Two stories this week. I was surprised last week when I came across an article about HP and a tablet I had never heard of. It is called the HP Stream 7 and they were selling it for $99. Not a bad price I guess. Now mind you, I have not touched one of these but from these specs it seems like a good deal:
- 7-inch IPS display with a 1280×800 resolution and support for 5-finger multi-touch
- quad-core 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3735G processor
- 1GB of RAM and 32GB of storage
- microSD card slot
- nice weight of 0.8 lbs.
- 3,000mAh battery good for about 8 hours
- 2 megapixel rear-facing camera and a 0.3 megapixel front-facing camera
- in addition you get a $25 Windows Store gift card and an Office 365 Personal subscription with 60 minutes of Skype calling a month worth $69.99.
- also, since this hardware is from Microsoft’s Signature Edition, it comes with no bloatware installed
Well, now they are offering it for $79. No word on how long. You can buy this at HP.com, Amazon, and all of the other retail players.
I know I am changing directions here but it is with some sadness that I have to announce a couple of deaths in the tech industry recently. I was surprised to find out that Microsoft was still manufacturing the Surface 2 ….at least until just recently. On Jan. 15 they announced they would stop making the “2” and thus ending the unfortunate life of Windows RT.
Microsoft looked into their crystal ball and saw that the public was starving (so they say) for a tablet and operating system that was inexpensive and worked together flawlessly. Well, I would have to say that they were somewhat correct in that estimation (I would question the starving for thing).
They just never came close to achieving that goal with the Surface and Windows RT. Delays, cost overruns and the fact that it just never worked quite right doomed RT from its birth. Microsoft never seemed to know quite what to do with this red-headed step-child. And as a result of that the public largely ignored it. That and the fact the cheapest model (the 64GB version) only had 3 GB of space left after you loaded Office onto the laptop like Surface tablet. Not much room for other apps after that.
I know there seemed to be some confusion over RT and Windows 10. This is the same old stuff with Microsoft. Without sales support of RT the developers naturally stayed a mile away. Why would developers waste their time and money developing apps that nobody would ever buy. I didn’t realize they were still making the Surface 2 but I guess they were up until January. My Surface 2 (I bought a refurbished one from Amazon for $445) has an Intel Core i5 powering it. Windows RT, may you rest in peace.
Next I was (should I say shocked?) (no not really….you had to see this coming for a few years now) well then surprised it lasted this long…..earlier in February we witnessed the apparent death of Radio Shack. As I said, you may or may not have noticed their sales have been dwindling down year in year out. So on February 2nd they announced they were seeking bankruptcy protection. They will close all of their stores and in a deal with Sprint that company will take over half of the closing Shacks.
I guess I am at fault as much as anybody else for their demise. I have always loved Radio Shack but the only time I bought anything from them was when I needed some small one of a kind electronic “trinket”. Sort of tough to survive on that kind of loyalty. They were open for nearly 100 years.
Remember when you were a kid and could buy a Tandy radio kit? My older brother did that. He put it together and put the antenna in the walnut tree outside our bedroom window. So much for sleeping. Radio Shack forgot their heritage and tried to be a “go-to” store in malls for electronics (ie: phones, remote control toys, and smaller electronics devices). I thought with the recent rise of Rasberry Pi kits and Arduino kits maybe Radio Shack could have gotten their mojo back. I also dreamed of a marriage with the Maker Movement (ie: the Maker Fairs and such) that would seal their survival into the foreseeable future.
No such luck. I will miss you Radio Shack.