Can Alienware successfully pull off a decent gaming laptop that weighs less than 5lbs?

Subject: Mobile | June 6, 2011 - 01:23 PM |
Tagged: ultraportable, alienware

Alienware's new M11x R3 Ultraportable Gaming Laptop weighs 4.4lbs but still claims to be able to game.  You can choose an i5-2537M or i7-2617M for a CPU, up to 16GB of DDR3, and either a standard HDD or SSD to power the 11.6" display at 1366×768.  Obviously it is SandyBridge's integrated GPU which Alienware is counting on to provide the gaming performance, trading overall power for less weight.  Techware Labs was skeptical at the start of the review but ended up quite impressed with the ultraportable gaming machine, even with the minor flaws they discovered.

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"The uptraportable meets gamer in this mashup laptop that combines killer looks, functionality, and performance. Now you can really take your gaming with you in a sub 5lb package without making huge sacrifices. It can be done and we show you how Alienware did it with our review of the M11x R3."

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ASUS does thin and light right: UX21 and X101 Photos

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 5, 2011 - 12:19 AM |
Tagged: x101, ux01, notebook, laptop, computex, asus

ASUS had a lot of new and innovative products on display at Computex, but maybe none as interesting as these two notebooks.  The UX21 was the flagship product for Intel's new "Ultrabook" category and while we have already posted about it earlier, I thought these new photos would be worth sharing.

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The UX21 is an ultra-thin 1.7cm at its widest and weighs only 1.1 Kg fully loaded.  It will include the ASUS "Instant On" technology, resuming the system in just 5 seconds and is claimed as the first notebooks with a SATA 6G SSD.  

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Sporting a new ULV Sandy Bridge Core i7 processor, this system won't skimp on performance either if it lives up to its claims.  

More photos and information after the break!!

Source: ASUS

MSI Ships First Gaming Notebook with NVIDIA GeForce GTX560M GPU

Subject: Mobile | May 31, 2011 - 05:47 PM |
Tagged: msi, GTX560M, GT683

CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif. – May 31, 2011 – MSI Computer Corp., a leading manufacturer of computer hardware products and solutions, today announced the first North American shipment of the GT683R, its first gaming laptop featuring the recently-announced NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M graphics processor. The GT683R is one of the first notebooks to ship in the U.S. with the new NVIDIA GPU. This gaming notebook combines superior graphics with processing power from the second generation Intel® Core™ i7 to create an incredible gaming and multimedia experience that will be the envy of any seasoned gamer.

“As the first GTX-class gaming GPU in the 500 Series, the GeForce GTX 560M delivers blistering frame rates and beautifully rendered scenes with Direct X 11 done right,” said David Ragones, director of product marketing at NVIDIA. “The MSI GT683R will be first out of the gate with this gaming workhorse.”

MSI has packed the GT683R with cutting edge performance features specifically for gaming, including:

  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 560M: With 1.5GB of GDDR5 memory, this graphics processor provides real-world picture clarity for optimal game play. Debuting at Computex 2011, the GeForce GTX 560M features improved power efficiency with faster clock speeds, so gamers can enjoy vivid, detailed environments and realistic characters. Stock your arsenal with the best gaming tech, including Direct X 11 and NVIDIA® PhysX® technology delivering intense realism, outstanding performance, and faster frame rates on the most demanding games. And stay ahead of the competition with the latest NVIDIA® Verde™ Drivers providing performance optimizations for the life of your GPU, only from NVIDIA.com.
  • New 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7 2630QM Processor: Intel’s latest energy-efficient processor delivers smart, adaptive performance that adds speed when it’s most needed, thanks to Optimized Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 and Intel Hyper-Threading Technology. The processor also provides seamless video capabilities including applications for easy video editing and HD video playback that can be connected to a TV.
  • MSI’s Exclusive Turbo Drive Engine (TDE) Technology: Easily overclock GPU with TDE, providing a boost in graphics performance to accelerate video decoding and add extra excitement to your gaming. · Cooler Boost Technology: When the game heats up, MSI’s Cooler Boost Technology cools the CPU and GPU with a single touch. The technology can manage the fan speed to find the right balance between boosting performance and improving comfort.
  • Dual SATA HDD with RAID 0: Enjoy enhanced HDD speed and performance and increased HD storage space with a dual SATA HDD in RAID 0 configuration. · USB 3.0: The GT683R features two USB 3.0 ports, delivering speedy data transfers with rates up to 4.8GB per second, and 10 times the bandwidth of USB 2.0. MSI’s own i-Charger technology provides three times the power to make charging CE devices faster than ever.
  • Dynaudio Speakers with THX Surround Sound: In addition to sharp graphics and lightning quick performance, the GT683R creates an immersive gaming experience by including professional sound quality. MSI collaborated with Dynaudio to build the highest quality speakers plus a built-in subwoofer. THX TruStudio PRO delivers cinema-quality surround sound.

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The new GT683R has an MSRP of $1,599.99 and is available at Amazon.com.

For detailed specification and purchasing options, please visit http://www.msimobile.com.

Computex 2011 Coverage brought to you by MSI Computer and Antec

Source: MSI

HP has a new Elitebook for the mobile professional

Subject: Mobile | May 31, 2011 - 01:03 PM |
Tagged: hp, elitebook, 15.6 inch

The The HP Elitebook 8560p is designed for the professional roadie who needs a fairly power CPU to run productivity software, and can afford the $1500 price tag.  Inside the 15.6" laptop you will find a dual core Core i7-2620M which provides half of the graphical power, a discreet AMD Radeon 6470M is available for 3D performance thanks to Virtu.  TechReviewSource liked the external peripheral choices but were not terribly impressed with the gaming performance of the 6470M, judge for yourself by following the link.

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"The HP Elitebook 8560p is a powerhouse, as its 15.6-inch widescreen and top-of-the-line parts are there for powering through the most difficult tasks. And a modern look, thanks to a new aluminum design, doesn't hurt either."

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Intel Defines Ultrabook category and accelerates Atom development cycle

Subject: Processors, Mobile, Shows and Expos | May 31, 2011 - 02:01 AM |
Tagged: ultrabook, Medfield, Ivy Bridge, Intel, haswell, computex, atom

With the release of the Intel Z68 chipset behind us by several weeks, Intel spent the opening keynote at Computex 2011 creating quite a buzz in the mobility section of the computing world. Intel’s Executive Vice President Sean Maloney took the stage on Tuesday and announced what Intel is calling a completely new category of mobile computer, the “Ultrabook”. A term coined by Intel directly, the Ultrabook will “marry the performance and capabilities of today’s laptops with tablet-like features and deliver a highly responsive and secure experience, in a thin, light and elegant design.”

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If this photo looks familiar...see the similarity?

Intel is so confident in this new segment of the market that will fall between the tablet and notebook that they are predicting that by the time we reach the end of 2012 it will represent 40% of Intel’s processor shipments. That is an incredibly bold claim considering how massive and how dominate Intel is in the processor field. Intel plans to reach this 40% goal by addressing the Ultrabook market in three phases, the first of which will begin with ultra-low-power versions of today’s Sandy Bridge processors. Using this technology Maloney says we will see notebooks less than 0.8 inches thin and for under $1,000.

Make sure you "Read More" for the full story!!

Source: Intel

Asus Announces New MeeGo Netbook, Ultralight Laptop, and Padfone

Subject: Systems, Mobile | May 31, 2011 - 12:06 AM |
Tagged: ultraportable, padfone, meego, computex, asus, Android

Asus is starting their Computex 2011 showing off strong with a bevy of product announcements. Most of their new products fall into their mobile lineup. The new mobile devices include a thin MeeGo OS powered Netbook, an ultralight Core i7 laptop, a new 3D Eee Pad, the MeMO 3D, and a phone-docking tablet dubbed the “Padfone.” Beyond the mobile market, the company has further announced a home entertainment media hub, and an All-In-One ET2700XVT desktop computer.

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On the mobile front, and notebooks specifically, Asus has announced new N and UX series notebooks. The N series notebooks focus on incorporating higher fidelity speakers into a laptop chassis than is standard. The latest N models include a dedicated and external subwoofer to bring “deep bass extension that would otherwise be possible,” according to Asus. The audio technology in question has been developed by Asus and David Lewis has been dubbed SonicMaster. This same audio technology is also integrated into their new AIO desktop, which you can read about below.

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The UX series is Asus’ ultraportable laptop lineup. Measuring 17mm at its thickest point, 2.4 pound aluminum ally body houses a Sandy Bridge Intel Core i7 processor and a SATA 6 Gb/s SSD. Asus further claims that the laptop features an “Instant On” feature that is capable of resuming the laptop from sleep states in seconds. The newest UX21 model is a silver colored aluminum body housing a glossy display, large track pad, two USB 3.0 ports, a headphone jack, and likely a non-user replaceable battery. The device is very slim and appears to be very competitive against Apple’s MacBook Air.

The last addition to their mobile lineup is a MeeGo powered Eee PC X101 netbook. Powered by an Intel Atom N435 at 1.33GHz, the 10.1” netbook comes equipped with the Intel-backed MeeGo operating system. The Eee PC X101H is another such model with the option for MeeGo or Microsoft Windows 7 operating system in addition to the choice between a hybrid hard drive or solid state drive. At 17.6mm thick, and weighing under 950g, the netbook is fairly small. IO (input/output) on the device(s) include 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, USB, and a headphone jack.

Aside from notebooks, Asus showed off a tablet-docking concept phone and a 3D tablet. The Padfone is basically a larger screen and extra battery for your smartphone. Once your smartphone is connected inside the case and hidden, the tablet becomes a larger display and battery charger. The phone in turn, is able to share its 3G and Wi-Fi connections with the tablet.

The MeMO 3D tablet, on the other hand, is a 7” tablet with a 3D display at a resolution of 1024x600 pixels. The portrait device supports both multi-touch and capacitive stylus input. Android Honeycomb is the operating system of choice that powers the glasses-free 3D IPS display.

Asus has also announced a desktop All-In-One computer called the ET2700XVT which is 27” display coupled with a PC. Capabilities of the AIO include a digital TV tuner, HDMI-in, SyncMaster audio speakers, and optional 10-point multi-touch input.

In addition, the WAVI Xtion is 3D motion sensing technology much like that of Microsoft's Kinect.  Asus hopes to combine this technology with computers and media centers.  The Xtion Portal is a wireless home entertainment center for the living room. The device functions as a media playback box, web browser, app store, and game console. The game bundle includes MayaFit, Beat Booster, and DanceWall.  Both the games and the interface is controlled via Kinect-like gestures.

Computex 2011 Coverage brought to you by MSI Computer and Antec

 

Source: www.asus.com

ViewSonic Unveils ViewPad 10Pro, Runs Both Android And Windows 7

Subject: Mobile | May 30, 2011 - 07:39 PM |
Tagged: viewsonic, tablet, Android, Windows 7

For those wanting the “best of both worlds” in their tablet, they are in luck. ViewSonic’s newly announced ViewPad 10Pro combines the Android and Windows 7 operating systems into a 10” tablet. Powered by an Intel Z670 Oak Trail processor at 1.5GHz, the 800g tablet is capable of playing 1080p video, and has 32GB of onboard storage to hold all that media. The IO of the tablet includes a 3G and 802.11 b/g/n WiFi radio, bluetooth 2.1, Micro SD card, USB port, charging port, 3.5mm audio jack, and HDMI out.

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Source: Engadget

NVIDIA’s Kal-El Enables Realistic Physics and Dynamic Lighting For Mobile Devices

Subject: Mobile | May 30, 2011 - 12:26 AM |
Tagged: tegra, nvidia, mobile, cpu

NVIDIA recently unveiled a new four core CPU for mobile devices at Mobile World Congress which promises to power 2560x1600, 300 DPI displays as well as enable realistic dynamic lighting and physics in mobile games, features that until recently were only possible in the realm of gaming laptops and desktops.

The quad core ARM CPU has been paired with a new 12 core GeForce graphics processing unit. The CPU alone is able to outperform the older Tegra 2 chip by close to 2x. With the additional GPU cores; however, NVIDIA has even more performance, and the ability to implement great looking games for mobile tablets and so called “super phones.”

Coremark Tegra Kal-El Test.jpg

At a resolution of 1280x800 (according to Engadget), the new Kal-El graphics demo shows off a new game featuring a glowing ball that acts as a truly dynamic light source in addition to realistic cloth physics. Using all four processing cores of the CPU allowed NVIDIA to implement cloth that reacts to the changing gravity of the game in a dynamic- and very realistic looking- manner. The mobile chip saw approximately 80% usage across all cores during the game demo. When NVIDIA disabled two of the CPU cores, the game became nearly unplayable, with the two remaining cores maxed out, the demo’s frame rate dropped to below 15 frames per second.

The new “Tegra Super Chip” will certainly allow mobile game developers to design immersive and realistic looking worlds as well as enhancing consumers’ ability to watch 1080p HD video with ease. The only drawback of the chip seems to be that battery technology is much slower to advance than transistor technology; therefore, it will be interesting to see how the new NVIDIA chip performs in that regard.

Source: NVIDIA

Lenovo's thinest ThinkPad yet, the X1

Subject: Mobile | May 24, 2011 - 03:21 PM |
Tagged: Lenovo, Thinkpad, X1

There is a lot to love about the ThinkPad X1, inside a Core i5-2520M @ 2.5 GHz (with Intel HD 3000 graphics of course) 4GB of DDR3 and a 7200RPM 320GB HDD powers a 13.4" 1366 x 768 LCD which is covered with Corning Gorilla glass. All that in a package weighing 3.73lbs and with dimensions of 13.26" x 9.1" x 0.84".  Even the back plate is interesting, with a USB 3.0 port, HDMI port, Mini DisplayPort port and a powered eSATA/USB 2.0 combo port, in addition to the card reader and USB 2.0 ports.  Unless you are married to the IPS LCD on the X220 TechSpot highly recommends this laptop.

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“A couple of months ago we were checking out Lenovo’s then latest ThinkPad offering, the X220. Based on Intel’s second generation Core processors, this system was classic business-oriented ThinkPad throughout. A few months before the X220, I had the IdeaPad U260 in-house which was classified by Lenovo as a “thin, light, stylish travel companion”.

I mention those two units as a transition to what we have for review today, the new ThinkPad X1. As the thinnest ThinkPad ever, the X1 seemingly takes the best features from the X220 and the U260 and merges them into one. The result is an extremely thin and sleek 13.4” notebook that is a real follow-up model to the X300 series that many came to own and love a couple of years ago.”

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Source: TechSpot

ECS Reveals Computex 2011 Hardware Lineup

Subject: Motherboards, Systems, Mobile | May 21, 2011 - 03:11 AM |
Tagged: hardware, ECS, computex

 

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ECS (Elitegroup Computer Systems) will be attending this years Computex 2011 convention, and they plan to unveil a slew of new hardware.  During the week, they will be showing off new motherboards, a new graphics card, four All-In-One PCs, two tablets, two notebooks, and an eBook reader of all things.

For the DIY enthusiasts, ECS will be showing off a AMD 990FX chipset motherboard, which will support AMD's Bulldozer processors, as well as a new series of motherboards "for cloud computing, home server, (and) work station."  While they were not willing to give out details at this time, they will have live high end gaming setups for attendees to demo at the show.  Further, ECS is releasing a NVIDIA GeForce 560 graphics card.  Again, they did not share any specifications, they claim that their card is 40% faster than its 460 predecessor.

All-In-One PCs will also be receiving a large showing at the ECS booth, with three SKUs of their "PC—G11" touch screen computer with wireless connectivity.  The DS110, MS300, and MS150 specifically will provide different levels of performance thanks to three differing levels of hardware (they mention CPUs and chipsets).

On the mobile front, ECS is unveiling two tablets.  The S10 is a 10.1" Atom Z670 tablet with a resolution of 1366x768 and HDMI out along with 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, and "3G or GPS."  The V07 is a 7" tablet based on similar specifications that will be released in August 2011.  The MB40 and MB50 are 14" and 15" Sandy Bridge powered notebooks with LED displays at 1366x768 and featuring a 6-in-1 card reader.  Further, ECS is debuting a 6" and 8" touch screen eBook reader with WiFi, Bluetooth, and 3G.  The eBook reader will feature either a monochrome or multicolor display, and will run the Android mobile operating system.

Source: ECS

MeeGo to 1.2, YouGo to download?

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | May 20, 2011 - 02:04 AM |
Tagged: meego

For those who desire an alternative to Windows 7 in their netbooks or Android in their tablet: The Linux Foundation, Intel, Nokia, Novell, and AMD are continuously developing an alternative mobile operating system based on Linux. While there are currently large doubts about how many participants are still active members in this project there must be someone still coding away because version 1.2 was released to the public.

 
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I’m Tuxing over! : D
 
This version contains improvement to the following segments of MeeGo:
  • An updated Netbook “User Experience”
  • An updated in-vehicle “User Experience”
  • Developer preview for those wishing to install MeeGo on tablets
  • And of course an updated SDK
 
Intel and AMD continue to pledge support towards the development of MeeGo though Nokia’s recent partnership with Microsoft puts their support for MeeGo into question. Intel recently took the opportunity to blame Nokia for Intel’s lackluster mobile performance as a whole and is currently in the process of pitching handset designs they developed with Nokia to other manufacturers. Intel is also currently playing with Google’s Android to stake the ground for a foothold on ARM turf. For the nearer future, however, MeeGo claims that they will continue on their approximately 6-month release cycle and will ship MeeGo 1.3 in the October timeframe. 
Source: MeeGo

Rumor: More details on Amazon tablets, yes: plural

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | May 18, 2011 - 05:05 PM |
Tagged: tegra, nvidia, kal-el, amazon

At the beginning of the month we reported that Amazon seems to be moving into the tablet space with an order for hundreds of thousands of touchscreens per month. There is now more evidence that the Kindle manufacturer is looking specifically to do an Android tablet due to the processors rumored to be included. We think you will be smiling very soon.

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Roadrunner Stew: Water, Roadrunner, Diced Apple 

According to a source from Boy Genius Report: Amazon will be releasing two tablets potentially as earlier as second-half 2011. Their entry-level model, “Coyote”, will contain an NVIDIA dual-core Tegra 2 which for those following the tablet space knows that is not an entry-level part. Their higher-up model, "Hollywood", is said to contain NVIDIA’s upcoming Kal-El, the quad-core successor to the Tegra 2 with an integrated GPU reportedly 5-fold faster than those found on the Tegra 2.
 
It should be noted that an entry-level tablet for Amazon does not necessarily suggest what price Amazon would be aiming for. Amazon could still have their Kindle line as their true entry-level product which would allow them to skip straight to the higher performing Tegra 2 and Kal-El parts for their actual tablet line as they could point to the Kindle for those who want less than a Tegra 2. So if you happen to be looking for an Android tablet and can wait a few months you might wish to hold off and see what wily Amazon is cooking up.
Source: PCMag

Intel Talks Software And Demos Local File Syncing, Standby, And Hibernate Tech At Investor Meeting 2011

Subject: General Tech | May 17, 2011 - 08:38 PM |
Tagged: sync, mobile, lan, Intel

Intel held its annual Investor Meeting today, where the chip maker talked software, the state of the business, as well as new hardware and leveraging microarcitecture leadership. This installment focuses on the software side of things.

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 During the various keynotes that were held throughout the day for the Investor Meeting 2011, one ideal seemed to present itself in some form or another, and summarized the message Intel presented to the world.  The idea was that of a consistent user experience across every computing platform accomplished by leveraging Intel software applications with Intel hardware advancements to deliver a productive and easy to use computing experience whether it is on a cell phone or a dual CPU production workstation.  Intel is a market leader in micro-architecture and x86 processors, as well as in sold state drives and high performance computing.  Soon, thanks to advancements in transistor technology, Intel will also have a large presence in the mobile market with low power x86 SoCs.  Their dominance in desktop computing hardware, along with their good relations with many software developers allows the chip maker a great deal of influence in the technology industry.  On the software side of things, Intel has a team of engineers who work inside Microsoft's closely with their software engineers to ensure that the popular operating system delivers a solid experience for x86, and specifically Intel, powered computers.  Intel is also heavily invested in open source software and has helped in creating open source operating systems and applications.  In the mobile market, Intel is still a proponent and developer of MeeGo, for instance.

This influence and investment in both hardware and software research and development has made Intel a leader in the technology industry.  Intel plans to leverage this influence to deliver the most consistent user experience across all platforms, and the process has already begun.  Intel has several software technologies that are capable of harnessing their architecture technology to make computers easier to use and more productive.  They showed off three (new) pieces of such software during one of their keynotes, including PC Sync, and Fast Flash Standby which encompasses an active standby/sleep mode and fast recovery hibernation modes.

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PC Sync is a program much akin to Dropbox in that it promises to keep all of the files that you select in sync between all of your different devices.  David Perlmutter and a co-worker showed PC Sync working live as they synced files between two computers.  The program differs from Dropbox; however, in the fact that it only works over your local network, and thus it is inherently more secure and faster than services that must first sync files to an Internet server before downloading to the target computer(s).

The other interesting software demonstrated was Intel's Fast Flash Standby technology.  This software improves upon the traditional sleep and hibernation modes in Microsoft Windows.  The standby mode will put the computer to sleep by saving the system state to RAM and entering a low power mode just like the standard Windows' affair; however, the software will also automatically wake up the system at periodic intervals to download updates such as email, tweets, and Facebook messages, and then will return the computer to its sleep state so that once the computer is woken, the system is already updated and ready to go.  Intel has also improved upon the hibernation sleep mode by utilizing flash memory to greatly reduce the time necessary to enter hibernation and resume from the sleep mode.  In the demo, the system state was saved to a fast flash drive, and not only did the computer quickly hibernate but it resumed from hibernation in 5 seconds.

Intel also talked about mobile software.  Android and MeeGo are both software platforms that Intel is interested in powering with its mobile processors.  The 7" tablet and concept smart phone they showed off were both running android.  Intel's Senior Vice President and General Manager for its Software & Services Group, Renée J. James stated that Intel is well positioned to create an application ecosystem when it enters the mobile market, and that developers have stated that they plan to develop for them.  Further, Renée stated that 90% of Android applications are a run-time and can easily be made to run on Intel's mobile devices.

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Intel also addressed the shareholders' concerns of how Windows 8 on ARM would affect Intel.  The Windows 8 SKU for ARM will be a ARM focused operating system, and will run ARM applications.  The SKU will be well suited for ARM powered mobile devices where mobile and cloud applications can be used.  On the other hand, there will also be a "full" Windows 8 with Windows 7 mode that will offer the full featured Windows experience, including backwards compatibility with legacy applications--which the ARM SKU will not offer.  Because of this full featured Windows 8 operating system version is tailored for x86, Intel believes that it will have the "best of both worlds" for the consumers in being able to have the full fledged OS and ability to use existing Windows applications made for x86.  Renée remained confident in Intel's continued position despite an OS version for ARM chips.

Further, Intel recognized its McAfee acquisition.  The president of McAfee then took the stage to explain that the company was committed to delivering security products across the Intel line.  He also stressed that with the ever increasing presence of malware on the Internet, the current method of security programs using "blacklisting" techniques was not sustainable.  The cloud, he surmised, was both a security concern as well as a resource for security programs, and that he expects to have software that is backed by large Internet databases cataloging malware definitions to be the standard in the coming years until a technique stronger than blacklisting becomes usable.

For a hardware company, Intel has also delved heavily into software by working with developers and acquiring software companies.  They recognize that it takes more than hardware to create a quality computing experience and only with the right balance of both hardware and software is a consistent user experience across all of their devices possible.

Source: Intel

Intel Talks Mobile Hardware And Shows Off 32nm Medfield Android Smart Phone At Investor Meeting 2011

Subject: Mobile | May 17, 2011 - 08:08 PM |
Tagged: mobile, Medfield, Intel, Android

Intel held its annual Investor Meeting today, where the chip maker talked software, the state of the business, as well as new hardware and leveraging microarcitecture leadership.  This installment focuses on the mobile hardware aspects.

Partway through the Intel Investor Meeting 2011, David Perlmutter stepped on stage for his keynote speech.  As the Vice President and General Manager of the Intel Architecture Group, he delved into the advancements that Intel has made in smaller transistor manufacturing, and how those advancements will help Intel to break into the mobile and handheld computing market with low power and high performance SoCs (System on a Chip).  During the meeting, Intel stated that it has always been known for performance, but not necessarily for being low power.  With their recent advancements in moving to smaller manufacturing nodes; however, Intel has positioned itself to have power efficient processors that are low power and with power to deliver a fluid user experience in mobile devices.  David explains that power efficency follows along with Moore's Law in that as the transistors get smaller (and with Intel's advancements such as 3D transistors), the chips become much more power efficient.  With each successive shrink in manufacturing nodes, Intel has seen higher transistor switching speeds and lower current leakage compared to previous generations:

energy efficiency.png

What as these new power efficent chips amount to, is Intel's new ability to break into the mobile market and become extremely competitive with the ARM architecture(s).  David showed off two examples during the Investor Meeting 2011 in the form of an Android smart phone and 7" tablet powered by 32nm Medfield mobile chips.

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The Medfield powered Android smart phone.

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An Intel powered Android tablet that will be available to developers soon.

The phone is a hyper threaded, 32nm Intel Medfield mobile processor that runs the Android 2.x operating system and is poised to compete with the current dual core ARM powered smart phones.  A dual core version of the mobile SoC is also planned in the future.  When questioned if the rumored quad core ARM smart phones would pose a problem for Intel's planned single and dual core phones, David responded that the number of cores is only one aspect of performance, and is a measurement "much like megahertz was in the '90s" and hinted not to count Intel's processors out even when competing against quad core ARM processors.

The tablet did not recieve as much attention as the concept phone; however, we do know that it is capable of running Android Honeycomb, is 7", and will be powered by a very similar 32nm Medfield chip.

projectedpower.png

Intel projects that by 2015, not only will they have passed 14nm manufacturing nodes (which are planned for 2014) but the SoCs will have 10 times the graphics and computational power as their chips released this year.

From the keynotes at this year's meeting, Intel is both enthusiastic and confident in their ability to finally dive into the mobile market in force and become a heavywieght competitior to ARM.  Their plans to bring the x86 instruction set and power sipping chips to the handset and netbook markets is a bold move, but if their projections hold true may result in a massive market share increase and further innovation in an even more competitive mobile market.

Source: Intel

Google To Use Open Source Arduino Hardware For Android Open Accessory

Subject: Mobile | May 16, 2011 - 04:27 PM |
Tagged: open source, arduino, Android

During Google IO, Google announced for their Android cell phone operating system a new Open Accessory API. This API is currently supported on Android 2.3.4 and 3.1 (Honeycomb) for cell phones and tablets respectively. This Open Accessory API is a "complete solution" of hardware and software for an Android ADK (Android Accessory Development Kit). On the hardware side of things, Google's reference design uses an Arduino board as well as USB host circuitry from Circuits@Home. using the Google ADK or Open Accessory compatible boards from Microchip and RT Corporation compatible boards, developers are able to offer hardware accessories that are able to communicate over USB (and Bluetooth in the future) to software applications.

googleopenaccessoryapi.png

The interesting part about Open Accessory is that when first plugging an Android phone into an Open Accessory piece of hardware, the hardware is able to indicate to the phone what software applications it needs in order to interact with and be controlled by the phone.

According to Hugo Barra, “with the ADK, we are welcoming hardware developers into the Android community, and giving a path to building great Android accessories quickly and easily.” He emphasises that the openness of Android Open Accessory means that there are no NDAs, no licensing fees, and no approval process in building the hardware or accompanying software.

Along with the ADK comes Android@Home, which is a new open wireless protocol that will allow "every appliance in your home" to communicate with your android phone.

Google wants to ramp up the imaginations of developers, and encourage them to develop new methods of notification systems and more immersive game-play. Much as the popular Parrot AR.Drone has augmented reality gaming aspects, Google wants to encourage game developers to utilize Android@Home to make their games more immersive by using the environment. During the IO presentation, they demonstrated flickering lights while playing Quake which reacted to gunfire in the game.

By choosing to go open source for not only the software but the hardware behind the Android Open Accessory API, they will enable as many people with as many ideas as possible to have a chance to develop accessories for the Android platform. This freedom of imagination will encourage innovation, and in a competitive OS market, innovation is good for the consumer.

You can read more about the Arduino and how it may affect Apple's way of dealing with third party accessories over at Make.

Source: Make

Roll your own Chromium OS lappy

Subject: Mobile | May 16, 2011 - 01:06 PM |
Tagged: chrome, DIY, Chromium OS

If you can't wait for someone to release a mobile PC with the Chromium OS preinstalled, then why not pick up your own laptop and install Chromium yourself?  ExtremeTech walks you through the process, from finding or making a build to install and installing it on a bootable USB device to moving that installation onto an internal drive.  There are links to troubleshooting sites and they reveal that the default password seems to be facepunch.

ET_Chromium.jpg

"On June 15, Samsung and Acer will release the first consumer-oriented Chrome OS laptops, or Chromebooks as Google likes to call them. Both hardware- and software-wise, these netbooks are nothing special: You can download Chrome OS's open source brother, Chromium OS, for free -- and at around $400 for a Chromebook, you would certainly expect some better hardware than what Samsung and Acer are offering.

In fact, for around $300 you can get a cheaper and more powerful netbook with Windows 7 pre-installed -- and it only takes about 30 minutes to wipe Windows and install Chrome OS yourself. You'll end up with a better and cheaper Chromebook -- and to top it off, you'll have a spare Windows 7 license that you can give to your mom."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

Gaming

Source: ExtremeTech

Epic Games updates indie developers with May 2011 UDK

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Mobile | May 13, 2011 - 10:34 PM |
Tagged: udk, ios, game

Indie videogame developers have a great challenge keeping up with the industry. Technology is advancing quickly, the skills required to output games with the quality of the greatest developers keep diversifying, and the time required to detail each part keeps exploding. Though it is highly unlike that the next Call of Duty will come from a single person there are tool developers aiming to decrease the burden for projects of all sizes.

14-UDK.png

Do you think that was an onomatopoeia said by indie devs?

Epic Games released UDK in November 2009 to help developers make their own 3D PC games without needing to develop their own engine and associated toolset or needing to pay a hefty license fee up front. Since then, Epic has added support for iOS development to allow developers to create games for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. New versions have come out on an approximately monthly basis and May is no different.

This release is incrementally better than previous builds with a few usability tweaks like grouping objects and modifying them together, the ability to copy and paste vertex coloring, and performance importing art assets. As usual a few dozen documentation pages were updated to reflect changes in the game engine. While UDK does not remove the pain of making a good game, it does soften the blow a lot, which is all we got thus far.

Source: UDK

Tidbits from NVIDIA's Q1 conference call

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors, Mobile | May 13, 2011 - 06:49 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, conference call

NVIDIA made their quarterly conference call on May 12th which consisted of financial results up to May 1st and questions from financial analysts and investors. NVIDIA chief executive officer Jen-Hsun Huang projected that future revenue from the GPU market would be “flattish”, revenue from the professional market would be “flattish”, and revenue from the consumer market would be “uppish”. Huang did mention that he believes that the GPU market will grow in the future as GPUs become ever more prevalent.

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How's the green giant doing this quarter? Read on for details.

For the professional market, NVIDIA discussed their intention to continue providing proof-of-concept applications to show the benefit of GPU acceleration which they hope will spur development of GPU accelerated code. Huang repetitively mentioned that the professional market desires abilities like simultaneous simulation and visualization and that a 10% code-rewrite would increase performance 500-1000%, but current uptake is not as fast as they would like. NVIDIA also hinted that GPUs will be pushed in the server space in the upcoming future but did not clarify on what that could be. NVIDIA could simply be stating that Tesla will continue to be a focus for them; they also could be hinting towards applications similar to what we have seen in recent open sourced projects.

For consumers, Huang made note of their presence in the Android market with their support of Honeycomb 3.1 and the upcoming Icecream Sandwich. Questions were posed about the lackluster sales of Tegra tablets but Huang responded stating that the first generation of tablets were deceptively undesirable due to cost of 3G service. He went on to say that the second wave of tablets will be cheaper and more available in retail stores with Wi-Fi only models more accessible to consumers.

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nVihhhhhhhhhdia. (Image by Google)

The bulk of the conference call was centered on nVidia’s purchase of Icera though not a lot of details were released being that the purchase is yet to be finalized. The main points of note is that as of yet, while NVIDIA could integrate Icera’s modems onto their Tegra mobile processors, they have no intention of doing so. They also stated they currently have no intention of jumping into the other mobile chip markets such as GPS and near-field communications due to the lesser significance and greater number of competitors.

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I think the new owners like the color on the logo.

The last point of note from the conference call was that they expect that Project Denver, NVIDIA’s ARM-based processor, to be about 2 generations away from accessible. They noted that they cannot comment for Microsoft but they do reiterate their support for Windows 8 and its introduction of the ARM architecture. The general theme throughout the call was that NVIDIA was confident in their position as a player in the industry. If each of their projects works out as they plan, it could be a very well justified attitude.

Source: NVIDIA

Netflix Instant Streaming Now Available For Select Android Phones

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | May 13, 2011 - 12:05 PM |
Tagged: Netflix, Internet, Android

It has been a long time coming; however, Netflix Instant Streaming is finally coming to a select number of Android powered smart phones. Engadget has the scoop, stating that

“Netflix explains that while the app is currently limited to phones with ‘requisite playback support,’ it anticipates that many of the ‘technical challenges will be resolved in the coming months,’and that it will be able to ‘provide a Netflix application that will work on a large majority of Android phones.’”

The following phones will be able to use the streaming feature of the Netflix application: HTC Incredible, Nexus One, Evo 4G, G2, and Samsung Nexus S.

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While Nitdroid users and owners of older Android phones are currently out of luck, this move by Netflix is a good sign that Netflix on the open source operating system is possible, and can work well.

If you own one of the supported Android phones, you can download the application from the Android Market today!

Source: Engadget

Chromebook Follow-Up: Subscription Plan Pricing For Launch Models

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | May 12, 2011 - 09:32 PM |
Tagged: subscription, mobile, Chromebook

Maximum PC recently reported details regarding just what the Google Chromebook subscription will cost for the various models and what each subscription entails. While you can read about the Chromebook and the various subscriptions in this previous article, specific pricing for the subscriptions for each of the launch models are detailed below:

  Enterprise (monthly) Education (monthly)

Consumer (no subscription)

Acer Chromebook (WiFi) $28 $20 $349
Acer Chromebook (3G) $31 $23 $TBA
Samsung Series 5 (WiFi) $30 $20 $429
Samsung Series 5 (3G) $33 $23 $499

 

Futher details that were clairified regarded mobile data and minumum orders.  Each subscription will include 100MB of 3G data with those Chromebooks that have 3G hardware.  Also, in order to recieve a subscription contract, both businesses and schools must order a minimum of 10 devices.

Just as with cell phone plans, there are early termination fees for those schools and/or businesses that wish to back out of their contracts.  Google has stated that the early termination fee will be equal to the remainder of their contract.  For example, if a small business has twenty users and five months left on their contract, in order to get out of said contract, the business would need to pay $2800 if their users all had the base Acer WiFi model.  

Needless to say, it would be smarter to just ride out the contract (if possible for the institution), because at least then the business would still retain support for the devices versus buying out the contract for the same amount of money and losing all support for their devices.  It will be interesting to see if Google will hold businesses and schools to this ETF or if they will renege and change their policy to appear more enticing to the market.

Source: Maximum PC