First African-Designed’ Smartphone And Tablet

The VMK Tablet

The VMK Tablet

A smartphone and tablet said to be the first designed by an African company has been launched.

The products, designed by Congolese entrepreneur Verone Mankou, are manufactured in China.

His company VMK’s devices run Google’s Android software. They will retail at $170 (£105) for the smartphone and $300 (£185) for the tablet.

“Only Africans can know what Africa needs,” said Mr Mankou at the Tech4Africa conference in Johannesburg.

“Apple is huge in the US, Samsung is huge in Asia, and we want VMK to be huge in Africa.”

Technology blog Smartplanet reports that the tablet offers wi-fi connectivity and four gigabytes of internal storage. Its name, Way-C, means “the light of the stars” in the local Lingala language.

The smartphone has rear and forward facing cameras and a 3.5in (8.9cm) screen.

There are plans to sell the devices across 10 other West African countries as well as Belgium, France and India.

Mr Mankou said he hoped to launch a cheaper tablet for students next year. Continue reading

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Apple To Launch iPad Mini

Apple to launch smaller and cheaper machine that could be on shelves this autumn

  •     Smaller cheaper machine to launch ‘soon’ claim factory sources
  •     Screen between 7 and 8 inches
  •     Built to compete with cheap rivals such as Google’s £159 Nexus 7
  •     Sources in Apple’s supply chain claim tablet is already in production
  •     Earlier leaks hinted tablet would be on sale later this year
  •     Launch will go directly against Apple founder Steve Jobs wishes

Apple is notoriously secretive about its technical innovations and rumours of the smaller tablet are said to have originated from the Far East, where many of the company’s devices are manufactured.

They were reported by Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal, which quoted  several unnamed sources within Apple’s supply chain. A UK spokesman last night said: ‘Apple does not comment on rumour or speculation.’ Continue reading

Microsoft Launches iPad Rival Tagged Microsoft Surface

Microsoft is to take on Apple in a war of the tablet computers with the launch of its own ‘iPad killer’ – the Surface.

It is a dramatic move for the US technology company, which historically has focused on producing software rather than hardware.

But after some success with the Xbox series of entertainment consoles, it now hopes to challenge Apple and Android in the lucrative touchscreen tablet market.

  • Microsoft tablet will use same Windows 8 operating system as PCs
  • Comes with built-in stand and keyboard to replicate experience of laptop
  • Company refuses to reveal price of tablet or confirm exact release date

Surface comes with a number of features which make it more similar to a laptop than a tablet – most notably, a built-in keyboard which could help the device appeal more to business customers.

And the fact that Microsoft is using the same Windows 8 operating system for the Surface as for laptop and desktop computers could mean that customers will find it easier to switch between different devices.

CEO Steve Ballmer was on hand at a press conference in Los Angeles to announce the tablet, calling it part of a ‘whole new family of devices’ the company is developing.

The 9.3mm-thick tablet, which uses the RT version of Windows, comes with a kickstand to hold it upright and keyboard that is part of the device’s cover. It weighs under 1.5 pounds.

In a possible nod to the device’s chief rival, it will apparently be 0.1mm thinner than the latest iPad. Continue reading

Samsung sues and asks to see Apple’s next iPhone, iPad

In an interesting battle of patents of which has always plagued the world of gadgets, Samsung’s legal team has asked Apple to hand over next-generation versions of the iPhone and iPad to make sure its own future devices will not be subjected to the same infringement claims the company currently faces as part of Apple’s lawsuit from last month.

The motion, filed on Friday with the U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif.,  asks the court to make Apple provide samples of the “final, commercial version(s)” of the iPhone and iPad, along with whatever retail packaging those products come in. Again, these aren’t announced products, they’re named in the filing as the “iPhone 4S,” “iPhone 5,” “iPad 3,” and “third generation iPad.”

The news comes a week after Apple filed a motion to see final production samples of a number of announced, though unreleased, Samsung products, including the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 8.9 tablets, and smartphones like the Galaxy S II, Droid Charge, and Infuse 4G. The idea behind that was to evaluate whether these devices would fall under the same intellectual-property infringement claims Apple had already placed on Samsung devices like the Nexus S, Captivate, Continuum, and Mesmerize in its original court filing.

This could be one of the biggest digital battle-royale of 2011. Lets keep watching to see how this plays out.

However, if Samsung’s request is granted by the court, how do you thing this would affect Apple’s ‘element of surprise’ of which has been their biggest strength when introducing new products.