By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
NEW YORK – New brands, sizes and technologies greeted the tablet market in recent weeks.
Acer launched the industry’s first 8.1-inch Windows tablet, Samsung launched the first 8-inch tablet in its Tab series, and Hisense entered the U.S. tablet market.
In addition, Wikipad entered the market with the first game-optimized tablet, and Hampoo unveiled its first glasses-free3D tablet.
Here’s what the products offer:
Acer went to Taiwan’s Computex show to introduce the industry’s first 8.1-inch Windows 8 tablet.
Two versions of the Iconia W3 tablet will ship in June in the U.S. The 64GB version is priced at $429, and the 32GB model is $379.
The 8.1-inch tablet comes bundled with Microsoft Office Home & Student, a package that includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. The tablet weighs 1.1 pounds, measures just less than 0.5 inches thick, and runs on an Intel Atom Z2760 processor. It features front- and rear-facing 2-megapixel cameras and MicroHDMI and MicroUSB ports. An optional Bluetooth keyboard dock will be available.
Hampoo went to the Computex show with what it called the world’s first 10.1-inch glasses-free 3D tablets for mass production. It incorporates TriDef 3D Mobile technology from DDD Group, a developer of 3D technology. TriDef 3D Mobile converts 2D photos, videos and games into 3D onto a tablet screen for glasses-free 3D viewing. The tablets are expected to launch in the third quarter. Additional launch details were unavailable.
TriDef 3D Mobile allows stereoscopic game play for more than 50 Android mobile games even though the games were not specifically developed for 3D, DDD said.
The Hampoo tablets are also compatible with the soon-to-be-released Yabazam 3D Android app, which provides original 3D programming.
Hisense launched its first two branded tablets for the U.S. market in recent weeks through Walmart stores. The 7-inch Wi-Fi Android tablets are the Sero 7 LT at a suggested $99 and the $149-suggested Sero 7 Pro.
The Android 4.1 LT offers 1.6GHz dual-core CPU, 1 GB RAM, 4GB embedded storage, 1,024 by 600 display, and 0.3-megapixel front-facing camera.
The Android 4.2 Pro features 1.3GHz quad-core CPU, 1GB RAM, 8GB embedded storage, and 1,280 by 720 display. The Pro model adds Bluetooth and nearfield communication (NFC) technology for tap-to-pair functionality with Hisense TVs. It also adds 5-megapixel autofocus rear-facing camera with flash and 2-megapixel front camera. Both support HDMI cable tethering and MHL.
Samsung is expanding its Tab 3 series, which will replace the Tab 2 series. The 10.1- and 8-inch models in the new Tab 3 series will be available globally beginning in June, joining a 7-inch Tab 3 announced in May. The two new models’ prices and availability date by country were not announced by press time.
The 8-inch model will be the first 8-inch model in the Tab series, although the company already offers an 8-inch tablet in the Note series, which features S-Pen stylus.
Compared with their predecessors, both new Android 4.2 Tabs get speedier CPUs (up from 1GHz dual core), better cameras, and the addition of Wi-Fi A and dualband N. They also add such features as S Translator, Pop-Up Video, Watch On, Dual View, Reading Mode, Group Play, Story Album and S Health, which are available in such Samsung products as the Galaxy Note tablets and Galaxy S4 flagship smartphone.
The 10.1-inch Tab 3 with 1.6GHz dual-core processor is intended for everyday family use and multimedia consumption, the company said. Features include WXGA TFT 1,280 by 800 display with 149 ppi, 3-megapixel main camera with 720p at 30 fps recording, 1.3-megapixel front camera, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n with dual-band N, Wi-Fi Channel Bonding, Wi-Fi Direct, MHL and Bluetooth 4.0.
The 10.1-inch model will come with either 16GB or 32GB memory plus 64GB MicroSD card Slot. The Wi- Fi version will be 9.6 inches by 6.9 inches by 0.3 inches in size, weigh 18 ounces, and feature a 6,800mAH lithium- ion battery.
The 8-inch Tab 3 features 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1.5GB RAM, 8-inch WXGA TFT 1,280 by 800 display with 189 ppi, 5-megapixel main camera with 720p at 30fps recording, 1.3-megapixel front camera, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n with dual-band N, 4450mAh lithium-ion battery, WiFi Channel Bonding and WiFi Direct. It will come in 16GB and 32GB versions with 64GB MicroSD card slot.
Toshiba’s Android 4.2.2-based Excite tablet series now consists of a good, better, best selection with the Excite Pure, Excite Pro and Excite Write, respectively, filling in those slots, said Duc Dang, product development senior product manager in Toshiba’s digital products division. All feature 10-inch screens.
The top-of-the-line $599 Write comes with a Wacom stylus and several Toshiba-developed writing-enabling apps that capture handwriting and drawings.
The Write, powered by a Tegra 4 processor, features 32GB memory, Pixel Pure 2,560 by 1,600 300 ppi display, and front and rear cameras. It will ship with Android 4.2.2 but will be upgraded to the new Key Lime operating system when available.
The midrange $499 Pro has the same specs as the Write but drops the stylus. It can be mated with an optional Bluetooth keyboard cover. The entry-level $299 Pure uses a less-powerful Tegra 3 processor, 16GB memory, 1,280 by 800 display, and front-facing camera.
The 7-inch tablet features detachable wraparound game controller, which is included in the price and designed to deliver console performance in a portable device.
For gamers, the tablet’s controller works with Android games designed specifically with game-controller support, and the tablet is PlayStation Mobile-certified for downloading and playing PlayStation Mobile games. When the game controller is detached, the device becomes a fully functional Android 4.1 tablet with access to the Google Play store. — Reporting by Joseph Palenchar, Doug Olenick and Greg Tarr
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