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Tag Archives: tablets

Wacom Bamboo Capture Multi-touch Tablet Reviewed, Verdict: Loaded Bargain.

There are two types of technology advancements that make headlines; new things that no one has ever seen before and breakthroughs in price that generate novel ways to implement existing technology. The Wacom Bamboo Capture tablet is the latter, thanks to its groundbreaking low price. At under $80, this will be the first tablet that many aspiring artists can afford. Most pressure sensitive graphics tablets start well over $500 and that price can keep people using pen and canvas. The combination of software and hardware package with the Create is impressive.

Somehow, Wacom has managed to stuff high end graphics tablet features in this inexpensive package. The tablet responds to both the included pen and finger touch. It can detect up to 1024 distinct levels of pen pressure for dark or light strokes on the fly. It has 4 buttons that are programmable but unfortunately not application aware. The big value-add shows up in the software that’s included with the tablet. Besides the custom Wacom that’s included, you also get Adobe Photoshop Elements 8. The list of software and features goes on. If you’re interested in what else is included or how it performed, check out the review at Everything USB.

[Wacom Bamboo Capture Review @ Everything USB]

Atmel’s maXStylus Will Supercharge Android Tablets

By David Ponce

Apple may have invented the market and is certainly hogging the lion’s share of it… but that hasn’t stopped the competition from trying to forge inroads. There’s a bunch of Android tablets on the market currently, and while many of these feature styluses (or is it stylii?), things should get kicked up a couple of notches with the forthcoming inclusion of Atmel’s maXStylus controller. Steve Jobs would call using a stylus horsecrap, but there are situations that demand its precision, familiarity and comfort: drawing, writing notes and complex equations are a couple of examples. With the maxStylus mXTS100 you’ll be able to use a 1mm tip stylus with an accuracy of +/- 0.25mm, excellent palm rejection, 256 pressure points sensing, 140Hz refresh rate and more importantly simultaneous finger/stylus input for image and text manipulation (a functionality Atmel calls multiSense). The maxTouch and maxStylus controllers are able to discern between your flesh and the tip of a stylus and open the door to an efficient workflow that feels both natural and precise.

The technology is being demoed to a few leading manufacturers (read Samsung) and should start seeing market inclusion in Q1 2012.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Xataka ]

Amazon Kindle Fire

Amazon Kindle Fire (Images courtesy Amazon)
By Andrew Liszewski

Even with an iPhone 5 or 4S probably being announced next week, I think Amazon may have just won the Christmas shopping season this year. They might not be able to keep a product as secret as Apple can, but their new Kindle Fire certainly has what it takes to compete with the iPad juggernaut as far as I’m concerned. If the HP/PalmOS escapade taught us anything, it’s that people are happy to snap up a tablet if it’s cheap, even if it’s not running iOS. But besides the astounding $199 price tag, it looks like Amazon is the first company to finally wrangle Android into a user experience that can rival what the iPad has to offer.

I’ve personally concluded that the iPad is too large for the way I want to use it. But the Kindle Fire, with its 7-inch multitouch, 1024×600 resolution display, sounds just about right. Of course it lacks a camera, GPS, 3G, video out and a lot of the frills that have become commonplace on other tablets these days. But I won’t miss them if their departure is what contributed to the Kindle Fire’s cheap(er) price tag.

It’s powered by a dual core processor which probably means the Kindle, at least this version, can finally handle PDFs with ease. And it even seems like Amazon has put a lot of work into making it great for surfing the web thanks to its new Surf browser which shares the load of accessing and processing a website between the tablet and the company’s cloud computing backend. While its 8 GB of storage might seem a little anemic in this day and age, the Fire is designed to be heavily integrated with Amazon’s Cloud service. So in theory you can keep all of your content off-device, but still access it as long as you have a wifi connection.

If anything, the Kindle Fire is the first non-Apple tablet to be announced that doesn’t make my eyes completely glaze over in utter apathy. Amazon may have raised the white flag when it comes to the tech spec war, but their decision to instead fight the content battle is sure to pay off in the long run. And like I said, if that November 15 ship date doesn’t slip, they’ll have no problem selling thousands of these before the end of the year.

[ Amazon Kindle Fire ]

Rocketfish PadPivot Turns Your Thighs Into A Desk

Rocketfish PadPivot (Image courtesy Rocketfish)
By Andrew Liszewski

Adding to a long list of similarly designed contraptions, the PadPivot from Rocketfish—one of Best Buy’s in-house brands—is supposed to solve the issue of comfortably holding a tablet for long periods of time. Like the thigh pocket on a fighter pilot’s flight suit that holds a map, the PadPivot tethers to your upper thigh, supporting the iPad, or any tablet or device with a flat back, via a mount and ball and socket joint. It seems flexible enough to make using a given device fairly comfortable, while a tether strap ensures it’s not going to fall off if you shift your position.

The device is attached to the PadPivot via one of those non-permanent sticky panels that you need to keep free of dust and particles for it to properly do its job. But a rinse under the tap and a few minutes of air drying is all it takes to refresh its tackiness. The whole thing folds down to a smaller form factor which makes it easier to carry and use away from home, and is available now, from Best Buy of course, for $39.99.

[ Rocketfish PadPivot ] VIA [ Ubergizmo ]

OhGizmo! Review – Sony Tablet S

Sony Tablet S (Image property OhGizmo!)
By Andrew Liszewski

Since the original iPad was released a few years ago, there have been a steady stream of new tablets coming from Apple’s competitors. Blackberry, Samsung, Motorola and a host of others have all released follow-up products to compete with Apple. But one of the biggest names in consumer electronics, Sony, has only recently unveiled their tablet offerings. And in true Sony fashion, they certainly stand out from the crowd.

The first to hit the market, the Tablet S, went on sale just days ago and Sony is hoping that their somewhat unorthodox design has what it takes to allure consumers away from Apple’s juggernaut. Or at the least, lure Android fans away from other Android-based tablets. We had the chance to spend a couple of weeks with the Tablet S, sans finalized firmware, and walked away with some distinct impressions of the latest tablet to cannonball into a market that’s getting more and more crowded every week. More after the jump.

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Logitech Doesn’t Think Your Tablet Is Loud Enough (Or Bulky Enough)

Logitech Tablet Speaker (Images courtesy Logitech)
By Andrew Liszewski

The iPad isn’t loud enough to compete with your average home stereo setup, but I think it’s adequate enough for personal use, or even with a small group. Logitech doesn’t think so though. In fact they feel that all tablets are severely lacking in the sound department, and so have created a clip on speaker to significantly improve their oomph.

Powered by a built-in rechargeable battery that’s good for up to 8 hours of use in optimal conditions, the Tablet Speaker attaches to any tablet with a rubberized clip. So while all the product shots show it in use with an iPad 2, it should also work with its competition. To maximize battery life it forgoes the popular wireless Bluetooth connection option in favor of a simple 3.5mm audio cable that connects to your device’s headphone jack. It looks like it’s going to add a bit of weight to whichever tablet you use, not to mention some unnecessary bulk. And with a price tag of ~$60 (EUR 39.99) it will cost you roughly as much as a pair of low-end, over the ear headphones. Which might be a better investment.

[ Logitech Tablet Speaker ] VIA [ Pocket-lint ]

ASUS Unveils Their Padfone, A Tablet That Gobbles Up A Smartphone

ASUS Padfone (Images courtesy ASUS)
By Andrew Liszewski

Most hardware manufacturers will happily sell you separate tablet and smartphone hardware, but ASUS has decided to merge the two with their new Padfone which was just unveiled at the Computex 2011 show currently taking place in Taipei, Taiwan. While technically the smartphone and tablet are separate hardware, the Padfone phone has to be placed inside the tablet for it to work. It’s not unlike the ill-fated Palm Foleo, or the Motorola ATRIX 4G. The Padfone runs Android not surprisingly, and on the tablet side it’s got a 10.1-inch 1280×800 resolution display that seamlessly increases and displays whatever it is you were doing on the smartphone before you docked it. So if you were viewing a mobile-friendly version of a website, it would automagically switch to the full version to take advantage of the larger display.

The tablet also has its own built-in rechargeable battery, which will top off the smartphone when it’s docked, and like the phone it sports its own front-facing camera for making video calls. It doesn’t have a camera on the back, but instead relies on the phone’s 5MP snapper which can still be used thanks to a strategic hole on the back for the lens. The wifi and 3G communications hardware on the phone are of course still accessible when using it as a tablet, which is nice since it doesn’t require a separate data plan. And as far as I can tell you’re limited to the storage available on the phone which means that you don’t end up with different media or photos on each device. ASUS says there’s a chance the Padfone could ship sometime this year, but given it’s almost June and its hardware specs aren’t officially finalized yet, I’m not going to hold my breath. (Because I’ll die.)

[ ASUS Padfone ] VIA [ SlashGear ]

HP’s New TouchPad Tablet

HP's TouchPad Tablet (Image courtesy HP)
By Andrew Liszewski

Well Palm, you had a pretty great run. You showed the world that a PDA didn’t need to have a battery sucking color display in order to be useful, and while the fantastic Pre didn’t end up being the saving grace you wanted/needed it to be, the fruits of your efforts will live on, even if your brand doesn’t. Yesterday HP revealed one of the reasons they bought Palm, in the not surprising form of their first non-Windows based tablet, the TouchPad.

Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-CPU 1.2GHz processor the TouchPad sports a 9.7-inch 1024×768 capacitive, multitouch display and for all intents and purposes isn’t remarkably different than the current generation iPad. It does sport a front-facing 1.3MP camera for making video calls, has Wifi, Bluetooth and cellular connectivity and all those fun, interactive toys like a gyro, compass and accelerometer. It will even ship with a beta version of Adobe Flash Player 10.1.2 for those who still think that’s relevant.

HP's TouchPad Tablet (Image courtesy HP)

But one of the more unique features that will make the TouchPad stand out in an already crowded market is the next generation of the Touchstone technology. It originally facilitated the use of an induction charging base with the Palm Pre, but with the TouchPad and new Pre3/Veer (also both revealed yesterday) the Touchstone technology will let you simply tap your smartphone on the tablet to share a URL between them. Hopefully it can be used to share other info like contacts and even the contents of your clipboard too, but that remains to be seen.

Pricing and availability for HP’s new toys are all TBA at this point, though with the iPad 2 looming hopefully it will be sooner rather than later.

[ HP TouchPad ]

Fable Kid-Friendly Tablet Announced

Fable Kid-Friendly Tablet (Image courtesy Isabella)
By Andrew Liszewski

If you’ve been leery about handing over your $500+ iPad to your young’n, the Fable, from the same company responsible for the connected Vizit digital photo frame and wireless sharing service, could be just the thing you need. It’s billed as the world’s first tablet designed specifically for children, because apparently the Etch A Sketch never existed.

The Fable sports a 7-inch, hi-res LCD display and features a touch-friendly carousel navigation UI that will let kids draw, play games and share content over the company’s mobile broadband network. It will also of course serve as an eReader since Isabella has teamed up with children’s and educational content provider Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. And since it’s from the same company responsible for the Vizit, the Fable will also include a built-in camera allowing kids to shoot and contribute photos to their family’s collection.

Now besides the PR linked to below, and the mocked-up product shot you see above, there’s not a lot of info on the new tablet which is slated to arrive sometime in mid-2011. But given the Vizit frame requires a monthly/annual mobile data plan I’m going to assume the same will apply to the Fable in order to really take advantage of all its features.

[ PR - Isabella Products Announces Partnership with Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to launch the World’s First Children’s Tablet ]