First Android 5.0 updates tipped for November 3 OTAs on Nexus 7 and 10

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know devices part of Google’s Nexus family will be first in line for Android 5.0 Lollipop updates, as they’ve been every time a new OS version was released. But the product roster grew and grew over the years, and Lollipop is perhaps the most radical, richest goodie pack in Android history.

PSA: Google/HTC Nexus 9 up for pre-orders on Amazon starting at $400

Looking for an alternative way to get on the Nexus 9 bandwagon early, given the Play Store’s notorious instability around big launch events like this? Not so impressed with Apple’s largely unchanged “new” iPad mini and too slightly upgraded iPad Air 2?

Sweeeet: Sony plans to roll out Android 5.0 Lollipop to entire Xperia Z Series

It’s the classic good news/bad news scenario. Hot on the heels of Motorola’s bold Android 5.0 Lollipop proclamations, Sony went on record with its own upgrading pledge. That’s the good news, of course, the bad being it’ll take the Xperia makers a few months to stabilize the first L port and send it OTA.

Android 5.0 Lollipop headed for HTC One M8, Nvidia Shield Tablet

Perhaps the best part of any new Android version announcement has little to do with the actual intro, going down in the days, weeks and months following the formal unveil. It’s this general, overpowering sense of wholeness, as each and every player in the game goes the extra mile to rapidly skin, modify, customize and finally release over-the-air software updates.

Chromebook danger overload: HP discounts already affordable Stream 14

Microsoft and its hardware-making partners are sure in a charitable mood these days, even though the season to be jolly (and generous) is still a little ways down the road. Perhaps the best cheap Windows 8.1 tablet around, Toshiba’s Encore Mini, got better and cheaper as MS lowered its price tag to $99, and now the ultimate Chromebook “killer” is available at an all-time low as well.

Deal alert: Toshiba Encore Mini for $99 via Microsoft Store ($20 off)

Microsoft’s decision to give up Windows 8.1 licensing fees for manufacturers of smartphones and small tablets may have been one of the most inspired in ages, as it’s currently raining with sub-$150 and even sub-$100 Win slates.

Acer Aspire Switch 12 on the way with FHD screen, Intel Core M

Acer literally just refreshed its budget-minded Switch line of 2-in-1 mini-laptops with a couple of not-so-affordable, beefier models, and another spin-off is already in the works. Only this one doesn’t quite fall in the spin-off category, being more a rethinking of the concept rather than a modest rehash.

Smartphone + tablet + budget = Asus PadFone X mini. Available October 24 on AT&T

Asus has always been full of wacky, original, unconventional ideas, but perhaps its wackiest yet is the PadFone concept. Bringing together a smartphone and a tablet is one thing, but also offering the ensemble for a low price on one of America’s “big four” carriers is what really gets us.

Asus Transformer Book T200 goes on sale stateside at $400 and up

Gone are the times when hybrid laptop/tablet machines were considered niche-y, quirky devices aimed squarely at the geekiest geeks. And perhaps Asus proves it best, focusing most of its advertising and marketing efforts on so-called convertibles.

Deal alert: Refurbished Nexus 7 2013 with LTE at $200 on Groupon

The next-generation Nexus tablet is yet to go official, and great uncertainty hovers around its build materials and quality, but you can forget about picking up the N9 on a budget. It’s not happening.

Lenovo Tab S8 goes on sale at $200, offers plenty of bang for your buck

Before taking charge of Motorola and rebooting its tablet ambitions, Lenovo continues to flood the laptop replacement market with its wide range of own-brand Android and Windows models. And when not acting totally weird about quirky, nichey, underwhelming Yogas, Lenovo can actually pull off decent low-cost iPad alternatives.

Deal alert: Amazon slashes $20 off all Kindle Fire HDX 7 models

You didn’t need a crystal ball to anticipate Amazon’s latest additions to the Fire tablet family would bring hefty discounts to older members of the product lineup, but the question was when. Right now is the answer, although we’re not exactly looking at hefty savings. Not yet.