Additional reporting by Greg McGowan
The big news this week was the RIM unveiling of what the company refers to as the “first professional tablet,” the PlayBook.
Much of what RIM revealed regarding the BlackBerry tablet was already known through rumors and leaks, including its ability to tether to BlackBerry smartphones for a data connection. And although it leaked out as well, the news that the PlayBook will run a completely new OS built by recently-acquired QNX took many by surprise, especially considering RIM just announced its new BlackBerry OS 6 last August.
And while the BlackBerry tablet — I mean PlayBook — dominated the headlines, Apple, HP and others also made tablet news. Here is a quick look at the stories that slipped past the watchful eye of TabletPCReview.
iPad Bouys Mini-Note Sales
Apple shipped 3.3 million iPads through Q3 2010 and has buoyed sales of what analysts at DisplaySearch calls “mini-notes,” a product class consisting of netbooks and tablets. Measuring quarter to quarter, sales of mini-notes were down four percent, but up 29% measured year on year. Eliminate the iPad from the equation, and shipments were down 14% quarter to quarter, and down 13% year on year. In response to what the analysts call “the iPad effect,” John F. Jacobs, Director of Notebook Market Research said, “The first quarter of 2010 signaled the birth of the tablet PC, and possibly by extension, the beginning of the end of the mini-note market.”
Samsung has announced plans to launch the much-ballyhooed Galaxy Tab Android tablet on November 1st in the UK. While Samsung revealed that all major UK carriers will support the device, they neglected to mention any pricing models.
HP VP Mentions PalmPad
Though there has been no official word on HP’s webOS tablet, other than the company is working on one, HP VP Todd Bradley referred to the “PalmPad” in a conference call with investors. “We’ll have a webOS-powered PalmPad that will be set for release early in 2011,” he said, according to PreCentral. Regular TPCR readers remember that HP filed for a trademark on the name “PALMPAD” during the summer months.
Motorola’s Android tablet, which may go by the moniker Stingray, is apparently queued up for a Q1 2011 release on the Verizon network, according to a Verizon roadmap obtained by Engadget. The Stingray will sport a 10-inch screen, Android 3.0 OS (Gingerbread!), 16 GB of storage, and a Tegra 2 processor. The report also claims that it will be “hardware upgradeable to LTE,” which is Verizon’s 4G network.
No Windows 7 Tablet Until Mid 2011?
HP Slate as leaked on YouTube
Don’t expect those rumored Microsoft Windows 7 Tablet PCs to ship soon, claims Jefferies analyst Katherine Egbert. According to Business Insider, Egbert writes, “Early reports about Windows 8, which has been rumored for release in late 2011, make it appear to be more suited to the tablet market with features such as instant on, GPS support and restoration tools.” In addition, Windows 7 doesn’t play nice with the Qualcomm SnapDragon processor, and Intel’s tablet Oak Trail is not expected until Spring 2011. Meanwhile, there seems to be a consensus among manufacturers that existing Atom chips are not cut out for Windows 7.
TPCR wonders what that means for the recently leaked HP Slate?
iPad in the Enterprise
Apple is slowly — and finally — making inroads into the enterprise, reports CNNMoney. Apple COO Tim Cook stated in July that 50 percent of Fortune 100 companies are already using or considering using the iPad for corporate use, and that 80-percent of them were using the iPhone.
Sonos finally launched the Sonos Controller for the iPad, a free app that allows users to control their home music via their Apple tablet and home WiFi network.
Best Buy Wants the PlayBook
According to Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn, the brick-and-mortar electronics outlet is working on a deal to bring the BlackBerry PlayBook to Best Buy stores, reports AfterDawn. The move would allow the electronics retailer to add the device to a lineup of tablets that currently includes the iPad.
Verizon Bringing the NFL to Tablets
Are you ready for some football on your tablet? The National Football League is reportedly in talks with Verizon to supply NFL programming to tablets, reports the Wall Street Journal. “The NFL will be on a tablet,” said NFL senior media strategy VP Brian Rolapp. He added, “It’s a question of what shape or form. We are currently talking to Verizon about it.”
BMW Integrates iPad
BMW presented its upcoming iPad integrated headrests at the Paris Auto Show, reports Auto Spies (via Engadget). The setup enables backseat passengers to view the iPad, which is secured via the front seat headrest. In 2004, BMW was the first automaker to include a fully integrated iPod dock.