Lenovo decided to kick off CES 2013 by announcing an enormous 27-inch tablet running Windows 8. Dubbed the Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC, this tablet – or “table’t,” as we’ve nicknamed it – boasts some impressive specs, including an Intel Core i7 processor, an NVIDIA GeForce GT 620M GPU capable of 1920 x 1080, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive (plus an optional 64GB SSD), and a 720p HD front-facing camera.
Of course, a tablet this big comes with a few downsides. It weighs a hefty 17.9 pounds (did the little girls really just grab it off the table in the above promotional video?) and it has a scant two hours of battery life. But with a 27-inch form factor, portability isn’t exactly its goal anyway.
Lenovo is attempting to hype up the tablet’s strengths for gaming, entertainment, and in-person collaboration. The All-in-One even coms with a kickstand, four joysticks, and e-dice.
All of this can be had for $1,699 when the IdeaCentre Horizon is released this summer. And if you’re interested in something even bigger, Lenovo is actually looking into the possibility of releasing a 38-inch model as well.
The Microsoft Surface with Windows RT is a pretty darn good device (read my review here), but a number of people decided to hold out for the more powerful Surface with Windows 8 Pro. If you’re in the latter camp, you’ll be pleased to know that the device is still on track for a late-January release.
While the Surface Pro’s battery life won’t last as long as the nine-hour battery on the Surface RT, it makes up for it with a more powerful Intel Ivy Bridge processor for better performance and a higher resolution, as well as support for legacy desktop applications. Microsoft originally stated that “Surface for Windows RT will release with the general availability of Windows 8, and the Windows 8 Pro model will be available about 90 days later.” While most assumed that this number was just an approximation, that might not actually be the case.
CNET talked to a number of Microsoft’s retail stores located around the United States and Canada, and while most were hesitant to commit to a date, one said that it “expects the new tablet on January 26.” Not coincidentally, this is exactly three months days after the launch of Windows 8. Of course, other sources seem to believe it’ll be more like January 29. If Microsoft follows the same pattern it did with the Surface RT launch, official details could arrive as soon as January 16. An announcement during CES next week is possible but unlikely, due to Microsoft’s decreased presence at the show.
It’s the rumor that never ends. While it’s been a few months since our last good Nokia tablet rumor, but the latest rumblings are that the Finnish manufacturer and close Microsoft partner plans to announce a Windows RT tablet during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which will take place February 25-28, 2013.
According to the report, the device will feature a 10-inch screen and run Windows RT, the ARM-based version of Windows 8. It will also be powered by a dual-core Qualcomm S4 processor. Nokia intendeds to dip its toes in the water with the production of 200,000 units, with more to come if it is successful. The device is expected to be made available through AT&T, among other stores, so a 4G connection probably isn’t out of the question. Plus, it would give the Nokia tablet a leg-up on the Surface, which the Finnish manufacturer tried to stay clear of by delaying the development of its own tablet.
Of course, the source of the rumor is DigiTimes, so take all of this with a grain of salt. That being said, even Nokia’s own CEO, Stephen Elop, has teased the device on occasion, so a Mobile World Congress launch isn’t out of the question.
Google has made the decision not to release additional apps on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. The company released a Google search app on the Windows Store, but that’s as much as users are going to get. The search giant’s other apps and services, such as Gmail and Google Drive, are not currently planned for Microsoft’s latest operating systems.
“We have no plans to build out Windows apps. We are very careful about where we invest and will go where the users are but they are not on Windows Phone or Windows 8,” said Clay Bavor, the product management director of Google Apps.
Google, of course, has an incentive to not help users on Microsoft’s products. The ad-disguised-as-search company currently holds a large share of the smartphone and tablet markets, and directing PC users away from the web browser and toward apps probably isn’t ideal, both from a user experience and a revenue perspective.
Of course, while this means you won’t be able to fire up a Google-made app, does anyone really care? Bing is heavily integrated into Windows and Windows Phone, and it’s easy to set up your Gmail account with the existing Mail, Calendar, and People apps. So unless you’re really hoping for something like Google Maps or Google Drive, you’re not really missing out on much.
Amazon has unveiled a great new subscription service for kids and parents alike known as Kindle FreeTime Unlimited. The service, which builds on top of the existing Kindle FreeTime feature found on the company’s latest devices, is designed to provide children with an unlimited all-they-can-eat selection of age-appropriate movies, books, and games while giving parents peace of mind.
To facilitate this goal, the Seattle-based online retailer partnered with the biggest names in children’s media, including Andrews McMeel Publishing, Chronicle Books, DC Comics, Disney, HIT Entertainment, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Marvel, Nickelodeon, PBS, Reading Rainbow, Sesame Workshop and more. This means kids will have access to top brands like Sesame Street, Barney, Dora the Explorer, Scooby-Doo, Sponge Bob, and Cailou, as well as games like Cut the Rope, Fruit Ninja Puss N’ Boots, and Where’s My Water? And that’s just a small slice of what’s available.
ASUS and Acer, the last two holdouts in the netbook market, will no longer be manufacturing the devices in 2013. Acer just announced that it will be ceasing production of tablets come January 1, 2013, while ASUS made the decision recently. This follows in the footsteps of other manufacturers like Samsung, HP, and Dell, which have one by one realized that netbooks aren’t as important as the initial hype purported them to be.
There are a number of reasons behind the downfall of netbooks, but the two biggest factors are likely the introduction of ultrabooks and, more importantly, tablets. Personally, I have completely replaced my laptop and netbook with a tablet. This is due in large part to the dual-nature of new Windows 8 tablets like the Microsoft Surface with Windows RT, which seamlessly (or almost seamlessly) blends the laptop and tablet form factors. With one of these devices, there’s really no need for a netbook.
Do you still use a netbook? Or do you – like me – prefer tablets?
Yesterday morning, we asked you how Android 4.2 – the bug-ridden latest version of Google’s smartphone and tablet operating system – was treating you. And just like that, Google has released an update for the OS on its Nexus devices, bringing back the missing month of December just in time for, well, December.
Dubbed Android 4.2.1, the update fixes the bug which caused December to completely disappear from the calendar in the people/contacts app. The missing month wasn’t a mission-critical bug, but it was certainly perplexing and made adding end-of-the-year birthdays and anniversaries nigh impossible. Thankfully, the issue has been resolved. If you have a Nexus 4, Nexus 7, or Nexus 10, you’re going to want to download the small update so you can get your 31 days back.
Unfortunately, Android 4.2.1 doesn’t fix any of the operating system’s other bugs, such as battery issues, random reboots, Bluetooth connection problems, and more. With any luck, we’ll be getting a fix for these in the near future as well.
Google announced the Android 4.2 update a month ago and began rolling it out to devices like the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 10 a few weeks later. A new version of Jelly Bean, Android 4.2 is a somewhat minor update in the scheme of things, but it adds support for multiple users on tablets – but not on phones – and it includes a number of new features and interface tweaks.
Unfortunately, some users have started to complain about a number of issues, large and small. Auto-brightness is reportedly off, Bluetooth devices constantly lose connection, the month of December is completely absent from the contacts app, and the camera app and lockscreen widgets seem to be very problematic. Worse, battery issues and random reboots are supposedly quite common.
Android Police has done a good job documenting all of the issues, but we want to hear from you. How’s Android 4.2 treating you? Have you experienced any of these issues? And, if so, are they just a minor annoyance or a big deal?
Skype has rolled out a fairly major update for its Android app, completely overhauling the user interface for tablets and adding a few new features and improvements. In addition to the redesigned tablet look at feel, Skype 3.0 for Android now supports Skype’s SILK technology - a wideband audio codec which significantly improves audio quality – and adds a new auto-answer option for incoming calls.
The app also supports logging in with your Microsoft account (formerly known as a Windows Live ID), and doing so will unlock additional functionality, particularly integration with the Messenger IM service. Microsoft, of course, plans to discontinue Messenger clients in early 2013, so this is just the next step in the process of merging the two instant messaging and VOIP services.
Skype 3.0 is now available for download from Google Play for “the most popular Android tablets, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, the Google Nexus 7, Acer Iconia, Asus Transformer Prime, Motorola Xoom and Sony S.”
The full trailer for the game shows off the Star Wars-inspired characters and environments, which have been quipped with new abilities and powers like blasters. All of your favorite Original Trilogy characters will be playable, and even the Millennium Falcon makes an appearance as what appears to be the replacement for the Mighty Eagle.
With Disney now in control of Lucasfilm and LucasArts, we will likely see more Star Wars mobile and social games cropping up in the future. I don’t know about you, but I’ll definitely picking up Angry Birds Star Wars when it arrives on Windows Phone, Windows 8 (as both a Windows Store app and a traditional desktop application), Kindle Fire, Android, iOS, and Mac on November 8.