NVIDIA SHIELD, the company's first in-house built device, is officially available for pre-order for $350. And no sooner than the announcement was made, the "this is too expensive!" comments started showing up. I want to explain why I think that line of thinking is not only unfair, but also illogical.
The issue with SHIELD, in my opinion, isn't actually with SHIELD itself but rather the way people are perceiving it.
Since their inception, tablets have been seen as a computing form factor conducive to a particular kind of artistic expression: drawing and painting. Of course, accurate sketching can be a little difficult with clumsy fingers, and conductive stylus pens have proven a middling solution, at best. Fortunately, with the advent dual-digitizers capable of supporting pressure-sensitive styli - like those found in Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1 - tablets have become a much more practical art tool.
There is no arguing that the new Hangouts Android app, which replaces Google Talk and aims to unify several communication methods, has had a rough start. One of the main issues we've run into from the very beginning was wonky tablet support. In fact, most people couldn't install it at all because instead of the Update button, only a lone "Open" button would show up on tablets. Dan Morrill, one of our favorite Android engineers (HOLOYOLO!
Archos has been cultivating a reputation for cheap, mostly reliable tablets since long before Android slates were mainstream. Their latest creation isn't all that remarkable: the 80 Xenon is squarely aimed at the iPad Mini, with an 8-inch, 1024x768 IPS screen, a Qualcom 1.2ghz quad-core (Snapdragon S4?) processor, 1GB of RAM, and a price tag of $199.99. Oh, and it comes with unlocked 3G wireless broadband. Wait, what?
Yes indeed, the 80 Xenon is specifically designed and marketed with mobile wireless in mind.
We've covered MyScript Calculator several times here at AP, as its handwriting recognition / conversion is, simply put, pretty damn impressive. The developers behind this app have now taken the same technology and brought it to the note-taking table with its newest app, MyScript Notes. Check it out.
Pretty slick, no? This tablet-only app supports palm rejection, sync with popular apps like Dropbox, Facebook, Twitter, S-Note, and more; and has nine available languages: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese Simplified, Korean, and Japanese.
Between Hangouts, the gorgeous new Maps, Play Music All Access, and everything else discussed in I/O's opening keynote this morning, several revisions to the Play Store developer's console were announced.
Perhaps the most interesting addition to the console will be an organized method for alpha and beta testing, and staged rollouts. Basically, developers can select alpha and beta testers, receiving all feedback directly (instead of through reviews) and, when the time comes, roll out the app to certain percentages of the user base.