Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus Review

A year ago when Samsung threw its hat into the proverbial tablet ring – with the launch of Samsung Galaxy Tab – it was widely believed that Samsung had prematurely hashed out a device to compete with the iPad. The Samsung Galaxy Tab wasn’t the best looking device and it certainly fell short of its lofty expectations. The price, its form factor and interface left users wanting. However, a lot has changed since then. The Korean company has since launched a bevy of tablets, in a multitude of sizes. ‘Different strokes for different folks’ couldn’t be truer with Samsung, considering you now have a choice between 10-, 7- and 8-inch devices. And the new kid on the block is the direct descendent of the one that started it all. The $400 Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus comes to market as a cheaper, slimmer, and feature packed tab with a lot of expectation amidst a market that is inundated with options. So does the device live up to its billing? Read on for our full review.

The Outside

A tablet’s form factor has never been more important; manufacturers are constantly pushing the envelope by make devices slimmer and lighter, and Samsung seem to have taken things very seriously. The Samsung Tab 10.1 is currently the slimmest tablet available, measuring in at only 8.6mm in thickness (if you can call it that), the Samsung Tab 7.0 Plus is a little thicker with a thickness of 9.9mm. This may seem like a lot, but when held in the hand, things feel natural. With a 7-inch form factor there is less wiggle room and the weight of the device never felt like a hindrance.

Being a sleeker device translated to lighter device as well. The original tab weighed in 0.85lbs and the Tab Plus shaves that down to 0.76, which may not seem as much but rest assured it’s a fairly light gadget.

A big complaint with the original Galaxy Tab was the device’s cheap exterior and plastic-ky materials. The Tab Plus has made amends to some extent; although the tablet it still encased in plastic, the back material is given a brushed metal finish that is aesthetically pleasing and nice to grip. The device doesn’t look tacky by any means and at a quick glance you would be forgiven for thinking it is indeed encased in aluminum.

Upon picking up the tab, you will be greeted by a 7-inch diagonal display with a resolution of 1024×600, which is pretty much standard amongst its competition. The screen is very bright and does a good job with colour rendering, and has forgiving viewing angles. If you plan to view some questionable content on your daily train commute, be rest assured your neighbor is going to get a good clear peak. Double-edged sword? The AMOLED panel doesn’t bleed colours like in earlier Samsung phones, and does a fairly good job. Unfortunately the upcoming Tab 7.7 will sport a SUPER AMOLED display with a higher resolution. You just can’t keep up with technology these days.

The Tab Plus runs Android Honeycomb, and with the new software, Google did away with the need for capacitive keys. Besides the volume rocker and the power button, there are no physical buttons to be found on this device. To the top right corner of the tablet you will find the standard 1.3MP front facing camera beside the earpiece grill that lays dead center. To the right on the side, there is the standard power button and volume rocker, both of which are raised ever so slightly. A welcome and intriguing addition is the presence of an IR blaster that we will come on to later on in the review. On the bottom, one will find the standard connector port, stereo speakers and a microphone. Up top you will find the customary 3.5mm headphone jack, and microSD card slot on the left.

The Inside

The Samsung Tab Plus is the beneficiary of a slew of new innards, from the Exynos 1.2GHz dual core processor to a healthy 1GB RAM and — the soon to be outdated– Android Honeycomb 3.2 software it runs. Google purists may shudder on finding out that the Tab Plus doesn’t offer the pure Honeycomb experience, since Samsung have layered their proprietary TouchWiz UI atop Android. However, this really isn’t a bad thing. In previous tablets and phones TouchWiz was clunky and merely a hindrance, but this isn’t the case here. The UI is rather lightweight and a suite of Samsung specific apps are a welcome addition.

Social Hub:

The app plays the part of a content aggregator, bringing together your Facebook, Twitter, Email and LinkedIn content in a no frills hub which is very easy to navigate. Setting up accounts is a breeze and if you don’t want the hassle of downloading third party apps, this will do just fine.

 Media Hub:

Media hub does exactly what it says on the tin; it serves as hub for a host of rentable, purchasable content. The content is pretty expansive, although the prices are less than favourable. You are probably better off looking for content on Amazon. For browsing through trailers and clips, Samsung’s Media hub will suffice.

Samsung Apps:

The Android Store has recently undergone a number of facelifts to make app discoverability easier, but Samsung felt the need to add a standalone app to aggregate the best apps for tablets – and we love it. Samsung Apps has a slick UI and is constantly updated with the best apps for tablets from a variety of categories. Furthermore, a ‘Friends’ mode allows you to look at what apps your friends are currently using.

Samsung Peel:

This feature is a heavily touted feature on the Tab Plus, and rightly so. Peel serves as a multimedia remote that plays nice with your television and cable service. Using the IR blaster, you can quickly take control of your TV and thumb through cable listings all on your tablet. The Peel remote is painless to setup; specify your television set (supports Samsung, LG, Sony, Toshiba and more), cable provider and you are off and running. Using Peel, you can setup reminders for your favourite shows and even record content if you use a DVR (Tivo, Comcast). While listings weren’t always up to date, the remote does a pretty good job and making your antiquated remote redundant. Peel isn’t perfect, but it does a great job on the whole and future software updates may iron out any creases.

The Downside

The Tab Plus received a significant spec bump, yet however there are still some nagging issues. When rotating the screen from portrait to landscape there is a significant delay in transformation. Even with no background apps running, this issue seemed to plague the device. Furthermore, when switching between apps we noticed a delay, which was compounded with more apps being run in the background. Given that the Tab Plus is running some pretty solid hardware, this is strange. However when swiping between home screens, the movement is fluid.

The display is a bright and vivid one, yet it feels lacking. The pixel density for this screen is 150ppi but it doesn’t quite cut it when viewing high definition pictures. The pixilation is evident when looking close up, but its not the worst thing in the world.

Tablets are not known for their camera prowess, yet I have some bones to pick with the camera on the Tab Plus. The 3MP sensor does a decent job in bright conditions yet, colours appear faded and washed out. Don’t even bother taking pictures at night –even with the bright LED flash—as the results are less than satisfactory. If you are going to use the cameras for video chat, then you will not have any issues. Just don’t expect a point and shoot replacement here. Camera settings are however plentiful.

Shooting modes include a panorama setting and ‘action shots’ for fast moving subjects. Annoyingly there is no dedicated camera button, so self-portraits are out of the question. The HD video capture is so-so, playback is smooth but panning quickly during capture will yield pixelated results.

The camera isn’t the best, but take this with a pinch of salt, because it is more than satisfactory for all intents and purposes.

Here are a couple of photos taken using the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus with and without the flash.

 

The Upside

Straight out of the box the Tab Plus was spectacular in the battery run down test. On half a charge, with some light content surfing the tablet lasted for 5 hours. On a full charge, I was able to go nearly 2 days with light usage without have to run to the nearest plug. With heavy use (video downloads, HD playback and app downloads) the tablet lasted north of 7 hours, which is very impressive for such a slender device.

In my extended tests, watching HD content was extremely satisfying. When watching full HD runs of Luther, playback was flawless with almost no ghosting or lag, thanks mainly to the blistering Exynos processor onboard. As far a media consumption goes, this tablet is quite a gem. Samsung has obviously set their sights on this space, with the inclusion of apps like the Peel Remote and Media Hub.

In closing

The Tab Plus is a mixed bag, the screen resolution and minor UI stutters are a tad annoying, yet it provides great multimedia experience on the whole. At $399 its $100 more expensive than the competing Kindle Fire, but the extra money gets you the full Android experience, cameras, and better multimedia functionality.

Samsung have a higher-end 7.7-inch device on the horizon, but for the time being the Tab 7.0 Plus is definitely a significant upgrade from the original Tab and an option worth considering. As far as 7-inch tablets go, this one is sitting pretty on top of the pile.

Check out the Gallery Below for all the Photos and Screen-shots of the device.

Motorola Xoom 2 and Xoom 2 Media Edition launched in the UK

Motorola isn’t a part of Google just yet, and their Xoom tablet, which was the hardware platform on which Honeycomb (Android 3.0) was launched wasn’t anywhere close to being a hit for Moto (they reportedly sold just 100,000 units). Well, they’ve now launched not one, but 2 new Xoom series tablets. They’re the Xoom 2 (10.1″ screen) and the Xoom 2 Media Edition (8.2″ screen).

Here’s the specs:

  • Processor: 1.2 GHz Dual Core
  • Display: 10.1″ (Xoom 2), 8.2″ (Xoom 2 Media Edition) 1280 x 800 Display
  • Camera: 1.3MP Front Facing Camera, 5MP rear camera with LED Flash
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM, 16GB for media
  • OS: Android 3.2 (Honeycomb)

The new tablets will be available soon in the UK and Ireland. No word on availability elsewhere.

Have a look at the tablets and read the press release below.

 

Motorola Mobility Launches Two New Tablets in the UK and Ireland

Motorola XOOM 2 and Motorola XOOM 2 Media Edition™ are powerful, portable and ready to take on the world

Nov. 03, 2011

LONDON – November 3, 2011 – Building on the success of Motorola XOOM™, Motorola Mobility is rocking the tablet world yet again with two additions that bring enhanced experiences to the European market. Wi-Fi variants of the Motorola XOOM 2™ and Motorola XOOM 2 Media Edition™ – boasting powerful productivity, rich entertainment and customizable experiences — are now available: the answer to consumers looking for a tablet that can keep up with their lifestyle. Both tablets will be available at Carphone Warehouse in the UK and Ireland, as well as Best Buy, PC World, Dixons and Currys in the UK.

“Tablets are quickly becoming a must-have tool for staying connected, getting work done and having fun at home and on the road,” said Victoria McManus, marketing director UK & Ireland, Motorola Mobility. “We are very excited about these two new additions to our tablet portfolio that build on the success of the original Motorola XOOM to now deliver more powerful tablet experiences to the European market.”

The new Motorola XOOM 2 and Motorola XOOM 2 Media Edition both feature Android 3.2, a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor, brilliant displays with Corning® Gorilla® Glass and a splashguard coating for a go anywhere, do everything attitude. In addition, both tablets include the new MotoCast™ app that lets you stream all your music, photos, videos and documents between your PC or Mac and tablet without any media tools, apps, or cords.

Motorola XOOM 2: Lighter and Brighter
Motorola XOOM 2 with Wi-Fi sports a 10.1-inch widescreen HD display and Android 3.2 Honeycomb like its predecessor, but the similarities end there. The display is brighter and more vibrant than before with colour enhancement, and the edges have been strategically designed to make the tablet more comfortable to hold — this tablet is easy on the eyes, and easy on the hands. It is compatible with the optional Motorola Stylus that is great for note-taking, hand-writing emails and sketching. Motorola XOOM 2 is loaded with Business Ready features like VPN support and data encryption.

Motorola XOOM 2 with Wi-Fi features MOTOPRINT integrated into key apps so you can print wirelessly from your tablet. It is approximately 100 grams lighter than the original Motorola XOOM to make it even easier to take on the road, and can withstand poolside use, spilled drinks or dashes out to the car in the rain thanks to its new splash-guard coating. A battery delivering more than 10 hours of video playback means it can go with you wherever you need to be.

Motorola XOOM 2 Media Edition: Beat your Boredom
Motorola XOOM 2 Media Edition with Wi-Fi is easy to hold with one hand thanks to its 8.2-inch display, and easy to take with you wherever you go, weighing less than the best-selling paperback you’ve been carrying around. Optimised for entertainment, it has a wide, 178 degree viewing angle. Hold it up to someone across the room, or share it with someone sitting next to you, and everyone gets a brilliant view.

Motorola XOOM 2 Media Edition has a 20 percent improvement in graphics performance over the original Motorola XOOM for smoother gaming, features adaptive virtual surround sound with booming bass that’ll delight your ears, and stands out from the crowd with the fastest multi-tasking in its class. It can even be a universal remote control for home AV equipment with the personalized, custom remote control app pre-loaded on the tablet. Lastly, a splash-guard coating provides extra protection against the spills that are bound to happen when you’re having fun.

Accessories to connect to your life easier, from anywhere

With the Work and Play kit, plug your tablet into the HD Multimedia Station to connect to your HDTV, speakers and other peripherals for large-screen entertainment. Get more done, faster with the included keyboard and mouse with Bluetooth technology. Now, when your tablet is docked, the Smart Controller lets you MC the show from the comfort of your couch. For Motorola XOOM 2, no accessory discussion is complete without mentioning the Motorola Stylus with Precision tip – your tablet’s best friend.

Technical Details

 

Motorola XOOM 2Motorola XOOM 2 Media Edition
Processor1.2GHz dual-core processor1.2GHz dual-core processor
SoftwareAndroid 3.2 HoneycombAndroid 3.2 Honeycomb
Display10.1” HD display with Corning® Gorilla® Glass8.2” HD display with Corning® Gorilla® Glass
Special featuresSplash-guard and special flattened edges for easier holdingDisplay optimisation for wide viewing angles that are perfect for video
Camera1.3 MP front and 5 MP rear-facing HD cameras with digital zoom, auto focus, and LED flash1.3 MP front and 5 MP rear-facing HD cameras with digital zoom, auto focus, and LED flash
Memory1GB RAM; 16 GB storage1GB RAM; 16GB storage
Battery life10+ hours Web usage or over 1 month stand-by6+ hrs Web usage and more than 3 days of music playback
Sound3D virtual surround soundAdaptive virtual surround sound with multiple speakers and booming bass
Dimensions253.9 mm x 173.6 mm x 8.8 mm139 mm x 216 mm x 8.99 mm
Weight599 g386 g
Enterprise featuresBusiness Ready with enterprise-grade security and Active Sync for work email, contacts and calendar. USB and Ethernet connectivity, pre-loaded Citrix® Receiver® and Citrix® GoToMeeting®. Preloaded with MotoCast so you can access and stream your files from your PC or Mac to your tabletPreloaded with MotoCast so you can access and stream your files from your PC or Mac to your tablet
Preloaded applicationsAccess to Google Mobile Services, including Goog

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer TF101 – Android Tablet Reviewed

With the abundance in range of tablets on offer these days, you can say one is somewhat spoilt for choice when making a decision. Adding to this, Android clearly has a staggering variety in this department, what with almost every electronics manufacturer looking to release an Android tablet nowadays. So it is only fitting that Asus – the company that gave birth to the netbook – would seek to put out an Android tablet into a forte it knows well.
Enter the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer – a sleek piece of hardware that ‘transforms from a glossy slab of tablet technology to that all too familiar design of the notebook we’ve come to appreciate; all this with minimum fiddling on the keyboard dock (Yup, you guessed right – the dock was a bit of a sore point, but we’ll get to that in a minute).
For you impatient lot, here’s a quick rundown of the technical specifications:

  • Dimensions:  271mm x 175mm x 12.95mm
  • Display : 10.1 inch IPS (1280 x 800)
  • Weight : 675g
  • Processor : 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 (2x Cortex A9) SoC
  • Operating system: Android Honeycomb 3.2
  • Storage: 16GB + microSD card
  • Battery Life: 10 hrs (+ 6.5 hrs with keyboard dock)
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-fi (802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n)
  • Pricing: $399 ($429 including keyboard dock)

The Build

The overall build of the tablet is quite solid with a single sheet of glass covering the IPS LCD, a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera and an ambient light sensor. Surrounding the 20mm black bezel is a strip of bronzed metal which gives the Transformer a distinct sense of quality. Also housed on this strip are the usual suspects – a well-placed power/lock button, volume rocker, microSD card slot, mini HDMI 1.3a port, mic/headphone jack, stereo speakers on the lower left and right edges respectively (although don’t expect to bring the house down with these) and a proprietary connector along with coupling holes for the keyboard dock at the bottom. A 5.0-megapixel rear-facing camera and the customary ASUS logo bring up the back panel, which features a somewhat striking etched, geometric pattern oddly reminiscent of the internalized Honeycomb OS.

The OS

Google’s OS for tablets – Honeycomb, has been well-documented since its release. Although a bit clunkier than Apple’s iOS in terms of overall layout and organization, it still easily manages to hold its own. The interface is almost a breeze to work with in terms of customizations and little things like the email, location and weather widgets that blend in seamlessly with wallpapers/skins. ASUS’ on-screen keyboard also has some nifty shortcuts and tweaks that might make life easier for some (or not). Other custom services include MyCloud – ASUS’ cloud computing initiative, which bundles three portals to help carry your world wherever you go. Also included is Polaris Office, a Movie Studio app and a bunch of reader app’s among other freebies. At the time of writing, the review piece was running the latest version of the Android tablet OS, Honeycomb 3.2 – some of the new features included screen compatibility for fixed-sized apps, media sync from SD card and some subtle performance optimisations among other revisions to its predecessor.

As mentioned before, with the range of Android tablets on offer these days, tablet manufacturers are always looking for some kind of unique selling point. This holds more true due to the fact that most Android tablets are packing near-identical innards.

The Keyboard Dock

So it would seem natural that ASUS would try to position a product that offered the convenience and portability of a tablet along with the functionality of a netbook.  A detachable keyboard, as that USP, provides some reason for excitement. The attachment bears a netbook-sized QWERTY keyboard (with several Honeycomb-specific keys), a surprisingly large trackpad, and a hinge where the tablet docks. The build of the keyboard attachment is exactly the same as the tablet itself and the sides here are adorned by two USB 2.0 ports, an SD card slot and that familiar proprietary connector. Why you ask? Well, the docking station has its own rechargeable battery, which ASUS claim adds an additional 6.5 hours to the overall battery life. All this sounds well impressive but we’re now going to come back to that kick in the shin – docking the tablet to the keyboard is an absolute skirmish! On more than a few occasions you’ll find yourself blindly shoving the tablet into the docking station, with their union only being hinted by the little silver tab clicking into place – if not, a deceiving ‘fit’ might lead to heartaches not even Criss Angel will be able to fix with all his magic tricks! But the pros of this attachment easily outweigh the cons, making it a worthy sidekick to the tablet against its able-bodied Android competitors.

The Camera

The Asus Tablet comes with two cameras, a front facing 1.2 Megapixel camera and a rear 5 Megapixel camera. You can use the frontfacing one for video chat using Skype and other apps. The rear 5 MP camera is a disappointment though, the quality of the images is not up to the mark, and forget video capture, the best you can get is some jerky videos, not worth the effort. But then I don’t see many people holding up a 10 inch tablet and moving around clicking too many snaps or videos.

Hardware Connectors

This is where the Asus Transformer does gain some plus points over other tablets. The tablet itself comes with the following connectors:

  • A MicroSD card slot
  • HDMI connector
  • Headphone jack which also works as a microphone input
The Keyboard dock extends the tablet’s capability by providing these options
  • 2 x USB 2.0 connectors, which supports USB OTG (On-the-Go), this lets you connect your mouse, USB drives and other devices to your tablet, as long as they don’t draw too much power from the device
  • A card reader  (MMC/SD/SDHC) for you to slam in your cards from your Camera to directly copy photos or media to the tablet.
These options make the tablet almost as powerful as your general netbook. Which is a good thing for people on the go. You don’t really have to carry another netbook along with you on your travel, this baby should take care of most ( or all) of your computing and connectivity needs.

The Final Word

Well, let’s face it – it’s definitey no iPad-killer.. Even with the flash support trump card, a sparse Honeycomb OS will find itself playing catch-up with the hardware for sometime to come. However, if you can get to grips with this fact and move on then you have a fabulous piece of technology that’s a joy to work/play around with. And so what if it’s not the ‘next big thing’ you’ve been looking out for? A high-quality IPS display, superiour design, excellent keyboard integration and value for money ($399 is definitely one of the cheapest, the dock sets you back another $150) easily set this apart from it’s closest competitors; and for this it gets a well-deserved 8/10 from us. Optimus & prime’d!

If you’re planning on getting one, here’s the Amazon link to the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer TF101 Tablet and the Asus Keyboard/Docking Station for Eee Pad Transformer. For more information about the product, check the Asus Site.

Image Gallery

Sketchbook Pro comes to Honeycomb

Tired of doodling your masterpiece designs on napkins or the tiny confines of your smartphone? Well, worry not… you can now do it on your Android tablet of choice; Enter – Sketchbook Pro for Honeycomb – that familiar paint and draw software we’ve all come  to love! After being available on the iPad, iPhone and Android phones for a while now, the software finally makes it’s debut on Android’s tablet-optimised OS, Autodesk (makers of the popular 3D design software AutoCad) announced on Tuesday.

SketchBook Pro is essentially a digital canvas and brush set that enables you to transform your tablet into the ultimate sketchbook. It’s intuitive interface not only appeals to new users but also delivers the quality expected by professionals.

It allows the use of both your fingers and aftermarket styluses to create designs ranging from simple illustrations to complex architectural and automotive designs.With over 60 different brush tools and the ability to create up to six different layers for one file, it also allows you to save and to export your project to Photoshop.

With over 5 million downloads across all platforms, this ones’ worth its $5 price tag and will be available through the Android Marketplace to users running Android version 3.0 and up on their tablets. There is also a free (less feature-rich) app for the try-before-buy kinds. Head past the break to check out the SB Pro in action.

Head over to the Autodesk site to download Sketchbook pro/trial for your Honeycomb tablet, here.

You can also download the iPad app here, and the Mobile App (for iPhone, iPod Touch) here and (Android Phones) here.

Google to make all Android Apps compatible with Tablets

Honeycomb, the Android OS specifically for tablets, has been criticized quite a bit , mainly because of the lack of applications that are tablet specific. Most apps are not made for the large, higher resolution displays, and as such aren’t really “fully” compatible. Well, Google has stepped in to address that, stating that in the near future release of honeycomb, there will be an option to toggle between stretching the app display to fill the screen, or zooming in to fill the screen.

From the post of the Android Developers Blog:

Android tablets are becoming more popular, and we’re pleased to note that the vast majority of apps resize to the larger screens just fine. To keep the few apps that don’t resize well from frustrating users with awkward-looking apps on their tablets, a near-future release of Honeycomb is introducing a new screen compatibility mode to make these apps more usable on tablets. If your app is one of the many that do resize well, however, you should update your app as soon as possible to disable screen compatibility mode so that users experience your app the way you intend.

Beginning with the upcoming release, any app that does not target Android 3.0 (set either android:minSdkVersionor android:targetSdkVersion to “11” or higher) or does not explicitly set android:xlargeScreens="true"in the <supports-screens> element will include a button in the system bar that, when touched, allows users to select between two viewing modes on large-screen devices.

“Stretch to fill screen” is normal layout resizing (using your app’s alternative resources for size and density) and “Zoom to fill screen” is the new screen compatibility mode.

When the user enables this new screen compatibility mode, the system no longer resizes your layout to fit the screen. Instead, it runs your app in an emulated normal/mdpi screen (approximately 320dp x 480dp) and scales that up to fill the screen—imagine viewing your app at the size of a phone screen then zooming in about 200%. The effect is that everything is bigger, but also more pixelated, because the system does not resize your layout or use your alternative resources for the current device (the system uses all resources for a normal/mdpi device). In cases where an app does not properly resize for larger screens, this screen compatibility mode can improve the app’s usability by emulating the app’s phone-style look, but zoomed in to fill the screen on a tablet.

Interesting workaround, and if it really does give me access to a lot of the feed/news apps for Android phones, it’ll be really useful. Read the rest of the post over at the Android Developers Blog, here.

Tablet Roundup: What can you get over here in India?

This year has seen an explosion in the Tablet world, and while that’s awesome for the technophile, the average consumers and the technophobes are probably confused! So, what do you buy? I can’t tell you that, but I’ll try and tell you what’s out there (in India, as of this date of course).

So here’s what this post is about:

  • A list of what’s available as of now
  • How much it (probably Costs)
  • What’s good about it

Here’s what it’s NOT about:

  • What to buy

First up, and this one is THE big one. Obviously, I’m talking about the:

Apple iPad

Well, more specifically, I’m talking about the iPad 2 here. The second coming of the tablet that stormed the world, and literally SET UP the tablet market (you can argue all you want, but if it wasn’t for the iPad, no one would have bought tablets).

For a change, Apple decided the launch the iPad 2 way ahead of their usual “a year after the rest of the world”. You can look it up over the Apple Page.

You get it in 2 main variations; WiFi only or WiFi + 3G, with 16, 32 or 64 GB of storage. What you get is a 1GHz dual core Apple A5 processor, a 9.7″, 1024X768 Multitouch LCD with IPS (in plane switching).You also have a camera round the back that shoots 720p video, and a VGA front facing camera. And of course, access to the App Store, which now has over 100000 apps specifically tailored for the iPad. And brilliant battery life.

Prices start at INR 29,500 for the 16GB WiFi only model, going up to 46,900 for the 64GB WiFi+3G model.

Now onto what Steve Jobs called the copycats. Let’s start with the tablet that brought Honeycomb out.

Motorola Xoom

The Xoom brought Honeycomb (Android 3.0), the Android Version built specifically for tablets with it. And it completely failed to inpress back then. Right now, it comes with Android 3.1, which promises performance and battery life improvements.

So what do you get? A 1GHz Dual Core NVidia Tegra 2 Processor, 1 GB DDR2 RAM, a 10.1″ 1280×800 LCD Display, a 5MP Rear camera that shoots 720p videos, a 2MP Front cam, Flash Support and your usual connectivity options. You can find more specs on the Motorola Product Page.

I haven’t had the chance to play with this, but from all reports, it’s quite bulky. Flipkart lists this at INR 38,990 for the 32GB WiFi+3G version, which is the only one available here.

Acer Iconia Tab A500

The Honeycomb Tablet that currently might just be worth buying (at least until the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 8.9 come out) seems to be the A500. Similar specs as the Motorola Xoom, except it’s MUCH thinner. It comes with 16GB inbuilt, and you can expand that through a Micro-SD card. The WiFi+3G model is around INR 27,900.

More specs over at the Acer Product Page.

If windows is more your kinda thing, Acer has you covered there too.

Acer Iconia Tab w500

Now, a little different here. The Iconia Tab W500, runs on Windows 7 Home Premium, has a 10.1″ 1280X800 Multitouch Capacitive LCD Screen, has a Dual Core AMD Fusion C-50 Processor and the AMD Radeon HD 6250 GPU, 2GB DDR3 RAM, 1.3MP Cameras Front & Back, Ethernet Port, USB Ports, has an optional Keyboard Dock, and the Acer RING interface to get you around Windows 7 on a touch device. Check it out over at the Acer Product Page.

It’s available for around INR 32,000.

Different again, it’s the;

Blackberry Playbook

The Playbook by RIM is something truly differnet. It’s something you should get if you already have a Blackberry. It Runs QNX, has a [email protected] 1024×600 LCD display, a 1GHz Dual Core Processor with 1GB RAM, and offers flash support. Multitasking on the playbook was pretty awesome. It’s almost like WebOS. Although, if you don’t have a Blackberry (which you use with the Playbook using the Bridge Feature), do keep in mind that there is NO email or calendar app at the moment. It should come with a future update, but until then, you need to use the browser. Which is quite good.

Check it out over at the Blackberry Product Page. Flipkart lists it at 28,000 for the 16GB model, going up to 38,000 for the 64GB model. Oh yeah, it’s WiFi only.

More Mundane Choices?

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7

Launched a while back, the Galaxy Tab 7 runs a 1GHz CPU, has a 7″ 1024×600 display, has a 3MP camera at the back that can shoot 720p video, 1.3MP camera up front, and runs Android 2.2 (Froyo). It should get Gingerbread (2.3) sometime soon, so keep your fingers crossed. You can use this as an oversized phone, although it doesn’t have a speaker grill for voice, so you need a wired or a bluetooth headset. It should be available for around INR 22,000 now.

Read more about it over at the Samsung Product Page.

Finally, there’s another 7″tablet to look at;

HTC Flyer

While the Flyer isn’t a Honeycomb Tablet (it runs Gingerbread aka Android 2.3.3), it does offer something unique. First up, the specs. It has a 1.5GHz Single Core CPU from Qualcomm, 1GB Ram, 32GB internal memory, expandable via Micro-SD cards, a 7″ 1024×600 LCD Screen, a 5MP camera at the back and a 1.3MP camera up front. The unique bit is part hardware, part software. It uses a Scribe Pen to pretty much do anything on the tablet. You can scribble, add footnotes, highlight text, write notes, etc. That’s quite neat! The 32GB WiFi+3G model should cost around INR 38,900.

Check out the HTC Product Page for more details. And check out the video below for more info on what it’s all about.

Now a tablet that you should definitely look into, because it’s INDIAN! Talking about the;

Notion Ink Adam

Notion Ink is a new entrant into the Tablet Industry, but it is a company that was formed to do just this. They’ve created a huge buzz, including being featured on Techcrunch (1)(2). What you get, apart from the design itself which is quite unique, is a NVIDIA Tegra 250 Dual Core Processor, 10.1″ 1024×600 Display, 1GB DDR2 RAM, 1GB SLC, 8 GB Flash Storage expandable by Micro-SD, a 3.2MP auto-focus Swivel Camera, WiFi, Bluetooth and 3G radios, HDMI out, and USB 2.0 Host Connectivity. It also has the Eden Interface, which is sort of a panel based system with easy access to multiple panels with widgets and shortcuts. Check out the Eden interface in the video below. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that it’s an Indian outfit, based out of Bangalore? You can order your Adam HERE.

PS: I might have lied a little about the what to buy bit.

Sony S1 & S2 Tablets announced

Back in February, Engadget posted about a 9.4″ Sony Tablet that would be named the S1 and would be running Honeycomb (aka Android 3.0). Turns out Sony have officially gone ahead and announced that, and the 5.5″ Dual Screen S2 tablet. And of course, they’re Sony Products, so design-wise they’re really interesting!

They both have Tegra 2 dual core processors, WiFi and 3G. The S1 also has DLNA and can be used as a Universal Remote for the Bravia Series of AV products (through an IR Port).

Anyways, here’s a quick video of the tablets and the Press Release from Sony:

 

Sony Announces Optimally Designed “Sony Tablet” with Android 3.0 that Complements Network Services for an Immersive Entertainment Experience

-Also strengthening VAIO in expanding PC markets-

[ad#ga-cbox-right]Sony Corporation (“Sony”), announces “Sony Tablet” that delivers the perfect combination of hardware, content and network with seamless usability for a high-quality, engaging entertainment experience. Based on decades of engineering heritage, Sony is developing two tablets with unprecedented design, including S1 (codename) which is optimized for rich media entertainment and S2 (codename) which is ideal for mobile communication and entertainment. “Sony Tablet” will become available in the global market starting in fall 2011.

“Sony Tablet” is equipped with the latest Android 3.0 which is designed for devices with larger screen sizes, particularly tablets. Both tablets are WiFi and WAN (3G/4G) compatible and users can not only browse the internet or check e-mail but they can also smoothly access digital content including videos, games and books through Sony’s premium network services and more, on-the-go at any time.

S1 has a 9.4-inch display for enjoying the web and rich content on a large screen. Its off-center of gravity design realizes stability and ease of grip as well as a sense of stability and lightness, offering comfortable use for hours.

S2 has two 5.5-inch displays that can be folded for easy portability. In contrast to existing tablets, its unprecedented dual screen presentation and usability allows its displays to be combined and used as a large screen or for different functions such as playing video on one screen while showing control buttons on the other.

“‘Sony Tablet’ delivers an entertainment experience where users can enjoy cloud-based services on-the-go at any time. We’re aiming to create a new lifestyle by integrating consumer hardware, including ‘Sony Tablet’ with content and network,” said Kunimasa Suzuki, Corporate Executive, SVP, and Deputy President of Consumer Products & Services Group.

“Android 3.0 is a new version of the Android platform with a new holographic user interface that is designed from the ground up for devices with larger screen sizes, particularly tablets. I’m excited about “Sony Tablet” as it will further spur the development of applications and network offerings which users are looking for.” said Andy Rubin, Senior Vice President, Mobile, Google Inc.

Also, in the mobile computing category, the market for PCs which realize high productivity is expected to steadily grow, particularly in emerging markets. Therefore, Sony will also remain committed to strengthening its VAIO brand and introduce increasingly compelling products which offer new value propositions to the market.

“Sony Tablet” features.

Designed for portability and intuitive gripping

[ad#ga-cbox-left]With its off-center of gravity form factor, the 9.4-inch S1 offers stability and a sense of lightness, offering comfortable use for hours.

The dual screen S2 comes with two 5.5-inch displays which can be used together as one large screen to browse websites and more. They can also be used for different functions as users can watch a video on one screen and input commands on the other, or check email on one screen and use the other as a soft keyboard.

Seamless Usability and Performance

Through Sony’s knowhow for combining hardware and software, “Sony Tablet” realizes optimal usability and performance. Because of Sony’s rapid response technologies, users can perform smooth, quick touch-screen operations and enjoy fast and efficient website loading. The keyboard arrangement is also optimized for the large screen, making email and SNS communication a breeze.

Rich entertainment experiences through various network services

Through Qriocity1 music and video services, users can enjoy rich video and music content. Also, through PlayStation®Suite, users can immerse themselves in high quality first generation PlayStation® titles. Additionally, users can easily download ebook content from Reader™Store2 and use both tablets as digital reading devices. The integration with various services allows users to take their entertainment experiences on-the-go. Furthermore, “Sony Tablet” is equipped with functionality that organizes content for easy access.

Remote access functionality with AV devices

Through “Sony Tablet”, users can control home entertainment devices as well as enjoy content in new ways. S1 uses infrared technology and works as universal remote controls for a variety of AV devices starting with . Users can perform functions like turning on their TVs, changing the channel and adjusting the volume. Also, through DLNA functionality on “Sony Tablet”, users can “throw” personal content to large screen televisions or music to wireless speakers.

In 2010, Sony launched a network platform called “Qriocity” which connects many of Sony’s network-enabled devices, and has been expanding its services into global markets. Also, Sony Computer Entertainment has been providing various contents and services for PlayStation users through PlayStation®Network, which now has over 75 million registered accounts (as of March 20, 2011) worldwide.

Simultaneously, Sony will continue to announce various devices which leverage these services. Starting in early 2011, Sony Computer Entertainment announced the next-generation portable entertainment system (codename: NGP) while Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications brought “Xperia™PLAY” to the market. Sony is introducing “Sony Tablet” to deliver an entertainment experience which integrates hardware with network services that deliver rich content.

With the establishment of Consumer Products and Services Group in April 2011, Sony will focus on accelerating the development of innovative next generation products and aim to deliver a new lifestyle by strengthening the integration of hardware and network services.

 

Source: Android Central

Honeycomb (Android 3.0) source code unavailable to developers

Google’s version of Android made specifically for tablets, Honeycomb has been out for sometime now, even though it’s currently available only on one tablet, the Motorola Xoom (and it’s wifi only version). Well, Business Week now reports that the distribution of the source code to developers will be delayed.

Android is (supposed to be) based on on an open source model, wherein the source code for its OS and each update is availabe to the General Public. Google’s reason for delaying the release is that it believes that this version is not yet ready to be altered by outside developers, and also that it’s afraid that honeycomb will get shoehorned into phones, for which it is not optimized. This would lead to a bad user experience of the OS (and the device in use of course).

Andy Rubin, head of the Android Divison of Google had this to say:

“To make our schedule to ship the tablet, we made some design tradeoffs. We didn’t want to think about what it would take for the same software to run on phones. It would have required a lot of additional resources and extended our schedule beyond what we thought was reasonable. So we took a shortcut.”

What that means is that apart from the Big Guns who have announced their Honeycomb based devices (such as the aforemention Xoom and Samsung’s Galaxy tab), smaller manufacturers will not be able to bring honeycomb to their existing or newer products soon. It also means that developers, who have been optimizing their applications for honeycomb based on emulators, will not be able to develop the killer applications that one would expect for tablets, since they have no access to the source! So, the number of apps for Honeycomb aren’t going to increase anytime soon.

Well done El Goog.

 

Catch us on twitter, we’re @myportableworld

Source: Businessweek, ZDnet

Motorola Xoom WiFi edition Announced

When Motorola Mobility announced the Xoom, it was the first Android Honeycomb tablet. The Xoom, which runs a 10.1 inch 1280×800 LCD Screen, a Nvidia Tegra 2 chip and was initially launched with 3G (and 4G) on Verizon Wireless. Well, now the exact same tablet will soon be available without the 3G, at a bunch of stores such as Amazon.com, Best Buy, Costco, RadioShack, Sam’s Club (select locations), Staples and Walmart, for $599 for the 32GB version, starting March 27th.

For that price, and with those specs, the Xoom looks to be a good buy. Then again, so does the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Which one would you pick? Let us know, by commenting below, or catch us on twitter, we’re @myportableworld.

Anyways, here’s the Press Release:

Motorola Mobility Brings MOTOROLA XOOM™ Wi-Fi to United States

LIBERTYVILLE, Ill. – March 16, 2011 – Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: MMI), today announced the upcoming availability of MOTOROLA XOOM Wi-Fi edition from leading retailers across the United States starting March 27. Amazon.com, Best Buy, Costco, RadioShack, Sam’s Club (select locations), Staples and Walmart will be offering the 10.1-inch widescreen HD tablet with Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) through both online and retail store channels. The MSRP for MOTOROLA XOOM Wi-Fi with 32 GB of memory will be $599.

[ad#ga-cbox-left]“MOTOROLA XOOM is a truly innovative tablet – its design, coupled with being the first tablet to have Android 3.0, results in a user experience that is one-of-a-kind,” said Dan Papalia, vice president of retail sales for Motorola Mobility. “We are now continuing to expand the choices available to consumers with the MOTOROLA XOOM Wi-Fi to be available soon from numerous leading retailers in the United States.”

In addition, the MOTOROLA XOOM Wi-Fi will be available to commercial IT channels and regional retailers through a distribution agreement with Synnex Corporation, and regional carriers through Brightpoint, Inc.

MOTOROLA XOOM showcases the innovations of the Honeycomb user experience – including widgets, true multi-tasking, browsing, notifications and customization – on a 10.1-inch widescreen HD display, enabling video content that’s richer and clearer than ever before. With a 1GHz dual-core processor and 1 GB of RAM, MOTOROLA XOOM delivers exceptionally fast web-browsing performance. The latest Google Mobile services include Google Maps 5.0 with 3D interaction and access to more than 3 million Google eBooks and apps from Android Market. MOTOROLA XOOM also supports a Beta of Adobe® Flash® Player 10.2 downloadable from Android Market, enabling the delivery of rich Flash based web content including videos, casual games and rich Internet applications.

As the first device running Android 3.0, MOTOROLA XOOM benefits from our aggressive work with developers across the ecosystem through MOTODEV, Motorola’s developer support program to enable world-class tablet and smartphone experiences. These devices will be able to access more than 150,000 applications within the Android Market as well as the rapidly increasing number of applications optimized directly for the Android 3.0 OS. In addition, thousands of Flash-based web applications and sites will become available for the MOTOROLA XOOM.

As a part of the company’s commitment and leadership — along with Google’s — to the Android ecosystem, Motorola announced a series of global developer events in 11 cities across North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia. These MOTODEV events give developers access to tools, support and Motorola’s team of Android experts. The first of these events was hosted in San Francisco on March 1 and had more than 665 developers in attendance.

MOTODEV also recently announced a new testing and certification program for Honeycomb applications, encouraging developers to submit their applications to get early feedback and support on MOTOROLA XOOM performance. This is a part of the company’s ongoing commitment to supporting the ecosystem in delivering high quality experiences to the consumer.

More information about MOTODEV tools, resources and events can be found at http://developer.motorola.com.

Android 3 aka Honeycomb Video Preview

It’s been mentioned before that FroYo has not been optimized for tablets. And that Gingerbread wouldn’t be a tablet centric update. But Honeycomb would be. Well, here’s an official preview of Honeycomb. And it looks brilliant!

Here’s some of the new stuff:

  • A new look web browser, with tabs
  • New Gmail interface, optimized for tablets
  • New Youtube
  • Video Chat on Gtalk!

There’s more too! Check out the video below!