Holiday Buying Guide 2014: The best Android tablets

 Best_Android_Tablets_2014_02_TAIt’s the holiday season! You are hunting for the perfect gifts for everyone near and dear to your heart. Giving the gift of a tablet works for just about anyone because the options are limitless. With so many options, there are also prices all over the place. You can walk into your local pharmacy and find an Android tablet for $50. Heading over to an online retailer and finding a tablet over $300 is just as easy. Choosing an appropriate tablet that meets price with quality is actually quite difficult because of the crowded field.


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HTC is planning their own line of premium tablets to launch in 2015

HTC Logo

If it wasn’t clear with the announcement of the Nexus 9, HTC is back in the tablet game, and their Chief Financial Officer Chang Chia-lin had some details to share during the company’s recent earnings conference call. Planning a launch sometime next year, the Taiwanese company may be looking into co-branding to expand HTC’s brand appeal (similar to their former partnership with Beats). HTC North Asia President Jack Tong also revealed that HTC is aiming for the mid and high-tier tablet market, claiming the profit margin in the budget tablet sector is too slim.


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Tablets see 11.5% growth in third quarter of 2014, Samsung still top Android tablet manufacturer

tabletShareThe back to school shopping season gave tablets a pretty solid boost in the third quarter of the year helping manufacturers to ship 53.8 million tablets over those three months. Tablets still seem as if they have more room for growth than smartphones do in an overly saturated market, although smartphones are still an extremely valuable commodity.

Year-over-year, those 53 million tablets helped market share for the devices grow about 11.5% from last year. Compared to the second quarter of 2014, tablets also saw an 11.2% sequential growth. 
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Samsung highlights thinness, weight and screen resolution in new Galaxy Tab S promotional video

ipad vs tab s

We all know Samsung’s main competition in the tablet market is Apple — the company was smart to release an ad this week highlighting the advantages of its Galaxy Tab S over the iPad Air.

The video highlighted the thinness, weight and screen resolution of the Tab S relative to the iPad Air, which in all categories, it seemed to win.

Of course this is just an ad so interpretation is up to you, but do you think Samsung has a shot at beating Apple and winning the market share battle for tablets? Hit the break for the full video.


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Motorola rumored to be getting back in the tablet game

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It looks like Motorola is toying with the idea of getting back into the tablet game. For those who are newer to the Android scene, the Xoom by Motorola was the very first tablet to feature everyone’s favorite OS and the first to also sport Honeycomb. Moto then released the Xyboard and after lackluster sales of the ridiculously named tablet, got out of the tablet game. 
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New Xperia tablet pegged for launch

Sony-SGP621-640x331It appears that Sony Mobile is looking to add a new Xperia tablet to the family, following a post on an Indonesian site showing a new tablet with a model number of SGP621. The model number suggests that the tablet will sport LTE and continue the line of Xperia Z tablets with the LTE Z2 and the Tablet Z sporting model numbers of SGP521 and SGP321 respectively.
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AT&T to expand offering of tablets on GoPhone pre-paid plan

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AT&T’s pre-paid plan, GoPhone, will expand its offering to a bunch of new tablets. So if you’ve got one of the below tablets (or are planning on purchasing one) then you can buy data time on the GoPhone service monthly. Hit the break for the full list of compatible tablets.

Once you have the tablet you’ll also have to buy a GoPhone SIM Kit card for $9.99. Then you can pre-pay for your tablet’s data plan on AT&T. The plans are as follows:

1. 250MB for $15/month – 100MB of additional data costs $10 each
2. 3GB for $30/month – 500MB of additional data costs $10 each
3. 5GB  for $50/month – 1GB of additional data costs $10 each


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According to the IDC, tablet sales are steadily declining

idc_q1_2014_tablets

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), tablet sales have showed a significant decrease for this years Q1 sales as compared to 2013′s Q1 sales. We’ll use Apple and Samsung as examples considering they are by far the two largest tablet distributors in the world. During Q1 of this year Apple shipped 16.4 million units and Samsung had 11.2 million, which is a bit down for Apple compared last years Q1 as Apple had 19.5 million shipped and Samsung actually gained at 8.5 million.


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Next generation of LG tablets surface at FCC

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Perhaps riding the coattails of success they experienced with the LG G Pad 8.3, two new tablets from LG have surfaced at the FCC suggesting a public release is not too far off. The devices are listed with model numbers LG V700 and LG V400. The V700 is shown in the filings with a landscape orientation, suggesting it may be a larger tablet possibly in the 10-inch range. The V400 on the other hand is shown with a portrait orientation which would be more consistent with a 7- or 8-inch size tablet.
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