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Lenovo and ASUS continue to find success in the tablet market, as both companies are finding ways to carve out market share against Apple and Samsung, according to the Strategy Analytics research firm. ASUS now controls 6.8 percent of the tablet market, while Lenovo has 4.4 percent - small percentages compared to Apple and Samsung - but haven given a breath of life in the stagnant tablet market.
Meanwhile, Google Android has 72 percent tablet operating system market share, while Apple currently has 22.3 percent - and Windows continues to drag along, capturing six percent of the market. However, Lenovo's Yoga 3 Pro ultrabook and Yoga Tablet 2 run Windows, and are proving to be ideal in the workplace.
"White Box manufacturers continue to contribute a large percentage of the Android market share by offering a wide range of tablets in a wide range of screen sizes, connectivity and price points, simultaneously improving quality and specifications," according to Peter King, Tablet Service Director of the Strategy Analytics research group.
BlackBerry CEO John Chen believes the Asian market is important in his effort to give the struggling smartphone maker new life, but doesn't want to rush any faster than needed. Of note, the Chinese market is appealing to companies, and one that is "too big a market to ignore," but BlackBerry wants to take its time trying to head into China.
"It takes too long to ramp up to a size that is even reasonable (in China)," Chen recently said. "Even if I have that time and money I'll probably have better returns going into a different set of markets that we are already in, like India, South Asia, and Southeast Asia."
The Chinese market is appealing for smartphone manufacturers, with Samsung and Apple both growing their market share in the country. BlackBerry should focus more on redeveloping itself in North America, as trying to compete with Samsung and Apple - among Chinese companies Lenovo and Xiaomi - could prove even more disastrous.
Microsoft Lumia Windows Phone 8 smartphones will receive a free upgrade to the Windows 10 mobile edition in 2015, according to Microsoft. Although the company hopes to upgrade all Windows Phone 8 devices to Windows 10, there are some that could be left out in the cold.
"It's our intention to enable a Windows 10 upgrade for Lumia Windows Phone 8 smartphones," Microsoft told VentureBeat. "At this early stage in the development process, and given the vast portfolio of Windows devices worldwide, we can't predict that all devices will be upgradeable, but it is our intention that the Lumia smartphone line be upgradeable to Windows 10."
Despite continued press coverage, Microsoft has been unable to keep up with Google Android and Apple iOS in the mobile market - but Windows Phone 8 has proven to be a dependable operating system, though doesn't amount to anything more than a few percentage points of the current mobile OS market.
Tablet sales were marginal heading into the 2014 Christmas holiday shopping season, with some success generated by back-to-school promotions, but the market is fighting a slowdown, according to the NPD Group. Google Android tablet sales have decreased 16 percent, while Apple iOS sales also dropped 16 percent. Microsoft Windows tablet sales slid 23 percent in units sold.
"The extraordinarily tough comparisons that will come up during the holiday season, after last year's groundbreaking pricing for both iPads and small-size Android tablets, will keep the tablet market in a precarious position through the holidays," said Stephen Baker, NPD Group VP of industry analysis, in a press statement. "While tablets still generate enormous traffic and unit volumes, the days of easy growth and native demand are now gone."
For consumers looking to purchase new electronics, there will be a wide variety of different desktop PCs, notebooks, tablets, and smartphones available with appealing pricing.
The 'bring your own device' (BYOD) craze in the workplace won't slow down, and instead of focusing on smartphones, will work to encompass tablets. There will be twice as many employee-owned devices used for work than enterprise-owned devices by 2018, according to the Gartner research group.
Companies are saving money by no longer needing to issue as many smartphones and tablets to employees, but sometimes struggle to keep security a priority. However, up to 90 percent of organizations will embrace some level of BYOD through 2017, as employees will continue to use their own devices in the workplace regardless of what their companies decide to do.
"A balanced mix of enterprise-owned and user-owned devices with different levels of stipends will be the most effective way of capitalizing the benefits of BYOD programs, both in terms of cost reduction and in terms of level of access to mobile technology," said Federica Troni, Gartner research director.
Something we keep hearing about is a bigger iPad, shifting from the 9.7-inch screen found on the full-sized iPad, to a 12.9-inch "iPad Pro". The latest report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is that Apple won't put it into mass production until Q2 2015.
Kuo says that Apple will use an oxide panel in the iPad Pro to hit a "high resolution, quick response, and high color saturation" and that it requires more time to make this happen for component yield and assembly. We don't know much else about the iPad Pro, apart from it having a bigger screen size - floating somewhere between 12.2 and 12.9 inches.
It should offer an A8X chip, Lighting connector, and hopefully something that differentiates it from the iPad and iPad Air.
Waiting for that Nexus 6 smartphone? You'll have your chance later today with multiple wireless carriers opening up pre-orders for Google's latest handset.
AT&T will be offering up the Midnight Blue version of the Nexus 6 for $682.99 outright, or on a two-year contract on its Next plan for $249.99. Sprint will be offering the same Midnight Blue version of the phone, but will start it up on November 14. T-Mobile has already announced the Nexus 6 for $0 down on a two-year contract.
As for U.S. Cellular and Verizon, they will both offer the Nexus 6 at some point in the future, but haven't laid out their plans just yet. The Nexus 6 did reach the Google Play store last month, but pre-orders were snapped up within minutes.
Retailers are preparing for Black Friday and what should be a busy 2014 Christmas holiday shopping season, enticing shoppers with good deals. Best Buy has announced that there will be a $100 discount on Apple iPad Air 2 models with the following prices: 16GB for $399.99, 64GB for $499.99, and 128GB for $599.99.
Pricing for the LTE models are as follows: 16GB will be $529.99, 64GB for $729.99, and $729.99 for 128GB. The iPad Mini 3 with Touch ID will be available with $75 discounts: 16GB for $324.99, 64GB for $424.99, and 128GB for $524.99.
iMac models will have a $200 discount, with the all-in-one 21.5-inch iMac with the Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM, and 500GB HDD will be priced at $899.99 - and the deal will extend from Nov. 27 to Nov. 29. The 27-inch non-retina iMac with 8GB RAM and 1TB HDD will be available for $1,649.99, a $150 discount over current pricing.
Microsoft took a major step forward after releasing the Lumia 535 smartphone, its first handset without Nokia branding. The device is powered by Windows Phone 8.1 and will cost around $137, featuring a 5-inch qHD display screen, and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera.
Microsoft purchased Nokia in April for $7.2 billion and wanted to move ahead without the Nokia branding - recently confirming that devices would be known as Microsoft Lumia.
Even if the company is able to release affordable, appealing smartphones, trying to compete against the Apple iPhone and Google Android smartphones will remain an uphill battle. Windows-powered smartphones only have 2.7 percent of the global smartphone market, according to Strategy Analytics, as its market share continues to drop.
BlackBerry CEO John Chen is currently leading a multiple-phase, two-year turnaround plan designed to help return the company to profitability. BlackBerry doesn't want to release multiple new products and will focus on a smaller number of devices, while trying to convince consumers and business workers to abandon their Apple iPhone or Google Android devices.
"Once we turn this company to profitability again, I will do everything I can to never lose money ever again," Chen recently told Reuters. "That is definitely something I am very focused on doing. We will survive as a company and now I am rather confident. We're managing the supply chain, we are managing inventories, we are managing cash, and we have expenses now at a number that is very manageable. BlackBerry has survived; now we have to start looking at growth."
Despite BlackBerry once dominating the smartphone market - prior to the success of the iPhone and Android - the company still has a reliable, secure software platform.