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Google Nexus Foo appears on GFXBench

So a couple of months back, we heard rumors about the Volantis, the rumored HTC-made Google Nexus 8.9 tablet. Well, another device from the search engine giant has appeared on the benchmarking site GFXBench, under the name Google Nexus Foo. Curious? Let’s check it out, shall we?

Google Nexus Foo listing at GFXBench
image via BGR

The Curious Case of the Google Nexus Foo

From what we can gather, the codename (or that could very well be its real name) is probably a play on “Google-fu”, a slang term for one’s Google skills.

The eagle-eyed folks down at PhoneArena broke this bit of curious Google related news first, but just how curious is this case? First off, the device is said to have a 10.3-inch 1920 x 1080 display – but no touchscreen! And this has led many a tech reporter to assume that the Nexus Foo may be a laptop. It will reportedly have a 1.9 GHz Nvidia Tegra 4 ARM Cortex-A15 quad-core processor with a matching Tegra GPU, 2 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of internal storage. It doesn’t have a rear camera, but it does have WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity listed as features. No GPS, gyroscope, NFC, or proximity sensors and radios either. So yeah, those are all indicative of a laptop instead of your typical Android slate.

The other curious thing about the Google Nexus Foo is its operating system. GFXBench lists Android KKWT, otherwise known as Android Wear, as the device’s OS. Yep, Android Wear on a 10.3-inch device, ladies and gentlemen.

So what is it and when can we expect it?

Some have speculated that the Google Nexus Foo may be another form of Android Wear. Imagine where you’d need a 10.3-inch screen. If you said, “My dashboard,” then you may be onto something there. Or perhaps this is a developer’s device. This could very well be a giant Android wall clock and we won’t know for sure until we get a hold of more details about it.

In the meantime, what do you think? Could this be a giant Android wall clock? Tell us in the comments below. If you want to know more about it, or see its page on the aforementioned benchmarking site, then simply click on the links below.

via [BGR]

source [GFXBench]

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iFixit tears down Android Wear

The folks at iFixit, if you remember them, are quite known for tearing down devices to know just how repairable said devices are (see them in action here, here, and here). This time around, they got their hands on two Android Wear devices, the Samsung Gear Live and the LG G Watch.

Android Wear – The iFixit teardown review

The first two devices to feature Google’s new OS on wearable devices have just shipped to, well, early adopters, but just what is Android Wear? It’s basically an Android operating system built to work on smaller devices like smartwatches.

Anyway, so how did the two devices shape up in the iFixit repairability scale? Pretty high. The Gear Live got an 8, while the LG G (try saying that 5 times, really fast) got a more than respectable 9 out of the possible 10. Interestingly, the watches sport nearly the same specs, save for a few differences.

The Gear Live sports a 1.63-inch Super AMOLED display with a 320 x 320 pixel resolution, which translates to 278 ppi. It features Bluetooth 4.0 LE, a heart rate monitor, a digital compass, an accelerometer, and a gyroscope. Its 300 mAh battery can reportedly last an entire day of use on a single full charge. The LG G watch, on the other hand, packs an ever-so-slightly bigger 1.65-inch IPS LCD display, a 400 mAh battery, Bluetooth 4.0, and the sensor trio (accelerometer, gyro, and compass).

Both Android Wear watches have a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 APQ8026 quad-core processor, 512 MB of RAM, and 4 GB of internal storage. Both have an IP67 rating, which means that they can survive immersed into a meter of water for 30 minutes. Still though, it’s not recommended.

How much are these again?

If you’re interested in getting one of these Android Wear devices, then be sure to set aside a fair bit of cash. The LG G Watch retails for US $229, while the Samsung Gear Live will set you back US $199.99.

Remember: Kids, do not try this at home. Not only are the iFixit people professionals (which means they can put things back together again), but they are also in possession a budget for tearing down perfectly working US $200+ watches. So if you ever feel the need to see what the makes the Samsung Gear Live and the LG G Watch tick, then head on over to the link below.

source [iFixit (Samsung Gear Live) and (LG G Watch)]

via [Liliputing]

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The VIA Viega is a rugged Android slate for enterprise users

Taiwanese chipmaker VIA recently announced a rugged Android tablet, made for – you guessed it – enterprise applications. The new slate is called the VIA Viega, and though it’s not nearly as powerful as Panasonic’s ToughPad line, it is made to withstand conditions that would murder your typical tablet PC. Read on to know more about it.

VIA Viega Android tablet PC

VIA Viega: Rugged and ready for the field

Like the ToughPad line, this baby is IP65 rated, which means that it’s water-resistant and dust-proof, as well as shock and vibration resistant. According to the press release, it can survive falls from 2 meters and its LED backlit LCD screen is protected with tempered glass. Apart from its IP65 rating though, the VIA Viega seems like your typical 10.1-inch Android tablet. It features a 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 dual core CPU (with NEON technology and Mali-400 DP graphics), 1 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of flash memory. There are plenty of I/O slots and ports here: micro SIM, microSD card, 2 microUSB (one of which has DC12V-in/COM function), and micro HDMI. Other features include NFC and GPS support, Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi connectivity, and a polymer battery that can apparently last up to 9 hours.

In case you do have to work out in the field, where presumably, there are no hotspots, fret not as this tablet has 3G support. The cameras, on the other hand, (a 2 MP front shooter and 5 MP main with autofocus) are optional.

Interestingly, VIA indicates that the Viega will feature an Android 4.2 Jelly Bean OS with “enhanced security features”, and that customers can ask for further customizations (“framework, kernel and device management customization services”). Epan Wu, Head of VIA Embedded Platform Division, had this to say about the slate:

As more and more enterprises seek to increase productivity and improve customer service by equipping their staff with mobile devices, they are quickly learning that it is critically important to deploy customized solutions built to withstand the demands of their target environments rather than standard off-the-shelf products. With its rugged design, enhanced security features, and customization support, the VIA Viega addresses this need and provides the longevity support that enterprise level customers require.

Pricing and availability

Unfortunately, the press release wasn’t as forthcoming about pricing and availability as it was with the VIA Viega’s specs. Stay tuned for more updates about this one.

MediaTek is top chip supplier to obscure Chinese tablet firms

Taiwanese chip producer MediaTek, based in Hsinchu, is now the biggest supplier of chips to “white-box” or little-known Chinese tablet firms.

This was one of the revelations derived from data from the Topology Research Institute, as relayed to us and other media outlets by Focus Taiwan.

Mediatek

Numbers don’t lie

Focus Taiwan says that MediaTek’s share of the Chinese market is growing at an extremely rapid clip, thanks to the low cost and high performance of its chips. From holding just 1.8 percent of the market in 2012, last year MediaTek accounted for a whopping 29.5 percent of the Chinese white-box market for tablet chips.

By comparison, two other top Chinese chip developers, Rockchip Electronics Co. and Allwinner Technology Co., are now the second- and third-largest chip designers respectively. In the fourth quarter of 2013, Rockchip Electronics accounted for 22.1 percent of the market, while Allwinner Technology’s share amounted to 20.6 percent. (American chipmakers Nvidia and Qualcomm are very far behind, amounting only to 3.2 percent and 2.1 percent respectively.)

What’s at the root of MediaTek’s success? According to Topology researcher Michael Zuo, who was quoted by Focus Taiwan in its article, one cornerstone of its success is its utilization of integrated solutions that can help shrink the time needed to develop white-box tablets to just three months – a very far cry from the industry average of more than six months.

Another factor is the almost eye-wideningly low price of most of these nearly anonymous products. Many of these tablets sell for just 200-400 Chinese yuan or about $35-$70 – only about a fifth of the big brands’ tablets, which can go for as much as $32-$64

No scoffing, please

It must be added that despite their lack of brand recognition, said white-box manufacturers still manage to account for a sizable chunk of one of the most vibrant markets in the world for tech products. Topology determined that 100 million of these tablets were shipped to retailers in China this year, up from 80 million in 2013 and 60 million in 2012.

With MediaTek firmly ensconced atop that particular heap – at least for now – the future looks bright for the Taiwanese firm.

[Source: Focus Taiwan]

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Micromax Canvas LapTab – Dual-boot convertible tablet

Dual-boot and dual-OS devices have become a thing now, and Indian company Micromax is dipping its fingers into the said tablet niche with a device it calls the Canvas LapTab. It marries two operating systems, Android and Windows, and runs on an Intel Celeron processor. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

Micromax Canvas LapTab Dual Boot Tablet PC Hybrid

Micromax Canvas LapTab marries Android and Windows in one device
According to Micromax’s press release, the Laptab will feature a 1.46 GHz Intel Celeron N2805 Bay Trail-M processor, 2 GB of RAM, and 32 GB of internal storage. If that seems a little too small for you, you can add 64 GB of extra space via the microSD card slot. Additional features include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, a 2 MP front camera for video calling and perhaps selfies if that’s your kind of thing. The tablet part has a 7400 mAh battery, while the keyboard has a 230 mAh battery. According to the manufacturer, you can get up to 8 to 10 hours of continuous use on a single charge. The device’s 10.1-inch IPS display maxes out at a 1280 x 800 pixel resolution.

Now let’s talk about that dual-boot function. According to reports, the Canvas LapTab accomplishes this by letting you choose which operating system to start at the boot screen. You can choose between Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and Windows 8. How smooth is the transition in between them? Well, you have to reboot – meaning you have to close whatever you were working on or playing with – whenever you want to make a switch. Needless to say, it would be a little problematic you if like mixing work with play and vice versa.

Here’s what Rahul Sharma, Micromax co-founder, had to say at the Pepcom event at this year’s CES:

Today, we are taking the next leap in raising the innovation bar globally, with the introduction of LapTab. Over the past few years, we have been witnessing a growing trend of increasing consumer demand for two operating systems in one device, which offers a blend of great PC like productivity in a tablet like form factor for seamless consumption. The Micromax LapTab fulfills that consumer need by giving them access to the world’s first dual-boot tablet. Combining functionality and style, the LapTab further builds on our promise to constantly empower our users with superior technology that directly addresses their needs.

Pricing and Availability
According to reports, we could expect the Canvas LapTab to hit the shelves in its native India first. It will then hop on to Russia and quite possibly North America this summer. We’re not sure how much this is going to retail for but some reports estimate a price tag of around US $500.

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Microsoft Surface Pro 2: Upgraded!

Microsoft’s premium Windows 8 offering is going to be refreshed soon, with the new model, the Surface Pro 2, featuring several upgrades from its predecessor. What should we expect from this tablet PC? Well, for starters, a faster processor and a longer battery life.

Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Windows Tablet PC

Surface Pro 2: Specs and Features

Since we’re talking about the Surface Pro here, it has better specs than its little brother the RT, eherm, the Surface 2. The Pro 2 packs a 4th generation Intel Core i5 (Haswell) processor, which is faster and more energy efficient than the Ivy Bridge CPU on the previous model. It comes in four versions: Models with 64 GB and 128 GB of storage are armed with 4 GB of RAM, while the 256 GB and 512 GB models have twice as much RAM with 8 GB. All of that is crammed behind a 10.6 inch ClearType Full HD display with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution.

Other features include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, 2 720p HD cameras, a microSDXC card slot, a mini DisplayPort, and a USB 3.0 port. Out of the box, the Surface 2 comes with all the necessary hardware, including a Surface Pen, and it comes loaded with Windows 8.1 Pro. According Microsoft’s website, the battery can last for up to 7 to 15 days on idle.

The Surface Pro 2 looks mostly like the Surface 2, but is a little thicker and heavier around the midsection, measuring at 10.81 x 6.81 x 0.53 in and weighing at 2 lbs (900 grams).

Pricing and Availability

The Surface Pro 2 is now available for pre-order and is scheduled for release on October 22 for the more basic models. The other models, according to the site, will ship by October 29 and presumably arrive the next day, October 30. The most basic model, the 64 GB one, will set you back US $899, while the 128 GB model would cost you US$ 999. The higher end 256 GB and 512 GB models are priced at US $1299 and $1799, respectively.

It’s pricier than the Surface 2, that’s for sure, but considering you get more power (both performance and battery life-wise), a full version of Windows 8.1 Pro, and a digital pen, it seems like an acceptable deal. If you think the price is too steep though, you may want to look into getting the original version which was marked down some months ago.

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iPhone 5c: Colorful, and Cheap – On Contract

Those two words are hardly ever used to describe Apple products, but we have to say, they fit the newly unveiled iPhone 5c to a T. After months of waiting and speculating, it’s finally official. We’re not going into the territory of hyperbole when we say that a lot of people have been waiting with bated breath for Apple’s official unveilings scheduled today – and (more or less) we were not disappointed.

Apple iPhone 5c Smartphone - image from TheVerge

iPhone 5C unveiled!

During the event in Cupertino, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the new stuff we should expect from the consumer electronics giant: iOS7, iPhone 5S, and the iPhone 5c. The 5c, like most Apple products prior to release, was subject to info leaks and speculation, and as the tech pundits have pointed out, the rumors and phone shown off at the event were pretty much the same.

Under the hood, the 5c has the same specs as the original iPhone 5 with a 4-inch Retina display and powered by an A6 CPU. It also has the same 8 MP rear camera though the front camera has been improved for better video calling. Another improvement, according to reports, is the improved battery size. All of this is housed in a single piece of hard coated polycarbonate shell. Yep, it’s plastic, and unapologetically that, as Jony Ive (Senior VP of Design in Apple) has been quoted saying.

Pricing and Availability

Have we mentioned that the iPhone 5c has several color options? It’ll be available in green, pink, blue, white, and yellow. Apple also indicated that they’ll be selling silicon rubber custom cases for the 5c, at US $29 each. Aside from the splash of color, the 5c offers something else: affordability. The 16 GB version will reportedly retail for US $99, while the 32 GB model will have a US $199 price tag on contract. According to reports, the prices will of course be more expensive when the phone is bought outright. Contract-free, the prices abruptly shoot up to US $549 for the 16 GB version, and US $649 for the 36 GB version. UK prices are reportedly £469 for 16GB and £549 for 32GB for buying the phone unlocked. Pre-orders start on September 13. The new smartphone will hit the shelves in the US, China, Japan, Singapore, Canada, Australia, and the UK shortly after on September 20.

There you have it folks. Do you think this is a good move for Apple in their efforts to keep the Android resistance down? And when are we going to hear about the product refresh for the iPad mini? Sound off in the comments below!

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Toshiba Excite 10 SE: The Simple 10-inch Tablet PC

For quite some time now, Toshiba has been trying to strengthen their tablet PC line-up starting with the release of the promising Toshiba Thrive in 2011 and now with the Toshiba Excite 10 SE. If you’re in the market for your first tablet, perhaps this offering from the Japanese electronics giant is worth a closer second look.

Toshiba Excite 10 SE Tablet PC

Specifications

The Toshiba Excite 10 SE is a 10.1 inch tablet PC with a 1280 x 800 pixel resolution display. At the heart of the Excite 10 SE are a 1.6 GHz NVidia Tegra 3 processor, 1 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of onboard storage expandable via a microSD card. It has the usual Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, GPS, a gyroscope, an accelerometer, an ambient light sensor, and even a digital compass. Tipping the scales at just 1.41 pounds, this tablet PC would fit perfectly in your handbag or laptop messenger bag.

The Excite 10 SE runs on Android Jelly Bean 4.1 and is equipped with two cameras, a rear-facing 3 MP shooter and a front-facing 1.2 MP one for video or conference calling. The rear-facing camera comes with the usual bells and whistles like autofocus, LED flash, and digital zoom. It is also capable of recording 720p videos.

With regards to battery life, Toshiba claims that it can provide users with 8 hours of continuous video playing. Another welcome feature of the Excite 10 SE is the fact that bloat ware is kept to a minimum as only a custom media player, an app store and portal, and a useful file manager comes pre-installed with it.

Would You Buy This Tablet PC?

Priced at US $349.99, the Toshiba Excite 10 SE is a serviceable tablet which may not live up to the expectations of seasoned tablet consumers due to its outdated processor and small RAM size. It doesn’t offer anything new, however, if you’re planning on buying your first ever tablet and you’re looking for a simple, no-frills device, then the Excite 10 SE may be the one that’s right up your alley. Just remember: there is literally a boatload of Android tablets in the market, so if you’re looking for something that can offer more, then we suggest you look elsewhere.

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PC Comparison: What should you buy?

In choosing among these three computing devices, it all boils down to your needs and budget. Do you need something with more power? Or will you need something that is more portable? Let’s face it, not everyone can afford to have all three of these computer types, and it pays to make an informed decision to get the best value for your money. In this PC comparison, we’ll be checking out each type’s strengths and weaknesses. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

PC Comparison: Desktop, Laptop, or Tablet PC?

When you think about it, you have probably owned or still own a desktop (or at least used one at work). Much like the other two devices in this PC comparison, desktop computers have come a long way with better and faster components and thus better overall performance. You can built or buy a desktop from the ground up using components with the specifications you need. For example, you can get a PC with a good graphics card for gaming or for video editing purposes, a barebones PC for surfing and editing documents, or an all-around PC with balanced specs. Needless to say, you can customize your desktop according to your needs.

On the other hand, some laptops available nowadays are comparable to desktops in terms of specs and performance. Their main advantage is mobility. With a laptop, you can work or play anywhere. Customizability is a little limited with a laptop, though some manufacturers do offer some customization options. Laptops and desktops feature similar hardware (components and input devices) and software (operating systems and applications). In this laptop, desktop, and tablet PC comparison, the tablet is the most portable. It’s also different in terms of hardware and software. Some tablets bridge the gap and offer more functionality by featuring keyboard docks and specs comparable to laptops.

So which is better for me?

In a PC comparison, we can’t tell you which computing machine is the best choice, especially since you have different needs and preferences. You’ll have to decide which one would give you the best value for your money so we suggest that you weigh your options carefully especially if you have a limited budget.

How Reviews Can Lead You To The Best Tablet PC

With so many gadgets coming out as of late, it is becoming more and more of a challenging task to find the best tablet PC in town. Actually, that’s what professional reviews are there for. They aim to help the consumers in making the correct decision as to their purchases. At least by having all the information they need about it, they won’t have to go through buyer’s remorse later on.

Reading up Reviews

The good thing about reading up on tablet PC reviews is that consumers are able to make a tablet PC comparison among the brands and types objectively. This is especially helpful to those who are not really all that suave when it comes to technical details. Most consumers are just concerned about the basic functionalities of the tablet, anyway, and what kind of apps they can use with their friends. For them to rely only on tablet PC news wouldn’t be all that reliable as well, since they would be mainly getting press release and updates.

Of course, these press releases can also seep into the form of reviews, but for as long as you know what is objective from what is not, you should be to figure it out for yourself. When checking out the review, therefore, try to determine whether it really was an objective piece. You can easily cross-reference the review anyway.

Not a Tedious Task

Finding the best tablet PC in the market need not be a tedious task for you. There are many ways for you to be warned beforehand of the pros and cons of each brand there is out there, which should be able to really lead you to the best tablet PC.

Take a good look at what you need in a tablet PC. This should be a good jumpstart for you to determine which brand to purchase. Find something that would be able to cater to your gadget needs without necessarily having to break into your budget. After all, with so much competition there is around, the prospects at having lower prices for tablet PCs are bigger. Soon, you should be able to enjoy your brand new tablet PC.