CAT | Android Tablets
Sony recently announced that its to upgrade its Tablet P and Tablet S to the Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS This can only be seen as positive news for Sony as it dips its toe into the already crowded Android Tablet market
Figure 1: Tablet S (Left) & Tablet P (Right)
Design and Feel
In order to stand out in this crowded marketplace Sony needed to be innovative and different. With the design and development of this tablet they have attempted to do just that. Tablet S resembles a folded paper and it’s wedge shaped design means the tablet seems propped up on flat surfaces. This is a shortcoming in most tablets and Sony’s innovation solves this simple yet annoying problem. Further to the physical design Tablet S packs a punch under the hood. The Tegra 2 dual-core processor, 1GB of memory, a capacitive 9.4 inch touchscreen and a SD expansion slot ensure that this tablet delivers a strong user experience.
Figure 2: Tablet S
Tablet S currently ships with Android Honycomb 3.1 and while this should be considered a high specification tablet, some unwanted user experiences have been documented. Such as poor rendering on some sites and the rotation of the screen sticking. Typically screen swiping and App use is very smooth so hopefully these minor issues will be remedied with the update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
Sony is clearly pushing Tablet S forward for strong sales in the new year and has recently dropped the price of this tablet. Tablet S is currently available in the UK at £350 GBP and in the US for $400 USD.
Design and feel
With the Tablet P Sony has tossed the tablet design rulebook out the window. The tablet is designed like a clam-shell with two screens which fold onto one another. This is useful for the purpose of scratch protection. It also means that the device becomes very transportable when not in use. These devices have the added advantage of access to retro Playstation games such as Crash Bandicoot. Although the onscreen controls will not be to every-ones taste.
Figure 3: Tablet P (Closed)
The Sony Tablet P comes with two capacitive 5.5 inch screens and the Tegra 2 dual-core processor. The dual screen set-up is excellent for typing emails or text, but may be considered restrictive if watching films or videos. Tablet P’s built in memory of 4GB will fill up fast when music and videos are added, but the expansion slot allows this memory to be expanded to a maximum of 32GB.
The performance of Tablet P is excellent when swiping through screens and using Apps. Another strong point is the excellent quality of display, due to the 1024×480 pixel resolution.
Some problems are experienced with Internet connectivity when moving short distances from the WIFI router. This is unfortunate and may cause ‘banging head off wall’ syndrome to develop rapidly. Poor sound from the built in speakers means that viewing movies becomes impractical without the use of headphones.
Tablet P is currently available in the UK at £450 GBP. This price tag will not help sales of Tablet P in an already competitive market.
Sony’s Tablet S and Tablet P are most welcome additions to the android tablet marketplace. With the impending addition of Ice Cream Sandwich we feel that these tablets will become even more desirable. Hopefully the issues listed above will be tackled and fixed through the update to 4.0. Credit should be given to Sony for being innovative in a market which has become accustomed to chunky blocks sporting the Android badge.
Tablet S is now competitively priced and should sell well given its sleek innovative design. Unfortunately Tablet P left a little to be desired and with the high price tag it’s placed in direct competition with some Android Tablet market leaders.
It seems like a new contender has just stepped in the 7-inch display market. It is the X10 Airpad which is claimed to be the best 7 incher available, for as low as 200$. We will let you set your own opinion about X10 that if it’s really worth the heading of “Best 7-incher available in the market”.
The device features a 7” TFT LCD screen of 800×480 resolutions. It has a capacitive multi touch screen with a CPU of 1.2 GHz Rockchip 2918 Cortex A8 processor. It runs on the latest Android Gingerbread of version 2.3 and it is pre installed with Flash 10.1. X10 Airpad has a RAM of 512 MB and a 3 axis accelerometer. Unfortunately the 7-incher has a 2 Mega pixels camera, which means there would be no high quality photography.
Let’s come to the brighter features of X10. It has an internal storage capacity of 4 GB and an external micro SD up to 32 GB. It has a good battery of 4000 mAH which means 6 hours of talk time. A user can play 6 hours of music and access 4 hours of internet through Wi-Fi. X10 Airpad features a 3.5mm Audio jack and full USB support (mini).
The specs of X10 Airpad 7” aren’t too bad in comparison with the price tag and they are neither too good to say that it’s the best 7-incher in the market. Let’s not put ourselves in curiosity because X10 may not prove to be the best in market.
Can we really see the ASUS Eee Slider in September? The slider was revealed back in January at CES, but those were only rumors. A new page of products showed the specs of ASUS slider and hinted its launch in September in Italy.
They have revealed the prices for 16 GB and 32 GB slider; the price for 16 GB Eee pad is $400 and for 32 GB is $550. The Slider has a massive screen at 10.1 inches. The device is loaded with NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual core 1 GHz processor and a total of 1 GB RAM. It has a front camera 1.2 Mega pixels for video calling and a rear 5 mega pixe camera. It supports USB 2.0 and has a mini-HDMI along with micro SD card reader, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
The device will be launched first with Android 3.1 Honeycomb but it will later be upgraded to the latest version of Android 3.2. This is a little disappointing as the ASUS Transformer tablet already has the upgrade, the device is said to launch in September so there maybe enough time for ASUS to pack the Eee Slider pad with the update.
Update: We have heard that ASUS will release an update in the first week of its launch.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 the latest tablet from Samsung has already been released in the USA and was supposed to be released in Europe by the 22nd July 2011. Unfortunately yet again the release date of the Tab 10.1 has been delayed even further. Samsung have declined to give a definite future date only saying it will be released later this Summer…
For those who don’t know the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a hot competitor to Apple’s iPad 2, both in the 10 Inch screen range. The Tab runs version 3.1 of android, this version being specifically designed for tablets. There is an excellent review of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 over on Engadget.
If you are thinking of joining the world of tableteers you should really consider the Tab as an alternative to the iPad 2. The first being, due to Android of course is the huge range of customizations available on the Galaxy Tab compared to the iPad 2, all iPads are the same except the wallpapers which Apple amazingly do allow you to change!. Pro’s of the Tab over the iPad are more RAM, 1GB vs 500MB on the iPad.
Display is slightly bigger on the Tab 10.1 at 10.1 inches verses 9.7 inches, this means the resolutions is higher but the Pixels Per Inch (ppi) are greater on the Tab than the iPad, 149 on the Tab and 132 for the iPad.
I’m not even gonna start on the cameras on the iPad…. lets just say they are poor, both front and rear. The Samsung Galaxy 10.1 has a 2MP on the front and 3MP on the back. Stereo sound on the Tab only mono on the iPad. In all honesty I can not think of a reason to choose the iPad 2 over the Galaxy Tab, if you know of one, let me know!
Google Android has always been a part of fresher and better versions of Smartphones and tablets in the market. This week saw the launch of Motorola Xoom with and updated version 3.1 of Android. This 10-inch tablet has a bigger and higher resolution screen. It can play Flash videos and also features a USB port, which can be used to connect to keyboards, cameras, etc. These features are exclusive to Xoom and have never before been seen in any other tablet. The Xoom is also very reasonably priced, when compared to its equivalents in the market.
However Xoom has been criticized for the poor designed positioning of the power and volume buttons. Honeycomb is said to be lacking quite a few tablet apps, it is like a finished product which is unpolished, it still needs more improvement. Overall we can say that this version of Android has failed to impress the market and is contradictory to expectations.
One of the reasons for the lukewarm response to Xoom is the delayed market launch. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1V, launched last month, has taken the honor of being the first version of Android Honeycomb. All the market advantages hence went to the former, as Samsung has already developed a huge market for tablets worldwide. The Galaxy Tab really took the wind out of the launch of the Honeycomb-ed Motorola Xoom
Google Android needs to be more vigilant and scrutinize the new tablets and Smartphone devices coming up in the market more closely. This way it will be able to get more perfection and a wider market.
For larger displays like tablets, Google decided to develop a different version of the android OS called honeycomb. My exposure with the tablet version of android came earlier this year when I first used the Motorola XOOM, it has to be said that earlier versions of Androids were better than Honeycomb. I actually found less productivity through honeycomb 3.1 than the older version of android for smart phones.
With an enormous anticipation, I came in touch with Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 which has the latest (3.1) version of honeycomb, which addresses few of the stability issues from version 3.0, my initial reaction was a mixed bag of positive and negative reactions. But people don’t get me wrong, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is one of the best tablets available on the market. The problem is with my perception of honeycomb 3.1.
The biggest issue with honeycomb 3.1 is the design that Google has selected for larger displays. The awkward thing is its system controls distributed over four corners of a display which causes the feeling of inconsistency while in use.
A notification message and clock is on lower right corner with common android settings and functionality. However, you can only access installed applications from the upper right corner of a display, an area which has been seldom used in any kind of display. Even a Google Search tab has been established at the upper left corner which is a location choice I’d question. After this distribution, main android controls such as back button and access to home screen display is on the lower left hand side of a display.
Such a design means whenever I need to access something, I have to stop and think about which corner to access and generally ending up accessing the wrong corner which creates lots of unnecessary taping on the screen which is a sign of poor display design.
Do you remember those rumors that Amazon is coming with Android tablets etc… etc…? If your answer is yes, let me tell you they are no more rumors, it’s a real thing. In fact, we have gone more into it to know its prices as well. From some faithful sources, we came to know that Amazon’s android tablets are in existence and those sources having also told us that the starting price for these tablets is $349. Let us look at this news in a bit detail.
Amazon has come up with two different tablets named Coyote and Hollywood having 7 – inch and 10 – inch display respectively. The intent of Amazon is to come up with the cheapest tablets in the market which is quite clear with its prices.
Coyote, a 7 – inch android tablet has been powered by dual-core processer Nvidia tegra 2 just like the other tablets launched in the market this year. So, there is nothing special in hardware side. However, with the cheap prices, these android tablets are definitely looking to give Noble Nook Color and Barnes a tough competition in the tablet market. Coyote has been launched in the market with the price of $349 which is few bucks cheaper than the other 7 – inches tablets.
Hollywood, a 10 – inch android tablet has been powered by quad core processor, Nvidia Kal-El which might also be known as tegra 3. Hollywood’s lowest version costs only $449 which is at least $50 cheaper than iPad and any other tablet out there in the market. If other tablets’ prices don’t drop drastically in near future, Amazon has the powerful beast in their hand which can top the tablet charts in market.
Isn’t tablet market already rocking with so many android based tablets? What? You said no? Okay, here is one more android based tablet from Toshiba for you. Soon, Toshiba is going to launch an Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) based tablet which has been named as “Thrive”. Even though, Toshiba has already started advertising for the same, suddenly the advertisement was pulled down by the time this post goes online. In fact, it has also been heard that Toshiba has already delayed the launch of this tablet and might do again to delay the launch till 3rd quarter of this year. Anyways, let us look at some technical specification of this android based tablet.
Thrive is a 10.1 inch size tablet with multitouch screen and pixel dimensions are 180×800. A tablet us supported by dual core processor Tegra2 with 1 GHz frequency. The screen has a feature of Adaptive Display Technology from Toshiba which regulate the contrast and brightness according to the surrounding environment where tablet is used. This means, it will be easier to use the tablet in sunny environment.
A web browsing and video calling are the highlights of the tablet as android based tablet is supported with Adobe 10.1 flash and having 2 MegaPixel HD camera in front. In addition, tablet also has a 5 MP HD camera at backside to capture high quality videos. Above all, it also has an HDMI output to attach this tablet to your HDTV to enjoy high quality videos on a big screen. With that, even SD videos are also upscaled. Otherwise, all the regular tablet features like USB 2.0 and wi-fi are included in this tablet. This android based tablet is eagerly waited in the tablet market.
The hottest new tablet on the android scene is the new Motorola XOOM. It was announced on January 5th 2011 at CES 2011 with great anticipation due to it being the first android tablet to run the new Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system. It actually won the Best In Show award at the event.
The XOOM was released in the USA on February 24th and Carphone Warehouse has announced that it will be available in the UK and Ireland on April 4th. Apparently Carphone Warehouse do have exclusivity on the device for a certain period of time when tied to a network.
A major downside to the XOOM in the states is its price… today PC World have announced that you can pre-order the Wi-Fi only version of the XOOM at a price of £449 GBP thats about €530 EUR, tempting isn’t it!
We’ve already seen LG G-Slate tablet at CES but hardly any additional information was available. In the past week there were numerous rumors, leaked videos and pictures about LG’s first tablet, but LG kept it all secret, neither confirming nor denying them, until now. The day when Google will present Android 3.0 Honeycomb is probably the best time to present this little piece of beauty. Probably the most interesting, unusual and exciting things about it – its ability to record and play 3D video. It seems like LG are on 3D wave, presenting the first 3D mobile phone for 14th February.
LG G-Slate will most likely be one of the first Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablets out on the market, as it is expected to be available starting from March this year. The tablet will also support (as already mentioned) playback and recording of 3D video, 4G connectivity, a 8.9-inch screen, support for 1080p HD video playback, one 5MP camera at the back with LED flash and a 2MP one in the front, a whole 32GB internal storage (pretty enough for a lot of music and pictures and some videos) and last but not least – the gaining popularity NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor.
Additional features like WiFi, HDMI, light and orientation sensors are also available. But unfortunately, one of the most important things was not announced by LG – the expected price of G-Slate. But with all those powerful tablets that are about to hit the markets in the upcoming several months, I’m pretty sure that the prices won’t be that much high.