The history of Android on tablets is complicated. Just as Apple had done in 2007 with the first iPhone, the iPad's release in 2010 set a very high standard for the rest of the market. The next year, Google released Android 3.0 Honeycomb on the Motorola Xoom, designed specifically with tablets in mind. The Xoom wasn't the iPad killer that Motorola had hoped for, and there have been very few Android tablets that could stack up to Apple's iPad line.
Since Honeycomb, Android has shifted away from most tablet-specific features in favor of a shared UI on all screen sizes. There's still a large number of major applications clearly not designed for tablets (Hangouts comes to mind). Read More
My first desktop PC was an Acer many years ago. If I recall correctly, it ran Windows 95, AOL was my ISP, and it was the coolest thing on the planet to me at the time. It was like the Wild West—the rules hadn't yet been established, so the internet was just a huge playground for…whatever. I could get into a nostalgic post about all the stupid stuff I used to do on that computer when I first got the 'net, but that's another story for another day. (Or maybe never.) Either way, those were good times.
Ever since that computer, though, I've had a bit of a soft spot for Acer—oftentimes not unjustified. Read More
I've long been an advocate for the usefulness of Android tablets, but even I've been questioning my own words over the past year or so. After switching to a Chromebook Flip as my main laptop and tablet, I rarely even use my Android tablets for anything more than reading in bed or playing a quick game.
But deep down I guess I'm a dreamer—I keep hoping Google will step up and make Android tablets not only relevant for more than the "I want a cheap tablet" market, but for power users. People who want to get things done and don't always want to break out a laptop to do it. Read More
In my personal opinion, NVIDIA's SHIELD Tablet has been one of the better Android tablets on the market for the last year and a half (give or take). Sure, it's had its ups and downs — a mandatory recall due to battery issues back in August probably hurt it more than anything, but NVIDIA did what was right and replaced all affected units.
Around that same time, SHIELD Tablet as we knew it was EOL'd. Initially we kind of assumed that this was because NVIDIA was prepping to release SHIELD Tablet 2, but we haven't seen nor heard anything about that. Now the company is bringing back the original SHIELD Tablet, albeit with a few changes and a nice new price tag. Read More
Asus was one of the first Android tablet OEMs to distinguish itself with devices like the original Transformer, and it followed that up with two 7-inch Nexus tablets. While Asus is no longer the Nexus tablet maker of choice at Mountain View, it's still doing some interesting things with Android slates. After a run of heavily budget-oriented tablets, Asus is launching a somewhat more premium offering, the ZenPad S 8.0. As the name implies, this is an 8-inch Android tablet with a very similar vibe to the Zenfone 2. Depending on how you look at it, that can be either good and bad. Read More
You don't usually think of HP as a company that makes desirable Android tablets. And in fact, when you go to the HP site and peruse the tablet section, you'd be proven right. However, tucked away in the business-oriented side of the site are some devices that might qualify as lust-worthy for certain Android fans.
One such device is the HP Pro Slate 8, which was announced back in January and was released late this spring. It's basically an iPad Mini running Android, plus a screaming ultrasonic pen. That sounds more awesome than it is. Read More
Lenovo has crammed just about everything it can think of into the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro to make it interesting, with the exception of a stylus and a can opener. And it is interesting, from a purely technical point of view - it has a huge 13" screen, 2.1 JLB speakers, integrated kickstand, and oh yeah, a built-in pico projector. This machine epitomizes one of the best things about Android hardware: a diversity of manufacturers can yield an amazing variety of features.
Unfortunately, Lenovo's design is more ambitious than its execution. With a build quality that's only average, some questionable hardware decisions, and a software experience that's poor at best, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro simply won't be worth a look for most people. Read More
Dell has a new Android tablet, and it's actually interesting for once. You don't usually think of Dell as a leader in the area of tablet design, but that's what seems to be happening here. The new Dell Venue 8 7000 series tablet is currently the thinnest slate in the world at just 6mm. Ignoring for a moment whether or not it's a good design, you can't deny that's impressive—even the iPad is thicker. The Venue 8 makes some compromises to get there, but maybe that's okay. Let's see how this tablet measures up. Read More
On November 3, 2014, I published our review of the Nexus 9. It wasn't especially pretty, if I'm honest. But as with all things Nexus, time and software updates (mostly software updates) can smooth out rough edges and straighten up quirks, so a revisit seemed necessary. Now, three months on, have things really changed with Google's flagship tablet? Or is it still the HTC-made misfit I wanted to love, but just couldn't?
The end of a review is nothing to spoil, so I'll just be out with it: the Nexus 9 feels like basically the same kind-of-OK-but-not-great tablet today as it did the morning it arrived on my doorstep. Read More
Picture yourself on a couch. Now, across the room is a television. It's just a 48" 720p flatscreen, hooked up to a digital cable box Time Warner sent you like 8 years ago that is slow as molasses and has no remaining DVR space, and beside that is the old Xbox 360 you haven't touched in many a fortnight and is presumably home to a small but happy civilization of dust-eating molds and fungi who are probably as old as the component video cable you have attached to it. Oh, and there's a DVD player.
Your cousin/nephew/niece/sibling/whatever got you one of those Chromecast things, but honestly, you don't even want to try how to learn to use it, so it's still in the box. Read More