There’s speculation that Apple will come out with a mini iPad this fall _ possibly with a 7.85-inch screen _ to compete with those competitors. It’s not as much a certainty as a new iPhone, though. Apple hasn’t said anything about its plans.
_ REKINDLING THE FIRE
Amazon.com Inc.’s 7-inch Kindle Fire is one of the smaller tablets with decent sales. Starting next Friday, it will sell an updated version with a faster processor, more memory and longer battery life. It will also cut the price to $159, from $199, making it far cheaper than the iPad, which starts at $399 for the 2011 version still on sale. (The most recent ones start at $499.)
Amazon is also releasing higher-end models under the Kindle Fire HD line. A 7-inch one will go for $199, while an 8.9-inch one will go for $299. There’s also a $499 model that can use the 4G cellular networks that phone companies have been building. A data plan will cost an extra $50 a year. The smaller HD model will start shipping next week, while the larger ones will be available Nov. 20.
Amazon also refreshed its line of stand-alone e-readers, offering the Paperwhite, with its own light source. Tablets such as the iPad and the Fire don’t work as well in bright light because they are lit from the back. Amazon says the light on the Paperwhite is directed down at the display.
Barnes and Noble Inc., which makes the 7-inch Nook Tablet, may have an update this fall as well.
_ MOTOROLA‘S RETURN
On Wednesday, Motorola announced three new smartphones bearing the Razr name. Verizon Wireless started taking orders for the first of the new phones, the Droid Razr M. It’s a cheaper, smaller phone than the Razr that Motorola launched last year. The $99 Razr M will be in stores next Thursday, the day after Apple’s announcement.
Motorola will have two high-end models, the Razr HD and Razr Maxx HD, later this year. It’s emphasizing long battery life _ up to 21 hours of talk time for the Maxx HD, or 10 hours of video streaming.
These are the first major products from Motorola since Google bought the company for $12.4 billion in May. Google, meanwhile, continues to sell a 7-inch Android tablet, the Nexus 7, made in partnership with AsusTek Computer Inc.
_ CALLING ON WINDOWS
Microsoft Corp. will release a new version of the Windows operating system on Oct. 26, one that’s designed to work on both traditional computers and tablet devices. A new version of the Windows Phone system is coming out, too.
Once-dominant phone maker Nokia Corp. has been struggling in the shadow of Apple and Android, and it’s counting on the new Windows system for a revival. On Wednesday, Nokia and Microsoft unveiled two new devices under Nokia’s Lumia brand _ the 820 and the 920.
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop says the new phones will go on sale in the fourth quarter in “select markets.” He didn’t say what they would cost or which U.S. carriers would have them. Investors were disappointed, and Nokia’s stock fell 16 percent on Wednesday.View Entire Story
By Mark Mix
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