By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
NEW YORK – Tablet sales continue to grow, with 34 percent of U.S. adults owning a tablet, according to a poll by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
But competition continues to drive down prices and drive some vendors out of the market even as new Android and Windows 8 models hit the market.
BlackBerry, which fell into the red for the quarter ending June 1 after two consecutive quarters in the black, said it will drop tablet development and no longer bring the new BlackBerry 10 OS to its PlayBook. The company will continue to support PlayBook with the current operating system.
BlackBerry president/CEO Thorsten Heins said he was not satisfied with the level of performance and user experience that the company was able to bring to BB10 on the PlayBook.
Barnes & Noble said it will wind down internal development and production of its Nook HD and HD+ tablets and instead partner with CE vendors to develop co-branded tablets. The bookseller will continue to develop and make its own e-readers and continue to develop e-reading platforms and apps for use on other mobile devices.
The bookseller cited a 34 percent decrease in its fiscal fourth quarter in its digital content segment, which includes devices, content and accessories. For the year, segment sales were down 16.8 percent, though content sales within the segment were up16.2 percent.
In another indicator of growing tablet competition, Samsung unveiled a new 7-inch Galaxy Tab 3 and priced it at $199, down from the $249 launch price of its predecessor. Samsung also unveiled 8- and 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab 3 tablets, the latter replacing a 10.1-inch model and the former representing the first 8-inch tablet in the Tab series, which is priced below the company’s Note series of tablets with include stylus.
In other tablet introductions:
• Samsung unveiled the thinnest Windows tablet and the company’s first dual-OS Android/Windows 8 convertible notebook/tablet.
• Lenovo announced summertime availability of a 10.1-inch Windows 8 tablet that connects to a detachable folio case with a built-in keyboard to turn it into a full-function laptop.
• Huawei unveiled its latest 7-inch Android tablet, its first tablet since an August 2012 introduction, but didn’t announce plans for the U.S. market.
Here are the product details:
Samsung said the Ativ Tab 3, which measures 0.32 inches (8.2mm) in depth and runs the full Windows OS, is the world’s thinnest Windows tablet. The 19.4-ounce tablet sports a 10.1-inch screen, 8.5-hour battery life, included Microsoft Office Home and Student software package, and S Pen stylus.
The stylus, also available with other Samsung Ativ and Android tablets, lets users write and draw on documents and enter data into applications.
Samsung’s convertible notebook/tablet with dual OS is the Activ Q, whose 13.3-inch qHD+ display is promoted as offering “the world’s highest resolution” at 3,200 by 1,800 pixels. It also of-fers 2.8 times higher pixel density (at 275 ppi) than FullHD displays, the company said. The display slides up at an angle to reveal a hard keyboard and create a laptop-like look.
The 0.55-inch convertible lets users switch from the Android 4.2.2 to the Windows 8 OS with the press of a button and without rebooting. The convertible also lets users pin Android apps onto the Windows 8 start screen for launch from the Windows start screen.
SideSync is available on both the Ativ Q and Ativ Tab 3 to let users view and control Samsung Android phone content.
Pricing and availability weren’t disclosed.
Samsung did disclose pricing and availability of its latest Galaxy Tab 3 Android tablets. The Galaxy Tab 3 7.0, Galaxy Tab 3 8.0, and Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 are priced respectively at $199, $299 and $399. All were to be available at retail by July 7.
The Tab 3 8.0 is the first 8-inch tablet in the Tab series.
All three feature Android 4.2 and will be available in Wi-Fi and cellular versions.
Lenovo’s Miix 10.1-inch Windows 8 tablet connects to a detachable folio case with a built-in keyboard to turn it into a full-function laptop.
The tablet starts at $500 for the base Wi-Fi model without a detachable keyboard. A SIM card port is available for a version with 3G W-CDMA SIM card. When bundled with the keyboard, the package will be $549, a spokesperson said.
Features include 10.1-inch 16:9 touchscreen with 1,366 by 768 resolution, IPS and five-point multitouch, which lets users interact with the screen with five fingers at once. It also comes with Intel Atom dual-core processor, 2GB LP-DDR2 memory, 64GB of embedded storage, 32GB MicroSD slot, 10 hours of battery life, MicroHDMI port, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, 1-megapixel webcam and Microsoft Office 2013 software.
The tablet weighs about 1.2 pounds and is 0.39 inches (10mm) thick. The Miix is the latest “multimode device” from the company.
Huawei’s latest 7-inch tablet is the MediaPad 7 Vogue with aluminum uni-body that is 0.37 inches (9.5mm) thick and weighs 11.8 ounces.
It also features quad-core 1.2GHz processor, circuit- switched cellular calling capability with built-in speaker and mic, 16-core GPU, 1,024 by 600 IPS multi-touch display, 1080p FullHD video storage, HSPA+42 cellular data, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, MicroUSB port, 4100 mAh li-polymer battery, and proprietary power-saving technology to enable playback of four HD movies or more than 20 hours of continuous calling on one charge. Plans for U.S. distribution weren’t announced.
This is Huawei’s the company’s first tablet launch since August 2012.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.