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thinkpad8Microsoft has been struggling a little bit, especially after having to cut out so many jobs. New news from Lenovo just adds to the pain. Lenovo is the worlds largest PC vendor, and they have said that they are going to some selling one of their small screen Windows tablets in the United States.

On Thursday Lenovo confirmed that the 8.3 inch Thinkpad 8 would not be available on store shelves in the states anymore. On top of that, the 8 inch Miix 2 has already sold out in the states and there has been no word on restocking. This means that Lenovo is going to have zero small screen tablets available in the U.S.

The company has observed that their customers in the U.S. are more interested in Windows tablets with bigger screens, and they are really happy with the response that the ThinkPad 10 has gotten. The ThinkPad 8 has done way better in other markets like China, Brazil, and even Japan. They are pretty much just delivering the goods where they are wanted the most. Smart move for Lenovo, bad news for Microsoft.

The small demand may come from the fact that Microsoft ignored the small screened tablet world for a very long time. The iPad mini was already out and so were a lot of other Android and tablets, including Samsung’s Galaxy tab, before Windows even offered support for tablets of that size. By that time it was too late and the market had already been spoken for. Even Asus, Acer, and Dell has their own smaller tablets out on the market that had been doing pretty well. And even now, some of the apps for Windows are a little wonky on smaller screens. It’s just not working.

Microsoft still has a lot going for them with tablets. They do great with larger ones. They provide a superior computing experience, and tablets like the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 have gotten awesome reviews.

Lenovo will probably offer smaller tablets again at some point, but for right now Microsoft is going to have to focus on their bigger tablets and possible start working on a game plan for their next shot at a big release of a smaller tablet. They have said that they will probably still put out another one in the U.S. before the end of the year to see how it does, so Microsoft should start preparing.

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487079007Google is currently has a major project in the works, Project Tango. It’s a research project that is focussed on trying to create tablets and smartphones that are 3D-enabled and aims to produce devices that can learn and map the world. Google’s Project Tango lead, Johnny Chung Lee, stated that Google is currently teaming up with LG Electronics to build a 3D tablet that is rumored to go on sale sometime in 2015 and will have the technology to map out surroundings in 3D. The tablet is said to provide a 3D view of the world that will give incredible user experiences.

How is this going to work?
Google’s Project Tango uses a variety of sensors to see and map out the world around it in 3D technology, and now Google is trying to shape all that technology and information into a functional tablet. It’s rumored that the tablet will be sold as a $1,024 development kit later this year, so Google is building thousands of them. The biggest addition to this tablet is its camera and depth sensor, which lets the tablet take measurements of its surroundings, and then allows it to map out indoor locations. The tablet itself will feature a 7-inch screen, infrared depth sensors, two cameras, and advanced software that will be able to capture precise three-dimensional images of objects. The 7-inch tablet runs on a NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor and has 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, Wi-Fi, BTLE and 4G LTE. A lot of different ideas have been tossed around about what this function can be used for, but the primary focus appears to be creating maps of the interiors of public buildings and to give its users a better idea of what’s around them. But still, everything is still being developed and tested for improvements and new ideas. Developers can be notified by signing up when the unit goes on sale later this year for $1,024.

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lenovo-tablet-a8-50-blue-back-detail-8It’s almost inevitable nowadays to know that whenever you see new tech, you’re also going to see your wallet get really empty really fast. The price tags on all of the newest tech devices are just getting consistently higher it seems. I’m not one to think that EVERY device is that way, but I will say that there are certain products that seem to stay high in price. Tablets are one such device. Now as with everything though, you get what you pay for. If you want to get the best tablet on the market with all of the added bells and whistles, then that’s fine. You just need to be ready to pay for it. Lucky for us with pockets not as deep, there are much cheaper “budget” tablets.

Lenovo is a company that isn’t exactly known to offer the most incredible tablets, but they offer excellent entry level products that can help someone get accustomed to the tablet generation. Sometimes you don’t need a lot. Lenovo knows and understands that. That is why they’ve gone ahead and introduced another new budget tablet, their A8 tablet.

The Lenovo A8 is working with some decent hardware in terms of what is comparable to other 8 inch budget tablets out there. Mind you it might not be anything spectacular, it will still get the job done. The A8 houses a 1.3GHz MediaTek 8121 quad-core processor and comes with 16GB of stock storage space. You will only be working with 1 GB of RAM however unfortunately. Because of this, don’t expect to play any ridiculous video games. The levels and everything else may load properly, but expect to see long load times if you do decide to load them onto the tablet. The tablet also comes stock with a Mali 400 MP GPU. Definitely not bad. Again, it will get the job done. What really does help this tablet (as it would any tablet) is the MicroSD slot. This way, you’ll be able to expand the storage space on the tablet, should you need it.

The display of the tablet is on pretty common standards with other 8 inch tablet competitors as well. The A8 comes with a 1,280×800 pixel resolution display. With 189 pixels per inch, its definitely no iPad Mini With Retina Display, but it won’t distract you from browsing the web and operating your tablet as you would any other high end tablet. If you decide to watch HD video, it will still look very sharp as well, despite the smaller pixel resolution size.

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Where this tablet sticks out a bit from the others is the addition of Dolby Digital app. This tablet unfortunately only comes with one speaker, meaning you’ll be dealing with mono sound instead of stereo. This app is still able to turn that one speaking into something that is able to make your sound shine a bit more. At a moderate volume, your sound will still shine through very nicely without it being distorted or distracting. Don’t be mistaken however. You will still need to work with the Dobly Digital app in order to make the sound fit perfectly for what you need.

This is, by no means, the best tablet on the market, but if you need something to perform basic functions, then this tablet may be what you need. For only $179, the Lenovo A8 is not a bad tablet to get for yourself or someone else who is just now getting into the tablet lifestyle.

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tangoI’m the type of tech nerd that is all about embracing the future of technology. I look at new ideas with hope and wonderment, wishing that they will do something that has not been done before. Some may call this wishful thinking, and to an extent, I’d have to agree with them. There has to be something really crazy created in order to change the mobile technology game, especially in the tablet market. Every tablet has the “latest processor” or microSD storage on top of their 128GB of storage. There’s not been too much to add… until now. Google has decided to come in and stir things up a bit.

So what is it that Google has decided to do to shake up the pot? Four words that have me pretty excited: 3D and motion sensing.

Now I know this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this. The Leap Motion Controller is a device that is able to track depth and user hand motion, basically a way to control your computer without the need of a mouse. This is a cool concept if done correctly with adequate responsiveness. Google has decided to add their own version of motion sensing and 3D-sensing technology into a brand new tablet that they have in development.

Google has recently come up with a tech project called Project Tango that is slated to bring us new mobile technology with the addition of motion and depth tracking/sensing capabilities. Currently, the new tablet is in the prototype stage, so there isn’t much that can be determined. What can be confirmed is that it will come with 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a decent number of cameras. The cameras are where this new tablet starts to take flight. If you take a look at the new promotional video for the tablet, you’ll see that there are three cameras and an integrated depth sensor. The two cameras on the back work with the integrated depth sensor to allow for applications that can implement full 3D motion tracking directly on the tablet. In terms of processing power, this new “Project Tango” tablet will have the latest NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor.

Since the tablet is still in the prototype phase, it’s being distributed to a select developers with a software development kit just to see what can be created. There will be some 4,000 (rumored) prototypes delivered before the Google I/O conference later this month. Hopefully during that conference, the developers will have come up with something to show us. Needless to say, I’m a bit excited for this.

The price tag just for the prototype of this tablet is $1,024, so if developers are interested in working with this new tech and putting the software development kit to good use, then they’d better be ready to spend a pretty penny to make it all work. Even still, it would be a small price to pay if something incredible were to blossom from it.

Motion tracking technology is just an all-around cool concept. Who doesn’t want the ability to feel like their device is more an extension of their body rather than just a…. device. We will be able to see what this new tablet could be all about and how the software could work (hopefully) later this month at this year’s Google I/O.

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galaxy tab sAs the tablet wars continue to rage on, we, as the consumers, have front row seats to everything. We and our wallets are the main goals for all of the tablet companies out there. Each one of them is trying to make the absolute best tablet they can in order to gain our loyalty. It’s almost sweet if you think about it. It’s not news to anyone, however, where most of the mass market consumer loyalty lies. Apple has the biggest share of that pie without a doubt. While I’m constantly stating that it is due to Apple’s popularity and the fact that they can be viewed as a fashion statement, I also know that their products are actually very good (I have a MacBook Pro and iPhone). Their biggest competitor, Samsung, may have just thrown the biggest blow towards them that any company has ever thrown yet; a tablet that can actually stand up to the iPad Air and iPad Mini With Retina Display.

In case you’ve yet to see, Samsung recently stepped up their game with the reveal of their new flagship tablet; The Galaxy Tab S.  This new tablet is Samsung’s answer to the iPad Air and iPad Mini. I guess you could say it’s their answer to Apple’s iPad, period. They’ve put just about everything they have into this new tablet. One thing that Samsung had to say about their new product was that they didn’t want to make another tablet that offered things that the iPad didn’t offer. They knew that people were buying the iPad still for a reason. Instead of utilizing ideals that Apple can’t offer, they’ve decided to offer some of the same things that the iPad Air and iPad Mini With Retina offer. To be quite honest with you, some of the specs are actually better than Apple’s. Some of Samsung’s software features even outshine Apple’s.

The Tab S is actually thinner than both the iPad Mini With Retina Display and the iPad Air. The Tab S comes in an 8.4 inch version, and a 10.5 inch version. Both of these versions of the Tab S offer the same inner workings and are actually slightly bigger than the iPad Air and iPad Mini. Both the rear-facing and front-facing cameras offer more megapixels on the Tab S than they do with either the iPad Air or iPad Mini as well. While the camera might not be a big deal, consider this; the displays on the Tab S are better the Air and the Mini as well, so you might be able to tell! The Tab S offers a 2,560 x 1,600 pixel display where as the Air and Mini With Retina only offer a 2,048 x 1,536 display. The other one-up that Samsung has over Apple with their new tablet is the fact that they support microSD storage, where as the Mini With Retina and Air don’t. Samsung has made sure to not hold anything back with this new release.

This is where the consumer ultimately gains the advantage no matter what. While there may be a few Apple heads out there (present, and accounted for), Samsung is offering a very nice alternative, priced to match Apple. So while these two giants are at war with each other, we still reap the spoils.

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excite-7c-marquee-heroOur whole lives, we have been taught that you get what you pay for. Generally when we see a high tech gadget that is priced well below its competitors, we automatically assume that it is no good, and we should just save up for the upgrade instead of giving in to the good price and ending up disappointed. This new budget priced tablet from Toshiba, though, may just change the way we think about budget priced devices.

The 7 inch Toshiba Excite Go runs Android 4.4 KitKat and is priced at a mere $99.

One of the reasons that we may associate low price with low quality is that generally, top notch companies like Toshiba wouldn’t be putting out cheaper products. Most budget priced electronics are made by knock off brands that no one has ever heard of, or well known companies that are well known for being terrible. They generally leave much to be desired and feature bottom of the barrel components and specs. Would a bigger name like Toshiba let themselves put out such a cheesy product, even if it was cheap in price?

So far, it is looking like the answer to that last question is “no, they wouldn’t”. The Toshiba Excite Go is actually looking like it is going to be a pretty solid tablet. It has a 7 inch display, a 1024 x 600 pixel resolution, and it is powered by a quad-core Intel Atom processor. The internal storage is pretty impressive for a budget priced tablet as well. It has 16GB of internal storage, and it also has a MicroSD card slot so that you can upgrade your memory by up to 128GB extra. Looking at all the specs, it doesn’t seem like this would be a very low priced tablet at all. It seems like it could actually be a pretty competitive device. It also offers up to 8 hours of battery life with normal use and up to 6 hours of watching videos.

It looks like Toshiba may be able to change the way we think about budget priced electronics with the launch of this new tablet. For just $99 maybe they will actually be able to deliver the performance and features that we all want for a price that we can all afford. I guess we will all be able to find out in June with the Toshiba Excite Go officially launches.

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samsungtabIn all my years, I can’t deny that I’ve been mislead by different products and their hype. It’s like hearing how funny or scary that new movie at the theaters is. You get excited, and when you see it, it’s not nearly what you thought it would be because of all of the hype surrounding it. The same thing happens with new tech that comes out. You read the previews. You see how the company releasing the device paints the prettiest picture of their new product. They put it in the best light. You get so excited for it. You may justify some type of need that would deem it necessary to get the new device, and then it happens. You get your new device and you’re less than impressed. Unfortunately this is the way of the new Tab Pro 8.4 from Samsung.It’s not like the companies that create these different technologies intend on their products failing or not living up to the standards of their customers. The sad truth is though, is that as soon as you buy a new device, it’s obsolete. That’s just how quickly technology develops these days. There is always something better coming out or already out that you may be unaware of.The new Tab Pro 8.4 is as big as the number in its name; 8.4 inches. It’s part of the mid-size tablet family, and is lacking some of the design specs that came with the other tablets in the Samsung family, like the 8 inch Galaxy Note 3. One such example is the lack of the S pen stylus that comes with the Galaxy Note 3. Normally that might be a small inconvenience, but the fact that both of these tablets are priced at the same price makes it slightly more annoying out of sheer principle. That annoyance noted though, the screen resolution is better on the Tab Pro 8.4. The Tab Pro comes with a 1,600 x 2,560 pixel screen, with 359 pixels per inch. Thats much better than the 800 x 1,280 pixel resolution screen and 189 pixels per inch on the Note 3.

A tablet is much more than just screen size and resolution however. The software and apps of a tablet mean a lot as well. The software of the new Tab Pro 8.4 isn’t necessarily BAD, but some of the features that it COULD have come with didn’t show up, and I’m not exactly sure why. The Tab Pro allows for multi-window and multi-tasking features. This means that you can have certain apps going side by side the same time and go in between them. Only issue being that the side by side apps can’t work in conjunction with each other. If you have your email open and some type of “Word” document open next to it, and try to drag it over to attach it into the email, it won’t attach that way. That can be annoying along with the fact that it doesn’t come with any type of “Office” programs. The ones that come recommended feel like simplified versions once you download them.

Some other downfalls of the device include the camera and the advertised battery life. The camera itself is better than the Note 3 on the back. 8MP on the Tab Pro pitted against the 5MP of the Note 3. Even with the higher megapixels, the camera on the Tab Pro still takes about 4 seconds or so for the flash and image to fully process into an image, which seems a bit longer than it should be for a tablet. The battery SAYS 12 hours of video playback, but don’t expect to get that. While this 4800 mAh battery is better than the 3200 mAh batter of the Note 3, it’s still subject to the availability of Wi-Fi, 3G, and 4G LTE. This means that it might have to try harder for certain program functions. That being said, you should still be able to get roughly 6 to 8 hours of constant use out of it before needing a recharge, and that’s not that bad I suppose.

All in all, the new Tab Pro isn’t BAD by any means, but its just not as “Pro” as the name makes it out to be. Then again, some people’s standards may be higher than others. If interested in this particular model, I highly suggest renting it before you buy so you can be sure that this tablet is the one you want.

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tabSamsung has been battling Apple in the tablet wars for some time now. Though Apple still has the largest share of the tablet market, Samsung is releasing a line of tablets with features that might make you want to put down that Apple iPad for a Samsung Tablet. And that’s what many are doing, as Apple is losing more and more of the market share to Samsung. The Galaxy Tab Pro series didn’t stuggle by any means, and now there are plans to release a new line of tablets.

So what might Samsung be able to add now, seeing as how their tablet line is pretty extensive. As it stands right now, they have plans to release the new Samsung Galaxy Tab S. Now, I’m not too sure what the S is for, but there do seem to be some pretty promising features for the new model.

Since these are just rumors right now, please take that into consideration. Speculation considered, the tablet looks to be pretty well rounded, and definitely geared towards the higher end of the spectrum. The first rumored feature that caught my attention was the possibility of a fingerprint scanner on the home button. This in particular makes me nervous just because we know all about the many different ways that you could open the fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 5S. Everything from a cat paw, to your elbow could open up the phone. Hopefully this same thing doesn’t happen to the new Tab S, but that is just one feature so I don’t mean to pigeonhole here. The new tablet it also said to feature an AMOLED screen with a 2,560 x 1,440 pixel display. It’s also rumored to be coming in two different sizes. One in 10.5 inches and then a slightly smaller version (possibly a mini version?) coming in at 8.4 inches.

If we take a look inside the new tablets, we’re going to find a Samsung Exynos 5 Octo processor and 3GB of RAM. Again, these are just reports of what will be inside. Samsung hasn’t confirmed these assumptions…yet. Both the 10.5 inch model and the 8.4 inch model will be offered in Wi-Fi and 4G LTE models. The new tablets will also be coming with a pretty decent camera for tablets. Rumor says it will house an 8 megapixel rear facing camera and a 2.1 megapixel rear facing camera.

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There are no confirmed dates for release or prices given yet, but something tells me that we won’t have to wait long to see what is going to come from Samsung’s new tablets. They are definitely continuing to give options, which is not a bad market strategy. On the other hand, Apple doesn’t offer too many options for tablets, but the iPad is still on top as of now. Then again, you never know. This tablet could be the Galaxy Tab to finally push the Apple iPad off of it’s pedestal.

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acerIt”s true that you can, in fact, have too much of a good thing. Take your tech for example. The market for specific models of tech can easily become over flooded with different brands and makes. It’s all a matter of who can stand out the most these days. Obviously there are a few powerhouse brands that you don’t ever need to worry about. Samsung, Google, Apple, and even Amazon are having no trouble staying afloat with their products. Other companies like Acer, may be having a bit more of an issue with their products’ sales.

Acer has been falling through the cracks lately it would seem, in the tablet market. They have always been the brand that people tend to look at as the “budget” brand. That is not to say that their products aren’t quality. They tend to offer mid-level tech at the budget cost. It’s really not a bad way to market if you think about it.

That being said, the tablet market specifically seems to be overflowing with new makes and models from different brands. It’s as if a new one comes out almost daily. With this specific market becoming as crowded as it has been getting, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for certain brands to stay afloat. Naturally, the top dogs like Apple and Samsung will have no trouble keeping up as their brand has honestly become something of a fashion statement. No matter the price range, their tablets and other products will continue to sell. Then you have companies like Acer.

Acer recently debuted two new tablets to their product line; The Acer Iconia One 7 and the Iconia Tab 7. Both of these tablets were designed to be put within the lower end spectrum of tablets. That being said though, one is obviously a bit more flashy than the other. The Iconia One 7 has been designed in 6 different colors and has done it’s best to give off a very “kid-friendly” vibe. The One 7, upon closer inspection and feel, tends to be a bit like Amazon’s Kindle Fire.  An Intel Atom Z2560 1.6GHz duel-core processor will be supplying your power, accompanied by only 1GB of RAM. It comes with either 8 or 16 gigs of hard drive storage directly on the tablet itself, but also comes with a Micro SD slot for additional storage.

The Acer Tab 7 is a lot like the One 7, but with a slight boost in the device’s specs. Instead of a duel-core processor, the Tab 7 will be working with a quad-core 1.3 GHz Media Tek MT8382 processing unit. It will also sport a 5 megapixel rear facing camera, as opposed to the Iconia One 7′s 2 megapixel rear facing camera. This new tablet will also come with 3G support allowing for wireless data packages and even phone calls.

These types of products from Acer are all well and good, but they may be forgetting one thing. People don’t want mediocre products. People want the best of the best when it comes to tech, and they want it now. Attention spans and patience are growing shorter and thinner to the average consumer. This isn’t to say that Acer’s products aren’t quality. However, in comparison to tablets from the bigger name brands, they may come across that way. Unless Acer starts putting in everything they have and implementing a stellar marketing plan, they may not be in the tablet market for much longer.

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surfaceThere are few different phrases, idioms, and proverbs that many of us go by.  One saying may be more true than any other one: timing is everything. One simple timing error can cause a disaster. Having bad timing can ruin anything from a first date to quarterly sales for a company. Speaking of quarterly sales involving companies, bad timing may be  affecting a large company right now. I’m talking about Microsoft’s Surface tablet sales. According to a sales report recently released by the company, the sales for this particular tablet have plummeted quite a bit. Now Microsoft is looking to see what changes need to be made in order to help bring sales for the Surface back up.

While the earnings report was looking pretty rough at a 44% drop in sales, the previous quarter prior to this was the holiday season quarter. Having said that, that can only attribute to so much loss in revenue. I mean we are talking going from $893 million down to $500 million in sales. It almost leaves something to be desired by the market itself in a way. Apple saw some decline as well. 33% loss in revenue is still bad, but Microsoft’s 44% loss is just hard to overlook.

You have to figure that since almost a billion dollars of Microsoft’s revenue came from their Surface Tablet back in 2013, you’d think such a decline like that wouldn’t be possible unless something detrimental happened with the product. Even though, hardware wise, there may be nothing wrong with the product itself, there are still some factors that Microsoft may just now be taking into consideration.

The Surface 2 is now one of the last few devices from Microsoft running Windows RT. For those of you who don’t know, Windows RT is a version of Windows OS that is made to optimize performance on tablets at the cost of running older apps on the software. This is where this becomes a problem. There are so many other tablets out on the market currently that are running with Windows 8.1 instead of Windows RT. To the average consumer, having the latest operating software on your tech is a big deal. If they are getting that from another company, then Microsoft is going to lose money.  Aside from the Surface 2 lacking in the OS department, there is yet another big thing missing from the Surface line up. The name is small, but the demand is pretty big. A “Surface Mini.”

Yes, you may as well be selling the masses a smaller version of the exact thing that they already have, but if people keep buying it it’s just going to become that much more appealing. With Apple still leading the pack, and products like the iPad Mini and Nexus 7 out on the market currently, Microsoft is being left in the dust with nothing to show for it. However, rumors are beginning to circulate that Microsoft may just get with the times and release something soon. Possibly by mid-May, we could see a new Surface Mini.

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That may not help though. Another thing to consider is that Apple and it’s software now have access to Microsoft’s Office programs. This was a big deciding factor for most when trying to see what product would be deemed as more “productive” for the customer, and could have hurt Surface sales.

The odds are definitely not in Microsoft’s favor at the moment, as far as the Surface tablet goes. If they don’t do something dramatic with the new Surface Mini, they should only expect their revenue for the Surface line to continue declining.

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