October 2010

E Ink: record sales, but lack of color may have impact
Founded in 1997 based on research started at MIT's Media Lab, Taiwan-based E Ink is now by far the leading supplier of ebook displays. The very crisp black-on-white screens are used in the Kindle, Sony's readers and in just about every other major ebook hardware platform. As a result, E Ink has prospered, with Q2 2010 sales rising to over US$170 million, up from US$137 million in Q2 2009. This, however, represented weaker than expected revenue growth according to EIH chairman Scott Liu, even though Amazon expects record Kindle shipments in Q4, 2010. Our take: While the promise of paperlike displays remains high, users may increasingly demand color, something E Ink won't be able to commercially deliver anytime soon. -- Posted Thursday, October 28, 2010 by chb

WinPho 7 vs. Android 2.2
The folks at knowyourmobile.com did an good comparison between Windows Phone 7 and Android 2.2 (see here).. -- Posted Thursday, October 28, 2010 by chb

Verizon starts selling iPad
Beginning October 28, 2010, Verizon Wireless will offer the Apple iPad at any of the more than 2,000 Verizon Wireless Communications Stores nationwide. Verizon Wireless will offer three bundles, all featuring an iPad Wi-Fi model and a Verizon MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot, for a suggested retail price of $629 for iPad Wi-Fi 16 GB + MiFi, $729 for iPad Wi-Fi 32 GB + MiFi, and $829 for iPad Wi-Fi 64 GB + MiFi. Verizon Wireless is offering a monthly access plan to customers who purchase an iPad with a MiFi beginning at 1 GB of data for $20 monthly access. In addition, Verizon Wireless will also offer all three iPad Wi-Fi models on a stand-alone basis. -- Posted Wednesday, October 27, 2010 by chb

ViewSonic aims for 10% marketshare of the non-iPad tablet market
According to Digitaimes, ViewSonic expects Apple to have about half of the projected 45 million unit tablet market in 2011. Of the other half, ViewSonic aims to get about 10%, or over two million units. While that seems pretty optimistic, ViewSonic does have a history in innovative tablet computers (see our 2001/2002 review of the ViewSonic V1100) and they have a good history of providing cost-effective state-of-the-art display products. -- Posted Wednesday, October 27, 2010 by chb

ARBOR Technology releases two rugged tablets
ARBOR Technology released the Gladius 720 and 820 rugged tablet computers. Both share a rugged, compact and fanless 9.5 x 7.4 inch design based on the Intel Atom Z520PT processor and a 32GB solid state disk. Both have extensive data collection features (RFID, 1D/2D scanner, magstripe reader, camera and optional GPS) as well as enough ruggedness for their intended vehicle deployment. The Gladius G0720 has a 7-inch touch display and a full thumb-stype QWERTY display, whereas the Gladius G0820 offers a larger 8.4-inch display for primary tablet operation. [Read description and review of the ARBOR Gladius G0720 and Gladius G0820] -- Posted Tuesday, October 26, 2010 by chb

Flood of "netbook" tablets?
From what it looks now, we may soon be seeing a flood of Windows 7-based tablets that seem little more than netbooks without keyboards: Atom processor, 10.1-inch display, 1GB RAM, 160GB drive, etc. Many such devices will have a projected capacitive multi-touch display, but in our experience, Windows 7 needs a lot more punch than an Atom chip to provide an acceptable multi-touch experience. Example of one such device: the Fluid Computer Systems Fluid Stream and Fluid Motion tablets. -- Posted Monday, October 25, 2010 by chb

Nokia's predicament
With Symbian practically on life support, InfoWorld is wondering what possessed Nokia to hang on to it for so long, and tp now apparently consider MeeGo as their major platform. InfoWorld suggests Nokia consider Windows Phone 7 (though adding WinMo didn't work too well for Palm). What a predicament for the once proud #1. [See Infoworld article on Nokia] -- Posted Monday, October 25, 2010 by chb

Verizon Samsung Galaxy Tab: high price, expensive data plans
On November 11, Verizon will start selling the new Samsung 3G Galaxy Tab tablet with its small 7-inch display and 16GB of memory for US$600, just $30 less than a 16GB iPad with its much larger 9.7-inch display. The Samsung tablet, however, has a rear-facing 3.2mp camera and a front-facing 1.3mp camera. Interestingly, the Galaxy Tab will run Android 2.2, an OS Google said was not optimized for tablets, and one that rival LG deemed not reliable enough for their own upcoming tablet. Verizon will not require a contract, but will offer metered data usage starting at US$20/month for 1GB. Defending their user-unfriendly metered data plans, Verizon said, "The data plan pricing for the tablets are reflective of how people use these multi-purpose devices, and because they are 3G and Wi-Fi enabled, customers have a choice in how, when and where they use them." -- Posted Friday, October 22, 2010 by chb

Stream TV's eLocity A7 mobile tablet can be preordered at more retail outlets
Stream TV Networks announced that following strong preorder sales on Amazon.com, five additional retailers will be taking preorders for the eLocity A7 seven-inch Tegra 2 mobile tablet running Android 2.2 Froyo. Sears.com, Newegg.com, PCMall.com, Walmart.com and MicroCenter.com will begin processing orders today and all preorder units will be fulfilled beginning November 22, 2010. -- Posted Friday, October 22, 2010 by chb

New AT&T "Pay-As-You-Go" a huge rip-off
AT&T announced their new AT&T DataConnect Pass Global for international travelers. Cost? That'd be $24.95 for 20MB, $59.99 for 50MB, $119.95 for 100MB, and $199.99 for 200MB. While AT&T claims that the plans help "travelers better manage their data usage abroad and at rates significantly lower than pay-per-use service," the plans are little more than another AT&T attempt to tightly control wireless data usage at exorbitant rates. At a time when the world is moving towards electronic delivery of just about everything, AT&T seeks to transform data delivery as their own goldmine. How bad is it? A single load of our six websites on an iPhone uses up 7mb, or 1/3rd of their 20MB "plan." Downloading a movie or big files? Forget it. This sort of abusive predatory pricing will likely further increase AT&T's image as an evil opportunistic corporate entity to be avoided at all cost. -- Posted Friday, October 22, 2010 by chb

275,000 iOS activations per day now
During Apple's 10/18/2010 quarterly earnings call, Steve Jobs said Apple has been activating 275,000 iOS devices per day as of late, and there are now over 300,000 apps in the App Store. Apple also announced it sold 14.1 million iPhones in the quarter, way more than the old record of 8.87 million. -- Posted Tuesday, October 19, 2010 by chb

iPad component supply improves
According to iSuppli, iPad component availability is improving so that iSuppli's iPad shipping forecast for 2010 is now 13.8 million units, up from their 12.9 million estimate in July of 2010. Apple announced it sold 4.2 million iPads during the quarter ending September 25, 2010. iSuppli estimates that Apple will sell almost 44 million iPads in 2011 and 63 million in 2012. [See iSuppli press release] -- Posted Tuesday, October 19, 2010 by chb

MobileDemand expands public sector offerings
MobileDemand, a leading provider of rugged Tablet PCs for mission-critical computing, announced that MobileFrame will deploy its leading public sector mobility solutions on MobileDemandís ultra-mobile, rugged mini tablet computers. As a strategic partner in MobileDemandís recent launch of its Public Sector Services Group and Application Development Partner Program, MobileFrame has developed and deployed its field-ready mobile applications for federal, state and local governments on the MobileDemand xTablet T7000 Tablet PC. -- Posted Tuesday, October 19, 2010 by chb

Getac releases affordable S400 semi-rugged notebook
Getac introduced the new S400 semi-rugged notebook computer to address the need for a modern, affordable, full-function notebook for use in applications where consumer laptops would quickly fail. The Getac S400 comes with an Intel Core i3 or i5 processor, a sunlight-viewable 14-inch wide-format WXGA display with optional resistive multi-touch, internal DVD writer, excellent onboard connectivity, optional GPS and Gobi 2000, and it all starts at US$1,800. [See description and specs of the Getac S400] -- Posted Tuesday, October 19, 2010 by chb

DAP announces rugged, compact M2000 Series
DAP Technologies has introduced the M2000 Series of compact, rugged and highly configurable PDAs. Based on time-proven industry-standard technology (Marvell PXA270 processor, 3.5-inch QVGA display, SD Card, Windows CE 5.0, Bluetooth) and available with either a numeric or an alphanumeric keypad, the M2000 Series can accommodate either a laser scanner or an imager, GPS, RFID, GPRS/EDGE, and WiFi. It also supports IrDA, serial and USB host and client connectivity. Weighing just 13 ounces, the new M2000 Series offers a small and handy handheld computing solution from one of the pioneers in the field. [See description and specs of the DAP Technologies M2000 Series] -- Posted Monday, October 18, 2010 by chb

Initial Windows 7-based media slates found wanting
We've been saying it for 17 years now: Windows wasn't designed for pens and tablets, and even less so for touch. The folks at gottabemobile.com found the same when they reviewed one of the first available Windows-based iPad competitors, the Tega v2/ [See GottaBeMobile's assessment of the Tega v2 slate] -- Posted Monday, October 18, 2010 by chb

Gartner predicts meteoric rise in tablet sales
Gartner predicts media tablet sales will to reach 19.5 million units this year (2010) and almost triple to 54.8 million in 2011, then shoot up to 103.4 million in 2012, and 154.2 million in 2013. [See Gartner press release] -- Posted Sunday, October 17, 2010 by chb

Elegant multi-function handheld: Casio IT-800
Called the Cassiopeia DT-5300 in Japan, Casio Business Solutions is selling the PXA320/WinMo 6.5-powered Casio IT-800 with its big 3.7-inch full-VGA display as a multi-function mobile computer/scanner/communicator into vertical markets. This elegant and quite handy Casio has an integrated 1D/2D imager, an AF camera with LED flash, a contact-less Smart Card reader, SIM/SD/micro-SD card slots, and more. [Read description and specs of the Casio IT-800] -- Posted Wednesday, October 13, 2010 by chb

Taiwan smartphone makers unwilling to invest in WP7
According to Digitimes, Taiwanese handset makers are unlikely to invest in Windows Phone 7 which requires a license fee as opposed to the open Android platform. As is, Digitimes expects one company, HTC, to take up a majority of the WP7 smartphone market. -- Posted Wednesday, October 13, 2010 by chb

Review: Advantech UTC-520 interactive touch computer
Ruggedized panels are replacing older manually operated or mechanical information displays in many public and corporate places. RuggedPCReview.com is taking a detailed look at Advantech's UTC-520 "ubiquitous touch computer" designed for such applications. The UTC-520 has a 21.5-inch touch screen with 1366 x 768 native resolution, and is powered by a 1.66GHz dual-core Atom D510 processor. No fan needed, dual RJ45 jacks, and the device can run Win XP/XPE, Wind 7, or Embedded Standard 7. [See review of the Advantech UTC-520 interactive touch computer] -- Posted Tuesday, October 12, 2010 by chb

Microsoft and partners unveil Windows Phone 7 portfolio
Microsoft and partners HTC, Samsung, LG and Dell revealed nine new Windows Phone 7 handsets that will be available this holiday season in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. All new phones are based on the Qualcom Snapdragon processor and run Windows Phone 7, Microsoft's latest attempt at a mobile OS that ties into Xbox LIVE, Microsoft Office Mobile, Zune, Windows Live, Bing and other parts of Microsoft's portfolio. Read Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 press release and here's a look at the launch devices. -- Posted Monday, October 11, 2010 by chb

Dell Streak now in India
The little Android-based Dell Streak, which by all reports could use some sympathetic publicity, is now available in India while our reviewers here at Pen Computing are still waiting to get Dell's attention. Our archivist recalls that we had similar problems to get Dell to send us an Axim... -- Posted Tuesday, October 5, 2010 by chb

Almost 50% increase in Q2 2010 year-to-year smartphone unit sales
According to Gartner, sales of smartphones grew to over 61 million in Q2 of 2010, compared to just 41 million the same quarter of 2009. Market shares were (2009 share in parentheses): Symbian 41.2% (51.0%), RIM 18.2% (19.0%), Android 17.2% (1.8%), Apple iOS 14.2% (13.0%), Windows Mobile 5.0% (9.3%). So it's a huge boost for Android, a big loss for Microsoft, and holding ground for Apple and RIM, with Symbian still leading, though we're not sure what exactly Gartner considers a Symbian smartphone. [See report here] -- Posted Tuesday, October 5, 2010 by chb

Huge demand for tablets expected
According to cens.com, Topology Research Institute (TRI) projects iPads to account for 70% of global tablet PC shipment of 37 million units in 2011 and help fuel demand for tablet PCs overall. Demand for such devices is expected to hit 130 million units by 2015, or 34%, of total notebook PC shipments expected that year. [See iPad-Killers Take Aim at the Tablet PC Market] -- Posted Tuesday, October 5, 2010 by chb

Mercedes Benz equips all dealerships with iPads
Mercedes-Benz Financial announced that it is distributing the 3G version of the Apple iPad to the entire Mercedes-Benz U.S. dealer network, giving all 355 dealers instant mobile access to its proprietary dealer point-of-sale system called MB Advantage. -- Posted Tuesday, October 5, 2010 by chb

Handheld Nautiz X3: aggressively priced rugged smartphone/multi-purpose computer
The Handheld Group has announced the Nautiz X3, a small 9-ounce rugged multi-purpose handheld aimed at service engineers in the field who today have both a phone and a bulky rugged PDA. The Nautiz X3—which has a camera, 3.75G radio, compass, altimeter and Runs Windows Mobile 6.5—will compete with the Motorola ES400 and the Intermec CS40 for users who seek to seek to combine those functions into one device. Compared to the competition, the new and aggressively priced (US$999) Nautiz X3 provides substantially more ruggedness with IP65 sealing and a 6-foot drop spec. [Read description and specs of the Handheld Nautiz X3] -- Posted Tuesday, October 5, 2010 by chb