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If you’re in the market for a brand new tablet, you’ve undoubtedly come across two of the many options available: the Android tablet and Fire tablet. Amazon actually has both Fire and Kindle tablets now, both of which have different purposes and feature sets. With the Android tablet and Fire tablet looking similar and appearing to do the same things, this article examines which is most worth your time and money.The Main Difference – Operating Systems
The main difference between Android tablets and Fire tablets is the operating system. First, Android tablets use the Android operating system, just like most Android smartphones. The Google Play Store is used as well when it comes to accessing and managing apps.
Amazon Fire tablets are exclusive to Amazon and feature the Fire OS. It’s the same operating system used on most Amazon smart products, like the Echo and Fire TV. It’s actually based on Android and works similarly. However, you’ll use the Amazon App Store versus Google Play Store. Since it is an Amazon creation, Amazon’s own apps are pushed heavily, and the interface looks a little different to make it more about content consumption, such as using Prime Reading or Prime Video.More Choices with Android Tablets
Similar to Windows computers, numerous brands make Android tablets. This gives you a much larger variety of options to choose from than you’d have with Fire tablets. However, if you look at lists of popular Android tablets, one or more Fire tablet varieties are usually listed.
Image source: Unsplash
Samsung and Lenovo are the two most popular Android tablet brands – though far from the only ones. In fact, Google is once again working on a tablet. Depending on the brand you choose, pricing can range from under $100 to well over $500. For instance, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 currently retails for around $700, while the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 retails for around $150. The entire Samsung Galaxy Tab line is considered comparable with Apple’s iPad line.
Android tablets sometimes have more onboard storage, such as 128 GB and 256 GB models. Most Fire tablets max out around 64 GB, though both Android and Fire tablets usually have expandable storage via microSD cards.
However, if you need less storage, a smaller screen, a specific type of camera, or any other feature, there’s likely an Android tablet to meet your needs. Of course, all these choices often make it harder to figure out which Android tablet is best for your needs.Limited Choices with Fire Tablets
Fire tablets come in three types: Fire, Fire Kids, and Fire Kids Pro. The main Fire line features just five tablet options, which include 7″, 8″ HD, 8″ HD Plus, 10″ HD, and 10″ HD Plus models. These are the most like a standard Android tablet.
However, while there are some Android tablets made specifically for kids, the Fire tablet line for kids may be even easier to configure and use right out of the box. They also come complete with kid-proof cases, which is a major plus.
Image source: Amazon
The kid models come in 7″, 8″ HD, and 10″ HD versions. The main difference between the Fire Kids and Fire Kids Pro models is what kids can access and do without any additional configuration. Fire Kids is made for ages 3-7, while Fire Kids Pro is designed for ages 6-12.
The one area where Fire tablets really excel over their Android counterparts is price. They don’t typically have higher-end processors and max out at 64 GB of onboard storage, so they’re usually much cheaper. The Fire tablet ranges from $35 to $195, while the Fire Kids/Kids Pro ranges from $50 to $140.Fire Tablets Aren’t Kindle E-Readers
Image source: Unsplash
If you want more apps, such as games or productivity, a Kindle e-reader isn’t the right choice. A Fire tablet would be a much better option, as it functions similarly to any standard Android tablet.Choosing Your Apps
One final thing you need to consider is what you want to install on your tablet. The Google Play Store is typically a go-to for Android apps. While you can install apps from third-party sources, most users at least check the Google Play Store first. This is the default app store on Android tablets.
Image source: Google Play Store
The great thing about Google Play Store is apps are updated frequently, and app developers usually submit apps here and on Apple’s App Store before any other app stores. Since Android and iOS are the two biggest mobile operating systems, developers focus on those two systems first.
While Fire tablets are still Android-based, the default app store is the Amazon Appstore. You’ll find a more limited selection of apps, though most major apps, such as social media and popular games, are still available. Plus, apps aren’t updated quite as often, so you may not get an update to your favorite game until months after iOS and Android tablets are updated.
Before you choose between Android tablets and Fire tablets, take a look at the Google Play Store and Amazon Appstore to see if your favorite apps are available and when they were last updated.The Choice Between Google and Amazon
A final consideration is which services do you use most: Google’s or Amazon’s? For instance, do you prefer Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa? While you can use both on either tablet, Google Assistant is built into Android tablets, while Amazon Alexa is built into Fire tablets.
Image source: Unsplash
If you tend to spend most of your time shopping on Amazon, reading Kindle books, watching Prime Video, and listening to Prime Music, a Fire tablet already has all those apps installed and ready to use. Of course, you can also install all of these apps on Android tablets.Picking the Right Tablet
With all of this information, which tablet is really the best for your needs? Between Android tablets and Fire tablets, consider the following before buying:Android Tablet Pros and Cons
More variety of screen sizes and features
Larger onboard storage
Uses Google Play Store
Easy to customize for most any use (work, school, play, hobbies, etc.)
Most start around $100 and can cost over $500
Large variety makes it difficult to choose sometimes
Hard to find accessories (cases, screen protectors, etc.) for lesser-known brandsFire Tablet Pros and Cons
Generally much cheaper than Android, ranging from $35 to $195 (Amazon often runs sales and bundle deals for even cheaper tablets)
Fire Kids tablets come with protective cases
Fewer choices makes it easier to choose a model
Amazon services already installed (Kindle, Prime Video, Prime Music, Shopping, Alexa, etc.)
Fewer app choices in Amazon Appstore
Less onboard storage
Less powerful processors, which can limit functionality for power usersThe Winner Is …
Overall, Android tablets offer the most flexibility in features, apps, and use cases. However, if you want a simpler tablet just for playing a few games, reading Kindle ebooks, and browsing online, Fire tablets are cheaper and work extremely well. They’re also a great option for younger kids who don’t need higher-end features.Frequently Asked Questions 1. Can I use Google Play Store on a Fire tablet?
Yes. However, you can’t just download it like any other app. You have to go through a lengthy process that mostly turns your Fire tablet into an Android tablet. The good news is that once complete, you’ll have a good Android tablet that costs less than a standard Android tablet. Also, you can revert any changes made if you want to go back to your Fire tablet’s original settings.2. Are lesser known Android tablet brands worth buying?
It depends on your needs. Lesser known brands aren’t a bad thing, but they usually have low-end processors, less RAM, and less onboard storage. They also don’t receive system updates as frequently, so they can become outdated faster.
For general, everyday use, they’re usually fine and can last a few years. They’re perfect for younger kids who may not want or need more resource-intensive apps.3. Do Amazon’s branded apps work better on Fire tablets? 4. Why do Kindles cost more than Fire tablets?
If you’ve looked at Kindles and Fire tablets, you might have noticed Kindles tend to cost more on average. This is because they include a variety of features to make reading on a screen a more pleasurable experience. This includes auto adjustments based on lighting and glare-free screens. Also, the charge can last for weeks since there isn’t much else going on. That alone may be worth the higher price for those who just want a tablet to read on.
With a few changes, you can actually use a Kindle as a lightweight tablet.
Image Credit: Pixabay
Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.
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LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Steve Ballmer unveiled a new Hewlett-Packard Co tablet computer on Wednesday, beating Apple Inc’s hotly anticipated move into the market.
But analysts were skeptical that Microsoft and HP could generate as much consumer excitement as Apple’s new device, widely expected to be unveiled on January 27, though the company has not said anything about it publicly.
Ballmer showed off the new device at the end of his keynote speech at the CES technology show in Las Vegas.
“Everyone’s fired up about this type of device,” said Kim Caughey, senior analyst at fund manager Fort Pitt Capital Group. Microsoft has “a lot of the pieces in place” to make such a device work, she said, but it’s not clear that it can claim significant market share.
“How do you make them usable and at a price point people will pay, which I suggest is sub-$500?” asked Caughey.
Ballmer did not detail pricing or when the device will hit stores. An earlier New York Times report said it could go on sale by mid-2010.
Microsoft’s presentation, which kicked off the world’s biggest consumer technology show, started late after a power outage and suffered a few tech hiccups.
After Ballmer, Microsoft’s entertainment and game chief Robbie Bach announced that a new installment of the hugely successful Halo game will be out this year, and its controller-less game system Project Natal will be in stores by the holiday season.
Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, and HP, the top personal computer maker, are the latest companies to eye tablets that bridge the gap between laptops and smartphones.
Endpoint Technologies analyst Roger Kay said both companies have experience in designing a touch-screen, tablet-style device but that consumer interest in the category has never lived up to the hype.
That could all change, Kay said, if Apple joins the fray. Microsoft and HP faced a difficult challenge in topping whatever device Apple launches, he added.
“The elephant in the room of course is Apple. Other manufacturers are scrambling to get things together before it defines the market,” Kay said. “HP may be looking to put a stake in the ground before Apple makes its move.”
Talk of Apple’s tablet — potentially the company’s biggest product launch since the iPhone — has swirled in trading rooms, tech websites and industry forums for months. The speculation helped propel Apple’s stock to record highs in January, though some say the device may be overhyped.
HP has been heavily promoting touch technology across its line of PCs, and just announced new products such as an updated version of its TouchSmart swivel-screen convertible laptop, and a touch-enabled netbook.
Although next-generation tablet PCs are scarcely evident on the market, the technology world is abuzz about their potential.
At this week’s CES show, Qualcomm Inc and Nvidia Corp are also expected to unveil so-called smartbooks based on their chips. Freescale Semiconductor already has announced its own version.
“Our expectation is that it will be a testing-the-waters sort of thing,” he said.
From Microsoft’s perspective, Kay said the company wants to “highlight and showcase everything that Windows 7 can do.”
The new generation of devices will seek to break Intel Corp’s stranglehold on PCs — the chipmaker makes eight out of 10 microprocessors in the global market. Intel’s Atom processor now dominates the fast-growing netbook market.
A Real Tablet has a Stylus
2011 may be the year of the tablet, but as a segment it’s still painfully immature. Our hands-on with ASUS’ Eee Slate EP121 last week triggered the usual arguments, dismissing the 12.1-inch tablet out of hand because of its perceived “old” technology. Admittedly, there are plenty of points where the EP121 could fall short: ASUS reckon users will see up to 8hrs runtime, which seems hopelessly ambitious for a relatively slimline slate with a Core i5 processor, and the display was frustratingly glossy. Still, the dual-mode hybrid touchscreen is its crowning glory for those who understand that there’s more to a stylus than most – Steve Jobs included – would have you believe.
While the EP121 will happily let you stab at Windows 7 with your finger – or two, since capacitive multitouch is supported – it’ll also let you whip out the included active stylus and get far more precise. Art apps are the obvious beneficiary, with the Eee Slate turned into a self-contained Wacom Cintiq, but there’s also digital handwriting recognition for a surprisingly accurate alternative to onscreen keyboards. Float the stylus nib above the screen and you can move the pointer without making a selection, for hover functionality; there’s also pressure recognition, so the harder you sketch, the thicker the line.
Unfortunately, most users have only ever come across two types of touchscreen: the resistive panels common on pre-iPhone smartphones and the capacitive screens Apple’s handset helped popularize. Active digitisers are something most people are unfamiliar with, so they associate a stylus with a dumb plastic toothpick, something that’s most likely a compromise for undersized on-screen icons. Throw in the generally underwhelming experience of resistive touchscreens on commercial devices – in markets on self-checkout machines, for instance – and you can see how it could be boiled down to a two-player battle in which capacitive technology pulls ahead.
Microsoft isn’t helping things with software, either. Devices with active digitisers – or hybrid pen/touch displays – generally run Windows, and the Microsoft OS still falls well short when it comes to tablet usability. It’s been more than eight years since Windows XP Tablet Edition launched, and while the handwriting and speech recognition engines have improved behind the scenes, visible tablet accommodation to the end-user has barely evolved.
Ironically, Microsoft has had the answer – or at least a potentially significant part of it – under their nose all the time, in the shape of OneNote and the team responsible for it. Billed as a digital notetaking app (which supports searches of handwritten notes, among other things), OneNote is actually a great example of how Windows and stylus control can work together in a way far more intuitive and flexible than putting finger to screen.
The EP121 is far from perfect, but it’s also no iPad-clone and for that ASUS deserves some credit. The stylus-savvy will recognize it for its strengths and make up their own minds whether the hybrid display and Windows 7’s naivety balance each other out. They won’t have much in the way of choice, though; look at the tablets announced at CES 2011 this month, and you’ll see the vast majority avoid the stylus like the plague, in preference to solely finger control. Unfortunately, until the tablet segment matures enough to countenance anything other than another would-be “iPad killer”, the stylus will continue to get its unfair reputation.
Nokia Windows 8, Windows 10 Tablet Incoming
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Update – there are currently no Windows 10 Nokia Tablets, but he hope this will change in the future.
The Surface RT from Microsoft is out in the wild and begs for a question – will the Surface Pro manage to gather more sales? As much as some of us don’t love Microsoft, it’s time to admit that they are very, very late with their tablet and that the single enemy the iPad currently faces is not the Windows 8 tablet spree but the Android army.
A very big problem that users of Windows 8 currently face is the confusion created between the full, Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro operating system and the Windows RT, the dumbed-down version of Windows 8. So, people who pay around $500-$600 for a tablet expect it to come with a full Windows 8 experience, so when that doesn’t happen, naturally, consumers get frustrated. And that’s Microsoft’s biggest issue right – the dissatisfaction of its users. And if Microsoft doesn’t fix this, Nokia will.
Wait, who, NOKIA? Yes, the Finnish company that has been for so many years synonym with cellphones. But right now, there is a lot of companies out there that have embraced Android, Google’s secret gun and have developed awesome smartphones and tablets. Thus, Nokia, has seriously lost from its previous fame. So, what are Nokia’s options right now? To adapt to the new situation or to die.Nokia’s Windows 8 tablet – soon on the market?
Obviously, the direct rival for an eventual Nokia tablet with Windows 8 or RT inside would be Microsoft’s own Surface tablet. And if Nokia manages to choose the right pricing strategy, then I think they can sell even more than Microsoft did. Personally, I think that right now Nokia has much more lovers, in terms of hardware, than Microsoft does. Many people would be really curious to see how a Windows 8 tablet from Nokia could look and feel. Nokia needs to be able to catch that curiosity and convert it into money by bringing on the market an astonishing slate.
The Surface tablet didn’t have anything amazing in it, overall, it’s a good product, but it lacks the WOW feeling that you get with the iPad. Nokia can do that with their own tablet. Where did all this buzz came from? Directly from Nokia’s CEO lips:
“We haven’t announced tablets at this point, but it is something we are clearly looking at very closely. We are studying very closely the market right now as Microsoft has introduced the Surface tablet, so we are trying to learn from that and understand what the right way to participate would be and at what point in time.”
What’s very interesting is that Nokia didn’t ditch the possibility of choosing the Android side, as weird as that might not sound for the moment
“We would consider any option [Android or Windows] … It is important to note that the opportunity for companionship is something that any user is looking for. So, when you think about the Lumia 920, running on Windows phone, having a Windows tablet or PC or Xbox is something that will give us the opportunity to have a pretty integrated experience. Our first focus on what we look at is clearly in the Microsoft side”
Albeit Windows is prioritary, we can’t ignore Nokia’s interest for Android. I could even dare to think that they can work on their own operating system. However, they could opt to focus for the development of hardware and just pick the software solution either from Microsoft or Google. Either way, I’m sure Nokia will do a great job and most likely, the tablet could be released under the same recent branding of its smartphones – the Lumia name.
The tablet is expected to hit the market by the end of this year but they need to pick up the timing very well, because looking at past year, Apple has been very agressive with its iPad portfolio. Looking at the current Lumia smartphones, one could say they are bulky. But if Nokia keeps the same design line with their tablet, I think many will be impressed.
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Two consortiums—VESA and the MIPI Alliance—published a new video-compression standard for mobile devices on Tuesday. Display Stream Compression (DSC) 1.0 is designed to extend the life of some current video connectors by reducing the bandwidth requirements of 4K and higher-resolution video by more than 60 percent.
VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association) adopted DSC 1.0 for its embedded DisplayPort 1.4 standard, while the MIPI Alliance (a group that develops standards for hardware and software interfaces in mobile devices) has embraced DSC 1.0 for its MIPI Display Serial Interface (DSI) Specification version 1.2. DSI 1.2 is used for embedded video in some smartphones, tablets, and laptops. While today’s announcement involves primarily mobile devices, VESA said it anticipates the DSC standard will also be used for external display interfaces to computer monitors and televisions. (Although without the participation of the HDMI Licensing consortium, it’s anyone’s guess if DSC will make its way into the more consumer-oriented HDMI standard.)
A mini DisplayPort connector.
Bandwidth requirements will nonetheless increase dramatically as the industry moves from the 1080p HDTV generation to 4K displays and beyond. To that end, DSC represents a tradeoff between visual quality and bandwidth. What’s defined as high-definition video today—1920×1080 pixels with a refresh rate of 60Hz—requires bandwidth of 3.5 gigabits per second. Move up to 4K video—3840×2160 pixels—and you need 14Gbps of bandwidth to support a 60Hz refresh rate. An 8K display with that refresh rate, meanwhile, will require bandwidth of more than 50Gbps.
“VESA recognized the need for display interface compression in mobile devices to extend battery life without compromising visual quality,” said Dale Stolitzka, VESA Display Stream Compression Task Group chairman and a member of Samsung Display America Laboratory. “In addition, ongoing development of DisplayPort standards, which includes 8K resolution support, foresaw the need for compression because of inherent limits in the existing display interface cables. VESA realized that compression was becoming a common need in the industry, and that a standard compression coding system could meet these common display interface needs.”
According to VESA, DSC 1.0 uses a less-complex compression than algorithm than MPEG, but still manages to reduce video data rates by up to 66 percent. At the same time, the compression simplifies the interface’s electrical requirements and sharply reduces battery consumption related to video playback.
VESA claims the new encoding scheme provides “visibly lossless performance for graphics, text, images, and video,” using a combination of technologies that includes delta pulse code modulation (DPCM) encoding, an Indexed Color History (ICH), an entropy encoder, and a rate buffer.
Netflix is already streaming “House of Cards” in 4K.
All in all, according to a VESA spokesman, DSC was the right choice. “It can be incorporated into the existing DisplayPort standard using the existing DisplayPort connectors,” he wrote in an email. “And they can be incorporated into the existing MIPI standards. Going to higher bandwidths and higher bit rates would have required a possible change in connector standards, but this new compression scheme will extend the lifecycle of the existing connectors and wires.”But…
So DSC compression will reduce the hardware requirements for 4K and 8K video, but compressing a signal means throwing away some data. DSC will tame the 4K/8K firehose, making it easier to design mobile video hardware and ports, said Robert Heron, a former PC Magazine HDTV analyst and now an independent consultant. But, he said via a Twitter message, it might not be ideal for home-theater systems. “I worry about how lossless is ‘lossless,’” he wrote.
Comcast already compresses its video signals, as do other cable and satellite TV service providers. Bandwidth is expensive, and reducing video quality allows these companies to cram more channels—not to mention Internet services—into the same space. Be that as it may, purists argue, you’re not getting all the bits you’re paying for.
Will consumers tolerate compressed 4K video? Or will they be willing to pay for technology that delivers truly higher resolutions? Time will tell.
5 Best Christmas tree lights controlled by phone/tablet The greatest remote-controlled smart lights can make your Christmas spirit shine
Christmas tree lights are a great decoration to use
throughout the Christmas season.
Nowadays, more and more devices can be controlled by an app on our phones. Everything tends to be smart and easily managed, not by a physical button but one on our tablet.
Christmas lights usually have a remote near the charger from where you can manage different lighting modes. If you are tired of having to go near it every time, you can choose the smart Christmas lights and control them from your phone.
If you are in the process of buying new Christmas decorations for your home, computer-controlled Christmas lights are a must-have. Here are some of the best lights you can pick.What are the best computer-controlled Christmas tree lights?
Works with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Razer Chroma
Bluetooth connectivity for pairing the device to the Wi-Fi network
It is not waterproof
Twinkly TWS600STP are one of the best app-controlled Christmas tree lights.
It can be managed from a free mobile app for iOS and Android devices. The app is designed to let you fully manage the multicolor lights. Furthermore, you can create effects, apply timer, and switch the strings on or off.
Twinkly TWS600STP features the newest RGB 4.3mm diffused lens. LEDs are designed with a flat head to intensify light effects. You can also download great free effects from the online gallery.
Good quality for the price
30ft flexible rubber strand with 100 LED bulbs
Low voltage and no overheat, very safe for children
You need to be within 10m of the lights to control them from your phone
ELlight Outdoor String Lights are another great option to buy if you are looking for computer-controlled lights.
This one can be used outdoor if you have a tree in your yard, but also inside. It comes with a waterproof cord, power supply, and controller box, making it perfect even for outdoor use.
You can have more modes to switch to by using the app instead of the traditional remote. Thus, using the app LED Hue, you can choose an option from up to 120 dynamic color modes and various static solid colors.
Adjustable microphone that will sync with any music coming out of any other speaker
Mood lighting features premium 16 million RGB colors
Support Smart Life app
It comes with only 50 LEDs, quite small for bigger trees
It works with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi so it can be controlled in several ways. You can manage the modes in the traditional way, with the 40-keys IR remote. From the 3-button controller box, you can change static, dynamic, and MIC modes.
Additionally, with the Bluetooth POPOTAN app installed on your smartphone, you can control what the led lights can do. You can turn them on or off, set a timer, choose a scene, or change color and brightness.
Waterproof, it can be used inside or outside
LED with 16 million colors
It can be bend in any shape you need
Does not support 5GHz Wi-Fi
The Indoor String Lights from POPOTAN are an excellent option for cheap smart Christmas lights with many features.
It is a small string of only 33 feet long that features multiple control methods. It works with Alexa Echo and Google Assistant, allowing you to simply manage the lights using your voice. Moreover, you can use the POPOTAN or Smart Life app.
In addition, it has a built-in high-sensitivity microphone, LED light bar beating with ambient sound. Whether you want to use it for a party or computer games, you can sync the lights to the beat of any song.
Work with Alexa and Google Assistant
You can set each light bulb to emit different colors
Brightness and saturation can also be adjusted
Only Supports 2.4GHZ Wi-Fi
If you like big bulb lights, then VELTED Smart String Lights is the best choice for smart Christmas tree lights.
It is equipped with impact and weather-resistant G50 LED bulbs. All bulbs are IP65 waterproof, making them safe and protects them from moisture and water.
Besides being waterproof, the durable PET bulbs won’t break if dropped, stepped on, or in bad weather. You can safely use it indoors or outdoor, as you wish.
Bring some automation to your home by buying any of these perfect computer-controlled Christmas lights. The lights are the best part of the holidays, manage them comfortably from your phone or tablet.
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