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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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Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 2 Rumors

April 23rd, 2014 | Posted by Jake Nolan in Rental | Tablet - (0 Comments)

kindleAmazon has always been huge in the retail world, but lately it seems like they are dead set on becoming one of the biggest players in the tech world. They have really changed up the entire game with the release of the first Kindle e-reader, the Kindle Fire, and a whole list of other products.

The last Kindle tablets, the Kindle Fire HDX 7 and the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, were released in 2013 so we are definitely expecting to see a new version of the tablet in 2014. So far, Amazon has managed to stay very quiet about it’s next Kindle release, so the most we have to go off of is the list of rumors and speculations across the internet. Are they accurate? Who knows, but the fact of the matter is, they are usually pretty accurate…

Kindle Fire HDX 2 release date

There has been no official information about a release date, but much like other major players, Amazon generally keeps a pretty strict schedule when it comes to releasing new products. The Kindle Fire HDX was released in November, and the Kindle Fire HD came out almost exactly a year before that. This means, that we can surely expect to see a new tablet from Amazon some time around October or November of this year. It is a long way away, but we should start hearing some more official news in the not-so-distant future.

Pricing

The price point should be pretty easy to figure out. The main selling point for the Kindle that has always given Amazon a lot of leverage in the market is the fact that they are able to offer a tablet with great specs for a price that isn’t going to break the bank. The 7 inch version of the Kindle Fire HDX was $229, and the 8.9 inch model was $379. Amazon isn’t going to give up their biggest selling point, so you can count on a similar price on the new tablet, assuming they release it in the same sizes and they want to stay competitive.

Display

It is almost certain that the new Kindle will be released in the same sizes, as those sizes are extremely popular. But it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if they released a different size to go along with them. They have the small tablet market covered, and the larger tablet market covered. It would probably be logical to release something somewhere in the middle.

As for display resolution, there will probably be zero difference. Amazon already has a full HD display on their current tablets, so it is hard to upgrade from there unless they were going for a 4K display. 4K wouldn’t make much sense though, considering how much more the tablets would have to cost in order to make that happen.

Processor

A report from 2013 claims that Amazon had ordered a large shipment of MediaTek MT8135 quad-core processors for delivery this year. The Kindle Fire HDX uses a Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor. So, if these reports are true, the new Kindle could be lacking slightly in power from it’s previous version, but the MediaTek processors do cost less. The lower cost could mean that Amazon might pass on the savings to it’s customers, and that is good for everyone.

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Android 5 is just around the corner, and it’s going to bring many exciting changes. There is no official name yet, and some rumors have even said that it may just be called Android 4.5. This is anyone’s guess here, but there are a few things that we can probably count on. Many facts and rumors have surfaced throughout the internet, and here are some of the things you can look forward to.

Android 5 release date

Back in late 2013, everyone had assumed that Android 5 would be released in October. Instead though, the only thing that was released was Android 4.4 KitKat. Now, it’s looking like the newest version of Android is going to be dropping in mid 2014. It will probably be at Google IO, which is a huge two day developer conference in San Francisco that happens every year. People expected to see it at last years Google IO as well, so that raises the likelihood even more.

Google doesn’t generally announce big new items or operating systems during the conference, but it would fall around the 6-7 month mark from when the last update was released, so it actually makes the most sense.
For a long time, there were reports saying that Google Babble would come out along with Android 5. It is basically an app that will combine a lot of different chat services like Talk, Hangout, Voice, Messenger, Chat for Google Drive and Google+. It is highly anticipated and should make life a little bit easier.

As it turns out, “Google Babble” wasn’t even the correct name for the app, and it already came out on Android 2.3 and up. So much for that rumor, right?

It is also said that the next version of Android will have a lot of fitness based stuff on it, kind of like Apple products. It seems that more and more devices are incorporating this type of stuff, so Android pretty much has to, just to stay in the game. Future Android tablets and smartphones will have sensors built in to aid in gathering fitness data.

Another crazy rumor that is going around is that Android devices are going to start using the Google Chrome OS on their high end devices, and the new Android on their lower end models. Who knows if that is true, but it wouldn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. It would require a lot of extra work, with app integration and everything.

Whatever ends up being true or false, Android 5 is for sure going to be a huge, exciting step up for all of us. I can’t wait to check it out hands on.

If you are the average American, you have at least one Apple product, and if it’s not Apple then it’s Samsung. There is no fighting that these are the biggest tech brands in the mobile market today. They’ve obviously earned both of their places in the competitive market. The only drawback is that since they are so big, many of the other brands who offer products that offer the same features and functions as the devices of the two top dogs get pushed under the rug. It’s always hard to see a brand that you do love and support not get nearly enough recognition. Some of us actually do enjoy products that don’t come from Apple. Take Sony for example. When that name comes to mind, it’s usually accompanied by TV or Playstation. Sony does offer tablets much like that of its larger competitors. Some of their tablets even have features that don’t come with products like the iPad.

The new Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet might not be the trendiest tablet, but that’s all because of popularity contests. No matter how you slice it, Apple and it’s products have become more of a fashion statement than anything. If you don’t have an Apple product, you “may as well be stuck in the stone age” as some of the younger generation might say. With that being said, Sony’s Xperia has a few things that could give Apple and it’s iPad a run for their money.

First off, lets look at what’s inside the Z2 tablet. Right off the bat, you’re going to find that the device is running off of the latest Android OS, a.k.a. 4.4.2 KitKat. This is already a step up from the Z1. Next comes the processing power. The 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor is gonna make sure that you can do pretty much anything on this tablet. Anything that you may have in mind that you want to work on on this tablet? This processor is gonna make sure you can do it. 3GB of RAM are a nice addition to go along with the 10.1 inch Full HD display screen. Yes, the iPad Air still has a bit of an edge in terms of pixels with its 2,048 x 1,536 pixel resolution, but that should be hardly noticeable. The Z2 sits at 224 pixels per inch and the iPad Air goes at 264 pixels per inch. Not really enough to make a huge difference.

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Did I happen to mention that this particular tablet is on 6.4 mm thick? You might as well be holding a brochure in your hands when you hold this thing. However, due to it’s thin design and extreme lightweight, it does seem a bit fragile as it does tend to flex a bit. Never a good thing when it comes to things that aren’t necessarily supposed to bend. Even so, the thin design does make it look incredibly sleek. The kicker with this bad boy? Waterproof. That’s right. If you are like me and prone to accidents involving spilling food or liquid near you precious, precious tech, this helps you cast any worries of that aside. Feel free to take this tablet into the kitchen, place it next to the sink, and keep watching Netflix while you scrub the dishes. No need to worry about it getting messed up. In case you were wondering, the iPad Air ISN’T water proof.

There isn’t any price set for the new Xperia Z2 tablet, but we should expect to see one soon. If you want to test the waters with a powerful tablet to make comparisons and see if it’s worth your money, go ahead and rent one. Trying before you buy is never a bad financial call.

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A1-830-sku-mainChange can be scary. Change can be hard. Did I mention change could be scary? Just because we get new technology doesn’t mean that everyone is immediately going to jump on it. Yes, my grandmother has an iPhone, but I can guarantee you that she doesn’t own a tablet. There’s definitely a reason for that as well. We as a society get so accustomed to a certain aspect of our daily lives that we tend to shy away from something that is “new” or something that could change the way we operate in our daily routine. Tablets are a prime example of this. Yes, they have become a new staple in the mobile tech world, but there are some that are still very against the whole idea. Maybe they just need something to ease them into the transition. That’s where Acer’s Iconia A1-830 comes in

This particular Acer tablet may be just the very thing for those of us, both young and old, who may want to get into tablets but just don’t see a reason to or may not be very good at working them.

If you crack this tablet open, you find some pretty basic hardware, at least by today’s standards involving other tablets. This specific Acer Iconia model works with a 1.6GHZ Intel Atom duel-core Z2560 processor and a duel-core PowerVR SGX graphics processor unit.  It only holds about 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory storage but does have a microSD card port which can expand up to 32GB. The Acer tablet also comes with GPS, a gyroscope, and with Bluetooth 3.0. Overall it’s not horrible hardware, but again, by today’s standards and with tablets like the iPad Air and Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 available, it’s nothing fantastic either.

The design of it looks oddly reminiscent of the iPad Air. It’s relatively thin much like the Apple competitor and even carries the same white and silver colors. Overall, the design of the tablet looks quite fashionable. Small, thin, and sleek. The front of the tablet is white plastic, while the back holds the silver strong aluminum cover plate. The corners come rounded for a smooth feeling all around.  Boasting a 7.9-inch screen display and a 4:3 aspect ratio, the actual display screen isn’t bad and does come with some nice HD visuals. However, when in comparison to some of today’s slightly more high-end models, the pixels are a lot more noticeable.

One of the best parts about this tablet is the actual price of the device. This tablet comes in at under $200 retail price. $179 to be exact. And you are actually getting what you pay for. You are getting a nice looking, but basic tablet. Don’t expect any added glitz, glam, bells, or whistles with this mobile device. That might be just the thing for the less tech savvy people out there who are looking to get into tablets, however. It’s better to not overwhelm with all of the extra stuff if you are trying to get someone to transition into using tablets or trying to get into them yourself. This product might just be the perfect stepping stone, but you don’t have to commit right away. Renting is easier and cheaper than tying yourself down to the product. Try before you buy just to be sure!

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