Samsung has just unveiled the first ultra large screen tablet, the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 tablet. This is going to be available as a pure WIFI device or with data. It should be hitting AT&T within the next month or two and brings a fair number of compelling aspects to the table.
The Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 features a 12.2 capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 2560×1600 pixels. Visually the resolution is arresting and multimedia looks really amazing. Underneath the hood is a 1.9GHz Exynos 5 Octa processor (Wi-Fi model) or 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 800 processor (LTE model). It also has 3GB RAM, 8-megapixel rear facing camera, and a 2 megapixel front facing camera. This model has more internal memory then any of the other tablets Samsung has debuted at CES with 32/64 GB of storage and expandable memory.
There should be plenty of battery life to play games and engage in media with the 9,500 mAh battery. The 8 core processor will really make games, apps and everything else really shine.
Finally, the Note Pro 12.2 is very light! For a really large tablet, you would figure it would be very hefty. I easily held with it one hand and did not find it was weighing me down.
The Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 model runs Google Android 4.4, which is the latest version. What makes this tablet really interesting is the main UI. This is unlike any other tablet the company has released.
Most Android tablet users are likely used to the pure vanilla experience. You have app icons on the main screen and the primary app list. Samsung has borrowed a page out of Microsoft’s playbook by adopting live tiles. This will have apps like the New York Times, Twitter, Facebook, give you live updates. If you install apps on your own, this can also be integrated. This is all accomplished by pinching and zooming.
I have seen a number of phones lately by mainstream companies like LG that allow you to have two apps open at once, with each one taking up half of the screen. Samsung is taking this one step further to allow for 4 apps to be open at the same time and can both be used live. You can have a few spreadsheets open and a number of business documents. If you are into movies, you can watch one and then bash it on Reditt and other movie review sites.
These two software elements is really what makes this stand out in a crowded market place.
If Android is your bag, you will want to take a long look at this tablet. I can see it being a solid business device with its ability to multitask. It will also be fairly good at video games, able to handle anything you can throw at it.
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
We have seen smartwatches before but none this big. With a 2.4 inch display, the Neptune Pine is to smartwatches what the phablet is to regular tablet devices. It is twice the size of regular smartwatch devices that usually max out at 1.2 to 1.6 inches. However, the humongous proportions isn't the only distinguishing factor of the Neptune Pine in that it is designed to operate completely on its own and not as a companion device to a smartphone that all other smartwatches currently are known to be. Put in other words, it actually is a smartphone that you can wrap around on your wrist. That is not bad either when you have a device that offer half the screen real estate as the regular iPhone.
However, the size bit apart, the Neptune Pine is also about a lot of substance. Powered by a Snapdragon S4 chip rated at 1.2 Ghz, the smartwatch is zippy to say the least and is good enough to last a full day of regular usage or about 7 hours of internet usage via Wi-Fi. The device also comes with front VGA and rear 5 megapixel camera, another smartphone like credential that the smartwatch boasts of. While the need to have front facing cam on a smartwatch is debatable, the 5 megapixel rear shooter can prove handy even though it amounts to pulling the device from the wrist strap each time a pic has to be shot. The device runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
Typing is also a lot easier on the Neptune Pine compared to any other smartwatch which makes sending messages a breeze on the device that can be used to make or receive calls. Reading messages is also convenient thanks to the larger display area which can also serve to get along with some quick reading though surely not for extended periods. The display should also allow for smaller games to be played easily which no doubt will allow for a means to while away some time. Surfing the web will also be much more interesting on the Neptune Pine and can prove handy while on the go.
However, let's not forget one of the biggest draw on the battery is the display and the bigger it is, more will be the drain on power. Also, with smartphones growing bigger in scope (and size too), what remains to be seen is whether there will be many who would like to opt for a device that they can strap on to their wrist which offers just the basic functionalities of a smartphone. This applies more to a device that is price $355 and will be available by the end of this month itself. The company though revealed the second gen version is already in the making and let's hope it is smaller than the current version. in any case, the Neptune Pine in its present form does conform to what Apple co-founder Steve Wonzniak had said of smartwatches, that he wants the entire internet on his wrists.
WebOS has been the kiss of death in the tech industry and nobody has really made it work since it was first developed by Palm. HP tried to make a go of it with their ill-fated TouchPad, and was promptly killed off three months after their only commercially viable product. LG is trying hard to make it relevant on their entire line of televisions. We will soon see it on 3D/4K and other new tv’s in their portfolio within the next few months.
Today, Good e-Reader got an exclusive hands on demo with WebOS for televisions and we get a sense of what it brings to the table. LG is going to be running their own video and television rental service under the LG Store. They have deals with major studios and were showing off Spider Man, Hunger Games and many other popular movies. They also have a dedicated section of the store for WebOS apps. You can install Netflix, Hulu, Skype, Facebook, Twitter and tons more.
I tried to confirm what the submission process would be for indie developers wanting to port over their apps they developed for the TouchPad and what the guidelines for apps actually are. No one at the event had any clue and I was told no one even asked that question but me, and everyone was fairly confused.
Pepcom is one of the largest press events and transpires the day before CES. Good e-Reader was live on the scene and checked out some of the most compelling devices. Surprisingly there was no new e-readers unveiled, but Kobo was on the scene with their entire portfolio of products. Mainly, we looked at a bunch of solid new phones, such as the Huawei Ascend Mate 2, LG G-Flex and Alcatel One Touch.
Injustice: Gods Among Us is back!
The DC digital-first comic, based on the video game of the same name, did phenomenally well in its first season. It was the top seller on the digital comics charts every week, and it has sold over 1.9 million copies in print and digital—mostly digital—according to USA Today. The first season of the comic wound up last September with issue #36, but it’s back today with “Year Two.”
The story is darker than the standard Superman continuity: Rather than being a hero, in the world of Injustice he is the supreme ruler of a dystopian world. The Justice League, led by Batman, are insurgents fighting against him, and the familiar characters are divided in their loyalties. The second series expands the story even further, says writer Tom Taylor:
The casual television crowd has all heard of 3D, but it never really caught on due to the price. 4K televisions have been available for over a year, but lack of quality content is hampering growth. This may change as Netflix and Amazon both announced this week that they will be delivering ultra hi-definition streams later this year. Google announced a new 4K streaming format, VP9, that would cut in half the bandwidth necessary to stream 4k from sites like YouTube. CES 2014 is all about curved televisions that are quite the departure from the flat-screen models everyone knows.
LG, Samsung, Hi-sense, and many other companies were displaying their curved 4K 3D television sets. Most ranged from 55 inches to over 105 inches and most have a hefty price tag of $60,000!
LG is doing something very interesting with WebOS, that they purchased from HP, after their ill-fated TouchPad. LG has developed a store that has WebOS apps, such as Crackle, Skype, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and 50 other apps. They will be integrating WebOS as their infrastructure of choice on their entire line of curved televisions. The company also demoed the frst bendable UHD OLED. It will actually transform from a flat screen via motors and give you the option to curve it.
Samsung was showing off a mammoth 105-inch curved Ultra HD display and will have extra 55-inch, 65-inch and 78-inch curved UHD sets (no prices, later this year). Samsung’s curved displays deliver “even more lifelike picture quality with more depth,” said HS Kim, executive vice president of the visual display business at Samsung Electronics. He compared the experience to 3-D and IMAX. “You can feel that effect.”
Curved television sets were the major trend this year at CES, as more companies seem to be embracing this technology in a bid to win over consumers.
Good e-Reader is live at CES and we are putting the spotlight on just the most innovative devices that catch our fancy. Samsung was showing off three new Galaxy Note tablets of varying sizes. They had a 8.4, 10.1 and 12.2 inch editions that all had the exact same resolution by 2560,1600.
All of the new Samsung Galaxy Note PRO tablets were running Android 4.4, Kit-Kat. The 8.4 and 10.1 had 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal memory, while the 12.2 inch had 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of memory.
There were literary 50 new tablets debuted on the showroom floor, so what makes the new Samsung line different? The home screen is heavily customizable and bears a striking resemblance to live tiles found on Windows 8. The demo unit had Twitter, Facebook, New York Times, Rotten Tomatoes and all content was updated in real time. If you download apps from Google Play, Samsung App Store or the Good e-Reader App Store, you can setup your home screens to your liking.
The Galaxy PRO 8.4 and 10.1 have a duel screen view function. For example you can swipe the bezel on the right hand side and see a list of apps. You can drag Excel to the left hand side of the screen and Word to the right. So you can work on both in real time. The 12.2 model has a quad view, so you can have 4 apps open at once and be actively interacting with them. You can be watching a movie, talk to someone via Whatsapp and then bash it on Rotten Tomatoes and participate in a Reditt thread.
There is no estimated date yet, but most likely there will be data models of all three. I saw a AT&T logo on the settings menu, which leads me to believe that will be one of the first carriers in the US to adopt it in their stores and data plans.
All in all, these tablets were all fairly compelling wand offered a non-traditional Android experience that I have not seen before.
Our collection highlights podcast for January is now available on OverDrive's Learning Center. Tune in to this latest edition of our monthly podcast series for details about new content that's available for purchase in OverDrive Marketplace, as well as news about publishers who will be joining Marketplace soon.
In this month's podcast, we also take a special look at video suppliers who will be offering their full catalogs in the streaming video format, meaning that you can shop from these catalogs now and be assured that any videos you purchase will transfer seamlessly into your streaming video collection once your library adopts the streaming video platform.
You can check out our podcast now on OverDrive's Learning Center, along with a suite of other on-demand training videos that will help you get the most out of OverDrive Marketplace. Happy listening!
Carrie Smith is a Technical Writer at OverDrive.
E Fun is a known name so far as cheap tablets and e-readers are concerned, chalking out its tablet strategy based on affordability alone, though it never could make it big enough due to some pretty ordinary products. But it’s back again with the hottest device of recent time, a smartwatch priced at $100.
The NextOne will offer a 1.5 inch display and is designed to pair with both Android and iOS smartphones. Plus, the NextOne also does the usual smartwatch stuff, including delivering notifications, handling data from compatible third party apps like displaying weather information, and more. The watch can also act as the trigger that activates the smartphone camera at a pre-destined time, thereby enabling the user to have better control of the smartphone's built-in camera. It runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean but has been modified suitably to include a new user interface. As for its battery prowess, E Fun claims it will be good enough to last 2 days on a single charge. It communicates with the smartphone it is tied to via BlueTooth 2.0.
However, the NextOne is all plastic which is understandable considering the device costs just $100. Expected the NextOne to start shipping from Q1, 2014.
|After our biggest year ever, we are gearing up for an even better 2014!|
When Amazon introduced this shipping term limit over the summer, books, movies, and other categories of content were not included in the limit and were still eligible for free shipping. Now, all items sold by Amazon UK are required to meet that price minimum in order to qualify.
The Bookseller reports that this move might please the country’s independent bookshops who have long felt the effects of Amazon’s impossibly lucrative and appealing opportunities for consumers. Now that customers will have to fill the shopping cart to enjoy perks like free shipping on books, it might be more of an incentive for residents to return to their locally owned businesses, at least for their reading purchases. Unfortunately for the booksellers, it might also be the incentive that holdout customers have needed to make the switch to ebooks.
While the shipping increase in the US did seem to affect Prime memberships, with “millions” of new customers signing up for Prime in the weeks following the move according to Amazon, it’s possible that it will prove even more enticing overseas. The membership price remains nearly the same as for US customers, but UK Prime members will automatically receive no-minimum one-day shipping as opposed to two-day shipping in the US, largely due to geographical limitations.
Zola, formed by literary agents and funded partly through investments by some well-known bestselling authors, has made a quiet name for itself by offering exclusive digital editions of several bestselling titles, including The Time Traveler’s Wife and Slouching Towards Bethlehem. For its part, Bookish was formed by three of the then-Big Six publishers with an unprecedented and expensive proprietary software to make accurate book recommendations to its users.
But according to Digital Book World’s Editorial Director Jeremy Greenfield, writing in a piece for Forbes, this acquisition may be more about competition than bookselling and discovery. He begins by outlining a staggering number of ways that companies cannot compete with Amazon, but highlights the book discovery engine and the exclusive content as the only ways that ebook sellers like the now-Bookish powered Zola can keep up.
“So, what's left for Bookish, Zola and other related start-ups? To compete on things like ‘better discovery engine’ and exclusive content, which seems to be the going strategy for digital platforms these days.”
This perspective is in line with earlier predictions for the industry made at the end of last year that stated quite plainly that booksellers have got to stop trying to compete with Amazon on the existing sales model. Instead, companies should focus on offering something that Amazon does not offer, namely accurate book recommendations that are personalized to the consumer and bestselling content that cannot be had elsewhere.
Carrie Anne wasn’t our only new starter on Monday: we’ve also welcomed Dave Honess to the team. Dave will be familiar to many of you as Davespice from our forums, where he’s one of our moderators; he’s also been helping me moderate the comments on this blog for a year or so now, and he’s a mod on the Freenode #raspberrypi IRC channel. Dave writes for The MagPi (as Davespice), and he’s behind the porting and uploading of lots of the retro games you’ll see at the Pi Store. Here he is in situ at Pi Towers.
Dave’s an archaeologist by training, as well as a software developer; he’s also been working with the Pi as a private tutor, and he’s a STEM Ambassador. He’s joining us to work on a mixture of project management (fortunately for Dave, that’s much more exciting than it sounds), creating educational resources, outreach, and polishing the educational software stack. We’re extremely glad to have him, and we’re running out of desks.
Dave is very unfortunate, because he’s ended up sitting next to me. We commiserate about the seating plan and congratulate you on your new job, Dave – welcome on board!
The Asus VivoTab Note 8, the latest Asus tablet, is one more to add to the growing stream of 8 inch tablets running Windows 8.1 along with an Intel Bay Trail chip at the core. This will put the tablet in direct competition with similar devices from Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo, and Acer, and nearly all of them are priced around the $300 mark.
Specs wise, the 1,280 x 800 pixel IPS display, 2 GB of RAM, 32, and 64 GB internal memory options along with an Intel Atom Bay Trail chip should also sound familiar, given most other 8 inch Windows 8.1 devices sport a similar internal build-up. However, what makes the VivoTab Note 8 that much more enticing is that it comes bundled with the Wacom stylus inclusive of the $299 price tag. Dell also offers s stylus with its Venue 8 Pro tablet, though it is sold separately. The pen is responsive and is easy to store, as the tablet comes with a separate slot to hold the pen.
What makes the Wacom digitizer unique is that it supports more than 1,000 levels of pressure sensitivity. important when users need to work with classic Windows apps that have been designed to work with mouse or the keyboard. The stylus can used to ‘hover’ above the apps as well select.
Expect the VivoTab Note 8 to enter showrooms around late March or early April. Price, as has already been mentioned, stands at $299 for the 32 GB model while the 64 GB version costs $349.