New Tablets from Samsung, Asus and Amazon

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition.

As expected a number of new tablets have started to hit the airwaves this week and Samsung, Asus and Google are among the players that have brought new products to see the light of day, with LG already having been covered here. This is just a sampling of the latest announced and we plan to follow up next week with additional coverage.

Leading off is the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition. The tablet features a 10-inch 2560 x 1600 pixel display, a choice of either a 1.9GHz Octa Core processor for the LTE version and a 2.3GHz Quad Core for other versions and 3GB of RAM. It has a feature called Multi Window that enables users to run separate instances of the same and use the new enhanced S Pen to drag and drop content from one window to another.

Other features include an 8 MP rear facing camera and a 2MP front facing camera, a choice between 16/32/64 GB of storage with an optional MicroSD card also available. It will come in three connectivity options: Wi-Fi Only, Wi-Fi and 3G, Wi-Fi and LTE and will be available starting from Q3, 2013.

Asus MeMO Pads
If you are looking for budget offerings then Asus might have what yu are looking for, in both 8-inch and 10-inch formats. The company is showing off its MeMO Pad 8 and 10, both touted as budget offerings that it expects to ship my year’s end.

Both feature a 1280 x 800 resolution display, with the MeMO Pad 8 powered by a 1.6GHz quad core processor with a 5MP rear facing camera and 8GB of storage. The MeMO Pad 10 has a 2MP camera and an option for either 8GB or 16GB of storage. They each have an expansion MicroSD slot and a 1.2MP front facing camera. Pricing and availability will be announced at a later time.

Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle Paperwhite
Amazon is not one to be left behind and it has released an upgraded Kindle Paperwhite e-reader that includes new display technology with higher contrast, a faster processor and a host of enhanced features. One that stands out is its Kindle Page Flip that lets a user skim through pages or chapters. Another is the ability to read footnotes without leaving the page with its In-Line Footnotes feature. The Paperwhite is now available for preorder at Amazon.

Friday Grab Bag: Tablet Rumors Galore

With Apple, Samsung and others either preparing new tablets Amazon is also preparing a new set of releases.

As it does so it needs to rid itself of older inventory and so has cut the prices on existing models with the current generation Kindle Fire HD now starting at $159.

Samsung Smartwatch due next month?

With the changing of the leaves that herald the coming of fall, also so do the increased number of rumors about hi-tech products that are slated for the back to school market. The latest is that Samsung may beat the field to market with its smartwatch, delivered Sept. 4.

The news comes to us from Asia One, who are forwarding a tip from Sammobile, claim that Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch will make its first public appearance at the Samsung Unpacked Episode 2 event that starts on that day. Stay tuned.

LG Tablet in the works
Speaking of third hand rumors here is a report that a new tablet is about to emerge from LG that will be called the LG G Pad. It is expected to be in a 8.3-inch form factor that will feature a 1920 x 1200 display.

Other supposed details include a quad-core microprocessor, 2GB of memory and that is about it so far. Since no ship date was rumored we may see more details prior to a release.

Fox Sports 1 starts tomorrow
We mentioned it last week but it bears repeating that the latest rival to ESPN, Fox Sports 1, will start Saturday. It is expected to be available in 90 million homes on launch.

A piece at Sports on Earth really told the tale. It does not matter if the channel is more or less intellectual than ESPN, what will determine its success will be the number and quality of its live sports offerings.

Archos GamePad spotted via FCC filing
TechRadar is reporting that Archos looks to be refreshing its GamePad dedicated tablet device with a second generation offering ahead of what looks like a deluge this fall in similar products from a host of rivals.

Its first generation offering came out at the start of the year and now will have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support in the latest offering. Expect to see a number of other dedicated pads from the likes of Amazon and others available soon as well.

BlackBerry up for sale?
BlackBerry’s board has formed a special committee that will be tasked with looking at strategic alternatives for the company’s future, including how to boost sales of its flagship Blackberry 10 smartphone.

It will look at the possibility of selling the company or try to enter into strategic partnerships or joint ventures with other companies.

Friday Grab Bag: Fox Sports 1 around the corner

If you have been waiting for a new 24-hour national sports broadcast network then your dreams have been answered as Fox Sports 1 is set to launch on Aug. 17 as the network once again challenges ESPN for sports supremacy.

The network already has a very full array of content teed up from different sports and leagues such as MLB, NASCAR, FIFA World Cup, UFC as well as college football conferences such as the Big Ten, Big 12 and the Pac-12.

Hopefully the fight between the two powers will be a bit more mature than the last time when they would both superimpose their logos over scenes so that if the rival carried the broadcast they had to show the logo.

Samsung to debut next Galaxy Note in September

Samsung has sent out invites to a major announcement that the company will be making on Sept. 4, and the line ’Note the Date” is being taken as a sign that the company will be delivering its Galaxy Note 3 at the event.

It is expected to follow in the footsteps of previous Galaxy Notes and be released at the annual IFA trade show that is held in Berlin, where the two previous generations were also unveiled.

Tablet sales slow, IDC says; no new iPad to blame
Market research firm International Data Corp. has reported that tablet sales slowed in the second quarter of this year, down 9.7% from the preceding quarter. However that number is more than offset by the 60% increase sales have increased compared to the same quarter a year earlier.

IDC expects the market to take off in the upcoming months, helped a great deal by the expected release of Apple’s next generation tablets. Apple has not refreshed the lineup in a year. It said it expects ‘impressive growth’ in the fourth quarter of this year.

One area of positive news for iPad rivals is that Windows Tablet sales on the upswing, with a 527% increase over the same period a year ago, reaching 1.8 million compared to the 300,000 shipped a year ago.

Spartan Race World Championship to be broadcast on NBC
The 2013 Reebok Spartan Race World Championship will be the centerpiece of a collaboration between Spartan Race Inc. and NBC Sorts Group for a television special on the obstacle racing sport.

The special will culminate with coverage of the championship that takes place in central Vermont on Sept. 21-22, 2013. That event is expected to draw tens of thousands of participants vying for the $250,000 in cash and prizes.

Apple’s fused glass patent destined for iPod, iPhone, iPads?
The most recent Apple patent application that has come to light shows that the company is looking to secure the rights to a method of fusing glass that the company describes as being applicable to several different products.

As shown on Slash Gear the next generation products that are built using the fused glass would be entirely enclosed by the material, but don’t get your hopes up for the current generation of Apple products expected within the next month or so, this looks to be a year out at the least.

Android-powered game console?
The game console market is a cutthroat business and minor errors in judgment regarding features and functions can alienate legions of fans. According to rumors from Game Informer, that segment maybe drawing a new player into the fold, Amazon.

The rumor is that not only does the company have a console in development that will use the Android operating system but that fans of midnight shopping may be able to get one by Black Friday.

Friday Grab Bag: Unhappy iPad Users? Is Facebook Home Dead Already?

Will Microsoft buy Barnes & Noble’s Nook Business?
The rumor has once again emerged that Microsoft is looking at buying Barnes & Noble’s Nook business unit, a unit that Microsoft has already invested $300 million. TechCrunch is now reporting that it has internal documents that show that indeed the software giant is pondering such a move.

The cost is approximately $1 billion, which would also include Nook Media and related digital business operations. The documents show that Barnes & Noble is considering discontinuing its Android-based tablets next year.

Apple Patents invisible buttons
As smartphone users seemingly are demanding additional functionality with each new release of their favorite handset product designers are faced with the classic issue of form or functionality. Now Apple has patented a technology that seems to solve the issue by enabling fully functioning buttons and sliders that are not visible.

If you are wondering how you would use invisible items, they are not always hidden from the eye, but would appear when you motion towards them, according to a piece on them in Geek Newsletter.

Is Facebook’s Home burning down?
A few weeks ago amid a great deal of hype Facebook offered its latest and greatest mobile offering, Facebook Home. If you missed the announcement it was the debut of a smartphone, and a related app for owners of alternative Android devices, which made Facebook your smartphone start screen.

The HTC First was the first smartphone to come with the technology as standard and it was available from AT&T for $99. It has been apparently been met by a universal shrug of the shoulders by users, which had led AT&T to drop the price of the phone a bit, to 99 cents! Salon gives a good look at how far and fast this technology has dropped.

Amazon to offer smartphone with 3D display?
The Wall Street Journal is reporting (via C/Net) that Amazon is working on a pair of smartphones and that one of the two will have a 3D capability that will enable hologram like images. However the article made clear that the smartphones might never see the loght of day.

Amazon is increasingly delving into the hardware space starting with its popular Kindle tablet. While the rest is rumor, so far, it sounds like a set top box and the aforementioned smartphones are also in the works.

Google Glass takes another hit.
In case you missed the send up on Saturday Night Live you can look here but real world resistance to Google Glass technology is also continuing to rise. A nice piece in the New York Times outlines some of the major Pros and Cons of the technology.

We have always wondered how Las Vegas would deal with the glasses, and the NYT is of the opinion they will be banned, an opinion backed by Caesars Entertainment statement that they would be prohibited. However it is estimated that the glasses could generate upwards to $#500 billion for Google.

Bill Gates chimes in on iPad
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates recently spoke with CNBC and said that iPad users are frustrated with the lack of keyboard and because there is no Microsoft Office app for that platform that they will migrate to PC Tablets.

As can be noted in the Guardian’s coverage of his statements so Apple has sold an estimated 141 million iPads to unhappy users while the happy Microsoft Surface users have already swarmed the stores for an estimated 2 million units. Of course the Surface is still relatively new so we will see what the future brings.

Friday Grab Bag: The Cost of Hot Dogs and New Nexus Coming?

If you cannot get enough of Facebook on your mobile devices this will be very good news. The company has delivered an app called ‘Facebook Home’ that is an Android program which replaces your normal Android home screen.

Scheduled to be launched within the next two weeks the app will also come preinstalled on new HTC First Phones that will be available from AT&T. Facebook is working to launch a version for tablets in the near future. Head over to TechCrunch to see what the new features will be.

Next Gen Nexus rumored for July
The latest in the tablet rumors is that Google’s popular Nexus tablet will be seeing a platform refresh this coming July, according to a report in Reuters, and from the sounds of the report the company plans to be very aggressive in its pricing.

The new Nexus would feature greater screen resolution, a thinner bezel and a new processor, dropping Nvidia in favor of Qualcomm. It is reported the company will be seeking to sell 8 million tablets in the second half of the year.

Speaking of Google rumors another has it building an Android powered notebook that it is planning to launch as early as in the third quarter of this year.

Amazon Kindle Phone on the way?
Computerworld is reporting that Amazon is looking at developing and delivering a smartphone that it would deliver later this year. It is not clear of Amazon would make it a type of Kindle phone or if it would be a more traditional Android device.

Amazon recently hired Charles Kindel who had formerly headed up Microsoft’s Windows Phone application and platform developer relations. Apparently Kindel has been blogging that he was hired by Amazon to ‘do something secret” I am sure blogging will help keep it a secret.

Ematic delivers low cost Android tablet
If you are looking for a low cost tablet, possibly as a single use device or one that you are not afraid to have damaged you might want to look at the latest offering from Ematic and its $79.99 7-inch Genesis Prime tablet.

While certainly not designed to set the world on fire with its features it does have a 1.1GHz Intel Core Duo processor, 4GB on-board storage, 5GB cloud storage, 512MB of RAM, front-facing VGA camera and 4.5 hours of battery life.

No peanuts or crackerjacks here
Sports fans are always competitive and now they can see how they rank in two very important categories- how much they are spending on beer and on hot dogs at the ball yard, thanks to a survey by CNN Money.

I have to say I surprised at the differences. You can buy six hot dogs at Cincinnati’s Great American Park for the price of one at the New York Met’s Citi Field, for instance. Beer is most expensive in Washington D.C. and cheapest in Cleveland.

Friday Grab Bag: No $99 Kindle Fire, ESPN Carries Frisbee

Screen savers have come a long way since the days of flying toasters. Apple has just filed a patent entitled “Protective Mechanism for an Electronic Device” that is designed to recognize when a iPhone, or other device, is in freefall and takes automatic steps to save the screen, according to Apple Insider.

It looks like the technology discussed in the patent is designed to do one of two things, either protect the data on the screen and in use or to realign the device while falling in order to have it land in a manner that will not damage the screen. Sounds a bit farfetched but would be interesting if real.

A nice look at Google Glass’ future
Google Glass has been an interesting platform since its introduction about a year ago, with people speculating on uses and at least one place already banning the as yet unreleased commercial model, but what are the real challenges and opportunities that they will provide users?

Mashable has a nice outlook piece of the platform that talks about a host of challenges that the platform will face from connectivity, how commands and control are implemented to safety issues that they might present. Head on over.

Athletic Directors Pay too high?
Sports on Earth’s Patrick Hruby has an interesting piece on the issue of paying college athletes, taking a different approach than most do by looking at how well paid executives in athletic departments are at top schools.

The issue is of importance because a lawsuit against the NCAA is slowly making its way through the court systems and the NCAA is saying that it will destroy amateurism in sports, although a cycnic might think that the organization was more concerned with its tax exempt status.

ESPN adds a new league with USA Ultimate deal
USA Ultimate may not ring a bell but now you will be able to watch its matches on the network’s channels as ESPN has reached a deal with the governing body of the sport of Ultimate Frisbee in the United States.

The deal calls for ESPN to broadcast the sports three major events; the College Champions, the US Open and the National Championship. There will be both live and tape delayed coverage on the network’s ESPN3 and ESPNU channels.

Survey Says: Mobile Apps win over mobile net
A survey run by Compuware found that the speed and convenience of mobile apps makes them a clear favorite among smartphone users over mobile web sites, with 85% of those surveyed giving the mobiles apps the thumbs up.

It looks as if the convenience factor was a major factor since the poll also showed that only 28% felt that the apps gave a better user experience. Another interesting fact from the study was that the number of apps that smartphone users have on their devices grew 28% last year and now stands at 41.

No $99 Kindle Fire
For the last several weeks there has been a rumor that Amazon was going to break new pricing ground by offering a version of the Kindle Fire for $99. It was supposed to be a 7-inch tablet and would ship later this year.

Not so fast Amazon has replied. Talking to Business Insider, as reported by the Inquistr, the company has responded saying that it is simply not happening. So it is no longer necessary to wait for the fall releases if you were waiting for that device.