Notion Ink Adam Released with Upgrade Issue

Now that the first wave of Notion Ink Adam tablets are hitting the hands of consumers, we find a new problem that could kill your Adam tablet.

When you unbox Adam, there’s a set of instructions you are asked to read through. Part of the instructions from Notion Ink suggest you should update Adam immediately, as a new software version is out.

The first few users who attempted to upgrade their Adam tablet were unpleasantly surprised when after the software update, their tablets were dead.

“I updated my Adam two hours ago. After the update installed he was dead…” -Vedenn

“My Adam is dead post-update too. I get one amber and one red light, but no other response.” -Cameron

Notion Ink is now aware of this problem and currently working on a resolution. They have reportedly blocked the software download so additional users are not affected. It is not yet determined what is at the root of this problem, but it is clear that early Adam adopters are annoyed.

Our take on it? This is a serious blunder. While Notion Ink and Adam are generating a buzz in the tablet market, they are just too new of a company and mistakes like these shine inexperience. If you have some cash to risk, go with Adam with the next pre-order. The rest, maybe you should wait for the dust to settle and go for a 2nd, 3rd generation Notion Ink tablet. That is, unless you’re into trying new things, technologically speaking.

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BlackBerry PlayBook Release Explored

The long awaited BlackBerry PlayBook is finally here. Released April 19, 2011 in retail stores across the USA and Canada, BlackBerry PlayBook is fighting its launch battle and trying to claim a spot in the already saturated tablet market.

First and foremost, I want to welcome the BlackBerry PlayBook to the tablet party. I need to state that I have absolutley nothing against RIM, BlackBerry, or the PlayBook. I wish this tablet success, as with all others.

 

Secondly, I want to highlight that I am very concerned with the nature by which PlayBook was released, and the continuous disappointments on some very simple things. Call it an oversight, call it a work in progress, whatever you call it, PlayBook is missing a lot that consumers desire – and its agreeably not ready for the market.

Let’s start with something seemingly trivial that’s driving me nuts: the Press Release.

Where is it? It’s 6:30pm Eastern USA, and the BlackBerry PlayBook Press Release is yet to be published. Someone’s seriously slacking in the RIM / BlackBerry marketing team. How do you launch a product without an official Press Release? It’s really weird.

On to more concerning things. I need to throw it out there: the pre-launch reviews were HORRIBLE.

This has to be contributing to the marginal-at-best buzz that surrounds the release of this tablet. It ain’t no iPad debut, that’s for sure!

What is plaguing here is that first impressions are a world of hurt if they aren’t positive. First impressions on the PlayBook? Meh, not so great. The PlayBook has a long road ahead – as shining examples, I’d like to highlight some of the best of the worst of the reviews:

“We have hardware that looks and feels great but isn’t being fully served by the software. And, ultimately, we have a tablet that’s trying really hard to please the enterprise set but, in doing so, seems to be alienating casual users who might just want a really great seven-inch tablet.” –Engadget

“There’s no universal search to quickly find apps. You can’t re-arrange your open app cards. Half the time you try to touch a link in the browser, you don’t know if you touched it correctly or not—the feedback isn’t fast enough. Needing to tether to a BlackBerry to use native mail, calendar and contacts apps is annoying, and potentially deal-breaking any way you slice it. (You have no mail, calendar or contacts stored on the PlayBook if you’re not tethered!)” –Gizmodo

“It seems like everything wrong with the tablet won’t be fixed until later. For now this thing is only good if you happen to have a BlackBerry phone and don’t mind a poor app selection.” –Business Insider

“Is the PlayBook comparable to the iPad? No. Between the lack of app support and the wonky web browsing, there’s just no way around that fact.” –Tech Crunch

“RIM’s PlayBook is a beautifully designed piece of technology, but lacks basic features available from every other tablet in the market.” –Information Week

Now to be fair, the PlayBook is not a huge disaster (yet) and offers quite a bit of promise. I could paint the picture of the BlackBerry PlayBook any which way I desire, however, I like to spit out what I perceive to be the truth. Honestly, the BlackBerry PlayBook (in its current state – without Android, without refinement) is just two things:

  1. A cool companion to any BlackBerry smartphone.
  2. A work in progress.

Notice how it’s not a great tablet just yet? I believe it may get there, but there were some serious mis-steps here!

What I believe to be one of the biggest blunders in tablet marketing and forethought, RIM fell flat on some key elements. PlayBook literally appeals, by design and nature, to existing BlackBerry customers ONLY. This is very different from Apple, Samsung, Motorola, or any others.

I bet if you look at CrackBerry, they love it. Look around elsewhere, to not-so-BlackBerry enthusiastic, and you may find more concerns and dare I say, more whining.

A good thing? No, not at all. RIM’s segmented out the average consumer. The non-BlackBerry owner. Why would you do that? The BlackBerry PlayBook should include, soup to nuts, everything you could ever want and need in a tablet, with or without your phone. That’s the goal. Not let me hitch this sucker to my BlackBerry phone (not even ANY phone!), and see what I can get out of it.

I’m sure the road ahead is a greener path than today. There’s already software updates being released faster than you can implement them. All efforts aside, however, the launch of PlayBook is happening seemingly quietly. I think they’re going to have a hard time gaining and harnessing respect within the tablet market.

BlackBerry is a name to contend with, but PlayBook, well, we’ll see what happens.

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Flash is Making a Splash on Android Honeycomb, Release Date Revealed

Flash for Android 3.0 Honeycomb is almost here. Adobe just announced they will be releasing Flash Player 10.2 on Android Market on…

March 18th. That’s the day that Adobe will be bringing Flash 10.2 to Android Market, and that’s the day you will be able to finally get some Flash support on your Motorola Xoom tablet.

When Motorola Xoom was released, one of the key features and bullet points above iPad / iPad 2 was the Adobe Flash support. Little did we know that Motorola Xoom would launch without Flash support, because it wasn’t ready. The Honeycomb and Xoom releases were just too close together to make it happen in time.

Since catching a tremendous amount of heat for the Motorola Xoom Flashless launch debacle, Adobe has been hard at work with Google to at least bring something to the table.

The Flash Player 10.2 from Adobe is going to be released in conjunction with the first new revision of Android honeycomb software. The Flash Player 10.2 will only work with the upcoming Honeycomb version: Android 3.0.1.

What’s more is this new Flash Player for Honeycomb is a BETA RELEASE. This is not the fine tuned and kinks-free Flash Player 10.2, so expect a few hiccups.

Some of the new features of Flash Player 10.2 for Android include:

Hardware accelerated video presentation for H.264

Flash Player 10.2 leverages the Stage Video rendering pipeline to enable users of Android 3.0 tablets, like the Motorola Xoom, to enjoy smooth playback of high-definition Flash video content on the web.   Users will experience reduced CPU usage and higher frame rates for existing H.264 video content.

Deeper integration with the Android browser rendering engine

Deeper integration of Flash Player and the enhanced Android 3.0 browser delivers faster and better rendering of rich, interactive web content resulting in a browsing experience similar to the desktop.

Flash Player can now render content as part of the web page along with other components such as HTML, images and gif animation.

As a result, users will experience:

  • Improved scrolling of web pages.
  • Uncompromised viewing of rich, immersive content in the way intended by the page designer, including support for instances where HTML and other web content is composited over Flash Player rendered content.  Flash Player rendered content will continue to be placed in a separate window on top of HTML in the Android 2.2 and 2.3 browsers, as these browsers do not support the new Android 3.0 browser rendering model.

Enhanced performance for the latest smartphones and tablets

Experience performance improvements designed to take advantage of the current generation of multi-core, GPU-enabled processors to deliver Flash videos, games and other interactive Web content on the latest smartphones and tablets.  For a list of upcoming Flash-enabled devices which show off the latest performance improvements, including the Motorola Atrix 4G, Motorola Xoom and LG Optimus 2X, please click here.

Automatic soft keyboard support

Users of touch screen devices will enjoy a more optimized experience interacting with rich content that requires keyboard input.  This feature simplifies the development of multiscreen applications that require keyboard input, making it easier for developers to optimize desktop applications for mobile devices. A new ActionScript API enables developers to automatically launch and display the soft keyboard.

In addition to its availability on Android Market, the production GA release of Flash Player 10.2 will also be available pre-installed on many upcoming tablets and smartphones or delivered as an over-the-air (OTA) update to existing devices in market.

For Xoom users, March 18th can come soon enough.

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Motorola Xoom Android Honeycomb 3.0.1 Update Released

Motorola Xoom users will be getting a little boost via an Over The Air upgrade happening in advance of the March 18th Adobe Flash 10.2 release.

Motorola Mobility and Verizon Wireless will begin upgrading Xoom tablets with the next Android Honeycomb release as early as tonight. Over the course of the next couple of days, Xoom tablets will begin receiving Over The Air (OTA) upgrades.

Android 3.0.1 brings with it support for Adobe Flash 10.2 which is being released on Android Market on March 18th, in addition to a bug fix that addresses daylight savings time and calender appointments. Don’t forget, here in the US Daylight Savings begins this weekend. Clever timing for an update, and ahead of the official Flash release. Nice!

To receive the next Honeycomb release on your Xoom tablet, Motorola aknowledges that you will need to restore your Xoom tablet to its factory state. Should you fail to unroot your Xoom, you will not receive the system notification.

And such is life. Let us know when your Xoom receives the Android 3.0.1 upgrade. Comments are welcome!

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How to Force Your Motorola Xoom Android 3.1 Update

Motorola Xoom owners are going to begin receiving their over-the-air upgrades for Android 3.1 soon. If you’re impatient, we may have a little trick to help you force the update.

Google just released Android 3.1, and we’ve detailed the new user improvements in great depth already. For our Motorola Xoom owners, you all should be expecting your Android 3.1 update as early as now.

Android Honeycomb 3.1 is out now, and it will be rolling out in waves, very much like the Android 3.0.1 upgrade for Flash Player 10.1 support.

If you’re like me and really don’t want to wait, there may be a small work around to help you force the upgrade.

Main System Settings > About Tablets > System Updates

This brings you to the System Updates menu which details if your Xoom is up to date. Any Xoom owner would know that this is not real time data, as incremental upgrades over-the-air, or OTA, can take several hours or days.

Keeping aside the fact your System Updates page may be several hours behind, you can try to move your Xoom tablet ahead, so that when it recalibrates to the actual time, the update may appear!

This is not guaranteed to work, but we’ve heard of it working in a few instances already, so it’s worth a try if you haven’t yet seen your Android 3.1 OTA upgrade.

Main System Menu > Date & Time > Uncheck Automatic Date & Time > Set Date > Set The Date Forward Several Days

From here, reboot your Xoom, and then go back to the Main System Settings > About Tablets > System Updates and check for the Android 3.1 update.

Should the update be available to you, upgrade to Android 3.1, and then reset your Xoom’s date and time back to it’s original settings (by following the above paths and checking enable on your auto date and time setting again).

With some luck, or with some patience, Xoom tablet owners will be running improvements with Android 3.1 in no time at all!

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iOS 4.3 Release Notes and Demo Video

Apple released the latest version of iOS. We not only have all the release notes, but an exclusive video demonstration of the new iOS 4.3 features to match! Explore iOS 4.3 in all its beauty.

Apple officially released iOS 4.3 on Wednesday, March 9, 2011. The timing is perfect as iPad 2 is being released on March 11th, and will be shipping with iOS 4.3 – fully loaded and ready to go.

iOS 4.3 Release Notes and New Features Explained

With every software release, naturally, there’s a new set of feature’s available to you. iOS 4.3 offers the following new features over previous versions of iOS.

Configurable iPad Side Switch: you know that little switch on the side of your iPad? You can now customize it to lock screen rotation, or mute volume quickly.

AirPlay Enhancements: AirPlay can now stream video selected from your Photos app. AirPlay-enabled apps and websites can also be sent to the big screen with ease. One of the best new AirPlay improvements aside from being able to stream video is the ability to share a slide show of your Photos with a multitude of new transition effects.

Improved Safari Browser: the Safari web browser is now powered by a new Nitro JavaScript engine, which runs JavaScript twice as fast as iOS 4.2. This helps accelerate page load times and improves the overall web browsing experience.

iTunes Home Sharing: now you can play your entire iTunes library from anywhere in the house. If it’s on your Mac or PC, you can play it on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch over a shared Wi-Fi network. This includes all iTunes content – music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, audiobooks – and yeah, all that good stuff.

Personal Hotspot with iPhone 4: by downloading iOS 4.3 on your iPhone 4, you can now mobilize your WiFi hotspot anywhere you can reach your 3G service. By enabling Personal Hotspot and tapping into 3G, you can share your cellular data connection with your Mac, PC, iPad, or other WiFi capable device. You can share your connection with up to five devices simultaneously over WiFi, Bluetooth, or USB. Three of those five connections can be WiFi, and each connection is password protected – making it secure.

iOS 4.3 Video Demo of New Features

Now that you have a core understanding of the new features afforded to Apple users with iOS 4.3, we encourage you to dig a little deeper with us. Have a look at our exclusive video demonstration of the new and improved features of iOS 4.3.

How to upgrade to iOS 4.3

It’s easy to upgrade. Simply connect your iOS device to iTunes and follow the simple upgrade prompts. Connect the cable, follow along, and you’re all set.

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Android Honeycomb 3.1 Release Notes

The first official update to the Android Honeycomb OS optimized for tablets is now available.

Find out what’s new and improved in Android Honeycomb 3.1.It wasn’t long ago that Google released Android 3.0.1, a minor Honeycomb update to add Flash Player 10.1 support. At today’s Android developer’s conference, more commonly known as Google I/O, Google announced and released the first incremental update to the Honeycomb OS.

Android 3.1 is Now Available

Android 3.1 is an incremental platform release to the Android Honeycomb operating system, and it builds upon the same great tablet-optimized features of Android 3.0 and Android 3.0.1.

New User Features of Android 3.1 Explained in Great Detail:

User Interface Improvements

The Android 3.1 update adds a variety of refinements to make the user interface more intuitive and more efficient to use.

  • UI transitions are improved throughout the system and across the standard apps.
  • The Launcher animation is optimized for faster, smoother transition to and from the Apps list.
  • Adjustments in color, positioning, and text make UI elements easier to see, understand, and use.
  • Accessibility is improved with consistent audible feedback throughout the UI.
  • New setting to let users customize the touch-hold interval to meet their needs.
  • Improved navigation to and from the home screen! Touching the Home button in the system bar will now take you to the home screen most recently used.
  • Settings offers an improved view of internal storage, showing the storage used by a larger set of file types.

Android 3.1 Brings Connectivity for USB Accessories

Android 3.1 adds broad platform support for a variety of USB-connected peripherals and accessories. Users can attach many types of input devices and take advantage of robust USB functionality.

Android 3.1 supports nearly all USB peripherals, but the USB capabilities will vary depending upon the manufacturer of the tablet, as much of it will be dependent upon hardware components.

Expanded Recent Apps List

The recent Apps list is now expandable, and users can scroll through their list of recent apps vertically – seeing thumbnail images of open tasks and recently used Apps – and then touch a thumbnail to jump back into that task.

Resizable Home Screen Widgets

Your home screen just got a little bit more customized with Android 3.1. Users are now able to resize their Home screen widgets by using drag bars. Users can expand widgets both horizontally or vertically.

Support for External Keyboards and Pointing Devices

Honeycomb users can now attach any type of external keyboard or mouse to their Android 3.1 tablet, creating a more “familiar” environment to improve efficiency and help ease new users into the tablet transition.

One or more inputs devices can be attached to your Honeycomb 3.1 tablet simultaneously over USB and/or Bluetooth HID. Yes, any combination without any special drivers (in most cases).

For pointing devices, the platform supports most types of mouse with a single button and optionally a scroll wheel, as well as similar devices such as trackballs.

When these are connected, users can interact with the UI using point, select, drag, scroll, hover, and other standard actions which they may be more familiar or comfortable with at home or in the office.

Gaming is Glorious with Android 3.1 and Support for Joysticks and Game Controllers

This is really taking tablet gaming to new heights, and will certainly place a huge stamp on the Android tablet as a formidible gaming device. Software is there, and now the peripherals match.

To make the platform even better for gaming, Android 3.1 adds support for most PC joysticks and gamepads that are connected over USB or Bluetooth HID.

For example, users can connect Sony Playstation 3 and XBox 360 game controllers over USB (but not Bluetooth), Logitech Dual Action gamepads and flight sticks, or a car racing controller.

Game controllers that use proprietary networking or pairing are not supported by default, but in general, the Android 3.1 supports most PC-connectible joysticks and gamepads.

Totally sweet!

Android 3.1 is a Wi-Fi Powerhouse with Improved Wi-Fi Networking Features

Android 3.1 adds robust Wi-Fi features, to make sure that users and their apps can take full advantage of higher-speed Wi-Fi access.

A new high-performance Wi-Fi lock lets applications maintain high-performance Wi-Fi connections even when the device screen is off.

Users can take advantage of this to play continuous streamed music, video, and voice services for long periods of time, even when the device is otherwise idle and the screen is off.

Users can now configure an HTTP proxy for each individual Wi-Fi access point, by touch-hold of the access point in Settings. The browser uses the HTTP proxy when communicating with the network over the access point and other apps may also choose to do so. The platform also provides backup and restore of the user-defined IP and proxy settings.

The platform adds support for Preferred Network Offload (PNO), a background scanning capability. This feature conserves battery power in cases where Wi-Fi needs to be available continuously for long periods of time.

Updated Set of Standard Android 3.1 Apps

The Android 3.1 platform includes an updated set of standard applications that are optimized for use on larger screen devices.

Web Browser

The Browser app includes a variety of new features and UI improvements that make viewing web content simpler, faster, and more convenient.

The Quick Controls UI, accessible from Browser Settings, is extended and redesigned. Users can now use the controls to view thumbnails of open tabs and close the active tab, as well as access the overflow menu for instant access to Settings and other controls.

To ensure a consistent viewing experience, the Browser extends it’s support for popular web standards such as CSS 3D, animations, and CSS fixed positioning to all sites, mobile or desktop.

It also adds support for embedded playback of HTML5 video content. To make it easier to manage favorite content, users can now save a web page locally for offline viewing, including all styling and images.

For convenience when visiting Google sites, an improved auto-login UI lets users sign in quickly and manage access when multiple users are sharing a device.

For best performance, the Browser adds support for plugins that use hardware accelerated rendering. Page zoom performance is also dramatically improved, making it faster to navigate and view web pages.

Gallery

The Gallery app now supports Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP), so that users can connect their cameras over USB and import their pictures to Gallery with a single touch. The app also copies the pictures to local storage and provides an indicator to let users see how much space is available.

Calender

Calendar grids are larger, for better readability and more accurate touch-targeting. Additionally, users can create a larger viewing area for grids by hiding the calendar list controls. Controls in the date picker are redesigned, making them easier to see and use.

Contacts

The Contacts app now lets you locate contacts more easily using full text search. Search returns matching results from all fields that are stored for a contact.

Email

When replying or forwarding an HTML message, The Email app now sends both plain text and HTML bodies as a multi-part mime message. This ensures that the message will be formatted properly for all recipients. Folder prefixes for IMAP accounts are now easier to define and manage. To conserve battery power and minimize cell data usage, the application now prefetches email from the server only when the device is connected to a Wi-Fi access point.

An updated Home screen widget give users quick access to more email. Users can touch Email icon at the top of the widget to cycle through labels such as Inbox, Unread, and Starred. The widget itself is now resizable, both horizontally and vertically.

Enterprise Support

Users can now configure an HTTP proxy for each connected Wi-Fi access point. This lets administrators work with users to set a proxy hostname, port, and any bypass subdomains. This proxy configuration is automatically used by the Browser when the Wi-Fi access point is connected, and may optionally be used by other apps. The proxy and IP configuration is now backed up and restored across system updates and resets.

To meet the needs of tablet users, the platform now allows a “encrypted storage card” device policy to be accepted on devices with emulated storage cards and encrypted primary storage.

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Google AdMob’s Tablet Survey Explored

Oh! Let the headlines ring out. Google AdMob released a survey about how tablets are changing the way that consumers are engaging with content. Let’s explore the survey results and see what all the fuss is about.

Google’s AdMob conducted an independant survey to better understand how people are using tablets. In their survey of over 1,400 tablet users, they came to the following conclusions.

Tablet usage is growing and sometimes surpasses time spent on desktop computers and TV’s.

  • 43% spend more time with their tablet than with their desktop or laptop.
  • 1 in every 3 spend more time with their tablet than watching TV.

Tablets are mainly used for playing games, surfing the web, and e-mailing.

  • 84% use tablets for playing games.
  • 78% use tablets for surfing the web.
  • 74% use tablets for e-mail.

Tablet usage is at its peak during the week, at night, and at home.

  • 82% primarily use their tablet at home.
  • 69% use their tablet more frequently on weekdays, relative to weekends.
  • 62% use their tablet more frequently during night hours, relative to daytime hours.

Tablets really are replacing desktops and laptops!

  • 77% of users reported their desktop/laptop usage decreased after getting a tablet.
  • 28% use a tablet as their primary computer.
  • 68% spend at least 1 hour per day on their tablet.

So what’s all the fuss about with the AdMob survey again?

Everyone is making a big deal about this, but the reality is there’s nothing surprising or new here at all. For well over one year analysts have been saying that tablets will continue to chip away at the market share of desktops and laptops.

Remember that netbook thing? It almost feels like some distant joke, and certainly a fad to say the least! Tablets killed the netbook. Tablets wont kill the notebook or desktop anytime soon, but yeah, absolutley, they’re going to reduce the amount of sales by leaps and bounds.

What we have to remember is that the tablet industry is still within its infancy. Here we are, it’s only been a little more than a year since the modern tablet was introduced with the iPad, and suddenly tablets everywhere. It took until January 2011 and CES before the rest of the world caught on, but we can’t say we didnt see it coming well in advance.

Tablets are a big deal. Deal with it.

It’s not all for nothing. There’s a few key things to watch out for in the near future.

This survey represents a market that is not yet advanced. The tablet computer market is arguably one of the fastest growing and rapidly changing, emerging markets in all of the history of technology. The speed by which tablet technology is advancing is astronomical. However, it’s all still very new!

As the market becomes saturated with more tablet choices, and tablets become deeply rooted in all aspects of life, usage figures will increase. It seems that tablet owners are primarily using tablets in limited capacity, at least according to the AdMod survey. Web browsing, playing games, and emailing.

As the functionality of tablets become more robust, and more widely accepted as a standard, these numbers will remain consistent or increase over time.

I do see value in tablets as mobile gaming consoles, and I believe we will see a huge trend there.

There will be a certain sway towards tablets becoming primary computers.

That’s what you can count on.

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