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Best mobile Bluetooth keyboard accessories for your Android tablet

Let’s be frank, we were all a little wary of tablet PCs when they first emerged as “laptop replacements.” Clearly, they had nothing on traditional computers in terms of power and productivity, merely standing out with compact form factors and, iPads notwithstanding, affordability.

Best Bluetooth Keyboard LinkPrice on
LogitechLogitech Bluetooth Easy-Switch K811 Keyboard179.5
LogitechLogitech diNovo Edge Keyboard695.98
1byone1byone Wireless Bluetooth Keyboardcheck price
OMOTONOMOTON? Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard13.99
EC TECHNOLOGYEC Technology Foldable Bluetooth Keyboardcheck price

Android keyboard

Only even the latter forte didn’t seem enough to make a stand against equally as cheap netbooks. Somehow, tabs took off nonetheless, bringing the demise of mini-notebooks and, for a few years, enjoying a swift popularity rise.

Now, the market is in a bit of a slump as conventional PCs show signs of resurgence, so it’s innovate or throw in the towel for OEMs like Samsung, LG, Asus, Lenovo, Amazon, Microsoft and even Apple. The struggling industry segment’s saving grace could well be keyboard accessories, given there’s virtually no way to further cut prices.


With phablets on the upswing, tablets can keep matching wits with jumbo-sized smartphones… and lose, or narrow the productivity gap separating them of laptops and desktops… and hope for the best. Here are some of your top universal keyboard accessory choices available on Amazon, as well as a few notebook-transforming contraptions designed specifically for the most popular Android tabs out and about:

EC Technology backlit Bluetooth keyboard – $18.99

Our least expensive recommendation wirelessly connects to any Android tablet or even smartphone known to man, plus iPads (boo!) and Windows slates (no one cares). It’s not fancy, it doesn’t send a very premium vibe, and the keys only offer decent travel and responsiveness, with almost no spaces between them.

EC Technology backlit keyboard

Still, it pulls off the basics of a portable keyboard accessory, it’s 7-color backlit, impressively light (0.37 pounds) yet respectably sturdy, as well as long-lasting, courtesy of an 800 mAh built-in battery.

Hype Ultra-Slim Bluetooth 3.0 Wireless universal keyboard – $19.99

At just 0.23 inches thin, this baby is the textbook definition of convenience, it’s available in seven different coats of paint and it’s also a lot wider than the EC Technology product, coming really close to your standard 15-inch laptop keyboard.

Hype Ultra-Slim keyboard

Once again, the key quality isn’t ideal and you’ll need 2 AAA batteries to power on the Hype, which is both a disadvantage and a strong point. A strong point because you’ll not have to remember to juice the cell up every month or so.

Anker Ultra Compact Slim Profile Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard – $19.99

Back in the day up for grabs at a whopping 60 bucks, the Anker Ultra Compact is, well, tiny, taking up “two thirds the space of a traditional keyboard.” Again, both a forte and weakness, as cramped space limits functionality.

Anker keyboard

Meanwhile, the 18-month warranty is sure a nice touch, and the rechargeable 800 mAh lithium battery promises up to 6-month autonomy based on 2 hours of daily use. Not too shabby… for 20 clams.

AmazonBasics Bluetooth keyboard – $31.90

AmazonBasics keyboard

Big, clean, straightforward, quick and quiet, the all-black AmazonBasics peripheral works with all Android 3.0+ devices, not just Kindle Fires. The 30 foot range is impressive, and the glowing reviews praise the speedy connection, responsiveness, accuracy and convenience of the Bluetooth keyboard. Sounds like a must-buy, unless you can afford one of the following.

EC Technology Portable Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard Ultra-slim Mini – $36.99

It’s portable, it’s foldable, ergonomic and versatile, squeezing right into your trouser pocket if you need it to. Of course, it’s congested too, so professional typists should look elsewhere for their business travel requirements.

EC Technology foldable keyboard

What’s truly remarkable about the second EC Technology item on our list is the aircraft-grade aluminum construction, ensuring “superior rigidity” and stellar endurance despite the foldable design.

Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device K480 – $45.99

In the market for a handsome, vigorous “full-sized” keyboard you can easily pair with your desktop, smartphone and tablet? You can’t go wrong with Logitech’s Windows, Mac, Android and iOS-compatible K480.

Logitech K480

This thing lets you seamlessly switch between three simultaneously connected Bluetooth wireless gadgets, offers a “familiar” layout with all the shortcut keys you’ve grown accustomed to use, and doesn’t require a third-party stand to hold your tab at the perfect angle for typing and reading.

Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard – $62.99

Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard

It might feel weird to mate a Redmond concoction with an Android, but one look at this keyboard, and you’ll realize it’s the best in its class. It’s large but not bulky, ergonomic yet not flimsy, lasts up to six months on a single charge and provides a detachable multi-purpose cover/stand. It’s more than a peripheral, it’s a device-changing accessory.

Fire keyboard – $59.99

Fashioned for “seamless integration” with Amazon’s newest Fire HDX 8.9, it also supports the Fire HD 6 and 7 and “other Kindle Fire HD and HDX tablets.” But that’s it. No full-scale Android compatibility here.

Fire keyboard

The ample touchpad, 4.8 mm wasp waist, various shortcut keys and 2-month “active use” battery are only some of this keyboard’s strong suits. If you really want to get the most of your Fire HDX 8.9 experience though, you’ll have to purchase the $70 leather origami case too.

Elegant, protective and stunningly versatile, the case and keyboard go together beautifully and transform your standard 8.9-inch tab in something that transcends mobile and desktop boundaries.

Samsung keyboard case for Galaxy Tab Pro/Note Pro 12.2 – $74.36

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro keyboard case

Yes, it’s costly, even after a substantial discount, but it’s surely worth it if you want to convert one of Sammy’s “professional” 12 inchers into a bona fide hybrid laptop. Rated at 4.5 stars by 72 mostly satisfied customers, the keyboard doubles as a shielding case and works like a charm for flawless on-the-go typing.

Samsung keyboard case for Galaxy Tab S 10.5 – starting at $81

Galaxy Tab S 10.5 keyboard

Possibly the best ever Samsung tablet deserved a matching premium 2-in-1 accessory, and that’s exactly what it got. There’s no trackpad here, so you won’t fool anyone into believing you own an actual notebook. But the keys are exquisitely well-spaced, quick to react, decently robust and the battery lasts for ages.

Logitech Type-S for Galaxy Tab S 10.5 – $76.40

Logitech Galaxy Tab S keyboard

Not content with Samsung’s proprietary Tab S 10.5 proposal for some reason? This 2-in-1 case/keyboard from Logitech used to cost $100, and for all the right reasons. It aims to guard your beautiful Super AMOLED gadget from accidental bumps, scratches and spills while offering “laptop-like typing” on a standard keyboard layout with Android shortcuts added in the equation. Tough call, huh?

Nexus 9 keyboard folio – $129.99

Hesitant to spend over a third of the top-notch Google tab’s price on a rudimentary “keyboard folio”? Well, that’s where you’re wrong. The multipurpose accessory is as versatile as these things come, not to mention stylish, light, slim and uber-productive in keyboard mode.

Nexus 9 keyboard

We know, we know, you’d have loved a touchpad, a little room between keys and, above all, a $30 or so price trim. But trust us when we tell you no universal keyboard will ever compliment the N9 as this does.

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 vs Microsoft Surface Pro 3 vs Apple iPad Air – Specs comparison

Ooh, an interspecies specs duel. That’s bound to get interesting. And controversial. Yeah, I said it, acknowledged it and won’t be looking to deny it. I stirred up the hornet’s nest to start a debate. The age-old debate.

Galaxy Note Pro vs iPad Air

Has Android matured enough to take on iOS and Windows Pro when talking utility tools rather than “toys”? Will Microsoft ever learn it’s tough, nay outright impossible to beat Apple at their own game? Can a little fellow like the iPad Air fend off the gargantuan Surface Pro 3 and Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 threats by itself or does it need backup from MacBook Airs or maybe iPad Pros if they’ll ever be a thing?

Clearly, those questions are a wee bit complex for a humble specs comparison to settle them all. But again, I only intend to set up a discussion. Here we go:

Note Pro 12.2 vs Surface Pro 3 vs iPad Air – design, build quality and form factor comparison

Design has nothing to do with operating systems and “ecosystems”, so theoretically, our three contenders enter the arena on even ground. Obviously, the latest 9.7-inch iPad has the portability and sleekness edge, thanks to its smaller footprint, whereas the Surface Pro 3 wins the versatility fight with ease, courtesy of a whole roster of optional accessories, keyboard docks and whatnot.

Surface Pro 3

As a standalone tablet, Microsoft’s newest spearhead is a major aesthetical evolution from previous models, yet still heavier, thicker and bulkier than the largest Galaxy Note. Namely, 45 grams heavier and 1 mm thicker. Does that translate into superior robustness maybe? Not exactly.

Sure, Surface Pro 3’s exterior is covered in brushed metal, but Note Pro’s plastic chassis is actually not as chintzy as you imagine. Ultimately, the iPad Air is both smoother and more elegant than the two, with its premium aluminum construction and incredibly slim 7.5 mm waist. Hate to admit it, but Apple remains the kind of ergonomic design.

Display face-off

Now here’s where things get really, really interesting. In their attempt to find unique identities for their iPad rivals, MS and Sammy have delivered two super-crisp, “Retina”-grade screens with slightly different pixel counts and aspect ratios.


The iPad Air, as I’m sure you all know, sports a 9.7-inch IPS LCD panel with 2,048 x 1,536 pix res, 264 ppi and 4:3 aspect ratio. Meanwhile, Note Pro’s 16:10 display marginally lowers the ppi ante to 247 on a 2,560 x 1,600 resolution, and the Surface Pro 3 comes with its own 3:2 aspect ratio, 2,160 x 1,440 res and 216 ppi pixel density.

Guess you’ll need to take all three of these babies for a spin before proclaiming a winner, eh? Personally, I’m no fan of 16:9 (or 16:10) panels. But Note Pro’s extra screen real estate compared to the iPad Air shouldn’t be overlooked. The Surface Pro 3? It’s a solid contender, no doubt about that, yet at the end of the day, it comes up a little short in ppi.

Processing speed, RAM and storage

Look, there’s really no comparing Intel Core i5 or i7 “Haswell” chips with homebrewed Apple A7s or Qualcomm-made Snapdragon 800s in raw performance. The top-of-the-line Haswells trump the competition any day of the week, particularly when paired with 8 GB of RAM.

Surface Pro 3 Intel

Remember, the iPad Air has a measly 1 gig of random-access memory in tow, and the Note 12.2 caps off at 3 GB. Making matters worse for Surface Pro 3’s opponents, Microsoft fitted state-of-the-art humongous 256 and 512 GB SSDs on the tab’s top configs. Meanwhile, the iPad Air supports up to 128 GB of storage, and the Note Pro a pithy 64 internal.

But pitting the highest-end, costliest Surface Pro 3 against the 64 GB Note Pro 12.2 is an apples-and-oranges comparison. I mean, one is nearly 2,000 bucks, and the other $750. Even the most expensive iPad Air is less than half of the 512 GB Surface Pro 3’s price, so yeah, MS has the zippiest, baddest machine, but boy, is it overpriced.


Alternatively, you can score the Core i3-powered new Surface at $799, which also features a 64 GB solid-state drive and 4 GB RAM. But in that case, maybe the 128 GB iPad Air is a better choice, despite its scanty RAM. Oh, decisions, decisions.

Software and battery life comparison

I already admitted to stirring up the hornet’s nest, yet I don’t plan on spending a lot of time surrounded by them angry hornets. It’s obvious each OS has its advantages and flaws. Windows 8.1 fits workaholics perfectly, iOS 7 is the optimal playground, and Android 4.4 KitKat is, well, trying to catch up.


Honest to God, Google’s really going the extra mile in optimizing content for tablets, and soon, you’ll be able to notice. Right now though, I’m afraid us Android junkies have to bow to Windows fanatics and their productivity-focused platform and Apple fanboys and their rich, diverse, lighthearted, easy to understand, easy to master ecosystem.

Battery life? That’s a touchy subject, as usual when talking a barely announced, unreleased product. But if you’ll allow me to go on a hunch, I predict the Surface Pro 3 will offer less juice than both the Note Pro 12.2 and iPad Air. By a whisker, but less.

Galaxy Note Pro back

As for the two, they’re essentially tied autonomy-wise, with roughly 10 hours of continuous use on a single charge.

Accessories, cameras, connectivity, ports and wrap-up

Aside from superior processing speed, the Surface Pro 3 clearly has one more big ace up its sleeve – a multitude of accessories. For one thing, it comes standard with a stylus and built-in kickstand. Then you have all the Type Covers and desktop docking stations.


The Note Pro only retaliates with an S Pen, whereas the iPad Air has exactly zero to offer in this department. Cameras? First of all, who cares? Secondly, if you do care, then the Note Pro is your guy, with 8 MP and 2 MP shooters.

The iPad Air comes in second, thanks to a solid 5 MP rear cam with autofocus and everything, and the Surface Pro 3 impresses with its 5 MP front cam, but disappoints with a 5 MP main photographic unit lacking autofocus and flash.


Finally, I’d rather not pick a victor in connectivity, since all three bad boys support 4G LTE, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. The Surface Pro 3 is however the only one with full-sized USB ports, and the iPad Air has no card slot whatsoever.

All things told, I guess the Surface Pro 3 is more laptop than tablet, so maybe comparing it with the iPad Air and Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 wasn’t very fair in the first place. Still, the two came out of the uneven fight pretty clean and honorable, so choosing an overall winner is tough. Anyone care to help me out of my pickle? Much obliged.

SNES Emulator Makes Its Way To Microsoft Surface Running Windows RT

Do you have a Microsoft Surface and wish there were more game titles made for it? We can understand this since the operating system used, which is Windows RT, is relatively new and games designed for this specific OS aren’t that plenty. It’s different for the Windows, iOS or even Android platform where users don’t have a problem looking for games since there are tons available.

SNES Windows RT

There is new hope for those people who want to play games using their Surface device as an SNES emulator has just been released over at the Windows Store which is designed to run on either Windows 8 or Windows RT. Snes8x is an app that is based on the popular Snes9x emulator designed to run on PC’s. By installing this app on your device you will be able to play the hundreds of SNES games available as long as you have the ROM of the game.

This might not be what some people are looking for in gaming but for old school gamers or those who want to know what gaming in the 90’s feels like then this is a must have app.

During the early 90’s Nintendo released their 16-bit gaming console called the Super Nintendo which became an instant hit worldwide. An estimated 49 million units were sold until it was discontinued in 1999. Since finding a perfectly good unit is hard to come by these days the only way anyone can enjoy playing the games made for this console is through emulators.

Downloading the Snes8x app is only half of the process. You will still need to find the SNES game titles which should be in ROM format. We can’t give you a specific place where to find these but you could use Google to find out. Some of the best titles available are Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country, and Super Mario Kart.

The Snes8x app is compatible with devices using ARM, x86, and x86-64 instruction sets which means that aside from running on Windows Surface RT it can also run on your PC running on Windows 8.

Oh and yes, the app is FREE to download.

via Windows Store

Which Tablet is Good For You? – Guide

So we’ve now seen plenty of tablets hit stores or preparing to hit stores. The most recent additions being the Nexus 7 (3G variant), Nexus 10, iPad Mini, the fourth-gen iPad, Microsoft Surface RT, Kindle Fire HD, Nook HD etc. With the holiday season upon us, people are looking forward to getting one of these gadgets. But which one to get? It’s natural to feel that way. And to help with your decision making, here’s a comprehensive guide on all the competing tablets in the market right now. First up is the Microsoft Surface.

Microsoft Surface RT


Of all these tablets, if there is one tablet that we’re not so sure about, it’s the Surface RT. While MS Surface RT is on par with most competing tablets in terms of specs, design et al, there’s just too much it can’t do. Why do we say this? Well, when we talk about Windows, there’s generally one thing that comes to mind and that is the general Windows UI. A casual Windows user is rather tricked into getting the Surface RT with prior assumption that it’s a notebook alternative. Not to mention, the addition of the Touch and Type Cover go pretty much in favor of the said theory. While Surface RT partially does what a regular Windows PC would do, i.e. opening video files, browsing documents etc, it doesn’t support a lot of apps that work on your notebook or desktop. This is mainly due to the kind of chipset used inside the Surface RT. It makes use of the NVIDIA Tegra 3 chip which will run all the apps on the Windows Store pretty smoothly, but won’t support apps meant for x86 machines. If you try to install third party apps, the annoying error message is shown. You’re probably better off waiting for the Surface Pro, which will be more of a PC alternative. However, if you want a tablet for media playback, some casual gaming and social networking, the Surface RT will not disappoint you. The regular Windows desktop experience doesn’t work pretty well with touch, which is a known fact now. But thanks to the array of connectivity ports on the Surface RT, you have the liberty to add USB 2.0 powered devices like keyboards, mice etc. This is one area where the Surface RT excels over its competition, mainly the iPad. As for the apps on the Surface RT, there isn’t a lot of them. But it’s still a new concept and with time, there will be plenty of apps in the Windows Store, so that’s not a factor in my opinion.

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iPad Mini



The iPad Mini is making its way to an already crowded space (Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD, Nook HD etc) in the budget tablet arena.  The tablet has a lot going against it than for it, which is rare for an Apple device. As you would have noticed from the reviews of the device, 7.9-inches isn’t as comfortable as a 7-inch tablet. The unusual aspect ratio makes it hard to get used to, well at least for some users. That is negligible really, but nothing can beat the ease of use of an actual 7-inch tablet. What matters in a small tablet is the comfort to use it with one hand and that’s clearly missing with the iPad Mini. However, this is highly subjective and might differ from person to person. If there is one thing worth mentioning as a pro for the iPad Mini, it is the variants that Apple is offering. There’s a 4G LTE variant coupled with three different storage options which is always good for a confused buyer. Although the iPad Mini seems like a scaled up version of the iPod Touch, it will have some takers this holiday season. For those who cannot afford the luxury of the full sized iPad, this should be a nice alternative. The device is already sold out, it is believed, so that tells us about the hype Apple has managed to generate for the device. It runs a dual core A5 chip inside and comes in 16, 32 and 64GB variants. Prices for the Wi-Fi model starts from $329 and extend all the way up to $529. 4G LTE variants start from $459.

Nexus 7


Speaking of budget tablets, it’s hard to leave out the Nexus 7 out of the equation, isn’t it? Well, the Nexus 7 rightly kicked off the budget tablet segment, although due credit should go to Amazon for its Kindle Fire which popularized the concept for good. Unsurprisingly, the Kindle Fire remains the highest selling Android tablet ever, that too without having all of Android’s capabilities. So it was about time for Google to step in with the Nexus 7, and they did exactly that, in a major way. Pre orders for the Nexus 7 went over the roof initially, and Google could finally brag of a complete Android tablet that the consumers could approve of. And the recent refresh was even more welcoming as it brought a new 3G variant to the fore, which broadens the horizon a little. Also, ditching the 8GB version and bringing in a new 32GB variant wasn’t a bad idea either. However, customers who got the 8GB version of the tablet recently wouldn’t have nice things to say. The Nexus 7 is a great buy, especially considering the price. Starting from $199 for the 16GB variant, it’s worth every buck.

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Nexus 10


Along with the Nexus 7 refresh, Google also announced the Nexus 10 which is remarkably one of the few tablets out there that could stand up against the iPad. It’s a powerhouse in every sense of the word. With its 300ppi 10.055-inch IPS display, it’s one of the best in the industry, even besting the Retina Display iPad. The main downside to this tablet though, is the app support. Although Android brags of a decent number of applications, most of them aren’t optimized for tablets. As a result, what the user sees is a scaled up version of the mobile app which can be horrendous. The problem persists with the Nexus 10. While its crisp display will make for excellent reading, web browsing and watching videos, certain apps could make you wonder if all this was really worth it. But the tablet is still in its infancy as it’s not completely available in the market yet, so expect this to be sorted out by the app developers in due time. The tablet comes in Wi-Fi only 16 and 32GB variants. Sadly, there’s no 4G LTE or HSPA variant, so users can’t exactly be connected on the go. But at $399 and $499 for the 16 and 32GB variants respectively, the Nexus 10 is a great deal. For this price, you’re getting a remarkable display, a great on board CPU (dual core Exynos 5250) and the luxury of a Nexus device powered by the latest Android 4.2 OS.

Kindle Fire HD 7 and 8.9


The Kindle Fire HD comes in two shapes. One with a 7-inch display and the other with a 8.9-inch display, both boasting of HD resolution and Dolby Audio technology. These tablets will certainly give Google’s Nexus 7 and the iPad Mini a run for their money, but given the fact that it only runs a half-baked version of Android on top of some heavy customization, might be a decisive factor for potential buyers. Both the tablets are available in 16 and 32GB variants respectively and one of them also has cellular connectivity onboard. So Amazon has left no stone unturned in making these tablets attractive for the customers. It all comes down to the buyer, who will ultimately decide the fate of these new budget tablets. Prices start from $199 for the Kindle Fire HD 7 and $299 for the Kindle Fire HD 8.9. Have your pick by heading over to Amazon.

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Nook HD and HD+


Barnes & Noble is known for the ever so popular Nook eBook readers. But they’ve evolved drastically over the past couple of years and launched very competitive tablets. The Nook Tablet and Nook Color marked the arrival of B&N in the tablet industry. And now with the recent announcement of the Nook HD and HD+, they have certainly upped the ante. The Nook HD sports a 7-inch HD display while the Nook HD+ comes with a bigger 9-inch Full HD display. Reading eBooks on this tablet is going to be a delight with the crisp display and all those extra pixels. The Nook HD+ sports a 1920×1280 resolution display, which gives it a emphatic pixel density of 256ppi. Running on board the tablets are dual core processors. The dual core CPU is clocked at 1.3 GHz on the Nook HD while the Nook HD+ comes with a 1.5 GHz dual core CPU. So this isn’t old gen by any means, and you’re assured of latest and greatest hardware on the Nook HD series. However, like the Kindle Fire, this one too runs a heavily custom skinned version of Android which the company calls “Paper”. The Nook HD is priced at $199 and $229 for the 8 and 16GB variants. The Nook HD+ will be available in 16 and 32GB variants for $269 and $299 respectively.

So there you have it. These are the tablets currently vying for the top spot out there. I’ve left out the fourth gen iPad out of the list as there is nothing new to know about it, as it was merely seen as an incremental upgrade from the Retina Display third gen iPad (although this one brags of a new beefed up A6X chip). With the exception of the Microsoft Surface, all the tablets are tagged under the budget category. So this holiday season, pick your tablet wisely.

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The iPad Mini has Materials Worth $188 Inside


It’s that time again where a newly launched device gets the teardown treatment to reveal quite a few of its characteristics. With reparability being the prime focus, we are also given an insight at what’s running inside. And it’s the iPad Mini this time which receives the teardown treatment. It’s not iFixit though, but IHS iSuppli which conducted the said teardown. Quite a few things were revealed post the teardown, but more prominently, it has come to light that the materials used onboard the new iPad Mini adds up to a total of $188. This for the tablet which retails at $329, indicates quite a bit of margin. However, the profit margin here is lesser than the fourth generation iPad, so in a way Apple would want customers to buy more of that than the iPad Mini. But we figure, Apple is expecting to make up for low profits with sheer volume of sales.

Apple’s gross profit margin from the iPad Mini would come close to 43%, while net profit would be marginally below the 40% mark. The display panel accounts for most of the production cost ($80) as it utilizes a new display tech which gives it the thin form factor. Other components like the processor, RAM etc would make up for the rest of the cost. And since there’s no Retina Display here, it wouldn’t set Apple back by much anyways.

All things considered, a gross profit of $141 is not a small amount when we consider the profits made by Google and ASUS in the Nexus 7 and Amazon with its Kindle Fire lineup. Apple has clearly stepped into the budget tablet scene, but without much noise in my opinion. People favoring budget tablets will still pick a Kindle Fire HD, Nexus 7 or a Nook HD/HD+ over an iPad Mini, because despite Apple’s claims, the iPad Mini is still somewhat of an overpriced device and doesn’t quite cut it for the budget customer. That’s my opinion of course. What this does mean though, is that Apple is taking its competition very seriously. It wouldn’t be wrong to presume that plenty of users out there would get both the iPad Mini and/or the budget ranged Android tablets. As evidenced by the image above, it is very clear as to how the iPad Mini fares in comparison to the competition.

Source: The Wall Street Journal
Via: Phone Arena

Microsoft is planning to develop its own line of smartphone

The launch of Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT paved a way to a brighter future for the company striving to compete with current industry players, namely, Apple and Google. While Microsoft still holds the crown being the software giant, recent reports suggest it is planning to take on a different route by developing its own smartphone. It is reportedly working with various hardware manufacturers and suppliers in Asia to test a new design.

For now, we may take these reports with a pinch of salt but considering the company’s capability, there could be some truth behind these allegations. The Microsoft Surface is the company’s foray into the hardware sector of the mobile market and the fact that Oprah subtly endorsed it we can expect the device to achieve a whole new level in terms of sales. Additionally, Microsoft’s Xbox gaming console has always been a hit ever since it was released almost a decade ago. The point is Microsoft knows how to market its devices together with its new software and operating systems. The development of its own line of smartphone bearing its own OS may just make way to a better competition with iOS and Android devices.

The rumors about Microsoft’s development of its own smartphone may be good news for Windows Phone users but definitely bad for Nokia. The Finnish mobile phone maker had to partner with Microsoft to offer Windows Phone to its customers who are in the brink of turning to other brands that offer cooler features. If Microsoft develops its own smartphone, Nokia many not be able to survive the competition. There is no guarantee that it will become a success but it is the best way to prepare if its partners would fail in the future.

According to a report from LA Times, Microsoft’s smartphone that is believed to come with either 4 or 5 inches display is currently in testing phase. The Wall Street Journal also reported that people at Microsoft don’t idea whether there will be a large scale phone production or not. The company hasn’t released an official statement regarding these rumors.

[sources: LA Times | Wall Street Journal]

Three ways Microsoft can do to give Windows Surface an edge over Apple iPad

Windows Surface would be Microsoft’s chance to claim a bigger piece of the tablet market. While the device gained momentum in terms of popularity, it is never a guarantee it will become a hit in the world where Apple iPad stands as king. The fact is, there is a narrow window that Surface could beat iPad in any aspect but as far as competition is concerned, there is still a chance. Now, here are three ways Microsoft can do in order to give its device an edge over the popular iPad.

Attract more developers.  If there is one thing both Apple and Google have in common, that’s the pool of developers submitting apps to their respective app stores. Developers are essential to the growth of a platform as well as to making it popular in the world of technology. If you are a Windows Phone user, then you should have known there are only 100,000 apps available in Windows Phone Marketplace and the ones compatible with Windows RT (Surface’s operating system) are fewer than 3,000; iPad has 250,000 apps in store. Needless to say, Microsoft has to step up to be able to keep up with its competitors.

Bring Xbox experience to RT. Among all Microsoft’s electronic products, Xbox has the most followers and perhaps, the most popular; that’s made possible because of its entertainment value. Being the company’s foray into the market largely dominated by Apple, Windows Surface is equipped with hardware that could pose a real competition. That said, it possesses essential capabilities and horsepower to cater pretty good approximations for Xbox games. Bringing Xbox experience to Surface is like providing new owners the perfect way to experience what millions of Xbox gamers have been enjoying all these years.

Reclaim good corporate relationships. Microsoft Office is the backbone of world’s commerce and if it can be integrated into Windows Surface, the company can easily reclaim its position, which is being hijacked by Apple through its iPad, in the corporate world. Apple has done a great job in keeping its operating systems free of malware for years and this is the very aspect the company is using to lure corporations to use its products. But Microsoft has the capability and infrastructure to dominate in this market.

Basically, Windows Surface has a lot to prove to be able to compete with other tablets available in the market today and Microsoft knew better than to give it mediocre specs. Reports suggest that there could be shortage of supplies when the device is released a few days from now, so let’s wait and see what happens next.


32GB Google Nexus 7 rumors build up as iPad Mini, Microsoft Surface launch events near

A UK retailer recently advertised a 32GB Google Nexus 7 and everybody knows it is almost as true as it may seem, though it still remains a mystery considering Google hasn’t released an official statement confirming such plan yet. The reported variant is said to be offered for£199.99 or around US$323 and was built by ASUS. This same rumor is also being circulated in tech communities in the US and after all those reports, it is easier to believe that the search titan is planning to hijack Apple iPad Mini’s sales by releasing a newer variant of its flagship.

As the buzz about the 32GB Google Nexus 7 tablets builds up, new rumors sprung suggesting a much cheaper Nexus device would also be hitting the US market in the fourth quarter. Google is allegedly working with a Taiwan-based manufacturer, Quanta, to produce a 99-dollar, low-end tablet. So, if these reports were true, there could be at least, two Nexus-branded devices that would be released before the holidays.

Google’s current Nexus 7 device has 8GB or 16GB options. If it were to pose a competition against Apple, releasing a 32GB variant is a logical step. However, to attract the people who might be looking for devices to serve as presents, the $99 Nexus would surely do the job well. Needless to say, Google wants to cover a huge portion of the tablet market as much as possible.

Apple is expected to introduce iPad Mini on October 23rd during a special media event in San Jose. According to reports, the device would cost around $499 to match its low-budget Android counterparts. Apparently, the company is going a bit lower just to attract tech enthusiasts and Apple fans that may be on a tight budget during the holidays. It also shows that big companies couldn’t just neglect the possibility of earning more before the year ends.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is also getting ready for the debut of its first branded tablet, Microsoft Surface. It has been confirmed that the software giant would be offering its device starting $499, a price that’s often seen by many as a bit steeper than what was expected. But make no mistake, it seems like people are getting too curious about it that the supply falls short since Microsoft starts offering pre-orders a few days ago.

There is a war going on between these companies and it’s a good sign because as competition becomes stiff for them, consumers are the ones that would benefit from it. So, basically, we will have several options to choose from as far as tablet computers are concerned. To recap, both Apple and Microsoft will hold big media events this month to possibly announce their new device. On the other hand, Google has yet to issue a statement regarding the 32GB Google Nexus 7 and the rumored $99 Nexus to be built by Quanta.

Let’s wait and see if other manufacturers like Asus, Acer, HP, etc. will reveal new devices in the following weeks. Usually, it is this time of the year when manufacturers tell the people they have something in store for the holidays.


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Microsoft Surface now up for pre-order, supply falls short

Microsoft Surface has been put up for pre-order starting yesterday, October 16th. Contrary to what analysts say that it will not perform well in the market the company is trying to take control, it seems like there are many people who would want to try it out than we expect. Sources who are close to the production line said that the base model being offered at $499 is now in short supply.

While every tablet owner is now well-acquainted with Android and iOS tablets, curiosity would push them to try the kind of technology Microsoft offers with its latest foray into the market. It is apparent because only the base model is getting a lot of attention. The price may be a little steep but it seems like people don’t care at all. After all, Windows Surface isn’t bad at all even when compared with other high-end tablets available in the market. Speaking of the base model, people who pre-ordered the device for $499 will get a quad-core processor and 2GB RAM.

Quad-core processor. Windows Surface will be running Microsoft’s operating system designed for ARM architecture and to be able to pose a competition with key industry players, the company has to wrap a quad-core processor to power its device. Surface will come with NVIDIA Tegra T30, a quad-core processor clocked at 1.4GHz with integrated 520MHz ULP GeForce GPU. Other devices using this processor are Asus Transformer Prime and HTC One X.

2GB RAM. Only a few actually know Windows RT will require so much memory to run but if it does, for sure, 2GB is enough to cater its needs. Many tech enthusiasts believe 1GB RAM is more than enough for any mobile computers, so it’s good to know Microsoft is taking its innovation a step ahead. The base model would also be getting 32GB internal memory but there is a microSD slot for those who might find it insufficient.

Just to make it clear for those who may be planning to get a unit of this slate, the Touch Cover is not included in the $499 model but it can be bought for around $120. Nevertheless, the base model is more competitive than we first through. When compared to the third generation iPad, perhaps the only factor Surface will be beaten is the resolution; it only has 1366 x 768 pixels resolution while the New iPad has 2048 x 1536 pixels with Retina Display. Other than this, Windows Surface is far more powerful.

[source: Microsoft Store]

Microsoft Surface Tablet Worries Acer, HP, Dell

While tech enthusiasts are waiting for the release of Microsoft Surface Tablet which is set on October 26th, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are wary Microsoft might be taking their place on the shelf. Tensions between the software giant and OEMs are starting to build up just as Surface is nearing release.

Taiwan-based computer manufacturer Acer said recently that Microsoft should think twice about its plans on Surface tablet but it seems too late for that now.

“It will create a huge negative impact for the ecosystem and other brands may take a negative reaction. It is not something you are good at so please think twice,” J.T. Wang, Acer CEO, told Financial Times.

For decades, Microsoft OEMs like Acer, HP, and Dell never had any sort of competition against the software giant; they build hardware that would run Windows OS and other applications from Microsoft.

Campbell Kan, President of Personal Computer Global Operations at Acer, said that they might be looking for better alternatives as they could no longer rely on Microsoft. The fact that it becomes their competition on the hardware business is evident things will never remain the way they were.

A few weeks after Surface was unveiled, Hewlett-Packard (HP) said they will no longer continue building tablets based on ARM processor, instead they will set their focus on building x86-based slates to stay away from the competition they knew they can’t win. Likewise, Dell also shared their intentions to stop producing ARM-based tablets following the footsteps of HP. This is evident that Surface tablet has a negative impact on the ecosystem as far as these companies are concerned.

The pricing is the determining factor whether Microsoft is trying to take away the piece of the pie of these OEMs. If Surface will be marketed around $1000 to $2000, it may just be targeting the high-end market and manufacturers offering their device lower than $1000 could probably survive. But if Microsoft goes below the 1000-dollar range, everybody knows what it’s after.

HP Ditches Immediate Plans for Windows RT Devices

Hewlett-Packard Co. (better known as HP) confirmed reports that it will not be jumping into the Windows RT realm… at least, not now. The company said Friday that while it is trying to rebuild its momentum in the world of technology, it will manufacture more tablets based on Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows 8, and chips based on Intel’s x86 architecture.

Rumors spread last week about HP’s desire to launch devices based in Windows RT that will pose as competitions to Microsoft’s own Surface tablets. The company has a good reputation in building PCs and laptops and while it is still a hatchling in the tablet market, tech enthusiasts as well as analysts believe it will do better in competition provided it will jump into the x86 bandwagon and build up its reputation in such market before going further.

Last week, Microsoft revealed the existence of Surface. While there is no information as to the specific release date of the device, it started speculations that other manufacturers would also jump into the new market and HP is just one of them. But to put the rumors to rest, an HP representative confirmed that it is indeed looking forward into building devices based on ARM processors but the realization may come later as it will set its focus on x86 market.

“I can confirm that at HP, we continue to look at using ARM processors in business and consumer products. However, our first Win 8 tablet will be on the x86 platform focused on the business market,” said the representative.

As much as HP wants to be among the few manufacturers to take the lead in new markets, it has seen great potential in the current market where it can easily attract new consumers, satisfy its loyal patrons and gain great following.

“The decision to go with x86 was influenced by input from our customers. The robust and established ecosystem of x86 applications provides the best customer experience at this time and in the immediate future,” the rep added.

Basically, HP didn’t scrap for good the plan of building ARM-based tablets, instead it’s putting it to rest while trying to build a momentum and perhaps take the lead in the x86 ecosystem.

A report from PCMag suggested that HP has actually gone as far as building a prototype tablet based on ARM processor using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon SoC but it was ditched around two weeks ago, just before Microsoft revealed its Surface tablet. If such report was true, the company has already taken a huge step to realizing such plan only to ditch it for the time being.