Second generation Nexus 7 (or Asus ME571K_PR1_SKU2) caught on camera ahead of July 24th launch event

After it failed to make an appearance at Google I/O in May, rampant speculation ensued surrounding Asus and Google’s inevitable launch of the successor to the Nexus 7. When Google sent out invitations this morning for an event next Wednesday to be hosted by Chrome and now Android chief Sundar Pichai, many concluded that the Moto X, Android 4.3 and this mystery tablet would turn up, and this has been all but confirmed by Android Central obtaining many pictures and a video of the miniature tablet. Rumours point towards a quad-core Qualcomm processor, a higher resolution display, rear camera and up to 4GB of RAM, all while retaining a price point similar to that of the original, clocking in on retailer databases as $229 and $269 for 16 and 32GB variants.

Source Android Central

 

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HP announces SlateBook x2, a convertible Tegra 4 Android tablet for $479.99

HP Slatebook x2

I like to call HP the most unpredictable company in tech. One minute they’re acquiring Palm for $1.2 billion, then the next they’re discontinuing all webOS products and throwing TouchPads out of the door for less than £100 a pop. There is literally no way of telling what wacky thing they’ll do next, and at MWC they proved this by announcing the Slate 7, a £129 Nexus 7 competitor with near-stock Android and Beats Audio. While there was absolutely no reason to buy one over a Nexus 7, it still suggested that HP had an interest in good value Android machines with unmodified software. Now it seems that theory is correct, as the company has unveiled the SlateBook x2.

If you’ve ever seen HP’s Windows 8-powered Envy x2, then the SlateBook x2 should instantly feel familiar. It’s smaller, at 10.2″ compared to 11.6″ for the Envy x2, but it follows the same basic concept of a slate being paired with a detachable battery-equipped keyboard to make a notebook form factor. The slate itself is powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 4 chip, has a 1920 x 1200 IPS display and 64GB of storage which is expandable via microSD and, in the keyboard dock, a full size SD. The software is also pretty much stock Jelly Bean with HP’s only additions being printing stuff and some document editing/file management capabilities. Best of all the whole keyboard and 64GB tablet package will only set you back $479.99, so less than a 16GB 9.7″ iPad, meaning that it’ll probably end up at around £390 in the UK. If Android tablet app offerings were more compelling, I’d be seriously tempted.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9EcgzjT7e8]

Source HP (YouTube)
Via Android Beat

Microsoft Surface RT review

IMG_20130124_212237

Last June, a mysterious event invite came out of Microsoft’s Washington HQ. Unlike pretty much every other tech launch in the last two years, we hadn’t seen any major leaks beforehand, although rumours of the launch being for a tablet with Windows 8 (or, according to Mat Honan, a #MSFTaaaaaablet). What the company ultimately unveiled was the Surface, its first piece of Windows-based hardware, in both RT and Pro flavours, the latter of which still hasn’t made it to the UK. In a brave experiment, I have spent the last couple of months using the RT model as my primary computer, and it’s definitely been turning heads. Has this been for good reasons, though? Read on to find out. Continue reading →

App of the week: Pocket Casts

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If you’re like me, you listen to a lot of podcasts, and you will know that it can be quite hard to keep track of what you have or haven’t listened to or what episodes are new. This week’s app of the week, Pocket Casts by Shifty Jelly, is perfect solution for Android users who want to keep track of all the different podcasts conveniently and easily. It automatically checks for new episodes and notifies you when new episodes pop through via RSS, and presents you with options to either stream or to download. The app will even delete any episodes which you have listened to automatically, and use smart playlists to isolate those episodes that you need to finish first. All this comes alongside a plethora of other useful features such as cross-platform subscription sync.

interface_PocketCasts_sync2

On Android, the new version 4.0 follows the Holo guidelines to the letter, but manages to add its own flavour of red and white to the mix, making this one of the best looking apps I have ever used. While not quite as good-looking or feature-rich, the iOS version of the app still looks great. All in all, I seriously recommend this app to anyone who listens to podcasts.

Pocket Casts, Android (£2.70), iOS (£1.49)
Download from Google Play or the App Store

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 revealed early on MWC show floor

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 MWC

We’ve known about its impending arrival for a while, but only now has an Engadget tipster shown us what Samsung’s latest Galaxy Note form factor will look like. Following on from both of the phablets and the 10.1″ slate we saw at MWC a year ago, the new 8″ tablet appears to aim squarely (or rectangularly) at the Nexus 7 and other small slates, and, unsurprisingly given its Galaxy Note nomenclature, there’s an S Pen involved. The design language appears to closely follow that of the Galaxy S III and Note II, and we should get to see more of the device, set to be the main inspiration for the upcoming Galaxy S IV, at MWC in Barcelona this week.

Source Engadget