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May 29, 2014

Tablet Slump Predicted as More People Buy Phablets

10 Best Tablets

Following a bigger-than-expected decline in demand during the first quarter, research firm IDC on Thursday announced it has lowered its 2014 worldwide tablet forecast.

IDC now predicts shipments of 245.4 million units this year, down from 260.9 million. The new projection represents a 12.1 percent year-over-year growth rate, but that's "notably lower" than the 51.8 percent year-over-year growth in 2013.

The adjustment comes after IDC earlier this month announced that worldwide tablet and 2-in-1 device shipments fell 35.7 percent in the first quarter. Tom Mainelli, program vice president of devices and displays at IDC, pointed to two major issues causing the tablet market to slow down.

"First, consumers are keeping their tablets, especially higher-cost models from major vendors, far longer than originally anticipated. And when they do buy a new one they are often passing their existing tablet off to another member of the family," Mainelli said in a statement. "Second, the rise of phablets — smartphones with 5.5-inch and larger screens — are causing many people to second-guess tablet purchases as the larger screens on these phones are often adequate for tasks once reserved for tablets."



May 20, 2014

Microsoft Reveals 12-Inch Surface Pro 3

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Microsoft today revealed the Surface Pro 3 tablet, which the company touted as "the tablet that can replace your laptop."

You can pre-order one Wednesday; the U.S. release is June 20 with a worldwide release in late August. Starting at $799, the tablet will be available in three configurations: with an Intel Core i3, Core i5, or Core i7 processor.

Though many thought Redmond would reveal a small Surface, Microsoft actually went bigger with a 12-inch Surface tablet device. But it is lighter than the Surface Pro 2 at 800g and is only 9.1mm, the thinnest Intel Core product ever made, Microsoft said.

The Surface Pro 3 sports a 2,160-by-1,440 display, which Panos Panay, head of Microsoft's Surface division, said provides the "highest contrast ratios in the industry." That's important, he said, because it means your eyes will get "less tired" as you work.

He dropped the Surface Pro 3 from shoulder height to the carpeted stage floor below to show off its durability.



May 18, 2014

Rumor: Microsoft to Unveil Surface Pro 3 Tablet at Tuesday Event

Surface Pro 2 Alt

What will Microsoft be unveiling at this Tuesday's press event? A lot of talk has been swirling around the possibility of Surface Mini tablets getting the grant reveal: Devices with a 7- to 8-inch screen designed to more closely compete with Apple's iPad Mini tablets.

However, Windows Phone Central has apparently gotten its hands on some key information about another product that Microsoft's allegedly going to be revealing Tuesday (for sure). It's the Surface Pro 3 tablet, an Intel Haswell-based tablet whose size is currently unknown — but could even run with a larger screen size than the 10.6-inch Surface Pro 2, so the rumors go. It's though that Microsoft will debut both this and the Surface Mini Tuesday but, as always, we caveat that all these whispers may or may not actually come true.

Nevertheless, here's what Windows Phone Central was allegedly able to find out. The Surface Pro 3 will debut in five different configurations: One with an Intel i3 chip, two with Intel i5 chips, and two with Intel i7 chips. The i3-based Surface Pro 3 will allegedly come with 4GB of memory and 64GB of storage space — and, we would assume, support increase that storage via a microSD memory card that can be inserted into the tablet. The tablet itself will cost $799, the lowest-priced of Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 offerings.



May 7, 2014

Microsoft Tips Surface Mini at May 20 Event

Surface 2 Alt

Microsoft this week sent invitations to members of the media for a May 20 event in New York City, where the software giant is expected to unveil a scaled-down version of its Surface tablet.

"Join us for a small gathering," reads a message on the invite, which also includes a prominent Surface logo.

Rumors about a so-called Surface Mini with a 7- to 8-inch screen have been making the rounds for some time. The introduction of a smaller tablet would be a logical move for Microsoft, given that its 10.6-inch Surface and Surface 2 tablets (pictured) already exceed that of Apple's competitor, the 9.7-inch iPad.

Recent reports pegged the Surface Mini for a second-quarter debut, which isn't the first launch window that's been speculated for the smaller tablet.



April 24, 2014

Amazon Accessory Listing Tips ‘Surface Mini’

Vostrostrone Surface Mini Case

A Microsoft Surface Mini, you say? Rumors are churning today regarding the possible introduction of a new competitor to the iPad mini — a logical move for Microsoft, whose 10.6-inch Surface and Surface 2 tablets already exceed that of Apple's mighty competitor, the 9.7-inch iPad.

While it would make perfect sense for Microsoft to play in the space where Apple's smaller, 7.9-inch iPad mini sits, all the talk about a Surface Mini has been little more than that for the past year — talk. Reports as of April of this year pegged the Surface Mini for a second-quarter debut, which isn't the first launch window that's been speculated for the smaller tablet. However, a few new details are emerging to suggest that the rumored 7- to 8-inch Surface Mini is a bit closer to reality than fiction.

As noted by TechCrunch, Vostrostone posted two Surface Mini accessories on Amazon. The first is a simple "ultra-thin Smart Cover case" for the "Surface Mini, black." Read into that what you will, if you're of the notion that Microsoft would dare to release a miniature version of its Surface tablets in different color schemes.

Vostrostone also has a "mini-keyboard portfolio case" up for sale which, again, only appears to be sized to fit a "Surface Mini" device.



April 2, 2014

Microsoft Offering Windows for Free on Phones, Small Tablets

Terry Myerson

Microsoft gave away some nice freebies at today's Build conference in San Francisco - including an Xbox One and $500 Windows Store gift certificate - but Redmond will also be giving away Windows licenses for smartphones and tablets less than 9 inches.

The move means phone makers will be able to produce Windows Phone devices and small Windows-based tablets without having to pay Microsoft a per-device licensing fee.

"To drive adoption of your applications and get your applications out there for more customers, on phones and tablets with screen sizes less than nine inches we are making Windows available now for zero dollars," Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft's operating systems group (pictured), said during the developer conference.

The move is a big switch for Microsoft, which has made billions by licensing its Windows software. But this offer doesn't cover its lucrative Windows desktop software, but rather the struggling mobile version.



March 18, 2014

Apple Ditches iPad 2, Drops iPad 4 to $399

4th-generation Apple iPad

Say farewell to the iPad 2. Apple today announced that it is discontinuing its aging tablet and will drop the price on its iPad 4 to make the device its lowest-priced iPad.

The iPad 4 (referred to formally as the iPad with Retina display) is now on sale starting at $399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version; Wi-Fi plus cellular will set you back $529. A 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB version is not currently on sale. For that, you'll have to swing for the iPad Air, which starts at $599 for the 32GB Wi-Fi version.

The move means that all of Apple's larger iPads now include a Retina display; the original iPad mini still has a lower-resolution screen.

"Now for $399 customers can get iPad with a stunning 9.7-inch Retina display, fast A6X chip, and 5MP iSight camera, offering a dramatic upgrade in power, performance and value compared to the iPad 2 it replaces," Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, said in a statement. "The iPad line sets the gold-standard in mobile computing and all iPads have access to the largest and best ecosystem of more than 500,000 iPad optimized apps from the App Store."



March 17, 2014

4G LTE Surface 2 Arrives Tuesday

Microsoft Surface 2 AT&T 4G LTE

A 4G LTE version of Microsoft's Surface 2 tablet arrives on Tuesday via AT&T for $679.

The 64GB model will be available at Microsoft retail and online stores, as well as all Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile locations and BestBuy.com.

Microsoft's Surface 2 boasts increased speed and battery life over its predecessor, a dual-position kickstand, Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 RT and Outlook 2013 RT, a full HD screen, an upgraded front- and rear-facing cameras, and a full-size USB 3.0 port.

New customers will also receive 200GB of free OneDrive storage, good for two years.

"Every day, more and more people are using Surface," Panos Panay, corporate vice president of Surface, wrote in a blog post. "As the device becomes a part of people's everyday lives, I get excited about the possibilities that start to open with a fully connected device."



March 3, 2014

Android Tablet Sales Overtake Apple’s iPad in 2013

10 Best Tablets

Apple's multi-year reign at the top of the consumer tablet heap ended in 2013 as slates running Google's Android operating system outsold iOS-based iPads for the year, according to Gartner.

Sales of Android tablets accounted for 61.9 percent of the global market last year, or nearly 121 million units sold in 2013, Gartner said Monday. Overall, tablet vendors sold just over 195.4 million tablets with various operating systems for the year, up 68 percent from 116.3 million units sold to end users in 2012.

Apple effectively created the market for consumer tablets in April 2010 with the release of the first-generation iPad. Cupertino remained the market leader for three years, but tablets running Android had gained considerable ground by 2012, when iOS held 52.8 percent of the global market, followed by Android at 45.8 percent.

Last year, Apple's iOS-based tablets came in at 36.0 percent of the market with 70.4 million units sold, according to Gartner. That actually represented a nice increase from the 61.5 million iPads sold in 2012, but Android's major gains—particularly with first-time tablet buyers and in the "low-end smaller screen tablet market" —wound up reducing Cupertino's overall market share by 16.8 percentage points anyway.



February 12, 2014

Surface Tablets Used at Work More Than iPads

Surface Pro 2 Alt

Microsoft thinks its Surface devices are better for work activities than the iPad and Android alternatives, but does corporate America agree?

Based on North American usage data, the answer is yes – Surface tablets are actually being used in work settings more than competing gadgets, according to new data from advertising and Web analytics firm Chitika.

"Surface users generate a slightly greater share of their total Web traffic during working hours as compared to iPad or Android tablet users," the firm said in a new report Wednesday. "However, in terms of raw traffic volume, iPad and Android tablet users lead the pack at all hours of the day, and usage patterns among all tablets remain relatively similar overall."