GBM InkShow: Fujitsu Lifebook T900 review
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GBM InkShow: Fujitsu Lifebook T900 review

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No demos here: just a brief overview and my honest opinion of the Fujitsu Lifebook T900 Tablet PC, perhaps the most delightful Tablet PC I’ve ever used. (Oops, probably should have put a spoiler alert there.)

It ain’t all sunshine and puppy dogs, but this dual digitizer tablet really impressed me. I share both the good and the bad in this video complement to my written review without wasting time spouting stats you can read off a spec sheet. Processor speed won’t tell you if a tablet will burn your hand while you hold it, but you can see if it happens to me in this video.

GBM InkShows are sponsored by MobileDemand. Your source for rugged mobile computers.

Thanks to Fujitsu for letting me evaluate this fine Tablet PC.

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Nexus Android 5.0 Lollipop Release Date: What Not to Expect

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With a Nexus Android 5.0 Lollipop release date all but confirmed for early November, we want to take a look at what we do not expect from the Nexus 10, Nexus 4, Nexus 10, and Nexus 7 Android 5.0 Lollipop release date from Google.

Google’s Android L update was first announced as Android 4.4 KitKat’s successor back in June at Google I/O. At the event, Google did not confirm an Android L release date or name though it did outline many of its features and release a pre-release version to Nexus 7 2013 and Nexus 5 users. In the weeks after that early release, we’ve seen features teased and release dates rumored and earlier this week, Google finally spilled the beans on Android L.

Google’s Android L update, as expected, is called Android 5.0 Lollipop. The update will be accompanied by two new Nexus devices including a Nexus 9 from HTC and a Nexus 6 from Motorola. Both devices will help usher in a new era for Google and its Android operating system. Problem is, Google still hasn’t confirmed a specific Android 5.0 Lollipop release date.

The company confirmed several Android 5.0 Lollipop updates for arrival including updates for the Nexus 5, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 7 2012, and Nexus 10. Earlier this month, we learned that the Android 5.0 deployment could start in early November for Nexus users. Google still hasn’t confirmed the timing outright and may not.

With that in mind, we want to help paint a release picture for Nexus 5, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 7 2012, and Nexus 10 users. This will outline what we know so far about the Android 5.0 Lollipop update for Nexus devices and delve into our own expectations. These expectations are based on Google’s history and our own gut feelings about Google’s upcoming release.

Here are 10 things you should not expect from Google’s upcoming Android 5.0 release for Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10.

Nexus Lollipop Release Outside November

At this point, do not expect any Nexus Android 5.0 Lollipop release dates to fall outside the month of November. Google’s official line is “coming weeks” but we fully expect the company to deliver the Android 5.0 Lollipop update next month around the time it delivers the Nexus 9 and Nexus 6 to consumers around the world.

Android Police recently released a document that not only points to an Android 5.0 release in early November but also points to specific release dates for two Nexus devices. The site is very reliable and the information, while not official, should be treated as credible. The document suggests that the Nexus 10 and Nexus 7 Wi-Fi only Android 5.0 updates will arrive on November 3rd. This is the same day that Google plans to release the Nexus 9 on shelves.

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The document suggests that the Nexus 5, Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 LTE will all get their updates after the initial Android 5.0 push. No specific dates are mentioned but we simply cannot see them getting released in December. That’s too close to the holidays. Keep in mind, the Nexus 5 is still on shelves as a budget Nexus smartphone option and Google’s not going to want to head into Black Friday with the Nexus 5 missing a key component like Android 5.0.

Look for all of these updates to start pushing in November not December. Similar to what Google did with last year’s Android 4.4 KitKat update that emerged in mid-November. There should not be a wide gap between all of its Android 5.0 release dates. We don’t expect anything other than a three week release window for this upgrade.

Predictable Android 5.0 Lollipop Release Time

While Apple releases its iOS updates in an around 10AM PST, Google’s Android update release times are unpredictable. That is to say, it doesn’t stick to a schedule. In the past, we’ve seen updates released in the morning and we’ve seen Android updates for Nexus devices released in the late in the afternoon following an announcement.

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This is an element of the release that Google probably won’t confirm ahead of time which means that users are simply going to have to sit by the device, waiting for the upgrade to pop up. This applies to post-release as well.

Google’s staggered OTA roll outs typically arrive at random, unpredictable times. We’ve seen Nexus updates pop up late at night, we’ve seen them pop up early in the morning. It’s a random process and one that you shouldn’t lose sleep over.

Widespread Installation Problems

Unlike Apple, we typically don’t see major day one installation errors for Nexus Android updates. This is probably a product of Google’s staggered roll outs as opposed to Apple’s immediate push for all compatible devices. Apple’s servers typically crumble under the load of iPhone and iPad users trying to install. Google’s servers typically hold up well because it uses an OTA approach.

We might see some updates get stuck or fail but we should see a majority of updates go off without a hitch. Google’s servers are typically very strong not just on release day but during the entire Android update roll out. Don’t expect to encounter much difficulty here. You should be able to install it right off the bat without any headaches.

Android 5.0 Lollipop Leaks

Do not expect the Android 5.0 Lollipop update to leak for Nexus devices in the build up to the official release. Android updates have a habit of arriving ahead of their release date, often in the form of test builds, but Google and its partners have managed to clamp down on leaks over the years. And with just a few short days to go before a release, we’re not expecting anyone to come up with a surprise Android 5.0 Lollipop leak for the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, or the Nexus 5.

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You should expect to have to wait until Google issues the update to the public. Sure, there will be ways around the OTA upgrade but Google’s official manual update option should be the only way to get your hands on Android 5.0 Lollipop before it’s pushed from Google’s servers.

Every App to Match New Look

Finally, do not expect every single Android application to match Google’s new Material Design that’s coming with Android 5.0 Lollipop. We should see some of the bigger applications provide updates that mirror the look and feel of Google’s new Android release but there will be many apps that simply miss the initial boat.

It’s similar to what we’ve seen with Apple’s iOS 7 (a major design overhaul) and iOS 8. Developers took weeks to release apps that mimicked the look of iOS 7’s new design and developers are still pushing out updates to match the look and feel of the iOS 8 upgrade and Apple’s new big screen iPhones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

For more information about Google’s upcoming Android 5.0 Lollipop update, have a look at what we expect from it. This will outline many more key Android 5.0 Lollipop details for Nexus devices.

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GBM InkShow: Facial Recognition on the HP Elitebook 2760p

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I’m no proponent of biometric security. I’ve long argued that it’s a convenience, not a true security measure. Of course, convenience is a nice feature to have, and the facial recognition login on the HP Elitebook 2760p Tablet PC is amazingly effective. Paired with Bluetooth authentication, it’s turning me into a biometric believer.

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GBM InkShow: HP QuickWeb on the HP Elitebook 2760p

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The HP Elitebook 2760p convertible notebook features a quick-start option called HP QuickWeb. It’s a rebrand of the Splashtop “instant-on” OS, which is itself based on Chromium OS. It’s a nice option, but I’m not sure it delivers on all its supposed benefits.

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GBM InkShow: ARMOR X7 Rugged Tablet PC – “Tough Enough”

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Got my hands on another rugged Tablet PC recently: the ARMOR X7 from DRS Technologies, the smaller brother to the X10gx I reviewed earlier. But don’t let the size fool you. It may be petite by comparison, but it’s just as rugged. Definitely tough enough.
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GBM InkShow: New iPad Apps Beg for an Inking Comparison

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With the release of the Tega v2 and the HP Slate 500 many a Tableteer has been hoping, and some have been praying that the slate form factors will handle Digital Inking well on capacitive screens. Thanks to Windows 7, (yes Windows 7) the experience on the Tega v2 isn’t as bad as I thought it would be on that device. Compared to an active digitizer it still leaves me wanting better though. I haven’t touched the HP Slate 500 so I can’t comment there.

As you know, I’ve been putting up a number of posts about different note taking Apps on the iPad that offer Digital Inking on that platform. So, when I heard about the release of a couple of new iPad Apps, Noteshelf and Notes Plus, I thought I would give them a try. That turned into this InkShow and for better or worse this comparison. I start with a Lenovo X201T Tablet PC, then move on to the Tega v2, then the iPad with the two new Apps. Before you ask, there’s no best of here. Well, I take that back. Inking on a Windows 7 Tablet PC like the Lenovo will hands down beat anything else on any other form factor. There’s no getting around that fact. What I think you will see though is that in the case of Noteshelf and other Apps like it, developers are getting closer to creating a good Inking experience for the iPad. I think you’ll also see that the newer slate form factors using Windows 7 will surprisingly not be as good as a Tablet PC. As a side note, I’m not hanging onto many hopes for Digital Inking from any of the Android Tablets. I could be wrong there, but I just don’t sense it as a priority on that platform.

Now let’s define that “good Inking experience.” What’s good enough for me may not be for you. What’s not good for me, may be more than sufficient for you. As I say over and over my note taking with Digital Ink is quick, down, and dirty. In rehearsal I’m watching the stage and scribbling on a screen simultaneously. I can’t afford to watch my hand and/or the stylus. This isn’t meticulous work, it is quick and I need the medium to not get in the way. With a Tablet PC, not only could I do that, but using OneNote I could, in most cases, find what I scribbled with its excellent search. I don’t think we’ll ever see that on an iPad. Up until now the iPad App, Penultimate has come the closest to giving me what I am looking for on the iPad.

Not only does the screen have an impact as to the success of Digital Inking, the stylus plays a part as well. I use several in the InkShow and you can judge the different results for yourself. How the conductive material on the end of a stylus interacts with a capacitive screen is a key to good (or bad) Inking on those screens.

Now on to those iPad Apps. Notes Plus uses a move-able Palm Protection scheme. Turn it on and the App provides you with a grayed out move-able palm protected area that moves down the page as your Inking moves line to line. It works reasonably well, but for my purposes it still forces me to think about it too much. The action of laying down the Ink is not as smooth as in Penultimate or in Noteshelf, and that’s a drawback for me as well. That said, Notes Plus allows you to insert audio in a OneNote like fashion and for many that will be a plus. It also has Google Docs integration, different paper selection, and shape detection. But Notes Plus isn’t for me given my criteria. The Inking just feels a little too ragged, regardless of the stylus I use.

Noteshelf approaches Palm Protection in a similar way, yet differently. You have the same move-able area without the grayed out indicator. Instead a small red arrow moves down the screen as you Ink. But what attracts me to Noteshelf is how smooth the Digital Inking is. It is the closest to the Tablet PC experience I’ve seen on any of these iPad Apps. In fact, it is better than Penultimate, which so far has been the best experience for me. Noteshelf has an interesting omission. It does not allow you to type in text in this version. You can lay down Ink, insert a picture, but you can’t type text. So, you’re going to be Inking if you use Noteshelf. Do note that the developers recommend that you do all of your Digital Inking in portrait mode. The one huge downside that Noteshelf has is its export function. You email a page a page as an image or a PDF, or use the cumbersome iTunes process of transferring an entire notebook when you sync. I’d love to see these Apps work with the Dropbox API. Another iPad Inking App Noterize does this very well.

Again, this is all going to be a very personal thing for any Digital Inker. I can’t blame any Tablet PC user who looks askance at the iPad or any capacitive slate form factor when it comes down to it. But as I say in the InkShow, the continued development for Inking Apps on the iPad is encouraging to me. The lighter form factor just feels right for an Inking solution. Given that Windows 7 already has Microsoft’s Inking baked in, we won’t be seeing any third party improvement there in my opinion, and the success on Windows 7 Slates is going to depend on the digitizer choice, how that integrates with Windows, and the stylus.

UPDATE: Not sure this is really an update as I’m adding it before this post is published. The Inking App I’ve been using most, Penultimate released an update (v 2.1) that makes the fine pen (you have three pen choices) “thinner, smoother, and more natural looking.” The other two pens have been improved as well and the undo feature for each page is now persistent as long as the App remains open. From my very early looks at the updated version the claims are justified. Too bad this came out after I filmed the InkShow. This just proves my point (or is that a theory?) that these Digital Inking App developers are working very hard to create a very good Inking experience on the iPad. Here’s hoping the competition keeps on rolling.

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