Is Samsung Taking Apple’s Market Share?

When this question was first put to me, my immediate thought was (adopts Jerry Seinfeld’s terrible English accent) “not bloody likely”. However, after a bit of research, I was surprised to find that it is, in fact true.

In February, research firm IDC confirmed that Samsung had doubled its tablet PC market share in the last three months of 2012. According to BBC news:

“Samsung, which makes the Galaxy range of tablets, sold 7.9 million units, up from 2.2 million a year ago, taking its market share to 15.1%. Market-leader and iPad-maker Apple saw its share slide to 43.6% from 51.7%, despite also seeing a jump in sales. The two have been competing to get a greater share of the tablet PC market, seen as key to their overall growth”.

IDC attributes this rise in growth to a rise in tablet sales generally and to a greater interest in portable technology in recent years. IDC’s Tom Mainelli said,

“New product launches from the category’s top vendors, as well as new entrant Microsoft, led to a surge in consumer interest and very robust shipments totals during the holiday season.”

Microsoft’s Surface only garnered a lukewarm response, shifting 900,000 units overall in the last three months of 2012. IDC believed that the high prices of the Surface (and Windows 8 tablets generally, no doubt) had hurt sales overall. The mixed reviews can’t have helped much, either.

So why has Samsung done so well? The reviews weren’t universally great. Matt Egan of PC Adviser.com, gave the Galaxy Tab 2 a tepid 3.5/5, saying,

“A year ago we liked the Tab 10.1, and for the second generation the hardware specs remain broadly the same, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 has a much better operating system. All for £100 cheaper than it was. We love the bright screen, and adding SD support and 1080p video capture are both improvements. The problem is the competition: the Nexus 7 in particular has changed the game for Android tablets, and is a little more than half the price of the Tab (albeit with a smaller screen, half the storage and no front-facing camera). Meanwhile the iPad remains a cut above for £100 more than the Tab 2 10.1”.

Meanwhile, Dave Oliver of Wired.co.uk said,

“It’s a step down from the Galaxy Note 10.1, but the Galaxy Tab 2 offers some serious improvement to its predecessor as a good value Android tablet with Ice Cream Sandwich and a fine screen”.

However, the Galaxy Note series is faring somewhat better. Reviewing the Galaxy Note 10.1, Mr. Oliver was a little bit more enthused. Saying,

“The Galaxy Note 10.1 is a top-end tablet with a price to match (same as the iPad, basically). It can’t beat Apple’s sales behemoth on its screen, but in terms of versatility, with its writing interface and expandable memory, plus a good quality camera and very fast quad-core processor, it just about slots in at the top of the Android tablet tree making it a worthy challenger to iPad domination”.

And a worthy challenger it would appear to be, as the Galaxy Note seems to be the reason for the sudden sales spike, at least the most of it. However, Samsung have been putting out quality products for a long time now and that particular trend is showing no signs of stopping, or even slowing down.

What can HP bring to the windows 8 table

The windows 8 take up for tablets has been slow, mostly down to the poor RT verson that came out before Christmas, HP have the first incarnation of their windows 8 tablets called the ElitePad, after their attempted efforts with the HP touchpad and the demise of their OS, this is the first time that HP have created a tablet that incorporates a different platform, having completely bypassed  the android market, their aim seems to be just on windows.

Read more here

The Newest Kindle in Town

Kindle has taken many shapes since the original little e-reader, now we have the Kindle fire and the kindle fire HD, both 7″ full android tablets, and then the original kindle was a huge success, but amazon aren’t a company that likes to sit on it’s laurels and they have improved the kindle ebook reader to include a back light to its paper-like screen, helping you to read in the day and at night. Read the full review here

What is 4K – How can a tablet get even brighter?

What is 4K? The term 4K refers specifically to the horizontal resolution of any screen that can display 3,800 pixels or more. By showing around 4,000 pixels, this technology can be used to increase picture quality, colour contrast and depth of field. TV screens are the best examples of this improved HD quality picture, although it is being developed in laptops and tablets.

OK, so What is 4K being used for?

Panasonic have released a 4K tablet, but it is a 20” screen, making it roughly twice the size of the original iPad. As for the laptop version, Toshiba are currently working on this particular problem. Despite the technology’s availability, the industry as a whole has been slow to standardize 4K output (particularly with regards to HDMI) and this serves as something of an impediment to its overall adoption. However, the incredible visuals provided by 4K and the positive customer response to ‘Ultra HD’ as a whole will almost certainly prove to be catalysts for change in this regard.

4K resolution is there to give you the best picture quality money can buy (at least until 8K becomes more widely available). Using 4K TV, your streamed content will look better than ever before (as will your Skype calls) and movies on Blu Ray will be simply astonishing. Such incredible picture will lead to a more immersive gaming experience as well, with the large-scale synthetic worlds of games like ‘Assassin’s Creed’ or ‘Grand Theft Auto’ taking on a new (and jaw dropping) level of realism. Even your old DVDs will sparkle when played on your Blu Ray Player, as 4K brings out the best in absolutely everything it touches.

With thousands of pixels, hundreds of colours and a picture so sharp it could draw blood – what’s not to love about 4K?

As I write this, I am reminded of that episode of ‘Futurama’ when Fry refused to leave his new house. Unless I’m mistaken, Leela scolded him, saying something like “you’re wasting your life watching TV, get out there and see the real world!” to which Fry responded “But this is HD TV, it has better resolution than the real world”. It is a conversation that will soon hit far closer to home than any jokes about robots or flying cars. That’s actually a shame; I really want a flying car robot.

The future is here, which works out well because, thanks to 4K resolution, it looks fantastic.

They Really are a Scree-um: The iPad Family

Sometime in the summer of 2002 (or was it 2003?), there was a knock on the office door. Knowing that it was the postman, I got up and answered it. There was nothing at all unusual about this experience. As usual, I had ploughed my birthday money into the acquisition of CDs and, since then, music of all genres, eras and styles had been arriving through the postbox on an almost daily basis. However, this time, the courier wanted my signature and held a strange device in my direction. It was, I would later discover, a Microsoft Tablet PC…

 

It was also both the first and the last time I would actually see one up close and personal.

 

I think I asked what it was, or at least commented on its interesting design. The courier grumbled something unintelligible and handed me the stylus. I jotted my signature on the screen, thanked the man and excitedly unwrapped my CD.

 

That story is only significant for one reason: if I had not used one to sign my name as recipient of a new CD, I would never have known that Microsoft had ever produced a tablet PC before last year.

 

Almost a decade later, I would have to have been living in a cave on Mars not to have heard about the iPad. Its image, notoriety and market power completely revolutionised the computer industry, to such an extent that we’re still feeling those effects three years later.

 

To better understand the appeal of the iPad (and why it succeeded where Microsoft’s earlier version did not), you need to understand people. Firstly, Human Beings are innately social animals; our complex societal leanings are probably the reason that we have evolved to this point in the first place. As such, when a product, idea or abstract concept becomes a hot commodity, everyone wants a piece of it. In addition, there’s the value of familiarity. The Microsoft Tablet was strange, offbeat and odd, not many knew of its existence and few publicly praised it as the future of computing. However, the iPad was like an iPod that could surf the net. It was therefore perfectly suited to its time and place.

 

Western youth culture had adapted considerably in the first decade of the 21st century. Social media, social networking and mile-a-minute ‘geek speak’ were in; whatever didn’t fit into the last three categories was out. Kids didn’t watch movies as much anymore, we watched the good bits from movies on ‘Youtube’ or else we just watched them being satirized so many times on TV as to get sick of the original before the copies.

 

We didn’t write to people, we emailed them. We didn’t phone people, we Skyped them. What we wanted was Internet on the go. Internet on phones was a start, but Internet on tablets just promised more. Microsoft Windows, with its fussy multiple options, ‘right click this, select that, input this number’ mentality was never going to cut the mustard in this lightning –paced world of progress and information.

 

Conversely, Apple iOS may have been limited by comparison, but you could use it on a train.

 

People always go for the easiest option. ‘Myspace’, a global powerhouse website (and must-have virtual commodity of the early 21st century), died a painful death at the hands of Facebook, a site that was, in many ways, vastly inferior. A Myspace page could be customized with music, textures, bells and whistles. With Myspace you could blog regularly, communicate every thought and feeling to your friends (you could even invent all new emotional states unique to you and you alone) and go into massive detail about everything. Facebook was restricted to status updates and feelings were reduced to ‘poke’ or ‘like’. Facebook may have given us a new way of reading the phrase ‘It’s complicated’, but the site really isn’t. In the end, simplicity was the victor.

 

Twitter is now gaining pace over Facebook, yet again, its far, far more restrictive, but it is much easier (so I’m told). People are trying to get through their increasingly complex lives with a minimum of fuss and, by that yardstick; the Apple iOS is the best operating system in the world.

 

Yes, you can probably do more on a Windows PC, but who gives a damn? We don’t have the time to figure out how.

 

I have used a Mac since 2005 and whenever I use a PC, I am armed only with fuzzy memories of GCSE classes and basic experience to guide me.

 

To return, briefly, to the subject of music: contrast the shimmering, challenging pop music of the 1960’s (with all its long interludes, references to obscure literature and esoteric musicality) with the pop of today’s generation. Essentially, its ‘McMusic’ by comparison, you get a beat, a chorus (usually delivered within 30 seconds of the song) and a rapper, all in just over two minutes. Its music stripped of content, soul and emotion, yes, but it succeeds because its, well, easier. McMusic is easier to find, easier to buy, easier to talk about and easier to forget.

 

Now, the iPad (and its related family) are far more evolved, because in addition to being ‘Mc’ technology that’s easier to operate than a packet of crisps, they are also the best portable technology that has ever been created, actually packing far more power into that little frame than anything ever has before. Nothing stands up to the iPad, seriously.

 

The iPad is, in short, a design classic.

 

That should explain at least some of the appeal of Apple’s main man.

 

Feature iPad 2 iPad 3 iPad 4 iPad mini
Display: 9.7-inch IPS LED-backlit 9.7-inch IPS LED-backlit 9.7-inch IPS LED-backlit 7.9-inch IPS LED-backlit
Resolution: 1024×768 2048×1536 2048×1536 1024×768
CPU: Dual-Core Apple A5 Dual-Core Apple A5X Dual-Core Apple A6X Dual-Core Apple A5
Graphics: PowerVR SGX543MP2 PowerVR SGX543MP4 PowerVR SGX543MP4 PowerVR SGX543MP2
Memory: 512 MB 1 GB 1 GB
Storage: 16, 32, 64 GB 16, 32, 64 GB 16, 32, 64 GB 16, 32, 64 GB
Camera: Front-facing: VGA | Rear-facing: 720p Front-facing: 720p | Rear-facing: iSight 5 MP Front-facing: 720p | Rear-facing: iSight 5 MP Front-facing: 720p | Rear-facing: iSight 5 MP
Data Rate: 3G 4G LTE 4G LTE 4G LTE
Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n 802.11 a/b/g/n 802.11 a/b/g/n 802.11 a/b/g/n
Bluetooth: 2.1 + EDR 4.0 4.0 4.0
Siri: NO YES YES YES
Accelerometer: YES YES YES YES
Compass: YES YES YES YES
Gyroscope: YES YES YES YES
GPS: 3G Version Only 4G Version Only 4G Version Only 4G Version Only

 

 

 

Cheap, but Maybe Not so Cheerful Tablets on a Budget

Back in April of 2010, when Apple’s iPad was first released, the industry response was somewhat tepid. Although Apple’s competitors regarded this new contraption higher than its spiritual predecessor (Microsoft’s eponymous ‘Tablet PC’ from the early 2000’s), they still weren’t sure about it.

Many pundits predicted doom for Steve Jobs and co, but even amongst the uncertainty, early adopters were hard at work reverse engineering the iPad or rapidly enhancing existing smartphone designs.

Soon, a major new market had emerged. It was big, it was clever and it was thriving. Inevitably, smaller companies wanted to get in on the action and it wasn’t long before a new range of Cheap Tablet PC models permeated the formerly exclusive sales charts. These ‘affordable’ models were, well, to be polite, a big giant load of arse. Cobbled together from cheap plastics, faulty circuitry and seemingly ready-scratched screens, these listless lumps of plastic were unresponsive, unreliable and clearly held together by happy thoughts and string.

For a while at least, it seemed as if the Cheap Tablet PC was little more than an oasis in the desert. The very idea that you could get a decent quality machine for less than top dollar amused some developers and offended others. However, tablet PCs have proved to be a great leveller and this is demonstrated by the sheer amount of manufacturers and models there are right now. In reality, it was only a matter of time before a viable and Tablet PC that actually resembled value for money was developed.

Last year saw a slew of tablet PCs (priced at just under or just over the £100 mark) that were well made, reliable and relatively high spec. Tablets like the CloudNine Neuropad, the Onda Vi40 and the NATPC M1OS came with features like the latest Android OS, Multi Touch screens, full HDMI output and SD-compatible memory. In addition to that, the new generation of Cheap Tablet PC stars boasted an attention to detail and careful design that, at times, was downright impressive. In 2012, tablets made with cheaper materials smacked of ‘making the best of it’ instead of simply ‘making a few bucks’. This was a good thing.

At the dawn of 2013, we can only hope that the Cheap Tablet PC revolution continues to pick up speed, as the newest batch of Windows 8 models are commanding prices that make the iPad look cheap. Basically, as the tech comes down in price, more and more new developers will enter the fray. As tablets become more prevalent, so, then, will a need for cheaper tablets increase.

Apple have demonstrated their commitment to the 7” format with last year’s ‘iPad Mini’…Let’s hope that the next Apple innovation will be a reduction in price as well as size.

 

iPad Nano anyone?

 

The Comparison between: the best 10 inch tablet and the best 7 inch tablet

So, for those of you out there who are uninitiated, tablet PCs come in two main sizes. They can be 7 Inch tablets, or 10 Inch tablets. Sounds simple enough, right? But between those two measurements lies a world of difference, debate and difficult decisions. Here, we will present the merits of both the 7 Inch and 10 Inch models and why you may want one more than the other.

 

NOTE: We are not here to take sides, we actually think of both tablets as being good for different reasons and we won’t be suggesting for a second that one style holds more merit than the other, of course. However, we will be critical of both and we will discuss the various pros and cons peculiar to each type of tablet.

 

The Best 10 Inch Tablet in Review

With large, clear screens and a somewhat ‘bulkier’ design, ten Inch tablets tend to feel that little bit more secure. If your eyesight isn’t quite as acute (for example if you are far sighted or near sighted), you’ll find a great deal of rewards in the ten-Inch screen. Most 10-Inch screens these days project crystal clarity, with an incredible array of colours and sights available to the user. A 10-Inch tablet is slightly more likely to be fully HD as well.

 

Another good point about the 10 Inch tablets is the touch screen function. On a smaller screen, the icons tend to be a little bunched together and it’s annoyingly easy to press the wrong one if you’re in a hurry. On a ten-Inch screen, however, you can forget about all that. The icons are clearly placed, easy to find and (on a good tablet) highly responsive.

Generally, 10-Inch tablets feel sturdier. Their increased heft allows for stronger bodywork and they are slightly more likely to incorporate harder plastics, rubber sides and even metals in the construction of their outer casing. A 10-Inch tablet can appear more professional as a result of this and seems less like an oversized smartphone.

 

So, with that in mind, a 10-Inch tablet is recommended for a desktop user who is likely to find the transition to a tablet to be somewhat difficult. You can get tablets (of both sizes) with attachable keypads, thus mimicking the main attributes of a desktop, but 7-Inch tablets tend to have smaller keypads which, once again, can be frustrating if the buttons are too close to each other.

 

If you aren’t planning on travelling with your 10-Inch tablet that often, it also makes a nice extra computer terminal. When placed on a stand in the corner of a room, the tablet can be used for quick net searches, catching eBay items at the last minute, playing your iTunes library or watching streamed TV. In this capacity, the extra size tends to be an advantage as opposed to a drawback.

 

So that’s the plus points of the 10-Inch tablet. It is bigger, bulkier and heavier, but it is also sturdier, clearer and more desktop-like. A useful item to have around the home, or else to take caravanning or bringing with you when you’re going away overnight, (you can watch movies with clearer picture and make better quality Skype calls home), a 10-Inch tablet is just that little bit more practical (and, it could be argued, a bit more user-friendly) than its little brother.

 

Best 7 Inch Tablet in Review 

The myth is that the bigger tablet tends to have access to more processing power due to its increased size, but this notion is just that, a myth. The truth is that smaller tablets tend to be designed with portability and price in mind more than processing power and, as such, the developers make them a little cheaper all round. This sometimes includes a slightly smaller CPU.

 

In reality, most 7 Inch tablets are just as powerful as their 10-Inch counterparts, but are also significantly more portable. A 7 Inch tablet will fit happily into most carry-on luggage or rucksack and can be taken out and booted up within a minute or so, allowing users to surf the web, play games or contact friends.

 

If you are a commuter who wishes to check your emails on the way to work, a 7 Inch tablet is probably going to be far more useful to you than a 10-Inch tablet. Likewise, if you’re buying a tablet for HDMI output and you just plan on streaming movies through your HD TV, there isn’t much point taking up the extra space, is there?

 

Of course, the 7 Inch tablet is lighter than its bigger brother. Not only does this give it a more cosmopolitan, phone-like image, but it also makes it far easier to carry than a laptop or a ten-Inch tablet PC. This, in turn, makes it far better for travelling abroad, commuting or simply going about your day. After a long day, a 7 Inch tablet in your handbag or rucksack can be a lot more pleasant than a 10 Inch one.

 

Because 7-Inch tablets are smaller, they tend to be more affordable as well. Even with the recent price hike (following the release of the new Windows 8 tablets), 7-Inch tablets will still cost less. They cost less to make and thus they cost less to buy, this means that, if money is an issue for you (and let’s face it, who is money not an issue for?), then you’ll probably end up looking at the 7-Inch tablets sooner or later.

 

Well, that’s the 7-Inch tablet’s plus points considered. Its smaller, cooler and far more travel friendly. The 7 Inch tablet is far better suited to providing HDMI output, travelling abroad and helping your wallet retain its pleasing, rounded, shape.

 

Which Size Do I Pick?

The truth is that a lot of tablets are designed to be specifically one size and one size only, but that even more are now being made in both. When Apple released the iPad Mini last year, they produced a model that was almost exactly the same as their 10-Inch version; this ably demonstrates that while some manufacturers consider the size of a tablet to be a major selling point, others do not.

 

These days, people from all walks of life are embracing tablets. People of all generations, creeds and social circumstances are buying them in their droves. It makes sense that they come in different sizes as they are used for so many different things. Tablet PCs are media players, they’re email checkers, they’re personal organizers, they’re File-O-faxes, they’re distractions, they’re phones, they’re games consoles, they’re lifestyle peripherals, they are, well, tablet PCs.

 

Of course, the final vote as to which size is better is the one you cast with your wallet and that, of course, will be the deciding vote for both yourself and the market as a whole. We fully expect to see ever-smaller tablets on the market in the future (although we doubt they’ll get much bigger) and perhaps we’ll even see these small tablets imbued with Augmented Reality (AR) interfaces that eliminate the need for all but the smallest screens. Right now, however, that’s just sci fi talking. The reality is that there are two main sizes of tablet, each with its own merits and drawbacks and that whichever one you pick, is ultimately your decision.

 

The 5 best Windows 8 tablets and laptops you can buy today

Laptops have major competition with the very fast emergence of the tablet, instead of trying to compete they have embraced with the emergence of the hybrid, here we have the run down of the best laptops, tablets and hybrids for 2013.

 

The clamshell laptop is finally joining the beige desktop in the museum of computer artifacts. The basic hinged design made its first appearance in a device called the Grid Compass way back in 1982, so no one can scoff at the clamshell’s longevity. Nonetheless, times are finally changing, which means it’s time for the pure clamshell laptop to ride off into the sunset. Read the rest of this entry »

CES 2013: The tablet that turns itself lumpy

 

Tablets have come a long way quickly, but when you watch this video you will be amazed at what you see. Tactus are a company in the US and have developed a technology called microfluidics, that makes the screen come to life.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Merry Christmas, wishing you a safe and Wonderful New Year

 

 

Merry Christmas to each person that has supported us this year, wishing you a safe and a Merry New Year Read the rest of this entry »