Introducing The Microsoft Surface Tablet!


Well folks, all of the anticipation and rumor-mongering is over... Microsoft has officially announced the Surface, their very first branded tablet device!

The Surface Tablet will introduce Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system, and it appears to be a large 16x9 display tablet that comes with a kickstand and an industry-first folding case that comes with two types of keyboards that flip over like a book, or snap right on as an external component.

The "Touch Keyboard" is only 3mm thick, and snaps right onto the device. You can also get a "Type Keyboard" that is 5mm thick and features fully embossed keys that you can actually press down.

You get a 10.6" display made from Gorilla Glass II, and what they are calling the "VaporMG" case that is solid and durable. The thickness of the overall tablet is only 9.3mm deep. The Windows 8 "Metro UI" operating system is said to be very intuitive and easy to pick up, similar to Windows Phone Mango.

They are touting this tablet to be a potential replacement of a regular desktop PC, or a laptop. With the unobtrusive keyboard covers, I could see this device replacing my current laptop computer, but I would still want the muscle of a desktop for heavy duty computing.

Something else worth mentioning, the covers are magnetic (similar to the iPad cover) and they are multitouch. Plus, the kickstand action is easily employed to prop up the Surface for use on a desktop.

This is an ARM-based NVIDIA chip tablet that has the hardware features that I would expect coming from a non-Apple device, like an SD card slot, standard USB 2.0 ports, HDMI output, 32Gb or 64Gb of storage, and a 31.5Wh battery. Initial reports say that it is super slick, fast, and super-responsive to gestures.

But the biggest most exciting non-Apple feature in my opinion is the inclusion of a pressure sensitive stylus. It is said to be a "digital ink" stylus. I'm not sure what that means at this point, but it obviously indicates a greater-than-normal capability than that of traditional styluses.

My prediction on price is probably half of what this device will be sold for. Rather than a middle-of-the-road tablet, it looks like Microsoft is swinging for the fences in producting a fully capable computing device that will rival the funtionality of an iPad.

That's about all I have gathered information-wise at this point, and we'll keep you posted as more details come in. I might have to start saving up some money and put the Surface tablet on my Christmas wish list!

Carlton Flowers
Exposing The Surface






Why The Google Nexus Tablet Will Slay My Wallet


If you know me by now, you know that I'm not convinced of spending my hard earned money on a tablet device. To me, there just isn't enough utility to justify the cost. But with the pricing of the newest up-and-coming Android tablet, my mindset just changed...

Enter the Google Nexus Tablet made by Asus, which will be hitting stores at the end of June, 2012! With a possible price tag of $149, the cost of this tablet just dropped below my "minimum usefulness per dollar spent" bottom line.

Up until now, I have not been able to come up with one single use that would push the cost of a tablet above the level of "need". It's an over-priced entertainment device.

Right now, I can get by. I use my Samsung Galaxy S2 smartphone extensively, and I also have an HP laptop that I use in addition to my monster home computer. So a tablet just wouldn't be a good investment.

Tablets have always intrigued me, but the price tag leaves little to be desired. When the first iPad was released, I was mesmerized. But not enough to blow $599 on something that might not get daily use.

Overall prices have fallen quite a bit since Android tablets have entered the market, but I still can't say that I would part with my money to get one. I almost opted for the Kindle Fire at $199, but I want a raw Android device and not something that is geared towards consuming Amazon's content.

But for $149, you might see me in line waiting to purchase the Google Nexus Tablet made by trusted manufacturer Asus. Plus Google promises that this tablet won't just be a cheap alternative, but something of the highest quality. I tend to believe their promise.

For that price, I can finally say that the utility would be above the vanity level. And I truly believe that there will be a lot of utility plus entertainment value with this Asus device. Since I use my smartphone to read a lot, I would find great use out of a 7" display to read articles on Pulse News, and on my favorite blog sites.

With the extra screen real estate, I could also see myself using this tablet to manipulate several of my business spreadsheets. I would be more inclined to use the tablet for my daily budget activities rather than pulling out and booting up my laptop.

On my next post, we'll talk about the specs that are rumored for the Galaxy Nexus Tablet, and why this device could be the best gadget deal of the summer!

Carlton Flowers
Google Gadget Geek



The Pantech Element - My Surprising Final Analysis


I spent two quality weeks with the Pantech Element tablet, provided by AT&T Wireless. It has warped my traditionally negative view of tablets. I've officially been softened. Here's why...

The Pantech Element is an 8" HD tablet device that has every possible feature you would want, and I would put it squarely on the same level as an iPad 3. That's a bold statement, but it is fact.

Size-wise, I'm loving the smaller 8" diagonal display. It's about as big as I would want a tablet device to be. I have never been comfortable proping up a huge iPad with it's 9.7" dipslay. There is just no comfortable way for me to use it other than lying flat on a table.

But the 8" Pantech Element is small enough to hold without discomfort, and big enough to really enjoy multimedia content with its rich display.

A few of the things that I enjoyed on the Element that you won't find on the iPad 3 are Adobe Flash support, a fantastic haptic response on the display, and full waterproof casing. Those are 3 things that I find quite useful that add to the functionality and user experience.

I enjoyed using the Pantech Element to surf Facebook, watch YouTube videos, Netflix, and for reading articles on the Pulse News application. Even reading emails was a fun task on the Element.

The multimedia content viewing was further enhanced by the rich, full sound eminating from the speakers within the device. It was quite a suprise to hear the sound quality coming from the Element. I did not expect such a full sound, but something more "canned" and shallow.

If I were to spend the money on a tablet, which I am now considering in the future, it would be something on the order of a Pantech Element or smaller. I would mainly use it for consuming multimedia content, and for checking emails on the go.

With its 4G LTE radio service, you can download content at blazing fast speeds. When testing this unit in St. Louis, was achieving download speeds upwards of 37Mbps, and upload speeds of 12.4Mpbs. That was truly unexpected. This could almost cause a problem with rapid data consumption and blowing past the download limits!

In the final analysis, I would have to say that Pantech is a serious competitor on the market with the Element tablet and also the Burst smartphone. Both devices scored super-high in my testing, and I'm seriously impressed with the quality of their build and the ease of use.

Pantech is a sleeper. If they continue making great devices like this, I think companies like Apple, Samsung, and HTC better watch the back door... because Pantech could be in position to kick it in and grab center stage!

Carlton Flowers
Avid Gadget Tester