At its annual developer conference this week, Google “opened the playground” with a glimpse of what the future holds for the Android ecosystem. The next version of the flagship OS was on display alongside the first Google-branded tablet and a confusingly positioned home entertainment unit that hints at the firm’s foray into hardware.
Off the back of its launch of the Xperia Z at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Sony has chosen Mobile World Congress to launch its partner product, the Xperia Tablet Z. As with its stablemate, the Tablet Z is aimed at the premium market and is an exquisite-looking device that also uses the company’s unique “OmniBalance” design. Also, the Xperia Tablet Z will launch on Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean).
Despite the New York launch event being cancelled due to hurricane Sandy, Google on Monday unveiled its latest additions to the Nexus family three devices in three sizes, ready to go toe-to-toe with Apple over the holiday period.
Microsoft has unveiled two of its own tablet devices, in an attempt to compete with rivals Apple and Google as well as its own OEM partners. The Surface devices come in two flavours: one running an ARM processor featuring the Windows RT operating system, and one with a third-generation Intel Core processor running on Windows 8 Pro.
As this tablet is to hit the market before other Win8 tablets are launched by the OEM licensees, it would suggest that Microsoft aims to showcase the full capabilities and benefits of Win8 on a tablet device (available as both ARM-based and Intel x86 processor technology versions) and has therefore decided to take responsibility for the hardware.
Japanese electronics vendor Fujitsu has announced its intention to launch smartphones and tablets into the European market just as mobile operators are looking to reduce the number of device vendors they work with. Fujitsu has a 20 per cent share of the Japanese mobile device market, according to Robert Pryke, director of Fujitsu’s European device business.
Apple has won an injunction to block the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 Android tablet in Australia. The device was already temporarily banned pending the court ruling, and the ban has now been upheld until a full patent trial is held next year. Samsung had initially offered to modify the software on the device to counteract the injunction, but Apple’s argument stated that the device also copies the design of its iPad and iPhone products.
Amazon this week formally announced the addition of four new products to its device portfolio: the Kindle (basic), the Kindle Touch, the Kindle Touch 3G and the Kindle Fire. They are all e-readers, with the exception of the Fire which is a tablet. The original Kindle e-readers have since been renamed the Kindle Keyboard and Kindle Keyboard 3G to avoid confusion. The lesser-spotted Kindle DX is still available too.
The UK arm of Korean vendor Samsung has struck a deal with UK airline Virgin Atlantic that will see its new Galaxy Tab tablet device showcased in Virgin’s Clubhouse lounge at Heathrow Airport. Virgin passengers in the lounge will have access to the tablet devices, which will be preloaded with films, music and games, as well as the lounge food and drink menu.
Canadian device manufacturer Research In Motion (RIM) jumped on the tablet bandwagon on Tuesday, unveiling the BlackBerry PlayBook at its developer conference in San Francisco.
Last week we wrote that the days of the e-reader are numbered, with the sub-sector facing strong competition from a wide range of consumer devices. As the Computex trade show kicked off in Taipei, Taiwan on Tuesday, local vendor Asus gave that prophecy credence with the unveiling of two tablet-type devices.