This time last year, the tech world was holding its collective breath for the "slate" device Apple was heavily rumored to be releasing. A few weeks after CES, we had the Apple iPad, and a new product category with a clear leader was officially born. Since then, it feels like someone poured water on the tablet category or fed it after midnight. The sheer multitude of tablets seems to multiply like gremlins, and many of the products are equipped with operating systems that have a few gremlins of their own. CES 2011, nonetheless, will be remembered as the opening bell for the year of the tablet. Thus far, only two true contenders, Apple's iPad and Samsung's Android-based Galaxy Tab, have emerged as viable, enviable tablets. In about a week, that will all change…maybe.
Flipboard, one of the best iPad apps for reading through your Facebook and Twitter feeds in a magazine format, just received a major update that brings a bunch more features to the table. You can now view your Google Reader subscriptions, Flickr feeds and groups, and the app also boasts more features for Facebook and Twitter as well. You can use the app not only to check out all the content that's out there, but now it's easier to add your own updates, photos, and articles back into your social networks as well. Hit the video for a look. Flipboard is completely free.
Read More | Flipboard
Microsoft, along with various hardware partners, entered the tablet market a decade ago, but it was never a big success for them. Now that the iPad has taken off, and with Android tablets also looking strong this Christmas, the New York Times has an exclusive report saying that Microsoft is about to release a series of new tablets at CES early next year. According to inside sources, Steve Ballmer will introduce devices from Samsung, Dell and others, and try to get Microsoft back in the race. However, unlike the iPad and Android tablets, they will run Windows 7 or 8, a full desktop OS, and include a slide out keyboard.
Of course the fact that they will run a full OS brings questions like how much battery life they will have. Also, some of the marketing points will be for people to "work on Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint while doing work”. This seems very similar to what the UMPC and previous Windows tablets were about, and it seems like a repeat of previous attempts--including last year at CES where Ballmer announced their new tablet initiative.
Read More | New York Times
If you're looking for some inexpensive-yet-functional items from our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide, today we've got some gloves that any owner of a smartphone with a touchscreen might appreciate. Freehands makes gloves that allow the wearer to use their touch-enabled device, which keeping their hands warm. They have some models where the gloves have fingertips that can be pulled back for the thumb and forefinger, and others where the gloves have material in the fingertips so that you can tap away while keeping all your digits nice and toasty. Prices start at just under $20.
Read More | Freehands gloves
As everyone knows, Trucks are good and Skulls are evil. And when they get together…it's smashing. I'd read a comic book called Trucks & Skulls; I'd watch a movie called Trucks & Skulls; and I'd give my kids a bunch of toys called Trucks & Skulls.
What Trucks & Skulls is right now, though, is a game app for the iPhone and the iPad.
It hasn't been out for much longer than a month and already it's racking up the awards, the great reviews and the downloads.
The reason I pimp for this (again!) is that the game comes from Appy Entertainment and its Secret World Headquarters north of San Diego.
Read More | Appy Entertainment
When the BBC launched it's iPlayer service, a way for people to listen to shows from the BBC radio and TV stations from the past 7 days, it was hailed as a great step forward. With more than 139 million requests in October, it's currently the largest VoD service in the UK, comparable in scope with Hulu in the US. Unfortunately, the iPlayer service has been limited to UK citizens only. Now, the BBC has announced that it's coming to the US with a subscription based model, initially as an iPad app. The iPlayer app will allow people to watch popular BBC shows on demand like Dr Who. So far, the only way people outside of the UK has been able to get some of the BBC shows was through third party services like iTunes, or from networks who bought the rights to redistribute shows on their channels. Now, a single app will allow the BBC to provide that content directly to users for a monthly fee. The service should be live at some point next year.
Read More | PaidContent
The new iPad-only magazine entitled “Project” was launched yesterday. Helmed by Richard Branson, Project is available as an iPad magazine where issues cost $2.99 each. A subscription option through iTunes is thought to be the next step for the magazine, and may be announced December 9th at a media event.
The cover of the inaugural issue loans the talents of Jeff Bridges, toting an exclusive story on Tron 2. Project uses features such as “Spine”, “Action Buttons”, and “Plus Panels” that make the magazine more than simply a print-to-digital carbon copy. As such, the iPad-only magazine has the potential to be a new form of media. However, whether it lasts or not is a question we will see answered over the deciding next few months.
Read More | Project Magazine
It’s no secret that Apple’s iPad is a hot-ticket item this holiday season. Though with its price of $499-$699, you better hope your secret Santa has the hots for you this year. No such luck? Well, if you’re in the UK then consider looking to Orange for a contract-tied iPad deal of the decade. That’s right, with a two-year contract of £27 ($42) per month (£25 for existing customers) you can get an iPad Wi-Fi + 3G at prices of £199 ($312) for the 16GB version, £249 ($391) for the 32GB, or £349 ($626) for the 64GB.
This two year monthly plan allows you 1GB of anytime data, 1GB off-peak data (basically between midnight and 4pm), and 3GB of BT Openzone Wi-Fi.
Read More | Orange
If you're looking for some decent discounts on Apple products straight from the horse's mouth, you should head on over to the Apple Store Black Friday one-day sale event. Some of the products they've got on sale don't offer much of a discount at all, however you can get an iPad for $41 off, or a new 13-inch MacBook Air for $998, which is $1 less than the 11-inch $999 model. There are also discounts on the iPod touch, MacBook Pro, iMac, and a bunch of accessories.
Oh, and you should also be aware that MacMall has their Black Friday sale going on, and they're offering a bunch more discounts and prices lower than Apple on a bunch of items!
Read More | Apple Black Friday 2010 sale