You didn't think Amazon was going to update its old-school Kindles and leave its tablets alone, did you? The Kindle Fire HD ($200-$600) offers a range of sizes and features for Prime-oriented slate shoppers. At the low end, we have an upgraded version of last year's 7-incher, with a new non-Playbook-y design, 1280x800 display, Dolby audio with stereo speakers, dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi, a dual-core processor, 16GB of storage, and an upgraded software experience. Moving up the line, you'll find a new 8.9-inch version, packing the same features along with a 1920x1200 screen, and at the high end, you'll find that same, larger model with 64GB of storage and LTE networking. Something tells us there's going to be a lot of tablet unwrapping going on this holiday season.
What's our biggest beef with the Kindle? Same thing it was on day one: the lack of a backlight. The Kindle Paperwhite ($120-$180) is here to change all that. It's based on an all-new touch display tech that offers 25% more contrast and 62% more pixels — 212 ppi, for the resolution geeks out there — and uses a patented light guide to spread LED light across the surface just like ambient light. Other features include a 9mm, 7.5 oz. body, 8-week battery life, a refreshingly dark paint scheme, and optional free 3G wireless networking. Arriving in October.
Leave it to the boys in Redmond to make purchasing a tablet confusing. The new Microsoft Surface Tablets ($TBA) will come in two varieties: one with an ARM processor running Windows RT, and one with an Intel processor running Windows 8 Pro. The RT model sports a 10.6-inch HD display, microSD slot, USB 2.0, a Micro HD video port, and your choice of 32GB or 64GB of storage, while the Pro model features a 10.6-inch Full HD display, a microSDXC slot, USB 3.0, a Mini DisplayPort video port, and either 64GB or 128GB of storage. No matter which one you choose, you'll be able to attach the magnetic Touch Cover or Type Cover to add a keyboard to the otherwise touchscreen device. But don't go losing your shit just yet — no release date and no prices were given.
eReaders built around ePaper displays are great — until the sun goes down and you find yourself propping lamps in strange positions in order to get a light on the things. Now, you could just get yourself a Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight ($140) instead. This new six-inch eReader sports a built-in light that gets diffused across the entire screen for an even reading experience, as well as the touchscreen interface, built-in Wi-Fi, and microSD features of the standard Nook Touch.
It's been less than two years since the iPad first landed, but Apple is ready to make the only tablet worth buying even better. Headlining the list of new features on the iPad 3 ($500-$830) is the drool-worthy Retina display, which densely packs in enough pixels that the human eye is unable to distinguish individual pixels when held at a reading distance — you know, like that iPhone 4 in your pocket. The new iPad and that crazy screen is powered by a high performance A5X chip with quad-core graphics (which is still is smart enough to deliver 10 hour battery life). There's also a slick 5 megapixel iSight camera with 1080p HD video recording capability. And for the first time, you can get built-in support for AT&T's and Verizon's 4G LTE networks. Apple also today introduced the iPhoto app, along with major updates to iMovie and GarageBand, completing its suite of iLife apps for iOS. Like always, the latest iPad is available in black or white. It comes in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities. It will be available on March 16th.
Do you think Hasbro is getting a cut on this? Oh, sorry, didn't realize you were reading already. Anyway, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime ($500) is the world's first tablet to sport Nvidia's crazy quad-core Tegra 3 processor — codenamed Kal El, presumably after Superman (DC Comics dolla bills y'all) — and will also offer a 12-hour battery, a 10.1-inch 1280 x 800-resolution Super IPS+ display, an eight-megapixel camera, and an optional $149 keyboard dock which may or may not be named after a comic book character. [via]
It's shaping up to be quite the holiday season for tablet shoppers. First the iPad, then the Fire, and now the Nook Tablet ($250). Aimed squarely at consumers of books, magazines, video, and other media, the Nook Tablet sports a dual 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, a seven-inch VividView touchscreen, 16GB of memory, Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Pandora pre-loaded, Wi-Fi for downloading more Android apps, a rechargeable battery good for up to 11.5 hours of reading, and, of course, a funky open loop in the bottom corner for attaching a carabiner. Oh, that's not what it's for? Why is it there, then?
Still on board the "I hate Apple and won't buy an iPad" boat? Suit yourself, and prepare your bank account for purchase of these Sony S1 & S2 Tablets ($TBA). Running the latest version of Android 3.0, both tablets will offer Wi-Fi and 3G/4G connectivity, DLNA functionality, PlayStationSuite support, and a 9.4-inch screen on the S1, which also offers universal remote control functionality, or two 5.5-inch screens on the S2.
Does this list apply to you? A.) You don't want an iPad. B.) You want a tablet. C.) Ten inches is too big. D.) Seven inches is too small. If so, you might soon be in the market for a Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 ($470-$570). Powered by Android 3.0 Honeycomb and a dual-core 1GHz processor, the 8.9 features a 1280x800 8.9-inch display, HSPA+ networking, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a three-megapixel rear camera, a two-megapixel front camera, Sammy's TouchWiz UX interface — the first custom job for Android 3.0 — either 16GB or 32GB of internal storage, and all the glory that comes with being the only person you know who owns an 8.9-inch tablet.
Steve Jobs made a surprise appearance today to introduce us to the iPad 2 ($500-$829). About 33% thinner than the current iPad (which makes it thinner than the iPhone 4), the all-new iPad features Apple's new dual-core A5 processor for faster everything, as well as a front-facing VGA camera for FaceTime, and a rear-facing camera that captures 720p HD video. It's also got a built-in gyroscope, HDMI video output at 1080p HD ($39 cable required), 10 hours of battery life, and the same 9.7-inch LED-backlit LCD screen. Choose from black or white in 16GB ($500), 32GB ($600), 64GB ($700) sizes. If you want built-in 3G, you'll have to pay a little more — 16GB ($629), 32GB ($729), 64GB ($829). Also announced were iMovie ($5) and GarageBand ($5) for iPad, and a new magnetic Smart Cover ($39-$69).
And the parade of new tablets continues. The HTC Flyer ($TBA) runs Android 2.4 with HTC's Sense interface, and packs a seven-inch touchscreen with 1024x600 resolution, a 1.5 GHz processor, 32 GB of internal storage with microSD expansion, 1GB of RAM, HSPA+/GSM cellular connectivity, a five megapixel rear camera with auto focus and a 1.3 megapixel front camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP, GPS, and all the mystique and intrigue that comes with being someone who doesn't use an iPad.
With sales of its original, seven-inch Galaxy Tab not exactly setting the world on fire, Samsung's ready to try again with its big brother. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 ($TBA) offers more than just screen size improvements over its little sibling, including three-megapixel AF rear-facing and two-megapixel front-facing cameras with 720p video recording, a 1GHz dual-core processor, HSPA+ 21Mbps, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR and Wi-Fi, up to 64GB of internal storage, Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Flash 10.2 support, Samsung's TouchWiz UX interface, and, of course, a 1280x800 10.1-inch touch display.