If we draw an almost totally arbitrary line in the sand and call it "500 pixels per inch," then smartphones now stand proudly on one side of it, while tablets still languish on the other. Japan Display is gently nudging the market forward, however, with the 4K 12-inch tablet panel we saw last year (which offered 365 ppi) and now with a 4K 10-inch prototype that delivers a much higher pixel density of 438 ppi. That's good news for Chuck Yeagers who reckon they can spot the difference, but Japan Display is promising something even more important: It claims its 4K (3,840 x 2,160) screens have just the same appetite for energy as the regular 2,560 x 1,600 panels found in manytablets today. That means 4K slates could arrive at no cost to battery life, relative to current technology, leaving us with just the pesky financial and computational overheads to deal with instead.
A little while ago I was lucky enough to get the chance to have a quick play with the Sony Tablet Z2, the Z2 and have a look at the new Smartband and here are my impressions.
The phone has a nice feel to it, very similar to the Z1 in size, the differences aren’t really noticeable in comfort in the hand or feel. However the big difference is the screen, the colours are much more vibrant on the Z2 compared to the Z1 and the viewing angles are vastly improved, so rather than having a white tinge to the screen when not looking straight at the phone, it stays crisp and clear.
The Sony Z family – from left to right Z2, Z1, Z, Z1 compact
Sony also had the Z2 linked up to a Playstation 4 on a Bravia screen to show off the second screen technology. It was purely a tech demo with some cute little white robots but showed where Sony are heading with the single ecosystem and it was very quick to add extra objects for the robots to play with, just by drawing them on the Z2 and flicking it onto the screen.
The following photos were all taken on a Z2, and transferred over to my phone. I didn’t take all of them but they show pretty good details and colours.
The Tablet Z2 seemed pretty neat and even lighter than the original tablet Z, possibly too light to have a decent feel in the hand. Having said that the screen is very nice and the tablet is very responsive. Below are a few pictures of the tablet, including some of it underwater (just because you can). You can see an unboxing of the tablet Z2 from Garry here and read his first impressions of the device here.
Whilst I didn’t get a chance to take any pictures of this or see it in action I did get to try it on and it is very comfortable. Apparently the Core will come packaged with a Smartband in a range of sizes (S,M,L) and colours. The bands will also be available separately.
The gallery below is a selection of other shots I took of the Z2.
I’m looking forward to getting a chance to play with them a bit longer and I’m now leaning towards the Z2 as my upgrade, even if it is delayed.
After months of treading water, Android 4.4 KitKat is finally taking off. Google reports that 5.3 percent of Android users are running the newer OS version as of early April; that's more than twice the 2.5 percent that it claimed one month earlier. There's no official explanation for the jump, but it's most likely thanks to a wave of KitKat upgrades from HTC, LG and Samsung. Most older versions lost share as a result. It could be a long, long time before KitKat overtakes Jelly Bean (which dipped to 61.4 percent), but the transition is under way -- and it's only likely to accelerate now that flagships like the Galaxy S5 and new One are reaching store shelves.
If you've ever argued that your new smartphone is more reliable than what you're replacing, you now have some evidence to back up your claims. Crittercism has posted a study showing that apps running in newer versions of Android and iOS (such as KitKat and iOS 7.1) are considerably less likely to crash; you're practically inviting headaches if you stick with a phone running Gingerbread or iOS 6. The research also suggests that the Galaxy S 4 and iPhone 5 are the most trustworthy devices, while tablets of all kinds are relatively crash-happy. The findings aren't shocking when both Apple and Google have both spent years fixing bugs, and it's notable that the study only covers crashes with third-party apps -- they don't address first-party software glitches. Still, this data is as good an excuse as any to upgrade an aging handset stuck on an old platform.
Even the prettiest mobile games tend to look a bit ugly, with simple lighting effects that remind you that you're not using a more powerful console or PC. If Imagination Technologies has its way, though, those pocket-sized games will be truer to life. Its newly unveiled Wizard architecture brings ray tracing, a technique that calculates the path of every light beam in a 3D scene, to the company's PowerVR mobile graphics cores. You can see the resulting visual boost in the picture above: every light casts a shadow, glass is more realistic and reflections accurately portray the surrounding world. The first core to use Wizard is the high-end GR6500, which companies can license for their mobile processors. Imagination hasn't named customers, but we'd note that Apple and Intel are among two of its clients -- don't be surprised if your next iPhone or Windows tablet is a graphics powerhouse.
If you're an Android user traveling to the Middle East or southern Asia, you'll likely want to grab a just-released update to Google Translate. The new app expands on a recent iOS upgrade with handwriting recognition for 13 extra languages that mostly come from the above two regions; you can now write in Arabic and Persian as well as Indian dialects like Gujarati, Kannada, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu. You'll also find support for Bosnian, Cebuano, Hmong, Maltese, Mongolian and Somali. This isn't the biggest Google Translate refresh that we've seen, but it could make all the difference if you're visiting Dubai or New Delhi.
Hewlett Packard is trying to pull off a flanking maneuver on the Android market, through low-profile launches of low-cost devices. We recently came across the company's VoiceTab phablets during a side-show at Mobile World Congress, and now we're looking at a more traditional 7.85-inch tablet called the HP 8. In return for $170, you'll get a plain-looking device that, aesthetically, has more in common with last year's Slate 7 than with the faux-metal VoiceTabs. However, since we're making comparisons, we should also point out that the HP 8 has a worse display than both the Slate 7 and Dell's rival Venue 8, with fewer pixels (1,024 x 768) spread out over a larger area. The software and internals seem functional enough, though: Android 4.2.2 running on a quad-core ARM chip made by the Chinese company Allwinner, with 1GB of RAM, 16GB of expandable storage, stereo speakers, and a just-about-okay 3,800mAh battery that promises up to seven hours of use.
Google Play Games just became much, much more useful for avid Android gamers. A newly released update to Google's entertainment hub lets you see all your invitations; it's now much clearer that someone wants to play. The upgrade also shows you a not-quite-live view of who's playing, and a new Find Games area (shown here) suggests titles you can try. Play Games still won't compare with advanced gaming frameworks like PlayStation Network or Xbox Live, but it's likely worth a download if your smartphone regularly doubles as a handheld console.
Last week was the first time I’d seen the Lenovo Yoga Tablet. The 8″ version has been kicking around for a bit but this is the new 10″ version. To be honest I was really impressed with the design of this and how good it looks. The additional slide-on keyboard acts as both a cover for the device and a very nice keyboard which you can pop in front of the device to create yourself a slim notebook.
Thanks to that rounded and easy-to-hold spine, you’ve got 18 hours of battery life, which is more than many laptops I’ve ever used. This tablet has a sturdy stand which lets you position the device at a multitude of angles. The Yoga automatically adjusts images
and text on the screen to the ambient light, meaning that it’s easier on the eye.
That 10.1″ “20/20″ screen seems to be viewable from almost any angle, plus it’s a full 1920×1200 HD resolution
Here’s a rather large selection of shots..
The Android 4.3 tablet runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core CPU with Dolby audio, 10 point multitouch, a micro USB port and an 8 megapixel rear camera.
I must admit that, if Lenovo can design more phones that follow similar designs, I’m very interested in the Lenovo and Motorola future products. This tablet looked and felt absolutely amazing. It’ll be available in April with prices starting at $349, which is just £209.