Tag Archive | "tegra2"

Eee Pad Transformer Official Launch on Friday

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ASUS-Eee-Pad-Transformer Friday is turning out to be a good day. The iPad 2 launches in Europe (although I still don’t see any official pricing in Germany) and it’s my Birthday. Now, I hear that the Eee Pad Transformer is launching too. Decisions decisions!

The Eee Pad Transformer is an interesting product because it takes the idea of the smartbook one step further. It uses the Honeycomb operating system (which could enable a far superior laptoping experience than 2.x ever did) and it uses a keyboard mechanism that can be un-docked to allow tablet-only usage.

I tested the Transformer out at mobile world congress in February (video below) and wasn’t too impressed with the weight but full USB ports made me wonder if ASUS are building some nice USB hosting capabilities. The weight with the dock also seems a little over the top. With connectors and an additional battery in the keyboard unit, I’m expecting the total weight to tip 1KG. The unit I tested wasn’t running Honeycomb.

Pricing has me a little worried. The price for the tablet seems OK at 399 Euro although confirmation is still needed on storage and 3G capability. 32GB and 3G included is what I’m assuming at this stage. The price of the dock could add 120 Euro to that. The price isn’t too bad when compared with high-end tablets but when compared with the Tegra-2 based Toshiba AC100 smartbook (under 300 Euro with 3G) you get the idea that there’s a huge margin being added here and that the price should come down by at least 100 Euros over time.

The March 25th launch is for Taiwan only at this stage and will only include pre-order. Actual availability around the world is still unknown but we’ll probably hear more on Friday.

VIa Netbooknews

Xoom Reviews Highlight Speed, UI, Multitasking, Possible Rush to Market.

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Many of the large U.S. based computing websites got a Xoom to test under embargo recently and obviously there’s been a quick rush of content out of the door as the embargo lifts today. (List of reviews below)

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More images in our Gallery

Our Hand-on Here.

Full specs, review links and more videos here.

Of the Honeycomb tablets we saw at MWC the Xoom was clearly the best in terms of UI-feel but both Samsung and LG still have time to optimise their software before launch. Interestingly, the Xoom is looking very vanilla in terms of applications and that’s probably because this is a project that Google have been heavily involved with as the launch product for Honeycomb. Expect both the Samsung and the LG tablets to have different angles with Samsung likely to go for a heavily enhanced software package and LG using their 3D technology to make a difference.

Back to the Xoom though and it’s difficult to get a real feel from what looks like a 2-day hands-on before the ‘reviews’ were posted but there’s already unanimous agreement that the UI is good, it’s fast (we measured the fastest Sunspider/Android result ever on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 which uses the same hardware and software.)

There’s also a widespread worry about the lack of Honeycomb/Tegra2 optimised software (although the Google applications suite does look to be well designed) and obviously a question over the $799 price. That, however, is likely to drop fairly quickly as soon as market competitors launch.

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Image via Slashgear

Battery life reports are positive as are thoughts on the camera quality and software. It remains to be seen just how many will be using it as a photographic device but there’s some interesting virtual reality use-cases that shouldn’t be forgotten.

One element of the software suite that I’m interested in is the video editing software. Without even looking at it I can’t see how it can be that fast at processing 720p video for overlays and fades; processes which take huge amounts of CPU power. We must not forget that the Tegra 2 platform is still in the sub-netbook performance category. Engadget report that Movie Studio is ‘”generally sluggish.” Laptop Magazine, however, calls it a “fairly robust editing app.” but then goes on to talk about how the Xoom started to get “bogged down” when previewing and editing.

Flash support is missing along with support for the Micro SD card slot but Motorola are promising a software update to enable those features.

There’s a feeling that Motorola might not have been 100% ready for the launch of the Xoom but have gone ahead and taken the risk anyway. We would expect the first firmware updates in just a few weeks an at that point it’s probably worth re-visiting updated reviews to see if some of the holes have been patched.

At $799 the Xoom is not quite worth its money in its current state and with competitors like the Iconia Tab, Galaxy Tab 10.1, LG Optimus Pad and, potentially, an iPad 2 it would pay to wait. Certainly don’t go committing to a 2-year contract today!

A list of current reviews is show below and we’ve selected some YouTube videos for the product database page. Tip us here if you see any other good reviews.

Motorola Xoom Review Roundup
Motorola Xoom Review – PC Magazine
Motorola Xoom Review – Laptop Magazine
Motorola Xoom Review – Mobile Crunch
Motorola Xoom Review – Cnet
Motorola Xoom Review – JKontheRun
Motorola Xoom Review – Android Community
Motorola Xoom Review – Engadget
Motorola Xoom Review – Slashgear

Also check the Xoom Questions List before you buy.

AC100 Gets Froyo. The Smartbook Lives! – Video

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Back at IFA in Sept 2010 Toshiba told us the 2.2 update was due in 6 weeks. To be honest, I had lost all hope of ever seeing Froyo on it but sure enough, there it is as a downloadable firmware upgrade through the Toshiba Service Station application today.

I’ve downloaded, installed and tested and can confirm that not only are you getting V2.2 of Android with a noticeable performance boost but you’re also getting Flash support which finally enables a reasonable YouTube experience. There’s also the Toshiba market for apps, music and radio and, of course, some nice features in 2.2 like the 3G hotspot feature for those of you with 3G versions. I’ve also noticed an increase in compatibility with sideloaded applications. Streaming audio through applications like Last.FM now work and there’s better graphics compatibility. Previously, many games just weren’t working.

One of the big question marks though is about standby. Original versions of the AC100 would often jump out of standby, an almost off state, and never fall back into it meaning batteries would be dead by the morning. I’ll be testing that tonight [Update: This morning it was still in standby. More testing needed thought] but in the meantime I’ve been checking to see if Toshiba have improved the active-idle battery life. They haven’t. Screen off idle, with Wifi on and apps able to use the Internet results in about 2.5w continuous drain. That is, in ARM-platform terms, quite embarrassing for Toshiba. I’m not able to test Internet-connected idle mode with the 3G here. [Previous testing here] In-use battery life still seems to be around the 6hr mark which is good for 800gm of device with a 25Wh battery but they really should have worked on the active-standby figures before the product went out of the door.

Performance increase is noticeable with browsing, UI actions and measurable in Sunspider and other tests. Sunspider results have improved from 4800 seconds to 3900 seconds – a 19% improvement. Quadrant results are at the 2000 mark and Linpack returns 34MFlops, an impressive figure.

So does it bring the AC100 back from the dead? I just had a look at the prices and I certainly think there’s value here now. The model I have under my fingers right now has just broken through 200 Euros in Germany. That’s with 512MB of RAM and 8Gb of storage, USB OTG and 1080P playback (with uPnP support) a good keyboard, about 6hrs battery life (10+hrs max) in an 800gm chassis. You don’t get Google applications (I would happily pay 50 Euros for that enhancement) and you’ll pay 40 Euros for the addition of 3G but still, that’s a great deal. Remember that a Novatel MiFi costs at least 150 Euro and you certainly can’t type docs, play music and 1080p video or Angry Birds on that! It’s not a netbook, but it’s a good value gadget.

I captured my download, install and testing on camera this afternoon:

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Hands-On. Sunspider Test – Good!

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On the last day of MWC I just had one more task to do and that was to spend as much time as possible with the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Contacts at MWC had already told me that it was good so I headed over to Samsung with time to spare.

Galaxy Tab 101 (14)

Yes, the Galaxy Tab is a quality bit of industrial design. The back feels slightly disappointing if you’re looking for appeasing materials but it’s practical and I’m sure that it’s going to be of long-lasting quality. The camera is good – not awesome, but good enough. The speakers disappoint. The other part of the product that disappoints, and you might hear this from other reporters is that the UI was a bit underwhelming. Beware, this is incomplete software so we should’nt use it as any sort of indicator. In its current state it’s worse than that Galaxy Tab so I feel certain it can’t go out of the door like that. It was missing Market, some BT features and the browser had a lot of trouble with Google Mail and iGoogle.

In a Sunspider test I managed to get some idea of how Honeycomb and Tegra 2 are going to perform together. The score you see below is 4x better than the iPad and a lot better than results I have from Android 2.1 on Tegra2. A 7” Galaxy Tab returns about 7000 ms

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Yes that’s 2256. Over 2x faster than the Galaxy Tab 7”-er!

Sunspider live test on video.

Galaxy Tab 10.1 Gallery

Here’s my hands-on video. I’ll be happy to answer questions below.

Motorola Xoom Hands On

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We’ve had a chance to have some hands on wit the Motorola Xoom. To be honest, I’m quite amazed at the difference Honeycomb makes. The multi-pane enhancements make such a difference. The YouTube app has just come alive! Smooth UI (better than the Galaxy Tab) proves that the core has been optimized for a better touch experience too.
I’m impressed, and yet worried about how much it will cost. This is a premium.product that will have a premium price.

We’ve got  a video to show you and will be posting it as soon as we have the chance.

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