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May 11, 2013

Mobility TechZone Week in Review

This week brought us a very interesting find, in the form of a hardware review. Are you in the market for an 8-inch Android tablet that is every bit as solid as an Apple iPad Mini but doesn't cost anywhere near as much? How about a slim yet solid device that offers great hardware specs, will easily run all of your Android apps and is a true blue Android device (by which we mean not one such as Amazon's Kindle that runs on a heavily modified version of Android)? Hold on though - there's more - how about a machine that not only trumps the Kindle in price at $198, but that also comes with free shipping? If we have your attention, you will want to check out our hands-on review of the Idolian Mini 8 Studio right away.

While you are at it, you should consider that it just happens to be the case that Android may be in the process of becoming much more useful - how about the possibility of running Microsoft Office as an Android-based Web app through Chrome? Well, that may just make that $198 Idolian tablet that much more useful. If you happen to be a diehard Apple fan however, we strongly suggest exploring our picks for the top five iPad business apps we've uncovered strictly for iPad use.

Further, while you consider that perfectly priced Idolian, perhaps it is time for you to also reconsider that old feature phone you are still using, or that old clunker of a smartphone that is long past its due date. If you also happen to be a fan of Facebook, the HTC First, which is the first smartphone to pack the Facebook Home app, can now be had with a contract for all of 99 cents. HTC is back from a near collapse and is now putting some excellent smartphones out there. They are well worth exploring -- it isn't a Samsung-only world.

While we are on the subject of smartphones you may have heard that BlackBerry is in fact now shipping its keyboard-based Q10 in the U.K. where sales appear to be brisk. The Q10 will soon find its way to the U.S. market, and for the many millions of Blackberry users who still insist that they must have their real keyboards, the Q10 is BlackBerry's answer for moving into the 21st century -- sort of, since we ourselves don't really consider keyboards to be anything other than 20th century gadgets. There is one minor thing you will need to consider if you are waiting on that Q10 -- it turns out that of the entire crop of BlackBerry apps now being launched for the touchscreen-only Z10, not all of those apps will useable on the Q10. Is that a deal breaker for you?

On the content end of things, if you are a Sprint subscriber and are familiar with Sprint's SprintZone app, things may be getting more interesting for you. Sprint and Time Inc. have just entered into a mobile content, advertising and retail alliance under which Time will deliver its branded content within a section of the SprintZone application on certain Sprint devices. Time's content will include the latest entertainment, lifestyle, sports and business news. The only fly still in the ointment is that we don't know which devices will support the feature.

When you think of "mobile things" does the name Intel immediately come to mind? The answer is typically an emphatic no, even for those of us deep in the mobile biz. Intel doesn't dodge this issue - it knows perfectly well that is has been true. But now Intel is finally getting ready to do battle - not with its old nemesis AMD, but with the likes of Qualcomm, ARM and NVidia, to name a few of the companies producing SoCs for the mobile marketplace. We've spent a good bit of time speaking with Intel of late and the good news is that they finally get it. And toward that end this week the company announced two critical platform plays that will drive its mobile future. First there is the new Intel Haswell platform, which will take SoC performance, power consumption and ultra-high end graphics capabilities to new levels.

Second, there is an entirely new next generation of microprocessor architecture that Intel has announced. Its new Intel Silvermont platform will take advantage of the same new 22 nanometer manufacturing technology that Haswell is based on -- and this is the secret sauce behind amazing new levels of reduced power consumption. Going forward when you think mobile you will need to think smartphone, tablet and…Ultrabook. That's right; the Ultrabook will become the ultimate expression of true high end mobility.

BTW, if you happen to be one of those folks who follow the whole Google acquires Motorola Mobility for $12 billion thing, you may be interested to know that the European Commission just delivered a preliminary finding that Motorola and Google are abusing their patent portfolio and licensing practices. It doesn't look like Google should rely on Moto IP to recover that over the top price tag.

Have a great weekend!

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