Dec 30 2009

French Retailer Leaks Spec List For Samsung N220 Netbook

One French retailer has prematurely listed the Samsung N220 netbook for sale, and the listing has come with what we’ve eagerly awaited – the spec list.

While most of the features are bread and butter for the netbook world, the Samsung N220 comes with the new energy efficient Intel Atom Pine Trail CPU. It will have a ‘glossed green’ plastic finish, 10.1-inch display, GMA 3150 graphics, a gig of RAM and a 250 GB HDD.

Samsung is offering its chiclet keyboard for the N220 netbook, something consumers seem to love or hate. The six-cell battery will supposedly run for 11.5 hours of battery. The claim is far-fetched, but if it turns out to be true I certainly won’t complain.

The N220 will cost €350 ($501) in France.

Via Nexus404.

Dec 30 2009

Apple Lowers Price of MacBook to $899

I love Apple education discounts. I am a student, so I still qualify at this point in my life, and it is very satisfying to get Apple products at a slightly lower price.

Apple has lowered the education price of its MacBook to $899. It is $999 for non-education buyers and is usually $949 with an education discount. The price initially shows as still being $949 until you click through to the purchase page. According to some sources, some customers are even seeing prices as low as $728. When I go to the MacBook purchase page, I see the $899 price. Apple’s discount may only be a mere $100, but it’s a pretty decent deal for a very good computer.

Other Apple products appear to have the same education discount pricing as before.

Via PC World.

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Dec 30 2009

Apple Builds Product Loyalty With iPod Touch

Apple has not become a successful company by accident. Its latest marketing strategy – using the iPod Touch to build product loyalty amongst kids, hoping to graduate them to iPhones – is nothing short of brilliant.

The iPod Touch was an extremely popular gift this Christmas season. Two different models of the popular music player were second and third place on Amazon’s list of bestselling electronics. On Christmas Day, downloads for the iPod Touch soared, passing downloads for the iPhone by 172 percent. Downloads for all generations of the iPod Touch increased by over 1000 percent on Christmas Day, and by over 900 percent for the 3G iPod Touch.

The iPod Touch is popular with kids because it is not just a music player; it also has the App store, which opens up a world of possibilities. Parents like the iPod Touch because it doesn’t require an expensive monthly contract like the iPhone does.

Apple likes the iPod Touch because it gets an entire generation of kids to want more Apple products, particularly the iPhone. When these kids are old enough for cell phones (or better cell phones than they have now), they will be ready for the iPhone, so to speak, because of their familiarity with the interface on the iPod Touch.

Via PC World, image via Apple.

Dec 30 2009

What The Google Netbook Will Look Like

We’ve been eagerly awaiting Google’s netbook for a while now, and for neither the first time nor likely the last, rumors have surfaced about what specs we should expect to see in the thing.

The Google netbook will run the Google Chrome OS on a 10.1-inch screen that will be HD-capable and powered by the Nvidia Tegra.

The system will also include an ARM CPU and 64 GB SSD – small, but lightning-quick. It should have 2 GB of RAM, Bluetooth, 3G suport, a webcam, 3.5mm audio jack, multi-card reader, and a few USB ports.

The Google Chromium OS will be a fascinating experiment when it comes out next year. It suffers from a constant need for a connection to the internet, but with Google apps like Gmail, Maps, Docs, Calendar, and Wave, it will feature an integrated and lively interface, streamlined for mobile use. A $300 price tag could be in the works as well.

All these details are moot until the Google netbook hits stores, but if the pieces come together as projected the Google netbook will be a fine thing to get one’s hands on.

Via TFOT.

Dec 29 2009

Apple Pauses iPhone Sales to NYC

Everyone knows that Apple’s iPhone is wildly popular, both in this country and abroad. But is there such a thing as too popular? There may be, in light of recent news of discontinuation of selling iPhones to New York City.

Over the weekend, Apple apparently discontinued iPhone sales to New York. Users who attempted to order them online were told that the iPhone was not available in their area. Today, Apple resumed selling the iPhone to customers in New York City.

Why would Apple do this? It was speculated originally that Apple stopped sales because of reception problems in the city. Another speculation is that Apple was annoyed with “fraudulent activity” relating to the iPhone: that is, jailbroken iPhones being used with cellular carriers other than AT&T.

Stopping sales for a day and then resuming them does not seem make much sense, so at this point, no one is really sure what Apple was thinking.

Via Examiner.

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Dec 29 2009

Apple’s New Device Could be an E-Reader

The rumors about Apple’s new device, expected this coming January, continue to abound. The latest rumor  says that Apple’s device will not be a simple tablet–rather, it will be an e-reader designed to compete with the likes of Amazon’s Kindle.

The rumor (derived from ‘insider sources’) says the iSlate, as it may be called, is going to be an eBook reader that will be a competitor to the Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and other e-readers. It will run iPhone 4.0 software (which is not currently available) and will have an App store for eBooks.

E-readers have been doing very well on the market. Amazon sold more e-books than regular paper books this Christmas season, and Apple is sure to have taken notice.

I love Apple products, but in  all honesty, I am not crazy about the whole e-reader idea. When I read books, I like to have the book physically in my hands, and I think most consumers agree. As of now, I remain unconvinced about the virtues of e-readers, but if Apple delivers one this January it will definitely be something to pay attention to.

Via VentureBeat.

Dec 29 2009

MSI To Show Off Wind & U160 Netbooks At CES 2010

We’ve got about a week left before the January 7 Vegas Consumer Electronics Show 2010, where the latest  netbooks and more will be shown off by all the top retailers. MSI has already released a few tidbits about its upcoming U-series netbooks – the iF Product Design Award winning Wind U160 and the U135, another Wind netbook.

The most information has been released about the MSI Wind U135, which comes with a 1024 x 600 pixel 10-inch LED screen and in four different colors: Trendy Blue, Refined Silver, Cherry Red, and Wind Dancer Black. It will feature a redesigned chiclet keyboard with Color Film Print coating on the exterior, offering “the U135 scratch-resistant and anti-wear properties that keep it looking new after a long period of use… [giving] the entire exterior a sparkling and high quality feel.”

It sounds like a pretty machine, and we’ve only a few more days to wait before we can see what MSI really means to bring to the table in 2010. Get excited.

Via LegitReviews.

Dec 29 2009

Pre-Release Info On The HP Mini 210 Netbook

HP isn’t ready to announce the HP Mini 210 netbook, but eCost, one of its retailers, has jumped the gun with the revealing of this $389 Atom N450 machine.

The new netbook is said to have an upgrated graphics chip and a few other rumored features:

  • Operating System: Win7 Starter
  • Processor:1.66GHz Intel Atom N450
  • Display: 10.1″ Flush Glass
  • Memory: 1GB
  • Hard disk drive: 250GB 7200RPM
  • Video Card: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3150
  • Battery: 6 cell
  • Wireless Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n
  • Other Device: Integrated Webcam & Mic
  • Price: $398.99

A call to a sales representative of eCost confirmed that the HP Mini 210 is in stock. HP’s website also has support info available for the Mini 210, despite their lack of an official announcement.

Via CNet.

Dec 29 2009

Brushed-Metal Sheng T108 Netbook Nicer Than Expected

The Sheng T108 is a flashy new Chinese netbook with a brushed aluminum shell that’s been catching a lot of glances lately. It comes with slightly better than average features – 3G, 2 GB of RAM, and a 250 GB HDD on top of the traditional 10-inch display, Intel Atom N280, and Wi-Fi.

It looks like this Shanzai product is a copycat of the HP Mini 2133, a netbook with a similarly sexy exterior. Still, the Sheng T108 looks like it can hold its own, selling for a competitive $300 in China. I wouldn’t expect to see this thing outside of the mainland any time soon though, so don’t get your hopes up.

Via Nexus404, image via Shanzai.

Dec 28 2009

HCL Releases 3G HCL ME 06 Netbook In India

HCL has released a new 3G netbook in India known as the HCL ME 06. It’s Energy Star 5.0 tested and certified for you environmental nuts and runs an old-school Atom-N270-with-Windows-XP combo.

The new netbook comes with pretty standard features – 160 GB HDD, 1 GB RAM, a 10.1-inch 1024 x 600 pixel screen, 6-cell battery and Intel 945 chipset. It has solid port selection as well – LAN, a Kensington lock port, and 2 USB ports.

The 3G HCL ME 06 comes with a few applications for common security tasks – LOCK ME for preventing data theft, ENCRYPT ME for data encryption, SECURE ME to lock an application and SPLIT ME to share files. It’s hard to imagine what those utilities look like in the XP user interface, but they sound useful.

You can get this thing online for Rs 21,640 – around $465 USD – with a 1-year warranty and free MTV netbook bag.

Via NetbookIndia.

Dec 28 2009

How Jolicloud Plans To Compete With The Google Chrome OS

Jolicloud has racked up $4.2 million in venture capital, and a lot of hopes are riding on its success. But how will it look once Google’s Chrome OS hits the netbook world?

Tariq Krim, the operating system’s mastermind, says he doesn’t know for sure how everything will play out but knows Jolicloud will be able to compete. While Google will rely mostly or entirely on Google Apps for the Chrome OS, Jolicloud will be making use of third-party partner services like Dropbox to customize the user experience.

Furthermore, Jolicloud netbooks will be able to run high definition video, which is hard to do on netbook browsers today. Chrome OS will be based mostly in the cloud, but with Jolicloud users will be able to store files locally and then sync with the cloud at their discretion.

Even so, Jolicloud doesn’t have the market in the bag just yet. Krim says that hardware is becoming less and less important, and consumers’ rising spending on cloud services could lead to unanticipated restructurings of the tech industry. In other words – we’re going to have to wait and see how it plays out for Jolicloud.

Via The Washington Post.

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Dec 28 2009

Is Apple Going to Develop a Spectrum of Operating Systems?

Apple Inc. used to be called Apple Computer, Inc., but it dropped the word “computer” from its name in January 2007, reflecting the fact that the company does not just make computers anymore. iPods and iPhones count for a large portion of the company’s sales, so the name needed changing. Now some analysts are speculating that Apple may start to differentiate between its different operating systems on its various devices.

The different versions of OS X right now are augmented for their various platforms. There is the version we have on desktops and laptops, the version on the iPhone, the version on the iPod Touch, and a possible new version on the Apple tablet.

However, many people are speculating that the Apple tablet will change the formula by running a brand new version of OS X, powered somewhere in between the iPhone’s OS and Leopard. Leopard is a bit cumbersome for a tablet, but the iPhone’s does not allow for apps to run in the background.

Via The Unofficial Apple Weblog, image via CrystalXP.net.

Dec 28 2009

MobileMe Service Goes Down for Hours

Apple’s MobileMe cloud applications were down for a couple of hours today. MobileMe is a paid service (it’s $99 per year) offered by Apple that syncs a user’s laptops, desktops, iPhone and more.

The outages started for some users around 1:00 Pacific time. Judging by how many people on Twitter tweeted about it, the outages seem to have been a huge problem. Apple is not responding to requests for comment.

MobileMe grew from Apple’s .Mac service. It has gotten overall positive reviews but has had ongoing problems with outages (Walt Mossberg even called it “far too flawed to be reliable”).

According to Apple’s MobileMe status page, at the time of this writing, MobileMe should be back online .

Via VentureBeat.

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Dec 27 2009

Competition Between Google and Microsoft Intensifies

VS.

I have posted before about the competition between Google and Microsoft, which really started to heat up earlier this year. But Google is not just going up against Apple: they are also competing against the giant Microsoft, and they are putting up a pretty good fight.

The battle really escalated this year as each company infringed on the other’s traditional territory. Google has been making a move into the browser and operating systems market, and Microsoft has been trying to establish a presence as a search engine.

Even just a few years ago, it was inconceivable that Google would be able to go up against Microsoft. Microsoft has long been a dominant force in the computer industry, but now their role is being challenged by a web company. Microsoft seems worried, which is why they have spent millions trying to get some of Google’s search market share with Bing.

Google’s online applications also represent a huge threat to Microsoft programs, such as Office. Microsoft has, for years, pulled in a huge amount of money with sales of Microsoft Office. Google presents a huge danger on this front with its user-friendly online word processors, which are free for personal, non-commercial use.

Microsoft is on the defensive with its software and operating system, but it’s on the offensive in the search engine market. This June, it overhauled its Live Search and instead launched Bing (I don’t loveMicrosoft, but I do have admit that Bing is kind of cool). Though Google still commands the search market, Bing is slowly but steadily gaining. Microsoft also plans to team up with Yahoo to try to get more search market share from Google.

Google, on the other hand, tried to push its online office applications into the corporate sphere this year. Microsoft is not just sitting idly by: it has announced plans for online office applications as well. In 2010, it plans to offer online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

Google as further challenged Microsoft with its browser, Chrome, and planned Linux-based Chrome OS.

Analysts say that the battle between these two companies has only just begun and things will really begin to get interesting in 2010. This may frustrating for people running Microsoft and Google, but it will mean lots of interesting developments for us.

Via Computerworld.

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Dec 27 2009

Apple Expands to Online Applications With iWork

Google has a host of fantastic online applications through Google Apps. Microsoft plans to expand some of its popular Office applications by offering online versions in response to Google. Now Apple, the third giant in the technology industry, may be offering a similar package with the all new iWork suite.

Apple launched iWork in beta last year. It allows users to publish documents online to the site (iWork.com) for viewing and commenting –  not much compared to what Google offers or what Microsoft plans to offer.

Apple may be expanding iWork, however. This expectation centers on the fact that on December 22, a job posting appeared on CrunchBoard saying that Apple was seeking an engineer with experience in building internet applications.

While Apple has job postings all the time, the recent one on CrunchBoard suggests an expansion of iWork.com. We’ll keep you posted as developments arise.

Via The Washington Post.

Dec 27 2009

Panasonic Plans New Lithium Ion Batteries

Panasonic has created two new powerful lithium-ion battery cells that can hold 20-30% more power than the batteries currently on the market.  The new batteries not only will greatly increase the battery life of laptop computers, but are also potent enough to be used in electronic automobiles.

It is rumored that the battery can last up to a week without needing to be recharged. This length is an enormous increase in comparison to current laptop and netbook batteries in the market, which can’t make it through half a day before needing to be charged.

The lithium-ion battery might also play a big part in the green revolution, as they can potentially be used to power an entire house. There are endless possibilities for Panasonic’s technological advancement. It has the chance not only to change our computing experience but more importantly the future of environmentally friendly technology.

Still in development, the battery will not be available to the public until sometime during 2011.

Via TFTS.

Dec 27 2009

Apple’s Tablet Could Be Called The iSlate

In November 2006, a little-known Delaware company called Slate Computing, LLC registered the term “iSlate” as a trademark. This was done in the United States and in Europe. Recent speculation is that Apple is behind all of this, done in preparation for the eventual Apple tablet. Apple rumors have abounded since the beginning of time (or at least the end of 2008), and we might finally see their consummation in this new device.

Some clever investigators have found very strong evidence that Slate Computing, LLC and the iSlate trademark registration are tied to Apple. The signatory on trade application documents relating to the trademark was Regina Porter – the name of one Apple Senior Trademark Specialist (according to her LinkedIn profile).

It’s looking more and more likely that, if it exists, the Apple tablet is going to be called the iSlate. I would say the next speculation concerns what the device actually will look like.

Via Mac Rumors, image via Erictric.

Dec 26 2009

OLPC Plans to Release XO 3 Touchscreen Netbook for under $100 by 2012

The OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) charity organization has ambitious plans for its latest netbook design. Earlier this month, the organization announced its plans to create the impossibly thin OLPC XO-3 tablet in two years time.  Now OLPC is hoping to distribute the XO-3 touchscreen laptop to impoverished children around the globe by the year 2012. Note: the projected price range of the device is less than a hundred dollars.

The original OLPC XO netbook is already out in the market and has been distributed to 1.4 million children in 35 different countries. The charity’s new creation will have a 9-inch touchscreen and will contain neither a mouse nor keyboard.  It is also planned to be extremely sturdy and run an ARM processor.

If the success of its XO netbook is any indicator, OLPC will likely reach its goal and continue to provide valuable education to children who otherwise would not have the opportunity.

Via TechWatch, image via Guardian.

Dec 26 2009

Viliv N5 Mobile Internet Device to be displayed at CES

Viliv will be unveiling yet another mobile internet device during January’s Consumer Electronics Show. Earlier this year, Viliv launched the M5 MID, which is the same size as the newly released N5 but with a sliding keyboard. Just this week the company announced the release of its larger MID, the S10 Blade netbook boasting a larger 10-inch touchscreen display.

Now it’s the N5’s turn to shine. The N5 is much more compact that the S10 blade and has a clamshell design that features touchscreen capabilities. The MID also has a 4.8-inch screen, making it all the more portable.

Other features of the N5 include:

  • QWERTY keyboard
  • 3G Wifi capability
  • GPS

There has been no word on the price range of the Viliv N5 netbook. We will have to wait about two weeks to find out.

Via Engadget, image via SlashGear.

Dec 26 2009

The Viewsonic VOT132 Nettop

Nettops have yet to see the spike in sales that netbooks have experienced over the past year. Some contend that their lack of computing power is one factor that keeps the compact nettops from reaching the popularity of their laptop counterparts.

The Viewsonic VOT132 nettop, however, may turn things around. The fun sized desktop computer drastically cuts down the wattage that regular PCs churn out while still being able to manage 1080p output for media lovers. The VOT132 stands out from other less powerful nettops, with its Ion graphics card and optional magnetic DVD drive.

Features include:

  • VDD100 Super Multi DVD Reader/Writer (optional)
  • Dual-core Intel Atom 330 Processor
  • Nvidia Ion Graphics Card
  • 2GB of DDR2 RAM
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • 320GB Hard Drive
  • 802.11b/g/n WiFi

The Viewsonic VOT132 will be sold for $450 with an optional VDD100 DVD drive for an additional $100. Overall, the Viewsonic nettop is perfect for streaming your favorite online TV shows or Youtube clips onto the display of your liking.

Via Engadget, image via ComputersAvenue.

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