Alldocube M5S review: An affordable Chinese 10-inch Android slate with 4G Review

It’s almost seven years since the first bona fide Android tablet — Motorola’s Xoom — hit the shelves. I seem to recall saying at the time that 10-inch tablets would soon be ubiquitous. How wrong can a man be? Today even Apple is struggling to maintain iPad sales, while Samsung and Huawei are the only companies still making quality large Android tablets, although selling perilously few. Amazon does OK with its budget Fire tablets, but bargain-basement hardware and a custom version of Android mean that they only really make sense for Amazon media consumption. If you still want a large but affordable Android slate there are some half-decent options shipping from China. The latest, and one of the cheapest, is the M5S from Alldocube, which is available from AliExpress. Stereo speakers at the bottom of the M5S offer improved performance over the side-mounted units in the M5. The £110-ish M5S is based on the £150-ish and generally well regarded M5 (as always, the price depends on ‘flash’ sales, exchange rates and so on). To reduce cost, Alldocube has cut the RAM from 4GB to 3GB, cut the storage to 64GB to 32GB and reduced the display resolution from ...

TiVo tests running pre-roll ads before DVR recordings

The fundamental purpose of DVRs has always been to help people catch up on their favorite TV shows and skip commercials while doing so. But as noted by Zatz Not Funny, TiVo seems to be okay with the idea of running ads before those shows begin. The company is testing pre-roll video ads that start playing when customers view a recording. The ad spots are noticeably low-res and worse quality than the DVR’d content that starts playing afterward, according to one TiVo owner who has been served spots for Amazon, Keurig, and Toyota. It sounds like the users can fast-forward through the ads, but doing so is “not that seamless.” There are several potential reasons for TiVo ramping up advertising. Maybe the company plans to offer an ad-supported subscription with lower (or no) monthly fees compared to what regular customers are paying (similar to Amazon’s Kindle devices with ads). No one who has paid for a lifetime subscription or even a monthly plan will be pleased to see pre-roll ads. TiVo also handles DVR functionality for many midsized and international cable providers. Squeezing in ads wherever possible could be something that those companies are pushing for as more of their custome...