Will Nvidia’s Kai lead to Less Expensive Tablets?

At its annual shareholder meeting Nvidia showed a prototype Android tablet platform that it has code named Kai and that it is positioning as the basis, with its processors, for lower cost family of tablets.

The heart of the Kai tablet would be Nvidia’s Tegra-3 processor that the company seeks to leverage as the heart of a new line of Tablets that will have powerful processing and graphics capabilities but will rival Amazon’s Kindle in price rather than butt heads with Apple’s iPad at the high end.

Nvidia already has a head start in the tablet and smartphone space going forward as along with Microsoft it has been actively seeding hardware vendors with laptops that feature the chip in an effort to create an active ecosystem of apps prior to the release of Windows 8 later this year.

This appears to be taking that a step further. Its executives talked about how the processor, along with an ARM-based chip, could enable a generation of less expensive Android tablets and that its years of experience in this space of developing for Windows will serve it in good stead.

Of course so does rival Intel which is seeking to establish its Atom processor as at least part of any Windows Tablet ecosystem and while it can work with Nvidia it is also seeking to supplant ARM as the heart of these systems so how closely Nvidia is integrated with the various ARM chips out there could be an issue.

We at MSR support anything that will help grow the tablet market, and not because we secretly own stock in the companies involved. Currently I use my phone as a secondary screen quite often when watching sports, particularly football. When the price point drops enough I think I might have several, one just dedicated to sitting next to my remote control, unless I use it as a remote control as well.

I can see not only the second screen market but also as portable screens when visiting friends (in some cases) following outdoor sports and a variety of other uses. Since a household is likely to have more than one person it would make sense to have one dedicated for use in the TV room and another for a any other use that might occur.

Archos targets Cost Conscious Tablet Segment

Apple’s latest iPad has created a feeding frenzy at its stores, with an estimated 3 million tablets sold in three days- numbers that top what most of its rivals have sold in the last two years.

Yet while everybody keeps asking the question of when the next iPad killer will be released and if it will be a Windows 8 or an Android product, they seem to lose sight of the larger issues.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire took off because it met a pent up need in the market, not because it was an iPad killer. Others are also looking at selling into distinct segments- some will go head to head with Apple and I am sure that in the future we will see some of them succeed.

Looking for a tablet but do not want to wait in line at the Apple store for a budget busting product? Well Archos may have what you are looking for as the company has delivered a pair of tablets looking to appeal to the thrift consumer. While looking around at rivals to Apple I noticed that last week the company had upgraded its products with the Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) operating system and now seems like a good time to take a look at what it is offering.

Archos has been targeting this space for some time but still works to deliver high quality products and this looks to be the same. The latest two offerings are the Archos 80 G9 and the Archos 101 G9 with prices starting around $300.

The Archos 80 G9 is powered by a Texas Instruments 1.5GHz dual core OMAP processor and comes with an 8-inch touch screen display with 1024 x 768 resolution with full support for 1080p video. It has a variety of storage options allowing users to have from 8GB of flash storage or a 250GB hard drive. The hard drive version features 2GBs of flash cache so that it limits the amount of time the system needs to access the hard drive.

The tablet features a 720p front facing camera that can be used with Google Talk for video chatting with an individual or with Google+ Huddle for group chats. It also features Picsel Smart Office preinstalled so you can read and edit your Word, Excel and PowerPoint files.

The Archos 101 G9 has very similar specifications to the 80 G9 with some slight differences. It has a 10-inch display with 1280 x 800 resolution and features the option of a 1GHz processor as well as the 1.5GHz offering. Storage, camera and apps are relatively the same.

While it does not have the flash that Apple offers with its iPads such as the very high resolution display or the tailored apps that Apple has created for use with the iPad, it also does not have the price tag involved. For a solid entry level tablet Archos looks to have a solid offering for users that understand what they need in a tablet and buy based on that

While it does not have the flash that Apple offers with its iPads such as the very high resolution display or the tailored apps that Apple has created for use with the iPad, it also does not have the price tag involved. For a solid entry level tablet Archos looks to have a solid offering for users that understand what they need in a tablet and buy based on that.

Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: Mobile World Congress is Coming!

LG is touting a new phone that it will debut at the Mobile World Congress as a “revolutionary smartphone.” According to Pocketnow there should be some very interesting features in the phone starting with the LG X3 which will be its flagship Android smartphone.

Another offering expected at the show from LG is the LG CX2, a follow-up product to its Optimus 3D. This phone is expected to feature a 1.2GHz dual-core CPU, NOVA autostereoscopic display for glasses-free 3D, 8GB storage standard as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities.

Acer preps CloudMobile for show
Acer is showing its CloudMobile smartphone in advance of the MWC trade show in Barcelona at the end of the month. The company is being very clever in its leak, giving base information but not enough details so that when it officially shows the phone for the first time the public will not already know the details, according to Pocket-lint.

What is expected is a smartphone that features a 4.3-inch HD display, Dolby sound and will be running Android 4.0 when it ships in the second half of this year. A key attribute of the phone will be the integration with AcerCloud technology that offers, among other things, unlimited web-based storage.

The Motorola/Google deal expected to get EU approval

Following on last week’s rumors that the $12.5B acquisition of Motorola Mobility by Google was going to get the thumbs up from the U.S. Justice Department comes word that it is expected to get the OK from EU authorities as well.

According to sources the deal should go through with little or no alterations despite the fact that there were a number of objections filed, including one by a US-based consumer protection group.

Can Google Wallet be picked?
Unfortunately the answer looks to be yes. While hacking the wallet is not easy it can be done according to researchers, who have outlined how to do it for those so inclined. What is frightening is that simultaneously with the researchers posting their findings another blog reported a much easier manner to get access.

The part that should make users nervous is that to hack the wallet might not require extra software, root access, or pretty much any deep-seated hacking skills. Head over to Cnet to see why you might need to be more than a tad concerned.
The Patent Wars

Apple tries new angle in latest suit
Apple has filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent Motorola Mobility from asserting patents against Apple in a lawsuit being heard in Germany. Apple claims that Motorola’s efforts violate its patent licensing agreement with Qualcomm.

The gist of the suit, reported by Reuters, is that Apple believes that as a Qualcomm customer it is a beneficiary of the third party agreement between Motorola and Qualcomm and that under that agreement Motorola cannot assert these patents against Apple.

Apple vs Samsung-The latest Round

Apple continues to go after Samsung and has now filed another injunction to halt sales of a Samsung product. The latest product to be targeted by Apple is Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus smartphone, as reported by PC Advisor.

In the suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Apple is seeking a preliminary injunction that bans the sales of the phone in the US while its case that Samsung is violating four of Apple’s patents is heading through the court system.

Apple claims that “”The smartphone market is at a critical juncture, as the overwhelming majority of consumers move to smartphones, and the consumers’ long-term preferences and purchases may be determined to a great extent by the operating system on their first smartphone.”

This and that

Electronista is reporting that a leaked presentation from USA Todaybreaks down mobile downloads by platform and that iPad users dominate at a 7x rate over Android and other users. Apple’s download lead in smartphones is significantly smaller.

Kindle Fire to burn larger?
A report is now coming out that says to expect a 9-inch Kindle Fire by mid-year, a move that could drive sales from an estimated 12.7 million in 2012 to 14.9 million, according to the analyst.

Samsung and Apple own smartphone profits
Wealth management firm Canaccord Genuity has reported that between Apple and Samsung they garner 95% of all of the profits in the smartphone space with Apple owning a lion’s share of 80%.

New iPad in first week of March
A variety of sources have narrowed down the release date for the forthcoming Apple iPad 3 to the first week in March — we will see I guess.

The Air Force about to make one tablet maker very happy
US Air Force’s Air Mobility Command is planning on purchasing somewhere between 63 and 18,000 tablets of as of now unknown manufacturing origins. They are seeking to replace the pilot and navigator bags that can weigh as much as 40 pounds. Currently it looks as if the iPad 2 is in the lead for the deal.

Idolian Develops sub-$100 Tablet that Targets Kindle Fire

Idolian, a telecommunications firm in Newport Beach, Calif., has entered into the 7-inch form factor tablet space with its IdolPad, a product it touts as being a viable product for both consumers and small businesses.

The IdolPad will be used to anchor the entry level position in the company’s expanding lineup of tables, which now feature eight separate models and top out with the high end TouchTab 10, with its 10-inch display. The IdolPad sells for $99.99, getting under $100 by the thinnest of margins.

The IdolPad is powered by a 1GHz Cortex 9 CPU with 512MB of RAM and runs on the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) operating system. It has a 7-inch multi touch resistant screen with 400 x 800 resolution and comes with a 1.3 megapixel front facing camera.

It ships with a 4GB hard drive and can support up to a 32GB microSD expansion card. It ships with Wi-Fi but no Bluetooth support and the company claims that it has a 4-6 hour battery life and supports HDMI 1080 resolution.

With the ability to serve as an e-reader, stream NetFlix or be used as a Skype device Idolian is positioning the IdolPad as an alternative to the much better known and wildly popular Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook lineups.

With no hands on experience it is hard to give an accurate impression of the device but it supports color and as a lower cost rival to the $199 Kindle Fire it could be very viable. It does essentially the same things, but features an unaltered version of Android, which the Kindle does not.

Bookeen Seeks to Break Into U.S. E-Reader Market

French E-Book developer Bookeen seeks to break into US market with its Cybook Odyssey, a reader that incorporates the company’s high speed interface that it claims will help differentiate its platform from rivals.

The reader features a 6-inch E Ink Pearl with 800 x 600 pixel touch display. It is powered by an 800MHz Texas Instruments Cortex 8A OMAP3611 processor with 128MB of memory. The Wi-Fi only system comes with 2GB of on board storage that it said can store as many as 2,000 e-books. This is expandable to 32GB with the microSDHC slot.

The user interface is available in 23 languages and it uses Linux 2.6.31 as its operating system. It will initially ship with 100 books already preloaded, with 30 in English and currently only a French dictionary.

The reader supports open book format such as ePub and PDF. It also has MP3 music and supports JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIF and other picture formats.

The company used the International Consumer Electronics Show as the backdrop for its introduction and said that the $159.99 Cybook Odyssey will be delivered to U.S. retailers in the near future and is currently available from the company’s web site. The company said that different sizes models are likely in the pipeline as well as color models.

It looks like this could be a hard sell. With much greater name awareness and market presence rival eBook developers such as Amazon with its Kindle lineup and Barnes & Noble with its Nook lineup are already well on their way to dominating this space.

Bookeen will need to show strong advantages over these two in order to become an established player, and right now its price and performance do not set it apart, but this is just a step so it will be worth following to see what the company develops going forward.

Mobile Sports Report Monday TechWatch: Is this Kindle for you?

Editor’s note: welcome to our Monday TechWatch feature, where we highlight gizmos, gadgets and devices that help deliver the mobile sports experience. Up today: a look at Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

Amazon’s much hyped Kindle Fire is about to make its long awaited splash in the market and its going to be a great success and its going to be a failure, just read the reviews. So to honor Johnny Cash we have a Ring of Fire today on tablets.

The Kindle Fire will be available tomorrow from Amazon-free shipping no less in 3-5 days!, with a $199 list price and a and is powered by a customized version of the Android operating system. But if you cannot wait the few days for it to arrive you can get into your car, drive down to Best Buy and pick up a model there.

Is the Kindle Fire an iPad killer?

Is the Kindle Fire an iPad killer? Probably not. Does a device need to be an iPad killer to be successful? No. This market looks to be huge and there will be room for a variety of tablets, in a range of forms and usage models, to find willing buyers. In fact market research firm IDC predicts that 62.5 million tablets will ship this year, and those won’t all be iPads.

One reason that the Fire will probably not be a iPad killer, or for that matter any other tablet killer, is that it will, at least initially, have little appeal to businesses. Non-Amazon apps are treated as second class in terms of where they are displayed, but also Amazon is not positioning the Kindle Fire as such a tool. However expect that to change in the future as its price and features apply pressure on its rivals.

While the Fire is the news of the moment Samsung, which has quietly been building very good Android-based phones and tablets gets a top review for its Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus from CNet reviewers who call the device the best 7-inch Honeycomb tablet.

If you are wondering what other uses a tablet are good for we recommend wandering over to look at what the good people at Ooyala have to say; they have been following online video viewership and compiling data for 5 years. In its first report on the topic Ooyala said that tablet users average 30 percent more viewing of online videos than PC users and completed watching 20 percent more than desktop PC users.

Seagate: Storage for Tablets

One of the big drawbacks that tablets have is their limited storage space. A 32GB capacity? Heck that will not cover 10 percent of my music collection. Well storage developer Seagate has a product that could fix this issue. The $199.00 GoFlex Satellite is a 500 GB drive that features a Wi-Fi radio so that you can connect wirelessly and stream music videos or whatever else your heart desires. There is a specialized app for iOS, while Android device users simply need to use their browser to operate. There are issues for Mac users so read the instructions carefully prior to purchasing.

Apple: Original iPod Nano Recall

Aside from tablet news, Apple has suffered from the battery draining issue caused by its recent iOS 5.0 update and now reports are coming in to say that the fix, version 5.0.1 does not fix the problem either. To add to the company’s problems it has been reported that Apple is now forced to recall the original iPod Nano due to heating problems.