We were expecting an explosion of new tablets at CES, and the conference certainly didn't disappoint. Unlike last year, where we saw an array of iPad competitors — at iPad prices — this year's crop was predominantly aimed at lower price points, but that didn't stop manufacturers from differentiating with higher-resolution displays, glasses-free 3D, and special gaming-focused devices. We've collected all of the tablet news from CES for you right here, just one tap away.A special thanks to Borrow Lenses, who provided us with cameras and lenses for the week!
Jan 13, 2012
You've been dying for an Asus Eee Pad Slider running Windows 7, right? Hiding amongst the hoards of ultrabooks on display at the Microsoft booth at CES 2012, is your answer: the Toshiba Portege M930. Oddly, Toshiba hasn't announced this tablet / laptop hybrid and doesn't even have it on display at its booth, but the rotating tablet seems pretty far along, considering it has a real name and the unit on display was working quite well.Read Article >
You'll want to check the video below for how the screen mechanism works, but it's one of the more well-designed hinges I've seen. You don't have to slide the screen over the keyboard which has been a worrisome feature of the Eee Pad Slider and even the Samsung Series 7 Slider (which actually never came out). In laptop mode the screen flips backwards and then folds over the keyboard. The biggest problem is how thick and heavy the 4.2-pound / 1.1-inch laptop is. The wider 13.3-inch, 1280 x 800 display is partially to blame, but Toshiba has also wrapped the machine with a number of ports.
Jan 13, 2012Read Article >
Cut The Rope is the latest big title game to gain compatibility with the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. Microsoft launched an HTML5 version of the fun puzzle game during its CES 2012 press conference just a few days ago, but Om Nom the little green gobbler is also making its way to QNX. RIM is displaying the game quite prominently in its own booth on the show floor, and it's still the same challenging but delightful experience. Performance seemed fine on the PlayBook hardware — but then again that's never really been the device's problem. Still, if you're a PlayBook owner and you've already beaten Angry Birds, you can head over to BlackBerry App World and download the game for $2.99.
Jan 12, 2012
Archos' 101 G9 and 80 G9 tablets don't have Ice Cream Sandwich just yet (and won't really qualify as high-end tablets even when they do), but they're scheduled to be updated in the first week of February, and we got to take a look at one of the tablets running the new operating system. When it arrives, Android 4.0 will be virtually unmolested on the G9 tablets — the music and video apps are customized a bit, and there are a couple of developer options left in the menus, but for the most part it's straight Ice Cream Sandwich. The version we used on the tablet was a very early one, running Android 4.0.1 instead of the 4.0.3 that will ship in February, but it's still a taste of what 4.0 will look like. Which, frankly, is a lot like Honeycomb, just with a few tweaks (and hopefully some big performance improvements). Still, at $229 for the 8-inch 80 G9 and $299 for the 10.1-inch 101 G9, it's one of the best ways to get Ice Cream Sandwich right now — though that's not saying much just yet.Read Article >
TC Sottek contributed to this story.
Jan 12, 2012
We just dropped by Gadmei's booth at CES, where they're showing a couple of tablets with glasses-free 3D technology — the T863 and E8-3D. There are a few visual differences, but the tablets are nearly identical in terms of hardware. Both feature Android 4.0.3 on top of a 1GHz Cortex A9 processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB storage, and a 5000mAh battery. Alongside this, you'll get a 0.3MP webcam, an optional 2MP rear shooter, microSD slot, and micro USB and mini HDMI ports. The chief difference lies in the 8-inch displays used in each of the tablets. Both use parallax barrier glasses-free 3D, and while the resolutions are almost identical — the T863 sports a 1280 x 768 screen, as compared to the E8-3D's 1280 x 800 — the performance of these two displays couldn't be more different.Read Article >
When it comes to 3D pictures and movies, the T863 is frankly terrible. We couldn't find a sweet spot where viewing the display gave a consistent picture, and even when looking directly at the tablet could see ghosting of objects towards the edges. Thankfully, the E8-3D suffers none of these issues. The company all but confirmed that it packs the same display used in the WikiPad (which it also manufactures), which again gave a clean and believable 3D image thanks to a much higher quality parallax barrier. Sadly, Gadmei hasn't solved the panel's fingerprint issue — both units picked up grease and dirt incredibly easily, which lessened even the E8's viewing experience.
Jan 12, 2012
Just as with the original Acer Iconia A500, Nvidia is the first to publicly show off its followup: the Acer Iconia Tab A510. The chipmaker is obviously interested in showing off the power of the quad-core Tegra 3 processor inside, clocked at 1.3GHz. In that regard, Ice Cream Sandwich seemed to run quite smoothly and a couple games we tried performed well. Of course, the A510's predecessor also managed to look good with Nvidia's handpicked games but didn't really stand up to long-term use — and the fact that we found some touchscreen accuracy issues on this floor model doesn't bode well. We should be looking at a 1280 x 800 screen instead of the A700's 1920 x 1200, so the A510 is clearly coming in at the mid to low end of Acer's tablet lineup. The hardware is not especially endearing on this 10-inch tablet, but mainly because it's not trying to make any kind of statements. Though there is a nice rubbery coating to the back of the tablet, it's otherwise a somewhat thick, straightforward black slab.Read Article >
On the software side, we are fairly close to a stock version of Android 4.0.1. Acer's main contribution is a center button in the middle of the bottom bar, which launched a circular toolbar with access to bookmarks, volume, search, screenshot functionality, and a few shortcuts. With any luck, that relatively minor customization will mean that Acer will be able to keep the tablet up to date as future Android versions are released.
Jan 12, 2012
Velocity Micro recently announced two new Ice Cream Sandwich Android tablets as part of its CES lineup, and today we were able to spend some time with them. Unfortunately we weren't able to take any photographs, but they did leave us with some strong impressions. The Cruz T507 and T510 are essentially the same beast under the hood: a 1.2GHz Cortex A8 processor, discrete ARM Mali 400MHz 3D graphics acceleration, 512MB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage. Both feature front- and rear-facing cameras, Mini USB and Mini HDMI ports, a microSD slot, the requisite 3.5mm headphone jack, and a DC power connector for charging. The physical similarities end there, however.Read Article >
The T510 has a 9.7-inch, 1024 x 768 display with a 4:3 aspect ratio, and there's really no way around it: this device reminded us of the original iPad. Everything from the aluminum back and button placement, to the stylization of the ports on the bottom of the device seemed to echo Apple's original tablet. This isn't a complaint, however — the original iPad's design worked for a reason — and it still holds up here, especially when the product is being aimed at a sub-$200 price point. The volume and screen orientation lock buttons did seem a bit flimsy, though Velocity Micro alerted us that they were not the buttons that would be present on the final shipping product. The Ice Cream Sandwich build running on the device was still in the early stages — based on Android 4.0.1 rather than Google's latest release — and as such there were some issues with touch responsiveness and lag. We played with the same hardware running Velocity Micro's Gingerbread build, however, and found it to be quite responsive and speedy.
Jan 12, 2012
Nvidia's Jen-Hsun Huang dedicated a portion of his CES 2012 presentation this week to playing a game of Skyrim on an Eee Pad Transformer Prime. The Tegra 3-powered tablet was running a specially optimized version of Splashtop, dubbed Splashtop THD, which allows you to interact with your Windows PC on Android tablets with Tegra hardware under the hood. It's not a complicated setup, you just run the requisite apps on the PC and tablet, and it gives you access to the full breadth of Windows desktop functionality. Gaming, of course, being a core pillar of that.Read Article >
What I saw in person was far more impressive than the demo during Jen-Hsun's keynote, which was hampered by the fact the connection between the PC and Prime tablet was made over a slammed Wi-Fi connection. The demo units at Nvidia's booth communicated over a wired connection to avoid that trouble, and there was no discernible lag whatsoever. Skyrim's graphics, physics and other computation were all being handled by the the well-specced PC rig, with the Prime controlling the game via a connected USB controller. Gameplay was perfectly fluid, and Nvidia tells us Splashtop THD's latency-free operation will replicate the exact frame rate you get from your PC onto the tablet. That part was very much true, but it still remains to be seen quite how well the same setup will work without a wire helping out.
Jan 11, 2012
We were just able to take a close-up look at three Toshiba prototypes — two tablets and a 5.1-inch phone with a 21:9 aspect ratio. The two tablets, one 7.7-inch and the other 13.3, don't present any big surprises, but they're light and thin, with rounded corners and a textured back. More exciting is the phone, which demonstrates an elongated aspect ratio that allows the large-screened device to still fit in a pocket. Unlike the tablets, the phone has a brushed-aluminum back and sharper corners.Read Article >
Although we weren't able to see much of the devices in action, we successfully (in fact, accidentally) powered on the larger tablet, and were assured that the other prototypes were functional as well. Despite that, Toshiba isn't sure these will ever hit market, but said it's interested in using the form factors for future devices.
Jan 11, 2012
WikiPad has made a splash at this year's CES with its WikiPad:3D — an 8-inch glasses-free 3D tablet running Android 4.0.3. It's being built by Gadmei, with the software build being named "Gadmei ICS," and the developer kit (as shown in the gallery below) is strikingly similar to the T863 we saw a couple of days ago. In practice, the tablet's slick and responsive, and though the final specs are undecided it's currently powered by a single-core 1.2GHz processor with 2GB RAM and 8GB storage, along with an unknown GPU. In regular use, the 1280 x 800 display looks great — it's bright and clear with rich colors — though it suffers from being highly reflective, and is a magnet for fingerprints.Read Article >
Although the tablet plays back 1080p 3D content smoothly, there's a noticeable ghosting of images as soon as you move your head away from the polarizer's sweet spot, meaning that sharing your movie with someone else could be difficult. WikiPad is also showing off a gaming grip accessory for the tablet which adds dual analog controls, shoulder buttons, and the standard four face buttons which connects via the microUSB port. We also noticed an app for OnLive rival Gaikai, suggesting that content partnerships are well underway. Pricing's still undecided, though the company's aiming for a $249 bundle of the tablet and controller by the time it reaches stores in March.
Jan 11, 2012
Microsoft also confirmed some recently leaked images that demonstrated a color picker for the Start Screen, and a translucent Charms Bar. Windows 8 build 8175 includes the ability to switch the Start Screen colors, and you'll see from our hands-on pictures that there's a high level of customization available. The software giant has previously promised that a Windows 8 beta will be made available in late February, alongside the new Windows Store, and we'd expect to see these improvements alongside even more changes.Read Article >
Jan 11, 2012
Intel just announced a new reference design for a tablet with a display that slides along the keyboard and folds onto it to work in either laptop or tablet mode. It looks a bit like the sliders from Sony and the Samsung Sliding PC 7. The tablets will run on Ivy Bridge silicon — probably including the integrated graphics — and have built-in NFC, which was shown this morning. Intel demoed some games with the ability to use your phone as a remote control, and the processor's ability to eat up a live remote video feed.Read Article >
To deliver TV and Movies to the tablet, Intel has partnered with Technicolor and Dreamworks on an app called M Go available in the AppUp center. Of course, you can also watch your digital media on a TV using Intel's own WiDi technology for connecting to wireless displays. The whole process of opening the app, buying a movie, and watching it on a TV seems pretty slick. You can even choose to make your purchases using NFC with a credit card or smartphone.
Jan 11, 2012Read Article >
What's this? Intel just pulled out another device on stage, a Windows 8 slate, and says it's running on a 32nm SoC but didn't specify Medfield. Thankfully, a little bird (and a PR representative) tell us it's Clover Trail. Sorry, folks, that's really all we know right now.
We saw Razer's Core i7 winged gaming tablet under glass just over an hour ago, but here's Project Fiona in the flesh! We just got our hands on the prototype machine, and it's a pretty interesting piece of kit, to say the least. The 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 capacitive touchscreen is glossy but very crisp, and it definitely plays games: Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine looked glorious on the display. The fixed (not detachable) controls feel pretty good, with nice tension on the depressible thumbsticks, and clearly draw on the Razer Hydra's design language, but without the annoying tapering on the far end of the grips. Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan tells us it's got a third-gen Core i7 processor on board (read: Ivy Bridge), is the first tablet certified by THX, and there are front- and rear-facing cameras, an accelerometer and force feedback for PC game makers to implement in their titles. Interestingly enough, Razer's built a touchscreen UI on top of Windows 7, which has a game viewer, web browser and multimedia players as well as a screen to help you map the physical controls as you see fit.Read Article >
Fiona's pretty chubby compared to modern Android slates, but lighter than it looks, and Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan tells us the whole design is slated to be changed before the company will turn it into a product anyhow. We say "will" since he called the future version a "final product" several times, but he later clarified that a final decision is still up in the air, saying that Razer now has a tradition of bringing a far-out concept to CES every year. The Razer Switchblade would agree: in less than a year, it morphed into quite a different machine.
Jan 10, 2012
Viewsonic's tablets haven't always impressed in terms of performance, but the company's committed to building cheap tablets for those that don't want to drop $499 on an iPad. We got to play with its latest models at CES, including the brand-new, $169, Ice Cream Sandwich-running ViewPad E70. The E70 has a 1GHz processor and a 7-inch, 800 x 600 display, and other than the fact that it's running Android 4.0 there's really nothing notable about the device. It was seriously slow and low-res, but at least the company seems to know that: reps told us that the ViewPad E70 could be a family's "third or fourth tablet." If you're looking to get Ice Cream Sandwich on a tablet, however, $169's not a bad price (though it can't compete with the Novo7's $99 price tag), and your high-end tablet options are pretty limited at the moment outside of the newly updated Transformer Prime. The E70 will be available in March.Read Article >
The ViewPad 10i and ViewPad 10e were pretty much exactly what you'd expect from a budget tablet. The ViewPad 10e runs Android 2.3, and the 10pi dual-boots Gingerbread and Windows 7, and both actually look pretty nice — relatively thin and light, with good-looking IPS displays. Both had some performance issues, with noticeable lag and unresponsiveness, but that's to be expected from such inexpensive tablets (the 10e costs $279, and though we weren't told the pricing on the 10pi it's probably not much higher). Both are available in the US today.
RIM formally announced PlayBook OS 2.0 yesterday, and I met with the product's senior marketing manager Jeff Gadway to check out all the features in the new operating system. Version 2.0 finally brings a native mail client to the BlackBerry tablet, along with calendar and contact apps. RIM also made some general aesthetic changes, and added a bulked-up version of BlackBerry Bridge and an eerily familiar "reading view" feature in the browser.Read Article >
While this OS update fills in many of the PlayBook's gaps, there are still a few big-ticket items missing. The largest of course is BBM, which is "still being perfected" for the tablet's big screen (and can still be used via BlackBerry Bridge). I personally don't see the point of needing the service on a device that isn't necessarily always on your person, but it'd be nice to have another chat option. The other missing item is true BES support, though BlackBerry Mobile Fusion is an ActiveSync solution that delivers the same functionality with equivalent encryption.
Jan 10, 2012Read Article >
Texas Instruments is showing off a Windows 8 ARM tablet at CES 2012 this week. Powered by the OMAP4470 processor and Windows 8, the unnamed tablet is expected to make an appearance at TI's CES booth. The firm previously refused to show off its Windows 8 ARM work at BUILD last year, keeping its reference design tablet behind glass, running the dual-core 1GHz OMAP4430.
Jan 10, 2012
We have to admit it, we're still holding out hope that we will see a display the combines the readability of e-ink with the speed, clarity, and color of an IPS LCD display. Mirasol, theoretically, could achieve that dream yet no matter how hard we wish, it never seems to pass into the usable range, much less into the platonic ideal in our heads. Still, we don't want to take our disappointment out on the Kyobo e-reader or the Bambook Sunflower e-reader, two virtually identical tablets that Qualcomm was touting here at CES today.Read Article >
They each run variants of Android 2.3 that have been customized for their local e-book sellers (Kyobo for Korea and Bambook in China), along with a Qualcomm Snapdragon S2 processor clocked at 1GHz. Each has a 5.7-inch 1024 x 768 Mirasol display that's front-lit and displays decent colors by Mirasol standards — which is to say that they're a little washed out. Performance, likewise, was poor even by e-reader standards (and perhaps a reason that Qualcomm took a "don't call them tablets" stances to both). Maybe next year Mirasol will become more than an intriguing curiosity, but until then, take a look at the images and video below.
- Read Article >
MasterImage 3D recently announced that it would be demonstrating two new glasses-free 3D displays at CES, and we just had our first look. The company is working on two displays — a 720p 4.3-inch display, and a 10.1-inch tablet display with a 1920 x 1200 resolution — and it says its new cell-matrix parallax barrier technology provides brighter images, better image quality, and wider viewing angles. Based on our first look, the technology is certainly promising: the 3D image is brighter, clearer, and much easier to look at than other glasses-free displays (we were fortunate enough to have an Evo 3D in hand to compare). Still, you're going to have to pretty much look directly at the screen, since slight alterations in viewing angle aren't very friendly to the 3D effect.
Jan 10, 2012Read Article >
Jen-Hsun Huang got the clearance from Google to announce that the Android 4.0 update for the Transformer Prime will be rolling out a little ahead of schedule, namely today. In celebration of this momentous occasion, we got to grips with the Asus tablet, running the fresher and tastier Ice Cream Sandwich software, for a little hands-on time. This is the older Transformer Prime, not the brand new TF700T model (we enjoyed a separate hands-on session with the very latest Prime variant), but we figure that will be the one you'll care about more since it's the only one you're able to actually buy.
We're already pretty familiar with one of the tablets Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang demonstrated on the CES 2012 stage, but the other one appears to be brand-new: the Tegra 3 Windows 8 reference platform, a hefty touchscreen tablet. We're afraid we didn't get to touch, and Nvidia won't tell us what (other than a Tegra 3 SoC) is inside. According to reps, the internals are all up to Microsoft. See what it looks like in the gallery below.Read Article >