Microsoft's tablet blip versus Android's boom

As Android tablet shipments surge, probably the best thing that can be said about Microsoft is that it's not going away.

Android tablet shipments totaled about 30 million in the fourth quarter, IDC reported today. And that number (total market) jumps to 50 million if you throw in Apple's iPad.

"There is no question that Microsoft is in this tablet race to compete for the long haul," an IDC analyst said today in a statement, trying to put Microsoft's tablet debut into perspective.

In fact, that's probably about as positive a statement that can … Read more

The best four Firefox tab add-ons

Mozilla Firefox (download for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, or the Portable App) didn't invent tabbed browsing, but they sure as heck perfected it, or at least the extended network of extensions developers did. If Firefox doesn't include a tabbed-browsing feature you want, there's a good chance you can find one among its numerous add-ons.

Personally, I'm a tab glutton. I might be using a Windows XP box from 2004, but that doesn't stop me from running four Firefox windows with 10-15 tabs open in each. Each window usually relates to a specific task, project, or … Read more

Samsung releases red Galaxy 2 7.0 tablet

For a limited time Samsung will be selling the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 in "garnet red." The tablet is priced at $220 and comes with a matching case in the same deep red at no additional cost.

The 7-inch tablet houses a dual-core CPU and will ship with Android 4.1. The tablet has a built-in microSD slot, Bluetooth 3.0, integrated IR for home theater control, and a USB 2.0 port.

Late last year Samsung introduced new colors to invigorate its lineup of products, including the garnet red the Galaxy 2 7.0 will sport. … Read more

Eating your own, Microsoft style

Eat your own, or somebody else will. That's the new mantra in the device world.

Here's what Apple said this week on that topic.

In terms of cannibalization and how we think about this, I see cannibalization as a huge opportunity for us. One, our base philosophy is to never fear cannibalization. If we do, somebody else will just cannibalize it and so we never fear it. --Tim Cook.

This was said in response to an analyst's question during the company's first-quarter earnings conference call. Earlier in the call, Apple, in its prepared remarks, said that … Read more

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and Tab 2 tablets get Android 4.1 update, new features

Today Samsung announced that its Galaxy Tab 2 tablets and Galaxy Note 10.1 would receive Android 4.1 Jelly Bean updates. Samsung, rather than including only cosmetic or back-end changes that you'll never actually see, has added a number of useful-sounding (that's a Youtube video link if you'd rather not read any further) features.

Most of the new features, like improved S Pen support, look to only be compatible with the Note 10.1, not the Tab 2 tablets. This update is so far only available for the Wi-Fi versions of the tablets.

A Samsung rep … Read more

Alcatel announces the Evo7 HD, Tab7 HD, and Tab8 HD tablets (hands-on)

LAS VEGAS--With the success of tablets like the Nexus 7 and the iPad Mini, all signs point to going small for a successful tablet debut. That at least seems to be the thinking behind Alcatel's unveiling of three new, small tablets for the U.S. market.

First is the One Touch Evo7 HD, a 7-inch tablet that comes in Wi-Fi, 3G, and 4G configurations. The 3G and 4G versions each come with a removable SIM card module allowing users to easily upgrade from Wi-Fi-only to cellular, or from 3G to 4G.

The tablet also features a 1,280x800-pixel IPS … Read more

Samsung pledges quick fix for Exynos security issue

Samsung plans to fix a potential security risk for a number of Android smartphones that feature specific Samsung-made Exynos processors.

The security exploit, first uncovered earlier in the week, opens the door for hackers and other ne'er-do-wells to take control of the system RAM and root the device. Once rooted, the phone or tablet would be susceptible to a variety of malicious activities, such as installing additional apps.

Thus far, only the Exynos 4210 and 4412 processors were found to be vulnerable to the one-click rooting; however, there are quite a few Samsung products that fall under this umbrella. … Read more

Chrome search refinements on their way

Some slight search changes are coming to Chrome, as Google updates the developer's version of the browser today to make getting to your search results more quickly.

Initially released to a small subset of people using Chrome dev for Windows (download) and the developer's version of Chrome OS (read CNET review) that also have Google set as their default search provider, the changes affect both the new tab page and any searches you type into your location bar.

Google software engineer David Holloway wrote in his blog post announcing the search improvements that they're a response to … Read more

Microsoft Surface still the top Windows 8 device, ad data says

Microsoft's Surface RT tablet remains the single most popular Windows 8/RT device, though its lead isn't as pronounced as a month ago, according to an update of usage statistics.

The Microsoft tablet is still the single most popular device, but its share of usage among Window 8/RT devices has fallen by almost half compared to last month, according to AdDuplex, a Windows ad-serving business.

The ranking is based on data collected from 71 active Windows 8/RT apps on the AdDuplex network on December 7. The numbers don't appear to say anything about trends in … Read more

IDC device maker ranking shows Apple value, Samsung volume

In the brave new world of connected personal computing devices, Hewlett-Packard is a distant No. 4, with Samsung and Apple leading the way.

Think of IDC's "Worldwide Smart Connected Device Market" report as the 21st century equivalent of PC maker rankings.

Personal computing today includes tablets and smartphones, not just the laptop in your father's home office.

That global smart-connected device market grew 27.1 percent year-over-year in the third quarter to a record 303.6 million shipments valued at $140.4 billion, IDC said today in a research note.

"HP, which is virtually non-existent … Read more