Available in Wifi + 32GB version only, priced £239.99
The new white Nexus 7, announced yesterday for the UK, U.S. and Japan, is now available for Brits to buy. The tablet appeared on the UK Google Play Store yesterday along with a "coming soon" notice, but now it's on sale at the regular price of £239.99 for the Wifi-only version with 32GB of storage. As is the case in the U.S., that's the only white Nexus 7 available at the moment — so if you want LTE connectivity or the cheaper 16GB storage option you're limited to the traditional black version.
White Nexus 7s ordered today in the UK are due to ship within 1-2 working days, with free ground shipping being offered "for a limited time."
4.3-inch mid-range phone turns into a 7-inch mid-range tablet
As widely anticipated, ASUS has today announced the latest addition to its Padfone line of convertible Android devices, the Padfone Mini. Like other Padfone products, the Padfone Mini comes in two parts — a 4.3-inch phone and a 7-inch tablet dock — meaning you can slot the former into the latter. This lets you use a single data plan for both tablet and phone mode, and charge the phone while it's docked in the tablet.
Unlike previous Padfones, the Padfone Mini is aimed squarely at the mid-range market. It's got a quad-core 1.4GHz Snapdragon 400 CPU with 1GB of RAM and a qHD (960x540) display on the phone, which expands to 1280x800 on the tablet. There's microSD expandability in addition to the 16GB of built-in storage, as well as a 1500mAh battery in the phone and a 2200mAh bank in the tablet. For your imaging needs there's an 8-megapixel camera with burst mode and ASUS' PixelMaster tech for boosting brightness in dark scenes.
And on the software side, the Padfone Mini runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and ASUS' own software customizations.
So the specs aren't earth-shattering, but given the price point of NT$11,990 ($405) that's not entirely surprising. The Padfone Mini is due to go on sale in China, Russia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia, according to Engdget, with no word on any Western release plans.
Amid all the Google Play edition news dropping today, Google has also taken the wraps off the Nexus 7 (2013) in white. Google says it'll be available in the UK, U.S. and Japan, and besides the change in color it's the same ASUS-made, current-generation Nexus 7 we've been using since the summer.
It's worth noting that at the time of writing it's only available in Wifi + 32GB versions — no 16GB or LTE at present.
For more, see the Play Store link above. It's currently marked as "coming soon" in the UK; in the U.S. it's available to order right now.
LG's latest mid-sized tablet comes in a new software flavor
Following tightly on rumors that it would release a stock tablet, LG has just announced the Google Play edition G Pad 8.3. The tablet looks nearly identical to the original version of the G Pad 8.3, but is of course running a stock version of Android 4.4 KitKat, as you would expect from a Google Play edition device.
The device is only available in black (rather than black and white), and packs the same 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage (expandable by MicroSD) and an 8.3-inch 1920 x 1200 IPS display.
The Google Play edition G Pad 8.3 is now available on the Play Store for $349.99, and at the moment shows 1-2 business day shipping. For the moment, Google and LG aren't releasing details on availability outside of the U.S.
There's been some speculation online lately surrounding an upcoming LG tablet carrying the model number LG-V510. Twitter leaker @evleaksrecently published info suggesting it'd be a "Google open" device, and now files in an open-source code drop from LG itself refer to it as the "G Pad 8.3 Google Play edition."
The source code and framework support files appear to be from KitKat-based software, as you'd expect from this kind of tablet. What's more, Android Police has come up with a build.prop from the purported tablet, which is consistent with what we'd expect from such a device. So there are some strong indicators that we could be on the way to the first Google Play edition tablet, which might join the existing GPe phones on Google's online store.
Supermarket chain Aldi is the latest UK retail name to start selling super-cheap Android tablets in the run up to the holidays. This Sunday, Dec. 8, the store will offer the Medion LifeTab E7316 tablet for £79.99. It's an Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean slate with a quad-core 1.6GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM and 8GB internal flash, expandable via microSD card. You also get front and rear cameras — 2MP and 0.3MP units — as well as 802.11n Wifi connectivity.
The specs are nothing spectacular compared to the likes of the Nexus 7. But this thing sells for less than half the price of Google's tablet, and on the face of it seems decent value for money. There is however no indication as to whether the tablet is Google Play certified — a process which has presented issues for some cut-price tablets in the recent past.
New tablets to compete with iPad Air and iPad Mini in 2014, according to Korean press
In the early days of the Galaxy Tab line, Samsung released a couple of Android tablets with AMOLED screens — the Galaxy Tab 7.7 and 8.9 — but since then the company's tablet lineup has been a strictly LCD-only affair. That may be about to change in 2014, however, as reports from the Korean press suggest that Samsung Display is working on 8 and 10-inch AMOLED screens for high-end tablets, due for release in the new year.
Korea's Digital Daily reports that the new screens will be aimed squarely at high-end tablets to compete with Apple's iPad Air and iPad Mini, and will arrive around the same time as its next flagship smartphone. Samsung's budget tablets will continue to use LCD panels, according to the report, an approach which would mirror its smartphone display strategy.
As these reports are far from official, it's worth taking them with a pinch of salt for the moment. But it'll be interesting to see whether these new devices might bring about a return of the Galaxy Tab brand in the high-end tablet market. In 2013 the Tab 3 line consisted of mostly entry-level tablets, with the high end occupied by the stylus-toting Galaxy Note 8 and Note 10.1 2014 Edition.
Dedicated tablet app looks just like the phone equivalent
British satellite broadcaster BSkyB has launched a dedicated tablet version of its Sky Go app, which allows subscribers to stream live TV and on-demand content to their Android devices. Sky says the app, like its smartphone counterpart, also gives customers access to more than 800 movies and a library of "hundreds" of entertainment shows and kids' content.
The launch of an official tablet app follows the gradual rollout of the Sky Go smartphone app over the past year — that app is available for a selection of popular Android devices sold in the UK. However the design of Sky Go for Android hasn't changed markedly in the tablet version — in fact it's almost identical to the phone version, leaving a lot of dead space on a 7-inch screen.
Sky Go for tablets is available now on Google Play for free, though you'll need a Sky subscription to use it. The app is compatible with "the majority of Android tablets that are 7 inches or larger and running Android 4.0 or later," according to the Play Store listing.
A couple of months after it unveiled four new Android 4.2 tablets, HP has made some of them available through its U.S.-based online store. The HP Slate 8 Pro and Slate 10 HD are listed at $329.99 and $299.99 respectively, with the former offering a Tegra 4 processor and an 8-inch 1600x1200-resolution display, and the latter sporting a dual-core 1.2GHz Marvell CPU and an 8-inch 1280x800 panel.
They're joined by the HP Slate 7 Extreme — an NVIDIA Tegra Note device — which is listed at $199.99 but not available to buy directly from the manufacturer. Meanwhile the more affordable Slate 7 Plus is also available, with a Tegra 3 CPU and 1280x800-resolution screen, priced at $149.99.
7-inch HD model just $119, 7-inch HDX version only $179
Amazon has announced a sale on their two most popular tablets, the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD and the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX. The 16GB Kindle Fire HD, introduced in 2012, normally sells for $169 (that's about 30-percent off) and 2013's Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch has a list price of $229, making this sale about 20-percent off.
While Amazon's Kindles aren't a standard Android tablet, and have no access to Google Play or any of Google's play services, they are very well built and fine pieces of equipment for those who want to use Amazon's services.
This sale likely won't last long, so if you've been considering either now might be the time to act.