The week in gadgets: Microsoft needs to get Pro in its message about Surface

12 Aug 2013

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In our look at the gadget happenings of the past week, news that Microsoft is once again slashing the cost of its Surface Pro tablet/PC device raises questions about the future of the Windows 8 product line. We also look at the impending arrival of the Google Nexus 7.2 tablet computer in Ireland and the UK.

News Surfaces of August discount for Microsoft’s Pro tablet/PC

Microsoft needs to come out fighting especially in light of the revelations that it is temporarily cutting the price of its Surface Pro computer by US$100 to US$799 for the 64GB and US$899 for the 128GB version.

In its recent financial results the software giant revealed that it took a hit of US$900m on poor sales of its Surface RT computer, a lower cost Windows 8 tablet/PC that runs on an ARM processor.

The Surface Pro is Microsoft’s Windows tablet equipped with an Intel Core i5 processor and provides a superior computing experience compared to the Surface RT, making full use of Windows 8’s features.

The price cut, clearly designed to move units, suggests all may not be well on the Surface front. That said, it is believed Microsoft is hard at work on the Surface 2 and it would be interesting to see what learning the software giant applies to the next generation.

We think the Surface Pro is a great technological achievement, deftly bridging the notebook/tablet worlds. So let’s hope Microsoft is on the right track

The Androids are coming, the Androids are coming!

IDC smartphone OS

The latest figures on smartphone OS market share from IDC reveal that Google’s Android operating system now has 79.3pc of the global smartphone market.

According to IDC vendors shipped 236.4m smartphones, up from 156.2m units last year.

Apple appears to be in decline but IDC reckons this is because of the anticipation for the next generation of iPhone devices, which as well as leading high end devices could include a lower cost option called the iPhone 5C.

According to IDC Android maintained its leadership position, with strong contributions from Samsung and its Galaxy S4. Not to be overlooked were LG and Chinese vendors Huawei, Lenovo, and ZTE, which each recorded double-digit shipment volumes in the millions.

Windows Phone posted the largest year-over-year increase among the top five smartphone platforms, and in the process reinforced its position as the number 3 smartphone operating system. Driving this result was Nokia, which released two new smartphones and grew its presence at multiple mobile operators. Nokia accounted for 81.6pc of all Windows Phone smartphone shipments during 2Q13.

BlackBerry saw its market share decline during the quarter, reaching levels not seen in the history of IDC’s Mobile Phone Tracker.

Nexus 7.2 to arrive in Ireland and UK on or around 28 August

nexus 7.2

Approximately a month after launching in the US, Google is launching its next tablet computer, the second generation Nexus 7 or Nexus 7.2 if you like, on 28 August in Ireland and the UK.

Tech distributors Asus confirmed the news last week. The Nexus 7.2 comes with a new high-resolution screen, which packs 323ppi – compared to the original’s 216ppi – into the same 7-inch display. The display has been boosted from 1,280 x 800 to 1,920 x 1,200 for a true 1080p HD experience, and making the new Nexus 7 the world’s highest resolution 7-inch tablet.

When the Nexus 7.2 goes on sale in the UK it is expected to cost stg£199.99 (€232.34) for the 16GB Wi-Fi only version and stg£239.99 (€278.81) for the 32GB Wi-Fi only version.

The unboxing of the Xbox One

xbox unbox

One of the biggest questions about Microsoft’s forthcoming games console Xbox One has been will it or won’t it come with headphones included. Well, that question was answered this week when Microsoft Game Network Larry Hryb (aka Major Nelson) put out a video where he literally took the Xbox One out of the box.

The unboxing showed the new console includes such goodies as a 4K HDMI cable and a 1080p high definition Kinect perfect for Skype calls, and of course an adjustable headset.

First unveiled in may, the Xbox One – named for Microsoft’s focus on the all-in-one experience – comes with an eight-core x86 processor, 5bn transistors, 8GB RAM, USB 3.0, Wi-Fi direct and a Blu-ray drive.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com