Hewlett-Packard takes wraps off Windows 8 Tablet

Last week we gave a very bare bones comment on the pending Windows 8 tablet that will be coming from Hewlett-Packard but this week the company provided a full outline of what the tablet will feature and when to expect it to arrive.

To answer the last point first don’t look for it this holiday season as its expected ship date will be in 2013. The reason for this is that it is a business-focused product, as the company had previously said about its reentry into the tablet space.

While normally business products are not of much interest here at Mobile Sports Report, a portable device such as a tablet is still a natural for sports viewing as well as using the growing number of fantasy and betting apps emerging. I mean whose NCAA basketball pool is not run out of their office?

The HP ElitePad 900 will be a 1.5 lb tablet that features a 10.1-inch display with 1280×800 resolution with an aluminum case and Gorilla Glass 2. The company is touting its durability and ability to withstand shock.

It will be powered by Intel’s Z2760 Atom processor, formerly known as Clover Trail and will run the forthcoming Windows 8 operating system. HP sees the use of this set of processor and operating system as enabling businesses to run their mainstream productivity applications. It is designed for Windows 8 and supports touch-, pen- or voice-based input.

It will come with 2GB RAM and 32GB of storage that is expandable to 64GB and there is a microSD slot. It has dual cameras with a front facing camera that is capable of 1080p video and an 8MP rear facing camera

It is designed to dock with a keyboard and HP is offering host of accessories for the tablet, most of them business focused including the ElitePad Expansion Jacket that features an integrated keyboard and connectivity ports.

HP expects to ship the tablet in January and will announce the price closer to the release dat. Expect a number of others including Dell and Lenovo to focus a good deal of attention to the business space for their upcoming tablets as well.

Intel and Allies Show Windows 8 Tablets

Intel has been talking since at least CES at the beginning of this year about the huge number of tablets that its OEMs are preparing for later this year and now we have gotten a sneak peak at what they are planning at an event the company held in San

Francisco this week.

The hardware products which included both tablets and hybrid/convertible systems were powered by an Intel processor called the Atom Z2760, formerly codenamed Clover Trail, a processor that the company is positioning against ARM-based processors from rivals such as Broadcom and Texas Instruments.

There are a number of Windows 8 products based on the Atom Z2760 processor that were unveiled and we will just give the names of the announced systems, for full details head over to Intel. Acer’s Iconia W510, Asus VivoTab, Dell Latitude 10, Fujitsu Stylistic Q702, HP Envy x2, Lenovo ThinkPad 2, Samsung Smart PC, and the ZTE V98.

Dell Latitude 10

Some, such as the Lenovo ThinkPad 2 have been talked about a good deal already while this marks the return of Hewlett-Packard and Dell to the tablet space. Since Intel has said that there are 20 tablet designs in the works expect more at the Windows 8 official announcement.

Intel also brings a huge software development effort to the mobile app space, something that is often overlooked by outsiders. It also has a Software Partners program with 7,000 members and along with its Software Network helps developers optimize for Intel platforms.

In addition Intel will be delivering a range of technologies in the chips that are seen in its much higher end offerings including technology designed for servers where security is a major issue. The company sees this as helping provide assurances to corporations looking to purchase tablets but concerned about their ability to provide a robust, secure computing environment.

Included is technology from its Core vPro processors that offers hardware-assisted security, manageability and virtualization capabilities for business computing. Among the features are Enhanced Intel Anti-Theft Technology, Intel Secure Key, Intel OS Guard, Enhanced Intel Identity Protection Technology, and Intel Trusted Execution Technology.

While in the past consumers have been the primary target for tablets the inclusion of the Intel security and other technology coupled with Microsoft’s similar offerings from its end could make the tablets much more appealing to the business space as well. While the BYOD (bring your own device) crowd has had success in allowing users to bring their own devices into work, IT departments dislike this and when the system refresh comes in many offices these technologies should make tablets a much more acceptable alternative to notebooks to the IT department.

Amazon refreshes Kindle Fire as More Competition Looms

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Amazon has come back to the market with its second generation Kindle Fire as well as its lowered prices and enhanced the performance of existing Kindle models. Declaring that the company has decided to go big, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos took the stage today to introduce a pair of new Kindle Fire tablets called the Kindle Fire HD including an 8.9-inch device that caught many by surprise. There is also a 7-inch version.

The latest device appears to have something for everybody with enhanced e-mail that will appeal to business users, the ability to limit screen time that will make parents happy and a faster device and wireless capabilities that everyone will like.

The screen on the Kindle Fire HD has a 1920 x 1200 resolution and Amazon has eliminated the air gap in the new Laminated Touch Sensor display, a move that it said will eliminate glare by 25%. The tablet will be powered by a Texas Instruments 4470 OMAP processor.

The company has adopted a MIMO (multiple input-multiple output) dual antenna structure in the devices that help with providing a stronger, faster Wi-Fi signal, operating in the 5GHz band. A key advantages that even with the higher speeds it does not use additional battery power. Amazon said that this is 41% faster that the new iPad.

Additional hardware features a front facing camera and dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus. The storage will start at 16GB, with Amazon saying that 8GB, common in most rival offerings, just would not work with high definition.

There is a range of new software features including Whispersync for voice that enables you to listen to a book and then later start up reading where you were last listening. There is also a version for games so that you can continue on from where you stopped in a game.

For users that view movies on their tablets there is now a feature called X-Ray for Movies that was developed in a partnership with IMDB that allows you to freeze a scene and the app will tell you who is currently on screen. If needed it can go into a great deal of additional detail.

For the corporate user it has an enhanced e-mail that will enable a very tight integration with Microsoft Exchange. There is also a feature called Kindle FreeTime that lets you set screen time limits for kids with different settings for movies and reading.

The entry level price for the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD will be $199 while the 8.9-inch model will start at $299 and a 4G LTE version will have a $499 sticker price. The first model is expected in the next few weeks but the higher end models will not be available unit late November.

Another new offering from the company is its slim and light Kindle Paperwhite, a 7.5-ounch 9.1 mm thick e-reader that will include a front lit display with user changeable fonts and a higher resolution display. Its base price will be $119 while a 3G version will have a $179 price tag. The company reduced its Kindle from $199 to $159 with more memory and a faster processor, available on September 14.

The company first delivered the Kindle Fire last fall and it was one of the hottest products gifts of the holiday season, topping the sales charts at Amazon in its first weeks. However a bevy of competitors have darkened the sheen of the product. Amazon estimates that it now has 22% of the tablet market in the United States.

Barnes & Noble are fighting to get share with its Nook but the bigger competition has come from market leader Apple and its iPad lineup and newcomer Google with its Nexus 7 offering. In the near future we will see a host of tablets based on the two versions of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system

We are already seeing hardware OEM’s such as Lenovo, Acer, Asus and Hewlett-Packard release advance information about next generation tablets as well as new hardware developer Microsoft with its Surface platform. Intel claims that at least 20 tablets will be using its chips in future releases, and it is not the market leader in this space.

That is a reason why Apple’s and Samsung’s offerings cost significantly more; they are looking for profits off of their hardware. Amazon’s Bezos talked about how customers want services not gadgets and that hardware is a service. He noted that most of its rivals in the tablet space have failed because they do not realize this. He said that Amazon does not expect to make money from its hardware but from the content it sells. Despite this he claims that it is not a razor/razor blade situation. However there are dangers to this approach as pointed out here at CNBC.

Amazon has really raised the bar on features and performance with the Kindle Fire HD and it will be very interesting to see how the competition reacts. With Apple’s new iPad expected soon, it will probably be the first to face a drect comparison, followed by the Windows 8 tablets.

Lenovo Unveils its Windows 8 Tablet Early

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2

I guess it is never too early to get a jump on your competitors and with that in mind Lenovo has unveiled the specifications and look of its new ThinkPad Tablet 2 that will be running Windows 8 from Microsoft.

The tablet, which will not be available until late October when Microsoft officially makes the new operating system available to the public, is one of the first to be shown prior to the event, but we expect a number of others to show off their wares prior to the October 26 launch.

It is powered by an Atom processor from Intel code-named Clover Trail, and will run the Windows 8 Pro version of the operating system. Both are major changes from last year when Lenovo debut its first generation ThinkPad Tablet that ran on an ARM processor and used Google’s Android operating system.

The tablet is expected to weigh in at 1.3 pounds and will be available in either a 3G or 4LTE version. It will include a 10.1-inch display that has 1366 x 768 display, a front facing 2MP camera and a 8MP rear facing camera and is expected to have a 10 hour battery life. A few nifty options will also be available including a keyboard, dock and a digitizer that enables pen input. Pricing has not been released

Lenovo has previously said that it will target businesses as much or more than it will consumers with its tablets, which is the reason for going with both the Intel processor and the Windows OS. This will enable backward compatibility with existing x86 apps and documents, something that the ARM/Android combination does not.

There is a host of developers that will be releasing products into this space in the upcoming weeks, from Microsoft itself with its Surface tablet to Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Acer, among others. On the non-Windows front there is also a new Kindle expected soon as well as a refresh in Apple’s iPad family, so the options for a user looking for a new tablet continue to improve with more choices.

Friday Grab Bag: Samsung, Lenovo Tablets-Seattle bickers about stadium

We mentioned last week that there is now an ongoing attempt to build a new basketball arena in Seattle and then land a new team. From this article in the Seattle PI it looks like the Seattle City Council could be a roadblock.

While the county commissioners are expected to give approval to an $80 million contribution to the building, the city looks like it might want a better deal for the $120 million that it is being asked to throw in as well. The city wants better protection from financial fallout among other issues.

Microsoft wants broad patent licensing deal with Motorola
After winning cases at home and abroad regarding its patent portfolio Microsoft has said that it wants to sign a deal with Motorola that will end the legal disputes between the two companies. Microsoft already licenses its ActiveSync technology to others including Samsung and HTC, according to IT World.

However in the case of Motorola, Microsoft is looking for a more all-encompassing deal, one that will include not just a select few patents but rather a great deal of their respective portfolios in order to achieve what Microsoft calls “A solid foundation for patent peace.”

Larger tablets can be heavy

Samsung thinking big with next-gen tablet?
Kudos to the Verge for digging into all of the documents from the ongoing Apple vs. Samsung trial in San Jose, Calif. Among the nuggets it has mined is the revelation that Samsung has a 11.8-inch tablet on the drawing board.

Code named P10 it would have the equivalent of Apple’s retina display with a 2560 x 1600 resolution and among its other features is LTE connectivity.

Google investing in YouTube effort
It looks like Google is going to invest $200 million in marketing its YouTube channels as it continues its transition of that platform from one in which the majority of content is user generated into one where there are a wide range of professionally created content.

It has over 100 channels now and currently is teamed with NBC to show the Summer Olympics. According to a piece in the Wall Street Journal, Google currently has already earned $150 million in ad commitments for this year.

Google to delay its Nexus Q digital streaming device
Google announced its Nexus Q music and video streaming platform to great fanfare a few weeks back at the company’s annual Google I/O conference in San Francisco. Expected to be quickly delivered to the market it looks like it has hit a bump in the road and its delivery is now delayed.

The people that preordered have been told that there is an indefinite delay but has offered them a free product. Multiple sources report that the device was beset by poor reviews and that the company will be seeking to enhance the device.

A Bikini Hockey League?
Sounds like the follow up ads after the Swedish Bikini Team that Old Milwaukee Beer ran years ago but no, someone is actually trying to launch a Bikini Hockey League. Actually it is a reality TV show that is based on a developer’s purported plan to create such a league.

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet leaked
It appears that the ever vigilant Verge has scored again, this time with details on the upcoming Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 that will be using Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system. The devices will feature an attachable keyboard and pen input as well as the usually features that users have come to expect.

Among the listed features for the tablet are that it will be powered by an Intel Clover Trail microprocessor, have 2GB of RAM and a 64GBs of storage with a 10.1 inch WXGA display. It will have a fingerprint reader and they keyboard will have trackpoint navigation.

MLB’s Powers that be endorse Expanded use of Instant Replay

Bud Selig, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball said last Friday that the sport plans to implement the extended use of instant replay. It will now also be used for trapped balls in the outfield, and to determine if balls down the first and third base line are fair or foul.

The league is now assessing the camera angle issues in each park to see what, if any difficulties it will have in placing cameras that have the needed angles. It is not likely that the extended replay will make an appearance prior to the start of next season

Cleveland Browns sell for $1 billion
At least that is what ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeting yesterday. It seems that James Haslam will be buying the Browns from Randy Lerner for that figure, with a $700 million initial payment and then a second one sometime down the road for $300 million more.

The team just underwent a major shakeup in top management a few years ago, notably luring Mike Holmgren into the front office by giving him the position of team president. Usually new management likes its own people in place so he could be back looking over some other execs shoulder in the near future.

Cleveland Browns

I do like the comment on the tweet that questioned why anyone would pay that much for such a poor franchise noting that a Hawaiian island just sold for $600 million, implying that might have been the better deal.

Lenovo to Enhance Focus on Tablets & Smartphones

Lenovo to Leap into Tablet Space Next Year

The Lenovo Group has started building a new facility as part of an overall plan to expand its offerings into the mobile Internet market and will be investing approximately $800 million over the next five years as it seeks to become a player in that market segment.

The goal of the project is two sided. It wants to optimize its supply chain but it also wants to enter what it calls the PC Plus space, that of the mobile internet with tablets, smartphones and other mobile appliances

This appears to be a reboot of its presence in these spaces as it already has both smartphone and tablet offerings available globally. I suspect it is taking a page from Dell’s playbook in going back to the drawing board to come up with a fresh offering that can stand alone on its own merits.

The new Lenovo Industrial Base will be used primarily as a research and development site for developing its tablets and smartphones with the intention of creating the first generation products for the huge Chinese market as well as the global space.

The company has aggressive sales expectations and foresees revenue of approximately $1.5 billion by 2014 with a 5 x increase in the following five years. I wonder if it has selected an operating system for its tablets and smartphones yet. I suspect that both Microsoft and Google are hat in hand touting the pros of their respective platforms and the cons of their rivals.