LeapFrog will be taking pre-orders for its $100 LeapPad Explorer tablet for kids beginning Wednesday, the educational product developer announced on its site this week. The 5-inch tablet comes in pink or green, has a 480-by-272 pixel (16:9) touchscreen and will have 100 downloadable apps or app cartridges ranging in price from $5 to $25 available in time for the August 15 release.
The multifunctional learning tablet "builds off the success of 2011's Educational Toy of The Year Award winner, Leapster Explorer," LeapFrog said in a statement. The LeapPad Explorer is intended for children ages four and up.
"LeapFrog created the first interactive learning experience with our original iconic LeapPad Learning System in 1998. After 10 years of research into the most proficient ways for children to learn, we are doing it again with LeapPad Explorer," said Craig Hendrickson, senior vice president and chief product officer for LeapFrog, in a statement announcing the tablet back in February.
The increase in U.S. adults who own e-readers is outpacing the growth of tablet owners, according to a new phone survey by the Pew Internet Project.
Adults who owned ereaders like Amazon's Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook doubled from 6 percent of the U.S. adult population in November 2010 to 12 percent in May 2011, according to the survey of 2,277 respondents aged 18 and over. The survey was conducted in both English and Spanish.
Over the same period, the share of adults who said they owned a tablet such as Apple's iPad grew as well, but by just 3 percentage points. About 5 percent of respondents in an earlier Pew survey from November of last year said they owned a tablet, while 8 percent said they did in the most recent one, conducted between April 26 and May 22.
Here comes the HTC Evo View 4G! And it's packing a lot of firsts for its Friday debut on Sprint: The tablet is Sprint's first 4G Android tablet to hit the market, period–that's the first tablet set up to work with the company's 4G WiMax network—around 5 Mbps downloads and 950 Kbps uploads.
Most importantly—for movie buffs—the HTC Evo View 4G is the first tablet to ship with built-in support for Netflix movie and video streaming. In doing so, it joins an exclusive club of Android devices that support the service: A sad list that's currently limited to just nine Android smartphones.
So what's the deal? Are other Android-equipped devices—both phones and tablets—just too slow to run Netflix? Not necessarily. A Sprint spokeswoman confirmed in an interview with Wired that the company performed plenty of testing to ensure that Netflix streaming would proceed smoothly across the company's network.
The more realistic answer as to why you can't yet get Netflix on, say, a Motorola Xoom tablet, is the ugly monster that often rears its head whenever Android upgrades are discussed: Fragmentation. In the case of Netflix, the company has to perform extra research and configuration to ensure that the digital rights management systems it employs work across a number of Android devices. And that's not just a work-once, works-everywhere kind of proposal.
The ad, titled "Now," highlights the versatile nature of iPad apps. "Now, you can watch a newspaper," a voiceover says, zooming in on someone flipping through the Wall Street Journal app. "Now you can listen to a magazine," the voice says, switching to an interactive "Fantastic Mr. Fox" feature from Spin magazine.
The ad also flashes to someone watching "The King's Speech," video chatting via FaceTime, and taking an online class. "Hold an entire bookstore [via iBooks] and touch the stars," the ad concludes, flashing to an astronomy app, "because now, there's this."
This, of course, is the iPad 2, and the commercial ends with a shot of the updated tablet sitting on a table, presumably waiting for you to dole out hundreds of dollars for the pleasure of its company.
The HP TouchPad finally has a launch date! If you've been jonesing to pick up the first webOS tablet, your lucky day will be July 1st, as long as you're cool with the Wi-Fi model. If you prefer the 3G TouchPad, you'll have to wait until later this summer. The 3G provider for the TouchPad will be AT&T, which may influence your decision on waiting. You'll be able to get the 16 GB TouchPad for $499, while the 32 GB model will retail for $599, which is right in line with iPad 2 pricing.
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In the first public unveiling of the upcoming Windows 8 interface, Microsoft's president of Windows, Steven Sinofsky, showed off a radically altered Windows start screen that features user-configurable tiles and looks almost nothing like Windows 7. The demo took place during this week's D9 conference in southern California.
The new interface supports gestures, snap, pin, cloud apps, new concepts like a basket for files you'll want to share between apps and services, and a hidden task bar on the right side of the screen. The updated OS is designed to work on "the hundreds of millions of PCs already out in the market," Sinofsky said.
Since it's still Windows, all devices and apps that work with Windows 7 will run on Windows 8, said Sinofsky, adding that consumers will only have to choose which device to run it on. "The interface scales from about 7-inches to a wall-screen display," explained Sinofsky.
In addition to the development screen, Microsoft showed Windows 8 running on tablets from Samsung and Lenovo.
Is Advanced Micro Devices finally making a major push into the tablet market? That's the signal sent by leaked product roadmap slides showing plans for an AMD tablet chip codenamed Desna that surfaced on NGOHQ.com last week.
The slides don't offer any specs for AMD's Z-Series accelerated processing unit, or APU, nor do they name a release date other than the heading "2011 AMD HD Tablet Platform Overview."
Here's what we do know. AMD thinks Desna is well-suited for both consumer media tablets and devices built for business use. The chip maker is playing up its graphics prowess with promises of "smooth streaming HD video," AdobeFlash 10.2 acceleration, Microsoft Office 10 visual enhancements, and support for DirectX 11 and Windows 7 Effects.
Desna also runs accelerated HTML 5 and Internet Explorer 9, while "leveraging the Microsoft Windows application base," which sounds a bit like AMD saying, "we don't actually have an app store for this chip."
The Z-Series platform's commercial play seems to be summed up with promises of "full integration and support in IT environments," "unparalleled versatility and security," and "enhanced productivity."
A "source" allegedly told The Korea Herald that "Apple wants to tap into Samsung's AMOLED technology for an upgraded version of the iPad 2." The site also claimed that Apple chief operating officer Tim Cook started chatting with Samsung about the possibility of integrating the technology on a recent trip to South Korea, and it pegs the end of the year for the launch of Apple's next-generation tablet.
Apple didn't upgrade the iPad's display with the second iteration of the device it released in March, and rumors about the fabled iPad 3's screen have already started to trickle in. Earlier this month, reports circulated that the next iPad will feature a 3D display.
A source tells the site that Wal-Mart will be carrying a 32GB version of the 9.5-inch tablet running HP's own in-house webOS, for the Apple iPad-like price of $599.
A Wal-Mart listing presumably passed along by the tipster doesn't contain a lot of detail, though it does list the $599 TouchPad as Wi-Fi-enabled. Other connectivity options weren't indicated.
The source must have passed on other details, because PreCentral.net reports that the TouchPad will be 9.5x10x1.78 inches, weigh in at 3 pounds, and that a number of TouchPad accessories will also be available from Wal-Mart.
RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky estimates that RIM has sold about 250,000 PlayBooks to date, and could sell about 500,000 in the quarter. Abramsky and his team checked out PlayBook stock at 180 Best Buy stores and found that 14 percent of the 16GB versions were sold out, 71 percent of the 32GB PlayBooks were gone, and 84 percent of the 64GB tablets had been purchased. He cautioned, however, that the sell-outs on the 32GB and 64GB "appear allocation related."
Abramsky found that returns for the PlayBook are "nominal," despite setbacks that include a recall of 1,000 tablets and the lack of a native email client.
This comes about a month after Peter Misek, an equity analyst with Jefferies, speculated that RIM possibly sold 45,000 PlayBooks in the first few days.