Laptops & Tablets

IDC: W. European Tablet Market "Stabilises"

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IDC: W. European Tablet Market

IDC reports the W. European tablet market reaches stability of sorts in Q2 2015 as shipments reach 7.5 million with 1.2% Y-o-Y decline-- the softest since the downturn started at the beginning of 2014.

Leading to such results is the combination of weak consumer demand for tablets and growing commercial interest in 2-in-1 devices. As such, regular tablet shipments are down by -4.4% Y-o-Y while 2-in-1s see 71% Y-o-Y growth, even if 2-in-1 volume remains relatively small with overall share reaching 7.3% of the total Q2 2015 market.

“The most notable new 2-in-1 model is probably the Microsoft Surface 3, a smaller and more affordable version of Surface Pro 3, but other new 2-in-1s were introduced by well-established international players as well as several local or sub-regional vendors," the analyst says. "The latter not only contributed to broaden the 2-in-1 offering but, thanks to the strength of their brand at a local level and the usually lower price points of their products, also helped boost the volume of the market for detachable devices, where their share jumped sequentially from below 1% to over 4%.”

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IDC: Tablet Market Continues Falling

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IDC: Tablet Market Continues Falling

Global tablet shipments fall by -7% Y-o-Y (or -3.9% Q-o-Q) to reach 447 million units during Q2 2015 IDC reports, a quarter marked by little in terms of either hardware innovation or vendor portfolio updates.

"Beyond the decline, we're seeing a profound shift in the vendor landscape as the top two vendors, Apple and Samsung, lose share in the overall market," the analyst remarks. "In Q1 2015, Apple and Samsung accounted for 45% of the market and this quarter, with the growth of vendors like LG, Huawei, and E FUN, their combined share dropped to 41%. Each of the growing vendors managed to address available pockets of growth in the market; connected tablets for LG and Huawei, larger tablets and 2-in-1s in the right price bands for E FUN."

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Samsung Intros Galaxy Tab S2

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Samsung Intros Galaxy Tab S2

Samsung announces the Galaxy Tab S2-- a tablet in either 9.7- or 8-inch sizes featuring what the company describes as "the thinnest and lightest metal frame of its size on the market."

For the record, the tablet is 5.6mm thick and weighs 389g in its 9.7-inch form and 265g in 8-inch. Both variants are otherwise identical, having 2048x1536 resolution Super AMOLED displays and an octacore application processor combining quad 1.9GHz + quad 1.3GHz processors.

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Futuresource: White-Label Tablets Lead Market

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Futuresource: White-Label Tablets Lead Market

Futuresource Consulting reports growing shipments of low-cost Android devices are leading to dilution of the Apple share of the tablet market, as well as "dramatic" tablet ASP declines during the 2010-2014 period.

The analyst predicts a slowdown of the global tablet market, as consumer sales plateau and retail prices continue to drop further. A number of territories should still see growth-- 2014 shipments in some emerging markets are up by over 30%-- but several major markets see low or even negative growth.

Smaller-screen tablets hold 71% 2014 shipment share, but the category is at risk of cannibalisation by larger smartphones/phablets. Thus vendors are expected to shift production from 7-8-inch+ devices by end 2015.

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Microsoft Intros Surface 3

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Microsoft Intros Surface 3

Microsoft reveals a consumer version of the 2014 Surface Pro 3-- the simply named Surface 3, a 10.8-inch tablet running full Windows 8.1 on a fanless Intel Atom processor similar to that powering a number of budget notebooks.

The tablet is a bit thinner (8.7mm) and lighter (622g) than its Pro sibling, and features a display in the same 3:2 aspect ratio. Like the Pro model the 1920x1280 resolution touchscreen handles pressure-sensitive pen input, and all comes inside magnesium casing complete with built-in kickstand.

Microsoft claims the battery allows up to 10 hours of use, while ports include full-size USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, cover port and micro USB for charging. Wireless connectivity comes through wifi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac) and Bluetooth 4.0.

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Asus Presents Chrome PCs

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Asus Presents Chrome PCs

Asus presents a pair of unusual devices, both running on Google's Chrome OS-- the all-metal convertible Chromebook Flip and the Chromebit, a Google-powered take on the PC-on-a-stick concept.

Described by the company as a premium device, the Chromebook Flip is similar to another Asus laptop, the Transformer Book Flip. It is a 10.1-inch notebook with a 360-degree hinge, meaning users can "flip" it between laptop and tablet modes by bending the (touch-enabled) display all the way.

Interestingly it also carries an accelerometer for switching between portrait and landscape display modes. Powering the device are is an ARM-based 1.8GHz quad-core Rockchip 3288 processor, as well as 2/4GB RAM. Storage clocks at 16GB.

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Tablets Get Modular With Click-ARM One

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Tablets Get Modular With Click-ARM One

Spanish company ImasD applies the modular device concept from Google's Project Ara and its smartphone ilk to tablets as it presents the Click-ARM One, a 10-inch tablet featuring four swappable components.

In order to avoid confusion, the "ARM" in the name has nothing to do with the chipmaker-- it actually stands for "Advanced Removable Modules." These are the CK PCB-HUB (connectivity options), CK Module (16GB flash storage), CK Core (Samsung Exynos 4412 quad-core processor, 2GB RAM) and the 10.1-inch 1280x800 touchscreen.

Click-ARM One modules connect to the motherboard via Mini PCI Express interface, and ImasD says third parties can easily make their own. The company adds customers can also buy modules and create own cases via 3D printers.

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Xperia Z4 Tablet at MWC 2015

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Xperia Z4 Tablet at MWC 2015

Mobile World Congress 2015 sees Sony launch the Xperia Z4 tablet, supposedly the thinest and lightest (6.1mm slim and 393g heavy) 10-inch tablet around, together with the mid-range Xperia M4 Aqua smartphone.

The Xperia Z4 carries what Sony claims are "best in class" technologies, including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core 64-bit CPU, 10-inch 2048×1536 resolution display, DSEE HX audio processing and a battery promising up to 17 hours of video playback on a single charge. It runs on Android and also allows for PlayStation 4 game streaming with the combination of Remote Play and Dualshock 4 wireless controllers.

Accessory-wise Sony offers the BKB50 Bluetooth keyboard complete with dedicated tablet dock, the "slim and light" SCR32 cover and the BSP60 speaker.

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Post-Sony Vaio Brings Back Z-Series

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Post-Sony Vaio Brings Back Z-Series

The recently-independent Vaio brings back the Z-series branding for a pair of laptop-tablet hybrids-- the Vaio Z and Vaio Z Canvas, the latter based on an earlier prototype revealed by the company.

Vaio says the "Z" name not only brings to mind its earlier high-end PC products, but also stands for "zero," marking a fresh start for the company. Whatever the Z stands for, the Vaio Z is a 13.3-inch laptop powered by either an Intel i7 or i5 CPU, SSD storage and a really long-life battery (15.5 hours of use, Vaio claims) inside an aluminium-carbon shell.

Being a hybrid device it also features a hinge allowing users to "multiflip" the laptop into tablet mode, as well as a viewing mode with the screen facing away from the keyboard. Speaking of keyboards, Vaio says the one inside the Z produces less noise than those in similar devices.

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The Android-Powered Remix Ultra Tablet

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The Android-Powered Remix Ultra Tablet

Jide, a company founded by a trio of ex-Google engineers, believes Android tablets are "terrible at getting real work done." Enter the Remix, an "ultra tablet" running on a custom version of the OS launched at CES 2015.

At first glance the Remix looks like the Microsoft Surface-- or, rather, it looks very much like the Surface. Like the Windows-powered device it features an 11.6-inch 1920x1080 display, magnetic power connector, detachable keyboard cover and a built-in dual-angle kickstand. The OS (a modified version of Android 4.4 dubbed "Remix OS") also borrows some elements from Windows, including a taskbar, file manager, multiple on-screen windows, improved mouse support and a clean look surely inspired by Microsoft's Metro UI.

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Wireless Charging for Larger Devices

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Wireless Charging for Larger Devices

Freescale launches a 15W Qi-compliant wireless charging solution-- one the company claims is suitable for the cable-free charging of larger devices, such as tablets and handheld medical devices.

Current wireless charging solutions handle just 5W, meaning the Freescale system would also enable faster charging for smartphones, as well as tablets armed with a 4000mAh battery.

The Freescale solution comes in the shape of two 15W ICs-- the WPR1516 receiver and the MWCT1012 transmitter chips. It supports several industry standards, including the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) and the Power Matters Alliance (PMA), and is complemented with "flexible enablement technologies" such as a pair of evaluation board options for different output power topologies.

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