Cnet UK: Until last year, we all agreed that a computer without a keyboard was as useful as a wicker soup bowl. But this year the touchscreen wonder-windows poured out of CES like ants from an overturned log. Never fear, though — we won’t let you flail around with the fails. Here’s our pick of the best tablets from Las Vegas.
The Motorola Xoom could be the 10.1-inch iPad-smasher that Android fans have been waiting for. This sleek but heavy tablet sports a dual-core processor, cameras front and back, and a mini-HDMI port for hooking it up to your telly.
It’s also the device that Google used to show off the tablet-centric version of its Android software, Android 3.0 Honeycomb. Android’s user interface has received a refresh that means it should take full advantage of the Xoom’s big screen. We loved the Samsung Galaxy Tab, a 7-inch tablet that runs on Android 2.2, so the Xoom should be even better.
The Xoom could prove something of a shock to the wallet, though. It’s early days, but a listing on UK site Handtec offered the Xoom at the eye-watering price of £720, although the price has since been removed from the listing.
Check out the hands-on photos in our Xoom preview, which we’ll be updating with a full review just as soon as the tablet zooms into our office.
Asus Eee Pad MeMo
The Asus Eee Pad MeMo runs Android 2.3 Honeycomb and is a more portable package than the Xoom. This 7-inch tablet looks classy and elegant, and, at 389g, the MeMo is considerably lighter than the 730g Xoom too.
Its 1,024×768-pixel resolution makes the MeMo’s relatively small screen as sharp as the edge of an oatcake, and we found we could use the tablet with one hand. But, despite its diminutive dimensions, the MeMo is still packed with features, including a stylus that works with the capacitive touchscreen to allow pressure-sensitive writing and drawing.
Hold your mitts up to the screen against our hands-on photos to see how the MeMo could look in your hands, and read our Memo preview to get all the gory details on this upcoming gadget.
RIM has ducked out of the Android and Windows 7 tablet battle, instead chucking its own operating system onto its first tablet, the BlackBerry PlayBook. This could prove especially handy if you also use a BlackBerry phone, but we’re reserving judgement on the fledgling software until we can put it through its paces properly.
The PlayBook’s dual-core processor is all about multi-tasking. An all-new browser that supports Flash and HTML5 should help repair BlackBerry’s reputation for supplying out-of-date surfing software.
Like the Xoom, the PlayBook eschews buttons on its face — there’s no big home button, as there is on the iPad, or multiple menu buttons, like on most Android tablets. Instead, there’s a power button on the top, along with some media-control buttons.
Take a look at our hands-on photos of this bloated ‘Berry and read our extensive PlayBook preview for all the details you can stomach.
Windows tablets haven’t exactly set the world on fire, and now the world’s biggest OS is running scared, what with the rise of Android and iOS on big screens. But, for some people, staring through Windows is the only way they can get any work done.
The Samsung TX100 could be the solution for Windows fans who aren’t ready to abandon the Land of a Thousand Menus in favour of a mobile phone on steroids. This 10.1-inch tablet packs a cunning surprise — it has a slide-out keyboard that transforms it into a touchscreen netbook.
When we copped a feel of the TX100, we found it felt slim, despite its Qwerty keyboard, and its USB and HDMI ports should help it compete for bag space with your laptop. With a claimed 9 hours of battery life and an Intel Atom CPU, we’ve got high hopes that the TX100 will represent the best of both worlds, rather than the horrific result of a cross-breeding exercise that should have been exposed at birth on an ice flow.
Gizmag: iLuv, one of a number of manufacturers of Apple accessories, has added three small and portable speaker options that provide high quality sound while eliminating cable clutter. The three speaker options include a mini clip speaker, a portable speaker bar and a pair of newly designed cube speakers, all powered by USB to reduce cable clutter on the desktop. All three speaker designs work with Mac or PC.
The iSP130 Mini Clip Speaker has a built-in hanging clip for mounting on just about any monitor, putting your music at ear level.
The iSP150 Portable Speaker Bar complements any device with a 3.5mm jack, such as an iPad, iPhone, iPod, laptops and other portable audio devices. It can be operated on four AAA batteries or via USB, and is great for portability and travel.
The iSP170 Cube Speakers measure only 2.8 x 2.8 x 2.8 inches in size, making them ideal for laptops. They feature loud and clear sound and built-in volume control.
“We feel that computer-users now want solutions that feature USB power options, minimal cables and are small in size,” said Howard Kim, iLuv marketing manager. “To meet the everyday speaker and space needs of Mac, PC and laptop users, we designed these three peripheral solutions in an effort to meet that growing demand.”
The iSP130, iSP150 and iSP170 are available online for US$19.99, $34.99 and $39.99 MSRP.
DigiTimes: Despite a rapid rise in the sales of consumer Blu-ray players, a fall in their prices and an increase in the number of high-definition movie titles, Blu-ray Drives (BDs) in PC systems have been left singing the blues, according to iSuppli.
By 2013, BDs will be found in only 16.3% of PCs shipped, up from 3.6% in 2009.
“BDs won’t be replacing DVDs as the primary optical drive in PC systems through at least the year 2013,” said Michael Yang, senior analyst for storage and mobile memory at iSuppli.
“They eventually will find success, but during the next five years, that success will be limited in the PC segment.” According to Yang, the two main reasons hampering the adoption of Blu-ray drives in PCs include cost, as well as the lack of a library of movies to justify the need for consumers to move to a different drive in their PCs.
Cost, Yang said, is the primary impediment. Given the high price of the product, consumers are unwilling to pay the extra money in order to obtain a high-definition drive. “The cost issue is amplified by the fact that the library of content is so small that there really isn’t a reason for users to switch at the moment,” Yang added. And while this is changing and studios are rolling out more Blu-ray content every week, there remains a long way to go.
DigiTimes: With all-in-one PCs becoming more popular and more models expected to come out in the second half of this year, the market for 19-24-inch LCD monitors is expected to be undermined, according to market sources.
All-in-one PC prices have been dropping fast. While prices were between US$799-899 (€640 – €717) when all-in-one PCs first hit the market in 2008, they are now approaching the US$499 (€398) level.
With vendors actively developing lower-cost all-in-one PCs, the sources noted that LCD monitors with prices range of US$299-399 (€238 – €318) are expected to see impact on sales.
The 19-24-inch monitor segment is likely to take the strongest impact, the sources added.
Global LCD monitor shipments in 2008 went down 2.1% to 158.63 million units, with 72.7% of the shipments coming from Taiwan makers, according to Digitimes Research.
ZDNet: The global PC industry will suffer its ‘sharpest decline in history’ in 2009, as overall demand for PCs falls by 11.9 percent compared with 2008, according to analysts at Gartner.
The new low beats the previous record decline of just 3.2 percent, which took place in 2001. According to a statement from Gartner, both emerging and mature markets are forecast “to suffer unprecedented market slowdowns”.
The worst previously recorded performance in emerging market PC sales was growth of 11.1 percent in 2002, but in 2009 they will see contraction of 10.4 percent.
Mature market sales had a record fall of 7.9 percent in 2001, but this year they will fall by 13 percent, Gartner said.
One relatively bright spot has been the success of netbooks, which are forecast to total 21 million units in 2009 — almost double the 2008 figure of 11.7 million.
baltimoresun.com: So you’re sitting around, totally bored with the same old PC, bored with word processing, bored with spreadsheets, bored with Web browsing, bored with music, bored with news, bored with grainy YouTube videos.
Then you realize it’s Sunday night, and it strikes you: What you really want to do is watch Desperate Housewives. On your computer. In HD.
Well, for a hundred bucks, you can satisfy that high-definition craving with the Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro Stick. Plug this nifty little gadget into a USB port on your computer, hook up an antenna or cable feed to the other end and you’re in business – HDTV in a window on your desktop, or full-screen if you prefer.
The software bundle includes a digital video recorder (DVR) so you can record your favorite shows while you’re not there. There’s even a tiny remote control so you can watch without getting out of your chair.
Akihabaranews: StreamMyGame.com announced today the release of its free Linux Player, an application that enables you to play any PC game via a PlayStation 3 running Linux.
The free StreamMyGame Server enables PC games to be played remotely by converting the game’s video and audio into a Game Stream and sending it over a home network to a second computer where you can view and play the game with the free StreamMyGame Player. The second computer can be a PC, laptop, PS3 or Linux device. The game can be played on the second computer without any lag and the second computer does not need to have the game installed.
Engadget: Perhaps it’s a positive thing that wireless internet radios are really past the point of feature overload and are really fighting it out on looks and price these days. Take the Revo Blik WiFi for example.
It’s not going to blow anybody’s mind with the MP3 and WMA streaming capability, the internet radio compatibility, or that FM tuner and line-in port, but it’s still a bit of a looker, and the price is decent at €139. You can naturally use the unit as an alarm clock, and streaming is compatible with PC and Mac.
The Raw Feed: Psychologist, Harvard Business School researcher and etiquette columnist Robin Abrahams said in a recent interview that cell phones, iPods and PCs are causing a WORLDWIDE EPIDEMIC OF SHYNESS. She said nearly 50% of people say they’re shy in social situations, up from about 40% “in the past.”
“People shop online, they listen to their iPods rather than the radio — and they e-mail or text each other rather than talk. What we have is an increasingly complex social environment, combined with less practice at dealing with it because of technology.”
Absolute Gadget: Thrustmaster have launched a pad that will work for your PS3, PS2 and your PC. The Dual Trigger 3 in 1 controller features all the usual buttons you would expect from a Playstation pad, including mini-sticks and the home button for PS3 owners.
Just like the official PS3 pad it also features 6 axes. A switch on the underside of the pad allows you to switch between PC and console without having to change any settings on the pad itself.There is also a mapping function allowing gamers to save their own control configurations thanks to the pad’s internal memory. This will no doubt come in useful when your annoying friend who changes the whole button layout to play Tekken visits.
A preset button will allow said chum to switch to their preferred configuration at the touch of a button.
HardwareZone: Demand for mobile computers will help global PC shipments to rise 12.2% in 2007 to 256.7 million, according to IDC’s latest Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.
The figures reflect a 28% year-on-year increase in portable PC shipments, up from 25% over the previous three quarters.
Desktop shipments also beat expectations for the first quarter, raising the short-term outlook.