Portable Computing Articles
We take a look at two very tablet devices powered by the NVIDIA Tegra 4 SOC.
The Xplorer X6-9200 has impressive specifications for a laptop, while remaining quite affordable for its caliber.
The new Notepal entry actually aims to be portable while remaining competitively priced.
Cooler Master latest Notepal offering combines notebook cooling with an adjustable stand.
Cooler Master attempts to address power adapter issues by offering the best of both worlds - a thin design, with continuous 95W power delivery and an efficiency of up to 90%.
Portable Computing News
Imagine a dark room full of blinking lights, futuristic computers and servers lining up a path to... to what? Why, a glowing PlayStation 4 box, of course. With the greatest of care, a Japanese man wearing rich leather gloves reaches into the light and opens the box. It has begun. This is Sony's official PlayStation 4 box opening video and if it doesn't make you uncomfortable you've been on the internet too long.
It's understandable, of course, for Sony to put out their own unboxing video considering the dozens of terrible and boring ones that will coincide with the console's release. Get the good one out first and no one will care a bit for the follow-ups. But this... this video. Something about this video. It doesn't sit right.
Obviously there's a lot of referential imagery going on here. Futuristic technology hidden in the dark, but the PlayStation 4 sitting in the light as if heavenly. The man in the suit with expensive leather gloves, implying how premium, how valuable the material he's handling is. Picking up the console and having its face cast light upon both the man and the technology around him. The future is here, we are saved.
Or perhaps it's just a hokey PlayStation 4 unboxing video that no one at Sony really though about too much. "Yeah, just use the server room to do it! It's dark though, so make sure to take a lamp in there. Also it's kind of cold, so here are my gloves." Or maybe I'm just thinking about this whole thing way too much. Video games. The PlayStation 4 launches November 15.
The Wikipad, a 10" Android gaming tablet with a detachable controller, was set to arrive last Halloween for $499. However, some further refinement postponed its launch and when it finally does arrive, the early specifications could be entirely different. All is not lost for the Wikipad, as its creators, Wikipad Inc, announced a new 7" version that arrives this spring. It runs on Android 4.1, features that detachable controller, and is priced at an affordable $249.
When the company delayed the 10" tablet, it listened to customer feedback and decided to work on a 7" version. There are still plans for that 10" one, just there isn't anything new to report on it just yet. Now, that 7" tablet has a 1280x800, IPS touchscreen capable of five-point gestures and an NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor at its core.
It has 1GB of DDR3 memory and 16GB of built-in storage to hold all your games, movies, music, and apps. A microSD slot provides up to an additional 32GB of storage should you need the extra room. Other features include 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, a front two megapixel camera, 3-axis accelerometer, gyroscope, a micro USB port, and a micro HDMI port.
As for what makes the Wikipad a gaming tablet, well, there's that detachable controller, which received some tweaking since the reveal of the 10" tablet. It still has the dual analog sticks, D-pad, and face buttons, but the response time has been improved. Various games from PlayStation Mobile, Big Fish Games, TegraZone, OnLive, Google Play, and others are supported by the controller, and if something isn't there's that 7" touchscreen.
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While it’s not quite as disastrous as the infamous fake GTX 480 incident, Intel was caught faking their results during a live CES demo of what was supposed to be an Ivy Bridge based ultrabook running F1 2011.
The event took place yesterday afternoon in a crowded room where the media had been gathered to see Intel’s 2012 roadmap. During the event, Intel vice president and PC group general manager Mooly Eden ran a demo of Codemaster’s F1 2011 on an Ivy Bridge based ultrabook. The problem is Mooly Eden clearly acts as if he is behind the wheel and the game is running in real time. However, videos of the event clearly show a VLC media bar at the bottom of the screen on multiple occasions, showing the game was actually a recording and not a live demo.
Below is just one of many videos circulating around the net showing the faked demo; skip ahead to 16 seconds to see the beginning of the F1 2011 failure.
Strangely enough, Ivy Bridge is capable of playing F1 2011, and there is a real demo showing this to be the case. This raises the question of why Intel decided to fake the demo in the first place, as it would have been just as easy (and less controversial) to run the game in real time instead of playing a video clip.
Intel has just launched a new dual-core Atom processor, the N550. This new processor is geared toward enhancing the processing power of highly portable devices. This means the new dual-core CPU will be found in netbooks, and possibly even some tablet PC’s. To add to this, there are some big names such as Acer, ASUS, Fujitsu, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, MSI, and Toshiba already shipping netbooks using the new core.
Along with the additional core, the N550 supports DDR3 memory, comes clocked in at 1.5GHz and has a TDP 8.5W. With these specifications the Intel Atom N550 will have improved multi-tasking capabilities, but still only create minimal heat. Additionally, the low TDP will also prolong the battery life of netbooks, which is due to the N550 having a similar power requirement as the single core, N450.
The netbook market has grown in leaps and bounds over the last few years, so it makes sense Intel is aggressively pushing its Atom processor line.
"In their short history, the netbook category has experienced impressive growth," said Erik Reid, director of marketing for mobile platforms at Intel. "Having shipped about 70 million Intel Atom chips for netbooks since our launch of the category in 2008, there is obviously a great market for these devices around the world."
These new netbooks should be highly power efficient, but still pack quite the punch. This could make them a perfect option for anyone heading back to school.
Leaving in disgrace, but with a golden parachute
Hewlett-Packard's CEO Mark Hurd has stepped down due to a sexual harassment claim filed against him and the company. An internal investigation into the matter has begun -- Hurd was found to not only have violated the company's sexual harassment policy, but his actions were said to be in clear contrast to HP’s standard of business conduct. The details that have emerged on the matter since Hurd’s departure appear to make the situation far worse than originally reported.
According to the New York Times, Hurd had been filing false expense reports in order to hide an inappropriate relationship he was having with a contractor. In the report there was no mention of how long the affair had been going on or how much money was charged to the company. Executive vice president and general counsel Michael Holston said Hurd displayed “a profound lack of judgment.”
Even with Hurd being forced out of HP in disgrace, he is still set to receive a $50 million severance payout.
HP has named Chief Financial Officer Cathie Lesjack as its interim CEO, while a board committee has been tapped to search for a permanent replacement.
Update: When the news of Mark Hurd’s affair first broke, there was no mention of whom the HP contractor involved was. Well, we now know the woman in question is soft-core porn actress Jodie Fisher. Along with working in the porn industry, her credentials include being a contestant on NBC’s “Age of Love” and hosting an exercise infomercial.
Once it was revealed she was the HP contractor, Jodie Fisher released the statement below though her lawyer.
"Mark and I never had an affair or intimate sexual relationship. I first met Mark in 2007 when I interviewed for a contractor job at the company. At HP, I was under contract to work at high-level customer and executive summit events held around the country and abroad. I prepared for those events, worked very hard and enjoyed working for HP. I have resolved my claim with Mark privately, without litigation, and I do not intend to comment on it further."
Her comment of not having an affair with Hurd is contradictory to the news on the matter, but at this point whether the affair happened or not is irrelevant.
The retailer moves toward the tablet market
Best Buy often tries breaking into the consumer market with products manufactured by a third party and under an alternative name. A pretty good example of that is when they tried creating their own PC and laptop line under the name “VPR Matrix". The desktop units in the VPR line consisted of an Intel P4 processor, paired with some otherwise weak specifications. The company did successfully move some units thanks to the relatively low price, but ultimately, there was only one series of computers released before the line was quickly discontinued.
Since then Best Buy has retooled their product line and are now selling under the name Rocketfish. With this new brand, the company has started creating all types of consumer goods, from computer accessories to home theater gear.
The Rocketfish brand has been successful so far, as it mainly deals with peripherals and add-on components for existing products. There have been rumors circulating though, of the company looking to enter into the tablet PC market with an Android 2.2 product.
Recently, these rumors got some validation, when Best Buy’s CTO Robert Stephens sent out a message via Twitter with a picture of a Rocketfish labeled tablet PC. We cannot confirm it as Android based or even what operating system it uses, but the pictures do show a sleek design, closely resembling an Apple product. There was also no mention what hardware is used with the device, or pricing, so for now the images are all we have to go on.
Images such as this are by no means a random occurrence, instead they are used to create hype for an upcoming product. If the Rocketfish device was still in the early stage of development they would not be making such a public display.
Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Science have developed a tablet PC with a price tag of just $35. The tablet was developed to compete with a $100 computer developed by MIT, and the price is said to include the cost of all internal components, making this the cheapest tablet PC available in the world.
Human resource development minister Kapil Sibal said when he unveiled the device today it's their answer to MIT's $100 computer.
The tablet is similar to Apple's iPad, and it uses a touch-screen interface, includes a Linux-based operating system and can even be converted to work on solar energy. Currently the tablet PC is set to be rolled out in 2011 and will be distributed to university students in India.
The developers have also stated they want the $35 price to be temporary, and are aiming to eventually reduce the cost to just $10.
Dell sees a future where it may not be so reliant on Microsoft Windows-based solutions, and are reportedly in talks with Google regarding their upcoming Chrome operating system, according to an article in Reuters.
Amit Midha, Dell's president for Greater China and South Asia is quoted in the article as saying, "There are going to be unique innovations coming up in the marketplace in two, three years, with a new form of computing, we want to be on that forefront ... So with Chrome or Android or anything like that we want to be one of the leaders."
Essentially, Chrome OS is an open-source operating system designed to work with web-based applications. Google first announced the Chrome OS on July 7, 2009 as part of their three year strategy to take over the world, and they are now hard at work readying it for a fall release.
This could be a potential problem for Microsoft, as Dell is the world’s third largest manufacturer of pre-built computers. However, for the time being the Redmond, Washington-based giant only sees Chrome and other Linux based operating systems as a threat in the netbook and low-end markets.
As of now, the talks going on between Google and Dell are in the early stages, but if both parties strike an agreement we could see Chrome on select Dell notebooks and desktops in the near future.
Two screens, one on the outside, one of the inside
Seems like smartphones have been big news recently -- or maybe that is just because the very promising looking iPhone 4 has recently launched. But besides the iPhone and the latest Android news and phones, not much has been heard about the lowly Blackberry recently.
But Research in Motion has been keeping busy: the new Blackberry 9670 is a significant departure for the company, featuring a clamshell design. While clamshell phones aren't exactly all the rage these days, there is something to be said for them, and some folks are fans of that style.
A video has popped up online, from website driphter.com, showing off this new smartphone. Well two videos actually: first one looks at the phone, the second, at the software.
The new 9670 also has a 5MP camera, 512MB of memory, and a MicroSD slot.
Through most of last year, PC sales had dropped like a rock -- to a large extent due to the financial meltdown experienced in most of the world. Although many countries continue to experience rough economic times, this does not seem to be the case any longer in the PC market.
According to market research company iSuppli (if you are wondering byy the way, they are not an Apple company) the global market for personal computers has seen it biggest ever jump in growth since the company started tracking sales in 2003. Compared to this time last year, Q1 sales were up 22.7% -- which translates into about 81.5 million computers.
"This record growth resulted from strong sales in the first quarter of 2010 combined with weak conditions during the first three months of 2009. Early 2009 represented one of the weakest periods in the history of the PC market, as consumer and corporate demand plunged due to the economic downturn. With economic conditions improving, PC sales rebounded in early 2010," said iSuppli's Mathew Wilkins.
The biggest winners, in terms of sales increases over this time last year, where ASUS, Lenovo and Acer. Also doing quite well was Apple, who recently overtook Microsoft to be the most valuable technology related company, when judged by valuation of the company's stock.
The biggest sales gains are coming from Asian. And it seems, as China and India continue to rapidly development economically, they are becoming the big engines of growth for the PC market. “The rise of Asian OEMs at the expense of longtime U.S. leaders like Hewlett-Packard and Dell Inc. represents a historic shift in the PC market,” Wilkins observed. “The rise of the Chinese consumer economy along with Asia’s increasing dominance in electronics manufacturing is spurring a fundamental shift in regional balance of power in the PC market.”
And furthermore, while desktop sales have increased, more of the PC market action these days is in the portable computer market.
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