Jun 1 2010

Asus Unveils iPad Competitor

Will it be the next “iPad killer”? I doubt it, but it still seems like a decent tablet.

The device in question is the Asus Eee Pad EP121, a tablet computer that, according to the company, is “a full-featured slate computer that serves as a multimedia player, e-reader, compact PC and Internet device.” It was unveiled at Computex 2010 in Taipei and has a 12-inch touchscreen, Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, and an Intel Core 2 Duo processor. Asus has said that the device is able to run many applications at once, which the iPad cannot do.

Asus also revealed another new device, the Asus Eee 101TC, which is a thinner and lighter device that runs Windows 7 Embedded. Asus’ decision to use Windows on its tablets is probably going to help Microsoft maintain a presence in the still-young tablet market. HP was also going to use Windows in its tablet until its acquisition of Palm.

Via InformationWeek, image via CNET.

Jun 1 2010

Intel Executive Forecasts His Company’s Direction

Intel employee David Perlmutter, the executive vice president and co-general manager of the architecture group, has recently spoken about his company’s future direction.

Perlmutter says that the computer market is continuing to grow, as are data centers and cloud computing. Due to the increasing amount of devices people will own, Intel will also grow because it makes a lot of the chips for these devices. Many of the devices at the Computex trade show in Taipei (which Perlmutter attended) are going to be based on Intel’s Atom processor.

Perlmutter also added that in 2011, most of Intel’s revenue will come from chips in personal computers and data centers. The company also plans to ship one billion chips within five years. Though it sounds like an almost unachievable goal, Intel plans to ship over 350 million units in 2010 and hopes to double that number in 2011.

Perlmutter says his company is at least a year ahead of some other chip companies and all in all, he sees a rosy future for Intel.

Via The Wall Street Journal, image via Intel.

Jun 1 2010

Google Tries to Phase out Windows

According to sources within Google, the search giant is currently trying to phase out the Microsoft Windows operating system on company computers in order to reduce security problems. Google and Microsoft have been rivals for some time now and the two companies have become increasingly hostile in recent months.

Google experienced attacks in China that resulted from a flaw in Microsoft’s browser, Internet Explorer. Coupled with the fact that Google has a web browser (Chrome) and is planning an operating system (Chrome OS), the move makes sense. Why should Google give Microsoft, a competitor, any more money by buying a competing operating system?

Some security analysts have said the move is not as logical as it seems. According to them, although Windows is often the target of hackers, because of this it has excellent security features that are allegedly not found in other operating systems, such as Mac OS X. By switching, Google will actually open itself up to more attacks.

I know there are not many attempted attacks on Mac OS X because not nearly as many people use it as Windows and I hope Google’s move does not increase the number of attacks on Mac. Maybe it’s time to start learning Linux…

Via PC World, image via Google.

May 31 2010

Apple Sells Two Millionth iPad

Wow. The iPad has turned out to be way more successful than I expected it to be. Apple has announced today that it has sold its two millionth iPad. Keep in mind that this milestone comes less than a month after the sale of the one millionth iPad and less than sixty days after the initial release of the iPad on April 3.

The iPad was released internationally and, according to Steve Jobs in a press release, “customers around the world are experiencing the magic of iPad, and seem to be loving it as much as we do.”

Apple has also announced that the App Store now has over 5,000 native iPad apps and over 200,000 apps total. Though Apple has not revealed specific sale figures for each of the iPad models or the number of iPads sold in specific countries, avid Apple watchers are hoping for such statistics at the Worldwide Developers Conference, coming up next month.

Via PC World, image via Apple.

May 31 2010

Russian Search Engine Challenges Google

Google is the premier search engine today, the search engine that other competing search engine companies dream of dethroning. So far, that has not happened yet, but Google is facing a formidable competitor: a Russian search engine called Yandex.

Though many Americans may not have heard of Yandex, it is extremely popular in Russia. Founded in 1997, it is the search engine of choice for many Russians and is actually quite good—for searching the Runet (Russian Internet), it rivals Google.ru, the Russian version of Google. Yandex launched its international, English-language version on May 19 at Yandex.com.

The international version of Yandex is also very good. It may even rival Google: its results are relevant and accurate. It is certainly better than Microsoft’s Bing (which, in all honesty, I have not found to be all that bad). Google originally took off because it had the best results of any search engine, but over the years it has deteriorated. Could Yandex be the next big thing? Only time will tell.

Via the Belfast Telegraph, image via Yandex.

May 31 2010

Netbooks Vs. Tablets

For computer users who want a small, portable device, there exist two options: netbooks and tablets. But how does one decide between the two devices? According to technology analyst Tim Bajarin, the main difference lies in what he calls content consumption vs. content creation. The terms are self-explanatory: content consumption is looking at and absorbing others’ content, while content creation is the making of content oneself.

Content creation takes up 25 percent of the time people spend on computers. The other three quarters of the time is spent consuming content. This distinction is important to make because netbooks (and laptops) are good for content creation, but tablets are good for content consumption.

Ultimately, a user must assess his or her own needs when deciding between a netbook or a tablet. If someone already owns a laptop, a tablet can be a nice supplement for content consumption. Indeed, tablets are optimized for content consumption, much more so than laptops or netbooks. But for users who need to create a lot of content, a netbook is probably a better choice than a tablet.

Via PC Magazine.

May 29 2010

Rumor: Amazon to Introduce Thinner Kindle

According to two people familiar with Amazon’s plans, the company is planning to introduce a new, thinner Kindle this August. The new Kindle will mostly likely be in response to traditional competitors of Kindle, like e-readers made by Sony and Barnes & Noble, not the iPad, which is a recent introduction.

The new Kindle will not have a color screen or touchscreen capabilities. It will have a black and white screen with sharper contrast to make e-books look more like printed books. Amazon hopes to eventually make an e-reader with a color screen.

The Kindle and its competitor, the Nook made by Barnes & Noble, both sell for $259. Sony’s e-reader, which has a touchscreen, sells for $199. The iPad starts at $499. According to a research firm, about 6 million e-readers will be sold this year, which is twice the amount sold last year.

Amazon bought a company earlier this year that specializes in touchscreen technology, so a touchscreen e-reader with a color display could be a feasible future product for Amazon.

Via BusinessWeek, image via Amazon.

May 29 2010

Search Your Mac With Spotlight Commands

The Mac operating system comes with a built-in search tool called Spotlight (Microsoft users, don’t even bother arguing with me: Spotlight is way better than what you’ve got on Windows). Spotlight is quick and easy to use.

But there comes a time when searching your Mac becomes difficult because of the sheer volume of files accumulated. If you want to search for an mp3 file with the word “love” in it, simply with Spotlight for the word “love” will probably not yield the results you want—the search will return every file on your computer containing the word “love.”

Like a search engine, Spotlight allows for special parameters and excluding words to be set. To find an mp3 file with the word “love,” you could type the following into Spotlight: love kind:mp3. That search will return the desired result: all mp3 files containing the word “love.” Like on a search engine, you can exclude files by using a minus sign and, of course, combine parameters.

Via CNET, image via Apple.

May 28 2010

New Version of Linux for Netbooks Released

The Linux Foundation released a new version of its open-source OS, MeeGo, this week. MeeGo is for netbooks with Intel Atom processors.

MeeGo v1.0 is more for developers than regular users. It is comprised of Intel’s Moblin and Nokia’s Maemo operating systems. It has applications for email, calendars, recently used files, and social networking updates, among other things. It also has support for multiple languages.

MeeGo has been tested on Atom netbooks from Asus, Dell, Acer, Lenovo, and HP. People have generally liked MeeGo, though some have reported problems with getting its WiFi to work properly.

Before MeeGo, many versions of Linux were either for desktops or smartphones. The director of the Linux Foundation said that he thinks the foundation should focus on developing a platform that can be used on a wide variety of devices. Intel and Nokia have said they can see MeeGo being used on more devices beyond netbooks.

Via InformationWeek, image via MeeGo.

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May 28 2010

Motorola May Introduce Android Tablet

Motorola may be in the process of designing a tablet that will run Google’s Android operating system, says a company executive. The executive was answering questions at a conference when the subject came up. He also revealed that Motorola is focusing heavily on Android. The potential device, according to the executive, would be about 7 to 10 inches and would be intended to supplement a user’s TV experience.

This rumor has come about at the same time as another rumor concerning Android devices made by Motorola. Motorola is allegedly working on two new high-end Droid phones that will be released sometime in July with Verizon as their carrier. There has been speculation that one of the phones has already been seen by the public in the form of a prototype found in a gym earlier this week.

Either way, this summer looks to be very interesting in terms of Android devices.

Via PC World, image via PC World.

May 27 2010

Marvell To Create $100 Tablet

Marvell Technologies has announced today that it will partner with the One Laptop Per Child foundation to create a $100 tablet, named the XO-3. The foundation achieved great success with the XO-1 laptop computer for children in developing countries.

More details about the XO-3 have emerged. It will have a power rating of 1 watt per hour, a multilingual, multitouch screen keyboard, WiFi, high quality video, and Flash 10 Internet. It will be based on an ARM processor, most likely the Marvell Armada 610, and run Google’s Android OS.

According to OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte, the XO-3 will eventually have an adaptable screen to allow for viewing in either sunlight or inside. The tablet will allegedly be 10.8 millimeters thick, which rivals the iPad.

The tablet is planned to be shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in January of 2011.

Via CNET, image via OLPC.

May 27 2010

Predictions for Apple’s WWDC

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is quickly approaching and, as usual, the tech blogosphere abounds with rumors about what Apple will introduce this year. Last year, Wired accurately predicted some major introductions Apple made at WWDC and it has predictions again for this year. Only time will tell if the predictions prove to be accurate.

It’s safe to assume that Apple will introduce its next major iPhone at WWDC. Thanks to some careless Apple employees, the public knows the next iPhone looks like, but we don’t know what it actually can do, as none of the prototypes found were shown doing anything. The 4G iPhone is going to have a front-facing camera, which could be its single major feature.

iPhone OS 4 will also probably be announced. It’s been talked about already, but will probably will be explained in detail at WWDC. From what has already been revealed about the next iPhone OS, it sounds like it will be amazing.

Unfortunately, there will not be a Verizon iPhone, at least not at this WWDC. We’ll have to wait longer for that. And Steve Ballmer will not be at WWDC, contrary to a rumor that circulated the Internet today.

Via Wired.com, image via Wired.com.

May 27 2010

Apple Releases iPad in Europe

Starting on Friday, the iPad will be turned loose to countries other than the United States. Apple is releasing it in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and Germany on Friday and in Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands sometime in July. Major European carriers that will offer service for the iPad have already announced their data plans.

A researcher with Gartner Inc. has said that the iPad is extremely unique and is in a category of its own when it comes to mobile products. Though other companies are planning to manufacture tablets, at this point the iPad really does not have a rival. Gartner has forecasted that the iPad will count for the majority of sales of touchscreen tablet products this year.

In the UK, computer retailer DSG has exclusive rights to sell the iPad for sixty days. In France, there is no one chain of stores with exclusivity.

Via The Wall Street Journal, image via Apple.

May 26 2010

Apple Controls 70% of US Music Downloads

Apple’s iTunes music store controls a very large share of the US music market, according to NPD group, a market research firm. The iTunes store now has a 70 percent share share of music downloads, up one percentage point from 2009. The market share of Amazon’s download service, AmazonMP3, grew 4 percentage points and is currently at 12 percent.

This data will probably be of interest to antitrust regulators who are rumored to be in the early stages of an investigation against Apple. Apple allegedly pressured music companies to pull support for an Amazon promotion called “MP3 Daily Deal.” According to unnamed sources, a complaint from Amazon has sparked the inquiry.

According to an NPD analyst, however, Apple deserves its dominance in music downloads. “Apple came [into the digital download business] and did it right,” he said.

Overall, Apple’s iTunes counts for 28 percent of all music purchases, including both CDs and digital files.

Via Computerworld.

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May 26 2010

Apple Overtakes Microsoft

As of Wednesday afternoon, Apple has overtaken Microsoft as most valuable technology company. At the close of trading, Apple was valued at nearly $223 billion compared with Microsoft’s $219 billion.

The rankings could of course change, but for now, Apple is ahead, which is not surprising due to the company’s recent success due to the iPhone and the iPad. Apple’s share price has risen dramatically over the past year to $244. Microsoft’s has also risen, but not as dramatically: a year ago, its shares closed at $20, today they closed at $25.

Microsoft and Apple have had a rivalry for years. Microsoft was the dominant company for a long time but it appears now that the tables have turned. The iPod and iPhone have helped facilitate Apple’s rise as a true technology giant that has become a lot more successful than Microsoft. As Apple has grown, it has faced problems and criticism for its policies.

Via The Wall Street Journal.

May 25 2010

Apple Discontinues iPhone 3G

Apple has discontinued the 8 GB iPhone 3G (this was, until its discontinuation, the oldest iPhone sold by Apple, not the iPhone 3GS). The phone is no longer available for order on the Apple website.

This move is not really surprising because Apple is expected to introduce a new iPhone soon. Plus, the company was offering a pretty good discount on the iPhone 3G. Once the new iPhone is out, the iPhone 3GS will probably become discounted as well.

There are other signs that a new iPhone will be arriving shortly: Wal-Mart has lowered the price of the iPhone 3GS to $97 (just as a side note, the idea of Wal-Mart selling iPhones is wrong in so many different ways) and there have been reports that Apple is casting for a new iPhone commercial. Plus, there was that iPhone lost in a bar a little while back.

iPhone 3GS, your days may be limited.

Via CNET, image via Apple.

May 25 2010

Google Buys AdMob, Threatens Apple

Apple has been trying to break into mobile advertising recently and it seemed as if it would succeed in this endeavor due to iAd, a mobile ad service the company launched last month. However, Google is not going to give up its primacy in online advertising without a fight, as evidenced by a recent acquisition, AdMob Inc. With the purchase of this company, which was just recently cleared by regulators, Google will become the largest mobile advertising company.

Google’s acquisition of AdMob could make Android more attractive to advertisers who want to reach a large audience. This in turn could facilitate Android’s growth and even allow Android to surpass Apple by 2013. Though Apple is still a lot more widespread than Android, Android is increasing at a much faster rate and this incredible increase will allow it to pass Apple in the near future.

Both Apple and Google have declined to comment about the situation.

Via Business Week, image via AdMob.

May 25 2010

Dell Streak Is More a Smartphone than a Tablet

Dell is a very strange company: it has just unveiled a device that it is calling a tablet and is meant to compete with Apple’s iPad. There’s only one problem: this device, called the Streak, looks a lot more like a smartphone than a tablet to me.

The Streak is Android-based and has a touchscreen about half the size of the iPad’s. It has a 1 GHz processor, 2 GB internal storage, up to 32 GB external SD storage, and a 5 megapixel camera. There’s nothing wrong with this device—it actually looks kind of cute—but by no stretch of the imagination would I consider it a tablet.

It is true that the iPad’s OS is a mobile OS and in some ways, the iPad may be more similar to a smartphone than a laptop. But there is a difference between tablets and smartphones, and the iPad is clearly a tablet, while the Streak is much more like a smartphone.

Android has great potential to compete with the iPad but only if it is used on devices that are actually tablets.

Via PC World, image via PC World.

May 25 2010

Yankee Stadium Bans iPad

An iPad user recently found out the hard way that iPads are not allowed into Yankee Stadium when she attempted to bring the device to a game but was told that iPads are included in the no laptop rule for Yankee Stadium’s security policy.

A sports blogger called the security department to confirm this and it is indeed true: iPads are banned from Yankee Stadium as a security threat. But even though the ban is kind of silly, the same blogger wondered why anyone would want to bring, much less use, an iPad at a baseball game. That is a good point: if you are going to the game, isn’t the whole point to watch it while you’re there?

Also, the chances of being able to go on the Internet on an iPad during a game are pretty much unlikely due to the sheer amount of people present. One thing is certain: with thousands of people on cell networks all at once, the 3G network will not work on an iPad.

Via Yahoo! Sports, image via BLS Illustration.

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May 24 2010

Seagate Introduces SSD/Hard Drive Hybrid

Seagate is releasing a new hard drive for laptops this week called the Momentus XT. It is unique because it will contain a standard hard drive with a 4 GB solid state hard drive.

The spinning hard drive is available in 250, 320, or 500 GB sizes, all of which have 7,200 rpm. It boots in twice as much time as a 5,400 rpm hard drive and increases performance by keeping regularly accessed data in the SSD using Adaptive Memory technology.

The Momentus XT boots like any other hard drive the first time it is used, but by the third time, it starts to learn the user’s habits and can boot twice as fast. The data in the SSD part is mirrored in the regular spinning part just in case the SSD part has problems.

The target market for the Momentus XT is power users, especially gamers. The most expensive model is $156.

Via ChannelWeb, image via TG Daily.

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