Sonos, makers of the Play:3 and high-end ZonePlayer wireless multi-room music systems, has announced an update to its system software that adds more wireless music streaming options, and lets users control their Sonos systems with their Android tablets.
The most notable feature of the 3.6 software update makes the Sonos Controller app available to Kindle Fire and Android Honeycomb tablets users, letting them use their tablets as remote controls for their Sonos products. The company released the app for Android phones in February, and the Sonos Controller is also available for iOS devices.
The Android tablet app, which can be downloaded for free from the Android Market or the Amazon Appstore, is scaled to take advantage of tablets' extra screen space. It includes enhancements like on-device music library and zone management, alarms that let you fall asleep or wake to your favorite tunes, and Twitter integration, so you can tweet what you're listening to on Sonos from your tablet.
The Amazon Kindle Fire is the first small tablet that average users can pick up and immediately use, with a simple, clear interface. Then there's the price: Android along with amazing specs for just $199. It's open enough to attract geeks, too. While the user interface occasionally gets sluggish, we're willing to have a bit of patience to get a first-rate tablet for half of what most competitors charge, thus the Kindle Fire is our first Editors' Choice for small tablets.
A solid little brick at 7.5 by 4.7 by .45 inches and 14.6 ounces, the Kindle Fire looks and feels a lot like the BlackBerry PlayBook, but the Fire is smaller in all dimensions. There are no slots or tabs; both the memory and battery are sealed in, and the only interruptions in its smooth, black form are the headphone jack, Power button, MicroUSB jack, and dual stereo speakers. There's no camera, but I've never been sold on the value of tablet cameras anyway. It uses 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi networks to get online; there's no cellular radio or Bluetooth connectivity.
Turn the Fire on and the 7-inch 1024-by-600 IPS LCD screen lights up. This display is very sharp and clear, but it's also rather reflective. Just like on the Apple iPad 2, you may have trouble reading in bright light because of the screen's sometimes mirror-like gloss. While this is par for the course with tablets, I expected more given the Kindle name. This isn't a dedicated e-reader by any means.
If you pre-ordered a Nook Tablet, you can get your hands on it a bit early. Though Barnes & Noble said the device would arrive on doorsteps and in stores on or around Nov. 17, the company confirmed that it will actually be available as of yesterday.
The device was delivered and available for in-store pickup yesterday. Those who didn't pre-order can start buying the tablet in stores today.
The Nook Tablet includes a 7-inch touch screen with 1024-by-600 display and runs a TI OMAP 4 dual-core processor. The $249 Nook Tablet boasts 16GB of internal storage, expandable up to 32GB via a microSD card and includes access to Barnes & Noble in-store support.
Rival Amazon also shipped its Kindle Fire tablet a day early for shoppers who pre-ordered the device; it was originally scheduled to ship on Nov. 15. During an earnings call last month, Amazon said pre-orders for the Fire exceeded expectations, prompting the company to ramp up production on the tablets. Dave Limp, vice president of Amazon Kindle, also said this week that the $199 Kindle Fire is already the best-selling item across all of Amazon.com.
The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is ready for its close-up and under the hood it sports Nvidia's next-generation Tegra 3 mobile processor. That makes the Transformer Prime the first tablet to feature the quad-core System-on-a-Chip (SoC), which Nvida says provides three times the graphics performance of its current Tegra 2 chip while soaking up 61 percent less power.
The 10.1-inch Transformer Prime is nice and thin at 0.33 inches and weighs in at 1.29 pounds, Asus said Tuesday on a conference call with reporters. Thanks to the Tegra 3's improved power consumption, the tablet's battery life is rated for up to 18 hours, although that's when you combine it with the optional mobile dock and keyboard which Asus is also offering, naturally, as part of the Transformer Prime package.
Without the accessory, you're still getting up to 12 hours of battery life, which Asus was happy to point out is enough for "a trans-ocean flight, all-night game session, viewing several movies on a long road trip, or even video recording, editing, and then playing back your child's school play."
The Tegra 3 chip, the first quad-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU, significantly boosts 3D gaming and Internet browsing on tablets like the Transformer Prime, thanks to a 12-core GeForce GPU that's also part of the next-gen SoC, according to Nvidia.
The low-cost Android tablet space is heating up. And just in time for the holidays.
Barnes & Noble today unveiled the Nook Tablet, a beefed-up follow-up to the popular Nook Color ebook reader/tablet. The Nook Color also remains in the company's arsenal, but with a lower price. The Nook Color is available now, while the Nook Tablet is available for pre-order and ships by November 18.
Amazon, meanwhile, last month took the wraps of its first color touch-screen ereader/tablet, the Kindle Fire, which is currently on pre-order and ships by November 15.
This morning Barnes and Noble unleashed their answer to the Kindle Fire, and it's the Nook Tablet. The Nook Tablet focuses on multimedia consumption, and keeps true to its e-reader roots with a great book and magazine reading experience. It's got a 7-inch display with Wi-Fi built-in and 16 GB of storage as well. It's thinner and lighter than the Nook Color, with a much faster 1 GHz dual-core processor as well.
The Nook Tablet also has 1 GB of RAM, and weighs in at under a pound. B&N says you should expect 11.5 hours of battery life from the device, which runs a customized version of Android 2.3. That customization, by the way, means that this isn't the type of Android tablet that you can just take and do your will with. It's geared towards things like reading books/magazines/periodicals, email, Internet browsing, video streaming, etc. In fact, a partnership with Netflix means you'll have deep integration of the platform on this tablet, with suggestions showing up on your home screen. Expect games, music services like Pandora, and other entertainment options (like Hulu) as well.
The Nook Tablet ships on November 18th, and can be pre-ordered now.
Looks like Barnes and Noble is set to release some new Nook hardware on the heels of all the new Amazon Kindle goodness that's been all the rage in the e-reader world lately. It all goes down a week from today, and we expect to see a new Nook Color, but also wouldn't be surprised if the Simple Touch Reader got a facelift as well.
"September 28th was the biggest order day ever for Kindle, even bigger than previous holiday peak days," Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, said in a statement. "In the three weeks since launch, orders for electronic ink Kindles are double the previous launch. And based on what we're seeing with Kindle Fire pre-orders, we're increasing capacity and building millions more than we'd already planned."
The $199 Kindle Fire will debut on November 15. Last month, Amazon also debuted a $79 version of its original, e-ink Kindle, and will start selling a touch-based version on November 21. You can pre-order the Kindle Fire and Kindle Touch now.
Samsung's big hardware upgrade to its first-ever tablet, the 7-inch Galaxy Tab, had a name as of the device's announcement late last month. And Samsung has now finally gotten around to announcing a release date and price for the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. According to the company, the upgraded version of the Galaxy Tab will start selling in the U.S. on November 13 for $399.99 – all of $100 less expensive than the starting price for tablets from Samsung's chief rival as of late, Apple (it's also much smaller than the iPad as well.)
So what are some of the big improvements arriving on this 7-inch tablet refresh? For starters, the 7.0 Plus is taking a leap from Android 2.2 to Android 3.2 – that's a move from the Froyo iteration of Google's operating system to Honeycomb. Samsung's still slapping its Touchwiz interface on top of Honeycomb, which includes new resizable widgets and a sticky "mini app" tray that can be pulled up from any screen on the device and used to load a variety of preset apps on the device.
Amazon has been working on a new Kindle tablet for quite a while, and it looks like its set to reveal it to the world in just under a week. The Android-powered device is set to take advantage of all of Amazon's services--not just eBooks, but video on demand, music, the store, and all the rest. We're guessing that in addition to a tablet or two, we'll also see an updated e-ink version of the Kindle as well. Of course, we'll let you know what happens when it all goes down this Wednesday at 10:00 am Eastern!
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