Tag Archive | "touchscreen"

Mirasol Transflective Displays. Faster, Brighter, Touch-Enabled. (Product Update Video)

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Qualcomm gave us an update on Mirasol this morning. If you remember, Mirasol is a daylight-readable (transflective) display technology with color. The screen refresh rate and colour depth isn’t that good for video and photo experiences but for reading, it’s getting better every time I see it.

Power-saving, daylight readable and now with touch and sidelight. Here’s an video in which I give you an update about timescales for mass production. (Expect products in 2013.)






Huawei MediaPad 7 Honeycomb Tablet Review [video]

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I recently got my hands on a trial Huawei MediaPad 7 and over the last week I have been using it instead of my Eee Pad Transformer to see how it stacks up in the workplace.

The screen is one of the Huawei MediPad 7’s strongest features. It’s a 7” capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 1280×800 and is IPS. It’s bright and produces colors well and is perfect for photos and videos but is also great for reading text. E-books look fantastic and the text jumps off the “page”.

Build quality

Firstly I am impressed with the look and feel of the MediaPad 7 and it seems to be very well made. The materials are first rate and the fit and finish equal to any other high grade tablet I’ve used. The device feels solid in the hand and it’s ergonomically easy to hold. The MediaPad7 feels a bit heavier than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 (380g vs. 391g) and this may have an impact if you intend to carry it around a lot or hold it for extended periods while reading or watching videos.

Personally I like the smaller form factor but with a high resolution screen and the 7″ size if you don’t have good eyesight you may struggle with the MediaPad 7.

The Cracked Screen

I found out the hard way that the MediaPad doesn’t have Gorilla Glass screen as unfortunately my Son dropped the tablet and it landed screen first and slid a bit. It scratched badly and has a crack running edge to edge across the top of the screen. And this from a drop onto a wood floor from a height of less than 2 feet!  I’d highly recommend a screen protector and a case as the first accessories you buy. Personally I don’t like screen protectors and haven’t fitted any of my devices with one and the Eee Pad, for example, hasn’t got a scratch on it. I don’t know whether it was just bad luck or a soft screen but this scratching is the worst I’ve ever had on a tablet or phone screen and it didn’t take that much of a fall. YMMV as it could also have been a freaky perfect storm of impact and angle.


Moving on to the device, I tested the cameras and I was pleasantly surprised by the rear facing camera.  It’s a 5 megapixel camera and just using the standard Android camera interface it handles low light well and the image looked nice and crisp. This photo of a teddy Bear was taken in the middle of the loungeroom with filtered light from a window about 10 feet away and there’s little grain in the image. The front facing camera is 1.3 megapixels and also handled room-only lighting easily. Under low light the MediaPad 7 performed as well as any of the other Android cameras I’ve tested and so would be fine for video conferencing or VOIP calls.

Test image from Huawei Mediapad camera

Keyboards and Mice 

Periperals like my portable Bluetooth keyboard and mice setup worked fine. I couldn’t connect any USB devices or drives because the MediaPad 7 doesn’t have a full-sized USB port, so this was untested.

Battery life

Huawei claims 6 hours for the battery and this feels right to me. I didn’t run any formal benchmarks on the battery but I could easily get through the day and night using it and have 25% left in the battery when I plugged it in at night. I had WiFi and Bluetoth on, auto brightness, and default screen time-out and sleep settings. My ‘all day’ is from 7 am to midnight usually. The MediaPad 7 will do well for active all-day use.


I liked the Huawei MediaPad 7. Cracked screen aside, the Medipad 7 is well made, fast, has a great screen, and is very portable. With the right accessories, like a good case and a keyboard, it could work OK in an enterprise environment (of course with the standard Android limitations) but the lack of a full size USB port hamstrings the MediaPad 7 for enterprise work. This may be the tradeoff you have to make to get a 7″ form-factor so you need to asses whether the ability to connect drives or peripherals via USB is a real need for you. I prefer the 10″ screen tablets for work but a 7″ is great for portability and as a quick around-the-house consumption device. I’d consider the Huawei MediPad 7 if it’s priced correctly — stay tuned for pricing announcements which should be coming soon from Huawei.


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fp5WO-XzEEU&version=3&hl=en_US]

HTC Flyer Demonstrated as an Artist’s Canvas, Unlikely to Satisfy Serious Digital Artists

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htc flyer inkingThe upcoming HTC Flyer [tracking page] is one of the only (if not the only) Android tablets that is built specifically with stylus driven input in mind. NotebookItalia.com has caught a video of an artist demonstrating what it’s like to use the Flyer as a drawing tool.

I don’t speak Italian, but the video gives us somewhat of an idea of what experience you can expect from inking on the HTC Flyer. My initial feeling is that while the N-trig capacitive/active digitizer screen will feel great for digital inking, the software on the Flyer is going to determine how seriously this tablet could be used for art.

I’m no artist, but from what I understand, layers and a robust brush tool are vital to creating digital hand-drawn art. Artists need to be able to selectively work on various layers of their projects, and need to have a huge brush-head selection to be able to do mass-outs and draw textures what would be difficult to achieve with manual strokes.

At first glance, HTC’s drawing application might look ok, but a major roadblock that I can already see is that brush sizes appear to be quantized, meaning that only specific pre-set sizes can be chosen, rather than being able to select from a virtually unlimited number of possible brush sizes. Layers also don’t seem to be present, so when if you are looking at the Flyer as a seriously digital-drawing art tool, you might be better off sticking with your Wacom pads. Drawing (not writing, mind you) on the HTC shift appears to be more useful for simple sketches than masterpieces.

Digital ink for note taking, however, will likely be well received to people unfamiliar with using a real stylus and active digitizer. HTC has talked about Evernote integration on the Flyer which happens to be my go-to digital ink (and regular text-based) note taking app, so they definitely picked a good ally in this department.

The on-device inking experience might not be up to professional artistic standards, but HTC could potentially pull a Notion Ink and allow the Flyer to function as a wireless drawing pad for a full blown computer. The Flyer appears to have pressure support (a must for life-like digital inking), so conceivably it could work as wireless drawing pad when linked up to an application like Photoshop. HTC hasn’t yet announced such functionality, but here’s to hoping (or at least a clever third-party implementation)!

The HTC Flyer is launching in the UE region on the 8th of May for a steep $792 (479 pounds) for the base model. Thus the Flyer is unlikely to be anyone’s first choice as a dedicated digital inking pad as Wacom’s industry-recognized Intuos drawing pad line starts at $299.

[via netbooknews.com]

Rugged Android Tablet coming from Mobile Tout Terrain

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As I watched the continuing catastrophe in Japan today I imagined how important rugged technology is in these tough conditions and I thought back to a device I had seen at CeBIT. I searched through my YouTube videos and realised that I hadn’t even posted the video yet.

Mobile Toutterrain Tablet (2)Mobile Toutterrain Tablet (5)

Mobile Toutterrain Tablet (4)

The prototype ruggedized Android Tablet from Mobile Tout Terrain shown in the video below and in the gallery here is not certified for the sort of environment we’re seeing in north-east Japan right now but it’s certainly more rugged than your average tablet or ultra-mobile PC (UMPC.)  Think about hiking, traveling, the beach, your bike and even extreme situations like baby drool or even, and this is one I’m interested in, the bath!

Mobile Tout Terrain, a French company, are aiming to get this IP67-spec tablet ready for Q3 2011 at a price that sounded wrong. €350 sounds way too low for a splash-proofm dust-proof device.

Specifications and pricing are subject to change but we’re looking at a 1.2Ghz CPU (of unknown type) and an 800×480 multi-touch capacitive screen. There’s no telling what version of Android will be on it in 6 months time but we heard that 2.2 is being worked on.  GPS is included, micro SD, 512M RAM and Web Cam.

Styling work is planned for the connector/holding block but as it is, I found it incredibly easy to hold in landscape mode.

Extremely important for this, even critical, will be that it has a full Google suite of applications. Without Google Maps, Talk, Latitude, SkyMap and all the other great applications available through the market this will only be interesting for companies wanting to develop their own applications. Mobile Tout Terrain may just be aiming for such a niche of tour-guides, meter-readers and surveyors but I really hope not because there’s so much more this device could do. I’m sure you can think of a huge list of applications here.

Here’s the video.

Here’s MobileToutTerrain.

Early Thoughts on the HP Touchpad from Chippy and Thomas

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Thomas and I watched the HP event as close as we could this evening (Credit to Engadget and Twitter!) and I think it’s fair to say that we were both impressed with the might of the announcements. The main event for us was the launch of the Touchpad and after just a few hours of mulling over the specs, hands-on and information, we’ve put some thoughts together for you.

WebOS Touchpad

Chippy Says:

It’s slick, it’s powerful and it’s the underdog. The HP Touchpad, announced today, is getting a lot of support from the online community this evening. Or is it just the bloggers and twitterers going mad to get their early SEO and follower-optimised articles and keywords in?

It’s targeted directly at the iPad with a similar look and, we suspect, a similar price but there are a few differences to point out. Number one, of course, is the operating system. ‘True’ Multitasking (some of the UI features are targeted towards true window-multitasking) and a good track record of usability and speed. It’s an operating system, however, that doesn’t have the application database that the iPad has so it will have to draw users (and devs) in by other means.

  • Webcam
  • Dual-core 1.2Ghz CPU
  • 1GB RAM

Storage, screen, weight, battery and sizing seem very similar to the iPad.

You’ve got the micro-USB port and BT 2.1 of course so at least the OS is more open to physical connectivity and there’s that touchstone technology (if you’ve got both a pre, a touchpad and the touchstone accessory – or is it BT3.0 near-field – you can do some neat tricks too) but that’s about it. The key feature is really the OS brand and the CPU and with the iPad 2 coming up, that CPU advantage is likely to drop away. You’re left with an OS, applications and content choice. Both iOS and WebOS appear to have a productivity angle. Both, to be honest, are going to be slick devices. At the end of the day, the HP Touchpad is going to be for the people that want an iPad, but don’t want an iPad! I doubt many Google users (mail, maps, talk, reader users) are going to be tempted away from Android if it does look less impressive although yes, there’s a growing number of new customers out there still trying to make a decision.

Could pricing be the answer? It has to be in my opinion because unless HP can ramp up a serious amount of devs and apps before launch, it hasn’t got enough to give it long-term momentum.

Thomas Says:

The Touchpad is a very nice looking device, powered by the compelling webOS and backed by one of the worlds biggest PC manufacturers. So, why do I remain sceptical?

Firstly, it’s not about the device, it’s about who uses them. iPhone users are familiar with iOS and are much more likely to choose the iPad. Android users are generally familiar with Android (duh?) and even with the various custom user interfaces I can see Android customers to be more familiar with a Galaxy Tab, Motorola Xoom or any other Android tablet. The same can be said for any platform,  however this could never useful to HP with the webOS platform in it’s current state, thanks to it’s limited user base.

Secondly, not only did Apple and Google have a large number of users on-board when they announced their tablet platforms, they had developers too. Both Apple and Google can both boast a well stocked application store, something that HP / Palm can not.

Don’t get me wrong, I wish HP every success with their new webOS products, but in terms of tablets your average consumer will only be willing to spend big money if they’re buying the best available product. Much like the early days of Android, users won’t flock to webOS till the platform is right, never mind the product.

I’d say selling the Touchpad in vast quantities will be an upward struggle for HP, unless of course they can keep the pricing down. Buy one Pre 3, get a Touchpad half price – any takers?

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