Detachable tablet sales are taking off
The tablet market might be tanking as a whole, but there’s apparently one major bright spot: tablets with detachable keyboards. While IDC estimates that slate shipments were down almost 14 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter, shipments of detachables more than doubled to 8.1 million. That’s about 12 percent of the entire space, folks. Analysts suspect that many people want to treat tablets as PC replacements, and they’re willing to pay a premium to make that happen.
You won’t win any prizes for guessing who’s at the front, though. Category pioneer Microsoft reportedly shipped 1.6 million Surface tablets (most of them Pros), while Apple shipped over 2 million iPad Pros in the device’s inaugural quarter. Design experience, brand recognition and sheer financial clout clearly went a long way.
This isn’t to say that companies need detachables for success. IDC notes that some of the hottest action came from low-end tablets, like Amazon’s $50 Fire tablet and various models from Huawei or Lenovo. However, it’s no wonder that Samsung and others are getting into the detachable tablet game. It’s not only a booming category, but potentially more lucrative — even if the tablet market shrinks, you could still turn a tidy profit.
Dish’s 4K-ready Hopper 3 DVR is now available
Although the Hopper 3 was supposed to arrive at the end of January, Dish isn’t too late on its promise. The company’s third-generation DVR, which supports 4K and up to six Joey receivers simultaneously, is now available to subscribers. According to Dish, “qualified” new and existing account holders can get one box at no cost, but that’s with a $15 monthly fee.
Still, as long as your UHD TV has HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2, you can get 4K content directly on the Hopper 3 — including the bizarre Sports Bar Mode that splits a screen into four 1080p signals. The one feature missing right now is universal search integration with Netflix, but Dish says that’ll be coming in the near future.
New in our buyer’s guide: Lenovo’s Yoga 900 and Samsung’s Gear VR
It’s been about two months since Engadget’s updated its buyer’s guide — we were busy eating holiday cookies, preparing for CES, going to CES and then recovering from CES (phew). Fortunately, though, even in those nine weeks, we haven’t actually reviewed much that we think is worth of our shortlist. The only two exceptions would be Lenovo’s thin-but-well-performing Yoga 900 and Samsung’s latest Gear VR headset, which we think is a great deal at $99. That’s all we’ve got today, but keep checking back in soon –after all, we’ll soon be pretty busy reviewing the products that just debuted in Vegas.
Source: Engadget Buyer’s Guide
Alphabet earnings shows just how much Google’s ‘other bets’ are losing
The newly-minted Alphabet (made up of Google proper and the variety of ventures that make up the “Other Bets” the company is involved in) has just released its first full quarter of financial data under its new structure. At a high level, Alphabet continued the growth that Google has seen over the last year or so — the company is reporting $21.3 billion of revenue with profits of 4.9 billion. That marks an 18 percent yearly increase in revenue and a 5 percent increase in net income, both decent gains for the company.
What’s more interesting than these numbers is the fact that Alphabet is breaking out its earnings across Google proper as well as its Other Bets category. In the past, all of this was lumped under Google, but the new company structure provides greater insight into what’s working and what isn’t at Alphabet.
To sum it up, Google is making money and Other Bets are not. In 2015 as a whole, Google earned $74.5 billion in revenue with $23.4 billion of operating income, both up over the year before. But “Other Bets” was a money-loser: the “Other Bets” companies made $448 million in revenue over the course of the year but failed to turn a profit. Those companies lost $3.6 billion in 2015.
That’s not really unexpected — the whole point of Other Bets is to let Alphabet develop new companies and technologies outside of the Google umbrella. Things like Google Life Sciences (now known as Verily), the Ventures investment group, Nest, Calico and so forth are a lot less proven and experimental than Google’s core advertising business and Android, both of which fall under the traditional “Google” banner. The Alphabet team was certainly not expecting these companies to be big money-earners yet.
Another category worth keeping an eye on is Google’s “other revenues” — that’s where the company puts things like Google Play and its lineup of hardware. Revenues for that category grew to $2.1 billion in Q4 2015, up 24 percent year over year. We’re hoping to get more details on what drove growth there in Alphabet’s earnings call, which is set to kick off in just a few minutes. We’ll update this post with any details that come out of it.
Google Briefly Surpasses Apple as World’s Most Valuable Company
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is encroaching on Apple’s status as the most valuable company in the world, reports CNN. While Apple is currently on top, a surge in Alphabet shares today gave it a market valuation of $533.4 billion, briefly surpassing Apple’s valuation of $532.7 billion on a 1 percent stock drop.
Alphabet shares dropped shortly after, leaving Apple at a higher valuation, but the numbers could shift again tomorrow following Alphabet’s first financial earnings report this afternoon. Alphabet is expected to announce overall revenue growth of close to 15 percent with a 20 percent increase in earnings per share.
Over the course of the last several months, Apple shares have fallen steadily, dropping its peak valuation of $740 billion to ~$540 billion. Despite record earnings for the first fiscal quarter of 2016, with revenue of $75.9 billion and net quarterly profit of $18.4 billion, Apple has not bounced back from rumors that the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s are not selling well and concerns that the company has reached “peak iPhone” with no replacement product on the horizon.
Apple is in for a rough second quarter as the company is expected to announce its first ever decline in iPhone sales and its first year-over-year revenue drop in thirteen years. Currency headwinds caused by a strong U.S. dollar are costing Apple a significant percent of its earnings compared to the year-ago quarter.
Update 1:05 PM: Alphabet is up another 8 percent in after hours trading following a strong earnings report, meaning Alphabet will almost certainly open trading tomorrow at a higher valuation than Apple.
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[TA Deals] The Ultra-Stealth Nano Drone is the drone everyone needs in their lives
It goes without saying, drones have been a front-runner in the news lately, particularly when it comes to Amazon’s Drone delivery service or Google’s Project Wing. They’re a neat technology, and now you can have your very own drone, too! The Ultra-Stealth Nano Drone over on Talk Android Deals is a great first drone for those looking to break into a new hobby, and it’s cheap, too!
Here’s what you get with the Ultra-Stealth Nano Drone:
- Flies when you throw it in the air
- Built w/ 6-axis gyro technology & gyro calibration
- Performs 360-degree flips
- Flies in a pack thanks to its 8 frequency points
- Indicates what channel it’s on w/ LED lights
- Flies for approximately 4-8 minutes per charge
- Navigates tight areas w/ super sensitive control
Normally the drone retails for $40, but for a limited time only, our readers can pick it up for $20 over on Talk Android Deals. That’s a whopping 50% discount!
The Ultra-Stealth Nano Drone is a lot of fun for those that want to get into flying them. Though it only lasts 8 minutes per charge, you’ll still have a lot of fun doing flips and tricks in the air with it. And if you like it, you can always upgrade to something that’ll last longer in the future.
What are you waiting for?
Come comment on this article: [TA Deals] The Ultra-Stealth Nano Drone is the drone everyone needs in their lives
5 features I’d like to see in the next Nexus phone
Rumors suggest that new Nexus devices are on the way, following in the footsteps of the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. Although it’s a tad early, we have a list of features we want to see Google include with whatever comes later this year.
Our imagination is running wild as more and more Nexus rumors hit the web, with one of the most recent ‘leaks’ pointing to two new versions of the Nexus being made by HTC. According to chatter originating from Weibo, HTC’s smaller 2016 Nexus will feature a 5-inch screen, whilst the larger model’s display will be closer to 5.5 inches.
Elsewhere, news of the apparent codenames of the new HTC-made Nexus devices have popped up, said to be named the T50 and T55.
All this recent Nexus talk has got us thinking about what we’d like to see when the new devices do eventually arrive.
Nexus 6P-inspired design, but smaller
I think that the Nexus 6P is a stunning phone and most people agree, so it’s a shame that it is slightly too big for some to handle.
Ideally, I’d like to see a new Nexus smartphone boast a glorious design similar to the Nexus 6P, but arrive in a size slightly closer to that of the Nexus 5X. With these changes in place, we’d be left with a great-looking smartphone that could easily be used with one hand. With the other mitt, we could stroke the edges of the 2016 Nexus and marvel at its beauty.
Although bigger phones now seem to be more popular than ever before, the idea of not being able to use a phone with one hand still doesn’t have everybody convinced. A smaller 2016 Nexus taking design inspiration from the Nexus 6P couldn’t go far wrong in our minds, especially when you consider the Nexus 5X felt slightly cheap in the hand.
If I were being picky, I’d also request some smaller bezels so we could make more of the phone’s screen.
Bring back wireless charging
Wireless charging isn’t a game-changer, but it’s nice knowing you don’t need a cable every time you need to charge your smartphone. Late last year, Android’s Vice President of Engineering Hiroshi Lockheimer took to Reddit during a Q&A. The Nexus man was faced with a couple of questions about wireless charging and the answers were interesting to say the least.
According to Lockheimer, wireless charging was left out of the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P because USB Type-C is present, which apparently means Nexus owners don’t ‘waste time’ trying to work out which way to plug their micro-USB cord in. We don’t think Lockheimer’s answer is too convincing considering turning over a micro-USB cord after realizing you’re holding it the wrong way takes less than a second.
In most instances, convenience is valued over speed, and with that philosophy in mind we think wireless charging would be a nice, welcome addition to the next Nexus phone.
We’ll be the first to admit that wireless charging has its disadvantages and isn’t as fast as standard charging methods, but it would be nice to have the feature bundled with a future Nexus.
The battery life of the Nexus 5X is good enough to prevent bi-daily charges most of the time, but it isn’t out of this world. Naturally, we’re hoping for an upgrade in this area for the future Nexus phones.
Although the Nexus 5X’s 2700 mAh battery charges quickly via USB Type-C, heavy users may find that they eat their way through that fairly quickly. The Nexus 6P brings a bigger and better 3,450 mAh battery to the table, which copes particularly well with demanding work and plenty of screen-on time.
If we’re seeing two new Nexus phones this year, buyers on a budget would certainly appreciate improved battery life in the smaller model. Whilst it makes sense to have a bigger battery in the phone with the larger screen, improved performance in the affordable model would convince more people to part with their cash.
Fair international pricing
The Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P caused quite a stir when they arrived, with reviews of both smartphones dishing out compliments on design, build quality and user experience. Sadly, some Android fans were left disappointed after learning of the difference in international pricing for the two gadgets.
Whilst the 16GB Nexus 5X cost around $380 (at launch) in the United States, the same handset was costing Australian buyers the equivalent of $463. A top-of-the-line 128GB Nexus 6P cost around $649, whilst the same mobile was on sale in Italy for a whopping $948. Ouch.
Our fingers are crossed that the new additions to the Nexus family are fairly priced for international buyers.
No more 16GB option
We can’t point the finger at the Nexus 6P here considering the base model offers 32GB of internal storage, but the Nexus 5X should bow its head in shame.
Yes, the cheapest Nexus 5X arrives with just 16GB of internal storage, which won’t get you too far nowadays. If there are two new versions of the Nexus right around the corner, we’re hoping that the smaller option starts at 32GB. If that’s not possible, how about the option of expandable storage?
What features would you like to see in the next Nexus phones? There’s plenty more to mention, from camera improvements to waterproofing, software changes and screen size tweaks. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge recycled designs, expected but annoying
Last week, we got a good look at the front of the upcoming Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge refreshes (to be unveiled at Samsung’s Unpacked event on Feb. 21st). This week, that peek is completed with back view of the two brothers, courtesy of the infamous leaker, Evan Blass.
Now, I won’t be unreasonable. It wouldn’t make much sense for Samsung to do a redesign. It is well invested in this overhaul done on the Galaxy S6. Only, I had the S6 Edge and Note5 last year, and didn’t feel like the design was a winner. Does anyone else feel the same way?
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Sure, the phones most definitely looked pretty. But that was the extent of it. The design is super fragile (glass on both front and back). The phones feel like they want to slip out of your hand. I don’t like phone cases, so I had to baby them with a tight grip. I always had to be cautious to not set them down on a rough surface, and be mindful of their slippery nature (they were prone to slipping out of my pocket when I entered/exited my car, or fall from my lap). And those fingerprint smudges on the back…’nuff said.
I also questioned if the Edge variant was frivolous to a crucial point. The eye candy won me over initially, but I didn’t renew that enthusiasm with the S6 Edge+. I sprung for the Note5 instead and didn’t miss the curved edges one bit. The design is partly to blame for that, because you have less gripping area on the Edge variant.
When I later moved on to the LG V10, the experience was an eye-opener. In contrast, the V10 is built with practicality in mind. It has a very grippy back, beefy side rails, and a MIL-STD-810G drop-test certification. No, it’s no where as pretty as the latest Galaxy phones, but the usability experience is night and day. I’m such a premium hardware snob, so my whole world turned upside-down when I tried the V10 and loved it.
What I’m trying to say here is that Samsung should have recognized where last year’s design faltered and tried to supplement it somehow. I know the phones aren’t out yet, but the leaked pictures are pretty clear (and Samsung is known for making minuscule changes).
Do those Galaxy users out there agree that the current design didn’t do it for you? We’ll find out the full scope at Unpacked 2016 in three weeks time.
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Review: Actionproof’s Bozon Stand for Apple Watch is Quirky but Functional
Actionproof’s Bozon Apple Watch stand is unique in a sea of Apple Watch accessories because of its unusual, quirky shape. It looks more like a toy or a modern art piece than a traditional stand, but it ended up being easier to use and more functional than some of the other Apple Watch stands I’ve tested.
Made from a soft black silicone, the Bozon features a pliable black palm-sized sphere-shaped top attached to four legs for stability. Like most Apple Watch stands, you need to supply your own charging puck, which fits into the front of the Bozon. The interior of the Bozon is hollow, allowing it to store excess cord.
Setting up the Bozon with the Apple Watch charger was surprisingly simple, especially when it came to winding up excess cord. There are a lot of Apple Watch docks and stands out there that hide extra cord, but most do so in a more convoluted way. With the Bozon, it was simple, quick, and elegant.
The first step to installing the Apple Watch charger in the stand is to fit the charging puck into the front opening. It fits in at a downward angle, and there’s an extra slot that houses the portion of the cable that connects to charger. From there, the cord goes into the middle of the Bozon and out through the rear right leg, which has a removable cap.
Google makes it easier to keep up with the presidential candidates
It’s an election year here in the United States. In truth, the candidates started eating up news cycles well before 2016 started. Regardless, keeping up with each of their platforms and statements on important topics is tough. Plus, there’s the always confusing schedule of caucuses and primaries. So you can either have a live feed of all the cable news networks piped directly into your brain, or you can check out our election guide and Google’s updated search and Now card results for candidates.
Now when you search for a candidate, their take on top issues like guns, immigration, national security and taxes pops up. More information about their stance on the issues is just a click away. The topic information is either a direct statement from the candidate or gleaned from news interviews.
The search giant is also presenting real-time updates from primaries. Just search “primary results.”
Finally, to make sure you’re a active part of the democratic system, Google Now cards will remind you to get out there and vote.