Every year Google holds a conference aimed at its developer community. Every year a preview of the latest version of its Android mobile operating system is shown and sometimes there are some surprise appearances —like the public debut of Google Glass at I/O 2012. This year, a wicked fast and new-look Android was revealed (it’s “L” for now, with no sweet-themed name attached), Android Auto was announced for connected cars, Google Fit confirmed the rumours Google is interested in your health, Android Wear showed off awesome new smartwatches from LG and Samsung while Android TV is another crack at conquering your living room. Basically, the theme was Android everywhere. Here’s what you need to know from Google I/O 2014.
Samsung has been on a tablet roll lately. The company leads the Android tablet pack and with 20 percent of all tablets sold worldwide in 2013 and the crown as the biggest tablet maker is within reach. Earlier this year, I reviewed three of Samsung’s PRO model tablets. Those were awesome products for those in the market for a high end device, but Samsung is also paying attention to those who don’t necessarily need an ultra high resolution 359 ppi display or the latest screaming fast mobile processor. This time we take a preview look at the Galaxy Tab 4 range, a new trio of Android tablets from Samsung aimed squarely at the casual use crowd.
One of the cool aspects of this job is being able to try out a hotly anticipated new device before it’s officially available. What’s even cooler is when a manufacturer sends you a whole box of new gadgets to review. That was the case when I cracked open the shipment from Samsung to find the new Galaxy NotePRO 12.2, Galaxy TabPRO 8.4 and Galaxy TabPRO 10.1 tablets. You can buy all three now at Best Buy, but I had the opportunity to get to know them before they hit the shelves. While I was especially impressed by the Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 (with its massive 12.2-inch, four million pixel display), all three PRO models are likely to please Android tablet fans, and offer a solid choice for prosumers and those looking for a business-friendly option.
At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Samsung unveiled new Pro series tablets: the Galaxy NotePro and Galaxy TabPro. All four tablets share a number of common features like a high resolution (WQXGA) 2560 x 1600 pixel TFT LCD display, 8 megapixel rear camera, and Android 4.4 (KitKat). So which of these tablets is the right one for you, the Galaxy NotePro or the Galaxy TabPro? Here’s a breakdown of some of the key differences between the two and the target market for each.
byBradMoon01-08-201410:08 AM - edited 01-08-201410:09 AM
The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas continues to deliver surprises, including interesting new twists on the PC. Yesterday I mentioned the Asus Transformer Book Duet, a Windows 8/Android/laptop/tablet hybrid. This time around it’s Hewlett-Packard making waves. The world’s leading PC maker has been getting experimental lately with its own Slate Android tablet and then a Leap Motion-equipped laptop. HP’s big CES 2014 reveal is a business-friendly 21-inch AiO desktop PC —that runs Android. The Slate21 All-in-One is a big-screen computer that’s ideal for office, kiosk, education and home use. By running Android instead of Windows, it keeps costs down and lets users take advantage of the growing number of popular Android apps. Look for this Android AiO at Best Buy in 2014!
Dual Platform Laptop/Tablet Hybrid. Just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? The Consumer Electronics show is the place where companies bring out some of their most unique and interesting products and CES 2014 has been no exception. We had super-sized tablets from Samsung and now the latest hybrid device from Asus. The Transformer Book Duet covers a lot of ground, offering the ability to transform between a laptop and a tablet form factor. That’s nothing new (the Transformer Book pulls off a similar trick), but the new Transformer Book Duet runs Windows 8.1 as a laptop and offers the ability to run as a tablet using Windows 8.1 or Android —which you can switch between on the fly. If you can’t make up your mind between a Windows tablet, an Android tablet or a new laptop, looks like Asus has you covered.
Samsung led the charge to boost the size of your smartphone display and with the introduction of the hugely popular Galaxy Note line, it created the phablet segment. After several years where everyone was rushing to create a smaller tablet —making the 7-inch form factor the most popular— Samsung is using CES 2014 to bring the big screen experience to tablets. Samsung introduced its latest project in consumer electronics expansion: 12.2-inch Galaxy NotePRO and Galaxy TabPRO tablets.
Most full-sized Android tablets tend to fall into one of two camps: the inexpensive models with last year’s CPU and a low resolution display, or the pricer flagship models that offer fast, quad-core processors and high resolution displays that are now pushing beyond HD. Kobo, the company best known for its impressive line of e-readers (like the Aura HD, my current fav) has been working on its tablet chops too and its line-up this year includes the Kobo Arc 10HD, a full-sized Android tablet with a powerful quad-core Nvidia Tegra 4 processor and a brilliant 2560 x 1600 display. This tablet offers an affordable price that puts it in the first camp, but impressive specs that have it firmly in the second. The Arc 10HD has some weak spots, but for many people its performance, price and reading chops make it well worth considering over more expensive Android competitors.
Stuck on your holiday gift list? Getting down to the final weeks and panic is beginning to set in? No worries, technology can bail your out. The hottest gifts of 2013 can be found at Best Buy and whether you’re shopping for someone who finds a smartphone too small and a tablet too big (the perfect phablet candidate!), a video game aficionado looking for the best of the next generation video game consoles or a home automation fan, we’ve got you covered with these high tech gift suggestions.
If you happen to be a fan of comic books –and judging from the number of superhero movies tearing up the box office in the past decade, that covers a lot of people— you can turn your Android tablet into the ultimate mobile comic book reader, library and storefront. The big, high resolution display of a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, Sony Xperia Tablet Z or a new Kobo Arc 10 make comics come to life in brilliant colour and detail. You can carry literally thousands of titles around with you, buy new ones on demand (even at 3am on a Sunday if you need your Hulk fix) and unlike the dead tree, paper versions, no matter how many times you read a digital comic book, it remains in mint condition. Even if you eat pizza while doing so! Advantage digital.
byBradMoon11-13-201310:21 AM - edited 11-13-201310:22 AM
All signs are pointing to tablets being the hottest gift this holiday season. Chances are, there’s someone on your list who has a tablet on their wish list. But which one to choose? Android is the dominant tablet platform (it now represents 65 percent of all tablets sold and Google’s app store is officially the world’s biggest), while Microsoft’s Windows has made big gains —especially for those who want a tablet for productivity. Here are four picks to cover off some of the most common tablet user types: the gamer, the worker, the casual user and the bargain shopper.
Your smartphone is an amazing device. If you bought it recently, you’re looking at a piece of technology with a display resolution that rivals your HDTV, computing power that would beat a high end laptop from only a few years ago, enough battery capacity to run most of the day without being near an electrical outlet and it’s small enough to fit in your pocket. But smartphones —and tablets, for that matter— get even better once you start adding apps. There are free apps and premium apps, but few cost more than a dollar or two so starting a collection isn’t expensive. The tough part is choosing which ones to go with, especially now that some app stores are closing in on the one million mark. “Must-have” is a personal thing, but here’s our crack at a collection of 10 apps that virtually any smartphone (or tablet) owner will benefit from installing.
Samsung just wrapped up its Unpack event at IFA 2013 in Berlin and along with refreshed versions of its Galaxy Note “phablet” and Note 10.1 tablet —the Galaxy Note 3 and Note 10.1 (2014 Edition), respectively— the company unveiled one of the most eagerly anticipated gadgets of the year. The Galaxy Gear Smartwatch is real and we’re hoping to see it in Canada in the October timeframe.
on 08-21-201308:45 PM - last edited on 11-01-201310:00 AM by BBYLaura
Google is calling Android 4.3 an even sweeter Jelly Bean and it looks like companies are developing a sweet tooth for the newest version.
Android 4.3 has been running on various Nexus devices for almost one month since its release in late July. Now several other key manufacturers have announced they will be rolling out Android 4.3 onto their popular smartphones and other devices.
I just wrapped up a week with the 2013 edition of the Google Nexus 7 and it’s better than last year’s version in every way.
When Google first waded into the small tablet fray with 2012’s Nexus 7 (manufactured by ASUS), the tablet garnered great reviews, the initial stock quickly sold out online, and in many stores, and the device helped to turn consumers’ attention from full-sized tablets to these smaller devices.
Today, smaller form factor tablets are incredibly popular thanks to their portability and affordability. The next generation Google Nexus 7 has now been released —you can pick one up in Best Buy— and Google has turned its attention to fine tuning that first offering. Lighter, more compact, faster, with an incredibly sharp IPS display and running the latest version of Android.
You’re heading back to school, clutching your favourite mobile device. Maybe it’s an iPad Mini, an iPhone 5, Galaxy S4, Lumia 900 or a Z10. Whatever the device, you can make the most of your high tech investment by downloading free apps for your Android, iPhone or BlackBerry. Productivity, gaming —even cheap food— we’ve got you covered with this list of the best free apps for students.
A funny thing happened on our way to the paperless office. Not only did paper not go away, but it’s just as popular as it ever was.
What did shake things up was mobile, though. With smartphones, tablets and an increasingly connected world, being able to print from a mobile device no matter where you are is a big thing. You might receive a critical document on your smartphone while in a meeting, need to print out a contract from your laptop while in a coffee shop or want a hard copy of a product brochure you’re looking at on your tablet at home —being able to print wirelessly and easily makes things much more convenient. That’s why HP’s ePrint is such a big deal. It lets you wirelessly print on the go from your mobile device, sending your print job to HP network printers, ePrint-enabled printers and even thousands of HP public printer locations.
A year ago to the day, we were looking the 7-inch Galaxy Tab 2, Samsung’s affordable and compact tablet entry. Now Samsung has introduced the bigger and more powerful 8-inch Galaxy Tab 3 (they have also released a smaller model the 7-inch Galaxy Tab 3 has also joined the roster at Best Buy and a larger 10-inch model too). At 8-inches, the display is just slightly larger than it’s smaller sibling, but the resolution has been increased, an additional camera has been added for video conferencing capability, it packs a much faster processor and the new Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 is running Jelly Bean (Android 4.2.2). Despite the all round beefier specs and larger display, the 8-inch Galaxy Tab 3 is still a very svelte tablet, weighing only 309 g and coming in at just 0.7 cm thick, with a thin bezel keeping overall dimensions down and making it easy to hold in one hand. With its size, capabilities and affordable price, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 makes an ideal tablet to carry for reading, web browsing, gaming, catching up on work or snapping a quick photo.
on 07-09-201302:30 PM - last edited on 07-17-201308:55 AM by BBYLaura
If you weren’t convinced that online security is something you should never take for granted, then the news over the past month about government monitoring of web activity and e-mail probably made you take notice. However, it’s not the government security agencies that most of us should be worrying about, it’s our day-to-day web use. We’re on PCs, tablets and smartphones doing everything from sending e-mail to updating Facebook, paying bills and buying stuff. The problem is, we’re often doing so through insecure networks, taking advantage of free Wi-Fi at a coffee shop, mall, hotel room or quickly plugging in at work. Doing so leaves us vulnerable to everything from credit card theft, to having accounts hacked and online history tracked. The good news is effective security for all your web browsing needs, on all your devices, is available by running SurfEasy’s VPN (the same company that offers the SurfEasy Private Browser USB Key).
on 06-22-201311:19 AM - last edited on 06-25-201304:44 PM by BBYLaura
Sony has a long-standing reputation for being a leader in industrial design and with the new Xperia Tablet Z 10.1” the company has brought its “A” game to the tablet market. This Android tablet is one of the best looking devices out there and lays claim to being the world’s thinnest and lightest 10.1-inch tablet. While the Xperia Tablet Z is pretty to look at (and adds features like NFC One Touch and being waterproof), it’s the display, powered by Sony’s Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 powered that really makes this tablet shine.
It’s a given that your child is going to want an Android device. Both the smartphones and tablets are a natural draw. However, it’s important to protect your child’s privacy and keep them safe inappropriate Internet sites. Here are six Android Parental Control apps to consider.
The ASUS Transformer All in One P1801 is the next step in home desktop PCs and tablets both. How? The monitor doubles as a detachable Android tablet while still allowing you to use the base (in conjunction with another HDMI inputted device) for computing as usual and maintaining a small desktop footprint. Plug-In had the chance to unwrap the P1801 and we have a video ready to show you some of the ins and outs of this innovative piece of hardware.
Blogs have developed into one of the more compelling content publishing platforms of the digital age. One of the tools that has helped to make blogs so popular is the RSS feed. And when it comes to RSS readers, Google Reader has been tops since 2005. So what to do now that Google has announced that it’s killing off Google Reader, effective July 1, 2013? No worries, blogs aren’t going anywhere, RSS isn’t going anywhere and there are plenty of alternatives to Google Reader available.
With the success of smaller tablets like Apple’s iPad Mini and the Google Nexus 7, it was only a matter of time before Samsung brought out a new model to take on the competition. Positioned between it’s Galaxy Note 2 “phablet” and the full-sized Galaxy Note 10.1, the new Galaxy Note 8.0 is coming soon to Best Buy stores. Featuring the innovative S Pen, a range of built-in apps including Peel’s “Smart Remote” for TV control and running Android 4.1 (Jellybean), the Galaxy Note 8.0 is bound to heat up the battle in the hot, 8-inch tablet market.
Mobile and Tablet Gaming have become widely successful in drawing in new, and even stealing away some traditional console and PC gamers. But if you're interested in gaming more on a tablet, and are in the market for one, what are the various networks in which you can get involved, and which have the best games for your taste?
Whether you’ve chosen a Windows PC, a Mac, a desktop system or a notebook, you should be taking advantage of the cloud. Think of all the files you have sitting on your computer, tablet or smartphone right now: movies, music, photos, documents, spreadsheets —you name it. There are probably thousands of them. The cloud isn’t just the easiest and cheapest way to back up all these files, it’s also the way to share them or access them from other computers.
Anyone who has a tablet knows how addicting it can be, and I’m not talking about just playing Angry Birds. Want to rent an HD movie? Pick up your tablet, give it a few taps, and then grab the popcorn. Need to do some quick shopping while on the go? Just open up your favourite site and fill up your cart.
But tablets can do so much more than just watching movies and shopping. Because I’ve had a tablet in my collection of gadgets for 2 years, I know a thing or two about optimizing it so it does everything I thought it would (and a few things I had no idea it could!)
If you’ve had a few days to play with your new Android tablet, you’ve probably already figured out the navigation —one of the cool things about these devices is how easy it is to get the hang of the intuitive, gesture-based controls. There’s more than just swiping and tapping, though. Here are some Android basics to make sure you get the most from your tablet experience.
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