Tablet News Week of February 3rd

Note: This is being published later than usual today in order to include news related to the release of Microsoft Surface Pro tablet today.

This week it is all about Apple’s 128 GB iPad 4…oh and the Sold Out Microsoft Surface Pro. On Tuesday Apple Launched 128 GB iPad. While the starting price of $799 is still cheaper than the Microsoft Surface Pro. An analyst claims People Are Overpaying Apple for 128 GB iPad 4. They claim Apple only spent around $35 to go from 64 GB to 128 GB and yet the retail price difference is $100. This roughly calculates to a 285% profit on the iPad 4 128 GB model in regards to the storage space.

Microsoft Surface RT and Surface Pro Tablets

The Microsoft Surface Pro Tablet has hit store shelves in the US and Canada [engadget]. Both the 64 GB and 128 GB models have already sold out on the US MicrosoftStore.com [C|NET] They were being sold at Best Buy and Staples stores in the US, but quantities were limited to 1-2 per store. It appears the 128 GB model is still available via Staples.com and Best Buy was selling these in store only and are sold out. They are also on sale at Microsoft stores in the US.

The starting price is around $1000 for the 128 GB model, but accessories such as the keyboard and cover are going to run you another $120 each. Looking at the Surface RT and Pro side-by-side, they look pretty much the same. C|NET has side-by-side comparison of the Surface RT and Surface Pro specs including the above side-by-side photo of the two units.

Meanwhile Microsoft Defends Surface Pro Storage, Short Battery Life. I have seen the complaints about the ‘actual’ disk space (around 83 GB free on the 128 GB model), but this is the first I am hearing about short battery life (around 4 to 4.5 hours of ‘moderate use’ on a single charge). Not sure what they consider ‘moderate use’, but this battery life is about what I get on my Windows 7 laptop. People need to understand that while the Surface Pro is marketed as a “tablet”, it is also running a full version of Windows 8 and other applications (Office) much like a laptop. It appears it run these applications very well too: Surface Pro Benchmark Showcases Impressive Performance.

Shifting gears slightly, Nokia Contemplating All Options for Tablet OS, which includes making a Surface RT tablet. Nokia should just stick to making handsets and stay clear of the tablet market. I just don’t see things ending well for Nokia if they shift their focus on making Windows RT tablets. They may have better success with Android, but even that market is getting a bit crowded now.

In other news:

  • Tablets Accounted for 46 Percent of PC Shipments in Q4 – no big surprise here. Heard a lot of advertising for the Amazon Kindle and Apple’s iPad over the holidays last year.
  • Dell Owner Admits Rapid Rise of Tablets Surprised Him – Not so much how fast the tablet market has grown, but rather how fast businesses are ditching their traditional desktop PCs for tablets.
  • iPad’s Market Share Drops, Android Continues Dominance. I seriously doubt the release of the Surface Pro is going to do anything to  Android’s market share. The release of Apple’s 128 GB iPad 4 might result in a small drop this quarter as Apple users tend to rush out and get the “latest and greatest”. Of course expect the see thing again later this year when the iPad 5 and iPad Mini 2 are released.
  • The rumored 7-Inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Detailed in Benchmark. The display resolution of 1280 x 800 is the same of the Google Nexus 7. While on the subject of the Nexus 7…
  • The Next Nexus 7 Model to Use Qualcomm Snapdragon Chipset? Besides a full HD display (1920 x 1080) the second generation Nexus 7 by Asus would ditch Nivida’s Tegra 4 processor in favor of the Qualcomm Snapdragon. My HTC Sensation phone uses the Snapdragon processor which my original G2 used the Qualcomm Scorpion processor. In regards to speediness  the Nexus is faster than my phone. However, having not used any other tablets in the past it is hard to compare.
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Helix Ultrabook/Tablet Hybrid Delayed. Lenovo now says the $1500 device might be out in March of April and more details were forthcoming.
  • Fujitsu Announces Water-Resistant 10-inch Full HD Arrows Tab – This one has some pretty impressive specs and features (other than it is only running Ice Cream Sandwich instead of the newer Jelly Bean or Key Lime Pie). No US price or release date announced yet (suppose to be released in Japan next week). Expect more news at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) at the end of this month.

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