AMD is out and ARM is in for several major notebook vendors

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | June 22, 2011 - 12:05 PM |
Tagged: arm, amd, texas instruments, snapdragon, amazon, tegra

It is not just AMD which is forging a new relationship with ARM, which we saw evidence of during the AMD Fusion Developer Summit, several other manufacturers are making good on previous statements made while waiting for AMD, and are going to be selling ARM based notebooks.  These companies are not on the fringe of the market, these are major vendors like ASUS which are releasing quad-core ARM based notebooks which will use SnapDragon, Tegra or TI for the graphics portion.  DigiTimes has the scoop here, as well as news on a tablet which will be released by Amazon running an unspecified TI processor which we should see by August.

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"Several vendors, including Samsung Electronics, Toshiba, Acer and Asustek Computer, plan to develop ARM architecture notebooks, with products possibly to be launched as early as the end of 2011, according to industry sources.

The sources pointed out that ARM-based systems using Android were already launched under the smartbook name two years ago with Toshiba and Lenovo both launching products in the retail channel. However, due to weaker than expected demand, the related products were soon phased out of the market.

Since ARM's CPU has already been upgraded from single-core two years ago to quad-core with a significant increase in performance, while the platform's storage capacity has also seen significant improvements, and an enhanced user interface, ARM is already capable of launching notebook products that are able to run for a long period of time, and if the price is attractive, there is a great chance for the products to create a brand new market segment in the IT industry.

Asustek has already made plans to launch a 13-inch ARM-based notebook adopting Nvidia's processor with Android.

The sources pointed out that there are already several brand vendors reportedly set to launch ARM-based notebooks with prices lower than US$299 to compete for market share and the vendors' processor choices include Nvidia's Tegra, Qualcomm's Snapdragon and processors from Texas Instruments."

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Source: DigiTimes

World's first 7-inch Android 3.2 tablet

Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 21, 2011 - 06:58 PM |
Tagged: Huawei, CommunicAsia, Android 3.2

There seems to always be a trade show going on at some corner of the ellipsoid world particularly at this time of the year. Down in Singapore the CommunicAsia 2011 exhibition is on until the 24th and news is starting to trickle out about advancements in communication technology. If you were holding your breath until Android reached version 3.2 on devices you can almost finally exhale, if you are still conscious because you can at best hold your breath for like 8 minutes and Android products are not that quick to ship. Yet.

Seventh floor… going up… ... WHAMMY BAR!!!

Huawei announced on the 21st that they are releasing a 7-inch tablet based on Android’s 3.2 release. The tablet will feature a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor from Qualcomm but no mention of how much system RAM it will contain as it still allegedly depends on partners. The capacitive touchscreen will be IPS-based at a 217 PPI pixel density. After a little trigonometry: a 7-inch screen will have a resolution somewhere between 1280x720 and 1366x768 if its pixel density is 217 pixels per inch. The unit itself is capable of outputting 1080p to an external display through HDMI. There are currently no details towards a price, but Huawei stated that there are no plans for a Wifi-only version. The unit is expected to ship in the third quarter of this year.

Source: Engadget

Keeping your laptop cool in the summer with Akasa

Subject: Mobile | June 21, 2011 - 05:32 PM |
Tagged: akasa, cooler, helix

Akasa's Helix Widescreen notebook cooler has arrived just in time for summer, bringing not only a cooling breeze to your laptop but also looking relatively stylish at the same time.  The large size does negate the ability of most people to be able to place it on their laps, so the cooler is intended more for high powered gaming laptops that have trouble keeping their cool over extended gaming sessions.  eTechnix preferred it to the Lapchilla they reviewed previously but warn their readers not to expect cooling miracles.

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"Akasa are at the forefront of the PC components market and are well known for their 'Superb Design and Engineering'. Currently their products range from CPU coolers and fans to cases and power supplies and several things in between. They are a company who are very aware of its target market and as such tend to produce products that are very popular, like the Akasa Venom for instance."

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Source: eTechnix

Sony gearing up for S1 and S2 tablets with ads

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | June 19, 2011 - 12:22 AM |
Tagged: tablet, sony, S2, S1

We are going to see quite a few Android-based tablets come out in the next few months as the flood gates open for tablet creators. We have been reporting on strong rumors have been pointing to Amazon stepping in the tablet space to extend their Kindle portfolio this fall. Amazon is generally very successful when they decide to step in the market, yet that did not deter Sony from preparing to dive in to the tablet space as well. Sony are preparing to launch a 9-inch tablet and a dual screen 5.5-inch tablet in the autumn and to build hype they have released a video ad campaign to build hype for that event.

This “Two Will” Pass

As you can tell from watching the video, it says little about the product except that they slide really quickly, absolutely love someone, cast ominous shadows, and can kill action figures with lightbulb mind bullets. Sony did mention that this is just the first episode of five so it is possible that their later videos may be more informative. However, if you just want to see what an Echochrome 2-esque city has to do with Android tablet then be sure to watch the next four commercials.

Source: Tom's Guide

Thank you, come again, We need more Llano reviews!

Subject: Mobile | June 17, 2011 - 06:03 PM |
Tagged: llano

AnandTech offers an overview of Llano, the new APU from AMD aimed at the mobile market in general and SandyBridge in particular.  They start with a high level overview of the changes to the Star core, though don't mention that Llano is not a star; then proceed onto what it is capable of in a notebook.  Click on through to see what will be powering the best  $500-600 gaming notebooks for the next quarter or so.

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"The past few years have been very difficult for AMD but we're at the beginning of what may be a brand new company. Without the burden of expensive fabs and with the combined knowledge of two great chip companies, the new AMD has a chance but it also has a very long road ahead. Brazos was the first hint of success along that road and today we have the second. Her name is Llano.”

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Source: AnandTech

Acer Unveils Two New Ethos Notebooks With Removable Touchpad Remote Control

Subject: Mobile | June 17, 2011 - 11:42 AM |
Tagged: notebook, hd, gt550m, gaming, acer

Acer recently announced two new additions to its Ethos notebook lineup, which specialize in HD media and gaming. The Acer Aspire Ethos AS59516 and Ethos AS89516 specifically, feature all black, brushed aluminum chassis with a magnesium alloy cover. A 1.3 megapixel webcam, back-lit keyboard, and a scratch resistant Gorilla Glass LCD display are features of both models. External Ports include HDMI, USB 3.0, a combination USB/eSATA port. Further, internal hardware includes Intel’s 2nd generation Core i5 or Core i7 processors, up to 16 GB of RAM, between 500GB and 1.5TB of hard drive storage, a NVIDIA GT550M, and a WiFi radio, and Blu-Ray (or DVD) optical drive are all available options.

Acer Aspire Ethos AS59516 laptop 

The removable touchpad/remote.

With the general hardware out of the way, the most interesting feature that the two models share is a new touchpad that is able to detach from the laptop and act as a media remote control. Upon removal, the touchpad can be oriented horizontally or vertically and presents LED buttons to start, pause, and play music “from across the room.” While the idea of a removable remote has been done before, on HP notebooks especially, the integration into the touchpad will certainly encourage me to not misplace the remote lest I be forced to memorize keyboard shortcuts to use the computer.  Further, the remote control does provide controls for easy music playback; therefore, this seems like a good evolution of the idea that Acer has on their hands.

The AS59516 is the smaller of the two new notebooks, and features a 15.6” display at 1366x768 resolution. On the audio side of things, it features 5.1 surround sound output in addition to two built-in speakers and “TubaBooster” technology which seeks to enhance the bass of the sound. The laptop has a starting MSRP of $1399.99 USD, and will be available this week at numerous retailers.

On the other hand, the AS89516 is a much larger affair, which sports a 18.4” display and HD 1920x1080 resolution. It further includes five dolby-tuned built-in speakers in addition to a subwoofer using Acer CineSurround and CineBass technology. The notebook carries a MSRP of $1599.99 USD and will also be available for purchase starting this week.  You can check out more images of the new notebooks over at cnet.

Source: Acer

Microsoft reiterates stance on 'harmful' WebGL

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Mobile | June 17, 2011 - 04:35 AM |
Tagged: webgl, microsoft

Microsoft has made substantial efforts lately to increase their support of open standards even to the point of giving them first class treatment ahead of their home-grown formats. Internet Explorer 9 shows the best support for web standards such as HTML 5, CSS, and Javascript that the browser line has ever had. One feature set, however, has been outright omitted from Internet Explorer: WebGL. Microsoft has very recently made a more official statement on the subject, claiming it harmful from a security standpoint.

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WebGL: Heaven or Hell?

(Image from MrDoob WebGL demo; contains Lucy model from Stanford 3D repository)

WebGL is an API very similar to OpenGL ES 2.0: the API used for OpenGL features in embedded systems, particularly smart phones. The goal of WebGL is to provide a light-weight, CSS obeying, 3D and shader system for websites that require advanced 3D graphics or even general purpose calculations performed on the shader units of the client’s GPU. Mozilla and Google currently have support in their public browsers with Opera and Apple shipping support in the near future. Microsoft has stated that allowing third-party websites that level of access to the hardware is dangerous as security vulnerabilities that formerly needed to be exploited locally can now be exploited from the web browser. This is an area of expertise that Microsoft knows all too well from their past attempts at active(x)ly adding scripting functionality to the web browser evolving into a decade-long game of whack-a-mole for security holes.

But skeptics to Microsoft’s position could easily point to their effort to single out the one standard based on OpenGL, competitor to their still-cherished DirectX standard. Regardless of Microsoft’s motives it seems to put to rest the question of whether Microsoft will be working towards implementing WebGL in any release of Internet Explorer currently in development.

Do you think Microsoft is warning its competitors about its past ActiveX woes, or is this more politically motivated? Comment below (registration not required.)

Source: Microsoft

AMD Fusion Developer Summit 2011: Live Blog

Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards, Processors, Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 16, 2011 - 02:41 PM |
Tagged: llano, liveblog, fusion, APU, amd, AFDS

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The AMD Fusion Developer Summit 2011 is set to begin at 11:30am ET / 8:30am PT and promises to bring some interesting and forward looking news about the future of AMD's APU technology.  We are going to cover the keynotes LIVE right here throughout the week so if you want to know what is happening AS IT HAPPENS, stick around!!

Source: PCPer

1 Llano beats 3000 Intel HDs

Subject: Mobile | June 14, 2011 - 12:40 PM |
Tagged: llano, APU, sabine

It has been a long wait for AMD's Llano APU but the wait is over and unlike a certain game the news is good.  The CPU portion is based on the same Stars architecture that current generation Phenoms use but that only accounts for about 50% of the die space, the remaining space is taken up by the graphics processing units.  Using what AMD calls the 'Fusion Compute Link', the graphics portion of the die can access the memory it shares with the CPU which has big impacts on the speed of processing OpenCL and other applications that can utilize the GPGPU architecture both AMD and Intel are using currently.  What that translates to in terms of performance is significantly better gaming performance than Intel's HD 3000 IGP, though performance in other situations is not up to the competitions level.  It looks like this particular implementation of Llano will give you a notebook in the range of $700 which will allow you to game at a decent resolution with most settings enabled.  

Read Ryan's full review of the architecture and the AMD A-Series Notebook here.

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"Since competing with Intel on processor performance is out of the question, this entire platform instead must rely on its graphics performance and its portability. Fortunately, these are two areas where Llano shows great strength. Even with dual graphics disabled, the APU was capable of out-performing Intel’s current HD 3000 IGP by a significant margin."

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AFDS11: AMD Demonstrates Trinity Powered Notebook

Subject: Processors, Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 14, 2011 - 12:08 PM |
Tagged: trinity, fusion, APU, AFDS

On stage during the opening keynote at the AMD Fusion Developer Summit 2011, Rick Bergman showed off a notebook that was being powered not by the recently released AMD Llano A-series APUs, but rather the Trinity core due in 2012.

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Trinity is the desktop APU for next year that will combine Bulldozer-based x86 CPU cores with an updated DX11 GPU architecture built on the current 32nm process.  Not much else is known about the chip yet but hopefully we'll get some more details this week at the show.

Source: PCPer