It's been over four months since Google officially announced Android 4.2 and slightly less time since the initial round of new Nexus devices running it went up for order. Much like the gunshot that kicks off the 100-meter tortoise race, that launch signaled the silent contest to see which manufacturer could get out a non-Nexus update first. Today, we have our winner: ASUS, with a shiny new version of Jelly Bean for the Transformer Pad (TF300T).
The manufacturer has also promised that there will be updates to its App Locker, Virtual Keyboard, Lock Screen, and Setup Wizard applications. Initially, the update will only be available via OTA for U.S.
Adobe has kind of a scattershot mobile strategy. On the one hand, it released six apps back in 2011 for tablets that ranged from okay to awesome. On the other hand, it killed off five of them last year. The tablet versions cost $10 each. Pricey for an app, but Adobe knows how to bring it's A-game. Today, it's bringing it again with a phone version of Photoshop Touch. A distinct piece of software for $5.
Nearly all of the features of the tablet version are available here, including layer support, selective editing, and an array of touch-friendly gestures and menus that made the original app so dang nice.
At an afternoon press conference across the street from MWC 2013's enormous venue, ASUS has just wrapped a (hilarious) press conference that saw the introduction of two new devices (or three?) – the Padfone Infinity and the Fonepad. Before we dive in for hands-on, let's take a quick look at the specs and pricing for the devices.
Jonney Shih with the Padfone Infinity
The Padfone Infinity is the tablet/phone combination we were expecting from ASUS today. It's got decent specs, and boasts ASUS' new AOCC "Ubiquitous Cloud" functionality, but has a rather stunning price, pegged at €999. The device isn't expected to make an appearance States-side.
Yesterday, Google did what Google does best: announce a first version of something that is completely ridiculous, very few people care about, most folks mocked, and that will ultimately end up forgotten in the annals of internet history. No offense, Goog. Some later products are spectacular, but let's be real. Very rarely does Google get it right on the first try.
However, the Chromebook Pixel is still a huge deal and the savvy analyst should take notice, because things just changed in a big way. Google isn't selling a product with this new laptop, it's making a statement. It's planting a flag on the future because, well, no flag, no future.
Amazon isn't exactly impartial when it comes to tablets... you may have heard about this little thing called the Kindle Fire. But they aren't ones to let competition get in the way of a little profit, which is why the latest update to their storefront app includes compatibility with a plethora of new Android tablets, including the coveted Nexus 10. Previously it was limited to Android 4.1 tablets with very specific resolutions. The free app is available on the Play Store.
Resolution support has been bumped up to 2560x1600, which includes the Nexus 10 and probably a few more tablets in the first half of 2013.
One of these days, we're finally going to figure this whole buttons problem for Android devices. While touchscreens are great, the tactile feeling of physical controls will always have its appeal. Some solutions are better than others, but maybe the Wikipad can find the sweet spot. The tablet comes with an attached set of game controls that can be removed, leaving the player with a regular 7" Tegra 3 tablet. The entire unit costs $250.
Here are the specs for the tablet itself:
7" 1280x800 IPS display (up to 5-point multitouch)
16GB storage (expandable w/ 32GB micro SD)
4,100 mAh battery
The attached buttons actually make this look a lot like a Wii U tablet, but this one is running Android 4.1.