Category Archives: Tablet pc

Tablet pc

Can iPad resist the hybrid PC/tablet trap?

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So to continue my run of posts on this website, I have planned to share one of my favourite content pieces this week. I used to be cautious to add it to the website as I actually didn’t wish to offend the initial writer, but I hope he/she is happy that I enjoyed reading their work and planned to share it with my readers.

When the iPad came out, almost four years ago, it was immediately misunderstood by industry insiders – and joyously embraced by normal humans. Just Google iPad naysayer for a few nuggets of iPad negativism. Even Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, couldn’t avoid the derivative trap: He saw the new object as a mere evolution of an existing one and shrugged off the iPad as a bigger phone. Schmidt should have known better, he had been an Apple director in the days when Jobs believed the two companies were “natural allies”.

I was no wiser. I got my first iPad on launch day and was immediately disappointed. My new tablet wouldn’t let me do the what I did on my MacBook Air – or my tiny EeePC running Windows Xp (not Vista!). For example, writing a Monday Note on an iPad was a practical impossibility – and still is.

I fully accept the personal nature of this view and, further, I don’t buy the media consumption vs. productivity dichotomy Microsoft and its shills (Gartner et al.) tried to foist on us. If by productivity we mean work, work product, earning one’s living, tablets in general and the iPad in particular have more than made the case for their being productivity tools as well as education and entertainment devices.

Still, preparing a mixed media document, even a moderately complex one, irresistibly throws most users back to a conventional PC or laptop. With multiple windows and folders, the PC lets us accumulate text, web pages, spreadsheets and graphics to be distilled, cut and pasted into the intended document.

Microsoft now comes to the rescue. Their hybrid Surface PC/Tablet lets you “consume” media, play games in purely tablet mode – and switch to the comfortable laptop facilities offered by Windows 8. The iPad constricts you to ersatz folders, preventing you to put your document’s building blocks in one place? No problem, the Surface device features a conventional desktop User Interface, familiar folders, comfy Office apps as well as a “modern” tile-based Touch UI. The best of both worlds, skillfully promoted in TV ads promising work and fun rolled into one device.

What’s not to like?

John Kirk, a self-described “recovering attorney”, whose tightly argued and fun columns are always worth reading, has answers. In a post onTablets Metaphysics – unfortunately behind a paywall – he focuses on the Aristotelian differences between tablets and laptops. Having paid my due$$ to the Techpinions site, I will quote Kirk’s summation [emphasis mine]:

Touch is ACCIDENTAL to a Notebook computer. It’s plastic surgery. It may enhance the usefulness of a Notebook but it doesn’t change the essence of what a Notebook computer is. A keyboard is ACCIDENTAL to a Tablet. It’s plastic surgery. It may enhance the usefulness of a Tablet, but it doesn’t change the essence of what a Tablet is. Further — and this is key — a touch input metaphor and a pixel input metaphor must be wholly different and wholly incompatible with one another. It’s not just that they do not comfortably co-exist within one form factor. It’s also that they do not comfortably co-exist within our minds eye.

In plain words, it’s no accident that tablets and notebooks are distinctly different from one another. On the contrary, their differences — their incompatibilities — are the essence of what makes them what they are.

Microsoft, deeply set in the culture of backwards compatibility that served it so well for so long did the usual thing, it added a tablet layer on top of Windows 7. The result didn’t take the market by storm and appears to have caused the exit of Steve Sinofsky, the Windows czar now happily ensconced at Harvard Business School and a Board Partner with the Andreessen Horowitz venture firm. Many think the $900M Surface RT write-off also contributed to Ballmer’s August 2013 resignation.

Now equipped with hindsight, Apple’s decision to stick to a “pure” tablet looks more inspired than lucky. If we remember that a tablet project preceded the iPhone, only to be set aside for a while, Apple’s “stubborn minimalism”, its refusal to hybridize the iPad might be seen as the result of long experimentation – with more than a dash of Steve Jobs (and Scott Forstall) inflexibility.

Apple’s bet can be summed up thus: MacBooks and iPads have their respective best use cases, they both reap high customer satisfaction scores. Why ruin a good game?

Critics might add: Why sell one device when we can sell two? Apple would rather “force” us to buy two devices in order to maximize revenue. On this, Tim Cook often reminds Wall Street of Apple’s preference for self-cannibalization, for letting its new and less expensive products displace existing ones. Indeed, the iPad keeps cannibalizing laptops, PCs and Macs alike.

All this leaves one question unanswered: Is that it? Will the iPad fundamentals stay the way they have been from day one? Are we going to be thrown back to our notebooks when composing the moderately complex mixed-media documents I earlier referred to? Or will the iPad hardware/software combination become more adept at such uses?

To start, we can eliminate a mixed-mode iOS/Mac device. Flip a switch, it’s an iPad, flip it again, add a keyboard/touchpad and you have a Mac. No contraption allowed. We know where to turn to for that.

Next, a new iOS version allows multiple windows to appear on the iPad screen; folders are no longer separately attached to each app as they are today but lets us store documents from multiple apps in one place. Add a blinking cursor for text and you have… a Mac, or something too close to a Mac but still different. Precisely the reason why that won’t work.

(This might pose the question of an A7 or A8 processor replacing the Intel chip inside a MacBook Air. It can be done – a “mere matter of software” – but how much would it cut from the manufacturing cost? $30 to $50 perhaps. Nice but not game-changing, a question for another Monday Note.)

More modest, evolutionary changes might still be welcome. Earlier this year, Counternotions proposed a slotted clipboard as An interim solution for iOS ’multitasking‘:

[…] until Apple has a more general solution to multitasking and inter-app navigation, the four-slot clipboard with a visible UI should be announced at WWDC. I believe it would buy Ive another year for a more comprehensive architectural solution, as he’ll likely need it.

This year’s WWDC came and went with the strongest iOS update so far, but no general nor interim solution to the multitasking and inter-app navigation discussed in the post. (Besides the Counternotions blog, this erudite and enigmatic author also edits and can be followed on Twitter as @Kontra.)

A version of the above suggestion could be conceptualized as a floating dropbox to be invoked when needed, hovering above the document worked on. This would not require the recreation of a PC-like windows and desktop UI. Needed components could be extracted from the floating store, dragged and dropped on the work in process.

We’ll have to wait and see if and how Apple evolves the iPad without falling into the hybrid trap.

On even more speculative ground, a recent iPad Air intro video offered a quick glimpse of the Pencil stylus by Fifty-Three, the creators of the well-regarded Paper iPad app. So far, styli haven’t done well on the iPad. Apple only stocks children-oriented devices from Disney and Marvel. Nothing else, in spite of the abundance of such devices offered on Amazon. Perhaps we’ll someday see Apple grant Bill Gates his wish, as recounted by Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson:

“I’ve been predicting a tablet with a stylus for many years,” he told me. “I will eventually turn out to be right or be dead.”

Someday, we might see an iPad, larger or not, Pro or not, featuring a screen with more degrees of pressure sensitivity. After seeing David Hockney’s work on iPads at San Francisco’s de Young museum, my hopes are high.

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Review of the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2

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Lenovo’s influential laptop designs are legendary. Despite being, in most cases, re-branded IBM computers, there was a time when the Lenovo laptop was the only model to be certified for use in outer space (I’m not joking). The Lenovo ThinkPad 2 tablet is hoping to take this tradition of quality merchandise and trusted branding into the world of the tablet PC. In the process, Lenovo are hoping to exercise the demons awakened by this tablet’s predecessor…

Yes, the original Thinkpad was a bit crap. It wasn’t stunningly awful, but it certainly wasn’t anyone’s tablet of the year. Why not? Well, for starters the battery life was shorter than Mini-Me’s understudy. Secondly, the general operation of the computer was slower than Wayne Rooney’s Sudoku record. Thirdly, Android doesn’t really do that many ‘pen friendly’ apps.

So, how is this new version different? Let’s find out…


The first major difference between the Thinkpad 1 and the latest model is the OS. The original model ran Android, but not especially well. This new version runs Windows 8 and is, dare I say it, much better for it. Lenovo principally make computers for Windows, so having them back on home territory can only be a good thing.

The second thing you’re likely to notice is that the bodywork has been completely overhauled. This new ThinkPad now comes complete with a rubberised finish that feels comfortable and pleasing to touch, a vastly improved screen (1366 x 768, nicer, but still not HD) and a cute little keyboard that is fantastic, both to look at and to use.

The ThinkPad 2 is lighter than the older model (from 1.58lbs to 1.3 lbs) and you get about 8 hours of battery life.


Available at around £430, this is actually one of the cheaper Windows 8 tablets around. It’s a bit pricier than other hybrids, of course, but is probably worth the extra money in the long run. If you really want Windows 8 on your tablet, but you don’t want to pay the funny money, this one could be a decent choice.

NOTE: Sadly, the keypad itself will set you back another £80, bringing the total up about £510. This is still a decent price compared to some of the others out there, however.


This tablet performs pretty well. The processing speed is suitably fast and the general look and feel of the tablet implies comfort, durability and professionalism. It handles the Internet with no problems at all and the apps also work well without hiccups.

One minor annoyance is the pen. That stylus just doesn’t want to come out of its friggin’ holster. Ever. It’s actually embarrassing when you’re in public and struggling to pull the f****r out.

As a negative point, I wouldn’t say that there was anything especially exciting about this tablet. It works fine; it’s not the fastest tablet in the West, nor is it the most energy efficient model ever. It is neither great value nor a ripoff and it runs Windows 8, which is a plus or a minus, depending on your perspective.

It is, however, miles better than the previous model. It represents a genuinely huge improvement on the ThinkPad 1.


Generally speaking, I liked this tablet. I don’t know if it will feature on anybody’s ‘best of the year’ lists, as I said of its predecessor, but that doesn’t make the ThinkPad 2 a bad tablet.

All in all, it’s just a standard Windows 8 tablet. Don’t expect a dazzling Retina display, don’t expect the hardware of the Microsoft Surface, don’t expect the brand pull of some of the other tablets out there and don’t expect a major bargain. What you see is a nicely made, reliable tablet at a reasonable price.

And what you see is ultimately what you’ll get. 

What PC Tablets Work with Microsoft Office?

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Asked by Donnie from Dover

I’m an Apple man myself, but I can certainly give you a broad overview of the best tablet PCs that are currently running Windows 8. Call it my gift to the underprivileged (JOKE!)

The Microsoft Surface is the obvious (and easy!) option to mention first. Upon its initial release, this tablet made a fair few friends, but it also made some enemies. However, even considering its flaws, the Surface is a frankly astonishing bit of kit. In fact, in my humble opinion, the hardware is actually far more impressive than the software. Still, if you’re looking for a Windows 8 tablet, then you really can’t go far wrong with this one, especially since it came down in price.

The Acer Iconia W700 is also a nifty bit of kit. It comes with a detachable dock and a (frankly lovely) detachable keyboard, plus, it is pretty tasty in terms of processing power and memory, actually doing a passable impression of a desktop (if you handle it right). This tablet is a nice little all-rounder, able to work efficiently on complicated tasks or simple jobs alike.

windows 8 tabetThe Acer Aspire P3, despite being ludicrously expensive, is also really nice. The keyboard is really well designed and the overall bodywork of this tablet feels stylish and professional. To make things even better, this tablet runs very quickly indeed.

Another impressive desktop-esque model (although one wonders what the point of that actually is) is the Sony Vaio Duo 11. The most divisive factor here is the inclusive keyboard. Rather than being detached, like most hybrid tablets (and practically everything on this list), this tablet actually has a keyboard as part of the casing. Which is fine, unless you are concerned about size and weight. Where you stand on the keyboard will likely determine where you stand on this tablet (well, either that or the gargantuan price tag).

In addition, Dell’s XPS range are all beautiful machines and should certainly be on your shortlist (budget permitting, of course).

All told, there are actually quite a few very good Windows 8 tablets out there. I’d suggest seeking out full reviews for these products before buying, but this list is just here to give you a few starting points.

Good luck, Donnie. 

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review

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Boy, time flies when you’re having fun (read that as: things change when you aren’t looking). Turn on the TV, or go to the movies after a couple years away and you’ll find that Pokemon is now pronounced ‘Yu-Gi-Oh’ and that early 90’s Shawn Michaels and late 90’s Val Venis have had a baby and named it Dolph Ziggler.

What’s more, it turns out that the fictional world of ‘Pandora’ from the movie Avatar was actually Superman’s homeworld of Krypton after all and, as a related point, ‘Prince of Persia’ is no longer the worst movie I’ve ever seen. In fact, after viewing the risible ‘Man of Steel’ I can now accept ‘Prince of Persia’ as the underrated cinematic classic it appears to be by comparison.

Anyway, the point is that it seems like only a few months ago that I was (favourably) reviewing The Samsung Galaxy Note and now, here I am reviewing a slightly bigger version. Ah, well, join me as I turn and face the strange ch-ch-changes…


The design is nice, smart and modern. The rounded edges and sleek casing of this tablet help it to stand out (if only a little), but also allow it to remain familiar to users picking it up for the first time.

As a hybrid of phone and tablet, referred to by some (stupidly) as a ‘phablet’ this device is quite hotly anticipated and finds itself in somewhat virgin territory. However, as we will soon see, the design is very much more tablet than phone.

Fitted with a 1.6GHz Exynos 4412 quad-core processor and housing 2GB of memory, this tablet goes like the script for ‘Man of Steel’ off of a shovel. As a web device, the Galaxy Note 8 is genuinely lightening quick, even faster than the iPad 4.

As for the screen, the Note 8 features a basically standard resolution. We’re talking Nexus-level here. Not bad at all, but certainly not a Retina screen.

Annoyingly, the Note 8 only runs about 5 hours of battery life, this is really not very good, especially when you consider that the iPad 4 boasts more than twice that amount.


If you’re wondering why I’m comparing the new Note with the iPad so much, well, let me explain. At £339, this is a high-priced tablet. It is therefore directly competing with the iPad for customers; however, the Note is competing without the strength of Apple’s brand identity to prop it up. Also, your £340 only covers the WiFi-only, 16GB version of the Note 8, not the top-spec version.

So far, I’m not convinced, but there’s always time to change my mind. 


There are too many pre-loaded apps on this tablet, the reason why this is a problem is that customers are largely familiar with Google’s apps (available from the Android store) and so it sort of feels that Samsung are pushing their own apps at you when you don’t necessarily want them to. 

Taking advantage of the bigger screen is the excellent ‘Multi-Window’ option that allows you to have two apps operating on screen at any given time. This is actually a wonderful option to have and the processing power of the Note 8 allows for few interruptions, its really cool.

Using this tablet is easy, the stylus works well and there’s even a SIM card slot for phone calls. The array of extra features available here, shows that Samsung have poured a considerable amount of time and effort into this one.


All told, this is a good tablet. It is, however, not a great tablet. I have a hard time justifying it at the price, to be honest. If you’re looking for a phone/tablet hybrid, this is one of the best around, but how many of you are really making phone calls with your tablets?

If Samsung knocked a few notes off of the price, we’d be looking at a real winner. As a value tablet (more in line, price-wise, with the larger versions of The Nexus or Kindle Fire models), the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 would be something rather interesting, but at this price? No, I can’t recommend it.

It’s certainly not a steaming pile of ‘Man of Steel’, but, by the same token, we’re not looking at a future classic either.  

Tablet Wars: Who’s Xooming Whom?

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The Xoom well beyond it’s death, namely within the first wave of the apple ipad, here’s a glimpse at an article from the time, with the honeycomb android os, there’s lots of commentators saying it is the significant rival to the ipad, and all seem to be looking forwards to the opportunity for this tablet pc. The motorola xoom is a dead duck, a collectors thing if you can get hold of one, and lost in the chronicle of that pc tablet. It’s charming isn’t it


Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT)’s first Android 3.0 tablet — the Xoom — is out today on the Verizon Wireless 3G network and will be upgradeable to 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) at a later date.

The device is getting mixed reviews. Many like the new operating system but wince at the price tag, which is $800 without a contract or $600 with the standard two-year ball and chain. Still, at least some potential customers are liking the new machine:

“Just played around with the xoom at verizon store,” writes designer/blogger Gordon Fraser on Twitter. “Love honeycomb!”

What they say
The big daddy of tech reviews, Walt Mossberg at The Wall Street Journal, has some good words on the Honeycomb tablet. “I consider it the first truly comparable competitor to Apple’s hit iPad,” he writes.

Naturally, Mossberg isn’t so impressed with the price of the device and so ends with this sting: “As much as I like the Xoom and Honeycomb, I’d advise consumers to wait to see what Apple has up its sleeve next before committing to a higher price for the Motorola product.”

Meanwhile, there’s a minor catch to the planned upgrade to LTE for the Xoom, as CNET notes: “Consumers who buy Motorola’s new Xoom tablet when it hits stores today [Thursday] will have to send their tablets back to Motorola if they want to upgrade to 4G LTE.

Hey, at least it’s a free upgrade! Verizon says the LTE option should be available in about 90 days.

Motorola has also been hit with a trademark lawsuit over the product’s name by — you guessed it! — the Xoom Corporation. You might think that consumers could easily tell the difference between a tablet and an electronic payment company, but Florian Mueller at the FOSS Patents blog isn’t so sure.

“I … wouldn’t view Xoom’s action as just a ridiculous ‘troll’ suit,” he writes. See Mueller’s post for an in-depth overview of the multiple issues in the suit.

What we say
See below for more on the Xoom:

Naturally, Mossberg isn’t so impressed with the price of the device and so ends with this sting: “As much as I like the Xoom and Honeycomb, I’d advise consumers to wait to see what Apple has up its sleeve next before committing to a higher price for the Motorola product.”

Meanwhile, there’s a minor catch to the planned upgrade to LTE for the Xoom, as CNET notes: “Consumers who buy Motorola’s new Xoom tablet when it hits stores today [Thursday] will have to send their tablets back to Motorola if they want to upgrade to 4G LTE.

Hey, at least it’s a free upgrade! Verizon says the LTE option should be available in about 90 days.

Motorola has also been hit with a trademark lawsuit over the product’s name by — you guessed it! — the Xoom Corporation. You might think that consumers could easily tell the difference between a tablet and an electronic payment company, but Florian Mueller at the FOSS Patents blog isn’t so sure.

“I … wouldn’t view Xoom’s action as just a ridiculous ‘troll’ suit,” he writes. See Mueller’s post for an in-depth overview of the multiple issues in the suit.

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REVIEWS:The Amazon kindle fire hd 8.9

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So, because the apple ipad finally gets a slightly smaller version, the Kindle Fire HD gets a slightly larger one. 

Both models are, fundamentally, identical as the latest versions of the respective series. Though, both are oddly sized additions to their respective families. The iPad Mini is 7.9″ therefore is not, strictly speaking, a 7 Inch pc tablet and, not to be outdone, this new Kindle Fire is 8.9 Inches and so is consequently not, strictly talking, a ten-inch version of their (typically 7-Inch) Kindle Fire HD.  Continue reading

How is that apple ipad Mini for viewing films?

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Generally, the iPad Mini is ok for viewing movies (as well as doing pretty much anything else). The processing force is about the same as a apple ipad 4, so there’s no true difficulty there also the playback is generally as easy just as one android’s bottom (Star Trek joke).

The one real issue with the iPad Mini may be the deficit of a ‘Retina Display’, the stunning display tech featured on apple ipad 3 – 4, iPod Touch (4th – 5th Gen) and iPhone 4 – 5 (amongst others). The apple ipad Mini does suffer slightly from the deficit of a Retina Screen, but it’s probably not a problem. Continue reading

Who Invented the Tablet PC?

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That’s actually quite tough to pinpoint. Computer scientist Alan Kay first came up with a concept (and then a prototype) for what he called a ‘Dynabook’ in 1968. Depending on which version you look at, the Dynabook concept can be viewed as a prototype tablet PC (as well as a direct ancestor of the laptop).


In science fiction, tablet-like devices can be seen in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ as well as ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’. While in comics, Jack Kirby’s ‘Motherboxes’ (as featured in the 1970’s ‘New Gods’ series) can be considered to be ‘super-tablets’ by any other name. So the idea for the tablet was firmly entrenched in fiction and popular culture long before the iPad was even a glint in Steve Jobs’ eye.  Continue reading

Review: Razer Edge Pro tablet—insane performance that’s completely impractical

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This is year that windows 8 makes its mark within the pc tablet market. With the new nokia lumia 2520, the surface 2 plus a few others (counting the Razer Edge Pro, that’s basically what this article is all about). We’ll be considering a few more come through the door before next christmas time. The Razer Edge Pro is slightly disappointing compared to everything else that is out on the market (ipad, nexus 7) but read to the end to see the final assesment of this pc tablet. Continue reading

How does the Nexus 10 compare to that apple ipad 4?

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It actually holds up very well. Actually, there’s very little to choose between the two.

I must state that both devices are completely brilliant. Neither one would make for a bad tablet choice, so either way you’re onto a winner.

Due to a closeness of the competition, a lot of the answer is going to be subjective. Because I am a much bigger enthusiast of Apple’s iOS than We are of Google’s Android (though I do like Android lots) I’ll say that the iPad is a better deal. Again, that is just my belief. I’ve been using Apple computers for numerous years now and We would in my opinion not go over to anything else. Continue reading