Jun 17 2010

Toshiba listens to consumers and delivers new line of notebooks

Toshiba is set to release new satellite notebooks this Sunday.  The new T200 line of notebooks will address common consumer complaints about the satellite 115 and satellite 135 notebooks.  The majority of the complaints dealt with physical characteristics of the notebooks rather than performance.  The glossy texture was easily scratched and showed smudges clearly.  The slick keys were also troublesome for some buyers.

Toshiba T215Toshiba T235

The Toshiba T215 and Toshiba T235 will have less gloss, raised keys, and a larger touchpad.  The T215 will come with an 11.6 inch screen and the T235 will feature a 13.3 inch display.

The base price of the Toshiba T215 will be $470.00 and the Toshiba T235’s $550.00.

T215 Specs and Information:

  • AMD Athlon II Neo single or dual core processor
  • Up to 2GB of DDR3 RAM
  • Up to 320 GB HB
  • 3.3 lbs
  • 11.6″ screen
  • HDMI Port
  • Built-in Webcam
  • Preloaded with Windows 7 Home Premium

T235 Specs and Information:

  • AMD Athlon II Neo, Turion™ II Neo, or Intel Pentium dual-core processor
  • Up to 4GB of DDR3 RAM
  • Up to 320 GB HB
  • 3.9 lbs
  • 13.3″ screen
  • HDMI Port
  • Built-in Webcam
  • Preloaded with Windows 7 Home Premium

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May 24 2010

Netbook and Notebook Distinctions Keep Blurring

  • Posted by in Intel, Laptop News
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For a long time the difference between a netbook and notebook was fairly clear. With a netbook you have limited processing and graphical power, but you had reduced cost, wonderfully enhanced portability, and a notably higher battery life. As predicted however, advancements in the tech industry have created even smaller, cheaper, and more efficient chips that can fit into both netbooks and notebooks. The major push has been by Intel, who has finalized their 2010 Intel Core Ultra-Low Voltage processors for thin laptops.

This kind of advancement is critical: as the tablet industry is expanding, the need to bring high performance to portable devices is a must in order to stay competitive.  Mooly Eden, the vice president and general manager of the PC Client Group at Intel, said in a press release that “Intel’s leadership in 32nm high-k metal gate process technology, combined with breakthrough architecture and design has enabled thinner, lighter and faster notebooks than previous models, with terrific battery life. Not only are laptops becoming ultraportable, but with the new processors inside, users will see faster response times and less waiting.”

Via PCWorld

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.

May 10 2010

Acer, ASUS, and HP Lead Netbook and CULV Notebook Growth in 2010

Market research company iSuppli is reporting that notebook shipments are expected to post double-digit growth in 2010.  This growth is expected because of increased shipments for netbooks and Consumer Ultra-Low Voltage (or CULV) notebooks.

Overall in 2010, 209.5 million units of notebook PCs will be shipped, which is 25.5% higher than the amount of notebooks shipped the previous year.  The netbook category itself is expected to have 34.5 million shipments in 2010, a 30% increase from the previous year.  Four years from now in 2014, netbook shipments are expected to hit a whopping 58.3 units!  CULV notebooks are expected to have 14.5 million units shipped in 2010, which is a 93% increase from last year’s 7.5 million units.

Taiwan-based netbook manufacturer Acer leads the pack in netbook shipments; it has been the market leader for two years and holds 37% of the market.  ASUS, also Taiwan-based, currently ships 5.5 million netbook units and holds 21% of the market.  Hewlett-Packard, Samsung, and Dell are third, fourth, and fifth in netbook shipments.  These top five netbook manufacturers make up 90% of the market.

Via eWeek.

Mar 15 2010

MSI Pumps Out Yet Another Laptop: The GE700 Gaming System

MSI, creators of the oh-so-popular Wind line of netbooks, really likes announcing new laptops as well, and now there is another child joining the rapidly expanding family of their products.  Behold: the GE700 laptop, an enhancement over the recently announced GE600 laptop.  Specs are below, and they are pretty good:

  • Intel Core i5
  • ATI Radeon HD5730 with 1 GB VRAM
  • 17.3” “HD+” LCD
  • DDR 3 RAM (2 Slot)
  • Up to two 500 GB HDD
  • Optical Drive
  • 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • HDMI Port
  • e-Sata Port
  • 4 USB 2.0 Ports
  • 4-in-1 card reader
  • HD (720p) Webcam
  • 6 or 9 cell Battery
  • 7 lb (3.2 kg)
  • A Subwoofer

The GE700 also has MSI’s GPU Boost technology, to enable and disable discrete graphics, and MSI’s ECO Engine Power Saving Technology. Pricing is not out yet, but don’t be surprised if this hits the market pretty soon.  It looks as if MSI plans on giving Alienware a challenge for the gaming notebook market.

Via Engadget, MSI.

Mar 3 2010

HTML 5’s Champion: Ogg Theora vs. H.264

Adobe Flash has lead the internet in terms of content delivery.  We have enjoyed streaming our videos and  little games to play during class when we should be paying attention to a lecture.  But sometime around the release of Firefox 3.5, we all remembered another up and coming technology, HTML 5. HTML 5 was supposed to provide native video support into the browser, resolving the need for a proprietary plug-in to watch your favorite Rick Astley song.

Sadly, this has taken longer than we hoped and doesn’t look like it will be on the fast track anytime soon. The issue keeping us back with FLV is we haven’t determined what codec should become the web’s standard.  It boils down to a debate between the open source community’s Ogg Theora versus the industry standard of H.264.  The argument is one between the importance of a true open internet and the practicality of refusing a perfectly capable and widely used codec.

H.264 gained public acceptance, because it’s shown to be very effective in preserving most quality while being in compressed forms and decompression preserves this.  In fact, Vimeo and YouTube both accepted H.264 as their format of choice for the HTML 5 versions of their sites.  However, H.264 is not an open codec, and is subject to royalty pricing.

While both Safari and Chrome have accepted this and intend to use it for HTML 5 video, Firefox and Opera have raised concerns regarding this issue.  The fact of the matter is, both Firefox and Opera are essentially free browsers, not backed by major  companies.  Companies that tend to use those browsers would likely not be able to afford the royalties for H.264 codec support.  Instead, they have chosen the less efficient (but 100% open) Ogg Theora format over the alternative.  While Ogg does result in a decrease of quality, many GPLers are arguing that having H.264 as the norm, doesn’t change the internet at all from using Flash video instead.  Both are proprietary formats and allow for certain components of the Internet to be controlled by a single company.

Still, this is a major issue for multiple parties.  What route will deliver videos in place of Flash? For manufacturers and users of operating systems, not having Flash may have already taken a hit to their reputation. We will see who is crowned victor in this battle.

Via Ars Technica

Mar 3 2010

Panasonic Toughbook C1 Unfazed By Slate Form Factor

Remember the TabletPCs at the beginning of the millennium?  Yeah, we’re not sure we want to either.  You would think that with rise of new slate tablets (the stereotypical suspect being the iPad) the convertible form factor would be on the retreat. Well, Panasonic obviously didn’t get the memo, as the Toughbook C1 is keeping it real, 2003 style.

Like the rest of Panasonic’s bricks with buttons – that is, the Toughbook line – the C1 is not supposed to be a stunning statement of style.  It is a rigid box of functionality.  Here is the spec listing:

  • Intel Core i5-520 @ 2.4 GHz
  • Up to 8 GB DDR3
  • Shock-Mounted, Flex-Connect 250 GB HDD
  • 12.1” LED-backlit screen with multitouch
  • WXGA 1280×800 Resolution
  • 10 Hour Claimed Battery Life
  • 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi
  • Optional Gobi 2000 mobile broadband card
  • Triple hinge design designed to survive a 30-inch drop (they are called Toughbooks for a reason)

Still interested?  It comes at a $2499 starting price, so if you are lucky enough to have plenty of money to burn at the bank, feel free to pick one up.

Via Engadget.

Mar 1 2010

HP EliteBook 2740p: A Tablet For The Prosperous

HP isn’t pulling any punches with EliteBook 2740p.  Targeted at wealthy businessmen and high-end loving executives, it is designed to meet the highest workspace standards.

Those whose hearts are weak to gadget envy, stop reading.  The specs are outlined as follows:

  • Intel Core i5/i7 CPU
  • Up to 8 GB DDR3
  • Intel HD Onboard IGP
  • 320 GB HDD or 160 GB SSD
  • 12.1” Screen w/ 1280×800 Resolution
  • Multitouch capacitive and pen input
  • 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • 3 USB 2.0 Ports
  • 2 MP Webcam
  • 5 Hour Claimed Battery Life
  • Windows 7

It is indeed a very nice convertible tablet/ultrathin.  And to make up for that, it comes at a $1599 starting price.  It is worth a look, and surely if you can afford it I must imagine it will serve you quite well.  The rest of us will have to survive without it.

Via Slashgear.

Feb 26 2010

MSI Classic Series Notebooks Released

MSI has come a long way.  From a little known Taiwanese brand, it has gained a foothold in the netbook market with its famed Wind line.  Now, 4 of its latest notebook models are ready for shipping.  They are dubbed the “Classic Series” and we mentioned them during our CES coverage last month. Here are the final specs on some of their siblings:

CR620-030US CR620-033US CR620-31US CR600-234US
CPU Core i3-330M Core i3-330M Core i5-430M Pentium Dual-Core T4500
RAM 4 GB 4 GB 4 GB 3 GB
HDD 320 GB 320 GB 500 GB 320 GB
LCD Size 15.6” 15.6” 15.6” 16”
LCD Resolution 1366×768 1366×768 1366×768 1366×768
GPU Arrandale IGP Arrandale IGP Arrandale IGP NVIDIA GeForce 8200M
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Optical Drive DVD-RW Blu-ray combo DVD-RW DVD-RW
Battery Life 3 Hours 3 Hours 3 Hours 3 Hours
Price $630 $700 $730 $530

Other standard features include 1.3 megapixel webcam, multicard reader, VGA/HDMI out, 3 USB 2.0 Ports, Ethernet, and 802.11b/g/n. Unfortunately, the 32-bit OS is a let down, seeing as the 64-bit transition is now a fact of life for all companies and most of the laptops use 4 GB of RAM.

If you are still interested, go check your favorite tech supplier to purchase.

Via AnandTech

Feb 25 2010

LG Delivers T280 Notebook, X140 & X200 Netbooks In Time For CeBIT

LG has just announced a pair of new netbooks and a new notebook, ripe and ready for eager eyes at next week’s CeBIT conference in Germany.

The first is the LG T280 notebook – a sleek looking machine priced around $1000 with variations based on configuration. The specs for the LG T280 notebook are as follows:

  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • 11.6-inch display
  • 1366 x 768 resolution
  • Options of Intel 1.3GHz Pentium dual-core or Core 2 Duo processor
  • Intel GMA 4500MHD graphics
  • 320GB or 500GB hard drive options
  • 2GB of RAM
  • Wi-Fi
  • Six-cell battery

Next in line are LG’s new netbooks. They look pretty standard, packing Intel Atom N450 CPUs, but the LG X140 and X200 netbooks have some visible differences when you look beneath the veneer.

The specs of the X140 and X200 netbooks are as follows:

The X140

  • Windows 7 Starter
  • 10.1 inch LCD display
  • 1024 x 600 pixels
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 160 GB hard drive
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth
  • 1.3-megapixel webcam
  • Six-cell battery
  • SIM card access

The X200

  • Intel GMA 3150 graphics
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 250GB hard drive
  • Chiclet-style keyboard
  • 802.11n Wi-Fi
  • USB ports
  • Weighs 2.7-pounds

LG’s past netbooks have included the LG X20 and LG X30. LG netbook offerings have historically been capable but bland, though LG did make headlines by delivering its X120 and X130 netbooks in Iraq and Jordan last August.

Via ZDNet.

Feb 9 2010

AMD’s Llano Platform Announced

AMD Llano

After a long wait, it seems that the marriage of AMD and ATI has finally conceived a child worthy of their merger.  The Llano platform is AMD’s answer to Intel’s integrated graphics, and it has successfully turned heads. AMD doesn’t call the Llano a CPU or GPU, but rather some peculiar marketing term dubbed the “Applications Processing Unit” or APU.  It may not be the catchiest phrase, but we all know what it really is and it actually could give the Intel IGP a legitimate challenge.

On the CPU side, the Llano will have a quad core on a 32 nm die. Each core will have 1 MB of L2 cache, and AMD is most likely targeting under 3 GHz for clock speed.  Tag that along with with a fully DirectX 11 capable GPU (details not yet revealed) cast on the same die as the CPU with parallel vector hardware, and you get a potential Intel laptop killer.

Sampling will occur in the second half of the year and OEMs will get access in 2011.

Via Ars Technica

Feb 5 2010

Apple Bans Location-Based Ads

Apple has warned iPhone app developers that they will not be allowed to create apps that use user location data solely for advertisements. The warning, posted in Apple’s forums, is a bit vague, but promises that offending apps will be sent back to their developers to be changed. The warning reads in part:

If you build your application with features based on a user’s location, make sure these features provide beneficial information. If your app uses location-based information primarily to enable mobile advertisers to deliver targeted ads based on a user’s location, your app will be returned to you by the App Store Review Team for modification before it can be posted to the App Store.

This comes as a blow to mobile developers who wanted to monetize their apps from location-based advertising. It remains to be seen how this policy will actually be implemented, being that the language is kind of vague and open to interpretation. Analysts have said that the situation is complicated by the fact that earlier in the announcement, Apple said that it is fine for developers to use location-based data to give information about local restaurants, weather, and ATMs.

The way I see it, Apple would not object to an app that tells a user what restaurants are in that user’s area based on location data, but would object to an app that collected location data solely for ads for local restaurants (especially for a non-restaurant related app).

Some analysts are indignant about this decision. I am not sure I see why they are angry. After all, the iPhone is Apple’s product and it has the right to regulate the sort of downloads available for it.

Via ReadWriteWeb, image via Apple.

Feb 4 2010

Fujitsu Lifebook Release Roundup

Lifebook UH900

Fujitsu is a brand that doesn’t seem to garner much attention in the American consumer market. Still, it has been known for making sleek products and appealing to more of a high-end/business user-base.  So without much fanfare, Fujitsu officially announced the LifeBook T900 Tablet PC and pricing for the LifeBook UH900.

The T900, in many senses, is your typical Tablet PC. It is essentially a rehashing of their older 13.3″ T5010 tablet, but with a significant performance boost.   You get your choice of Intel Core i5 520M, 540M, or Core i7 620M processors, and your typical 2 GB RAM, 160 GB HDD, DVD-RW, and integrated Intel graphics.  With special bonuses like biometric scanners, ambient light sensors, and  user-cleanable dust filters, this one will start at $1,889.

On the cheaper end of the Fujitsu spectrum (which really isn’t all that cheap), the Lifebook UH900 is a mobile internet device (MID) that premiered at CES 2010. This is equipped with an Intel Atom 1.6 GHz Z530 CPU, 2GB RAM, a 62GB SSD HDD, 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth, and GPS plus Windows 7. All on an itsy-bitsy 5.6″ multitouch screen.  This is all highly impressive, but whether or not that justifies a $999 MSRP is up for you to decide. If you believe so, then you’ll probably appreciate the fact Fujitsu is currently selling it for $849.

Feb 2 2010

Acer Declines To Join Tablet Wars

Acer Ultra-Thin Laptop

People might have thought Acer, the new rebellious teen on the block and netbook powerhouse, would have come out full throttle into this tsunami of tablet products.  Instead, however, they plan to go against the tide, refusing to take part in the tablet war.  Acer’s champion of choice will instead be the ultra-thin laptop, a form factor that has never truly realized its full potential.

Acer Taiwan’s President Scott Lin simply retorted to Digitimes that, while there would be no difficulty in developing such a tablet, it simply has no place in the Acer business model.  He estimated that 20-30% of their business this year would come from ultra-thin laptops, a surprisingly large statistic for what has remained a niche market for so long. This is indeed a peculiar and unique announcement, given the current climate where the public’s attention is fawning over tablets.

He also mentioned models thinner than 2 cm (0.7 inches) coming out this year.  Most likely, some of those fabled Chrome OS netbooks will be tossed into this mix.  Whether or not they will be ready to compete with the tablets will be seen in due time.

Via Engadget

Jan 31 2010

MSI Revamps C-Line To Use Intel Core-i Processors

  • Posted by in Laptop News, MSI
  • Comments Off on MSI Revamps C-Line To Use Intel Core-i Processors

MSI C-Line
MSI’s “Classic” series has commonly been known as MSI’s budget line of notebooks, lacking a fancy exterior or other premium characteristics.  That isn’t stopping MSI, however, from putting Intel‘s brand new line of  Core i Series CPUs in three C-line models: the CX420, CR420, and CR720.

Overall there isn’t much difference between the three laptops. The CX420 and CR420 will come with relatively plain 1366×768 14″ screens, while the CR720 will have a much larger 1600 x 900 17″ screen.  In addition, the CX420 will have the special honor of getting a discrete ATI Radeon HD5470 for graphics with 1 GB dedicated VRAM.  Other than that, expect vanilla features across the board.

Still, despite the lack of aesthetics or exceptional screen resolution, these may still be products worth watching.  Equipped with Core-is, the MSI C-series computers will most likely be more powerful budget laptops than their mainstream American counterparts.  Pricing will be key.

Via Gizmodo, image via MSI.

Jan 30 2010

Next Generation of Touchscreens Ready For Pressure

QTC
One of the greatest effects of the widespread success of the iPhone was the introduction of the capacitive touchscreen to the masses.  Capacitive screens gave us a more natural experience as opposed to the resistive interfaces from the past.  Now, there is much effort being spent towards the creation of pressure sensitive screens.  While there are many approaches towards this problem, one seems to claim that it is the end-all solution.

This comes from a specialized company called Peratech.  It is placing all of its money on a technology called quantum tunneling composite.  The way it works is by utilizing the fact that two conductors close to each other but separated by an insulating layer, will still cause electrons to jump back and forth. The special part is that they are using an polymer which reacts to the changes by pressure by changing its resistance.

Peratech has already signed on with a major screen maker and its products could hit the market by April of this year.  We will have to wait to see how they change the way we use touch interfaces till then.

Via Technology Review, image via Peratech

Jan 8 2010

CES 2010: Intel Announces AppUp Center For Netbooks

Intel revealed its new AppUp Center today at CES 2010 – Intel’s response to Apple’s App Store, except for netbooks. The application storefront will offer games and other software for netbook users, and is now available as a Windows download from Intel.com.

The store will support Moblin as well as Windows operating systems. Currently in beta, the AppUp Center has a pretty limited software selection – 17 games, two of which are free. However, this number should be exploding soon. Intel’s Atom Developer Program is currently doing outreach for developers who want to get in on the AppUp Center. For a short time, Intel’s $99 yearly developer fee will be waived by developers of applications for the AppUp Center.

Intel GM Renee James released the following statement about the AppUp Center:

“The Intel AppUp SM center offers netbook users quick and easy access to applications specifically tailored to their mobile lifestyle. Our store does the work of aggregating, categorizing and validating applications so consumers can shop, collect and install from one easy source. With today’s kickoff of our beta store, both developers and consumers will be able to take advantage of the rapid expansion of this new category of computing as the stores continually add apps.”

Acer, Asus, Dell, and Samsung are said to be developing manufacturer-branded versions of Intel’s AppUp Center for upcoming laptops and netbooks.

Via Gamasutra.

Jan 6 2010

Haier Announces Netbooks, MID and Tablets For CES 2010

Haier is a Chinese firm that makes refrigerators and air conditioners. Starting on CES 2010, it will make netbooks, MIDs, and laptops as well.

The company is sending off three swivel screen netbooks running Intel Atom CPUs. The first is the Haier X220, a 10-inch tablet netbook with a 1024 x 600 pixel screen, Atom N270, 1 GB of DDR2 RAM and Intel GMA 950 graphics, selling for $450 with a 3-cell battery.

The other two netbooks are very similar. Labeled the Haier X210 and X107H, these netbooks will start out with Atom N270s but get 1.7 GHz Pine Trail Atom N450 chips at a later date. Other specs include 10-inch 1024 x 768 pixel screens, a 160 GB HDD, 1.3 Megapixel webcam, and cramped 85% screens. They include mouse buttons integrated into the touchpad, much like you’d see in the Dell Mini 10v netbook. These netbooks will sell for $330 and come with EVDO and WCDMA 3G cards.

Haier also says it’s planning a 9-inch smartbook running Google Android and packing an Nvidia Tegra chipset and ARM Cortex 650 CPU. Despite its smaller screen, the keyboard on the Haier smartbook will be the same 85% size.

Lastly, Haier will be unveiling its Haier T3C and Core i5 laptop computers at CES 2010. The T3C is a 13.3-inch widescreen CULV laptop with the Intel Core 2 Duo U3500 chipset, 2 GB of DDR2 RAM 250 GB HDD, and 10 hour battery life. The Core i5 laptop will have similar features and a 14-inch widescreen display.

Via PCMag, image via Haier.

Jan 6 2010

HP Introduces Touchscreen HP Mini 5102 Netbook, Touchsmart TM2 Tablet

HP has released updated versions of a number of its notebook and desktop computers and added a touch screen netbook to its HP Mini lineup, designated the HP Mini 5102.

The netbook has a 10.1-inch touchscreen, $399 price tag, and HP’s TouchSmart multitouch software. We’ll be able to get our hands on it later in January.

HP also tweaked its other netbooks in the $300 range and added a new HP TouchSmart tablet – the TouchSmart TM2 – for $949, available January 17th.

Via BusinessWeek.

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Jan 4 2010

ASUS UL30 CULV Notebook Available For Pre-Order on Amazon

ASUS has added its UL30 CULV notebook to Amazon, available for pre-order for a hefty $849. Officially designated the ASUS UL30Vt-A1, ASUS’ new machine is a tier above the netbook market in both pricing and power.

The ASUS UL30 features an Intel Core 2 Duo chip at 1.3 GHz, 4 GB of DDR3 RAM, a 500 GB HDD, and Nvidia G210M graphics with 512 MB of VRAM. The 13-inch UL30 comes with 64-bit Windows 7 as well.

Shipping dates for the ASUS UL30 are so far unknown.

Via Nexus404.

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