Analyst says iPad tops other tablets in Q4, accounting for a third of all tablets sold in 2013

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Strategy Analytics reported its tablet figures for 2013 and unsurprisingly, iPad remains in first place with 33.9% marketshare. Marketshare growth has dipped slightly, however, year-on-year as iPad accounted for 35.7% of tablet sales in Q4 2012.

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In terms of unit growth, Apple rose 14% compared with the year-ago quarter. The second-place position goes to Samsung, with 17.7% marketshare (although this means annual growth was more than 80%). Apple sold just under double Samsung’s shipments for the period, so even though Apple’s growth has slowed, there is still a significant gap between first and second place.

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Microsoft takes its first hit at iPad mini with new ad showcasing 8-inch Acer tablet

Following its string of ads pinning up Windows 8 tablets against the full-sized iPad, Microsoft has just posted a new ad that pits the 8.1-inch Acer Iconia W3 against Apple’s 7.9-inch iPad mini. The point of this ad is to demonstrate that Windows 8 can even handle Microsoft Word documents and powerful gaming even at the small screen…

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Apple is the only PC brand making progress in Europe (and that’s without iPad)

Research firm Gartner just released its estimates for PC shipments in the Western Europe region during the holiday quarter, and only Apple and Asus made any meaningful progress, with Apple recording the strongest gains in France and the United Kingdom.

While the Mac maker remained absent from the Top 5 rankings in Western Europe and Germany, it was a sole first-tier PC brand to grow sales in the United Kingdom during the holiday quarter. Specifically, Apple’s Mac business in the country grew 17.2 percent, enough to rank fourth with a 9.1 percent market share.

Everyone else’s business shrunk: Hewlett-Packard (No. 1) was down 27 percent, Dell (No. 4) declined by a whopping 32.2-percent, Toshiba (No. 3) fell 5.4-percent and Acer (No. 5) was by far the biggest loser with a 62.4-percent year-over-year decline. The same story is in France where Apple placed No. 5 by growing 15.3-percent for an 8.2-percent market share. Only Asus (No. 2) grew slightly faster than Apple at 17.4-percent, while shipments of PC desktops and notebooks from HP, Acer, and Dell plummeted.

If you include the iPad, Apple easily beats its rivals to the PC punch across the board.

More notes and charts are after the break.


Shipments of notebook and desktop PCs in the United Kingdom. Source: Gartner, February 2012

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CES 2012: Thunderbolt devices from OCZ, LaCie, Belkin, Elgato and even PCs from Acer and Lenovo


The Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock.

If Consumer Electronic Show announcements are an indication, 2012 will be the year Thunderbolt technology picks up significant steam as this year saw a limited uptake stemming from exclusive industry support by early adopter Apple, which rolled out Thunderbolt across its MacBook Air, iMac and Mac mini range.

First up, Belkin is out with a Thunderbolt-enabled dock that allows your MacBook Air to connect to a wide range of peripherals using just one Thunderbolt cable. Akin to its IDF prototype device, the Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock provides a selection of ports that mirror the new 27-inch Apple Thunderbolt display.

According to Belkin, which previewed the stylish port replicator at CES 2012 yesterday, it will feature a Gigabit Ethernet port, a FireWire 800 port, one HDMI port, 3.5mm audio port, three USB 2.0 jacks and two Thunderbolt ports —one upstream and one downstream. If it came with USB3.0, it would be a must-have. The Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock will be available in September 2012 for $299.

Next up, the Elgato Thunderbolt SSD, pictured below. It is first bus-powered Thunderbolt drive that does not need a separate power brick. CNET explained it is quite a feat considering that 10 volts of power of the Thunderbolt interface is shared by the interface itself plus the cable, which has active parts. Sporting a 2.5-inch 128 GB or 256GB SSD unit capped at SATA3 speeds of 6Gbps, the drive will be available in February for approximately $400 or $600, respectively.

Elgato also promised a thinner and short Thunderbolt cable that will be more suitable for this thin external drive than Apple’s standard $49 Thunderbolt cable. Go past the fold for much more Thunderbolt gear unveiled at CES 2012. Read more

DigiTimes: 2880-by-1800 Retina Display rumored to come to 2012 MacBook Pro

DigiTimes reports, based on “sources in the upstream supply chain”, that a next-generation MacBook Pro with a Retina-capable display sporting a 2880-by-1800 resolution could arrive in the second quarter of 2012:

While the prevailing MacBook models have displays with resolutions ranging from 1680 by 1050 to 1280 by 800, the ultra-high resolution for the new MacBook Pro will further differentiate Apple’s products from other brands, commented the sources.

The report continues asserting that Acer and Asustek Computer also plan to launch high-end Ultrabook models sporting  the 1920-by-1080 pixel resolution displays versus the 1366-by-768 displays typically found on today’s Ultrabooks. The rumor might make sense as Intel’s upcoming Ivy Bridge platform natively supports displays with up to a 4096-by-4096 pixel resolution and is capable of decoding multiple 4K video streams at once. Lion also added support for 3200-by-2000 wallpapers, doubling icon resolution to 1024-by-1024 pixels and enabling HiDPI display modes.

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Acer CEO J.T. Wang: Microsoft putting 'troublesome' restrictions on Tablets, controlling whole process

More trouble in Microsoft land as Bloomberg reports that Microsoft device manufacturers are complaining about the software giant’s meddling in their affairs:

Microsoft Corp.  is putting “troublesome” restrictions on makers of processors used to run the coming Windows tablet-computer operating system, Acer Inc.  Chairman and Chief Executive Officer J.T. Wang said.

“They’re really controlling the whole thing, the whole process,” Wang said at the Computex trade show in Taipei without identifying the restrictions. Chip suppliers and PC makers “all feel it’s very troublesome,” he said.

Can you even imagine a PC manufacturer standing up to Microsoft publicly in a pre-iPad world?  While Acer is moving to Google for many of their tablet products, and even ChromeOS for one of their notebooks, Acer is still one of the three biggest Windows PC manufacturers on the planet and of course is expected to make Windows 8 slatesRead more