It's been a year since Apple took the wraps off its first tablet. In those past 12 months, the iPad hasn't had too much serious competition, and has easily dominated the tablet market. But with the recent introduction of Google's tablet-specific Honeycomb Android OS on devices like the Motorola Xoom, the tablet space is finally starting to get interesting.
And while other companies like HP, Motorola, and RIM are releasing first-generation tablets, Apple is set to unveil its second-gen iPad tomorrow. The invites have been sent, and the blogosphere is bursting with all sorts of ideas about what the 'iPad 2' might look like. But as anyone who follows Apple knows, nothing is certain until it's unveiled on stage in San Francisco. Here are 11 ways Apple could knock it out of the park with its next iPad:
Add a Verizon 3G iPad
The fact that Verizon started selling the Wi-Fi-Only iPad with a Mi-Fi bundle back in October, and since the iPhone 4 landed at Verizon last month, we can't see a reason why the next iPad wouldn't be available on both AT&T and Verizon. There could be an existing exclusivity agreement where AT&T would get the iPad 2 first, and then Verizon would follow sometime later, but my fingers are crossed that this won't happen.
Even Better, Make it a 4G Verizon iPad
Verizon's 4G network has been up and running since December, and the first LTE phones are expected any day now. Also, if you buy a Motorola Xoom, it comes with the promise of a free future 4G upgrade. Why not the iPad 2? Hopefully, the accompanying data plan wouldn't be prohibitively expensive.
We've got the Verizon Wireless 4G Motorola Xoom, and in this episode we give you a nice, thorough walkthrough of the device. We show you the hardware, alongside a look at Android 3.0 Honeycomb. Get a look at the music player, YouTube for Android tablets, the front and rear cameras, multitasking, widgets, the built-in Google Books reader, and much more in our Xoom review. In case you missed it, we also have a video of our Motorola Xoom unboxing.
We've got our hands on the Verizon Wireless version of the Motorola Xoom tablet. This Android 3.0 Honeycomb device supports Verizon's 3G and 4G LTE networks. In this video, we open up the Xoom and give you a look at the tablet hardware and accessories. Then, we powering it on to give you a look at the Xoom setup process. After entering in the Google credentials, we are up and running for a quick tour of the Honeycomb interface. This is just the unboxing, though, so stay tuned for a more thorough walkthrough of the device in the next episode of Bleeding Edge TV.
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We just got our hands on our Motorola Xoom review unit, and we're about to tear into it to give you a look at everything it offers. If you've got any questions about this Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet, feel free to leave them in the comments and we'll be sure to address them. As you can see by the box, we've got the 4G LTE-capable Verizon model here.
Palm HP is finally getting its act together, or synergized if you will, as it pertains to webOS. A slew of new platforms running the multitasking beast that is webOS have officially been unveiled, and the outcome is satisfactory to say the least. The TouchPad tablet in particular is especially impressive, and offers just as much (and more) than other tablets we’ve seen lately.
The TouchPad specs include: webOS 3.0, a 9.7-inch display, a 1.2Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-CPU APQ8060 processor, 1024x768 resolution, 1GB RAM, 16/32GB storage, 1.3 MP front camera, 3G and 4G variants, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, gyroscope, accelerometer, and a weight of 740 grams. Also, HP's TouchPad comes equipped with Flash capabilities and Beats audio. The TouchPad appeals to professionals with an on-screen QWERTY keyboard for on-the-go editing of Word and Excel files, as well as Powerpoint and PDF functionality.
The Atrix 4G, which was launched at CES, will be priced at $199.99 for AT&T customers who sign a new two-year agreement. The Atrix 4G is expected to ship on March 6, the company said, while pre-orders begin on February 13th.
AT&T also said that it would offer a $499 bundle for both the Atrix tablet and the associated laptop dock, which will require the user to sign up for a two-year service contract, a Data Pro smartphone data plan, and and the tethering add-on fee, but receive a $100 rebate on top of that. That works out to a total of $45 per month for 4 GBs of data, according a company spokeswoman; customers would pay $25 for the Data Pro smartphone plan and $20 for the tethering add-on.
Otherwise, the user will have to pay $499 for the laptop dock himself.
The Galaxy S 4G is very similar to the existing Samsung Vibrant, a popular Android phone. It has the same 1-GHz Cortex-A8 processor, runs Android 2.2 on a similar 4-inch Super AMOLED screen, and has the same 5-megapixel camera. But it also has a front-facing 1-megapixel camera for video chat, that 4G modem, and a larger 1650 mAh battery, all of which the Vibrant lacks. Also, where the Vibrant comes pre-loaded with the movie "Avatar," this phone will come with "Inception."
We just received a few very interesting tidbits in our tips box this evening as it pertains to the Verizon iPhone and how Best Buy is training their employees to encourage customers to stay with AT&T. As you can see in the document above, which we've confirmed is straight out of a Best Buy playbook, you can see that Big Blue is looking to talk down the Verizon model. What we haven't confirmed is the reason why--is Best Buy not going to be selling the Verizon iPhone at launch? If not, it would make sense that they'd wanna downplay the phone that they aren't selling so that they can continue moving phones that they actually stock.
Specifically mentioned is the fact that Verizon spent all of CES touting their 4G network, while the iPhone is a 3G device that will "still be puttering at EVDO speeds." Kind of odd, since the AT&T phone does the same (although AT&T's GSM is faster than Verizon's CDMA.)
We've got one more image out of Best Buy's playbook after the jump. Oh, and it looks like AT&T is gonna try and entice customer to stay by changing up the costs of their text messaging plans.
If you're planning to get a new smartphone on Sprint, you should probably do so in the next couple of weeks. After Jan. 30, data plans for smartphones activated on the carrier will go up in price by $10 a month, the company announced today.
Called "Premium Data," the mandatory charge is added to the Sprint's existing unlimited $70 Everything Data plan, pumping it up to $80 a month. Sprint says the increase is to address its users' "growing appetite for a richer mobile experience." The charge affects only smartphones activated Jan. 30 or later—existing customers will not experience the increase until they upgrade.
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