Don’t think that Lenovo is keeping the IdeaPad Yoga’s bendy secrets all to itself: its Japanese partner NEC is bringing a variant of the ARM-based Yoga 11 to the land of the rising sun as the LaVie Y. The 11.6-inch blend of laptop and tablet keeps the signature 360-degree display, 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage as its more internationally-minded counterpart, and confirms that there’s a quad-core Tegra 3 powering either of the Windows RT systems. What differences exist will stem from the software: there’s hints of a custom NEC app on an otherwise vanilla interpretation of Microsoft’s platform. The LaVie Y should precede its IdeaPad sibling by days, arriving in stores around November 22nd, although any local buyers will pay dearly for the privilege with an estimated $1,136 price. We’d suggest that patience ought to be a virtue for everyone else.
Hey, check out this beaut. It’s the 8.9-inch version of Amazon’s new Fire HD tablet. The company trotted several of the 7-inch models, but the big daddy was a rare bird indeed — thankfully, however, we were able to get up close and personal with the thing. It’s almost a shame that this guy shares a name with last year’s model. This feels like a completely different bird — Amazon set out to make a slate that can compete with some of the top models out there, and from some passing impressions, this thing seems to stack up. Of course, we’re going to have to wait until we can actually spend some more time with it before passing judgement. Peep some more photos of the newer, bigger Kindle Fire in the gallery below.
Samsung didn’t leave its ATIV introductions to just an ARM tablet and a phone. We first saw them as the Series 5 and Series 7 tablets, which will likely be their final US names; to recap, though, the newly branded ATIV Smart PC and ATIV Smart PC Pro both look to capture some of that Transformer-like aura by mating an 11.6-inch tablet with a detachable keyboard dock for a laptop experience. Some of Samsung’s own Galaxy Note vibe rubs off on them, too — both carry an S Pen and a bundled S Note app for some on-the-spot writing. They likewise share support for 3G and 4G as well as micro-HDMI and USB, but there’s a clear difference depending on what you buy. Going for the regular Smart PC loads in a modest Clover Trail-based Intel Atom processor and a 1,366 x 768 display, but offers a lengthy 13.5-hour battery life, 2GB of RAM, up to a 128GB flash drive, a rear 8-megapixel camera and a 2-megapixel front camera. Slap that “Pro” moniker on the front and you have to drop to eight hours of battery life and a 5-megapixel rear camera, but you’ll get a much faster Core i5 processor, a 1080p display, 4GB of RAM and as much as a 256GB SSD. Unlike the ATIV Tab, we do know the Smart PCs will be available in the US on October 26th at $649 for a base Smart PC/Series 5, $749 for a bundle with the keyboard and $1,119 for a Smart PC Pro/Series 7 with a 128GB SSD built-in.
Adobe confirms it won’t support Flash on Android 4.1, stops new Flash installs from Google Play on August 15th
Adobe was very public about dropping mobile Flash last fall. In case that wasn’t clear enough, the developer just drew a line in the sand: Android 4.1 doesn’t, and won’t ever, get certification for Flash. The company is stopping short of saying that Flash won’t run, but it’s evident that Adobe won’t help you if the web browser plugin doesn’t install (or breaks in spectacular fashion) on that Nexus 7. Just to underscore the point, the firm is also halting new installations of Flash from Google Play as of August 15th. Security updates and other vital patches will continue on for existing users. Any fresh downloads after that fateful day, however, will have to come from Adobe’s mausoleum for old versions. The company had already said that HTML5 was the way forward on phones and tablets — now we know just how quickly it’s backing up that claim.
Virtually every corner of the Google universe is being touched at Google I/O, and that now includes Google Drive. A version 2 update to the Drive SDK gives Android and iOS developers the option of building the cloud storage into their mobile apps, whether it’s downloads, uploads or on-the-spot edits. The programming interface has likewise been expanded as a whole to handle everyday file duties, such as conversions, copying and revision handling. Web-only users are taken care of with support for embedded shares and opening Google documents in any given software that will take the exportable formats. The updated Drive SDK is ready to go, with a flood of apps either coming or already here — if you want to hop on the bandwagon, just take a peek at the source link.
Here’s a bit of a surprise that slipped under the radar during the Google I/O keynote: Google Earth for Android has been updated to 7.0 to take advantage of the new 3D map technology it unveiled at another special event just a few weeks ago. As a refresher, the visuals are automatically created from 45-degree aerial imagery and can pick up 3D elements as subtle as trees. Before you go racing to your hometown to see how it looks in 3D, be aware that just a handful of cities and regions exploit that dimension. Besides San Francisco Bay, the full coverage extends to Boulder, Boston, Charlotte, Lawrence, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Portland, San Antonio, San Diego, Santa Cruz and Tampa in the US, with Rome being the lone international hotspot. If that’s too few places to visit, there’s always the addition of guided tours. Android users can head over Google Play to get the update today; iOS users shouldn’t fret, as they’ll get the new maps soon.
The wait between iOS 6′s unveiling and its planned fall release just got a little bit shorter, as Apple has just pushed out beta 2. If you’re in the developer crowd that can try it out, don’t expect any revelations: the primarily focus is on the bug fixes that nudge the software closer to a final release. As in past years, multiple additional betas are expected between now and the time the iOS 6 is ready to come to the general public, so there’s likely still lots of room left for Apple to polish the release to a shine. Those paid up on their developer accounts can grab the update through the usual means and see just how much luster has been added since WWDC.
We were worried that Microsoft might wind up with frenemies in the PC industry after introducing its Surface tablets. There hasn’t been a lot of backlash so far, but the Windows 8 tablets clearly rankled some Acer executives — they’re lashing out at their OS partner in a very public fashion. Acer’s EMEA senior VP Oliver Ahrens is accusing Microsoft of trying to copy Apple’s business model and thinks the Surface line will struggle to get any traction. It could lead to a “defocus” at Microsoft as the software giant forgets the PC builders that got it to the top, he says. Meanwhile, frequently outspoken company founder Stan Shih isn’t even convinced that Microsoft is serious about the whole affair. To him, Surface is just an attempt to spur tablet designers into action that will fade away if and when Microsoft deems it a success. It’s entirely possible that either executive is right knowing Microsoft’s very mixed track record in hardware. Just consider the source before you cast too much doubt of your own: Acer isn’t exactly great with tablet market predictions.
Microsoft: Surface was developed in an ‘underground bunker’ at first, we can play the secrecy game too
We commonly associate extreme secrecy around a product design with Apple, but it now looks to be in vogue with all the major technology companies: just days after Samsung revealed the Galaxy S III’s secret sauce, Microsoft has explained to TechRadar that it developed its surprise new Surface tablets under a similarly tight watch. A special wing of Microsoft’s hardware unit initially worked in an “underground bunker,” according to the division’s Stevie Bathiche, before moving to a more conventional building with an ‘airlock’ door — the company was just that concerned that Bob from Accounts Receivable might spoil the whole thing. As we all know by now, that level of secrecy proved effective almost until the last minute and let Microsoft design to its heart’s content; we still don’t know if other PC builders were aware. The practice is a sharp break from Microsoft’s tendency to telegraph its strategy well in advance, and it emphasizes just how much importance Redmond places on its self-developed Windows 8 hardware.
Want Honeycomb on your TV? You can take your chances with a Google TV-enabled set from Sony, or you can get the full Android experience by adding a connected tablet to your HD mix — if Istanbul-based Ardic gets its solution out the door, at least. The Turkish company’s prototype uses a 10-inch Android Honeycomb-based tablet to power a 65-inch LCD with 1080p support for basic gestures, like pinch and zoom. The display currently has two touch sensors, but a version with four sensors is on the way, which will bring multi-touch support. The tablet is powered by an NVIDIA Tegra 2 SoC, and includes 1GB of RAM, 16GB of flash memory, dual cameras, HDMI, USB, microSD and 3G and WiFi connectivity. A dock enables instant connectivity with the OEM TV, including HDMI for video and audio, and USB for touch input (a wireless version is in the works as well).
The devs customized Android to support 1080p output, and it appears to work quite seamlessly, as you’ll see in the embedded video. And this isn’t simply another goofy demo or proof of concept — the Turkish company is in talks with education and enterprise customers and hopes to bring this setup to production as a more power- and cost-efficient smart board alternative. The company eventually hopes to offer displays in a variety of sizes, that will all be powered by a pocketable device, such as a smartphone, but watch in wonder as the 65-inch proto we have today struts its stuff in the video after the break.