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Author Archives: Michael Luciano

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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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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thin-tabletIt’s always suspenseful watching a fight among two giants play out. It’s almost like watching your favorite sports teams duke it out. You may be wondering how? Think of it like this. Every large electronics company is competing for one thing; your dollar bill. They want to out do their competition and be the best. It’s all a competition and it always will be. Some people are “fan boys” and “fan girls” as well. Basically, they favor one brand over the other. If we are looking at the two top tech giants out there, the two names that should immediately pop up are Apple and Android. Each of these brands has a huge following and it should come as no surprise that they are still competing. Apple has usually dominated the ranks, but recently Android has been making a comeback.

iOS has always been on top since the release of the first iPad years ago. They have owned the market and with little to no effort. It was always the top operating system when it came to tablets. Not just with tablets though. Mainly any mobile device was using an Apple iOS software system. Android decided to come back and fight however, and has since made its name in the mobile market digging into the sales of the iPhone. Android hasn’t stopped at the phone market though, they decided to go for the tablet market as well, and no their persistence has paid off.

A report from Gartner has shown some pretty incredible numbers for Android. In terms of tablet sales for this previous year, Android took the crown over any other operating system. Not only did they increase their numbers, but they did it by a huge jump. In 2012, Android saw only 53.3 million units sold. In only a years time, 2013 would show Android an increase in numbers by more than half! The numbers for last year show Android at 121 million units sold. Mind you these are global sales, but that is still quite the increase. With numbers like this in just a yearly increase, and Android continuing to push the market in their favor, they are well on their way to knocking Apple out of their way.

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Having said that, Apple is still at the top in terms of it being a single manufacturer. Even so, seeing Android jump may be a bit nerve-wracking to the company. Apple did see quite the jump in tablet web usage in Canada and the US however. Any victory is a victory, whether it be large or small.

Now comes the question of if Apple should really be that worried. What many people need to consider is that, this is just tablet operating systems and nothing more. Not to mention the fact that Android OS’s are spread over a multitude of different platforms, where as iOS stays strictly on Apple products. Since Android and sell their OS to other products, it’s much easier for them to gain headway in the market. While, yes you can see the OS’s switch with a bit of reprogramming, it is not very common. It’s all just a matter of deciding which OS is better for you. If you are on the fence about who you should be throwing your money at, try renting a tablet with iOS and a table with Android to see which suits you better!

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nookContrary to what you may think, not all technology is created equally. There are certain devices and gadgets that are just better than others. Whether you have been using a walkman still when the iPod and iPhone have been out for the past 10 years, or if you are a tech junkie who uses specs to justify what you will be buying next. No matter what the case may be, there will always be some brands and models that are just better than others. For example, not every tablet is what it seems. Look at the first Kindle compared to the new Kindle Fire HDX. Two completely different systems it seems. One developer is usually under the radar, but they are still giving it another go. Barnes & Noble has plans to release a new rendition of the Nook tablet this Spring.

Even though Barnes & Noble is planning to release a new Nook tablet, lets look at how their most recent sales have been to try and predict how the new tablet will do. The last tablet that the company released was the Nook Glowlight back in October of last year. This particular tablet was released with literally, next to no marketing or announcements at all. It is still also classified that it’s an e-reader, so that may have hindered sales. Although the other two tablets that the company has released, The Nook HD and Nook HD+, were completely Android powered and fared very well in the tablet market. The only thing with those two tablets, is that they are both roughly two years old now. Obviously with newer, more advanced technology, it’s easy for these types of devices to get left in the dust, especially since they are more classified as e-readers anyway.

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The CEO of the company, Mike Huseby, has noted that the revenue for this type of hardware is just not that good. He also noted that they are able to find the profit margins in the “content revenue”. This alone can allow us to see where their profits will lie, even with a new device becoming available. The CEO is also still reviewing the digital and retail aspects of the Nook division, and has contemplated separating them into two different businesses.

If you are the proud owner of a Nook already, you know what they are used for; eBooks. The only problem with this, is that both Apple and Android have established their own versions of eBooks on their respective App stores and “eBook stores”. They have essentially eliminated any need for any type of e-reader type of device, unless you are just an avid bookworm that enjoys the Nook. It is by no means able to compete power wise against the other two giants of the tablet world. But perhaps you have been wanting to try something new, like see what the real tablet world is all about. There has to be a reason why they have brought in so much revenue for these businesses, right? Try renting a tablet such as an iPad, or iPad Mini to see what the rage is all about, especially if the new Nook is still slated to be another rendition of whats already been done.

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Is The ZTE Optik 2 Tablet A Budget Tablet?

February 6th, 2014 | Posted by Michael Luciano in Android | Rental | Tablet - (0 Comments)

optik2Some things are just better than others. It is a simple fact of life. This can apply to technology especially. Think about all of the newest tech that has come out recently. Think of all of the new tech that will be dropping later this year. The multitude of other tech conventions that have yet to happen. It is a lot to take in, and because of that, it is easy for some products to get swept under the rug. Not necessarily be forgotten, just overlooked. With the top companies like Apple and Samsung ruling the mobile tech market with an iron fist, it is hard for other companies to showcase their products. The rising popularity of tablets also makes it hard for companies to bring out their models, what with the iPads and Surface Pros flooding the market.

Tablets like the ZTE Optik 2 Tablet can get easily over looked. One has to wonder though, is there a reason for this and other products to be looked past?

This particular tablet doesn’t really offer anything to breathtaking in terms of what it is, and what it can do. We are looking at a tablet that comes with a 7 inch screen and a 1,024×600 pixel resolution display. Tablets like the iPad Air, Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, and Nexus 7, easily double the overall pixel display output. The tablet comes with only 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage space, and a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 200 processing unit. Also not very impressive. Usable, just not impressive. The tablet does come with a front facing and rear facing camera, as is standard with most tablets. The front facing camera pushes 2 megapixels while the rear facing camera pushes a solid 5. Nothing wrong with this either, but most phones have better camera capabilities. The addition of a microSD slot for storage expansion, and the 4,000mAh battery do add some appeal though.

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So there is really not much to this new tablet. Sprint has to do something to make this a more appealing purchase for consumers. What better way to do that than by making the tablet only $30! That is, $30 when coupled with a 2 year plan from Sprint. While that may be the “catch”, it is still not a bad one. This does give you the chance at options after all. For example, you can choose to add a mobile hotspot to your new tablet. Just be ready to add another $20 a month for 2GB of data, or an additional $50 for 6GB of data.

There are many other better tablets out there available for purchase. A new tablet drops every month or so it seems anyway. Having said that, this might not be the worst purchase. Should you be new to tablets, or are trying to introduce someone who isn’t exactly tech savvy to tablets, this could be a worthy investment. What better way to learn the basics of how one words than with a budget model. Maybe you don’t really use tablets, but want to see what all the fuss is about. If you are willing to sign up for the 2 year plan, a $30 tablet is not bad no matter how you slice. And if all else fails, there are always rentals! What better way to figure out if tablets are for you, than by trying before buying?

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Let The New Samsung Galaxy Pro Tablets Be Your Valentine This Year

February 4th, 2014 | Posted by Michael Luciano in Android | Rental | Tablet - (0 Comments)

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. Maybe you are the procrastinating type and have yet to get a gift? Instead of having to go out and buy something typical for that someone special, why not think outside of the heart-shaped box? Maybe your significant other is a huge techie like you, or maybe they could stand to have a tech upgrade. Samsung has exactly what you may need for that handsome/beautiful tech fanatic in your life. And, if you know Samsung like the rest of us do, you are aware of their love for all things big screened. Valentine’s Day is a big holiday. It would only make sense to celebrate with the new large screen Galaxy Pro Tablets.

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Just like clockwork, Samsung has finally dropped their release date for the Galaxy Tab Pro and the Galaxy Note Pro. Just in time for last minute Valentine’s Day shoppers with deep pockets, these two new over-sized tablets will be out on February 13.

For those looking at these new devices, but still unsure as to what is so “Pro” about them, look no further. First thing’s first. As with almost any Samsung device, the screen is incredibly huge. The large screen is not without purpose though. That big screen is going to come in handy for the 2,560 x 1,600 pixel count that both the Note and the Tab models carry. They both come standard with 3GB of RAM and Wi-Fi capabilities. These two new tablets will be running off of the Android 4.4, or “KitKat” OS. While they might seem pretty standard in terms of what they can do, they will both feature a nifty little app called Remote PC. This app gives the user direct access to their office or home Windows PCs right from the tablets app. Expect both of the tablets to also come in LTE and Wi-Fi versions as well.

They do share differences as well though, so don’t think that just because they have similarities means that they are without their own unique features. For example, the Galaxy Note Pro comes with a specialized app called S Note, and many other apps that support the S Pen stylus that only comes with the Note Pro. The Galaxy Tab Pro is looked at as the main consumer model, and as such, contains features that cater to a mass market. The Tab Pro comes with software, only available with this particular model, that grants the ability to use the tablet as a TV remote.

Samsung loves having big screens on every product they release it seems, but those big screens don’t come without a price, naturally. The Galaxy Note Pro’s 12.2″ screen and 64GB of storage will set you back a nice $849.99 this V-Day. Should you not need that much space you can pick up the 32GB version for $100 cheaper. The Galaxy Tab Pro seems to be a bit more forgiving. Since it is being offered in 3 different screen sizes, it comes with 3 different price ranges. The 12.2″ 32GB version will cost you $649.99, $499.99 for the 10.1″ 16GB version, and $399.99 for the 8.4″ 16GB version. Valentine’s Day can be a day for both your loved one and your love for tech, as long as your wallet allows it.

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Does the iPad Mini Have Some Stiff Competition?

January 20th, 2014 | Posted by Michael Luciano in Android | iPad | Rental | Tablet - (0 Comments)

iPad and iPad mini

The iPad and iPad Mini have done very well for themselves. It seems that when people think of technology, and its future, we continue to think slimmer, smaller, and sleeker. We saw this trend first hand when the iPad Mini first released. It has now become one of the staples to the iPad series. While Apple is still leading the tablet market, there have been many strong competitors show up  over the years and make their mark on the tablet battlefield. Take for example, the multitude of Android tablets and Microsoft tablet/laptop combos like the Surface Pros. Even Kindle came out with a competitor to the iPad Air. Now though, there may in fact be a sleek competitor against the iPad Mini.

The Lenovo ThinkPad 8 may very well be the tablet that can hold its own against Apple’s iPad Mini. During it’s unveiling at the CES event in Las Vegas, many got to view and hold this tiny new powerhouse. It is currently running with Windows 8.1 OS on the Atom mobile CPU. This CPU is the newest that Intel has to offer. It weighs in at less than one pound and includes a SIM card slot. The slot is said to be used for LTE support in other markets, and is currently only available in a Wi-Fi Only mode here in the States. That being said, representatives from Lenovo did say that a mobile broadband option should be coming here to America as well. The ThinkPad 8 also includes a front and rear facing camera, like its competitor, the iPad Mini. The rear camera for the Thinkpad however is an 8MP where as the iPad Mini’s rear-facing camera resolution is set at only 5MP. The front facing camera on the new ThinkPad is comes with a 2MP resolution. The screen on the ThinkPad also surpasses the iPad Mini in size, but not in resolution. With the ThinkPad having a 1920 x 1200 resolution display, it doesn’t quite match up to the iPad Mini’s retina display at 2,048 x 1,536 resolution.

During the showcase, the new tablet was also showing off a new case to accompany the device. Much like the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9’s special Origami case, the new case for the ThinkPad adds some similar functionality to the device. Where as you would slide the case down for the Kindle Fire HDX camera to activate, the new ThinkPad case actually has a corner tab that flips down to reveal and enable the camera on the tablet. Its reminiscent of the SmartCases for the Apple iPads and how the put your device to sleep when covered but activate when uncovered.

The lowest end model for the new ThinkPad 8 sits at $399 with 8GB of RAM and 32GB of storage space. Obviously the more money you spend, the more storage will be getting as it will also be available in 64GB and 128GB models. It is definitely shaping up to hold its own in the tablet wars and seems to be adapting with the markets competitors in terms of casing, processors, and accessories. Now all that is left to see is how its sales numbers will stack up against the iPad Mini’s and how well the new Windows 8.1 OS will work on the tablet.

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