It’s Friday, folks. You made it. But before you checkout for the weekend (i.e. Destiny-filled all-nighters), take a look at all our news highlights from the last 24 hours.
Once the Earth has burned and all that remains is humanity’s high score floating on the arcade cabinet of the universe, aliens will wonder what the 2010-2020 generation contributed to culture. Googly-eyed academics will scrub through countless Twitter posts, news programs and songs to reveal that, for some reason, we were all obsessed with documenting our own faces with relentless abandon. Acer’s contribution to our mutually assured
destruction vanity is to team up with fashion designer Christian Cowan-Sanluis, who adapted his trademark pink glitter suit and visor hat into something more selfie-appropriate.
The fashionable headwear now accommodates an Acer Iconia A-1 840 tablet, while the static drop-down visor has been ditched in favor of a sombrero peak that spins all the way around your head. Of course, this is nothing more than some attention grabbing for London Fashion Week, and it doesn’t hurt for a traditional PC maker like Acer to borrow some much-needed glamor. The company is even allowing ordinary (okay, not that ordinary) members of the public to try on the Selfie-Hat if they make an appointment through the company’s service. Except there’s no details on who to speak to in order to get such an appointment, so presumably if you don’t know already, you’re clearly not fash enough, dahling, to warrant a go. At the same time, Cowan-Sanluis has also knocked up ten tablet cases that resemble the original, clad in the designer’s now trademark sparkly pink. Meanwhile, a gargantuan snot beast from the planet Piscium B will read this story in horror, exclaiming that “most of them aren’t even that good looking!”
It takes a big company to admit it made a mistake. It also takes a big company to admit it copied its rival’s design. Sure enough, Acer has done both of those things today, which makes the Taiwanese firm, we don’t know, extra bold, or something. Here at IFA in Berlin, the company is showing off a redesigned version of R-series convertible laptop, whose touchpad used to sit above the keyboard, but has now returned to a more normal spot. Meanwhile, Acer also announced the Aspire R14, a notebook with a 360-degree hinge that even Acer admits is similar to Lenovo’s Yoga series.
Starting with the R series (now called the Aspire R13), it has the same form factor as the original, which is to say it has an easel-like hinge allowing the screen to pop out and hover over the keyboard, kind of like an all-in-one desktop with an articulating screen. Now, though, the screen size is 13.3 inches, not 15.6, making it far more portable than the original. Additionally, of course, the touchpad has moved to a more natural spot below the keyboard. That, Acer says, is a concession to customer feedback; users apparently couldn’t get used to having the trackpad at the top of the keyboard deck.
Similar to the older R7, the R13 will come standard with 1,920 x 1,080 screen resolution, and will be available with an optional digitizer for pressure-sensitive pen input. Here, however, you’ll also be able to get it with a 2,560 x 1,440 screen, just like Acer’s high-end S7 Ultrabook. Under the hood, it runs your choice of Core i5 or i7 processors, along with up to 1TB of storage and up to 8GB of RAM. Battery life is rated at eight hours, assuming you have the 1080p display and not the higher-res one. Look for the R13 in October for $900 and up, with European and Asian availability to follow in November for €900.
Meanwhile, the Aspire R14 is basically the same “Yoga” design PC makers have been copying all year long: a 360-degree hinge that allows the screen to fold back into tablet mode (and tent mode, and stand mode…). Think we’re being harsh? Even an Acer executive volunteered to us that the design is similar to Lenovo’s line of convertibles. Truth be told, there isn’t much different about the design here, except that the specs run a bigger gamut than what most other brands are offering. You can get it with an Intel Pentium processor, for instance, or you can go all the way up to Core i3, i5 and i7. Some of the higher-end models will also have discrete NVIDIA GeForce 820M graphics, an optional pen digitizer, up to 1TB of storage and up to 12GB of RAM — something you won’t find on a Lenovo machine. It’s expected to go on sale in mid-October, starting at $600 here in the US and €500 in Europe.
Finally, wrapping things up, Acer announced the Aspire Switch 11, an 11.6-inch laptop/tablet hybrid with either a low-powered, quad-core Intel Atom Z3745 processor or a heavier-duty Core i5 CPU. Depending on which you get, it either has a 1,366 x 768 screen, 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage (that’s the Atom-powered-model) or a 1080p display, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD (that’d be the Core i5 version). Meanwhile, Acer will continue to sell its older Switch 10, now with a higher-res 1080p screen option. The Switch 10 is available this month starting at $330 or €330, and the Switch 11 will follow in October for $400/€3400.
Dan Cooper and Ben Gilbert contributed to this report.
Acer’s taken more than a passing fancy to Chrome OS of late, but at this year’s IFA, the company’s showing a rekindled love for its affordable tablet range. Its first new slates since the beginning of the year come in two sizes, with the more portable 8-inch form factor also offering a choice of platform. The Iconia One Tab 8 runs Android 4.4 KitKat on a quad-core Intel Atom processor (the Z3735G, if you’re interested), with an 8-inch, 1,280 x 800 IPS display up front. Otherwise, it’s got most of the standard features you’d expect on a tablet, like a pair of cameras and microSD slot for storage expansion. Now picture essentially the same hardware configuration, but instead running Windows 8.1 with Bing, and you’ve got the Iconia Tab 8 W. Successor to the Iconia W4, the Tab 8 W also boasts up to eight hours of battery life and one free year of Office 365. Whether you prefer Google or Microsoft’s OS, both 8-inch slates will launch next month in Europe for €150, and in the US in November for $150.
For bigger appetites, Acer’s also announced the Iconia Tab 10 today — its first 10.1-inch tablet without a keyboard companion since last year’s Iconia A3. Opting for a quad-core Mediatek processor running Android 4.4 KitKat, the full HD (1,920 x 1080) IPS display is lovingly covered with Corning Gorilla Glass. The larger slate also makes room for a micro-HDMI port to compliment the WiDi standard, and will be available this month for €199 in Europe and $199 in the US.
Dan Cooper and Ben Gilbert contributed to this report.
IFA is one of the largest consumer electronics trade shows in the world, and it’s also one of the most unique. The annual show, held this week in Berlin, has a knack for announcing new washing machines, sewing machines and kitchen appliances alongside the latest smartphones, smartwatches and tablets. Here at Engadget, we’re primarily focused on the latter (though who doesn’t love a free fruit smoothie sample from time to time?), and there’s a lot to cover. Let’s head straight into what new gadgets and devices we can expect to see announced at this week’s event.
Before 2011, very few companies launched smartphones or tablets at IFA. Only a handful of phone makers bothered showing up with new devices, and in most cases they were mid-range at best. That all changed after Samsung launched the Galaxy Note at the show — and turned the practice into an annual IFA tradition. Now, as the company prepares to release its fourth large-screened flagship phone in as many years, several manufacturers have followed and now use IFA as a launching pad for the latest and greatest gadgets.
Samsung has made it no secret that it plans to follow precedent and announce the next entry in the Note series, thanks to a series of teasers leading up to this week’s unveiling. It’s done a fantastic job of preventing major leaks, however; nobody knows for sure what it looks like, because the company’s managed to keep images and specs of the Note 4 close to its chest so far. Chances are, Samsung won’t be ready to ship the device for a few more weeks, which would follow the same pattern set by the Galaxy S5 this spring.
The rumor mill is pretty dry for other Samsung phones. We’ve seen recent reports that Samsung has filed a trademark with the USPTO for something called the Galaxy Note Edge, but we can’t take this as a guarantee that the company will introduce such a product at IFA. We’re also excited to see the Galaxy Alpha, which is a sleek device with a metal frame that was officially announced a couple weeks ago.
Whereas Samsung has done a fantastic job at keeping quiet about its upcoming Note phone, Sony’s the complete opposite. Unless the company has something new up its sleeve, we’ve likely seen its entire holiday roadmap. At IFA, plan on seeing the Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact: As you might expect, the former is the flagship, while the latter is a smaller version. If the rumors are true, the Z3 Compact will be just as close in specs to its larger brother as the Z1 Compact was. This is fantastic news, because it means that users who prefer smaller screens won’t be forced to endure midrange hardware.
Microsoft Devices — y’know, Nokia’s phone division — will also come to Berlin with at least one or two smartphones. The company hasn’t been shy about showing it off internally to employees, as we’ve heard several reports indicating that Stephen Elop has been proudly talking up the devices at recent town hall meetings. The higher-end of the two is the Lumia 830, which will be the most affordable PureView-branded device. If the leaks are accurate, we can expect the 830 to look similar to the 930 and come with a 10MP camera. There’ll also be a “selfie phone,” presumably the Lumia 730, which will focus on bringing a solid front-facing imaging experience to mid-tier buyers.
LG’s already announced most (if not all) of its product lineup, which includes the G3 Stylus. It’s a less-expensive version of the G3 that comes with a 5.5-inch qHD screen and — you guessed it — a stylus. We may also see the Gx2, a followup to a device that landed exclusively in Asia last year, and a couple of low-end L-series devices designed for emerging markets.
IFA will house several other manufacturers, so there will be plenty of other smartphones on display. Acer, ASUS, Alcatel OneTouch, HTC and Lenovo will all be there, so be on the lookout for some of their wares. Lenovo’s made the most noise from this group, thanks to its Vibe X2 teaser mocking Apple’s iPhone event invites. (And yes, that is indeed a lollipop in the teaser.)
Smartwatches have been around in at least some capacity for several years — it all started with Microsoft SPOT and has continued on through Sony, Pebble and others — but people didn’t seem to notice or care until Samsung came out with a “mainstream” product known as the Galaxy Gear. The Android-based watch came out alongside the Galaxy Note 3 at last year’s IFA. It’s amazing how much can change in twelve months: Samsung is showing off its sixth watch, LG will have its second on display, Sony will have two more and ASUS will join the party with its first.
Both Samsung and LG officially announced their watches last week — curiously, within just a few minutes of each other — and the two devices are completely different from each other. The Samsung Gear S is a Tizen watch that comes with a curved display and built-in SIM slot, so you can either pair it to a phone or use it as a phone. On the other hand (wrist?), LG’s newest Android Wear watch steers closer to a truly classic look thanks to its circular display. It’s called the G Watch R, and despite the clunky name, it’s got enough chops to give the Moto 360 some tough competition.
Sony hasn’t made any announcements yet, but the leaks for its watches, the Smartwatch 3 and SmartBand Talk, are just as prominent as the company’s phones. The former is a squarish Android Wear watch, while the latter is a fitness band with E-Ink display and a mic. Finally, ASUS’ first watch will be an Android Wear device called the ZenWatch, and the company will reportedly sell it for under $200, which will be aggressively priced against its competitors.
VR and everything else
A few months ago, we broke the news that Samsung was working on its very own virtual reality headset called the Gear VR, and reported that it would likely launch at IFA. Sure enough, plenty of leaked images and renders have followed; given the number and strength of the rumors, we’d be surprised if Samsung didn’t release the product at this year’s show.
There’ll also be a few tablets, but they seem like much more of an afterthought. Sony’s leaked Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is a horrible name, but looks like a good 8-inch tablet; Huawei’s got a Mate 7 tablet inbound; and per tradition, ASUS will have at least one or two tablets there.
Finally, expect to see some news on the chipset and Chromebook fronts. For the former, Intel is planning to introduce hardware — likely tablets and laptops — running its new Core M chipset based on Broadwell architecture. Additionally, Qualcomm teased a new HTC smartphone with a 64-bit processor inside. As for Chromebooks, at least a couple new models from Acer and Toshiba will pop up, although we wouldn’t be surprised to see a few other options showing up.
As always, these are simply a few products we expect to see at the show, and let’s face it — events like this hardly ever go exactly as planned. There’ll be new TVs and Smart Home products, and we’re sure a new washing machine or two. We’ll be liveblogging Samsung’s and Sony’s product launches, and we’ll be there to cover everything else that happens in Berlin, so keep our event page bookmarked!
A few years ago, tablets were poised to replace laptops as the computing device of choice. That never happened, as we’ve largely stuck with laptops and phones as our daily drivers, with tablets relegated to a secondary role. If you don’t use a tablet that much, it certainly seems wise to avoid dropping a lot of cash on one. But a lower price often means compromises, and too many compromises means you won’t be using the tablet at all. To figure out how many corners you can cut when it comes to purchasing a sub-$200 tablet, we’ve gathered opinions from across the web, from our own reviews to the opinions of other trusted critics. Which cheap tablets balance performance and price to still deliver a good experience? When is it worth spending just a little bit more money? And which deals are too good to be true?
By design, tablets are less about work and more about play — though you’ll find some notable exceptions in our roundup of top slates for the back-to-school season. Among them are Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3, which features a keyboard case that makes typing on the go bearable, and the ASUS Transformer Book, which also gives you hardware keys via a bundled dock. Of course, there are still plenty of slates made for enjoying your downtime. Click through the gallery below to see them all, and don’t forget to check out the rest of our guide!
Acer has certainly been making headlines lately. Just a little over a week ago they announced the new Acer Chromebook 13 CB5. The first Chromebook to bring the new NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor to a Chromebook and to consumers. Granted, the device is only up for pre-orders right now, but at least it is coming. Today Acer has announced another device in the Chrome OS line, but this time not a Chromebook. Instead, they have announced a new Chromebox line dubbed the CXI series.
“The Acer Chromebook CXI is an excellent fit for schools and any other institution or business where conserving costs and space are high priorities,” said Simon Hwang, president of Acer Stationary Computing and Display Business Group. “Due to the ease of management, the Chromebox can significantly reduce technical support and consequently lower the total cost of ownership.”
On a hardware standpoint the Chromebox CXI series packs an Intel Celeron 2957U processor, that is the Haswell version. As for RAM, you have that choice at purchase with either 2GB or 4GB. Beyond that choice, everything else remains identical with a 16GB SSD, 4X USB 3.0 ports (two of which can be powered off to just charge phones and tablets), SD card reader, WI-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.o, A HDMI and a DisplayPort. Yes, that last bit does mean that you can run a dual display setup.
Price wise you are looking at spending $179.99 for the 2GB RAM variant an $219.99 for the 4GB RAM variant. Feel free to start saving now as neither of these are available just yet. Acer pegs them for release ‘late next month’. So, sometime in late September.
The post Acer announces new Chromebox CXI series of devices appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
Have a spare display sitting around that you want to turn into an (albeit limited) PC? You might consider picking up a Chromebox. The tiny low-powered machines, which run Google’s Chrome OS, are best for basic productivity apps and content consumption, but if you don’t need to do any complex processing, they might be a solid fit — especially if you’re on a very tight budget. Today, Acer announced a new model of its own, the Chromebox CXI. There’s an Intel Celeron (Haswell) processor, a 16GB SSD, plenty of connectivity and support for two displays. One version includes 2GB of RAM and ships next month for $180, while a model with 4 gigs of RAM will run you $220. Both include a keyboard, mouse and mounting kit in the box.
No gadget — besides a smartphone, maybe — is as crucial to a college student as the laptop. Regardless of your major, you’ll want a solid machine with a well-crafted keyboard to see you through term papers, class presentations and more. From a sub-$400 Chromebook to sleek models from Lenovo and Samsung, our roundup has something for everyone. Click through the gallery below to see all 11 picks, and don’t forget to check out the rest of our guide for other gadget recommendations.