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8/20/2011
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Cheap $99 HP TouchPads Sell Out, Apple iOS 5, iPad 3 and Hertzfeld on Google+ BYTE Newsbriefs

HP sells killed TouchPads for dirt cheap, new Google + features, Apple iOS 5 and iPad 3 News

In BYTE news now, Hewlett-Packard tops our coverage by selling out its now-dead HP TouchPad tablet at firesale prices. This just two days after it killed the embryonic tablet and its webOS based Pre and Veer phones.

Those $99 and $149 prices (for the 16GB and the 32GB versions, respectively) suddenly make the webOS based TouchPad look like a pretty neat deal. This weekend, the blogosphere is filled with folks who all of a sudden want one.

If you're one, don't procrastinate. I checked. Looks to me like these are going fast.

At normal-pricing, HP couldn't make a dent into Apple iPad's marketshare. And it had some serious ad muscle behind it. But who can stop a speeding train? Analysts I interviewed all agreed that of all possible competitors now and in the future, only Amazon's upcoming tablets, priced as loss-leaders, will have a fighting chance against the iPad. We'll see.

Apple reports it sold almost 10,000 iPads last quarter. Catching up looks like a pipedream now, but tech morphs. BYTE is keeping close tabs on Amazon's plans for its so-called Hollywood tablet, based on Android 3.1, featuring a dual screen for reading and touch color use, and a quad-core nVidia Tegra3 processor powering it all. That tablet will stream movies.

Yet an army of iPads looks at the ready. Reports of a new iPad 3 surfaced in the Wall Street Journal today. The unit, its sources say, would feature an improved 2048x1536 display -- a nice improvement over the iPad 2's current 1024x868 display.

Will this really be the full-fledged iPad 3? The WSJ suggests yes. I'm not so sure. I'm betting the unit the WSJ is reporting on is more than likely the rumored iPad Pro, which one tipster told BYTE will be basically an iPad2 with improved resolution and some IT bundles. It could arrive as soon as Q4.

Makes sense to me. Apple realizes the profound effect the iPad is having on the enterprise. It knows that, over the long term, addressing enterprise with enterprise-ready tablets is a necessity. Consumer feeds enterprise, but enterprise feeds revenue. Who buys the hardware? Who influences those who buy the hardware? That's where Apple will reach, in my view.

In other Apple news, developers playing with the new release of iOS 5 Beta 6 are supplying BYTE with lots of interesting initial impressions. Beta 6 is looking solid -- close to release. And from the looks of it, Apple is looking to phase out optical support for its various developer downloads. No big surprise there. We know Apple is backing away from optical drives over time -- starting with entry level systems.

Also now new from Apple in preview mode to developers: Xcode 4.2 Preview 6, iTunes 10.5 Beta 6 and Apple TV Beta 4, iCloud for OS X Lion Beta 8, Safari 5.1.1 Update 2 for OS X Lion. This all comes on the heels of OS X 10.7.1, an upgrade available now for current Lion users, and the pre-release 10.7.2 Lion that developers now have in hand.

We watch early software to let you know what to expect from these services. We watch the Google + Beta closely, too. This weekend, some new features could hit your account.

The floating black Google+ toolbar is rolling out now. Check out Google's Andy Hertzfeld (the legendary Apple Mac UI innovator) talking about and demoing the floating Google bar.

Also on Sunday, AT&T begins shipping the first devices for its 4G LTE network. The carrier's new products include the $120 Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G, additional data fees apply. This coming week, we'll take a look at that in more detail.

Have a great weekend.

Based in San Francisco, Gina Smith is editor-in-chief of BYTE. Follow here on Twitter @ginasmith888 or email her at Gina@BYTE.com.

BYTE technologists Brian Burgess, Eric Mack and David W. Martin contributed to this piece.

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