We painstakingly sat through Fusion Garages CEO Chandrasekar “Chandra” Rathakrishnan's announcement of the Grid10 Tablet and Grid4 phone not too long ago. We even heard him try to slander Androids popularity, and that he was out to make something entirely different -- all the while telling us the Grid10 would use the Android kernel as well as run Android apps. Despite all that, and the dreadfully terrible webcast he gave for the announcement, the Grid10 and Grid4 did pique some interest.
At the time, the creator of the JooJoo flop told us the Grid10 would cost $499 for the 16GB WiFi version with the 16GB 3G/WiFi version coming in at $599. Well, Fusion Garage must not have had many pre-orders because they've now dropped the price to $299 for the 16GB WiFi version and $399 for the 16GB 3G/WiFi version. That almost brings the price down to a point where we it could be considered a good deal for a 10.1-inch 1366 x 768-pixel display with a dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 chipset. Just don't calling it an Android Tablet -- Fusion Garage may ship you a JooJoo out of spite.
In the slide you see above from Nvidia's presentation at the 2011 Citi Technology Conference, we get a look at Nvidia's SoC (System on Chip) roadmap for 2012 and 2013. What piques our interest the most, are the two new chips and how they may be used. We've been hearing news and waiting for the Kal-El for a bit now, and the Wayne chip has been thrown around, but what exactly are the Kal-El+ and the Grey?
Forgive us for a bit of speculation here, but there are a few logical progressions that we can make. The Kal-El+ coming in mid-2012 would be an excellent way to introduce a minor spec bump to the Kal-El quad core Tegra we expect to see late this year -- timed just right for Windows 8 ARM devices. A Windows 8 tablet is likely going to include business and productivity tools from the desktop, and would surely benefit from new tech even if it falls in the middle of a release cycle. The good news for us is that those improved specs will surely work their way into Android devices, making the Kal-El better performing and more battery friendly. We certainly won't be complaining about either.
Maybe even more interesting is the Grey. If rumors are to be believed, the Grey will incorporate the 28nm manufacturing process, with its own radio on-board -- in 2G, 3G, and 4G flavors. This would put the new Nvidia SoC's in direct competition with Qualcomm's offerings, and will again be a major player on the Windows Phone 7 side of things. We're not too surprised, as Nvidia acquired Icera (and their ultra-low power software modems) last May, and surely knows the market better than most of us. If Nvidia can pull off an integrated single chip solution that delivers GeForce graphics as well as great power management, it may be the first step towards the long-lasting battery life devices we've all been waiting for.
Continuing the trend we're seeing of publishers offering discounted Android tablets with subscriptions, the Philadelphia Media Network and Arnova have now officially announced their plans to offer the Archos Arnova 10 G2 to subscribers after the news broke back in July. Some 5,000 of the 1GHz Gingerbread powered tablets will be produced for Philadelphia Media Network by Arnova and they will come pre-loaded with content from the Philadelphia Inquirer and philly.com.
The tablets will be available for $99 with a discounted two-year digital subscription to The Inquirer and Daily News for $9.99 a month or for $129 with a one-year subscription at $12.99 a month. If you're interested, Philadelphia Media Network says you'll have to act fast as they are on a first come, first serve basis. You can hit the break for the full details and specs for the Archos Arnova 10 G2.
A version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 with T-Mobile (and several Canadian carriers') AWS bands has passed through the FCC, in a form factor that's unchanged from the Wifi version we all know and love. Of course we have no idea if this will get any sort of T-Mobile branding, or be offered subsidized, but it's another option for folks who would rather drop a SIM card in and go without worrying about tethering plans or finding a Wifi hotspot while out and about. The new version will have the 1700MHz AWS band in addition to the standard 850/1900 GSM/HSPA bands used by global carriers (including AT&T here in the states), so it should offer some level of HSPA+ 4G for folks still hanging on to their T-Mobile contract. With other Canadian carriers offering 4G Galaxy Tab's, we expect this one to make a showing north of the border as well.
Also of note -- Samsung has not changed the form factor in any way, even after repeated (and some successful) attempts by the empire of evil Apple to block all devices that feature glass screens and rounded corners from sale across the globe. Although a small part of me wants to see a dodecahedron shaped tablet with a non-touchscreen operated UI (Bio-rhythm UI 1.0 anyone?), it's nice to see Samsung sticking to their plans and releasing another version of the thinnest, lightest 10 inch tablet available. It's anyone's guess how this will play into the current legal battles, but we don't expect anyone but Samsung, and consumers, to be pleased about it.
No doubt about it, Football is back in full swing. Last week the NFL released its official app for tablets and now DirecTV has gone ahead and launched its NFL Sunday Ticket app for Honeycomb tablets. With it, you can stream any NFL Sunday Ticket game in HD plus, you also have access to the Red Zone channel.
The app doesn't come without a few caveats though. You do have to have a NFL Sunday Ticket subscription through DirecTV in order to have access, and it's only Sunday games that are available. Sunday night, Monday, Thursday and Saturday NFL games are not part of Sunday Ticket and therefore not eligible for streaming. If you're a DirecTV subscriber and can make use of this app, you'll find the download link past the break.
With Rogers getting ready to light up more LTE areas as the months pass on, they did make note an LTE tablet would be coming eventually though, they didn't however mention which tablet it would be. As we know it, the HTC Puccini (aka Jetstream) fits that bill nicely with it already being equipped with AT&T LTE radios, and that's exactly what has shown up in recent Rogers documentation. We can only hope pricing on the device will have come down a little by the time it hits Canada but we're not going to be holding our breath. There is typically a little bit more of a markup when devices hit the Great White North.
Games retailer GameStop is planning on making the leap over to gaming hardware with the help of Android, according to a report from GamesIndustry.biz. The upcoming tablet will apparently ship with a bundled controller, and will be the "GameStop certified gaming platform".
The inclusion of a physical controller sees GameStop going after the mainstream "triple-A" gaming market, rather than the touchscreen-focused titles that are currently available on Android devices. What's more, the focus on streaming gameplay to the tablet, rather than running games locally could extend the lifespan of this type of device beyond that of the average tablet.
GameStop says it's "working with developers" on the new platform, and expects to ship sometime next year.
AT&T today announced it will sell the Acer Iconia A501 Android Honeycomb tablet. The Iconia 501 is the same as the 10-inch Iconia a500 you've come to know and love over the past few months thanks to its bevy of full size ports (read our full review), only this version has an HSPA+ radio tossed in for AT&T's network. That makes it a "4G" device, though remember it's HSPA+ (with enhanced backhaul), and not the newer, faster, actually-4G LTE.
Pricing's not horrible, which is almost a surprise given how AT&T priced another recently announced Android tablet into oblivion. You can get the A501 for $479.99 outright, or for $329.99 with two-year contract and a $35-a-month data plan that gets you 3GB. Other data options are the same as with the HTC Jetstream: Month-by-month post-paid (as in it shows up on your bill) contracts of $14.99 for 250MB, or $25 for 2 GB. If you have the 2GB plan and go over, you'll be charged $10 per extra GB. Or month-by-month prepaid service with the same pricing as the post-paid plan, only if you go over the 2GB plan, you can purchase another 2GB for $25. You'll be billing all this directly to your credit card.
It's been another week filled to the brim with Android news, device announcements, and killer new apps. We should be used to it now, but it still can be difficult to catch it all. You can catch the Podcast each Thursday, follow us on Twitter, even add us to your RSS reader and still miss some -- so here's a list of the week's highlights, in handy bullet point form:
Are you ready for another great contest from Nvidia and Android Central? One that gives you a chance to win a Tegra 2 device each day for a full six days? We hope so, because we're about to kick off our 6 days of Tegra madness mega-contest and make it happen. We've got a big red sack filled with Android phones and tablets, and one of them just might have your name written on it.
Here's how it's all going to work. Starting in a few hours, midnight EDT to be precise, we're going to open a contest thread in the Android Central contest forums. You'll have 24 hours to enter, which is as easy as posting in the thread letting us know you want in on the action. The next night at midnight, we'll close that thread and open a new one, starting a new drawing. You can only enter each contest once (we're going to check), and if you win one you're ineligible to enter the next. The winner will be picked at random, and next Sunday (Sept. 18) we'll announce the winners and get in touch with them all using the address used to sign up for the forums.
Day six is the grand prize, a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, a Jambox Bluetooth speaker, a Tab 10.1 Keyboard, and a $25 AMEX card
Tegra 2 devices totally blew us away when they first came out, bringing a level of graphics performance to mobile devices that we hadn't seen before. 12 months later, newer chips have come that throw out mind-boggling numbers, but there's something missing -- software optimization. We poke plenty of fun at our iOS loving friends, but Apple shows us that raw hardware numbers don't always equal the best performers, especially when it comes to mobile gaming. That's where Nvidia steps in, working with developers to make games and apps that utilize the full power of the Tegra 2's GeForce GPU. It's just plain awesome, and I've darn near worn through the glass on my G2X playing Fruit Ninja THD, and Riptide GP on my Galaxy Tab 10.1 or via HDMI out to a television redefines mobile gaming.
Nvidia takes things a step further, offering a complete experience with the Tegra Zone. Available as an app for your Android device or via the web, they keep us up to date with news and articles about Tegra powered apps, offer community discussion, make it easy to share links to the latest games and news through Twitter and Facebook, and have a full set of tools and resources for developers in the Developer Zone. It shows that Nvidia is in for the long haul, and their dedication to Android is a deep as yours and ours is. You can find some screenshots, and a link to the Tegra Zone app for Android after the break, and to keep up with everything as it happens, you can follow @nvidiategra on Twitter.
We'll be sure to announce each contest to remind everyone as they happen, you guys just get ready to enter. Good luck to all!
We knew the Sony Tablet S was coming to the US in September, we just didn't expect the 16GB version to debut on the Home Shopping Network this weekend -- but there it is, ready to ship (according to HSN) and it can be yours for $599. That happens to be a cool $100 more expensive than Sony's pre-order for the 16GB version, which makes us think this just might be a slight snafu over at HSN -- either in the availability or the pricing, or both. We've shot an email to HSN asking for verification, but with it being the weekend we're not going to be optimistic about a reply. I'll update if I can.
If anyone out there gives this one a shot (heck, the payment plan does look a little enticing) drop us a line and tell us how it went.
Update: HSN took the time to get back in touch with us, and sure enough everything here is right. The Sony Tablet S is shipping now, and the price has been confirmed at $599.95 for the 16GB version.
Let's hope the recent upheaval in the TouchDroid realm -- that's the endeavor to get Android properly ported onto the nearly extinct HP TouchPad -- doesn't completely derail the project, but things have looked better, folks. There's been some back and forth about code, and some milk spilled, apparently. But there's also the video you see above, which walks you through booting a very alpha build of Android on the TouchPad.
Again: Very alpha. As in, 99 percent of you (and us) have no business trying this, even if you happen to have a TouchPad. In fact, if you manage to sit through this entire video, you're better men and women than we are. This is low-level stuff, and we're perfectly happy kibitzing this one. More deets are at the links below, and let's hope things get started again eventually.
In another blow for Samsung, a German court has ruled in favor of Apple, upholding its ban on sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the country. Samsung had appealed the original Aug. 9 ruling, which ordered the company to remove the German retail edition of the tablet from shelves across the European Union. Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hofmann denied this appeal on grounds of infringement on intellectual property: The Galaxy Tab 10.1's front, the court ruled, is too close in appearance to that of the iPad 2, and Apple's "minimalistic design isn't the only technical solution to make a tablet computer." The ruling has nothing to do with patented technology and is only applicable to sales within Germany due to the court's limited jurisdiction. Samsung has said it will once again appeal the decision, claiming that the ruling "restricts design innovation and progress in the industry."
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