Lenovo’s Android ICS Tablet Revealed, Apple Making A 5-inch iPad?

You can’t hide the fact that tablets are really popular these days.  Though it might not totally replace your laptop or netbook, you love having your tablet around.  And if you don’t own a tablet yet but you’re contemplating on getting one, here’s the latest round of tablet speculation to consider before making a purchase.

Lenovo’s iPad-based tablet

Chinese technology company Lenovo unveiled their latest tablet offering, the IdeaTab S2109.  The tablet features a 9.7-inch 4:3 aspect display, like the one found in the iPad 2, 1024 x 768 IPS panel, 8.9mm thick, 1.3-megapixel front camera for video calls, plus microUSB, micro HDMI, a microSD card slot, full four speakers for SRS Trumedia sound at the back, and comes with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.  The processor hasn’t been identified but SlashGear is betting on Tegra 3, and it is said to be packing Texas Instrument’s OMAP, though the variant hasn’t been confirmed.  Battery runtime is said to be 10 hours, though it has yet to be determined.  No word on the price or release date yet.

Google-Asustek 7-inch tablet

Talk of a 7-inch Google-branded tablet launching in May surfaced last March.  The said tablet is said to be the result of the collaboration between Asustek and Google.  Though it hasn’t been officially confirmed if the tablet even exists, rumors of its launch was already pushed back to July.  The two are said to be tweaking the device, while others believe that the Google tablet will be launching device for Android Jelly Bean, hence the delay.  The Google tablet features a 7-inch screen, Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor,  WiFi-only, runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich and is rumored to be priced at $249.

Apple iPad mini

Apple is also said to be working on a 7-inch tablet, or an iPad mini, which  would have the same resolution as the older iPads at 1024 x 768.  According to reports, Apple has multiple iPad prototypes of varying sizes which would undergo testing and scrutiny as to whether or not people would actually have a good user experience.  It’s possible that Apple would release a smaller, more affordable tablet.  Other sources are saying Apple also has a 5-inch tablet in the works, which would be in direct competition to Samsung’s phablet, the Galaxy Note, which has already sold more than five million units.  Others are saying that the 5-inch device is an iPhone and not an iPad.  The 7-inch iPad is expected to be released by the third quarter of 2012, while the 5-inch device is set for 2013 release.

In other tablet news…

RIM drops side loading for PlayBook

Back in February, Research in Motion launched BlackBerry Runtime, which allowed Android apps to be converted or repackaged into BAR files which are compatible to with the PlayBook.  But since it launched, Android developers have been losing revenue since most of their paid apps are being repackaged as free apps.  So to address this issue, RIM announced that the next update for the BlackBerry PlayBook would remove the ability to sideload apps.

This announcement immediately caused an uproar in the BlackBerry community, some even stating that this was an awful idea.  But if you put yourself in the developer’s shoes, I’m sure you would be pissed too.  And some of the repackaged paid apps which are now free, often do not work, causing usability issues and discrediting the developer’s original intentions with the app.  So there is an upside to RIM’s decision: app quality will be monitored and developers and consumers alike should be more satisfied.  Unfortunately, if you’re an app developer looking for beta testers, sideloading apps is the easiest way to get your apps tested.