February 2011

Pen Computing's 2011 media tablet table
It took a year for the industry to come up with serious competitors to Apple's iPad, but now customers increasingly have vendor/platform/features options when it comes to selecting media tablets. We've compiled a spec table of the major media tablets, 15 in all, and will keep adding to the list, so check back frequently. [View our 2011 Media Tablet Spec Table] -- Posted Monday, February 28, 2011 by chb

CoActiv EXAM-PAD bundles 10-inch Win 7 tablet with PACS software
We're starting to see custom applications sold packaged with the new breed of media tablets. An example is CoActiv Medical, a healthcare software and IT systems provider that sells digital image and data storage services and related solutions for hospitals, imaging facilities and medical practices of all sizes. CoActiv is now offering the Windows 7-based EXAM-PAD Model 10 PACS (picture archiving communications system) solution with exam viewing technology that connect to an EXAM-PACS server to display high quality multi-modality images securely in real time from anywhere in the world. The tablet itself appears to be a an Atom N450-powered Onkyo TW117 media tablet with a 10.1" capacitive multi-touch 1024x600 LED display. [See CoActiv EXAM-PAD page] -- Posted Monday, February 28, 2011 by chb

Fujitsu announces Stylistic Q550 tablet
Fujitsu, which had been one of the very pioneers in tablets but recently concentrated on convertible notebooks, again has a Stylistic tablet. The Intel Atom-based Q550 runs Windows 7 on a 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 pixel outdoor-viewable multi-touch screen that can also be used with an electromagnetic pen in an auto-switching arrangement. There's an SD Card slot, Smart Card, a fingerprint reader, 30 or 62GB of solid state disk, as well as WiFi, Bluetooth and optional Gobi 3000 with GPS. Pricing starts at under US$800 and the device will be available in April. [See description and specs of the Fujitsu Stylistic Q550] -- Posted Friday, February 25, 2011 by chb

NEC releases contactless hybrid finger scanner
With security becoming ever more important, NEC's announcement of a hybrid finger scanner that can simultaneously acquire fingerprint and finger vein characteristics without physical contact is relevant. The NEC HS100-10 works with major access management software (such as IBM Tivoli and Novell) and NEC will provide the “Hybrid Finger Authentication Development Library.” [See NEC hybrid finger scanner] -- Posted Friday, February 25, 2011 by chb

Intel's super-fast Thunderbolt connection technology
Intel announced the "Thunderbolt" high-speed PC connection technology that combines high-speed data transfer and high-definition display on a single cable. With a top speed of 10Gbps, Thunderbolt is twice as fast as the just emerging USB 3.0, and more than 20 times as fast as standard USB 2.0. Thunderbolt can provide up to 10 watts of power to peripherals, and is compatible with existing USB and Firewire peripherals via adapters. Likewise, DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI, or VGA display can also use Thunderbolt with an adapter. The Intel-developed technology is coming to market through a technical collaboration with Apple, and is available first on Apple's new line of MacBook Pro laptop computers. [See Intel Thunderbolt press release and technology primer] -- Posted Thursday, February 24, 2011 by chb

iPad competitors finally gearing up
According to DigiTimes, HP will start selling its webOS-based TouchPad in April, and expects to ship four to five million units in 2011. Motorola, in the meantime, may be in for a hard time with it Xoom tablet due to an unexpectedly high price ($599.99 with a new two-year Verizon contract or $799.99 without a contract). -- Posted Tuesday, February 22, 2011 by chb

Motion announces low-end version of C5v MCA tablet
Motion Computing is now offering a low-end version of its C5v Mobile Clinical Assistant (MCA) using an Intel Core i3 processors and a smaller 30GB solid state disk. This new option makes a lower entry price point (US$1,899) available for healthcare organizations that require the durability, integrated features and ergonomic design of the C5v, but do not need the advanced systems management capabilities of the Intel i5 or i7 vPro processors. -- Posted Tuesday, February 22, 2011 by chb

Tenfold increase in tablet sales predicted
Even though the tablet market is still largely just the Apple iPad, both DisplaySearch and iSuppli predict massive increases in tablet sales over the next three to four years. DisplaySearch predicts an increase in tablet unit sales from just under 20 million in 2010 to a staggering 172 million in 2014, or over a third of all PC sales. iSuppli sees total sales of 242 million in 2015. Note that the projections differentiate between "media tablets," such as the iPad, that will account for the lion's share of unit sales, and tablets with full PC functionality, which are also expected to greatly advance to almost 40 million in 2015. -- Posted Tuesday, February 22, 2011 by chb

Trimble launches new GeoExplorer 6000 handhelds
Trimble introduced the Windows Mobile-based GeoExplorer 6000 series of high-accuracy Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) handheld computers. The series delivers dramatic improvements in difficult GNSS environments such as urban canyons and under tree canopy using Trimble Floodlight satellite shadow reduction technology. The TI OMAP 3503-based 6000 Series includes 256MB RAM, 2GB Flash, SDHC, a dual-frequency GPS and GLONASS receiver and antenna, 5-megapixel camera, 3.5G data, 4.2-inch full-VGA sunlight-readable display, 4-foot drop spec, IP65 sealing, and a field-swappable 28 watt-hour battery. It comes in two versions, the GeoExplorer 6000 series GeoXH with real time decimeter (4 inch) accuracy, and the GeoXT with 75 cm (30 inch) accuracy in real time and 50 cm (20 inch) accuracy after postprocessing. The previous GeoExplorer continues as the GeoExplorer 3000 Series.
-- Posted Friday, February 18, 2011 by chb

Acer hedges bets, launches two more tablets
Acer is cranking it up in the tablet arena. Adding to the already announced Iconia Tab A500 tablet PC, at Mobile World Congress 2011, Acer also announced the AMD-powered Iconia Tab W500 that runs Windows 7 on a 10.1-inch screen, and the Nvidia Tegra-powered Iconia A100 that runs Android 3.0 on a smaller 7-inch display. Both tablets have dual cameras. -- Posted Tuesday, February 15, 2011 by chb

Nokia and Microsoft announce partnership
Nokia and Microsoft announced plans to form what they call "a broad strategic partnership that would use their complementary strengths and expertise to create a new global mobile ecosystem." Under the proposed partnership, Nokia would adopt Windows Phone as its principal smartphone strategy, help drive the future of Windows Phone, do joint marketing with Microsoft, use Bing (but Nokia Maps), integrate Nokia's app store with Microsoft Marketplace, and use Microsoft development tools. Our take: A big announcement and a big risk for Nokia, which for now still is the world's largest cellphone vendor, but has no traction in smartphones. So the question becomes whether a struggling OS and a struggling hardware maker add up to a winning formula. [See Nokia press release] -- Posted Friday, February 11, 2011 by chb

HP announces webOS-powered TouchPad
As expected, Hewlett Packard announced the TouchPad, a tablet that is virtually identical in design, size and weight to the Apple iPad, but runs webOS, which Palm pioneered on its Pre and Pixi smartphones. Powered by a 1.2GHz Qualcomm "Snapdragon" processor and offering either 32 or 64GB of memory, WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G WWAN, and a 1.3mp camera, the TouchPad will be available in the summer of 2011. HP did not release information on battery life, price or carriers. [See description and specs of the HP TouchPad] -- Posted Thursday, February 10, 2011 by chb