Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Acer

Introduction and Design

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We have our heads in the clouds. Once a dream, cloud computing is now common and used to support everything from file sharing to email. Here at PC Perspective, for example, we often make use of Dropbox. Storing certain files “in the cloud” is much easier than directly emailing them to and fro. 

Google is one of the cloud’s most ardent supporters. The Internet seems to be Google’s answer to everything from emails to file sharing to document editing. All these tasks can be accomplished online through a browser with a Google utility. 

When Google announced that it was going to develop an entire OS based off its Chrome web browser there was much shock, speculation and excitement. In hindsight, however, this development was probably inevitable given the company’s love of everything online. Now, Google Chrome OS is a retail product. Let’s find out if a cloud OS can compete with more traditional options. 

Read on for our full review of the Acer AC700-1099 Chromebook!

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Samsung

Introduction, Design and Ergonomics

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Courtesy of Samsung

Samsung's first product to make a splash into the Android tablet market was the original 7" Tab, and while its performance numbers were on par with other similar tablets produced in 2010, it left many consumers wanting more multimedia, gaming, and productivity features like what was available with Apple's iPad and iPad2. Many vendors, including Samsung, were dealing the same issues and challenges associated with the lack of tablet support in Android-based games and applications because Android's SDK only comes in one flavor for general mobile devices, not tablets with larger displays. 

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Courtesy of Samsung

After hearing feedback from consumers and hardware reviewers, Samsung completely redesigned the Tab 10.1 to accommodate users eager for enhanced video and gaming capabilities that take advantage of modern technologies like Android's latest Honeycomb OS and NVIDIA's Tegra 2 processor that support higher resolution displays beyond 1024x768 (the Tab 10.1's display runs at 1280x800). They also gave the Tab 10.1 a slimmer profile that is comparable to the iPad2. The Tab 10.1 can be purchased for around $499 for the 16GB version and $599 for the 32GB version, which is also on par with its Apple counterparts. We are reviewing the 16GB version to check out all the new features in Honeycomb and see what surprises Samsung included with the Tab 10.1 that justify the $500 price tag.

Continue reading our review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Design

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We’ve reviewed several gaming laptops here at PC Perspective, but strangely, we’ve usually reviewed systems with 15.6” displays or smaller. Although large by most any other measure, these laptops are actually small by the standards of gaming laptops. Many gamers prefer laptops with a display over 17 inches because the extra screen real estate results in a better gaming experience.

Today, however, we finally have a giant in our hands – the ASUS G74S. At first glance, this appears to be nothing more than a minor update to the original ASUS G73, adding Nvidia’s latest GTX 560M in replacement of the older GTX 460M.

Take a closer look, and it becomes apparent that laptop has been completely redesigned. While the lines of the chassis are similar, the cooling vents in the rear are larger and in different locations. A new strip of gray plastic covers the display hinge, and the optical drive has been moved further forward. All of this communicates a new internal configuration that could make or break this laptop.

Keep reading our review of the new ASUS G74 notebook!

Author:
Subject: Editorial, Mobile
Manufacturer: Qualcomm

Meet Vellamo

With Google reporting daily Android device activations upward of 550,000 devices a day, the rapid growth and ubiqutity of the platform cannot be denied. As the platform has grown, we here at PC Perspective have constantly kept our eye out for ways to assess and compare the performance of different devices running the same mobile operating systems. In the past we have done performance testing with applications such as Quadrant and Linpack, and GPU testing with NenaMark and Qualcomm's NeoCore product.

Today we are taking a look at a new mobile benchmark from Qualcomm, named Vellamo. Qualcomm has seen the need for an agnostic browser benchmark on Android, and so came Vellamo. A video introduction from Qualcomm's Director of Product Management, Sy Choudhury, is below.

 

With the default configuration, Vellamo performs a battery of 14 tests. These tests are catagorized into Rendering, Javascript, User Experience, Networking, and Advanced. 

For more on this benchmark and our results from 10 different Android-power devices, keep reading!

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: BlackBerry

Introduction, Design and Ergonomics

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BlackBerry is proof of the tech industry’s merciless pace of innovation. Five years ago, Research in Motion (the company responsible for BlackBerry) seemed to be on the top of the mobile world. Its phones offered unique functionality that, although sometimes replicated by competitors, was generally considered world-class. If you were interested in doing more with your phone than making calls, a BlackBerry handset was a solid choice.

Today, however, the brand is considered to be on its last legs. This perception is an exaggeration – BlackBerry devices are still popular the world over – but the company’s position has certainly been compromised by iOS and Android phones. Attempts to counter these competitors with devices like the touchscreen BlackBerry Storm haven’t gained much traction.

BlackBerry is quite late to that party, however – it took years to finally develop an iPhone/Android fighter, and even now the company seems somehow skeptical that touchscreen phones are all-that, so it’s little surprise that it’s behind the competition. Tablets, however, are a different story. Today we’re going to be looking at the BlackBerry PlayBook, which has actually joined the tablet crowd quite early. In my opinion, it’s the fourth credible tablet to hit the market, the other three being the iPad/2, the Xoom and the Galaxy Tab. Does it present something new to this small group, or does it falter like BlackBerry's touchscreen phones?

Continue reading to get our full review of the new Blackberry Playbook tablet!

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Samsung

Introduction, Design and Ergonomics

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Droid. When the brand launched, this was a name that stood for something. While the iPhone enthralled consumers with a friendly, easy, but ostensibly restrictive experience, Droid retaliated with the motto “Droid Does.” It was all about superior functionality, and in that regard it was a success. Today we’ll be looking at the Droid Charge, a phone coming by way of Samsung. 

The Droid Charge is the second 4G LTE phone to hit Verizon’s network, making it an obvious competitor to the HTC Thunderbolt (along with the recently released LG Revolution). Like the Thunderbolt, the Charge is a member of a breed of single-core flagship phone that is already in the process of becoming extinct. Let’s have a look at what else powers Samsung’s Droid. 

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Many buyers are too quick to dismiss phones based of hardware specs, however – the single core tells us little about the Charge’s performance as a phone. As the first Droid to come from Samsung’s stable, this is actually quite an interesting device. Will the brand remain meaningful on a device from this manufacturer? Or is it being diluted?

Keep reading our review of the Samsung Droid Charge for all the info!!

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Lenovo
Tagged: X1, Thinkpad, Lenovo, Intel

Introduction and Design

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Achieving smaller, thinner profiles is a long-standing goal of laptop manufacturers, but there’s been a particular obsession with ultra-thin laptops ever since Apple introduced the MacBook Air by taking it out of a manila envelope. Since then, tablets and smartphones have only increased the appeal of thin laptops. Consumers are becoming used to the idea of their electronics tightening their waistlines, and there’s no sign that this trend will stop.

The manufacturer response to this demand has been a lackluster. Laptops like the Dell Adamo came and went, but didn’t seem to put much dent in the market. That wasn’t terribly surprising, because making a laptop thin is expensive, and the Windows laptop brands generally struggle to bring in customers for products priced over $1000. 

One of the most successful responses to the Air was arguably Lenovo’s ThinkPad X series. The X series had always been thin-and-light, but was never targeted towards the average consumer. Still, these laptops – particularly the X301, which had a display size similar to the MacBook Air – seemed reasonable competition. Then Lenovo pulled the plug on the X301, leaving a 13 inch thin-and-light shaped hole in the roster. Today’s we’re looking at the plug for that hole.

Continue on and read our full review of the Lenovo X1 notebook...

Author:
Subject: Processors, Mobile
Manufacturer: AMD

AMD lines up Llano

Introduction

2006.  That was the year where the product we are reviewing today was first consummated and the year that AMD and ATI merged in a $5.4 billion deal that many read about scratching their heads.  At the time the pairing of a the 2nd place microprocessor company with the 2nd place graphics technology vendor might have seemed like an odd arrangement even with the immediate benefit of a unified platform of chipset, integrated graphics and processor to offer to mobile and desktop OEMs.  In truth though, that was a temporary solution to a more long term problem that we now know as heterogeneous computing: the merging not just of these companies but all the computing workloads of CPUs and GPUs.

Five years later, and by most accounts more than a couple of years late, the new AMD that now sans-manufacturing facility is ready to release the first mainstream APU, Accelerated Processing Unit.  While the APU name is something that the competition hasn't adopted, the premise of a CPU/GPU combination processing unit is not just the future, it is the present as well.  Intel has been shipping Sandy Bridge, the first mainstream silicon with a CPU and GPU truly integrated together on a single die since January 2011 and AMD no longer has the timing advantage that we thought it would when the merger was announced.

For sanity sake, I should mention the Zacate platform that combines an ATI-based GPU with a custom low power x86 core called Bobcat for the netbook and nettop market that was released in November of 2010.  As much as we like that technology it doesn't have the performance characteristics to address the mainstream market and that is exactly where Llano comes in.

AMD Llano Architecture

Llano's architecture has been no secret over the last two years as AMD has let details and specifications leak at a slow pace in order to build interest and excitement over the pending transition.  That information release has actually slowed this year though likely to reduce expectations on the first generation APU with the release of the Sandy Bridge processor proving to be more potent than perhaps AMD expected.  And in truth, while the Llano design as whole is brand new all of the components that make it up have been seen before - both the x86 Stars core and the Radeon 5000 series-class have been tested and digested on PC Perspective for many years.

For today's launch we were given a notebook reference platform for the Llano architecture called "Sabine".  While the specifications we are looking at here are specific to this mainstream notebook platform nearly all will apply to the desktop release later in the year (perhaps later in the month actually).

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The platform diagram above gives us an overview of what components will make up a system built on the Llano Fusion APU design.  The APU itself is made up 2 or 4 x86 CPU cores that come from the Stars family released with the Phenom / Phenom II processors.  They do introduce a new Turbo Core feature that we will discuss later that is somewhat analogous to what Intel has done with its processors with Turbo Boost. 

There is a TON of more information, so be sure you hit that Read More link right now!!

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Maingear

Introduction and Design

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Viewed from a bird’s eye, gaming laptops seem to be a homogenous bunch. Although there are rare exceptions like the Alienware M11x, most are 15.6” or 17” models with quad-core processors and discrete mobile graphics, most frequently the Nvidia GTX 460M. The two gaming laptops we’ve most recently reviewed, the ASUS G53 and MSI GT680R, most certainly fit into this mold. 

Upon closer inspection, however, the market for gaming laptops begins to expand and multiply into a wide array of options. While the big players like ASUS, Toshiba and MSI are happy to offer their pre-configured models with roughly similar hardware, customized rigs are as numerous as stars in the sky. Everyone has heard of Alienware, of course, but you may not have heard of companies like Origin, Falcon Northwest, AVADirect, AFactor Gaming, Malibal, Digital Storm and Maingear, just to name a few (or if you have, you may have only heard of their desktops). 

Maingear’s eX-L15 is a stereotypical example of a custom gaming laptop. It’s big and it’s bulky, but its appearance is not much different from your average laptop. Inside, however, there is a buffet of high-end hardware.

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Design

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High-end gaming laptops represent the most powerful of a breed, and are built using all the creativity and ingenuity that laptop manufacturers have at their disposal. Somewhere along the path towards performance, practicality begins to fall to the wayside – but that’s okay, because it was never really the point. 

The MSI GT680R is one of the goliaths of gaming laptops. Although there are larger gaming laptops than this 15.6” model, it remains a very big boy that’s not built with frequent or long-distance travel in mind. Of course, this substantial girth has made it possible for MSI to cram a slew of cutting-edge hardware inside.

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: HP

HP Mini 210 Review: Introduction

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With all of the talk about tablets and smartphones it’s easy to forget just how popular netbooks are and remain. The days of absurd 800% market share growth numbers are over, but netbooks remain a part of the mobile computing market and are not likely to disappear any time soon.

That may mean the end of excitement over netbook, but it also means the opportunity for refinement. New, revolutionary products often have rough edges. Many older netbooks had poor keyboards and so-so build quality. My old Samsung N10, which was considered the cream of the crop in its day, looks cheap compared to today’s models – and I paid just over $400 for it.

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: HTC

Introduction, Design and Ergonomics

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Watching today’s smartphone market brings back memories. Right now the transition from single-core to dual-core products is being made, as is a transition from older 3G networks to the latest 4G technology. I’m reminded of the excitement of the first dual-core x86 processors, as well as the rabid arguments surrounding them. 

Many dual-core phone are still “coming soon”, however, which means that single-core flagships like the HTC Thunderbolt are still able to impress. This 4.3” smartphone is everything you’d expect a premier high-end Android handset to be. As I’ll explain, that has its positive and negatives, but the specifications look great on paper.

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Design

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The last three years have been great for ultraportables and netbooks. Laptops with displays below fourteen inches in size have exploded in popularity thanks not only to Intel's Atom, but also a wide selection of Intel ultra-low voltage products. Many of the laptops that we've reviewed over the past year, such as the Lenovo IdeaPad U260 and the Alienware M11x, would have been impossible prior to the release of those processors. 

Mainstream laptops have enjoyed less progress, however. The 15.6" laptop remains the most popular category with consumers, but while it has enjoyed a boost in performance with the release of the original Core i series processors, issues like battery life and graphics performance remained largely unaddressed. These mainstream laptops have continued to represent a major compromise, as they've been unable to provide great battery life but also (unless supplimented with a discrete GPU) lack the chops to play any but the most basic 3D games. 

According to Intel, these flaws could soon be addressed. Intel's Sandy Bridge mobile processors are nothing short of the savior of mainstream laptops. These processors not only offer the typical improvements in speed but also drastically improved integrated graphics and provide much better battery life. 

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Or, at least, that's what Intel says. They've said such things in the past, however - Intel's IGPs have often promised more than they can deliver. But every piece of hardware deserves a fair shake, and now it's time for Intel's Sandy Bridge to step up to the plate, appearing today in the form of the ASUS K53E. Let's see what is under the hood.

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: ASUS
Tagged: netbook, ion, eee pc, atom, asus

Introduction and Design

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You don’t hear much about Atom these days. It’s still there, still kicking, still being stuffed inside an endless stream of netbooks. Yet it’s also not very exciting, and hasn’t created much buzz. This isn’t a case of a journalistic blind spot; Atom just hasn't been update. The original was released in 2008, but Intel hasn’t released a major performance upgrade since. By comparison, the performance of mainstream mobile laptop processors has, in some benchmarks, doubled over the same time-span.  The processor performance of Atom, measured relative to the power of an average $600 laptop with a Core i3 dual-core, is actually becoming worse over time. 

Yet Atom has still dominated the laptop market because of one reason; there was no other alternative. For the first time, however, that’s changing. AMD has released its Fusion APUs, and we recently reviewed two different laptops with two different versions of that technology – the single-core E-240 in the Toshiba Satellite C655D and the dual-core E-350 in the Sony Vaio Y.

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Sony

Introduction and Design

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Tech journalists are finicky beasts. A few years ago we were washing netbooks in praise, declaring that they promised a new era of accessibility and portability for the PC. But now the tables have turned – tablets have usurped the throne of “cool new thing” and tech news is all too eager to declare the netbook little more than a passing trend, soon to be booted out of the market by glorious touchscreen slates.

The truth, however, is not as extreme has the headlines suggest. Netbooks are another boring reality that won’t be going anywhere soon, despite declarations of death and injury.  But I can understand why they’ve lost the limelight. The improvements made to netbooks over the last three years have been incremental at best. While battery life has gradually grown, performance has barely moved. Intel, lacking competition from AMD, has had little reason to improve its Atom processors. 

Now AMD has finally brought an Atom competitor to the market in the form of its Fusion APUs. We already reviewed one laptop powered by Fusion, the Toshiba Satellite C655. That laptop, however, was equipped with AMD’s single-core E-240. It provided performance roughly on par with a dual-core Atom system we tested in 2010, but ultimately fell a bit shot of our expectations.

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Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Asus
Tagged:

Introduction and Specifications

Brushed aluminum has become synonymous with luxury electronics, and the ASUS N53’s (N53SV-A1) exterior is clad in it like a suit of armor. The lid and palmrest are both coated the velvet-smooth metal, resulting in an instantly impressive finish. The usage of aluminum on the N53 has a dark gunmetal tint – like the ASUS U33JC Bamboo laptop we reviewed some time ago, the N53 goes for elegance rather than flash.

 

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Asus
Tagged:

Enter Sandy Bridge

In desktops, concerns such as power efficiency are important, but usually aren’t potential deal-breakers. In laptops, the processor has a significant impact on the design of the laptop. There is a broad spectrum of performance, power efficiency and thermal efficiency, and these variables make the difference between a 1” thick ultraportable and a bulky 1.5” thick desktop replacement.

Desktop processors tend to catch the majority of the glory when new processor architectures debut. AMD’s recent decision to release Bobcat as its first APU was quite unusual; in most cases, laptops have to wait for new processor technology to filter down.  As a result, the performance story of laptop parts is often second-fiddle to that of its desktop cousins.

That’s a shame, really, because laptop processors are in many ways more interesting to examine. The variety of product on the laptop market is staggering. The performance gap between an Intel Atom and an Intel Core i7-QM quad-core is staggering – it’s hard to believe that they’re both the same type of product and are capable of running the same basic programs. 

The laptop space is also more rigorous than that of desktops. In desktops, concerns such as power efficiency are important, but usually aren’t potential deal-breakers. In laptops, the processor has a significant impact on the design of the laptop. There is a broad spectrum of performance, power efficiency and thermal efficiency, and these variables make the difference between a 1” thick ultraportable and a bulky 1.5” thick desktop replacement.

We already know from the desktop parts that Sandy Bridge is kind of a big deal. The new Intel processors absolutely destroyed their former cohorts and all competition from AMD in our earlier Sandy Bridge review.

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Toshiba
Tagged:

Introduction and Specifications

The processor inside the Toshiba Satellite C655 is just one reason why this laptop is interesting. The other is the laptop’s size. Yes, laptops with 15.6” displays are the most common sold today, but Intel has made sure to keep Atom processors out of them. The company has been understandably guarded about the idea of placing such an inexpensive part into the most popular category of laptops.

Netbooks have been solid Intel territory since their rise to popularity in 2008. Intel won the category virtually by default; AMD had no alternative to offer. Even AMD’s most power efficient models have never been capable of providing battery life comparable to Atom. The debut of the Nile platform late last year finally gave AMD the ability to compete in the ultraportable market, but that was a long way from the power efficiency Atom could provide. AMD needed a new architecture, one made with power efficiency as a primary goal.

Now, after much anticipation and some delays, AMD has delivered. The new Fusion processors, which combine the CPU and GPU into a single processor architecture known as an APU, are filtering into production laptops. With them comes opportunity. AMD is rolling out low-end, power efficient components first, which means Atom finally has a competitor. Intel has done very little to update the performance and functionality of Atom since its introduction because there was no reason to make changes. With no competition from AMD, and the margins on Atom products small, Intel has had little incentive to substantially revise or improve the processor. AMD’s E-240 APU may finally spark a battle that has been absent for far too long.

The processor inside the Toshiba Satellite C655 is just one reason why this laptop is interesting. The other is the laptop’s size. Yes, laptops with 15.6” displays are the most common sold today, but Intel has made sure to keep Atom processors out of them. The company has been understandably guarded about the idea of placing such an inexpensive part into the most popular category of laptops. If consumers suddenly decided that an Atom was really all they needed (which I think is unlikely, but a possibility) Intel’s entire mobile processor business could be throw into a blender.

The Satellite 655 is simultaneously one of the least and most unique laptops on the market. Let’s see what (besides the APU) makes it tick.

Nothing here is surprising besides the processor and the price. While it is not unusual for 15.6” laptops to sell for $349, laptops that sell below $450 are usually stripped models, clearance products, or loss-leaders that stores hope can be attached to profit-fat extended warranties and peripherals. The Satellite C655 has an MSRP of $349, however – it would not be surprising to see this laptop sell for $325 or even $300 after a few months on the market.

Inexpensive pricing doesn’t excuse poor quality, however; the Toshiba Satellite C655 needs to be pleasant to use even if it is inexpensive. This is a place where many netbooks stumble, and even 15.6” bargain laptops sometimes have hidden flaws. Can the Satellite C655 cut costs without cutting into your experience?

 
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Apple
Tagged:

Introduction and Features

After Apple released their new line of Macbook Pros on Feb. 24, many users thought Apple would do a basic performance bump of the system's hardware and send it out the door to consumers. They predictably included Intel's latest Sandy Bridge processors, which integrates an HD Graphics 3000 processor with the CPU, but they also became the first company to adopt Intel's new Thunderbolt technology. The combination of Sandy Bridge and Thunderbolt is just the tip of the iceberg for this year's Macbook Pro lineup. We ordered one of their entry level 13" models to see firsthand how these new capabilities boost system performance and usability.

Apple brings Sandy Bridge, Thunderbolt technologies to MacBook Pros


Courtesy of Apple

After Apple released their new line of Macbook Pros on Feb. 24, many users thought Apple would do a basic performance bump of the system's hardware and send it out the door to consumers. They predictably included Intel's latest Sandy Bridge processors, which integrates an HD Graphics 3000 processor with the CPU, but they also became the first company to adopt Intel's new Thunderbolt technology. The combination of Sandy Bridge and Thunderbolt is just the tip of the iceberg for this year's Macbook Pro lineup. We ordered one of their entry level 13" models to see firsthand how these new capabilities boost system performance and usability.

 


Courtesy of Apple

The 13" model we configured for our review includes a 13.3" glossy widescreen LED display that natively runs at 1280x800. We also kept everything else standard like the 2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with 3MB shared L3 cache and 4GBs of DDR3-1333 system memory, but we upgraded the hard drive to a 500GB, 5,400 RPM SATA model. We also chose to stick with the Intel HD Graphics 3000 with 384MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared memory to keep the cost down below $1,300. 

 


Courtesy of Apple

As of Mar. 5, Apple had five basic Macbook Pro configurations that consumers could purchase from their website. Their entry-level 13" model starts at $1,199 while the 15" model starts at $1,799 because of the included Intel Core i7 2GHz quad-core processor and AMD Radeon HD 6490M 256B graphics card. The high-end 17" model only comes in one configuration that starts at $2,499, but it uses an Intel Core i7 2.4GHz quad-core CPU and an AMD Radeon HD 6750M with 1GB of DDR5 memory. Overall, these five configurations help users with a wide range of needs and professional backgrounds.

 

Apple Macbook Pro 13" Features

Up to 2x Faster Processors
With all-new quad-core and dual-core processors, the new MacBook Pro isn’t just faster. It’s phenomenal.

Up to 3x Faster Graphics
The 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pro feature discrete AMD Radeon graphics for stunning visuals.

Ultrafast Thunderbolt I/O
New input/output technology lets you connect high-speed peripherals and high-resolution displays.

FaceTime HD Camera
Now when you make video calls with FaceTime, your friends will see you three times more clearly than before.

Multi-Touch Trackpad
The spacious Multi-Touch trackpad lets you use gestures to control and interact with what’s on your screen.

Long-Lasting Battery
Even with faster processors and graphics, the new MacBook Pro lasts an amazing 7 hours on a single charge.

 

 

 

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Motorola
Tagged:

Introduction and Honeycomb Overview

Early this year Google teased the next version of their mobile device operating system, Android 3.0 (codenamed Honeycomb). Now we finally have our hands on the first Honeycomb device, the Motorola Xoom. Read on to see how much the face of Android has changed.

While the Motorola Xoom may not be the first tablet that has been released with Android, it marks a major shift in the paradigm of mobile computing. Tracing back the history of Android, Google seems to release new software platforms with a specific hardware partner. While the original G1 phone was developed by HTC, Google decided to launch Android 2.0 (Eclair, known as 2.1 on other phones) with Motorola and their original Droid product. The success of the Motorola Droid is a hallmark moment for Motorola, who had been slowly dying after the massive success of their RAZR phone years ago.

With 2.2 and 2.3, Google decided to partner with hardware partners to develop what they considered the ideal platform. From this we got the HTC built Nexus One, and Samsung built Nexus S. Both of which have been heralded as phenomenal devices.

This brings us to Google’s newest and most ambitious mobile operating system yet, Android 3.0 (Honeycomb). Once again, Google has partnered here with great hardware companies, giving us a Motorola built device, powered by the NVIDIA Tegra 2 ARM SoC.

One of the things that veteran Android users will notice right away when looking at a Xoom in action is the lack of the standard Home, Menu, Back, and Search buttons of Android devices of the past. This is actually due to a Google decision, and not one on Motorola’s part. In Honeycomb, the way you navigate through the operating system has been reworked, and these buttons integrated into the UI, instead of the device itself. This allows Google greater flexibility in displaying these navigational items when needed, and flexibility to change their appearance or function down the road in later revisions of Android.