One of the busiest online electronics stores in the US is about to open for business in Europe, including the UK. Newegg expects to start trading at the end of March, although we’re told it’ll be a relatively soft launch until the company feels more confident about its shipping and supply lines. The retailer, which is especially well known for its PC and component sales, claims to have 25 million registered users and 8.5 million subscribers to its regular email bulletin — numbers that look set to grow if the company can find a way to stand amidst competition like Amazon, eBuyer and the British PC-specialist Scan.
While Lenovo’s original Yoga Tablet had marathon-like battery endurance, an interesting design and a good price, it also had the muscle of a marathon runner, thanks to weak specs. However, the company just launched the Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ at MWC 2014 with a much more desirable set of components. For starters, it’s got a 1,920 x 1,200 screen, a quad-core 1.6GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, 2GB of RAM and an 8-megapixel front camera. Those are all big steps up from the previous model’s 1,280 x 800 screen, 1.2GHz MediaTek processor 1GB RAM and 5-megapixel camera. Meanwhile, the new Yoga has retained its rather monstrous 9,000mAh battery, meaning it still has an impressive 18 hours of battery life, according to Lenovo. Read on for more of our impressions.
During our brief time with Yoga Tablet 10 HD+, we found the fit and finish to be nice enough, thanks to the aluminum and chrome body. On top of silver, there’s now a champagne-colored model that’ll only come to the Asian market. Lenovo’s changed the kickstand angle a bit, making it a bit easier to use flat for typing. Happily, the front camera is now positioned in the center of the screen, making self-portraits less awkward. As for performance, the tablet now seemed zippy enough running Android 4.3, an impression we didn’t have at all from the last model. Lenovo also said it spent some effort improving the optional $59 keyboard, giving it improved stability and feel. All those improvements add up to a relatively small bump in price to $349, 50 bucks more than the original Yoga Tablet 10. The silver model will arrive to markets in the US and Europe in June.
Meanwhile, Lenovo also announced its DOit software suite, which pulls together some existing and new apps into one suite. The first app, SHAREit, is position at pros who might need to share files in places where there’s no WiFi network. To do that, it creates an ad-hoc network between devices, allowing P2P sharing of contacts, photos and other files. Lenovo said it would also be coming to iOS and Windows devices soon. Meanwhile, SECUREit is an anti-malware and privacy app and SYNCit can backup and restore SMS message, phone logs and contacts. The company has also shored up its photo software with the SNAPit, a camera app that brings 10fps burst speeds and photo filters that can be previewed and applied before shooting, among other features. Finally, there’s the SEEit app to store and edit all those snaps. The entire DOit suite is now available on Google Play for most Android devices.
Spreadtrum certainly isn’t a household name in the US, but Mozilla is less concerned with brand recognition than it is with delivering an ultra-cheap handset. The two companies have announced a new partnership that will see Spreadtrum building reference designs for Firefox OS phones with a target price of $25. (And no, we’re not missing a zero there.) The heart of the effort is the SC6821, a Cortex A5-based chipset that supports WCDMA and EDGE networks, but not LTE. The platform includes WiFi, Bluetooth, cameras and FM radio, though touchscreen support appears to top out at 3.5-inch HVGA panels. The lack of 4G connectivity, older CPU design and low screen resolutions clearly mark this as a low-end initiative, but its one that will give it a major leg up in emerging markets like India where feature phones still rule supreme.
Forget the fact that Ford CEO Alan Mulally was reportedly a contender for the Microsoft CEO job: the two companies have long had a cozy relationship, with Ford using Windows to power its in-car Sync software. That could change, though, if this story from Bloomberg is correct. The news agency is reporting that Ford plans to ditch Windows for its next-gen Sync system and base it on BlackBerry’s QNX instead. In particular, Bloomberg‘s sources claim that a move to QNX would be more cost-effective, and also lead to potential improvements in “speed and flexibility.”
Indeed, the performance could be the deciding factor here: Ford has rated the quality of its vehicles “mixed” for the last three years, according to Bloomberg, with customers complaining about tech malfunctions in customer satisfaction surveys by J.D. Power & Associates and Consumer Reports. For now, Ford, BlackBerry and Microsoft have all declined comment. If the report is true, though, Ford would find itself in very good company: luxury brands like Audi and BMW already use QNX in their in-car systems.
Now that Nokia is merely one of Microsoft’s tentacles, it would be pretty weird if it finally introduced an Android phone, right? Well, that’s exactly what’s about to happen, according to a spate of leaks. The device is said to be called the Nokia X, and allegedly resembles an Asha handset while running a forked version of Android. That raises a lot of questions, like whether there’ll be any Google content and, if not, where the heck your apps will come from. Luckily, we’re here at MWC in Barcelona to blog all those answers live, so come back right here for all the news!
HP turned a few heads when it revealed it would re-enter the high-stakes smartphone market with a pair of voice tablets. The company confirmed the VoiceTabs’ existence just after the curtain fell on CES, but HP trotted them out here at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and we’ve just had a chance to hold them in our tapas-smeared fingers. Read on for our first impressions on HP’s next big mobile gambit.
One of the first things you’ll notice is just how light both devices are, despite sporting large displays. That’s because they’re crafted out of what HP refers to as “decorative plastic,” and they’re serious about the decorative part. There are new color variants on display here, so pink, navy, lime green and purple models will soon hit store shelves.
Both phablets contain the same 1.2GHz Marvell quad-core chipset along with 1GB of RAM, they both feature two SIM card slots, they both come with (lackluster) 5-megapixel rear cameras… picking up on a theme here? Really, the only notable difference between the two is the size of their screens: one has a 6-inch 720p display while the other packs a 7-inch panel running at 1200 x 800. Speaking of screens, they’re far from the best we’ve seen. That’s not to say they’re bad — colors and bright if not vivid and viewing angles are solid — but we’ve definitely come across better on similarly sized devices.
Thankfully, both of them are running nearly completely clean versions of Android 4.2 (with a KitKat update in the pipeline to boot). Upon closer inspection, the only additional bloat on the VoiceTabs comes in the form of HP’s ePrint apps. They’re a pretty harmless addition and it’s easy to give them the boot if you’re dead-set on stock. Fiddling with the phablets was a generally smooth experience, but we did spot just a bit of slowdown while firing up apps. Let’s be real though: if you’re after screaming performance, you weren’t looking at this thing anyway.
According to a kindly HP staffer, the unorthodox approach was exactly what the company was going for. By acquiring Palm and pushing out devices like the Veer, HP was simply trying to play catch-up in a market already full of established players. On the surface, the VoiceTab approach is more of the same — what company isn’t churning out gigantic phones these days? HP’s plan here is centered more around how customers can actually get VoiceTabs: direct from the company, with no carriers involved. The tablets are already on sale in Europe with a pre-installed data SIM in tow, and the company plans to do the same for the US by this summer. Whether or not folks will actually take kindly to the curious phablets is another question entirely, but hey, it’s hard to imagine HP doing worse at mobile than it has before.
Matt Brian and Sharif Sakr contributed to this report.
I recently had the opportunity to test out a neat Kickstarted creative charging adapter and smartphone accessory known as the MonkeyOh.
The MonkeyOh holds your smartphone’s AC USB Adapter, USB Cable and your smartphone so you can quickly find the perfect spot for your phone during charges. You can listen to music, watch a movie, and more with the MonkeyOh Stand. The best part is when you’re done charging you can wrap up your USB cable around the back and go.
This handy guy works with most iPhones and many other 3.5″-5″ screen-sized lightweight smartphones. Sorry Galaxy Note users, this one ain’t for you.
I’ve been able to watch a movie while my phone charges right from the wall which was pleasant. You can also use the MonkeyOh simply as a stand when not charging, watch movies, YouTube videos, etc.
The only drawback that I’ve noticed is that the stand isn’t always tolerant with larger devices with cases – which is to be expected. This can be problematic when plugged directly in to an AC outlet. As long as you have a square Apple-esque AC USB adapter, you should be good to go. I think this works well for smartphones such as the Moto X and Moto G as well as the more popular mid-rangers.
The MonkeyOh is a stylish dock, stand, and cordwrap all-in-one and is available in quite a few different color options. Learn more at felixbrand.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Lenovo ought to be tickled right now. HP just announced the 11-inch Pavilion x360, and it takes more than a few cues from Lenovo’s iconic Yoga design. Not only does it have a 360-degree hinge allowing it to be used in four modes, but HP is even using the same terminology to describe how it works (think: “stand mode” for when the keyboard is folded under, and “tent mode” when the machine balanced upside down). Also like the Yoga, the keyboard disables automatically when you flip the screen back into tablet mode.
So how is it different? Cost, really. Whereas most convertible notebooks command flagship prices, the x360 starts at $400. (For comparison’s sake, even Lenovo’s mid-range “Flex” convertibles still cost $549 and up.) Of course, a lower price means lesser specs, which in this case include a Pentium-series Intel Bay Trail processor, a 500GB hard drive (no SSDs here) and a 1,366 x 768 display. On the bright side, the display uses IPS technology for wider viewing angles, and HP also included Beats Audio. So the sound quality, at least, might be better than what the Lenovos of the world have to offer. Three USB ports and a full-sized HDMI socket might further sweeten the deal for prospective buyers.
As for battery life, HP isn’t yet saying how long the two-cell battery is expected to last, though a company rep did assure us the final runtime would exceed four hours (on a portable, three-pound laptop, we’d actually hope for more than that). Look for the x360 to ship this week, on February 26th, with a red color available to start, and a silver shade following later. In the meantime, we’re sure to get a peek at Mobile World Congress, so stay tuned for hands-on photos and some early impressions.
No, it’s not exciting as HP copying Lenovo’s Yoga design, but hey, tablet news is still news. In addition to launching a consumer laptop, Hewlett-Packard is using Mobile World Congress to unveil a couple new business tablets. Chief among these is the ProPad 600, a 10.1-inch device intended for the small biz market. HP hasn’t revealed the price yet, but it’s obviously going to cost less than the company’s existing ElitePad 900 tablet — the move to plastic build materials makes that pretty clear. That plainer design aside, it offers comparable performance, with a 64-bit Intel Baytrail chip, dual 2MP/8MP cameras and a 1,920 x 1,200, optically bonded display that supports pen input. Connectivity-wise, you’re looking at micro-HDMI-out, along with a microSD slot and a standard micro-USB port for charging. Really, then, it’s not that different from the current ElitePad, except there’s no 3G and it’s not compatible with HP’s so-called Smart Jackets. Again, no word on price, but look for it to arrive sometime in mid-April.
Oh, and speaking of the ElitePad 900, HP is refreshing it with some updated specs. Now called the ElitePad 1000, it rocks the same aluminum design as the original, except it steps up to a 64-bit processor and a sharper 1,920 x 1,200 screen — the same one used on the new ProPad 600. It also has an LTE radio, and trades a USB 2.0 port for USB 3.0. Otherwise, the battery life is the same, at around 10 hours, and it fits all the same optional Smart Jackets as the old model. That’s mainly good news for IT guys, who may have already purchased productivity and power covers to issue to employees. At any rate, the tablet should land in March, with a starting price of $739.
We wouldn’t say that smartphone projectors have exactly caught fire, Samsung’s Galaxy Beam notwithstanding. Part of the problem is the extra bulk required by pico projector components, which is where Texas Instruments comes in with its new HD “Tilt and Roll” DLP Pico chipset. They’ve now got the size down to about 0.3-inches, or about the size of a pencil-tip as shown above. That should let makers of tablets, smartphones and wearables add 120 Hz projector powers to their devices. It’s also the chip used in Avegant’s Glyph VR headset — so it might be beaming a movie directly to your retinas at some point in the future.
Filed under: Home Entertainment
Source: Texas Instruments