Acer have been pretty busy lately. It has now officially announced its first Android gaming table, which the Taiwanese company states goes hand-in-hand with its Predator PC’s. The slate, which has been rather aptly named the Predator Tab, is set to go on sale in Quarter 4 of 2015.
Unfortunately, we have no solid information with regards to specifications, but we do know that the device will pack an 8-inch Full HD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, a quartet of front-facing speakers and an aluminium unibody design.
Check out the full set of press shots below:
Come comment on this article: Acer announces its first Android gaming tablet
Chrome’s website push notifications are no longer confined to your desktop — they now surface on your phone, too. Grab Chrome 42 for Android and you can opt into alerts from websites that show up no matter what you’re doing. You won’t have to worry about missing out on breaking news, even if your favorite sites don’t have dedicated apps. You’ll also have an easier time adding home screen shortcuts for those sites if you always want them close at hand. It’ll be a while before many of the sites you frequent can deliver notifications (eBay, Facebook and Pinterest are some of the early adopters), but it’s worth upgrading now to get ready.
“China is the number one market with connected products.”
That was how Intel’s Senior Vice President Kirk Skaugen kicked off his keynote at IDF in Shenzhen, citing China’s staggering 30 percent share of worldwide connected-device purchases in 2014. The country gobbled up 40 percent of the 46 million Intel-powered tablets shipped globally. Not bad, but 46 million is hardly anything compared to the 420.7 million smartphones shipped in China alone in the same year — only a tiny percentage of which packed an Intel chip. Most others relied on Qualcomm, MediaTek and Samsung. Intel’s smartphone market share is so small that it never dared to share the stats; it could be as low as 2.81 percent in the Android space, according to benchmark specialist AnTuTu.
This isn’t something that Intel can fix overnight, but with the launch of its Atom x3 “SoFIA” chips, it’s hoping to narrow the gap this year. Atom x3 is actually Intel’s first family of chips with an integrated modem, which offers the advantage of improved power efficiency as well as reduced space and costs. It’s still going to be a hard sell, though, especially given that the LTE flavor of Atom x3 won’t ship until the second half of this year. But at least Intel’s found a cunning strategy to stay relevant: partnering with Chinese chip designers Rockchip and Spreadtrum to leverage their connections with local device manufacturers. In other words, these two companies get to offer Intel-powered designs to their clients.
A selection of budget tablets in a Hong Kong mall, many of which are powered by Intel’s Bay Trail processor.
We won’t judge you if you’re not familiar with Rockchip and Spreadtrum. Both firms only dabble in the lowest-end smartphone, tablet and TV stick markets. The places that are packed with KIRFs and brands you’ve never heard of. On the Chinese retail site Taobao, we managed to find a Rockchip-powered 9.7-inch Android tablet that cost just 390 yuan, or about $63.
Now, this is obviously a case of “you get what you pay for.” Ugly or copycat designs, rough seams, scratched metal parts, laggy software, you name it. Not to mention the lack of Google services. Nicole Scott from Mobile Geeks said what many of us were thinking in her post-IDF piece: “I have never seen a Rockchip product that I thought was of good quality.” There’s plenty of reason to worry that these cheap devices will tarnish Intel’s brand.
An Intel Atom x3-powered Samsung Galaxy S5 clone.
Skaugen isn’t terribly concerned, however. “In the last year, we’ve seen a dramatic improvement in the overall quality in craftsmanship that’s come out of Shenzhen,” the exec defended. He also points out how the likes of General Motors and Volkswagen have prospered by engaging in China early with local partners.
“When you’re here early and you’re helping,” he said, “I think you would rather be in the position that those companies are in. And quality does get better over time, but you do have to transfer some of your knowledge on how to build even higher-quality products.”
In this case, “transfer” is just a pretty way of saying “selling reference designs.” Intel does so through its turnkey program, in which vendors can either buy some parts from a list of recommended suppliers, or simply slap their own brand onto Intel’s complete reference devices. Going the latter route can get them to market in just six to eight weeks. Such speed is critical in the super competitive entry-level market. According to Intel, last year 30 ODMs made 350 devices based on its reference designs, and those shipped to 50 countries.
BlueBank president Tao He shows off his $50 5-inch smartphone powered by Intel’s Atom x3.
Rockchip, Spreadtrum, MediaTek and Qualcomm also have their own turnkey solutions, with MediaTek pretty much pioneering this business model in its copycat feature phone days. Intel’s clear advantage over the competition lies within its x86-64 architecture (so both Android and full-on Windows are compatible), RealSense depth camera technology and wireless power know-how. The chip giant also claims to offer higher reliability, with customers seeing a 20 percent lower return rate with devices based on its reference designs. At IDF, Skaugen even got Tao He, the president of Chinese device maker BlueBank, to openly praise how much better Intel’s reference designs and tech support are.
“If I must complain, Intel’s turnkey solution has greatly lowered the entry barrier, making it very easy to design devices,” He joked in front of the already amused crowd.
BlueBank is just one of the many Chinese ODMs that are already offering Atom x3-powered devices to potential clients. On the stage, He showed off a 4.5-inch smartphone that will retail for less than $40 (He also mentioned a 4-inch version for about $30), a 5-inch phone with a metallic frame for around $50 and a 7-inch (8mm-thick) tablet with voice calling for just $55. The audience wowed at the tablet.
In addition to BlueBank and its four aforementioned devices, Intel has enlisted 13 other ODMs to commit to 44 more Atom x3 designs this year. And that’s on top of Rockchip’s 10 ODMs that will use the 3G-R variant (3G, quad-core) of the chip. While this doesn’t necessarily reflect the eventual number of consumer models (and some of those designs could have already been sold with other chipsets), it’s still a good start; though the 4G-enabled Atom x3 needs to arrive as soon as possible.
Atom x3-based tablets at an electronics expo in Hong Kong.
Both Intel and Rockchip desperately need more quality hero devices.
It’s all good and well that Intel sees great potential in the entry-level market, but for its new mobile chip to succeed, it must teach its partners — especially on Rockchip’s side — to respect intellectual property. Both Intel and Rockchip desperately need more quality “hero” devices to boost brand perception. But with Intel-powered knock-offs floating around, it’ll be hard to convince other big names to join the party. In the mainstream mobile market, Intel’s only got ASUS and occasionally Lenovo on its side.
Even with the potential for intellectual property scuffles, Intel has clearly made the right move by partnering with Rockchip. After all, we are talking about a Chinese company that’s working with Google on a system-on-chip module for Project Ara. The company obviously has growing global clout. Intel may be late to the integrated modem game, but with Rockchip’s connections plus growing street cred, it could be on track to catch up with the competition, especially in China where even Qualcomm stumbled recently.
“We want to build long-term partnerships with China,” Skaugen said. “This is our 30th anniversary in China. I think some of these partners are the people that will build Intel’s brand for the next 30 years. And if you look at companies like Apple or HP that started in the garage, let’s not forget what the first PCs looked like. And decades later, I’m glad I have those partnerships.”
After the better part of a year, Samsung is ready to launch new tablets in the States — if not quite the high-end models you might be looking for. It’s releasing 8- and 9.7-inch versions of the Galaxy Tab A, a low-cost slate whose centerpiece is an iPad-like 4:3 aspect ratio that gives you more breathing room when you’re browsing the web or reading a book. Neither model is especially powerful between the 1.2GHz quad-core chip, 1,024 x 768 screen, 5-megapixel rear camera and 2-megapixel front shooter, but they do carry Samsung’s lighter-weight software loadout, including bundled Microsoft apps. You’ll also get between 16GB to 32GB of storage, depending on the model. The Tab A will reach American shops on May 1st starting at $230 for the 8-inch model, and $300 for the 9.7-inch version. And don’t worry, cost-conscious Galaxy Note fans, Samsung hasn’t forgotten about you: a version with a bundled S Pen is due on May 17th for $350.
Source: Samsung (BusinessWire)
Google’s making it even easier to track down your misplaced mobile device. While Android Device Manager already exists to help find lost phones and tablets, just getting to your account’s ADM menu often requires a search of its own. But Find My Phone is as simple as a web query. In fact, that’s literally what you’re doing. Simply open a Google omnibox and type “find my phone” to display a map that reveals the phone’s current resting place. If the device is nearby, you can also opt to ring your cell. Unfortunately, Find My Phone does not allow you to lock or erase your device should it be stolen or, say, left at the local pub — you will still need Android Device Manager to do that.
If you’re wondering what Apple will do next with its mobile devices and the Mac, you won’t have to wait too long to find out. The tech giant has announced the 2015 Worldwide Developer Conference, which starts on June 8th. It’s not providing too many clues as to what will be there, but you can apply for tickets now — and you’ll have the option to stream sessions live if you can’t make it out to San Francisco. It’s safe to say that the event will include news on software for the Apple Watch, iOS and OS X, and it won’t be shocking if Apple has something to say about a new streaming music service or a next-generation Apple TV. Whatever happens, you know we’ll be there to give you the full scoop.
If you’re an Opera fan on Android, you no longer have to choose between Opera Mini’s super-efficient web browsing and the native interface of its full-size sibling. The company has overhauled Mini to finally give it the Android-friendly look and core features of the regular browser, including redesigned Speed Dial shortcuts, a private browsing mode and a customizable design that scales nicely to tablet sizes. There’s also a much-needed, Mini-specific data gauge so that you know how many megabytes you’re saving. Give it a spin if you’re trying to squeeze the most you can out of a capped cellular plan.
Source: Google Play
Think that iOS’ music player is overdue for a remake? You’re going to get your wish. Apple has released the first iOS 8.4 beta to developers, and its centerpiece is a shiny, new Music app. The refresh includes at least a few long-sought changes, including some borrowed from iTunes: There’s a mini player that sticks around while you’re browsing, global search and an “Up Next” song queue. You’ll also see a sleeker iTunes Radio interface that helps you discover new tracks. There’s no sign of the Beats-based music service rumored to come alongside 8.4, but that’s not supposed to show up until Apple’s developer conference at the earliest — if it exists, it’s probably going to stay under wraps for a little while.
[Image credit: 9to5Mac]
Google’s 3D spatial mapping tablet Project Tango is currently only available for purchase by invitation. Today some of those lucky individuals received an email informing them that the price of the tablet was being slashed by 50 percent from $1024 to $512. The email forwarded to Android Police also mentions that Google is “opening sales more broadly,” and that this was the last chance for the individual to purchase the device reserved for them. Before you assume “more broadly” means you’ll be able to buy one of those tablets in the near future, it seems like it’s going to be a developer-only device for at least a little while longer. A Google spokesperson told Engadget, “we are opening sales more broadly because we want to broaden the reach to encourage more developers to join us on this journey.” Google might be a tad bit gun shy about opening up devices like Project Tango to the general public after what happened with Google Glass.
Source: Android Police
During a recent training exercise, “Talon Reach” held in Arizona, DARPA successfully tested a new system for Forward Air Controllers to call in air strikes that made use of Android-powered tablets in place of more traditional radios and hardened laptop devices. The tablets ran a program called Persistent Close Air Support, or PCAS, that was able to communicate with a counterpart program on board air support, known as PCAS-Air, in order to call in an air strike. DARPA and the military believe the new system will give Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) the ability to order air strikes more quickly and with greater precision, even under chaotic and stressful conditions.
The PCAS system consists of “intuitive software” that uses satellite imagery, real time intelligence and surveillance data, and “easy to fill in fields” that JTACs can use to provide information to their air support, a package of information known as a “Nine Line” brief. Once the briefing information is received by the PCAS-Air portion of the system, the target is located on a map and an attack solution is generated. One key component is the ability of the system to recognize and be aware of the locations of friendlies which should help reduce the possibility of fratricide occurring.
One sign of the successful test of the system was the time it took for the JTAC and their air support, in this case a V-22 Osprey, to deliver a Griffin Missile payload on target to a position right next to an abandoned truck. According to DARPA,
The length of time from initiation by the JTAC to missile impact on target was just over four minutes—even better than PCAS’ goal of six minutes, and more than seven times faster than the half hour or more it can take using current methods that rely on voice directions and paper maps.
Although Android may be at the heart of the tablets used for the new system, DARPA has created their own, unique interface layer called Kinetic Integrated Low-cost SoftWare Integrated Tactical Combat Handheld, or KILSWITCH. According to sources, KILSWITCH has been employed in different scenarios over the past couple years, but this is the first time it has been integrated with air support.
During Talon Reach, another test of the KILSWITCH enabled tablets involved some Marine units attempting to engage adversaries. The night mission involved two groups of Marines who needed to coordinate their efforts. One of the groups launched a small, unmanned air vehicle that provided, among other capabilities, network relay services. Once launched, all of the KILSWITCH tablets from both groups were able to sync up providing both groups the ability to determine the locations of friendlies and coordinate their attack.
One of the benefits of an increasingly technology-enabled world is that members of the military can be kept safer. The downside is that the use of technologies introduces a new attack vector for the enemy to try to disrupt operations. Although we can expect to see more use of advanced technology on the battlefield, backup systems will remain a key component.
source: Foxtrot Alpha
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