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Lenovo CES 2014: Tablets Still Rock

*sponsored series

 
With all the new announcements at CES 2014, it may have seemed like tablets were not top priority. But I was excited to see the quality of new tablets that are truly becoming that one unified device for both entertainment and work.   A great example is the new Lenovo ThinkPad 8 tablet that joins in with the already released Yoga Tablet 10 and 8.

 

Lenovo ThinkPad 8 Tablet

Lenovo ThinkPad 8 Tablet – Photo credit: Lenovo

 

The Lenovo ThinkPad 8 Tablet is high definition enough for entertainment while also having the features needed for a successful work device. It has an a 10 point multi-touch 8.3 inch display (1920×1200) with Windows 8.1 Pro, 2MP and 8MP cameras, latest Intel Bay Trail Quad Core processor, up to 128GB of storage and Global 3G/4G LTE support.  Accessories include a USB 3.0 dock that converts the ThinkPad 8 into a full PC experience and a keyboard base. The Quickshot Cover enables converting to Tent mode and peels back to use the 8 MP camera. There is also a microHDMI port that allows connection to a PC to view pictures or photos or use Miracast technology to transfer them wirelessly.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet

Lenovo Yoga Tablet. Photo Credit: Lenovo

 

The Yoga Tablet 10 (10 inch) and Yoga Tablet 8 (8 inch) Android tablets offer a unique multi-mode design: it has a battery cylinder on the side that makes it easy to hold, Quad core 1.2 Ghz processor, Android 4.2 Jellybean, native storage of 16GB  or 32 GB and can add up to 64GB micro-SD card storage, micro USB for charging, a pop out stand for standing up (good for watching or listening to media and video chat) and the ability to “tilt” the stand (good for typing or gaming).  To really enable mobile use, the battery has a maximum life of 18 hours, lasting throughout the day and more.

 

Both the 8 inch and 10 inch Yoga Tablet have an HD 1280 x 800 display with a 178 degree viewing angle that is wide enough to share with the whole family.  The screen is  crisp, clear and easy to ready and the chrome design is stylish to look at.  Connectivity includes integrated Bluetooth, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and GPS. The sound is enhanced with the tablet’s Dolby Digital Plus speakers that face front. The 5.0M rear and 1.6M front cameras offer the ability to take high definition pictures.  For those that prefer using a keyboard, there is a touch keyboard with nice haptic response or an option to use Accutype keyboard Bluetooth accessory.

 

 

Lenovo Tablets

 

 

Our family had the opportunity to review the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 and 8. We found that the 10 inch is the perfect size for teens and adults to comfortably read content. The Yoga Tablet 8 inch is the perfect size for my 11 year old to watch ESPN and consume all types of content instead of squinting to see content on his small MP3 player. But the 8 inch would also be great for mobile adults looking for a smaller form factor. My husband has been looking for a tablet for a while now, evaluating different operating systems, form factors and performance. His latest experiment has been with the 10 inch Lenovo yoga tablet and it is proving to be very capable for both business and personal use.

 

 

He found that the set up of the Yoga Tablet was very straight-forward and similar to other Android devices. Charge it up, turn it on, establish the WiFi connection and start downloading the apps you need to be productive. The kids were very impressed with the games both familiar and unfamiliar in the Google Play store. LinkedIn loaded quickly and was easy to use, with the front and back camera on the Yoga tablet coming in handy to capture valuable information for various folders that help in home/family and business management.
One very handy feature is the built-in kickstand which enables the tablet to be used multiple ways in addition to holding it in your hands. With the kickstand down, the tablet props up like a computer screen in a landscape position. This is very handy when used in conjunction with a Bluetooth keyboard. Roasted 90 degrees, the kickstand also secures the tablet upright in portrait position, which is convenient when looking at an email inbox, photos, long documents or games. For those who like to use a tablet almost flat to the table, placing the Yoga down with the kickstand in place provides a tablet at a small angle to the table which is great for touch screen use. Our family really enjoyed these different positions, each with their own benefits allowing for customization of use according to what we were trying to do and whether we were sitting or standing.

 

The speakers provide high quality Dolby sound and are located on the front in the bottom corners, a much better design than speakers in back which can be muffled by a tablet cover. The volume controls and headset jack are conveniently located on the side and feel high quality to the touch. No loose headset connection where if you don’t press it in just right the stereo sound turns mono and the audio gets scratchy. And while it’s not usual to like the on/off button on a computer or tablet, the large button on the end of the built-in battery with a very clean motion when pushed is a welcome role model for what buttons on computers should feel like. Also impressive is the screen, with 1280X800 max resolution and a built-in graphics processor which delivers the quality needed for everything from writing documents  to watching YouTube videos and playing games.

 

Pricing as of Jan. 2014:

The ThinkPad 8 convertible tablet configure to order models start at $399 and Topseller
models start at $429.  The Yoga Tablet 8 starts at $199 and the Yoga Tablet 10 starts at $275.00.

 

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored series for Techlicious Lenovo blogger program  I received products for review as part of the program. My words are my own.

 

 

 

 

Video: Microsoft Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 Midnight Launch

*Sponsored. See Disclosures below.

Technology product launches, when done right, can be a real celebration of software and silicon. I always enjoy fun technology events, especially when the products are more exciting than the entertainment.  On October 21, I was thrilled to cover the Midnight Launch of the Microsoft Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro in San Francisco. Throwing on my leather jacket, I headed off to San Francisco for the 10pm to Midnight launch and capturing all the fun on video.

 

 

I have been using Windows devices for many years, and the new Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro computers are making me itch to switch away from my laptop to these new devices. The Surface 2 Pro is not only the perfect size (and weight) for my handbag, but is also has powerful, pre-installed productivity features including productivity, with touch optimized versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote. Also included is 1 year of unlimited4 free voice calling to landlines in over 60 countries as well as free Wi-Fi at Skype hotspots. The Surface 2 also includes multiple storage options, long battery life, cover options and entertainment features

 

Below is my video of the Surface 2 Midnight Launch in San Francisco. The celebration started with a line outside the store and continued with a DJ to set the upbeat tone with music, food, beverages and giveaways (hats, tees, gift cards, etc.). Three-time Super Bowl Champion Roger Craig, provided autographs, and the Microsoft team was giving away games and offering test drives of the Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro. I was in the market for a new laptop, so after taking a test drive of the new Surface 2, I decided to start saving up for the Surface 2 Pro with a Type Cover 2 and a docking station.  That will enable me to have a “fit in my bag” powerful and productive device for mobile use as well as a laptop experience for home use.

 

DISCLOSURE: This is a sponsored post. All of my words are my own.

Check out the Microsoft Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro at http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-ca/.


 

 

 

Midnight Launch of Microsoft Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 #spon

*Sponsored giveaway. See giveaway details and disclosures at the bottom of this post. UPDATE 10/22 Winner was chosen and notified.

 

Our family desktop computer and my work laptop are all running Windows 8. I appreciate the seamless integration between the devices, including single account sign-in and one common user interface. The next step is to add a Windows 8 tablet to the mix, aiding in productivity and mobility for the entire family. Want to win your own Surface 2? Meet me at the Microsoft Store in San Francisco for the midnight launch, tonight from 10 p.m. to midnight! The details are towards the bottom of the post.

 

 

*******In preparation for my participation in the upcoming Surface2 and Surface 2 product launch event, I was sent product information. Here are some of the features that I’m most looking forward to checking out at tonight’s Microsoft Surface 2 (10pm to) Midnight Launch event (where I will be able to take my first test drive!)  You’ll learn more about the cool things happening at the event below.

 

 

PRODUCTIVITY

 

  • The Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro are great not only for parents always on the move like myself, but also to help kids stay productive in between school projects and their many activities. The Surface 2 has a Tegra 4 chip with always on and the Surface 2 Pro has 1.6GHz Core i5 Haswell processor, which is especially important for parents who need fast devices to get things done during the few free moments in their busy day.
  • The machines come with multiple storage options. The Surface 2 comes with either 32 or 64 GB of memory and the Surface 2 Pro has up to 512GB flash. Both models include a hearty 200GB storage on SkyDrive, a full-size USB and a microSD card slot for adding as much storage as your heart desires.
  • Both the Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro have out-of-the-box (pre-installed) productivity with touch optimized versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote, along with 1 year of unlimited4 free voice calling to landlines in over 60 countries and free Wi-Fi at Skype hotspots .
  • Beyond the convenience of a tablet, they also convert to a laptop form factor with a kickstand angle and  two cover options:

 

The  TOUCH Cover 2 is similar to the original Touch Cover – it acts as a both a keyboard and screen protector. It now features backlighting and is thinner and lighter than the previous model, measuring only 2.75mm. The magnetic cover easily snaps on and is pressure-responsive so you won’t accidentally type while it’s closed.

 

The TYPE Cover 2 , now also with backlighting, is similar to a regular keyboard where you get to feel the keys work. It has a QWERTY keyboard, a full row of Function keys (F1-F12), shortcut keys, media controls, and trackpad. It’s also more rigid, offering a better experience when you’re using the Surface 2 in your lap.

 

 

  • The Power Cover  (coming out soon) will also be new for the Surface 2. It will offer a similar experience as the Type Cover while extending the Surface 2’s battery life up to 70% and the Surface 2 Pro’s up to 50%. If you’re constantly in action, this one is a great choice!

 

BATTERY LIFE

 

  • The Surface 2 has up to a 10 hour battery life and is ultra thin and light (less than 1.5 pounds and just 8.9 mm thick.) Ten hours of battery life will get me through my day, even though the days of work and kid management can seem endless (but fun!)

 

DOCKING STATION:

 

  • If you’re looking to replace your laptop, try using the Surface 2 Pro in conjunction with the new Docking Station. It can literally transform your mobile experience to desktop, connecting to an external monitor while charging both the tablet and a cell phone. You can also run an external hard drive while making a Skype call on a USB headset.

 

 

ENTERTAINMENT:

 

  • Surface 2 offers a full entertainment experience including a widescreen Full 10.6″ 1080P ClearType HD touch display (Resolution: 1366 x768) providing a large view of your TV shows and movies. The audio has stereo speakers and microphone, as well as sensors (including Accelerometer, Gyroscope and Magnetometer) that will bring gaming to life with interactivity that my kids (and I) enjoy.
  • With the Surface Music Kit you can even mix your own music. My teen son has always wanted to DJ for either his friends or at school events. The music kit will allow him to mix his own music and share it using the Microsoft Surface. For more information, check out the #RemixProject website.

  

 

GIVEAWAY & LAUNCH EVENT DETAILS!

 

If you live near San Francisco, JOIN ME TONIGHT from 10 p.m. to Midnight for the launch of Microsoft Surface 2 & Surface Pro. You can win a gift card for a Surface 2 of your own! Here is the link to the event page: http://bit.ly/SFsurface.

 

 

Event details:

  • There will be a DJ, food and beverages and giveaways (hats, tees, gift cards, etc.) throughout the night
  • Microsoft Store will also be hosting a series of challenges for a chance to win a trip to the Orlando Store opening tomorrow morning, complete with a live performance and VIP meet-and-greet with Pitbull.
  • Three-time Super Bowl Champion Roger Craig will also be in attendance to meet and mingle with fans. He’ll be giving out autographed photos to the first 150 guests at the event!

 

Win your own Surface 2! In addition to the activations sponsored by the Store, you can also win a $550 gift card for a Surface 2 of your own from me! It’s easy to win, just answer the question: “How can you do more with Surface?” between 10 p.m. and midnight PT tonight!

 

Everything happens via social media, so you must do these two things in order for your entries to count:

 

 

I’ll be selecting the winner tomorrow and notify them via DM. Check out the complete rules here .

 

 

DISCLOSURE: This is a sponsored post and giveaway. All of my words are my own.

 

 

 

 

TECH NEWS: Sony Announces Market Launch of Sony Tablet

No matter what mobile devices I carry, I will always have a laptop with at least a “17inch screen or desktop for my home office. I am typing this post on my 17″ Sony Vaio that has Windows 7 and at the time I bought it one of the fastest processors (Intel i7).  But when it comes to mobile use, when I am doing mobile work I carry a 13″ laptop and my smartphone. But for everyday mobile use my power duo lately seems to be a smartphone and a tablet. This morning I recieved an email with a press release with specifications and pricing for the newest tablet to hit the market: The Sony Vaio Tablet. I have not had a chance to try the Sony Tablet yet – but it sure seems enticing and in the world of accessorizing, a Sony Tablet to match my Sony Vaio would be a fun treat!

Here is the press release for more details:

PRESS RELEASE:

Sony Announces Market Launch of Sony Tablet

Two Optimally Designed Android™ Devices Deliver Portability, Easy Handling and an Immersive Entertainment Experience

SAN DIEGO, August 31, 2011 — Sony today announced the market launch of its first two Sony Tablet™ devices. The Android-powered Sony Tablet S and Sony Tablet P devices combine unique hardware, content and network services with seamless usability to create a world of engaging networked entertainment experiences.

Available for pre-sale today and on shelves next month, the Sony Tablet S device is optimized for rich media entertainment on its 9.4-inch touchscreen display. With a powerful NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2 mobile processor, the Sony Tablet S device lets you enjoy the web as well as your favorite content and applications on its large, high-resolution screen. Weighing in at just about 1.33 lbs., its unique asymmetric design allows for hours of comfortable use and built-in Wi-Fi® compatibility means Internet connectivity virtually anywhere there’s a hotspot.

Available later this year, the Sony Tablet P device is ideal for mobile communication and entertainment. With its innovative folding design, two 5.5-inch displays and weight at about 0.83 lbs., it can easily fit into a pocket, purse or backpack. It features the same NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2 mobile processor and is both Wi-Fi compatible and 4G capable exclusively on AT&T’s mobile broadband network,1 offering users access to digital content including videos, games, and e-mail, while on the go, nearly anytime.

Both devices run on Android, Android 3.1 on Sony Tablet S devices and Sony Tablet P devices will be equipped with Android 3.2 by the time they ship. Both models feature front and rear facing cameras that allow for video recording and capturing still images. The devices also support micro USB interface and SD card.

Sony Tablet devices are also distinguished by four key features that set them apart from any other tablets on the market. These include: optimally designed hardware and software, a “swift and smooth” experience, network entertainment services and cross-device functionality.

“These devices truly represent the best of everything Sony has to offer,” said Mike Lucas, senior vice president of Sony Electronics’ Networked Technology and Services Division. “From hardware to software and services, Sony Tablet devices embody all our innovations rolled into one.”

Optimally Designed Hardware and Software

Unlike other tablet devices, Sony Tablet S device has an ergonomic, asymmetric design which allows it to be easily held or carried for long periods of time. The unique form factor shifts the device’s weight closer to your palm, making it feel lighter and more comfortable while reading an e-book or watching a video. The screen is sloped when placed on a flat surface, enhancing visibility and making typing more comfortable. Placing a Sony Tablet S device onto a specialized charging cradle (sold separately) converts the device into a digital photo frame, a digital clock that displays customizable information or chumby with access to over 1,500 fun and entertaining apps.

Software taking advantage of the unprecedented design of the Sony Tablet P device allows its dual screens to be used for different  functions simultaneously such as playing video on one screen while using the other as a controller or reading email on one screen while using the other as a virtual keyboard. The displays can also be combined to form a single large screen for Internet browsing and more. By holding the device vertically, you can also read eBooks much in the same manner you would a physical book.

Both Sony Tablet devices are equipped with Sony’s TruBlack™ displays which reduce reflection and glare from sunlight or fluorescent light for high-contrast visibility both indoors and out.

Swift and Smooth Experience

A combination of Sony technologies, Quick view and Quick touch, allow for faster loading of web pages, a highly responsive and fluid touch screen as well as an exceptionally intuitive user interface. The large keys of the virtual keyboard take full advantage of screen real estate while automatically adjusting to the task at hand. A numeric keypad pops up when inputting passwords and word suggestions or auto word complete make email and texting a breeze.

Networked Entertainment

Both Sony Tablet devices come complete with access to a full suite of Sony’s network entertainment services.

·         Sony Entertainment Network services: Video Unlimited is your ticket to the latest releases from every major movie studio to rent or own. A pre-open campaign for the Sony Tablet devices will be offered at device launch with limited content and more content will continue to be released over time. Music Unlimited, available in October, offers instant access to a global catalog of over 10 million songs from every major record label (numbers vary by country). Simply sync to the cloud and enjoy the music you love on Sony Tablet devices or any other Internet-enabled Sony device. A six month trial basic membership from Music Unlimited and a free movie download from Video Unlimited come with the purchase of each device.

·         PlayStation® Certified: Sony Tablet devices are the first PlayStation® Certified tablets that provide out-of-the-box gaming with included favorites “Crash Bandicoot” and “Pinball Heroes.”

·         Reader™ Store: Access bestsellers, new releases, classics, magazines and more from more than 2.5 million titles at Reader™ Store by Sony. The store’s intuitive reading interface is ideal for on-the-go reading, allowing book lovers to set bookmarks, make highlights and adjust font sizes as they read. A free eBook download is included with the purchase of the device.

·         Personal Space™ by Sony: This free service allows you to easily share pictures and videos captured on Sony Tablet devices. You can also access albums that were previously uploaded from other devices.

Video, music, games and other content can be directly accessed by way of the “Favorites” menu without the need to re-launch any of the respective applications.

Cross Device Connectivity

Control your home entertainment system and enjoy content in new ways. With Sony Tablet devices, you can “throw” personal pictures and video to DLNA compatible televisions such as BRAVIA® HDTVs with the touch of a button. You can also throw music to compatible wireless speakers such as Sony’s HomeShare™ speakers. The Sony Tablet S device, which is equipped with infrared technology, can act as a remote control for multiple home entertainment components such as TVs, Blu-ray Disc™ players, cable and satellite boxes, and more. The built-in Universal remote not only controls your Sony products, but other brands as well. Sony Tablet S device is the world’s first Android Tablet running Honeycomb with a built in A/V remote control. Both Sony Tablet devices are compatible with the Media Remote™ app which allows you to control Sony devices, including BRAVIA televisions, through Wi-Fi® technology.

Wide Range of Applications

A variety of applications add to the entertainment options. With access to the Android Market™, you can browse thousands of useful time-saving and fun apps. Sony Tablet devices also provide instant access to Google™ mobile services and applications, including 3D maps and easy web search with Google Voice Search. To make app discovery even easier, Sony offers its Select App site which highlights new and unique Android applications in a number of categories, recommended for Sony Tablet devices. Recommended applications will be spotlighted at launch with more to come in the following weeks and months.

Accessories, Pricing, Availability

A range of optional accessories includes a cradle, AC adapter, LCD screen protector, carrying case and USB adaptor cable for Sony Tablet S devices, and a rechargeable battery pack, AC adapter, LCD screen protector, carrying case and detachable panels for Sony Tablet P devices. A Bluetooth keyboard is also available for both models.

The Sony Tablet S device is available in both a 16GB and 32 GB version and will be sold at Sony Stores including online and other authorized retailers nationwide for about $499 and $599, respectively. For more information, please visit www.sony.com/ tablet or check out www.sony.com/tabletvideo for a video unboxing.

*** For additional information about Sony Tablet devices, you can call (888) 315-SONY, or visit Sony’s web site at: www.sony.com/tablet.  

 

Apple Tablet Mania: Where To Find Live Coverage of Apple Media Event Jan. 27

While I am in the middle of posting about the Tablets (small hand held computing devices) I saw at CES, it seems a little meeting tomorrow (Jan. 27) is producing a huge amount of buzz: Apple is having a meeting for media Jan. 27 10am pst. The rumors are rampad – but it seems that many believe Apple will be announcing specifics on the Apple Tablet. Rumors are also being spread on the Internet about the specific name of the Apple Tablet; two of them are iPad, iSlate or just Apple Tablet. PC World posted that the Apple Gadget will have a 10 inch touch screen. MacRumors discussed that the Apple Tablet will have a front facing webcam and optional 3G connectivity.

I am also keeping my eye on the Apple PR web page. Currently their most recent announcement is the First Quarter results; The Apple press release states “revenue of $15.68 billion and a net quarterly profit of $3.38 billion, or $3.67 per diluted share….Apple sold 3.36 million Macintosh® computers during the quarter,
representing a 33 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The
Company sold 8.7 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 100
percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 21 million
iPods during the quarter, representing an eight percent unit decline
from the year-ago quarter
.”

While the Apple Media meeting is in Cupertino, I will be doing some work with my Silicon Valley Moms Group buddies in Silicon Valley. So I will be amoungst the ranks glued to their computers tomorrow to find out details. Luckily I am in touch with some of my amazing tech bloggers buddies and saw details on other tech sites of  who will not only be there, but will be covering the Apple Jan. 27 press conference live. I also saw many posts and interesting discussions about the Apple Tablet on Techmeme.

1.  PaidContent.org has a post titled “Three Things Apple Needs To Do To Make Its Tablet A Breakthrough Device” (TechMeme post). I agree that a new media device with a user friendly graphical user interface would be very successful.

2. New York Times post “With Apple Tablet, Print Media Hope for a Payday” (Techmeme post) that the Apple Tablet may be a good way for publishers to charge for content. I have said on numerous posts that I am happy to pay for electronic book content, I want to support book authors and publishers getting paid so we keep the flow of books coming.

3. In the “it’s all about the apps baby” category I saw an interesting post by Robert Scoble titled “Developers: the Apple tablet press announcements start“  that discusses application development for the Apple Tablet, including the news that developer tool/platform Appcelerator will be announcing support for the Apple Tablet.

Here are good sites to follow Jan. 27 for live updates on the Apple media event and a mock-up PICTURE of the Apple Tablet that I have seen multiple sites post via Gizmodo.

SITES TO WATCH WITH COVERAGE OF APPLE TABLET MEDIA EVENT:

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