The Staples Black Friday 2011 sale begins at 6:00 am the day after Thanksgiving, and they've got a few items that have our attention. We've got the highlights of the sale for you after the break, which include a $199 BlackBerry PlayBook, Beats by Dr. Dre Solo headphones with a $20 gift card at purchase, buy 1 get 1 free paper, and more.
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.
We continue our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide with the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet. This is the Amazon tablet we've been waiting on for months, and it's has finally shipping. Amazon's looking to disrupt the tablet landscape with the Fire, and is pricing it aggressively at $199. The Kindle Fire weighs 14.6 ounces and packs a 7-inch IPS display, dual-core processor, 512 MB RAM, and 8 GB of on-board storage. It runs a forked version of Android that Amazon has prettied up in a major way. You also get Wi-Fi built-in as well.
Purchasers of the Kindle Fire also get a 30-day trial of Amazon Prime, which'll let you get a nice sampling of what the company's Video on Demand service offers. Other services you can access from the Fire include Amazon's Android Appstore, Kindle books, a host of magazines, Cloud Drive, Cloud Player, and the Amazon MP3 service.
You can pick up a Kindle Fire now for $199 on Amazon.
Read More | Amazon Kindle Fire
The new Amazon Kindle Fire is a powerful, dual-core Android tablet for only $200. It doesn't have the quarter-million apps from the Android Market, though; by default, you can only load the "thousands" of apps in Amazon's App Store.
But that's OK. If you have an Android phone around, you can use free tools to load almost any Android app onto the Kindle Fire. You don't need to hack, alter, or "root" your phone or tablet to do this, and Amazon doesn't oppose sideloading apps.
The Kindle Fire can install any app in the standard Android APK format, but I strongly suggest only installing apps you've moved over from a phone or downloaded from a major app store. You can find APKs scattered around the Internet on various sites, but don't use those, even for free apps.
Why not? Developers can't track APKs that are just floating around the Net, so they don't know their apps are being used. That discourages developers, especially small developers, from upgrading and making new apps. Peer-to-peer app piracy sites are also sinks of malware, as they have none of the safeguards you'll find on an app store.
So here's how to move any app from an Android phone running Gingerbread (Android 2.3) to a Kindle Fire. It's a lot of steps, but I'm just being very clear; they go quickly.
RadioShack's Black Friday 2011 sale looks enticing, and we rarely say that kind of stuff about The Shack. Doors open at 5:30 am the day after Thanksgiving, but you can get the Black Friday prices a day early by shopping on radioshack.com. We've got the highlights of the sale for you after the break, which include a $300 15-inch Toshiba laptop, a $99 7-inch Velocity Micro Cruz tablet, 20% off Beats by Dr. Dre Solo headphones, and more.
I know I'm not the only parent out there that has to give up the iPad to the children on a regular basis, and that's why we're putting the LeapFrog LeapPad in our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide. It's a personalized learning tablet optimized for kids ages 4 through 9. It's got a 5-inch touch display, built-in camera that can record video, and ships with four apps. More apps are available for download, and they focus on various educational topics like reading, math, science, geography, art, music, and more. You can pick up the LeapPad on Amazon now for $99.
Read More | LeapFrog LeapPad
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.
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