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4 months ago

Lenovo Yoga Book review: Almost amazing

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Lenovo Yoga Book

The Lenovo Yoga Book is the closest thing to the greatest Android convertible ever made, for whatever that's worth.

Lenovo's clever hardware is a great deal more functional than you'd think it could be, but have Android apps grown up enough to handle tablets and convertibles?

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4 months ago

Windows Central reviews the next awesome Android 2-in-1!

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A beautiful, ambitious 2-in-1 from Lenovo.

OK, OK, that title isn't entirely true, but it's half true. See, our friends at Windows Central have one of the first reviews out for what we thought was one of the more interesting announcements at IFA — the Lenovo Yoga Book. While, naturally, they are reviewing the Windows 10 version, we're excited about the form factor, safe in the knowledge that it will soon be released running a modified version of Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

Here's what we said about the Yoga Book back in August:

The Yoga Book is perhaps the most visually appealing and interesting convertible Android tablet we've seen, and we have to applaud Lenovo for trying something entirely new rather than trotting out a simple detachable keyboard 2-in-1.

Now that we've gotten our hands on the Windows version, Mobile Nations' Zac Bowden has reinforced our first impressions of the hardware:

The Lenovo Yoga Book is an interesting device. It's a beautiful, premium-feeling 2-in-1, with tablet-class specifications. It's rocking a futuristic Halo Keyboard and Create Pad that's excellent for note-takers and artists alike, but not great for those who need to get real-work done such as typing an article/report or editing a video.

In other words, there's a lot to like here, but just as much to chalk up to early-adopter bugs, many of which will likely be resolved through software updates. The hardware keyboard (or lack thereof, really) may not be to everyone's taste, but it's the package as a whole — and the prospect of it eventually running Android 7.0 Nougat — that makes our heart flutter a little. That particular model is set to be released at the end of October.

Check out Windows Central's review of the Lenovo Yoga Book

See at Lenovo

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4 months ago

AC roundtable: Which Nexus was the best?

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The AC editors get all nostalgic, reminiscing about their favorite Nexus products over the years.

The Nexus line has always been for enthusiasts, but has occasionally broken into the mainstream, often by finding the right balance between price, performance and software accessibility.

Now that we're on the verge of a new era, one potentially without the Nexus name, we asked our editors to reminisce about their favorite model, and to think back to how it improved their lives over the years.

So here's the big question: Which Nexus product was your favorite?

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4 months ago

About that Samsung tablet that 'overheated' on a plane

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If you jam any modern tablet in an airplane seat, bad things are going to happen.

You don't need to look far for reports of Samsung things catching on fire these days. In the wake of the Galaxy Note 7 recall, the media — and public consciousness — is highly sensitive to anything that looks remotely connected to the Note's unprecedented battery woes. That's true whether we're talking about a completely different phone with no known issues, or a Samsung washing machine made by a completely different division of the company.

In any case, here's today's exploding Samsung thing: what appears to be a Galaxy Tab of some description, which started smouldering on a Delta flight from Detroit to Amsterdam.

The flight was diverted to Manchester after smoke was discovered in the business class cabin, then the (utterly destroyed) tablet was found wedged in a seat. The talk of "overheating" and "thermal runaway" here might make you think the tablet's cracked appearance is unrelated to the apparent battery fire. But what's way, way more likely is that the battery ruptured because of extreme physical damage — the kind that'll result from jamming it in an airplane seat.

As Jerry Hildenbrand explains in an earlier article:

Lithium batteries are designed to be lightweight, deliver high output, and be easy to charge. This means that the outside shell and the barrier(s) separating the electrodes are very thin and light, with most of the weight coming from the parts that can actually power your phone.

Because the partitions and case are thin, they're fairly easy to puncture or tear. If the structure of the battery itself is damaged in a way that makes the electrodes touch, a short circuit will happen. The instant electrical discharge is explosive, which can (and will) heat the electrolyte and create pressure to push it out through any ruptures in the battery case. It's hot, it's flammable and it's in contact with a spark. That's a recipe for disaster.

A Samsung statement given to The Telegraph blamed "external factors" — it's easy to see why given the extreme nature of the damage.

MORE: What makes a battery explode?

Everyone is more aware of exploding gadgets following the Note 7 recall, and as a result, incidents like this are often reported in the context of other Samsung gadgets catching fire. Case in point: Reports on a Galaxy Note 2 catching fire over India last week.

What we have here is a case of frequency illusion. (Sometimes called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon.) This is a cognitive bias — a trick of the mind — where something which has recently come to the personal or collective attention seems to appear with much greater frequency shortly afterwards.

That's amplified considerably by the modern media, which is quick to jump on unrelated stories like the Note 2 catching fire over India, and present them in the narrative of the Note 7 battery fiasco. Had the Note 7 not had battery issues, a story about a single smartphone malfunctioning (albeit spectacularly) on an airplane, with no harm coming to anyone, wouldn't have been splashed around major news outlets as much as it has been.

The very same applies to a tablet battery rupturing after being crushed in an airline seat. Would this be getting so much traction if we weren't in the midsts of an unprecedented smartphone recall? Probably not.

MORE: Frequency illusion and exploding Samsung phones

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5 months ago

Huawei MediaPad M3 review: Excellent hardware meets frustrating software

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Huawei MediaPad M3

Huawei brings its top specs to a new, smaller MediaPad — and the result is basically an 8.4-inch phone.

Android tablets are in a weird place right now, with slow sales and relatively few compelling devices on the market. Huawei is one of the rising brands in Android phones right now, particularly in Europe, and thus the company has cash to plow into making high-end tablets where others might shy away.

The Huawei MediaPad M3 is the latest creation of the Chinese firm, with significantly upgraded specs from the previous-gen M2 — let's just forget about that thing, okay? — as well as refreshed software and refined build quality. Huawei's latest fits neatly into its portfolio between devices like the MateBook and P9 series, with an 8.4-inch display size that hits the same sweet spot as the iPad mini.

But can a company still struggling to find its way in smartphone software step up and create a worthy Android tablet experience? Read on to find out.

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5 months ago

Lenovo's Yoga Book aims to be the tablet-laptop convertible the Pixel C never was

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Lenovo Yoga Book

Lenovo's not new to tablets or convertibles — but the Yoga Book is something fresh and exciting.

The end game for any sort of tablet is, really, for it to transcend its status as merely being a tablet. And this is the stuff of legend, folks. We're talking about the likes of the aborted Microsoft Courier. We're talking about what ASUS tried to do with its Transformer line. Or, really, what Microsoft has managed to accomplish with its Surface devices. And we're also talking about what Google generally failed to do with the Pixel C.

And now we have the Lenovo Yoga Book. Two, really. One running Android, the other Windows 10. (With the latter named "Yoga Book with Windows.") Two huge swaths of glass, but only one is a display — the other moves between a touch-only keyboard and giant stylus tablet. And it's a really neat idea — let's take a look.

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5 months ago

Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Plus hands-on: A 10-inch tablet for entertainment

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Lenovo rolled out the Yoga Tab 3 series last year at IFA, and this time around we're being treated to the latest addition to the lineup, the Yoga Tab 3 Plus. The big change from last year's Yoga Tab 3 Pro is the shift in hardware from Intel's Atom x5-Z8500 to the Snapdragon 652.

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6 months ago

Nougat changes Android's emoji to look like people

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Android Nougat is here, and it comes with one of the system's biggest updates to emoji, based on the new Unicode 9.0 release.

As part of the Nougat update, Google announced that it will support the Emoji Unicode 9 standard, which includes a number of new pictorials. Also included are skin tone variations, a feature that iOS users have been enjoying for some time.

But perhaps the most interesting change is that Google has moved away from its often-reviled cartoon emoji in favor of a "more human-looking design," according to the Nougat webpage.

New glyphs include "Face Palm," "Bacon," and "Mother Christmas," most of which are available in Android 7.0.

Google already added a host of new emoji with Android 6.0.1 back in December, but as with any new Android release, only a small percentage of users have received it. Of course, some manufacturers override Google's own emoji design. Samsung in particular has its own unique set of emoji, and it's unclear whether Google's changes in Nougat will have any impact on how the company approaches its pictorials in the future.

Android Nougat

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6 months ago

Acer Predator 8 review: Gaming, flawed

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Acer Predator 8

Acer's gaming brand has an Android tablet that shouts a big game, but doesn't quite hit the mark.

Acer has made Android tablets for years, but it is getting into a more niche space with its first Predator-branded product for the ecosystem, the Predator 8. How does it stack up? Read on.

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6 months ago

AT&T starts selling the 8-inch Trek 2 HD tablet on August 5

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AT&T has announced it will begin selling the 8-inch Trek 2 HD tablet on August 5, in its stores and online. The tablet will have Android 6.0 Marshmallow pre-installed.

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7 months ago

LG K10 and G Pad X 8.0 heading to AT&T on July 22

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AT&T is adding a new phone and tablet from LG to its lineup of more affordable devices. The carrier will sell the LG K10 smartphone and LG G Pad X 8.0 tablet beginning Friday, July 22.

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7 months ago

Seeing a Spanish update message on the Nexus 7 (2013)? Don't install it just yet

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Several users are receiving an update message in Spanish on the Nexus 7 (2013) configured for English. The update includes the July security patch and comes in at 12.1MB, but the description is in Spanish and it looks like there isn't a way to clear the update notification. According to Google's issue tracker, the update is being received by users across regions.

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7 months ago

NVIDIA Shield Tablet update brings professional audio enhancements and more

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An update is rolling out to the NVIDIA Shield Tablet, bringing along several enhancements across the board, along with the June Android security patches.

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7 months ago

Verizon's Galaxy Tab E 8.0 picks up the Marshmallow update

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Verizon has started rolling out the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow update to the Galaxy Tab E 8.0. The update increments the firmware version to T377VVRU1BPD6, bringing the latest security patch to the tablet.

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7 months ago

Dell discontinues Android-based Venue tablet line; ends OS upgrades for current products

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Dell has confirmed it will not be launching any new tablets in its Android-based Venue family. It also won't be pushing out any OS updates to the Venue tablets that are already sold to customers, although it will continue to honor any currently active warranties and service contracts.

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