New Tablets From Apple and Others Keep Laptops Under Siege.

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A quick look at some new tablets.

Apples’ new 5th generation iPads were announced today (October 22nd).  This is a significant upgrade for these high-end tablets.  Called the iPad Air, the 9.7 inch model features a new retina display.  It weighs just one pound.  It is 20% thinner and 2.8 % lighter than the previous generation models.  The new mini with 7.9 inch screen also gets the retina display.  Both models are upgraded to the hot new A7 64-bit processor and the latest iOS7 operating system.  These changes will certainly offer spectacular vivid displays and even faster performance.

The Wi-Fi has been upgraded to the latest 11n standard with up to 300 Mb/s speeds possible under the right conditions.  4G LTE cellular models are also available.  Prices start at $499 and go to almost $1000 with the maximum memory and LTE. The iPad Air will be available November 1.  The mini unit will come later in November.  Prices start at $399.

Microsoft also announced the current availability of their new tablets.  The Surface 2 is thinner and lighter than its predecessor and now runs Windows 8.1 RT OS.  The processor is a NVIDIA Tegra 4 and the display is a 10.6 inch HD unit with 1080p video.  The new full-size USB port is 3.0 compliant.

While the Surface 2 is a real tablet, the new Surface Pro 2 is a real laptop replacement with tablet-like features.  It uses the Intel Core i5 processor and can have up to 8 GB of RAM.  The OS is the latest Windows 8.1.

Microsoft will also be getting some tablet competition from its forthcoming acquisition of Nokia.  Nokia just announced their new phablets and tablets.  The phablets are actually large screen phones with 6 inch screens.  These are the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1320.  These should give Samsung’s new Galaxy Note models with large screens some direct competition.

The Lumia 2520 is Nokia’s first real tablet.  It runs Microsoft Windows RT OS and has an ARM-based processor.  It is directly competitive with the Surface 2 so that should be an interesting product management decision to watch for.

With so many new tablets and with such excellent new features, no wonder PCs and laptops are taking a sales hit.   So many of you are switching to tablets which are the more addictive of the computing products.  See my latest blog.  http://electronicdesign.com/blog/addicted-screen

For details on these new units, check the company websites directly.

Discuss this Blog Entry 2

on Oct 23, 2013

I'd love to take a tablet with me on the road ... I lead a lot of seminars and PowerPoint is essential. The venues I encounter invariably have VGA interfaces to their projectors (only one in recent memory even had HDMI). Do any of these tablets support VGA video output? Yes, I know there are converter/adapters but I don't want to lug that around, too.

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Lou Frenzel

Lou Frenzel is the Communications Technology Editor for Electronic Design Magazine where he writes articles, columns, blogs, technology reports, and online material on the wireless, communications...
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