Tag Archives: Tablet PC News

NPD DisplaySearch: Quarterly slate shipments decline for the first time

If quarterly tablet shipments are any indication, it seems that tablets may not be as white-hot as almost everyone thought they would be – at least, not as hot as they used to be. Research firm NPD DisplaySearch said that at 56 million units, shipments of tablets in the first quarter of 2014 were lower than in the same quarter in 2013 – the very first time that such a decline has taken place.

NPD DisplaySearch logo

Seven-inchers are slumping, according to NPD DisplaySearch

While this is partly due to delays in the launch of new products, it’s emerging that seven-inch tablets are doing poorly. According to Hisakazu Torii, vice president, smart application research at NPD DisplaySearch, “Tablet PC demand in 2014 is being impacted by falling demand for seven-inch-class sizes in emerging regions and in China, where many local white-box brands have experienced lower-than-expected shipment growth.”

Why could this be the case? Experts say that competition from phablets is dampening demand for smaller tablets. Moreover, this competition is expected to reduce demand for these tablets through 2018. The report said that unit share for tablets 7 inches to 7.9 inches got as high as 58% in 2013, but that is as high as it will probably get; NPD expects this figure to decline in 2014 and beyond.

And what, then, about the much-ballyhooed saying that tablets would kill the PC? As Adrian Kingsley-Hughes reports for ZDNet, shipments of notebook PCs were actually up in 1Q 2014 – purportedly better than expected thanks to the commercial PC refresh cycle and migration of users to Windows XP. So maybe tablets aren’t going to be the PC killers that they were purported to be after all.

Improvements on the horizon

However, this doesn’t mean that tablets will be completely out of the picture; NPD also says that larger tablets, those 8 inches and above, will start booming, with shipments of 8 to 10.9-inch units overtaking those of smaller units by 2018, while shipments of 11-inch and larger tablets will exceed 10% of the market by that same year.

(We add that these are shipment projections and not sales projections – sales figures are another animal altogether. But please do stick with us to keep abreast of developments in this sphere.)

source [ NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report]

via [ ZDNet]

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Apple shifting some microprocessor production to TSMC

Apple’s been dependent on Samsung as a supplier of some of its most sophisticated components, like microprocessors, for years. But a change may be in the air: we hear that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. or TSMC has begun shipping its first batch of microprocessors to Apple. What’s more, Apple and TSMC have already agreed to work on “more advanced chips next year”. Read on to learn more!

TSMC Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. logo

A key development

Make no mistake, this is quite a significant development. Samsung has been Apple’s only supplier of microprocessors, dating all the way back to the 2007 launch of the iPhone – and this marks the first time that any other company is shipping Apple microprocessors. It’s not for lack of searching, of course; Apple’s been trying to reduce its reliance on Samsung over the past few years, but it’s found more than once that few other companies can match Samsung’s skill at churning out high-quality components to scale.

As a result, TSMC stands to see a big boost to its bottom line; analysts reckon that this new deal inked with Apple represents no less than 10% of TSMC’s revenues.

Sayonara, Samsung?

This news comes of course against the backdrop of a shift in the Apple-Samsung relationship. While Apple has continued to be one of Samsung’s best customers over the years, the two have also become tough competitors, as Samsung has successfully managed to develop smartphone and tablet lines of its own. Apple has hauled Samsung to court more than once over supposed patent infringements; although it may have won most of those battles, Apple has been forced to continue to rely on Samsung to provide microprocessors for its popular devices.

Additionally, of course, although it does continue to be the world’s top Android manufacturer, things aren’t all rosy for Samsung at present. It’s blamed increasing competition from Chinese manufacturers for its below-par profits (just a few days ago, we heard that profits for the last quarter could be as much as 25% below those in the same quarter last year). And what with Google’s upcoming Android One initiative – which will result in cheap Android phones becoming even more competent and Google-compliant – and Apple’s upcoming big-screen iPhones, the pressure on Samsung will only increase.

Will this deal with TSMC be the beginning of the end for this longtime business relationship? And will Samsung be able to do anything to counter these developments? We’ll just have to wait and see.

source [ Wall Street Journal]

via [ BGR]

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BlackBerry Tablet OS: Improved in 2.0

When Research In Motion (RIM) first announced and released the PlayBook and the BlackBerry Tablet OS last year, it was met with mixed reviews. Tablet PC reviews noted the glaring lack of dedicated email, contacts and calendar functions as one of the device’s biggest setbacks. Well, RIM has recently released a major update to its contender in the tablet PC comparison wars, so let’s check out what’s been improved.

Messages. Before BlackBerry Tablet OS 2.0, the only way you can access your email with your PlayBook is through the BlackBerry Bridge app. The newest version of the operating system has rectified this oversight with the Messages app. In addition to email, users can get messages from social networking sites LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Users can set up one account for each social networking site and as many email accounts as they can manage. All the messages and emails are neatly lumped into one feed, but you can easily filter between your accounts and folders.

Contacts and Calendar. PlayBook users can breathe another “Finally!” as the BlackBerry Tablet OS now has an integrated contacts and calendar feature. The Contacts app can pull information from your contacts in social networks, though if you have a lot of friends Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and they may show up in the list two to three times.

According to tablet PC news, syncing your calendar is similarly easy: you just need to sign in to your Gmail and Facebook accounts and your appointments and upcoming events will automatically be listed on your PlayBook’s calendar. You can also create reminders on your tablet and send it to your Google Calendar.

BlackBerry Remote. The older versions of the BlackBerry Tablet OS introduced us to the idea of tethering a BlackBerry phone to the PlayBook, and well, in this version, you can do so much more than just send BBM. As the name suggests, the Remote feature allows you to use your BlackBerry like a remote. You can use the phone’s screen as a trackpad and use the keyboard to enter text into a presentation.

Android. Yes, BlackBerry Tablet OS 2.0 supports some Android apps. You may have some trouble tracking the said apps in the App World, but believe us they’re there alongside the native apps.

All things considered, the updated BlackBerry Tablet OS looks promising, though some tablet PC reviews note the lack of other features like BBM and say that update 2.0 may be too little too late.

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Honeycomb and Android 3 tablets: Facts and Features

Android 3 Tablets

Many a tablet PC comparison have been written about Android 3 tablets and its competitors, but how much do you really know about this mobile operating system? Read on to know more about this tablet-centric OS.

V3.x Honeycomb Facts

After v2.x Froyo, Android came up with two updates: v2.3 Gingerbread and v3.x Honeycomb. The former is made specifically for use in smartphones, while the other is designed for use in tablet PCs. Honeycomb is actually the first and only tablet-only Android version, which debuted on the Motorola Xoom in February 24, 2011, and is based on Linux kernel 2.6.36. There are many Android 3 tablets that followed after the Xoom, with many slate makers picking up the OS. Toshiba, Sony, Samsung, Archos, LG, and Acer, among other manufacturers, came up with their tablet PC models running on various versions of Android 3.

Features

Like its predecessors, Honeycomb came with optimizations, additional support, and new features. Here are the most notable additions and features:

Support for Multi-Core Processors. According to many tablet PC news, this ushered in more flexibility for Honeycomb, as it can support both single- and multi-core processors.

Optimizations. Changes were made to the Browser to allow for tabbed browsing. This change was to capitalize on tablets’ bigger screen real estate. Additionally, Honeycomb also brought on bookmark syncing, form auto-fill, and private browsing. Multitasking was also made easier as the OS allows for switching between apps quickly and you can even check which apps are running at any given time.

UI changes. User interface changes were made to Email and Contacts. Both were changed to feature two columns so users can organize and find emails and contacts easily.

Action Bar and System Bar. The Action Bar, located at the top, allows users to access options, widgets, and content. The Notification Bar, on the other hand, is located at the bottom of the screen and allows users to check out notifications and Recent Apps. Both allow for better navigation and easy access to apps and other things.

Keyboard redesign and Cut-Copy-and-Paste. The keyboard in Android 3 tablets were redesigned so users can type more efficiently and accurately. It was further improved with additional options for special characters, and the Cut, Copy, and Paste options were also made easier as those options were made available on the Action Bar.

Android 3 tablets came with other features, and though its successor, v4.x Ice Cream Sandwich has already rolled out, many Android tablets still have Honeycomb. Some tablet PC reviews are still somewhat favourable to Android 3 tablets, as the said Android version is still used for a majority of tablets in the market.

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