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.
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.
Intel has typically kept its cool in responding to Windows 8 on ARM, but that war of words (and chips) just got a little more heated at an investor meeting. CEO Paul Otellini saw his more mobile-oriented competition facing a “big uphill fight” without the presence of legacy Windows app support. That’s a big drawback for corporate buyers that have legions of traditional apps they want to keep running, the executive said. He also used the opportunity to rib ARM over a lack of any existing Windows hardware. There’s certainly no question that Intel has a head start in Windows 8 support, but the remarks do come with a degree of irony. Intel is cutting into ARM’s territory with Atom-based Android phones, and while it won’t have as much of a problem with legacy OS support as ARM will with Windows, Intel has a lot to prove on its own.
Per usual, we’d highly recommend ingesting this one with a mouthful of salt, but DigiTimes has it that both Acer and Lenovo will be revitalizing tablet PC plans in the latter half of 2012… using Windows 8. Of course, the storyline here isn’t as far-fetched as some; Nokia itself is rumored to launch a Win 8-based slate as early as June, while Microsoft could very well out its own branded alternative in Q3 or Q4. According to ‘sources from the upstream supply chain,’ Intel’s Clover Trail platform will be used for both Acer and Lenovo’s wares, but those expecting either to take a serious chunk out of the iPad’s kingdom will likely be disappointed. Smartly, we’re led to believe that these slates will be primarily aimed at enterprise customers, as more and more tablet makers concede the market to the established player(s). Not like Windows 7 tablets ever had much tractionoutside of that realm, anyway…
The ASUS news, it just keeps on flowin’. Shortly after getting a sneak peek at the Eee PC Flare, in flies yet another leaked image of yet another leaked ASUS product. This go ’round, we’re looking at what’s purportedly the 7-inch Eee Memo Pad, a handy little fellow that we’ve actually heard about before. We’re told that it’ll ship with a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, 16GB to 64GB of internal storage space, built-in 3G, WiFi and a 1,280 x 800 screen resolution, and it’s apt to be revisited at CES 2012 before launching as an Asia-only product later in the year. It’s hard to say what edition of Android will pop up when this is formally unveiled next week at CES, but we’re guessing that it’ll stick its tongue out at the long-awaited Padfoneas it’s introduced, regardless.
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.
At AsiaD this week, Google’s Andy Rubin noted that there were at least six million Android tablets in use. That number included only those running Google services. One could question whether the briskly selling Nook Color — which is not open to Android apps at large — is relevant to that tally, at least from a developer perspective. It will certainly be the case, though, that the Kindle Fire — also expected to be a hot seller — will be an important addition to the number moving forward.
Still, Rubin conceded, it was a tally far behind that of the 30 million cumulative units of the iPad, which broke open the modern-day tablet category, extended its lead with the iPad 2, and will likely see another revision this coming spring. When Apple introduced its tablet device, it set a precedent for third-party developers by rewriting core applications to take advantage of the iPad’s larger display with “HD” versions. And while there are still far fewer native iPad apps than iPhone apps, Apple is far ahead in the race for native tablet software.
Shortly after information started leaking out about the warmly-named Amazon tablet, gdgt offered up some supplementary details from sources explaining why the Fire looks an awful lot like the PlayBook. According to the anonymous informants, the thing was built using the same template as RIM’s device. Apparently the product is more or less being rushed out the door to make it out in time for the holidays. It seems that there may be another pressing reason for the rush to bring the reader-friendly tablet to market — namely a much improved second generation device, which is currently on-tap for the first quarter of next year. Why so close? Well, the newer tablet’s release date has supposedly been secured for some time, while its predecessor was pushed back for various reasons. It wouldn’t be the first time that Amazon launched two Kindle products months apart, with the Kindle DX arriving shortly after the Kindle 2. It’s not exactly the same thing, given that one device wasn’t meant to replace the other, but it certainly doesn’t bode well for the company’s ability to schedule. There are still some questions here, of course — even if the above is true (and that’s certainly a big “if”), that doesn’t mean that this second-gen tablet will hit its own mark. If it does, however, a lot of early adopters may get burned by the Fire.
It’s a Galaxy Tab 10.1, but with 4G. No, not that 4G. Not even that 4G. This 4G. You know, the LTE variety, being spread around like Christmas ham by the folks at Verizon Wireless. Cosmetically, the slate offered up by Big Red is no different than the WiFi-only model that we peeked earlier in the year, but the LTE radio tucked within obviously makes it the one to get if you’re looking for top-tier speeds on the go. VZW will actually hawk two separate models LTE Tab 10.1 models (in white or grey), both of which are priced outrageously with two-year agreements: $529.99 for the 16GB model and $629.99 for the 32GB model. That’s a pretty penny (to say the least!) given the albatross that is a 24-month contract, and those who’d rather provide their own connectivity can opt for the WWAN-less Metallic Grey edition for $499.99 (16GB). Access plans start at $30 per month for 2GB, with $50 per period getting you 5GB, or $80 getting you 10GB (no mention of tethering, unfortunately). Your pickup date? Two days from now, or July 28th for the calendar-challenged.
Like an anxious admirer, HP continues to lavish gifts on the lucky devs over at WebOS Internals. This time it’s sending them pre-release TouchPads as an enticement to get busy and boost the 9.7-inch slate’s app count before it launches next month. HP recently promised that “thousands” of TouchPad apps are on their way and, in addition to attracting big names like Skype and Amazon Kindle, it’s also ensured that legacy apps continue to be supported on WebOS 3.0. With nearly 600 unofficial goodies sitting pretty at PreCentral’s homebrew app gallery, HP clearly feels it makes sense to reach out in that direction too. And who said love was just a trick?
Hard to say why Google chose to roll its Movies app out first to 3G-packed tablets sporting Android 3.1 (a smaller testbed, perhaps?), but it looks as if it won’t matter for much longer. We’ve received a number of tips this evening suggesting that Google Movies can now be downloaded from the Android Market by WiFi-only Xoom tablets, though some are seeing a litany of server errors when trying to actually use the service. That said, we didn’t see any issues here at Engadget HQ, so it’s possible that a few kinks are still being worked out on select servers. Give it a whirl and let us know how it turns out in comments below, and if you’re a proud owner of a Galaxy Tab 10.1… well, we guess you’re also the proud owner of a trait called “patience.”