Did you chose one of the Motorola devices? Sorry, you’re wrong. The only tablet running ICS in my house is the HP Touchpad, courtesy of the CyanogenMod team. How embarrassing is that, Motorola? Here’s all the talk about preventing Android fragmantation and a Google subsidiary can’t even get Ice Cream Sandwich onto its own tablets in a timely fashion. It’s been over six months since ICS was released.
ICS has been available on the Xoom in the USA since January but as yet it’s not made it to the UK. ICS should have been released in Q2 of 2012 according to Motorola’s own documentation but a week into July and still no sign. And before anyone starts apologising that it’s to do with the carriers, these are all pure wifi devices. Does it really take six months for language customisation?
As for the Xoom 2 (aka Xyboard), it’s frankly an embarrassment that the current product doesn’t have ICS running on it now, although it’s promised for Q3 in both US and UK. I’m delighted to hear that Google Motorola is going to deliver Jelly Bean for the Xoom in July, but why not for the newer devices? Flagship software on flagship device would seem to be the way to go.
Google Android fragmentation needs to be addressed and minimised. Latest Android versions need to be showcased. Motorola’s tablets are popular. Motorola Mobility is a Google subsidiary. Do I have to join the dots?
In order to get round all those pesky app store rules, the musos at Grooveshark have produced a basic little HTML5 player that’s available via Grooveshark’s website. If you’re not familiar with Grooveshark, it’s “the world’s largest on-demand and music discovery service. With over 15 million songs, Grooveshark is an ecosystem that brings together music fans, bands, music labels, and brands.”
Should you choose to accept your mission: http://html5.grooveshark.com/#soopersecretbeta !!! For covert opts points, try it on an html5 device not listed above and report your findings to Dr. Lovedoctor at firstname.lastname@example.org for your bonus surprise.
I’ve tried out on an HP TouchPad, a Pre 3 and a Google Nexus S and can confirm that it works most of the time. On occasion, it wouldn’t start playing a track and once that had happened, I had to restart the browser to fix the problem. The app is pretty simple, no fancy cover-flow effects here. This is it on the TouchPad.
Tap on a track and it starts playing. There are also genre “radio” stations for a continuous stream of tracks. Overall, it’s not bad but the tracks failed to start playing too many times for my liking.
If you’re a touchpad lover, then you’ll be in heaven with IOGEAR‘s new Wireless Multi-Touch Pad (GTP520R), freshly announced at CES. As you might guess from the name, it’s a wireless touchpad that supports multi-touch, which is pretty cool.
Anyone with a smartphone or tablet will be familiar with multi-touch and gestures, but most laptop touchpads don’t support either of them. The IOGEAR Multi-Touch Pad can bring multi-touch and gestures to Windows-based PCs and home theater computers (HTPCs), making browsing, scrolling, image viewing and navigating the web quicker and more natural.
Multi-select: double-tap your finger and select multiple icons, or a section for drag’n’drop
2 Finger Gestures: pan screen side to side and up and down, object zoom in/out, rotate object
As you can see from the picture, the Multi-Touch Pad has six hot keys at the top to control A/V media functions such as volume up and down, skip track and home. With a range of about 10 m, the Touch Pad is ideal for the wireless control from the couch of home theater PCs and other media friendly devices. The 2.4 GHz frequency band is used and a USB nano receiver is included. To get an idea of size, the pad part is just under 5″ so it’s much bigger than a laptop touchpad.
“Multi-touch control is changing the way we interface with devices,” said Bill Nguyen, senior marketing manager at IOGEAR. “From tablets and smartphones to laptops and computer peripherals, people have trained their hands to use touchscreens comfortably and productively and our Wireless Multi-Touch Pad takes this control to the next level.”
The IOGEAR Wireless Multi-Touch Pad is available now for an MSRP of $79.95.
Every year, we get new hype of electronics that are suppose to rock their niche. This year, we saw tablets galore. At CES 2011, I personally saw around 8 tablets that disappeared quicker than a fake Apple store in China.
But those tablets that stayed to try and take the market had to deal with the 500 lb gorilla in iPad2. Some did ok, while others failed miserably. That is what were going to look at today.
Knowing that Cisco didn’t want to deal with the consumer market, they decided to go for the business professional. Why not? It worked for Blackberry all these years. Only problem, it still couldn’t cut it.
Cisco Cius is an Android-based tablet that ran 720p, with Wifi, 4G and Bluetooth. It contains Cisco AppHQ, which is Cisco’s business app store. The seven-inch screen had an optional HD media station that could connect USB peripherals, Ethernet access and a handset, turning the Cius into a landline phone.
There is still hope for the Cius, especially in the office that wants to buy $1000 phones. Maybe in 2-3 years, this device will become more utilized.
There is no way to sugar coat this, so I am going to say it. HP shot themselves in the collective foot. The HP TouchPad started out just fine. Using HP’s acquired Palm software, the WebOS system had a companion phone in the Pre3. The big feature was the ability to transfer items from the Pre3 to the TouchPad by setting the phone on the tablet.
This tablet was prematurely killed when CEO Leo Apotheker stopped production of WebOS devices in October. It also brought us the first viable $99 tablet, as stores were liquidating.
WebOS has been since deemed Open Source. Maybe the TouchPad will make a resurgence as a collectors item. ITM – HP will most likely come out with a Windows 7 tablet in the future.
RIM BlackBerry Playbook
RIM has been hurting as of late. Once a staple in business, they seemed to lose a lot of momentum to Apple lately. To really get into the tablet market, they decided to put out the PlayBook, which in all reality, was a pretty impressive tablet.
1 GB of RAM, dual-core 1 GHz processor, Dual HD cameras, and it also worked well with a Blackberry smartphone. The tablet does have a lot of strengths, but the market did not bode well. If it can stand the water, the Playbook might emerge in a year and really show
The Xoomtablet was hit hard on specs vs. iPad2. The Xoom’s 10.1 inch display was deemed “Low end”. Resolution is not the only thing about a display. color depth, brightness and contrast are also big factors.
Still, this tablet, which now can be upgraded to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) could make a comeback with Xoom2 and a better display. It also has Bluetooth, micro USB and GPS.
Overall, all four of these tablets are still in production. They have some great features and – if a little work goes into them – they could shake up the tablet market in 2012. HP TouchPad would be the only exception.
With the Kindle Fire and Color Nook out in the tablet market, as well as some low-cost tablets ( like the $99 MIPS Novo7 tablet that came out), 2012 might have some viable alternatives in the tablet market.
In a surprise move, HP has announced that it will give WebOS to the open source community while continuing to support and develop the platform. HP believes that the combination of the superb WebOS platform combined with open source innovation and corporate support from HP, will foster innovation, creating a compelling user experience.
“WebOS is the only platform designed from the ground up to be mobile, cloud-connected and scalable,” said Meg Whitman, HP president and chief executive officer. “By contributing this innovation, HP unleashes the creativity of the open source community to advance a new generation of applications and devices.”
HP has said that it will work with the open source community to define the charter of the open source project based on four principles.
The goal of the project is to accelerate the open development of the webOS platform
HP will be an active participant and investor in the project
Good, transparent and inclusive governance to avoid fragmentation
Software will be provided as a pure open source project
No news was provided regarding other partners, new hardware or the specific handover timescale.
Undoubtedly more news will filter out over the coming days but it’s interesting move that may work out for HP and WebOS. HP gets to retain the patents it acquired from Palm to protect itself (and presumably WebOS) from attack, while hoping that the open source community and the homebrew scene will move the platform forwards. Future devices could appear from any OEM manufacturer, not just HP, but it will be interesting to see what the next WebOS product will be. Personally, I think it will be a printer.
Another week with no news from HP, another investigation by the WebOS Internals crew. This time they’ve directed their attention at HP’s App Catalog for WebOS to reveal everything you ever wanted to know…and probably some stuff you didn’t really care about.
– There are 8399 unique apps.
– There are 3514 apps that work on all WebOS devices.
– There are 5562 apps for the TouchPad.
– There are 6454 apps for the Pre 3.
– There are 6440 apps for the Veer.
– There are 7116 apps for the Pre 2.
– There are 6024 apps for the Pixi.
– There are 6761 apps for the Pre and Pre Plus.
– There are 1904 app contributors.
– There are 2642 apps that are free and 84 that cost $10 or more. 2638 cost 99c.
– Accuweather is the first app in the Catalog.
– Mayo Clinic High Blood Pressure is the largest app at 1.6 GB.
– It would cost $13,293.15 to download all the apps.
– It would take a 90 GB WebOS device to install them all. (Go on HP, let’s see a 128 GB TouchPad 2.)
Well, that’s probably enough for now. If you want to keep up-to-date on WebOS Internal’s work, you can follow @webosinternals on Twitter.
HP has still hasn’t decided what to do with WebOS but appears to be taking the decision seriously. At an all-employee meeting last night with the WebOS team in Sunnyvale, new CEO Meg Whitman, reportedly said, “It’s really important to me to make the right decision, not the fast decision,” and “If HP decides to do this,we’re going to do it in a very significant way over a multi-year period.”
Setting this against reports coming out of Reuters that HP had engaged with Bank of America Merrill Lynch to sell WebOS for just hundreds of millions of dollars, rather than the $1.2 billion HP paid for Palm, it seems clear that Meg Whitman is seriously evaluating all the options for the future of the mobile operating system. She’s reportedly also said, “The question now before us is what do we do with webOS software and do we come back to market with webOS devices? It obviously will not be the same device but it will be version 2.0.”
What does seem to be clear is that any future thoughts focus on tablets rather than mobile phones. At the all-hands meeting, Whitman reportedly said that, “Things get more complicated if you add in phones.” While the TouchPad may continue, it sounds like Pre and Veer are dead as product lines whatever happens, but you never know.
On one hand, it’s easy to criticise HP for continuing to dither, but to me it appears that Meg Whitman is doing a proper evaluation of the options available, rather than taking the somewhat whimsical approach take by her predecessor Leo Apotheker. If WebOS is retained by HP in addition to the PSG group, it will be one of the biggest corporate turnarounds in history!
Over the weekend, an amazing piece of detective work by the WebOS Internals team and some crowd-sourcing via Twitter has revealed that there approximately 4.2 million WebOS users, give or take.
Every WebOS phone or tablet user has to create a profile in order to use their device. Each profile has a unique identifier, a number that appears to simply increment by 1 as each new profile is created. Early Palm Pre adopters have identifiers typically in the 10,000s whereas those who started with the TouchPad are in the milllons. The profile identifier cannot normally be seen by the user but a Homebrew program called Impostah, developed by Rod Whitby and WebOS Internals, allowed this number to be revealed.
Using Twitter, WebOS owners were encouraged to come forwards with their identifier and the date they signed up so that a graph of identifiers against time could be plotted, showing the rise of WebOS and key moments in the timeline, such as the release of new devices. The graph, courtesy of WebOS Internals, is shown below and what you can see is a fairly steady rise reaching around 4.2 million. The most notable point is probably when HP had the TouchPad firesale and the graph climbs steeply. Click on the graph for more detail.
The number of profiles is slightly ambiguous when trying to convert to numbers of users or number of devices because while you can only have one phone per profile, you can have a phone and a tablet. For example, if you had both a Veer and a Pre 3 you would need two profiles, but if you had a Pre 3 and a TouchPad you’d only need one profile. Obviously, there are also accounts that have become dormant when the owner has moved to another platform.
In comparison to iOS and Android, both of which have in excess of 100 million users each, the 4 million-odd WebOS users are a drop in the ocean. Regardless, the graph shows that there was slow but steady adoption of a little under 2 million per year. Of course, HP continues to dither over the future of WebOS.
The WebOS Internals team are a bunch of hackers (in the best sense of the word) who created a whole Homebrew ecosystem under the Preware moniker that allowed Pre owners to add easily add patches and other software outside of the official App Catalog. They’re probably WebOS’s best last chance.
The rumours continue to swirl around HP and WebOS but AppleInsider is claiming that the fate of WebOS could be decided today (11th October). Reports suggest that the initial bidding process is complete and that an annoucement may be made after a meeting today to confirm the next step in the sale process.
There’s been much speculation as to who the prospective bidders might be. At various times HTC, Samsung, Qualcomm and Facebook have all been in the picture, some more realistically than others, and one of the current hot favourites is Amazon. Looking back at when Palm was up for sale and HP purchased it, BusinessInsider claimed there were five serious suitors, suggesting Apple, Lenovo, Research in Motion (RIM), Google and of course, HP. Which of these would still be interested given the success that HP made of Palm?
Some were after Palm’s considerable patent portfolio rather than WebOS itself, and the famous “smartphone” patent in particular. Even HP were pretty upfront about this with Mark Hurd saying that HP wasn’t buying Palm to be in the smartphone business. (How prophetic was that?) Ultimately the nature of the sale may depend on HP’s feelings towards WebOS. Do they want to simply get as much as they can of their $1.2 billion back as quickly as they can, or do they want WebOS to succeed, even if HP was unable to make it a winner. Only time will tell.
Last week at this time, people were buzzing about the HP TouchPad and it’s $99 availability. By Saturday morning, the tablet was pretty much gone. I was one of those in line early at Best Buy only to find out they wouldn’t sell us one. For the next 48 hours, I hunted through the sites trying to get my hands on the TouchPad. I apparently scored 3 – including one from Barnes and Noble. Yet, all three were cancelled.
One in-particular was sold by a 3rd party company through Amazon. It was called “Green Frog”. Now, here is the interesting thing about this purchase: They put the TouchPad on their site Monday evening. They also advertised it for $52 for the 32 GB model TouchPad.
Within moments, I snapped one up. I figured if it was a scam, Amazon had my back. Many others did the same. However, the next day, we got the email:
We’re writing to inform you that your order xxx-xxxx from GreenFrog has been canceled because the item(s) you purchased were out of stock. Please return and place your order again at a later time.
Our sellers strive to minimize canceled orders. We’re sorry for the inconvenience this has caused. Your credit card was not charged for this order. If you have any questions regarding the cancelation of this order, please contact GreenFrog.
If you’re still interested in this item, please search for it again on Amazon.com.
Out of stock? I think not. I think the seller made a mistake and therefore tried to hide it. But keep in mind – this product went on sale Monday evening – 3 days after the tablet price change was announced.
Why Not A Gift Card or Something?
What really irked me – Especially with the Barnes and Noble fiasco – was that we were not given any compensation. No “Hey, we screwed up, but here’s something for you”. In fact:
Barnes and Noble Should Have Given $100 Credit on the Color Nook to all Customers whose TouchPad Orders were Cancelled.
I would have snapped that up in a heartbeat. I then would have had a Color Nook to buy books and apps with. But instead, I got a form letter much like a “Dear John” letter and nothing to show for my effort. In return, Barnes and Noble got my information. Since I never bought anything online from them, they now have my email address, my mailing address and my phone number. So I ask you, is that a fair trade?
Back to Green Frog – They got hit hard. They’re rating had jumped from 97% positive to 93% Negative. The comments were not as nice, either.
“Seller supposedly sold out, nonsense@ It was a very low price, too low, seller decided NOT to sell at that price.They can shove it.”
“Seller is a scammer, dont do business with them. Terrible service, cancels orders to avoid paying Amazon fees when they realize they can sell them elsewhere for more money. Again, avoid them at all costs.”
“I ordered 3 of the HP Touchpad’s, and after I received a confirmation for my order, I received a notice that it was canceled by you, and that my credit card will not be charged. However, MY CREDIT CARD HAS BEEN CHARGED. I do not appreciate the misrepresentation of the sale, or the taking of my money. ”
“I attempted to purchase two HP Touchpads. The order went thru and then a day later they stated that they did not have any in stock. They cancelled my order. I will never buy anything from this company again. I wish I would’ve looked at the prior FEEDBACKS which wouldve given me an idea of whom I was dealing with!!!!”
“Order placed was cancelled, the seller put up an item which sold out in minutes. Does not seem like anyone who was able to place an order received their item, everyone seems to have had their order cancelled also.”
There were more, but you get the idea.
Part of this problem might be due to the fact that HP recalled the remaining TouchPads. Why? Most likely so they could give them to the people they sold the device to on their website. Chances are, if you got that deal on HP.com, your TouchPad was sitting in a Best Buy just a week before.
So in summation, 1 tablet was discontinued, at least one web seller had their name turned to mud, Barnes & Noble missed out on a marketing opportunity and there are a lot of disgruntled people without TouchPads. Not a great week for some, although others who did get the device have been talking a lot about it.