Tag Archives: tablet

A Basket to Catch the Apple

For as long as there were personal computers, Microsoft had been the leader in software development and engineering for operating systems, and they stood firm on that belief. Today they are going to build a basket to catch the apple.

This week, Microsoft is expected to introduce a tablet computer to run their new Windows 8 operating system. It is the first time in the company’s 37-year history that it will offer a computer of its own. Google also has made waves in channeling the same plan as it announced plans to pay $12.5 billion to acquire Motorola Mobility, a maker of Android’s smartphones and tablets.

With the tremendous success of Apple, now the most highly valued company in the world, has shown rivals that in order to create superior technology was to “make the whole widget”. In the most recent  quarter, Apple’s revenue from iPad was $6.59 billion, more than Microsoft’s sales of Windows.

For Microsoft, making a tablet is a risky venture. Windows has a steadfast relationship with its hardware partners. The plan could erode the commitment those partners have to Windows since Microsoft will effectively be competing with them for sales.

Also, Microsoft has a mix track record. It makes the Xbox 360, but took years of losses due to manufacturing problems. They also failed with the Zune, which is a music player that was designed to compete with the iPod.

The Microsoft tablet is expected to use Windows 8 RT, based on a class of microprocessors called ARM chips. That is the same class of chips inside the iPad.

Let’s hope Microsoft will be successful in catching the golden Apple. Competition is always a good thing.  All comments are welcome for discussion!

Chrissy Le, Technology Marketing Specialist

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From Rearview Mirror to the Horizon Ahead

As I write, we are on the verge of a brand-new year. Christmas has passed and our new socks have found their home in the drawer with our holey (as opposed to holy) old friends (my socks definitely aren’t holy!!!). This is the time to reflect on the year that was and look ahead to the year to come.

As I look back, my thoughts go to the tech news-makers of the year. This is, after all, a tech blog. So, who made news in 2011? Well, once again, there was much attention focused on Apple at the release of the iPad 2 in March. Throughout the summer, rumors and imaginations grew at the anticipated fall release of the iPhone 5. Instead, we were introduced to the 4S. Initial disappointment turned once again to excitement as the world had its first conversation with Siri; the voice recognition app that came standard with the iPhone 4S. I say “conversation” because Siri is much more than the voice recognition of the past. “She” is intelligent. So much so that MacLife magazine featured an interview with Siri in their latest issue (http://www.maclife.com/article/features/chat_siri). Siri is quite amazing.

In the midst of all of the Apple excitement, the world lost one of its truly innovative minds when Steve Jobs passed away on October 5, 2011. We will never forget Jobs’ keynotes, wearing his signature jeans and black turtleneck as he casually walked the stage, revealing to the world the next big thing.

While there were many innovations in 2011, we saw one thing remain a constant; Facebook users continued to be moved to uproar over the occasional random changes that are forced upon them. Many of our “friends” threaten to kiss Facebook goodbye every time the change comes, but yet they remain. Why? Well, although there have been competitors rise up, none can compare to the connectivity of the giant. It seems that everyone is on Facebook!

As we consider the pivotal time of year at which we now stand, I have two questions for your comment. Here’s question number one: What was your favorite tech news of 2011?

Now, let us turn our attention toward 2012. Put on your special future-seeing glasses and let’s gaze into the months to come. What do you see? One of my Twitter followers, Cinnamon, says, “I think the iPad 3 is going to take the world by storm… I know I am waiting for its launch in spring 2012.” I’m with her on that one! While the iPad 2 was thinner and lighter than the first generation, I believe that the third offering of this tablet will be another forward leap. Some of the buzz is in anticipation for a smaller, perhaps 7” model. Fellow-blog-writer Chrissy is hoping that the next generation iPad will finally get the Retina display that iPhone and iPod Touch users enjoy. One thing is for sure; we techies will be on the edge of our seats the day of the spring Apple event.

I am feeling that 2012 will also be the year of Microsoft as the much-scrutinized Windows 8 is released. Some are excited to get their hands on this new tiled version of Windows and others are dreading its release. As I mentioned in a previous article, I also think we will see a major wave in the tablet market as the mobile version of Windows 8 leads the way for greater convergence between desktop and mobile computing.

This all leads me to my second question for your consideration: What tech advances do you see coming in 2012? What’s the next big gadget that we won’t be able to live without? Let’s dream a little.

It will be interesting to look back on this article at the end of 2012 to see if our predictions came true and perhaps laugh about those big things that we never saw coming. Just remember to take off those funny-looking future-seeing glasses after you finish dreaming. You really shouldn’t wear them out in public.

Randy Kightlinger

Computer Service Technician

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Filed under Phone Applications

Has the Tablet Wave Passed?

There was much anticipation in the tech world in the days leading up to Apple Computer’s January 27, 2010 launch event. What would they announce? Much hype had been stirred in the press in anticipation of either a tablet computer or netbook. Whichever it would be, this new device would fill a “third place” between the iPhone and the MacBook. This new device should have a larger screen than the iPhone, yet be lighter and more portable than the MacBook. So, what would it be? …a tablet? …a netbook? …would it be neither?

In his address on that day, CEO Steve Jobs spoke about this “third place” and how, whatever would fill that space would have to do some things better than either the smart phone, or the laptop. He caused the audience laughter as he commented on the netbook. “The problem is; netbooks aren’t better at anything.” Then, he went on to launch the first iPad and the rest is history.

Apple set the bar pretty high with the iPad, which runs on their iOS operating system. The iPad was not the first tablet computer, but it was the first one to catch on in the public eye. This is due in part to Apple’s amazing marketing and in part to the excellence of the tablet that they offered in the iPad.

In the months that followed, other companies answered by introducing their own tablet computers. While there were a few different operating systems presented, none proved so worthy a competitor as the Android OS. It’s growing Android Market (https://market.android.com), while nowhere near as large as Apple’s App Store, is a worthy opponent.

There have been some very good tablet computers introduced over the past year-and-a-half. But, for whatever reason, no one competitor has caught on and moved into the stellar market share claimed by the iPad, although the new Kindle Fire is showing some promise (never mind the fact that it has a “lite” version of the Android OS). Why is that? It’s not for lack of features. In fact, many prefer the competing tablets over the iPad for reasons such as; Apple’s lack of USB ports on the iPad, which the competitors do offer or; Apple’s ongoing disdain for Flash video, which other tablets play seamlessly. Why then, do the competitors just not take hold as the iPad has? My own speculation would be for the following two reasons:

  1. Apple has generated through advertising and savvy, an image of offering quality products that appeal to a hip demographic;
  2. Apple was the first serious offering, and they set a high bar. iPad’s competitors are many, which seems to have a watered-down effect, diffusing any one rising star to dethrone the mighty iPad.

In recent months, we have seen some of the iPad’s competitors starting to fail. Blackberry’s PlayBook has really fallen off and any other non-Android tablets do not seem to stand a chance.

Has the tablet wave passed? No. The ongoing success of the iPad has proven that the tablet computer is here to stay. So, where is a worthy competitor? All I can say to that is; keep your eye on Microsoft in 2012. While Microsoft has taken a lot of heat in the past for inferior products (anyone remember Windows Vista?), they are an innovative giant that should not be dismissed. I believe that we will see rise of a major threat from MS in the second half of 2012 when their Windows 8 (or whatever name it may take on by then) makes its public debut, with an app outlet riding its coattails.

What are your thoughts and predictions for the tablet computer market? I welcome your questions and comments.

~ Randy Kightlinger

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