Monday, October 29, 2012

A Big Week for Mobile - Hardware

The last week saw a number of events and stories on the mobile media front.

The last few weeks have seen a number of highly anticipated new tablet hardware releases, leading Laptop magazine to launch the "Tablet World Series."

   Apple announced the release of its highly-anticipated iPad mini, which seemed like a smaller iPad, with all the good (and not-so-good) that implies.  Tech people found it technologically impressive, but still hanging around the top end of the price market.  Apple also surprised the industry press a bit by also announcing a range of other product upgrades.
   While the iPad's main top-end competitor, the Samsung Galaxy Note, has been out a while, Samsung did recently upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet.  Samsung seems to have focused on focusing on the tablet as a business productivity tool.
   Microsoft followed the launch of its new "Surface" tablet and mobile-savvy Windows 8.  The Surface tablet has some innovative technology, and is a major shift in corporate strategy (developing its own computing hardware).  If the Surface does well in the tablet market, it could lead the way for further moves into hardware for what's essentially a software giant.
   A bit earlier, Google entered the hardware fray with the Nexus 7 tablet.  The Nexus 7 has been piling up accolades and Editor's Choice awards based on performance and low price (for a small 7") tablet, running the most current Android OS.
   Content-focused tablets from Barnes & Noble (the HD+) and Amazon (Kindle Fire HD) - both improvements over earlier e-readers and tablets, but still missing some features of what could be called "full-service" tablets.  Amazon's also innovating in the wireless broadband service arena, offering free Skype calling on all models, and offering a 4G data plan for $50/yr, (250 MB/month) for its top model.

   The tablet market's exploding with quality entrants offering a range of tablet options at a range of prices - and giving Apple's iPad some serious competition.  That should give potential buyers a range of viable options, and help hasten tablet adoption.  And continue the debate as to whether tablets or PCs will dominate the future of personal computing.

Sources -  With iPad Mini, Apple poised to shake up tablet market.  Again  c/Net
Tablet mania: The battle of the seven-inch tabletsWashington Post
The New Era of Personal Computing, PC Mag

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