Microsoft reported its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings on Tuesday afternoon. While the company missed Wall Street's consensus mainly due to poor performance out of its newly acquired Nokia smartphone division, all in all it was a fairly solid quarter with operating income coming in at $6.48 billion on revenue that beat analysts' estimates at $23.38 billion. While we still don't know how well the company's Surface tablets are selling — in fact, the odds are very good that we'll never know — Microsoft CFO Amy Hood did share a bit of good news during the company's earnings conference call on Tuesday evening.
Whether you're looking to replace your laptop or just find something to keep you entertained, there's a tablet out there to suit you. But with an ever-increasing array of slates crowding the market, narrowing down the list can be a chore. So we've sorted through the pile and picked out some of our favorites for both power users and media consumers. Our complete buyer's guide is always just a few clicks away, but feel free to cruise through the gallery below for a quick rundown of the best tablets you can buy today.%Gallery-slideshow208733%
It looks like you won't have to wait long at all to check out Google's visually rich Play Store revamp -- it's rolling out now. The refresh doesn't appear any different on the surface, but a quick dive shows very different product pages that are clearly inspired by the company's multi-layered Material Design philosophy. Cover art plays a much larger role, and details like rating overviews and genres have been moved into easy-to-read icons. You might not like everything about the new storefront -- there's considerably more scrolling involved, for one thing. On the whole, though, it's both prettier and easier to understand at a glance. The revamp should reach your device within days, but Android Police has an installer if you just can't wait to see what's new.
Source: Google Play (Twitter)
Apple had a very strong second quarter. iPhone sales were up significantly over Q2 2013 and the company pocketed $700 million more in profit than it did during the same period last year, even though iPad sales slipped slightly. The company's third quarter results, released today, reflect a similar trend. At $37.4 billion, revenue is up $2.3 billion over the same period last year, thanks in no small part to boosted sales in Asia. iPhone and Mac adoption remains strong, with 13- and 18-percent increases over the same period in 2013, respectively, but iPad and iPod sales both slipped, registering 9-percent and 36-percent respective drops. Apple sold 35 million iPhones during Q3 of this year, compared to 31 million in 2013, while iPad sales dropped to 13.3 million, from 14.6 million last year.
The iPhone 6 may be the hottest device coming from Apple this year, but that doesn’t mean the company has stopped working on some other interesting products. A new report from Taiwan’s Economic Daily News says Apple will soon launch an even slimmer iPad mini model, and that it’s still working on a bigger iPad Pro version.
In January 2013, NVIDIA unveiled its first end-to-end consumer product: NVIDIA Shield. In our review, I wrote, "NVIDIA Shield is a truly strange device" One year later, that statement stands -- only now it applies to NVIDIA's second consumer product as well: the Shield tablet. Okay, okay, Shield Tablet isn't quite as bizarre as the original Shield, but it's a close second.
Shield Tablet dumps the original Shield's 5-inch screen in favor of a bigger 8-inch, 1080p display, swaps the original Tegra 4 in favor of K1 and drops the controller bit entirely. Should you wish to pair a controller with Shield Tablet -- and NVIDIA thinks you should -- the company's making one (it's even got WiFi Direct for lower latency than Bluetooth), but it's totally optional and doesn't come packed in with the tablet. So, what is this thing? Who is it for? And is it any good? Let's find out.%Gallery-slideshow208966%
Verizon's money machine continues to plow on, but much of its wireless growth this quarter came from tablets, not smartphones -- a trend that started last quarter. Big Red added some 1.4 million net retail connections, of which a whopping 1.15 million used LTE-equipped tablets. Many of those may have come via its new More Everything plan, which only adds $10 to an existing contract for a tablet, compared to $40 for another smartphone. Though all those devices technically count as new connections, Verizon only added 304,000 net phone customers, compared to
940,000 472,000 this time a year ago. Despite that smartphone connection dip, however, Verizon still saw 7.5 percent more wireless revenue ($21.5 billion) and a similar bump in operating profits.
If you regularly catch up on eSports or "let's play" sessions while on the move, today's your lucky day. Twitch has revamped its Android app with a fresh interface that lets you get to the biggest game streams as quickly as possible, with impossible-to-miss links to the hottest titles. It's also much better suited to tablets, and you can now check out both user profiles and offline channels; that's handy if you missed a big event or want to follow someone with similar tastes. It's much easier to sift through search results, too. The remake isn't well-timed -- it's arriving right as Valve's The International tournament is winding to a close -- but it's still a big deal if you like to spectate games as often as you play them.
HTC is widely expected to make Google’s next Nexus tablet – an 8.9-inch premium device that was already spotted in internal Google code, and which is referred to Nexus 8 or Nexus 9 in various reports – but the company may launch two other tablets of its own, @evleaks has learned.
Want to know why traditionally PC-centric companies like Microsoft are pouring so much energy into their mobile efforts? Look no further than China, which now says that more of its residents are getting online with phones and tablets than PCs. Of the 632 million internet users recorded this June, 83 percent (527 million) were using mobile devices at least some of the time; meanwhile, 81 percent (512 million) hopped on using computers. Internet adoption was almost exclusively driven by ultra-portable gadgets, in fact. While overall internet use grew about 2.3 percent in the space of half a year, the number of mobile surfers jumped by 5.4 percent. The growth pattern suggests that many first-timers don't have a PC at all -- whatever's in their pockets may be the only way they connect to the digital world.