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Showing posts from January 23, 2011

SL8 Update - Early Impressions

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I've had 2 full days of using the Zoostorm SL8 so it seems like an appropriate time to give you a rundown of my first impressions.

First of all size: I'm going to make it clear that a large tablet doesn't really fit my requirements for a tablet, whether it be running Windows, iOS or Android. However as that's not really relevant to what I'm testing here this will be the only time that I mention size.

The SL8 is a big tablet, about as wide as the iPad but a little bit taller (in portrait orientation). Its a little bit heavier but unless you had both devices to hand I don't think you'd notice it. Three iPad users have had a fondle of the SL8 and none have commented on the weight and only one commented on the extra size. The pay off is in screen size - the SL8's screen is 20% larger than the iPad's and packs in 33% more pixels. Whilst I'm happy carrying the SL8 around in a briefcase I wouldn't consider it the sort of device that I'd tote…

25 Years On, Remembering Challenger

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"Sometimes when we reach for the stars we fall short"

25 years ago today the second Space Shuttle, Challenger, disintegrated 73 seconds into Shuttle mission STS-51-L killing all seven crew.

Human life remains a fragile thing, no matter how brave the humans, how advanced the technology or how large the challenge they choose to face.

Zoostorm SL8 In The House

Windows 7 on a slate? It'll never work - or at least that's what everyone is telling us. How many of those people have actually tried it I wonder... Personally I've used plenty of pen driven Windows tablets and found that they work very well - in corporate environments or for people who are predominantly concerned with content creation. But how about competing with the iPad or the army of Android tablets that are threatening to take over the tablet space?

Well I'm going to spend some time with what promises to be the first Windows tablet that takes aim at the consumer space. The Zoostorm SL8 (also known as the Exo PC and WePad in other markets) arrived today and I'm going to be spend the next few days seeing just how well the concept of Windows on a slate works.

So far I've discovered that the concept has legs - whether shortcomings reveal themselves with further use remains to be seen, but for now early experience suggests that Windows 7 is more flexible tha…

Galaxy Tab Posts 2 Million Sales

How's this for impressive? Samsung's tablet launched into a market seemingly owned by the ipad and in its first quarter on sale beat the two million mark. More than a million devices were sold in the mid-december to mid-january.

Its unlikely that sales will continue at that level as rumours of the Tab 2 are sure to dent enthusiasm for the original.

However its a mark of Samsung's standing that it can launch a device into an Apple owned market at a premium price and deliver numbers like these.

Another Tab Convert Ditches The iPad

Another ipad user ditches their beloved tablet for a Samsung Galaxy Tab, for similar reasons. Its not hard to find more and more examples of people doing the same. I don't think this is because people are suddenly finding the ipad ill-suited to the tasks that it was purchased to perform. I suspect it goes back to one of my early criticisms of the device: there are a few usage scenarios where it makes sense and most will end up sitting idle in a drawer somewhere.

This phenomenon became apparent very early after the ipad launched. New owners would rave about the device for a few weeks after buying them and then go quiet, finally admitting that the ipad was the wrong device and that they never used it. It was a story I heard over and over, with only a very few diehards continuing to use their ipad as either a lounge computer for occasional browsing sessions or making the effort to lug it around in a bag. Shaun Mcgill at PDA-247 even managed to make the same mistake twice, buying then…

Toshiba Follows Droid Formula By Mocking The iPad

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Motorola and Verizon managed to make the original Droid the hottest phone of 2009 by launching with a series of commercials that emphasised all the things that the iPhone couldn't do that the Droid did.

Now Toshiba look like they'll be trying the same formula when they release their new, as yet unnamed, tablet. The image is what you get if visiting the new tablet's website from an iOS device.

If you do go to the site in a browser that supports Flash you'll find details of what looks to be a pretty tidy tablet, packing the sort of features that look capable of bringing down the iPad 2 when it launches shortly.

New Ferrari Abandons Style Completely

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Ferrari has been responsible for much of the World's best automotive artwork, cars which look completely stunning in every way.

The new FF will not rank with them.

Technologically its a tour de force, but the styling, oh dear... It looks like the terrible result of a high speed accident between a Scagletti and an AMC Pacer!

Perhaps the designers were influenced by the success of the retina-searingly ugly Porsche Panamera...

Size Matters

Kevin Tofel at Gigaom has published an explanation of his decision to ditch his iPad and start using his Samsung Galaxy Tab instead. Its a well written and well argued piece and centres around the premise that the best device is the one that you have with you.

Its a sentiment I can certainly understand as it mirrors my own feelings.

It appeared at an opportune time too, as this weekend I found out exactly how the Galaxy Tab's form factor makes for a better compromise than either the smaller Dell Streak or larger iPad - if you fit its usage pattern.

I was at a coffee shop - not my usual habitat, with demanding young kids a nice relaxing coffee is a rare luxury - however on this occasion I was able to make use of the secure play area in the establishment to sit and enjoy a relaxing coffee whilst my wife took on the Herculean challenge of buying a new outfit.

On tables close to me were two examples of people doing it wrong. The first unpacked a Sony laptop, plugged it into the mains …

Verizon Forgets Past iPhone Criticisms

Those of you with half decent memories will probably remember the rather clever adverts that Verizon used to place the Droid against the iPhone. The tagline Droid Does will probably refresh your memory if you don't.

Somewhat surprising to find Verizon pumping that very same Apple device after hitting it very hard on features, functions and of course the antennagate issue.

Still its no surprise, just as we've seen many other technology turnarounds in the past few years.

At least Verizon can point to the redesigned antenna as an improvement when compared to the GSM device shipped by rival AT+T.

It will be interesting to see how many Verizon customers are willing to lock themselves into a two year contract on the iPhone 4 when its replacement is surely just a few months away...

Strange Behaviour For A Journalist

Jeff Pearlman is a writer for Sports Illustrated, not that I'd heard of him before today.

Apparently Jeff wrote a story about something which wasn't especially popular and received some abuse on Twitter. Instead of letting it go he hunted down some of those who abused him and confronted them.

Seriously, what was he thinking of?

If you put something up on the internet you're going to have to deal with the fact that some people aren't going to like it and a minority of those will be less than polite about telling you so. If you can't deal with that don't publish on the internet. If you're getting paid for the privilege, as I assume Pearlman is, deal with it. Certainly don't hunt the poor sods down and expose them on one of the world's largest news sites.

Can Windows Work On A Tablet?

One of the key themes you'll hear on the internet right now is that Windows based Tablets are going to fail.No-one wanted them before, no-one will want them now. Apple and Android hare moved the game on too far.And for the most part the common consensus is right.

Take a look at the enterprise marketplace, though, and a completely different picture emerges. In many markets Windows on tablets is what delivers. Any place that you need to give a standard application to employees who can't be desk bound you'll find a Windows Tablet. The key difference being that it will almost certainly be stylus-driven whereas consumer tablets use mainly capacitive touch screens and are designed for finger use.

To compete in the consumer market Microsoft are going to have to find some way of delivering a touch friendly skin on, or overlay to, Windows 7 that remains compatible with standard Windows applications. Its a big ask but if Microsoft are serious about tablets they need to find a way. S…

Android Copyright Issues Trouble Google

Android handsets are the biggest thing sliced bread at the moment. Something for everyone and plenty of choice too. Its been good for Google so far, despite giving the core OS away the company recently confirmed Android related earnings of $1bn...

Some of that money may be making its way out of Google's coffers and into Oracle's with the latter claiming that its copyright has been infringed by Google's inclusion of Java in the Android source code, something Google denies.

The discovery of 43 proprietary files in the Android development environment doesn't bode well for Google therefore.

Google's defence that the code had never reached a handset isn't going to di them much good a far as defending the claim. However its not necessarily good news for Oracle either, they aren't going to be able to claim per device licensing for code that never shipped, which I'm guessing is their ultimate goal.

Copyright law is a minefield at the best of times. This looks l…

HTC Bringing 7 Pro To UK

Looks like the first keyboard driven Windows Phone 7 device to arrive in the UK will be HTC's 7 Pro... The spiritual successor to the phenomally succcessful (in its day anyway) Touch Pro 2, beating Dell's Venue Pro to the punch.

Microsoft needs to start pushing some shipping dates out for WP7 upgrades to fill in the missing feature gaps though, otherwise all the fancy hardware in the world isn't going to save the platform.

And with HTC going great guns on Android its likely to lose its WP7 focus quickly if Microsoft doesn't up its game...