins with final in the men’s shot put and women’s  10,000 meters and continues through Aug. 12 with the men’s marathon.

James Raia is an editor and publisher in Sacramento, California. Visit his site:

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is here-Let the iPhone Comparisons Begin!

Samsung is the leader in the tablet space- the non-Apple tablet space that is, and has expanded its offerings with the full size Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, a 10.-1 inch device that will naturally being comparisons to Apple’s iPad offerings.

However it seems that it is much more than just a competitor to Apple, it has to shone above the existing Android tablets and hold its own above the hope that will start coming from the Windows 8 tablet crowd.

The tablet uses the latest Android 4.0 operating system (Ice Cream Sandwich) is powered by 1GHz dual-core OMAP processor from Texas Instruments and has a 1280 x 800 display and has a 3.2 megapixel rear camera and a VGA front facing camera. An entry level model with 16GB of storage will have a $400 price tag.

It is doubtful that the big selling point for the tablet is going to be the hardware since it is pretty clos to what Samsung offered in its Galaxy Tab 10.1 but rather the full package which means lot of Samsung software and apps as well as the fact that it is $100 less than an iPad with the same storage at least a new iPad.

Among the software app that is included in the tablet are Peel smart remote, AllShare and Samsung Media Hub, and SoundAlive. In a review over at including Mashable the Peel app was rated pretty poorly, but there are a number of additional programs on the device as well.

Most sites that have reviewed the tablet give it at least a lukewarm approval rating, but I believe that Samsung should have shot for more. Its display is not as good as Apple’s nor is its camera. While it has a strong position in the Android space, it is about to face a huge wave of competition very soon.

PC World does a very nice job providing a roundup of what is expected throughout the summer, based on statements from the companies involved as well as rumors that seem to have some creditability. New or improved offerings from Apple, Google, Barnes & Noble and Amazon are all expected.

Then there will be the Windows 8 players sometime around the end of the summer. Hewlett-Packard has said it will be there as has Dell, although neither has said when. Then Microsoft’s new relationship with Barnes & Noble could bring that popular platform into the fold. Lenovo is making a major research and development effort n this area and could come in as an Android player, a Windows 8 or both with future offerings.

With this in front of it I am surprised that Samsung did not deliver a stronger offering although I suspect that this is a stopgap effort and that by the back to school season we may see yet another tablet from the company.