With a focus on mobile computing I attended my 6th Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week. I wasn’t just there to look at products though because my focus was on assessing trends and trying to work out how those trends might impact the pro-mobile computing market that we cover here. Here’s a list of take-aways and notes from Barcelona.
Temash is AMD’s new computing platform aimed at Windows 8 tablets. Recently they teased some interesting docking functionality in which you could dock a Temash tablet onto a keyboard for a 40% processing power boost which is an idea that we’d love to see explored in the computing industry. Chippy has been on the show-floor of Mobile World Congress 2013 this week and got to check out Temash prototypes at the AMD booth.
I’ve finally had good hands-on time with every Clovertrail tablet, hybrid and convertible out there today. There are only 11 so it wasn’t too difficult but it’s a good position to be in. Which one is the best? Which one has the best docking keyboard? Which one is the best value? Which on is the best for YOU?
At MWC this week I took videos of the final seven Clovertrail-based Windows tablets and the results are below. I’ve outlined the targe customers and put some thoughts down about what’s the best Clovertrail Windows 8 tablet or hybrid.
Nicole Scott of Netbook News tells me she isn’t too impressed. She has a point. Its hardly the most attractive device in the Tablet space. The thing is, this will come in at a very nice price. Ben has already highlighted a $300 price which means you have a better option than the Viewpad 7. You’re getting an arm v7 more which means significant performance implements with Android 2.2 and the ability to run apps like flash 10.1. I have a video which I’m going to upload as soon as I buy a new charger for my netbook bit at least I can give you some images from the showfloor here at MWC. One of the images includes the specs and we’ll get this in the database for you as soon as possible.
Tegra and Honeycomb seem to be everywhere at MWC. We spotted the Acer Iconia 100 yesterday but that seems to be the only 7″-er. Everything else is 10″. At this early stage in the Honeycomb lifeline there isn’t a lot of time for manufacturers to make huge differentiation in the software layers so LG have chosen to go the hardware route on their tablet and have added 3D cameras. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to test them.
With Honeycomb being so new its difficult to come to any conclusions but I saw an amazingly sharp and high-contrast screen that was let down by a user interface that should be a lot, lot smoother.
On the back you have a removable panel which seems to be only for the Sim card. I think I must have missed something there but I’m sure there’s no removable battery. Build quality overall seems very good and the gaming experience was an obvious step up from what I’ve seen on other devices. If developers jump on the bandwagon and optimise for Tegra, it will a real advantage in the gaming space.
With that 3D feature in the device I’m certainly not expecting it to be cheap and I wonder, is anyone really crying out for 3D camera like this?
This is the Samsung Galaxy S Wifi 5.0 with, obviously, a 5″ screen (Wvga). It has the 1Ghz SP5C110 cpu inside and, confirmed, full Google market and apps suite making it quite unique. It records 720p (fixed focus) and has a nice 5MP camera. It’s built well and slots nicely into a few categories I can think of. People wanting a full Android experience without a contract for a start. Launching this month in Korea and soon for global markets. A 2500mah battery should see it lasting a long time between charges. DLNA, Samsung app market, GPU, accelerates top off the specs. Video coming soon but here are a few pics. More coming later.
Remember that cool-looking tablet user experience we saw back at Computex?, well it’s back and it’s official. It’s now the official Tablet User Experience for MeeGo.
We’ve had a close look at the demonstration, seen below on an ExpoPC, and talked to Intel’s Michael Richmod, the marketing manager for this product. Developers attending the Applab this week at MWC are going to get a pre-configured Meego tablet to walk away with and the Meego image, built with the latest 1.2 beta, will be available for download later this week.
Intel have completely re-written the ‘panels’ user interface in QML (Qt Meta-Object Language) that now enables Intels customers (remember this isn’t an end-user product) to customise the UI. Intel tell us that this enables them make customisations and, by having a baseline to work from, to shorten their time-to-market figures. Note that QML also enables 3D acceleration in the UI.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a deck of panels in a tablet UI (cough*webos*cough) but remember, these panels are really apps in their own right rather than representations of running software. Each panel flips to offer customisations, a nice feature. It would be great to see each running represented as a panel and we hope, really hope, that Intel and the MeeGo teams have made it easy for developers to create new panels. UI customisations will be difficult without a range of panels to choose from.
There’s no filesytem exposed in the UI but the UI does retain certain desktop features like ‘right-click’ which is implemented as tap-and-hold through the MeeGo applications suite. Also missing is a centralised notifications system although there could be a panel for that!
The MeeGo build and user experience is currently only for the ExoPC hardware (also seen used in other manufacturers devices, WeTab included) but the Lenovo S10-3T will be supported soon. Intel wouldn’t comment on Moorestown and Oaktrail target products â€“ possibly because there aren’t any that are officially available yet! We hope that problem sorts itself this week because the MeeGo stack badly needs some sexy hardware. Take what HP did this week as an example of an OS, dev tools and products being presented as one bundle.
As for apps, Intel have chosen the Chromium open-source browser rather than the Firefox Mobile option that has been talked about for the handheld user experience. Although Intel partners can choose other options, we don’t expect that to change (although an official Chrome build would be nice.) You’ll also find an emailÂ client, calendar, video player with open source codecs, audio player, social network subsystem, sharing subsystem, image viewer, instant messengerÂ and the configurations pane. We didn’t spot AppUp or any other way to attach to Linux repositories although do remember that this is Linux to the LSB standard.
Intel are welcoming feedback on this build and do plan to turn around iterations based on that feedback. The Intel Atom Developer Program is the forum for that.
Al in all we think a lot of people are going to be excited about this. The response we had on the original panel demos at Computex was overwhelmingly positive. We’ve got reservations about the notifications system, and would have liked to see multitouch support, easier app switching, some more advanced demo hardware, Appup, third party applications [breathâ€¦] and we have ongoing questions about QML, the Nokia owned product that slipped from it’s mainstream positioning last week. Is it enough to beat WebOS and Honeycomb? With this full-fat Linux stack leaning a bit more to traditional computing architecture and with Oaktrail and Moorestown products coming soon, there’s definitely an opportunity here for a fully productive operating system with a quality touchscreen-UI. We’re trying to think of another 7-10â€ tablet-focused operating system that offers a full desktop browser and the opportunity to span consumption and productivity scenarios. We can’t!
Stay tuned as we get briefed on products and plans today.
We’ve turned up 30 minutes before the Intellect press event and there are paper copies of a press release on the table. There’s a few devices hanging round too. Meego Table User Experience is here. “Featuring an intuitive object-oriented interface with panels to display content and contacts.” We will bring you more soon.
We’ve just had a demo of the HP Touchpad and will be giving you that video later. Smoothness could even be one step up above the Xoom we tested earlier but of course what’s the future for the development ecosystem? Is this range of products good enough to make it work? We’ll head back to see if we can get our own hands on later.