Tablet market up 50 percent, led by Apple, Samsung, Amazon

The holidays proved to be a boon for the tablet market. Worldwide shipments of the iPad, Kindle, Galaxy Note, and other tablets grew to 76.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2013. That's 62.4 percent growth over the previous quarter. For the full year of 2013, tablet shipments totaled 217.1 million, up from 144.2 million in 2012 -- which equals a growth rate of 50.6 percent.

These latest figures come from a new survey by research firm IDC, which shows that even though the tablet market is clearly displaying strong growth, it appears to … Read more

Tablets with the best battery life

No spec -- no matter how appealing -- should ever be viewed in a vacuum, and the decision to actually commit your time and money to a consumer electronics investment will hopefully have been informed by a multitude of factors.

From design to features; performance to comfort, it's always best to inject your brain with all aspects of a product, swirl them around a bit and wait to see which ones rise to the top for you.

Having said that, battery life is the one metric that truly affects all other aspects of a tablet's functionality. Let's be real: if you run out of battery life, there's not much you can do with a dead slate.

So, I've compiled a list of the six tablets -- culled from a collection of many more -- that lasted the longest during CNET Labs' tests. Before the test is run we put the tablet into Airplane mode and adjust the brightness down to about 150 candelas per square meter. We then run a looped 720p version of "Toy Story 3" and track how long it takes until the tablet's battery dies.

Not every tablet on this list is a thing I'd recommend you buy -- at least not without a few caveats -- but at the very least, each will easily facilitate binge watching of at least half a season of most TV shows. As barometers go, that one feels especially apt given the subject matter. … Read more

Sprints debuts ultra-affordable ZTE Optik 2 tablet

Sprint introduced its newest Android tablet on Friday, the budget-friendly ZTE Optik 2. Priced at $29.99 with a two-year plan, the 7-inch tablet is a 3G-ready slate with entry-level specifications.

The 7-inch screen has a 1,024x600-pixel resolution, much lower than the Nexus 7 tablet of 2013, which has a resolution of 1,920x1,200 pixels. Looking under the hood, we find a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 200 processor, 8GB of internal storage, and 1GB RAM. The tablet has two cameras, a front-facing 2-megapixel and rear 5-megapixel combo.

Rounding things out, there's microSD expansion, Bluetooth 4.0, and … Read more

LG G Pad 8.3 tablet may get a dose of 4G LTE

LG could be prepping a 4G LTE version of its G Pad 8.3 tablet .

A series of Federal Communications Commission documents posted Thursday describe an LG tablet with the model name VK810. Though the name G Pad doesn't appear, the device listed by the FCC matches the dimensions of the current 8.3-inch model, according to PhoneArena.

The FCC files further point to support for the frequency bands used on Verizon's 4G LTE network. Beyond the inclusion of Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, GPS, and Bluetooth LE, no other hardware specs were revealed. Last week, known and … Read more

Best Buy to trim $50 off all iPad Air models

Consumers eyeing the iPad Air can shave $50 off the price through a new Best Buy sale.

Running Friday and Saturday only, the sale covers all models of the Air. Those of you looking for something smaller can save $30 off the first-generation iPad Mini.

The retailer is also tempting mobile phone buyers with a variety of deals. Samsung's Galaxy S4 will be free through Verizon on Friday and Saturday and free through AT&T from Friday through Saturday, February 2. The S4 is currently $50 through Sprint, a sale that will end on February 2.

iPhone buyers … Read more

iPhone 5S users gobble up the most data, says study

iPhone 5S owners are the data-hungriest of all mobile device users, says a report released Thursday by JDSU.

Users of the 5S slurp up seven times more data over the study's benchmark iPhone 3G in developed markets and 20 times more data in developing markets. Apple smartphones and tablets accounted for six of the top 10 most gluttonous devices with the inclusion of the iPhone 5C, 5, and 4S and the iPad 3 and 4.

"Each new generation of iPhone has resulted in increases in data consumption of between 20-40 percent -- even today when data use is … Read more

Giant tablets, 3D printers among top school technology for 2014

The Bett show in London is where the best new technology for the world's classrooms makes its public debut. CNET has been cruising the show floor, casting eyes over the top tech trends, which this year include enormous touch screens, 3D printers, and programmable robots.

The classic whiteboard with squeaky marker pens are long gone, replaced instead with a variety of interactive boards. Most are essentially giant tablets that are either installed on the wall or come with a stand to be wheeled in front of the kids.

The all-in-one touch display from Galneo was a particularly impressive example, … Read more

Sony adds option to buy Xperia Z Ultra as a Wi-Fi-only 'tablet'

Sony officially has morphed its Xperia Z Ultra smartphone into a tablet.

Sporting a massive 6.4-inch 1080P display, slightly smaller than 7-inch tablets marketed by companies such as Apple and Samsung, the phablet more closely resembles a tablet than smartphone. Apparently aware of the appeal inherent in using the device without paying monthly wireless network fees, Sony announced Wednesday it will launch a Wi-Fi-only version of the Xperia Z Ultra.

If there was any doubt as to Sony's intention, the company referred to the new model as a "tablet" in the press release announcing its availability. … Read more

Nexus 8 could have Intel inside, report says

Asus could debut a new Nexus 8 tablet later this year, says a "supply chain" source close to Digitimes.

The tablet will reportedly debut sometime after February and could include Intel's Bay Trail processor. Perhaps coincidentally, the timing dovetails with Intel's recent statement that Bay Trail tablets would arrive in the second quarter.

As to why Google has shifted away from the Nexus 7 to a slightly larger form factor, the anonymous tipster points to a "weak" demand for the refreshed 7-inch tablet.

Without knowing any additional details, the logical time to introduce a … Read more

Android phones whip iPhone at wooing mobile ad traffic but...

Android generates more mobile ad traffic for smartphones than does the iPhone, according to a new report from Opera Mediaworks.

Looking strictly at smartphone platforms, Opera found that Android scooped up a 36 percent share of all ad impressions during the fourth quarter of 2013. That number beat the iPhone, which sliced off a 28.7 percent share.

But factor in the iPad and iPod Touch, and iOS is still at top of the heap.

Overall, iOS accounted for 43.4 percent of mobile ad traffic, leaving Android (smartphones and tablets) with 37.7 percent. Further, iOS generated the highest … Read more