Introduction and Design
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.
It seems as though T-Mobile users’ streak of bad luck just keeps on coming. According to AllThingsD, the US cellular provider is changing its lowest tier 200MB data plan’s overage policy from throttling to overage charges. Specifically, once users exceed their allotted data, they will be charged $0.10 per megabyte, which is the bad news. The slightly better (but still not quite good) news is that the overage charges will be capped at a maximum of $30.
T-Mobile stated that it will begin notifying customers once they reach 90% of the 200MB data allotment, or 180MB, in addition to giving customers the ability to move to a higher tier data plan with a larger data allotment.
The changes in their data plan from customers being throttled to a lower data speed after going over their data allotment to being charged overage fees will happen tonight at midnight, so (new) customers who wish to become grandfathered into the plan should sign up quickly.
What are your thoughts on carrier data caps? Do you believe overage charges are the answer? Share your opinions in the comments below!
Subject: Displays, Mobile | August 12, 2011 - 08:51 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: solar cell, mobile, lcd, display
According to Ars Technica, researchers at UCLA announced on Tuesday a new LCD screen containing photovoltaic cells that promises to reduce back-light energy waste and improve battery life on mobile devices.
My N900 eats up battery with an hour of Angry Birds, but can go for two days with the display off. Where's my happy medium?
The researchers have placed what they are calling polarizing organic photovoltaics inside the LCDs in such a way that light that is normally filtered out and blocked in areas to create the displayed images can now be (mostly) recovered. While the process does not result in 100% reclamation of energy due to energy loss during the conversion process(es) and heat given off by the back-light, in a mobile device any amount of energy that can be recovered is desirable. Ars Technica states that up to 90% of a battery’s power is used to power the back-light of the display. Further, of that percentage, up to 75% is lost to the polarizing layers. By infusing the polarizing layer with photovoltaic cells and reclaiming as much of the otherwise wasted light as possible, battery life could be dramatically extended.
Mobile devices are getting beefier multi-core processors and graphics chips, numerous wireless radio connections (4G, WiFi, Bluetooth), and large power hungry displays; however, battery technology advancements have been rather stagnant and flat. As a result of this, having to make processors, displays, and other components as efficient as possible to make up the difference of battery technology not keeping up with other advancements, interesting tweaks like the photovoltaic infused displays become that much more important.
Whether this particular technology will catch on and work as well as they claim remains to be seen; however it is nonetheless an interesting experiment. More data on the researchers’ project will be published in the Advanced Materials journal in September 2011. What are your thoughts on the idea?
Subject: Mobile | August 11, 2011 - 05:07 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: toshiba, Qosmio, desktop replacement
The new Qosmio model is a serious laptop and a contender for anyone looking for a desktop replacement. With a Core-i7-2635QM, 8GB of DDR3, a 1.5GB GTX 560M and two HDD, a 750GB 7,200 RPM for your OS and programs and a secondary 500GB 5,400 RPM for long term storage. It also has a 1080p 17.3" 3D-ready LCD so you can watch your 3D Blu-ray copy of Avatar on the go. You'll probably want to watch it while plugged into a wall wart, Tech Review Source found the battery pegged out at around the 2 hour mark.
“The Toshiba Qosmio X775-3DV78 is a 17-inch laptop that has a 1080p full HD 3D display, a second-generation Intel quad-core CPU and 8GB of RAM. Along with USB 3.0, dual-hard drives and a Blu-ray player, users will find this laptop's performance to be very appealing.”
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Acer Aspire TimelineX AS5830TG-6402 Review @ TechReviewSource
- HP Envy 14 (Summer 2011) Review @ TechReviewSource
- MSi GT680 Review @ HardwareLOOK
- Mobile GPU Comparison Guide Rev. 11.6 @ TechARP
- Airport Extreme (5th Gen) and Time Capsule (4th Gen) Review - Faster WiFi @ AnandTech
- Case Mate TUT Case for iPhone 4 Review @ Tech-Reviews
- ASUS Transformer Tablet Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Anker 1900 mAh Li-ion Battery for HTC Sensation @ reviewstash
- HTC Flyer Tablet Review @ t-break
- Bringing my dead iPhone 2G back to life @ t-break
- Samsung TouchWiz UX Review: Honeycomb Gets Skinned @ AnandTech
Introduction, Design and Ergonomics
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.
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.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | August 6, 2011 - 06:19 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: tablet, sony, S2, S1
Want to rest your eyes from all of the Quakecon coverage? How about another Sony tablet ad? The first three parts of Sony’s S1 and S2 ad campaign are behind us with the conclusion of this five part series occurring in the fourth part. Frankly I do not really understand it either, but apparently the fifth ad will be a collection of the previous four making the fourth one the actual finale of a series of five. I guess that somewhat makes sense: what better way to promote the products’ collective slogan “Open Your Imagination” than blowing your mind? I say nothing.
This Two Will Passed… okay? Go play it.
The title of this video is “Together anywhere” and features an unsurprising amount of tracks for anyone who watched any or all of the preview videos. Besides metal rails, be sure to pay close attention to the setup prior to the couch station because you will drop bricks at the end of the video. This is also the first time that lyrics appear in the ads which put a very uplifting feel on the campaign. While not as metaphorical as the first two parts suggested, I believe they got their point across. Now all that is left to do is see if it will translate to sales.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | August 5, 2011 - 06:00 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ultrabook.asus, Intel
Digitimes reported today that Intel will be meeting with its Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) partners in Taipei next week to discuss the Bill of Materials (BOM) that outlines the components to be used in Intel's Ultrabook notebook class. The goal of the meeting will be to tweak the Bill of Materials such that the initial selling price will be below $1,000 USD.
Intel has further broken up the Ultrabook category into two thickness classes of 18mm and 21mm. The 18mm reference designs, of which Intel has rendered five, have thus far omitted any optical drives. An example of the 18mm design can be seen in the upcoming Asus UX21 and UX31 ultrabooks. The proposed Bill of Materials for the 18mm ultrabooks is between $493 and $710 USD while the 21mm ultrabooks BOM is between $475 and $650 USD.
Beyond the Bill of Materials, the site notes that Intel is further planning to release next generation ultrabooks based on 22nm Ivy Bridge processors in 2012 and 22nm Haswell CPUs in 2013. These ultrabooks will come in sizes ranging from 11" to 17." The 11" to 13" models will have a thickness of 18mm while the 14" to 17" models will be of the 21mm variety.
Apple Insider notes that the push from Intel to keep the cost of materials and initial selling price for its ultrabooks below $1,000 may be due to the $999 entry level Macbook selling so well and Intel's desire to provide a competitive product that can match the thin-ness of the Mac notebooks and is priced to sell. Do you think Intel's ultrabooks will catch on with consumers, or will it be another niche and/or gimmick product?
Subject: Mobile | August 4, 2011 - 07:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Aspire TimelineX, acer
Acer's Aspire TimelineX series comes in three sizes, from a Core i3 powered 13.3" model with no optical drive to a Core i5 15.6" model which is the largest and most powerful of the three. Hardware Secrets just reviewed the smallest member, the AS3830T-6417 which has a i3-2310M, 4GB of DDR3-1066, a 500GB HDD, HDMI out, two USB 2.0 ports and a single USB 3.0 port along with audio and card reader ports. Apart from the annoyance of a very reflective screen, they peg this notebook as a decent investment at its MSRP of $650.
"The TimelineX is Acer's name for ultra-thin laptops with simulated surround sound that promises over eight hours of battery life. TimelineX laptops can be found under Acer's TravelMate (TM) and Aspire (AS) series, with Core i3, Core i5 or Core i7 processors. There are two TimelineX series under the Aspire series, the "old" and the "new." The new Aspire TimelineX comes with a blue casing, instead of the gray and black casing that was used before, and second-generation Core i CPUs ("Sandy Bridge"). The AS3830T-6417 is part of this new series."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Asus A53E-XA1 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Android 3.2 on the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer: Tested @ AnandTech
- Thunder in the Air: Ars reviews the mid-2011 MacBook Air
- HP TouchPad (Wi-Fi) Review @ TechReviewSource
- Will a tablet be your next laptop? @ t-break
- Acer Iconia Tab A500 @ TechSpot
- T-Mobile G2x Review: Gingerbread-Infused @ AnandTech
- Casemate Tough Case for iPhone 4 Review @ Tech-Reviews
- HTC Trophy Cell Phone Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Motorola Droid 3 Review - Third Time's a Charm @ AnandTech
- Aprolink Shell Luminous iPhone 4 Case Review @ ThinkComputers
- BlackBerry Bold 9900 Smartphone Review @ t-break
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | August 3, 2011 - 05:21 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: SoC, qualcomm, PC, mobile, gaming, console
Mobile gaming has seen a relatively sharp rise in popularity in recent years thanks to the rise of powerful smartphones and personal media players like the iPod Touch and its accompanying App Store. Mobile networks, powerful System On A Chips (SoC) that are capable of 3D graphics, lighting, and physics, and a large catalog of easy to download and play games have created an environment where people actually want to play games on their mobile devices. Many people now indulge themselves in quick Angry Birds sessions while in long lines, on work breaks, or wherever they have time when out and about.
One area where mobile devices have not caught on; however, is at home. Mobile devices face stiff competition from game consoles and the PC. That competition has not stopped numerous manufacturers from trying to implement an all-in-one mobile console that was portable and easy to plug into a larger display when at home. Everything from cheap controllers with logic inside that allows them to play old arcade games to smart phones with HDMI outputs costing hundreds of dollars have passed through the hands of consumers; however, the mobile console has yet to overcome the sheer mind share of consumers who prefer dedicated game consoles and their PCs.
According to Anandtech, Qualcomm, a popular manufacturer of ARM SoC for smart phones has announced its plans to pursue that vision of an integrated, mobile console. They claim that the increased power provided by next generation SoC technology will allow tablets and smartphones to deliver graphics that are better than those of current dedicated game consoles like the PS3 and Xbox 360. Due to Sony and Microsoft wanting to extend the lives of consoles well into the future, mobile technology may well surpass it. The company "is committed to delivering both the hardware and the software support needed to bring developers to these mobile platforms," according to Anandtech.
Qualcomm wants to bring portable consoles to the masses powered by their SoCs and backed by their software. The tablets and smartphones would be able to connect to displays using HDMI or wireless technology in addition to supporting controllers (or acting as a controller itself). Further, the games library will be the culmination of software from all platforms and will rival the graphical prowess of the current consoles. Qualcomm hopes that a large library and capable hardware will be enough to entice consumers to the idea of a portable console becoming their all-in-one gaming device.
Portable consoles are similar to tablets and 3D television in that there is a major push for it every few years, a few devices come out, and then it dies off to be reborn again a few years later. Whether Qualcomm is able to pull off the plans for a portable console remains to be seen; however, the device is bound to catch on at some point. At the very least, this is certainly not the last time we will hear about the portable console. You can see more of Qualcomms plans here.
What do you believe is holding back the portable console from catching on with consumers? Is it a good idea in the first place?
Subject: Mobile | July 29, 2011 - 03:40 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
TechSpot sorted the mobile market into six seperate segments and then made suggestions as to what products are currently the best of their kind. Each segment has several different models from which you can choose from as the mobile market is full of very close competitors and one person may favour a feature more than others. From the gamer who is likely to be looking at Alienware to Brazos and Atom powered netbooks, the entire gamut is covered. Even if only have $500 to spend, you are likely to find at least one model to tempt you.
"After an initial hiccup at the beginning of the year which resulted in launch delays across the board, it's back to business as usual for Intel with another successful notebook platform powered by their second-generation Core processors. AMD responded to the threat with their first Fusion chips aimed at mainstream notebooks, the A-Series, but so far they've failed to make major inroads into the market the way they did at the entry level with the E- and C-Series APUs.
To help ease the hassle of going through countless notebook models getting released week in and week out, we've compiled a list of our favorite notebooks available right now and grouped them into six different categories: ultraportables, business & general purpose laptops, desktop replacements, gaming notebooks, budget laptops, and netbooks."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Intel integrated graphics: finally good enough for the MacBook Air? @ Ars Technica
- The 2011 MacBook Air (11 & 13-inch): Thoroughly Reviewed @ AnandTech
- MSI FX620DX Review @ TechReviewSource
- Toshiba Satellite L755-S5271 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Acer Aspire Ethos AS8951G Revuew @ TechReviewSource
- BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900 Gallery @ t-break