Subject: Systems, Mobile | September 30, 2014 - 01:15 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Windows 8.1, hp, cheap tablet, cheap computer
Before I get into the devices, the $149 HP Stream 8 tablet and certain models of the HP Stream 13 laptop (the ones with an optional 4G modem) includes "free 4G for life" for customers in the USA. Reading in the fine print, the device company apparently signed a deal with T-Mobile for 200MB/mo of 4G service. Of course, 200MB will barely cover the Windows Update regimen of certain months, but you have WiFi for that. It is free, and free is good. I can guess that T-Mobile is crossing their fingers that dripping a drop of water on the tongues of the thirsty will convince them to go to the fountain.
If it works? Great. That is just about the most honest way that I have ever seen a telecom company attract new customers.
Back to these devices. Oh right, they're cheap. They are so cheap, they barely have any technical specifications. The $199.99 HP Stream 11 laptop has an 11-inch display. The $229.99 HP Stream 13 laptop has a 13-inch display and can be configured with an optional 4G modem. Both are passively cooled (more fanless PCs...) and run on a dual-core processor. Both provide a year of Office 365 Personal subscriptions. Both are available in blueish-purple or pinkish-purple.
The two tablets (7-inch Stream 7 and 8-inch Stream 8) are a similar story. They run an x86 processor with full Windows 8.1 and a year's subscription to Office 365. Somehow, the tablets are based on Intel quad-core CPUs (rather than the laptop's passively cooled dual-cores) despite being cheaper. Then again, they could be completely different architectures.
While HP is interested in, you know, selling product, I expect that Microsoft's generous licensing terms (see also the Toshiba alternative we reported earlier) is an attempt to push their cloud services. They know that cheaper device categories cannot bare as much royalties as a fully-featured laptop, and not having a presence at those prices is conceding it to Google -- and conceding that to Google is really giving up on cloud services for those customers. The simple solution? Don't forfeit those markets, just monetize with your own cloud service. I doubt that it will harm their higher-end devices.
Subject: General Tech | September 24, 2014 - 02:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: audio, plantronics, RIG Surround
It feels like a while since Plantronics released a new headset into the currently crowded marketplace but the 2014 version of the Plantronics RIG Surround has some interesting changes from the previous model. The RIG Surround mixer used to be a simple volume and balance control but has now been upgraded to what is essentially an external soundcard with extra functionality. It is best used with a cellphone as the mixer can give you better sound from your cellphone as well as enabling you apply EQ profiles and answer your phone with a single button push. When connected to a PC the lack of an analog passthrough means that the sound you hear will be dependant on the mixer and not the soundcard in the PC which can reduce the audio quality somewhat but you can bypass it and plug the RIG directly into your PC to enjoy the full capabilities of the headset. The microphone is removable for when you do not need it which also helps portability. Check out Legit Reviews opinion on the new version of the RIG right here.
"We are very excited to be taking an early look at the upcoming Plantronics RIG Surround. It’s not only because Plantronics has a stellar reputation, but because we’ve had great firsthand experiences with their other gaming headsets. The Plantronics RIG Surround primarily consists of two components – a headset and an external sound card called the RIG mixer that also allows gamers to attach their smartphone and use the setup like a home call center."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- A Quick First Look at the New Corsair Gaming Product Line @ Legit Reviews
- Tt eSPORTS VERTO Gaming Headset Review @ NikKTech
- Mionix NASH 20 Stereo Gaming Headset Review @ NikKTech
- MP4Nation Brainwavz Delta In-ears @ techPowerUp
- Libratone Loop (AirPlay speaker) @ HardwareHeaven
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