November 2010

Symbian Foundation web sites to shut down
The Symbian Foundation announced that its website will shut down on December 17, 2010, as a result of the foundation transitioning to being just a licensing body with an accompanying "reduction in the day-to-day operations of the Foundation." This follows Nokia's takeover of further Symbian development. As much of the existing code and content as possible will be archived to remain available to developers via request to the foundation. [See Symbian's announcement] -- Posted Tuesday, November 30, 2010 by chb

Acer plans to rule the tablet market
Acer plans to become the leading supplier of tablets. That's what Acer CEO Gianfranco Lanci proclaimed, suggesting that while the iPad is nice, it too closely caters to the US market and will therefore fade while Acer will grab the rest of the world with tablets tailored to local needs. For longtime followers of mobile computing and, especially, pen pencomputing, this will sound like deja-vue all over again: nine years ago Acer introduced the Acer TravelMate, a Tablet PC convertible built when Microsoft got cold feet about tablets without keyboards (see our description of the 2001 Acer C100). The little Acer's fame was fleeting as it was deemed too small and nowhere near as solid as the larger Toshiba Portege 3500 that went on to become the blueprint for the Tablet PC's somewhat underachieving career. That said, Acer certainly has the experience and know-how to build successful tablets. -- Posted Tuesday, November 30, 2010 by chb

Tech Republic's 5 most overhyped tech products of 2010
TechRepublic.com's Five Most Overhyped Tech Products of 2010: iPad (it's good, but it's not a laptop replacement), Microsoft Kinect (gizmo that doesn't really work well), Samsung Galaxy Tab (overpriced tablet with a version of Android that is not ready for tablets), Google TV (confusing and disappointing), and 3DTV (gimmick to get people to replace their still new flatscreens). [see article] -- Posted Tuesday, November 30, 2010 by chb

Taiwan expects 20-30 million non-iPad tablets in 2011
According to Digitimes, Taiwan-based component makers expect that between 20 and 30 million tablets will be shipped to the global market in 2011, NOT including the Apple iPad. -- Posted Thursday, November 25, 2010 by chb

Eurotech launches new family of rugged mobile computers
Eurotech, a supplier of embedded technologies, products and systems, has launched a new family of rugged handheld computers. The initial products are the small, ergonomically designed HRC-3100 and the larger HRC-4200 with a 6.2-inch HVGA display. Both units are based on field-proven mobile technology (Marvell PXA270 processors, WIndows CE 5.0), sealed to IP54 specs, able to handle 4-foot drops and operate in wide temperature ranges. [See full descriptions and specs for the Eurotech HRC-3100 and Eurotech HRC-4200] -- Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2010 by chb

Tablets are opportunity to supply chain profit redistribution
According to Digitimes, ARM president Tudor Brown views tablets as an opportunity to redistribute profits among the supply chain. As is, though Taiwan companies are dominating global PC production, most profits go to Intel and Microsoft. That, according to Brown, may change with open system tablets. -- Posted Monday, November 22, 2010 by chb

HP tablet: what does "extraordinary demand" mean?
HP has been making noises about the "extraordinary demand" for its Windows 7-based HP Slate 500. The demand is so great that the device is officially backordered. Engadget says it knows why: HP supposedly only did a small production run of 5,000 units to test the market, but received 9,000 orders (see Engadget page), so demand exceeds expectations. That's good, but not so much when Apple sells almost 50,000 iPads per day. Bottom line: who will finally emerge as the leading iPad competitor remains uncertain. -- Posted Monday, November 22, 2010 by chb

Interesting: upcoming Dell Inspiron Duo
After a decade of Tablet PC convertibles with a rotating pivot hinge, Dell is introducing the Inspiron Duo that has a flip-hinge design reminiscent of the old Vadem Clio, though the keyboard placement and functionality is different. The Atom N550-powered Duo has a 1366 x 768 pixel 10.1-inch multi-touch display and seeks to combine the strengths of a netbook with those of a tablet. Starting price of the Windows 7-based Duo is US$599. [See Dell's Inspiron Duo page] -- Posted Monday, November 22, 2010 by chb

Samsung Galaxy Tab first real competitor to iPad
Apple's huge success with the iPad triggered lots of tablet hype and plenty of announcements of competing products. However, so far nothing else has gained much traction, not the el-cheapo tablets available on eBay, not the Dell Streak or HP's Slate 500. That will certainly change, and now we have what appears the first serious competitor in Samsung's Galaxy Tab. With its 7-inch screen, elegant design and excellent build quality, the Galaxy Tab looks like a mini iPad, sort of like a mix between an iPad and an iPhone 3GS. We've been using the Tab now for a week or so, and we're quite impressed. Samsung may be on to something here. Look for our detailed review on the Samsung Galaxy Tab soon. -- Posted Monday, November 22, 2010 by chb

ChipChick.com review of Windows Phone 7-based HTC HD7
After the wholesale dismissal of Windows Phone 7 by many, Helena Stone at ChipChick.com, a veteran of mobile Windows devices, posted a detailed, informative, excellently illustrated unbiased review of the Windows Phone 7-based HTC HD7 and found much to like. [See ChipChick review of the HTC HD7] -- Posted Monday, November 22, 2010 by chb

Will smartphones affect sales of single-purpose devices?
Will digital camera sales fall because our smartphones and tablets can take pictures? Yes they will, says research firm Berg Insight, and it will not only affect cameras, but also other single-purposes dedicated devices such as GPS systems. Past efforts at "convergent devices," i.e. one gizmo that does it all, have all failed, but that may now be changing as smartphone/tablet devices increasingly can do it all. -- Posted Monday, November 22, 2010 by chb

JooJoo dropped: no interest in web-only device
JooJoo, one of the more compelling and innovative iPad alternatives, seems to be calling it quits, at least for their initial product. The joojoo seemed to have a lot going for it (like a large 12.1-inch 1366 x 768 display, nVidia ion graphics, cool design, camera, a reasonable price, etc.). Unfortunately, according to an interview posted on e27, the market seems to want apps and native software, not just what's on the internet. And so the Fusion Garage folks are now working on an Android tablet. [See e27 article on the demise of the JooJoo] -- Posted Monday, November 15, 2010 by chb

Full review: 10th generation DRS ARMOR X10gx
Now in its tenth generation, the DRS ARMOR X10gx is a no-nonsense ultra-rugged tablet computer for deployment in just about any situation, no matter how harsh. This latest iteration of the compact X10 has a greatly enhanced display that offers superb viewability under all lighting conditions. There's now also autosense dual-input, increased sealing (up to IP67), improved functionality via more hardware controls and extra connectivity, Gobi 2000, as well as significantly enhanced performance (more than double that of the last X10 we tested). [See full review of the DRS ARMOR X10gx] -- Posted Monday, November 15, 2010 by chb

Samwell updates Intel Atom-powered RUGGEDBOOK MCA9
With the market for rugged lightweight tablets for the healthcare/clinical environment market becoming ever more competitive, Samwell has upgraded its rugged Intel Atom-powered Tablet PC-MCA9. The handy, fanless tablet, sporting an easy-to-clean medical-white magnesium-aluminum alloy housing and a 8.9-inch display, as well as RFID, barcode scanning, and camera for flexible data capture, now offers IP65 sealing and a solid state disk. Weighing just 2.4 pounds, the MCA9 is geared towards increasing productivity and reducing errors in the clinical workflow. Samwell RUGGEDBOOK MCA9 Medical Clinical Assistant] -- Posted Monday, November 15, 2010 by chb

Iffy news on Windows Phone 7
The word out there on Windows Phone 7 is decidedly mixed. Initial sales apparently have been underwhelming, and while there's been some praise of what might be described as a "smart tile" approach in Phone 7's home page, overall there seems little to cheer about. Most alarming are the very negative assessments of the platform's security. [See InfoWorld's "Windows Phone 7: Why it's a disaster for Microsoft"] -- Posted Friday, November 12, 2010 by chb

FIC launches a tablet, again
Nine years ago I was visiting FIC in Taipei where they showed me their upcoming Tablet PC (see our review of the FIC SlateVision tablet early 2003). They weren't quite sure if Windows was really suitable for tablets, though. Apparently, some thing never change. Digitimes reports that FIC just announced their "Tycoon" tablet, a Atom N455-based 10-inch multi-touch device that runs WIndows 7. Again, FIC pointed out that Windows is really optimized for mice and keyboards, and that the interface needed some adjustment by FIC, with the help of Microsoft. So why Windows and not Android? More software, more business users. FIC hopes to sell 50,000 Tycoons a month. [See FIC Tycoon product page] -- Posted Thursday, November 11, 2010 by chb

Trimble introduces updated Nomad handheld
Trimble announced the Nomad 900 rugged handheld computer, which replaces the Nomad 800. The Nomad 900 uses Windows Mobile 6.1 instead of 6.0, supports high storage capacity SDHC cards instead of just SD cards (that max out at 2GB), has a higher resolution 5-megapixel camera, offers improved postprocessing GPS accuracy of 1-3 meters as opposed to 2-5 meters, and generally enhanced GPS, and has CISCO-certified WiFi. Some options have changed, but other than that, the Nomad is unchanged. -- Posted Tuesday, November 9, 2010 by chb

Patient monitoring solution now on Android
AirStrip Technologies announced that their mobile patient monitoring solution AirStrip OB is now available for medical professionals to download from the Android Market. -- Posted Friday, November 5, 2010 by chb

Gartner: strong endorsement of tablets
Gartner has issued an unusually strong endorsement of the iPad and "recommends that CEOs ask their marketing and product development teams to present a creative briefing as soon as possible, detailing how iPads could be used by the company and its competitors, because the iPad has the potential to be hugely disruptive to the business models and markets of many enterprises." Our take: This clearly is applicable to upcoming iPad alternates as well, and may finally put vertical market tablets, which have been available for almost 20 years, on the map and, with thier much greater ruggedness, open new opporrtunity. [See Gartner press release ] -- Posted Friday, November 5, 2010 by chb

Two Technologies unveils all-in-one HANDGEAR
Two Technologies unveiled the HANDGEAR, another innovative mobile computer in the company's roster of unique, colorful and eye-catching solutions. Generally thinking outside the box, this time the Horsham, Pennsylvania, based company thought inside the box by coming up with an ultra-rugged mobile computer that's a veritable toolbox of stuff a mobile workforce may need. [Read more...] -- Posted Thursday, November 4, 2010 by chb

Interactive portable video whiteboard
Luidia announced that the interactive technology of the eBeam Edge will now be a part of the Visual Display System (VDS) from HDT Engineered Technologies (HDT), a provider of mobile military and emergency response solutions. With eBeam-HDT technology the HDT Visual Display System now has an interactive workspace on which to collaborate and communicate anywhere, anytime in any extreme field condition in the world. [See YouTube demo] -- Posted Thursday, November 4, 2010 by chb

ViewSonic unveils two Android tablets
ViewSonic has announced the ViewPad 7 and the ViewPad 10, two new tablet devices running Android. The ViewPad 7 runs Android 2.2, has a 7-inch 800 x 480 pixel display, two built-in cameras (3-megapixel rear, 0.3 megapixel front), 512MB RAM, a microSD Card slot, WiFi, and a 10-hour battery, and has an estimated street price of US$479, available late 2010. The ViewPad 10 is a dual boot device with the choice of Windows 7 Home Premium or Android 1.6, uses a 1.66GHz Atom processor, has a 10.1-inch 1024 x 600 pixel display with capacitive multi-touch, WiFi, a built-in 1.3 megapixel cameras, 1GB RAM, 16GB SSD, a microSD Card slot, and has an estimated street price of US$629, available Q1, 2011. Our take: We actually expected more from ViewSonic. A 7-inch tablet with modest specs for almost US$500 isn't very attractive, and a 10-inch tablet with essentially netbook specs, no WiFi, and an older version of Android or Win 7 for over $600 will likely also have a hard time. [See ViewSonic press release] -- Posted Tuesday, November 2, 2010 by chb

Android grabs larger share of US smartphone market
The NPD Group reports that thanks to continued high-profile handset introductions, the Android smartphone OS significantly grew its lead in the U.S. consumer smartphone market in Q3 2010. The Android OS was installed in 44% of all smartphones purchased in Q3, an increase of 11% since Q2; Apple iOS held relatively steady versus last quarter, rising one percentage point to 23%; RIM OS, fell to third, declining from 28% to 22%. Apple's iPhone4 remains the best-selling smartphone, followed by the BlackBerry Curve 8500 and the LG Cosmos. [Read NPD Group release] -- Posted Monday, November 1, 2010 by chb

Juniper Research: Tablet sales over 80 million by 2015
Juniper Research released a new report entitled "Tablets & Connected Devices: Opportunities, Strategies & Forecast Scenarios 2010-2015". In it, Juniper predicts that the number of annual shipments for tablet devices will reach 81 million by 2015 as an increasing number of consumer electronics players and handset manufacturers enter the market. Apple will maintain its lead in the medium term, and Android will likely be the OS of choice for new players. [See video white paper on tablets and connected devices] -- Posted Monday, November 1, 2010 by chb