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Tag: xoom

Motorola, Where’s My Ice Cream Sandwich?

Posted by Andrew at 3:44 PM on July 7, 2012

Motorola AndroidHere’s a quick quiz for tablet fans…here in the UK I have access to three tablets: a Motorola Xoom, a Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition (Xyboard 8.2 in the US) and an HP Touchpad. Which one of these is running the Ice Cream Sandwich variant of Android?

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?

Cosmonaut Capacitive Stylus Review

Posted by Andrew at 12:42 AM on May 22, 2012

I’m not a fan of capacitive touch screens as they are the user interface of a 5 year old, which is great for finger-painting but useless if you want to do anything precise, such as write normally or position a cursor between two letters. And multitouch is over-rated: I’d rather be able to place one point exactly than five blurry ones.

With this in mind I’m reviewing the Cosmonaut Capacitive Stylus for Touch Screens by Studio Neat. Originally a Kickstarter project, it’s now available for general sale direct from Studio Neat and Amazon for $25.

Cosmonaut Stylus in Box

The stylus is presented in small cardboard box and there’s no need to attack the packaging with scissors which is a welcome relief. On sliding open the box, the cardboard inner has rocket fins printed on it, giving the Cosmonaut a spaceship look. A nice touch.

Cosmonaut Stylus in Packaging

The Cosmonaut is a fat rubber covered pen, about the same thickness as a whiteboard marker. However, unlike a whiteboard marker, it’s got a little bit of weight to it. Feels good in the hand, though I have largish hands.

Cosmonaut Stylus

In use, the Cosmonaut takes a little bit of getting used to; the tip is a slightly squidgy and you have to press down for the Cosmonaut to register the button press or the stroke. You can’t simply flick the stylus across the screen as you might with your finger. In some ways, this is a good thing as it prevents unwanted touches.

The Cosmonaut makes drawing apps much easier to use as the stylus mimics a pen or brush quite well. It’s also pretty handy for apps that have lots of closely spaced buttons. However writing like an adult is still out of the question, but the limitation is with the capacitative screen and the necessary fatness of the tip.

Overall, the Cosmonaut is well-designed and well-built. It’s easy to hold and works as it’s supposed to. If you want a stylus for your tablet, this should be on your short-list but just don’t expect to return to the precision days of the PDA.

 

Tablets that Failed in 2011 (But Could Come Back in 2012)

Posted by J Powers at 10:50 AM on December 30, 2011

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.

Cisco Cius

Cisco Cius

Cisco Cius

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.

 

HP TouchPad

HP TouchPad

HP TouchPad

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

Blackberry Playbook

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

 

Motorola Xoom

Motorola XOOM

Motorola XOOM

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.