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Laptops, Tablets, eReaders

IDC: W. European Tablet Market "Resilient"

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IDC: W. European Tablet Market

According to IDC the W. European tablet market sees a "slight" -1.7% Y-o-Y decline in Q1 2017, with shipments reaching 7.1 million units-- performance described as above expectations after many quarters of decline.

Driving the market is the recovery of Android-based consumer tablets, as well as the progress of the device form factor in enterprise. Also leaving a positive impact is detachable/hybrid tablets, with shipments growing by 5.8% Y-o-Y over and 16.6% Y-o-Y in the commercial segment.

In fact, the commercial segment sees 5.4% Y-o-Y tablet shipment growth thanks to Android- and iOS-based devices with keyboards. Enterprises use such device to address the specific needs of users in various sectors. However Windows-based detachables slowed down in Q1 2017 due to growing focus on convertible notebooks by major OEMs, sluggish Windows 10 adoption in large and very large corporations, and the lack of a Surface Pro refresh.

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HP Updates Elite x2 Hybrid

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HP Updates Elite x2 Hybrid

HP presents the latest generation of Elite x2 notebook-tablet hybrid-- the 1012 G2, a Microsoft Surface Pro rival featuring the usual tablet-plus-keyboard form factor.

The 1012 G2 features a 12.3-inch 2736 x 1824 resolution display complete with Gorilla Glass 4 protection and Active Pen support. Inside the aluminium chassis is a choice of 7th generation Core i3, i5 or i7 CPU (maxing out at the Core i7-7600U), up to 16GB LPDDR3-1866 RAM, up to 1TB SSD storage and a 47 watt-hour battery promising up to 10 hours of use on a single charge (with quick charging powering the battery to 50% capacity in all of 30 minutes).

Connectivity comes through UCB-C with Thunderbolt 3 port, USB-A 3.0 port, microSD reader and a SIM slot for cellular connectivity. Also included are dual-band 802.11ac wifi, Bluetooth 4.2 and various options for connecting to 4G LTE and WiGig networks. Security comes through 5MP front-facing camera with IR for facial recognition and a fingerprint reader.

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IDC: Migration from Tablets to Hybrids Continues in Q1

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IDC: Migration from Tablets to Hybrids Continues in Q1

The global tablet market continues to contract in Q1 2017, IDC reports-- shipments are down by 8.5% Y-o-Y to 36.2 million, marking a 10th straight quarter of tablet decline.

The analyst divides the tablet segment in two "very different" categories. The first is detachables, which are packaged with a 1st party keyboard and are actually growing, at least for the most part. The second is slates/traditional tablets, which lack a keyboard and are on "steep" decline following a 2014 shipment peak.

"As far as most are aware, the tablet market was created in 2010 with the launch of the original iPad, despite unsuccessful product attempts by other OEMs in the years leading up to this," IDC says. "The rate at which the tablet market grew from 2010 to 2013 was unlike many other consumer-oriented device markets we've seen before. However, it appears for many reasons consumers became less eager to refresh these devices, or in some instances purchase them at all. We continue to believe the leading driver for this was the increased dependency on smartphones, along with rather minimal technology and form factor progression."

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Microsoft Presents Surface Laptop

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Microsoft Presents Surface Laptop

After the Surface and Surface Book, Microsoft takes on a classic form factor with the Surface Laptop-- a MacBook-style premium laptop with no frills of the detachable variety.

Unveiled at a New York event, the Surface Book is aimed at students and the education sector. As such, it is a thin and light ultraportable, with a metal body and a keyboard area draped in Alacantara, a cloth-like material commonly used in cars. The backlit keyboard is similar to that found in the Surface Pro 4, while the touchscreen is a 13.5-inch PixelSense number with a 3:2 aspect ratio.

Inside the Surface Laptop are either Intel Core i5 or i7 CPUs, together with 4/8GB RAM and 128/256/512GB SSD storage. It is compatible with the Surface Dial, and Microsoft also offers a Surface Arc Bluetooth mouse. Since connectivity comes via single USB-C port an additional dock accessory allows one to charge the device while adding x2 HDMI, x1 ethernet and x4 USB 3.0 ports.

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Lenovo Intros Flex 11 Chromebook

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Lenovo Intros Flex 11 Chromebook

Lenovo announces the Flex 11-- a ChromeOS-powered 2-in-1 convertible laptop with an 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 resolution touchscreen and a 2.1GHz quad-core ARM processor "designed with Android apps in mind."

Allowing for the transformation between notebook and tablet modes is a 360-degree hinge, and one can also use the Flex 11 in 2 other modes, "watch" and "tent." Construction promises to be drop-resistant up to 75cm, while the keyboard can handle spills of up to 330ml, with channels draining liquid away from electrical components.

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The Onyx Boox Typewriter eInk Hybrid

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The Onyx Boox Typewriter eInk Hybrid

Chinese eReader maker Onyx International presents a curious device at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair-- the Boox Typewriter, a laptop/tablet hybrid device featuring an eInk display.

Like other hybrid devices, the Boox Typewriter consists of a tablet-style display and a detachable keyboard. The display is a 9.7-inch 1200 x 825 Carta eInk number, and handles touch input via either fingers or electromagnetic (EMR) stylus. It also carries a 1GHz Cortex A9 CPU with 1GB RAM and 16GB storage, and runs on Android 4.0, making it rather dated in tech spec terms.

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The Indi All-in-One Speech Tablet

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The Indi All-in-One Speech Tablet

Assistive technology specialist Tobii Dynavox announces what it claims is a world first-- the Indi, an all-in-one speech tablet for non-verbal communicators aimed at the consumer market.

The Indi is a Windows 10-based device. It carries outward-facing speakers with "exceptional loud and clear" output, while control comes through either touchscreen, switch or head mouse. Included Snap software promises intuitive symbol-based communication, making it ideal for users with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and intellectual disabilities.

Also included are environmental controls (ECU), social media, email and music, as well as access to thousands of Windows applications.

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Sony's Digital Paper Tablet

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Sony's Digital Paper Tablet

Sony is famous for releasing unusual devices in its home Japan, and the DPT-RP1 is one such example-- a 13.3-inch tablet featuring an ePaper display one can write or draw on via included digital pen.

Technically a successor to a similar device, the DPT-S1, the DPT-RP1 offers a "non-slip" panel Sony says makes use of the aforementioned digital pen better. It also has a thinner and lighter design that is as thick as a stack of 30 sheets of paper, while the processor is also improved.

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Razer Updates Blade Pro With THX

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Razer Updates Blade Pro With THX

Razer announces a refresh of the Blade Pro gaming laptop-- now featuring THX Mobile certification for display and audio output quality.

According to the company, the Blade Pro display is calibrated and tested for resolution, colour accuracy and video playback, while the audio meets THX requirements for voltage output, frequency response, distortion, signal-to-noise ratio and crosstalk for clear sound through headphones.

Back in October 2016 Razer acquired THX, the audio company founded by George Lucas in 1983. Over the years THX expanded its remit to certification of audio and visuals, and prior to the acquisition was working on a certification program for HDR< AR and VR systems.

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