The Big Microsoft Announcement: Will It Be An iPad-Killing Tablet?

MICROSOFT SET TO UNVIEL MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT

Rumors are flying and excitement is running high concerning a major announcement coming from Microsoft Corporation on Monday, June 18th 2012. Could this be the unveiling of the first iPad killer? Nobody knows... but here are my thougts!

First of all, I'm still salty that Microsoft dropped the ball and never released the Courrier tablet back in 2010. It was a double-screen folding book tablet that had a stylus.

Everyone knows that I'm a huge fan of the stylus with mobile devices. The Courrier would have been a first of its kind concept that was different from the iPad or any other tablet. But I don't think this new device will be similar to the Courrier.

My prediction is that this will in fact be more of a traditional tablet device, but something that will be ground-breaking with the new Windows 8 operating system and live tiles concept. If anyone can make an iPad killer, it would be the Microsoft Corporation. But I don't see them taking on the iPad market head-on.

With the recent news of Google developing their flagship Nexus Tablet device that boasts a possible super-low entry level price for a "quality" tablet, I think the lower-end market is more ripe for the picking. I'm not of the opinion that people are looking for another $600 to $800 tablet device other than an iPad.

I see Microsoft hitting the tech sector with something more in the mid $300 price range that will turn heads and draw people away from the Amazon Kindle Fire, the B&N Nook Tablet, and the upcoming Google Nexus Tablet. But this device will possibly have features that would motivate people to spend the extra dough to get their hands on this new gadget.

It makes sense to me that Microsoft would create a device that builds on the Windows Phone Mango platform, which could quite possibly be Windows 8. This would fit perfectly within their current offerings, and fill the gap where they don't have a presence.

We know that Microsoft does not actually manufacture their own hardware, as is the case with the XBOX gaming system that rules the roost in the gaming industry. So could this possibly mean that Microsoft could team up with Nokia again, makers of the flagship Windows Phone Mango smartphone? I think yes.

Nokia is off to a slow start with the Nokia Lumia 900. Partnering again with Microsoft on producing a new Windows 8 (or Windows "RT") tablet would certainly give the company a much needed boost. And with rumors still swirling around a possible buyout of the Nokia corporation for $8.8 billion, I'd say that the Redmond tech giant wouldn't be thinking of partnering with anyone else to build such a device.

We will keep our eyes on the horizon and see what unfurls by Monday, and follow it all the way to the end. At this point, I think Microsoft Corporation knows that they can't flop out a dud and miss out on this late opportunity to finally put a dent in the solid tablet market that is owned by the Great Fruit Dictatorship.

Carlton Flowers
Windows Watcher

 

The Google Nexus Tablet - Let's Talk Specs!

RUMORS POINT TO AN AMAZING ASUS ANDROID DEVICE

Time to go into depth with the latest rumors of what specs we ex-spec-t to see on the Google Nexus Tablet that Asus will be cranking out late this month! At $149, this could be a steal if even half of this pans out.

I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for the best, because this could end up being the number one value for an Android tablet on the market.

The challenge to making this device is creating something of quality (as they are claiming) and keeping the price down to a minimum. That's no easy task. So we have to keep that in mind as we look at the rumored specs.

Here's what we might have...

7" Tablet Display

The 7" size is the perfect size for a tablet in my opinion. Plus, its a cheaper build. The resolution on the Google Nexus Tablet should be in the 1024x600 to 1280x728 range. That's plenty enough for high quality multimedia content without going nuts and creating something along the lines of a Retina display. It is supposed to be similar to what was used in the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, which nails the good quality/low cost target.

Under The Hood

Look for a dual core 1GHz CPU to power the Nexus Tablet. It's good enough for current technology and the average user, and doesn't carry the price tag of a quad core processor. It should be plenty enough to push apps and support multitasking without a problem.

The GPU is rumored to be a PowerVR SGX540. That comes in exactly at average. It was the top GPU about 2 years ago, and was featured on the original Samsung Galaxy S tablet. That's enough to push 1080p HD video. This would be the perfect happy medium between price and functionality.

I'm betting on 1Gb of RAM, even though the up-and-coming tablets will be pushing 2Gb as the new standard. But for an entry-level fuctional tablet with a super low price, you don't need it. Storage-wise, my best wild guess would be 8Gb of flash memory for apps, music, videos, PDFs, and other file types stored to the device.

Internet Connectivity

4G LTE radios are all the rage. But it's not necessary for this device. Look for basic WiFi capability, and no 3G/4G wireless radios to be built in. With the ability to stream data service from a smartphone and the availability of free wireless hotspots, WiFi is the choice to keep the price at rock-bottom levels. Most people who are focused on price (like me) will not worry about 3G/4G service anyway. That way, there's no fuss over 2-year contracts or monthly premiums to make this a self-sustained internet device.

Operating System

Some people are floating out rumors that the Nexus Tablet will feature the upcoming Android 5.0 "Jelly Bean" operating system. I don't totally buy that notion. Actually, Android 4.1 is code named "Jelly Bean", and I'm thinking this is what we will see.

To be honest, I'd be perfectly happy with Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" which isn't even available on my Samsung Galaxy S2 smartphone at this point. So anything above Android 2.3.5 "Gingerbread" will be a real tasty treat (pun intended).

Arrival In Stores

Most sources are stating June 27th to 29th will be the announcement time, when the Google I/O developer's event is scheduled to take place in San Franscisco. This is when they will break out the news for the new Android operating system "Jelly Bean". That would be the perfect time to have an official news release.

But that doesn't mean it will hit stores at that time. I would look for a late summer release of the device, but not too late. We all know how fast new Android devices are released to market, nothing like the once-a-year format of the big fruit company.

So there you have it. My official rumored specs for the Google Nexus Tablet. I could still be first in line for this... unless Microsoft steals my attention with their special news announcement on Monday! Stay tuned for more details!

Carlton Flowers
Tablet Fence-Sitter

 

 

 

Why The Google Nexus Tablet Will Slay My Wallet

THE AUS-MADE GOOGLE NEXUS TABLET HAS ME AT "HELLO"

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

 

 

iPhone/iPod Touch Cracked Screen Repair Guide

SO YOU DROPPED & CRACKED YOUR IPHONE/IPOD SCREEN... NOW WHAT?

NEWSFLASH: iPhone & iPod Touch screens are fragile!

Alright... that might not be very shocking news, and it may seem hideously obvious to everyone. But at the same time, even though we all know that these devices are far from indestructible, there are probably thousands of iPhones, iPods, and iPads dropped and shattered each and every day.

I get calls, emails, and text messages several times per week from distraught iDevice owners who have dropped their gadgets, run over them with cars, or given them a slam dunk in the toilet, and they want to know what to do.

In this post, I'm going to tell you everything that I've learned over the past years of fixing Apple products, and give you a good idea of what you are up against with each different type of break or malfunction.

I CRACKED MY IPHONE SCREEN

If you own an iPhone 4 or 4S and you dropped & shattered your screen, chances are your repair won't be too costly. Even though your LCD is still working, you've got to replace the LCD and glass front because they are glued together. That front glass is actually 2 thin pieces of glass glued together. One is the digitizer, and one is the outer glass.

If you're lucky, all you did was damage the glass. But I've seen cases where the drop was so bad that the IC board gets shorted out. One of the biggest bummers when this occurs is that your backlight coil can burn out. I've written a complete blog post about that problem, so check it out. But if this is the case, you can throw your iPhone 4/S in the trash can because it is useless.

I've also seen damage occur to the vibration motor. This is also a cheap fix. The part only costs $5 on eBay, and you don't have to disassemble the entire phone to get it in. You might be able to do this yourself.

If you drop your phone just right, you can dislodge or break your WiFi antenna. There's nothing more frustrating than getting a repaired iPhone back and finding out days later that you have no WiFi reception. Check it immediately. It's an intriquite piece of the hardware, and will malfuction if improperly reinstalled.

Another casualty that comes with dropping the phone could be damage to the home button or power button. When someone brings one of these to me, I send them elsewhere. It's just not worth the time to tear down the phone to replace either of these unless you do this for a living.

Lastly, I've seen dock connector damage when people drop their iPhone while it's plugged in for recharging. This requires replacing the dock connector cable, and it can be somewhat of a pain if you don't have experience tearing down an iPhone.

You can expect to pay $50 to $75 labor to do any of these fixes at an authorized or non-authorized repair shop. Or you can try it yourself. I don't recommend tearing an iPhone apart to anyone, period. The only way I would recommend you trying a fix is if you don't mind risking tearing up your phone beyond repair. Keep that in mind.

I CRACKED MY IPOD TOUCH

The iPod Touch is repairable. I've done a few dozen, and I can give you this advice first and foremost: If you own a 2nd or 3rd generation iPod Touch, chunk it in the trash. If you have a 4th or 5th generation iPod Touch, it is probably worth fixing... to an extent.

The iPod Touch 4th generation device is fairly durable, but dropping it in the right way will shatter the display. Like the iPhone 4/S, the LCD and digitizer screen are glued together. You can order replacements seperately, but you can't pull them apart unless you have an expensive chemical separation kit.

Removing the old screen requires heating it up with a heat gun to soften the glue and pry it out, because it's not secured by screws. Getting the old screen unplugged from the motherboard is also a daunting task, and so is plugging in the replacement.

When gluing and setting in the new screen, you can destroy the LCD panel if you put even the slightest pressure on the wrong part. It's seriously sensitive. Only seasoned veterans or trained techs should even try this.

Replacing the battery on an iPod Touch 4th or 5th generation device is doable. It will cost as much labor as a screen replacement, because you have to gut the device to get to the battery. Same holds true for the dock connector if you have damaged it.

With the iPod Touch, you have much less of a chance of damaging the WiFi antenna because it is a ribbon cable that is soldered into the motherboard. But if you accidentally tear it off during the repair, count on adding more frustrating time to fix this. The replacement is not easy.

Lastly, watch out for rookie repair artists who snatch out the mainboard metal cover and rip out the volume control ribbons, and the tiny connector wires to the speaker. There's a ton of glue underneath the metal cover, and everything gets stuck to it. If you don't know what you are doing, you can easily rip these out and cause yourself needless frustration in trying to piece the wires or ribbons back together.

Expect to pay $40 to $75 labor when you see a tech about a screen replacement or battery replacement for an iPod Touch device. You can order replacement screens for as low as $20 on eBay, but you have to watch for shady suppliers.

I CRACKED MY IPAD SCREEN

If you dropped your iPad, let's hope it's not a first generation model. If it is, save the trouble and chunk that piece of glass in the trash. iPads are not any harder to fix than iPhones, and the parts seem to be fairly reasonable. Labor costs should be about the same as the phones.

As with the other devices, you can run into problems damaging the ribbon connectors to the volume controls, and you can also damage the WiFi antenna if you're not careful. You want to double check that the WiFi and volume controls are working after a repair, especially if you're dealing with a non-certified repair artist.

WATER DAMAGE - WHAT YOU'RE UP AGAINST

If you drop your iPhone or iPod into water, you better act fast, and pray hard. The damage that can occur can be irreversible. Whatever you do, if you drop your device into water, don't turn it on to check to see if it works. This will cause you to potentially short out the IC board and render it useless.

The first thing you should do is shake it off, and then do a rice bag treatment. Take a Ziploc bag and fill it with rice (that's dry rice for those that aren't very bright). Put it in a microwave oven and heat it up for a couple of minutes, or long enough to get it hot. Then put your device in the bag and zip it up. Leave it in the bag for 24 hours, and the rice will absorb the excess moisture.

If you're lucky, it might work when you turn it on the next day. If it doesn't, you're probably looking at buying a new device. Why? Because you've probably shorted out the board. One of the possible things that can happen is shorting out the backlight coil.

If you turn on the device and see a non-lit dark ghost image of the display when you hold it under a bright light, you're toast. Replacing the backlight coil is very tricky, and can only be done by a good technitian. But it will not last. Whatever part of the board that shorted out the backlight coil will still be damaged, and it will short out again in due time.

My advice for water damage is to stay away from water with your device. Keep in mind that 30% of smartphones and iPods are dropped in the toilet. I'll let you figure out why that happens, and you can use common sense to avoid that possibility.

THE COST OF PARTS

The one good thing about fragile breakable Apple devices is that the repair parts can be bought for reasonable prices. The older the device, the cheaper the repair parts will be. If you buy your device brand new and break it within the first few months, expect to be gigged when you order repair parts.

Pricing on parts for newer devices always starts out high as the sky, and then they drop at a fairly fast rate. This happens because of the simple laws of supply and demand. As more devices are broken over time, the replacement part manufacturers will sell at higher volumes, which will lower the price.

This all boils down to one thing: Be extremely careful if you're buying a new device, and put it in a good case. Don't opt for the cheap rubber-only cases. They may keep your device looking good, but they won't guard against a drop to concrete or a hard surface.

It really amazes me how many times I see people cracking a new iPhone or iPad within the first month of buying the device for this very reason. If you're going to blow several hundred bucks on an iDevice, you better plan on protecting your investment with a good case and an insurance plan for breakage.

If you want to order replacement parts on your own, you can get them on eBay and Amazon. Don't worry about trying to find suppliers by doing a Google search. All of the reputable suppliers are going to be listed on one or both of these sites. In my recent experience, the best prices for parts can be found on eBay.

CONCLUSION

If you chose to own an Apple device, protect it. Get a good case. Additionally, I strongly recommend paying for an insurance or replacement plan and not taking any chances. I usually recommend against spending the extra money on extended warranties and breakage insurance, but this is something you better do if you don't want to break the bank.

Keep in mind that when you buy a new iPhone or iPad with a wireless plan, you're only giving a down payment for the device. Just because you paid $200 for that new iPhone doens't mean that it's going to be replaceable for the same amount of money.

A new iPhone is worth $600 to $750, and your 2-year wireless agreement has the rest of the cost of the device built in to your monthly payments. That iPhone or iPad is like an expensive laptop computer crammed into a micro-sized device. It is an intriquite, expensive computer that you cannot take chances on protecting.

For repairs, it is best to use an Apple-certified repair technitian that puts a warranty on their work. You can save money by using a non-certified repair tech, but you will void your warranty with Apple if your device has a malfuntion that isn't related to damage that you have caused. That's a real consideration.

And for goodness sake, don't take an Apple device apart unless you're okay with damaging it beyond repair. I am a non-certified repair artist, and I learned the ins and outs of repairing these things by tearing them up. That's the best way to learn if you're not taking a training course on repair procedures.

Knowledge is power, and I hope you've learned from my experience. Apple makes great products, but they are fragile as fine china, and it is worth taking every precaution to protect your investment!

Carlton Flowers
The iFubar Specialist