Category Archives: Tablets and Slates

Quick Charge 2.0 won’t lead to a standards war

In my recent column for CNET, I discussed Quick Charge 2.0, the proposed standard from Qualcomm (a client of Reticle Research) that promises to dramatically improve charging time for smartphones and tablets. Quick Charge is pretty exciting for people who find themselves fighting for a few precious minutes of juice at a spare outlet throughout the day or who want to avoid having to keep a power stick awkwardly connected to their phone for too long. As I mention in … Continue reading

Samsung’s Pro tablets go big, leave home, have consumer relevance

Mobile World Congress will soon be upon us and will surely bring with it news of tablets that was mostly missing from CES despite such products continuing to be among the hottest categories in consumer electronics. One exception to the dearth of CES announcements was the Samsung 12″ Galaxy Tab Pro and Galaxy Note Pro. The Pro” sub-subbrand takes over from the “Note” subbrand as Samsung’s most premium denotation, leaving Note to just represent pen input. To contrast, pen input … Continue reading

Surface off a surface: better but still not great

With its signature keyboard cover detached, it was easy to use the original Surface RT in your lap. However, actually trying to type with the device while it was positioned there could end with your Surface hitting the lowest surface in the immediate vicinity, often the one at your feet. It was simply too easy for the weight of the device to overwhelm the high center of gravity that the Surface had when resting on its kickstand, particularly on an uneven sloping landscape, … Continue reading

A pit stop in the Android tablet race to the bottom

Leaving the Surface RT in Microsoft’s shiny new Surface 2 lineup lets Microsoft offer a product that is closer to the price range of the iPad 2 and iPad mini. It also helps the company save a bit of face after the RT’s dramatic price decline in the wake of flagging sales. What it doesn’t do, though, is enable Microsoft’s first-party tablet efforts to play in the fastest-growing segment of the tablet market, products that are small (7″) and cheap … Continue reading

10″ iPads are minivans

In a particularly poignant analogy at the D8 conference in 2010, Steve Jobs compared tablets to cars and PCs to trucks. As the market for tablets has matured, we’re seeing more differentiation between different sizes of tablets. Clearly, Apple started with the 9.7″ iPad, which still retains the main iPad branding proper with the smaller iPad being dubbed the mini. That latter device competes with a host of inexpensvie 7″ Android tablets that grow in number while shrinking in price. … Continue reading

The Courier’s path not taken

As I predicted, news of Steve Ballmer’s impending resignation has ushered in a series of articles looking back although the real deluge will no doubt begin when he finally steps down. Tom Warren at The Verge invokes the Courier digital scrapbook/organizer as a missed opportunity: But perhaps no Ballmer-led decision has gotten more attention than that shelving of the Courier, which had been spearheaded by forward-thinking Microsoft designer J. Allard, back in 2010. The move has served as a rallying cry … Continue reading

The phonification of Galaxy tablets

A while back on my old blog, I wrote about the role of fixed navigation buttons on smartphones. Looking back to that time, the convention was: Android: most commonly four buttons on phone, no button on tablet (though there were variations) iOS: one button, still unchanged despite rumors to the contrary Windows Phone three buttons, also unchanged webOS: one button, made somewhat redundant by swipe gestures on the Touchpad Playbook OS: no buttons, which held up for the BlackBerry 10 OS. … Continue reading

Galaxy Mega narrows the last phablet gap

Since the launch of the first Galaxy Tab, products marketed as tablets have been at the 7″ floor, with some Windows tablets going to 11″ and beyond sizes. Meanwhile, phone sizes have progressively broken larger and larger barriers,  With Samsung’s announcement of the 6.3″ Galaxy Mega, the big-screen phone pioneer leapfrogs Huawei’s 6.1″ phone announcement at CES to reclaim the ergonomic threshold crown at 6.3″. This narrows the gap between phone and tablet to a mere 0.7″, with nothing inhabiting … Continue reading

Microsoft gains greater distribution for Surface RT

Staples’ decision to carry the Surface RT probably won’t do too much to help such a consumer-focused device, but Best Buy’s carrying of it is bigger news. As much as the additional distribution will help Microsoft, Best Buy may be the bigger winner. Not only will it add to Best Buy’s selection, but it will drive store traffic to offer exposure to a host of other Windows RT and Windows 8 devices. In contrast, there was little to cross-sell Surface … Continue reading

iHS says e-readers are doomed to limited markets

iHS senior principal analyst Jordan Selburn draws a comparison between the e-reader and other portable electronics, such as portable media players and point-and-shoot cameras, that have seen their functionality incorporated into the smartphone. Fair enough, while the smartphone was the spiritual successor to the PDA (or basically a cellular-connected PDA with voice). Still, while average e-reader screen sizes (and especially those of e-readers like the Kobo Pocket) are smaller than those of tablets, they were close enough where I always … Continue reading