Introduction, Design and Ergonomics
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!
Subject: Mobile | July 14, 2011 - 02:10 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: toshiba, 3d display, 15.6 inch, sandybridge
It's yet another 3D laptop, as the only thing geekier that walking around staring at a notebook is to do so wearing big green NVIDIA glasses. The arguments for and against 3D vision aside, this 15.6" 1366x768 TFT LED is powered by a 2.3GHz Core i5 with 6GB DDR3, a Geforce GT540M with 1GB dedicated VRAM and a Blue-ray drive. Those features, especially the Blue-ray and 3D display help push the price over the $1000 mark. The Inquirer had fun reviewing this laptop, but were not impressed with the low brightness in 3D mode and were very disappointed with the battery life.
"THE SATELLITE P755 is one of Toshiba's top of the range laptops. It aims to offer the full entertainment and multimedia package with Nvidia's active shutter 3D technology built in.
The laptop is good looking with its silvery grey textured finish. We think it looks stylish without going over the top and the design should appeal to a range of tastes."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- GIGABYTE P2532 15.6-inch Multimedia Notebook @ Tweaktown
- AMD Raises the Mobile Performance Bar with Radeon HD 6990M @ AnandTech
- Cooler Master NotePal X-Slim Laptop Cooler @ Pro-Clockers
- Cooler Master NotePal X-Slim Silent Notebook Cooling Pad Review @Hi Tech Legion
- HP Touchpad 4G Coming to AT&T @ AnandTech
- SWAP Rebel Smart Watch @ XSReviews
- One-click unbrick for Samsung phones @ Hack a Day
- Novatel Wireless MiFi 4510L Review - The Best 4G LTE WiFi Hotspot? @ AnandTech
Subject: Mobile | July 11, 2011 - 11:49 PM | Matt Smith
Tagged: mobile radeon, hd 6990m, amd radeon, amd
Few competitors love to one-up each other more than AMD and NVIDIA, and in that spirit the red team has today announced the release of its new Radeon HD 6990M just two weeks after NVIDIA claimed the limelight with its GTX 570M and 580M.
No, this isn’t a dual-GPU solution like the desktop version. Despite the name, the HD 6990M is not based off the Cayman architecture used in the HD 6990 but instead on Barts XT. According to AMD, the decision to use Barts XT rather than Cayman was based on power efficiency. Cramming Cayman into a notebook chassis, even one with an 18” display, wasn’t a viable option. Still, AMD claims that this new mobile GPU will be the world’s quickest, beating even NVIDIA’s new GTX 580M.
The HD 6990M will be shipping with impressive specifications including a whopping 1120 Stream Processors with a clock speed of 715 MHz, bringing the compute power to 1.6 TFlops. This is paired to 2GB of GDDR5 memory at 900 MHz, making for memory bandwidth of over 115 GB/sec.
Data supplied by AMD.
UPDATE (7/12/11 @ 10:00am): AMD contacted us to let me know the benchmark results we posted with this news release needed to be changed. The NEW results from the presentation show the difference between the Radeon HD 6970M and the Radeon HD 6990M to be much less AND the difference between the HD 6990 and NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 580M to be MUCH smaller. I have asked AMD for an explanation here and we'll see what we get later today.
The company’s press material shows the HD 6990M defeating the already available HD 6970M by approximately 25% in a number of games. If the part performs as promised, it should indeed be a difficult for NVIDIA to defeat – but we’ll have to wait for a review before making a judgment.
Data supplied by AMD.
Besides its blazing fast performance, the new GPU will offer the typical suite of AMD features including full support for DirectX 11, Eyefinity, Crossfire, HD3D, and driver-based power management features like PowerExpress and Vari-Bright.
Several laptops have been announced as available with the including the Clevo P170HM, P150HM and X7200, the Alienware M18x, and unspecified laptops from Eurocom. The HD 6990M should be available for order on the M18x as of today.
Subject: Mobile | July 11, 2011 - 12:12 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: 3d, no glasses, toshiba
Toshiba's new Qosmio F750 uses it's built in webcam to track your face, which means you do not have to remain stationary in the '3D sweet spot' in order to see 3D images, nor do you need to wear special glasses. Unfortunately that also means that only one person can see the effect, trying to share the 15.6" screen with someone else will not work very well. Inside the laptop is a 2.0 GHz Core i7 CPU with an NVIDIA GT 540M with up to 2GB DDR3, 6GB of system RAM, and a 640GB hard drive. Check out the text and video preview over at The Inquirer.
"JAPANESE ELECTRONICS GIANT Toshiba invited The INQUIRER to a sneak preview of its Qosmio F75D glasses free 3D laptop in London yesterday.
The Qosmio F750 3D doesn't look all that different from the others in the range. It does have a stylish look, if a little chunky at the same time. The casing is bright red and the palm rests have a cool carbon fibre look."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Acer Aspire 5742Z Laptop @ Hardware Secrets
- Dell Inspiron i14RN4110-7616DBK Review @ TechReviewSource
- Dell Vostro 3350 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Promise Pegasus R6 & Mac Thunderbolt @ AnandTech
- HP ProBook 5330m Review @ TechReviewSource
- Dell XPS 15z Laptop Review @ HardwareHeaven
- CyberpowerPC's Compal PBL21: The Shark's New Teeth @ AnandTech
- AnandTech Mobile Graphics Guide, Summer 2011
- How to Replace a Gateway Netbook LCD Guide @ BayReviews
- Cooler Master Infinite Evo Notebook Cooler Review @ eTeknix
- Nokia E6 Smartphone Review @ t-break
- TechSpot's Smartphone Buying Guide: Q3 2011
- Motorola Droid X2 Review - A Droid X with Tegra 2 @ AnandTech
- Qualcomm Snapdragon MDP MSM8660 @ Phoronix
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | July 11, 2011 - 03:53 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nook color, kindle
Amazon did not create the eBook reader market but they created the vastly most popular product in the category, the Kindle. Amazon gained such a popular status over main competitor, Sony, due to their content and the ubiquity of their service across multiple platforms adjacent to the Kindle device itself. Rumors flew for quite some time now, and from various sources, that Amazon would be jumping into the Android tablet space to likely complement their Kindle line. In a humorously ironic twist, an eBook reader based on an Android tablet just unseated the Kindle as the most popular e-reader.
A little hot under the collardron?
Barnes and Nobel entered the eBook reader market in late 2009 fighting an uphill battle against Amazon and a juvenile pun on their name (hehehe, “Nook eBook”). A year later they launched the Nook Color, an Android 2.1 tablet locked into a certain subset of applications available either pre-loaded or their application store. This tablet brainwashed to be an eBook reader overtook Kindle recently, finally shushing naysayers to Barnes and Nobel's entry to the tablet market. Heh – “Nook eBook”. It will be interesting to see how Amazon’s business will evolve in the coming year or two as a result of competitive pressures and an evolving marketplace.
MSI has announced two notebook computers with optional Intel Core i7 quad core processors and supporting a slew of fast data transfer standards including Intel’s Wireless Display technology, HDMI, Bluetooth 3.0, and USB 3.0. The Intel Wireless Display technology is capable of transmitting 1080p in addition to 5.1 audio to HDTVs without wires, and is available on both new models. The X460 and X460DX chassis is constructed of a metal alloy with feather patterns and an aluminum palm rest as well as room for a second internal hard drive. The models comes equipped with batteries that MSI claims are capable of up to 8 hours of power. Both models also come equipped with either Windows 7 Home or Windows 7 Professional.
Dubbed the X460 and X460DX, the X-Slim series of notebook computers has received a fresh update. The X460 weighs in at 1.98 kg (~4.36 lbs), is less than 1” thick and bears a 14” form factor. MSI claims the notebook is the lightest Core i7 quad core packing computer currently out. Further the X460 is able to use Intel’s second gen “Sandy Bridge” Core i7 2630QM or the Core i5 2410M processors. The X460 sticks with the Intel processor graphics (HD 3000). The X460DX on the other hand comes with an Intel Core i5 2410M processor and a discrete NVIDIA GT540M with MSI’s GPU Boost graphics switching technology. To be more specific, the new models come with the following specifications.
Core i7 2630QM
Core i5 2410M
|Core i5 2410M|
|GPU||Intel HD Graphics 3000||
HD Graphics 3000
|RAM||DDR3 up to 8GB||DDR3 up to 8GB|
|Display||14" HD LED Backlit (1366 x 768)||14" HD LED Backlit (1366 x 768)|
|I/O and Ports||
|Dimensions||23.91 (W) x 33.9 (D) x 2.23 (H) cm||23.91 (W) x 33.9 (D) x 2.23 (H) cm|
|Weight||1.98 kg with 6 cell battery||2.00 kg with 6 cell battery|
No word yet on prices or availability; however, the brushed aluminum look never seems to get old and the specifications seem decent. What are your thoughts on the new models?
CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif. – July 07, 2011 – MSI Computer Corp., a leading manufacturer of computer hardware products and solutions, today announced the first North American shipment of the WindPad 110W. MSI worked closely with Microsoft and AMD (NYSE: AMD) to create a tablet that combines powerful processing and Microsoft Windows® 7 operating system designed for professionals, including business travelers, healthcare and education professionals.
"Bringing Windows 7 and AMD's newest generation processor together is a significant step forward for MSI's tablet line," noted Andy Tung, vice president of North American sales for MSI. "Our business customers want portability and multimedia entertainment on the go, and the new hardware and latest software gives us the ability to deliver that experience in a tablet form factor."
The MSI WindPad 110W combines security features with easy navigation tools to make using the tablet while away from a desk easy and secure.
"Microsoft is pleased to work with MSI to help bring their portable Windows-based tablet to market," said Nick Parker, Vice President of Worldwide Marketing in the OEM Division at Microsoft Corp. "Windows 7 is a great choice for commercial customers looking for a device that enables the productivity, mobility and security their businesses need to succeed."
The tablet also packs the new AMD Z-01 Accelerated Processing Unit (APU), offering powerful processing and display performance with 4GB of DDR3 RAM, 32 GB solid state drive, 1280x800 screen resolution, a USB port and mini-HDMI port included.
"The MSI WindPad 110W tablet featuring the AMD Z-Series APU with unmatched AMD Radeon™ graphics is an exciting new product and a perfect fit for end users that want DirectX® 11 capability and vivid HD media experiences," said John Byrne, corporate vice president and general manager for Americas Mega Region, AMD. "In addition to its integration with operating systems like Microsoft Windows 7, the AMD 2011 HD Tablet Platform enables enterprise-level security and offers support for HTML 5 and external monitors, enabling crisp graphics for enhanced productivity, streaming video, gaming and other multimedia."
The MSI WindPad 110W highlights and features include:
- Trusted Platform Module (TPM): With the TPM, files and data are automatically encrypted for maximum security using the BitLocker functionality in Windows 7 Enterprise or Ultimate to provide encryption for the tablet and any removable HDD.
- Easy Face Software: MSI's Easy Face software allows you to log in without typing a password. Instead, show your face to the tablet's webcam, and you will automatically be logged in to the system. The software employs your unique facial features to remember your passwords, so you don't have to.
- Multi-control Navigation: The Smart Tracker provides smooth operation, so that you can grip both sides of the tablet and use small finger movements for navigation, an additional navigation control to using the touch screen. The SAS Hotkey performs the traditional role of the "Ctrl+Alt+Del" combination whenever needed.
- Smart O-Easy Application: The user-friendly application delivers full-control panel at your fingertips and allows you to manage and find the functions or programs that are most often used, including volume, webcam, wireless, mute, standby mode and screen brightness.
Subject: Mobile | July 8, 2011 - 03:15 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: sandy bridge, notebook, mobile, gateway, AMD A series
Gateway recently unveiled two new updated notebooks from their ID and NV series. Featuring HDMI, USB 3.0, LED backlit displays, and powered by Intel Sandy Bridge (2nd generation Core) processors, the ID47 and NV57 (and NV55) notebooks bring a welcome refresh to their lineup. The updated notebooks further feature 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, a 1.3MP webcam, and battery lives of 8 hours for the ID series and 4 hours for the NV notebooks.
An interesting addition to the traditional laptop layout of speakers, keyboard, and touchpad is a number of hot keys that launch social widgets to access the various social networks including Facebook, YouTube, and Flickr. Users are then able to post updates and upload images and videos in addition to viewing the social network’s feeds.
The ID47 notebook with brushed metal design
The Gateway ID47 is a traditional 13” chassis that holds a 14” LED backlit HD display with full edge to edge glass. The chassis itself comes into two designs, either an “Infinity Blue” or a “Brushed Platinum” look that Gateway claims resembles tranquil water and an industrial look respectively. Regardless of which design one chooses, the top right of the aluminum notebook lid features a stainless steel laser-engraved logo.
Further, a revamped keyboard, 20% larger trackpad, integrated DVD drive, and a mesh speaker bar. The notebook’s full dimensions are 12.97 (width) x 8.95 (depth) x .85 to 1.13 (height) inches. Gateway claims that the notebook is comfortable to carry and easily portable.
In Canada, certain ID series notebook models will be available with a 15.6 in HD widescreen LED backlit displays, and will be further powered by NVIDIA GeForce GT graphics and will use NVIDIA Optimus switchable graphics technology.
On the other hand, the NV series is a 15.6” form factor, and has a 15.6” HD LED backlit display. The new notebooks also come in two design flavors, including a geometric pattern or a digital wave pattern on the matte chassis lid. The chassis further features a chiclet keyboard and geometric or digital wave pattern on the palm rest. The NV series is then further broken up, into the NV57 and NV55 series. The NV57 notebooks are powered by Intel Sandy Bridge processors and Intel HD Graphics 3000 with 128 MB of dedicated system memory for the processor-integrated GPU. In contrast, the NV55 laptops are powered by AMD A series processors.
The ID and NV series are available for purchase now at retailers around the US and Canada with a MSRP starting at $699.99 US and $799.00 CAD for the ID series and $529.99 US and $499.00 CAD. On the bundled software side of things, the notebooks come with Windows 7 Home Premium, a backup program called MyBackup, in addition to “useful extras including Nook for PC, Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Reader, WildTangent Demo Games, Skype, Norton Online Backup, and Microsoft® Office 2010 (preloaded for online purchase).”
Subject: Processors, Chipsets, Mobile | July 6, 2011 - 04:09 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: WTI, VIA, S3 Graphics, htc
Low power x86 processor maker VIA Technologies today announced that it is selling off the entirety of its stake in S3 Graphics to popular phone manufacturer HTC. Having acquired S3 Graphics in 2001, the company planned to integrate graphics capabilities into its processors and chipsets. In 2005 S3 graphics became under capitalized and VIA brought in WTI a private investment company to fun operations and R&D initiatives. Cher Wang, the chairman of VIA is a “significant shareholder.”
Under the agreement, all of VIA’s shares in S3 Graphics are worth $300 million. VIA will receive $147 million while WTI will receive $153 million. Of the $147 million, VIA will recognize a capital gain of $37 million and a paid-in-capital of $115 million.
The Senior Vice President and Board Director of VIA, Tzu-mu Lin, stated that “The Transaction would allow VIA to monetize a portion of its rich IP portfolio, yet retain its graphics capabilities to support the development and sale of its processors and chipsets.” The transaction is subject to approvals from the board directors of VIA, WTI, and HTC and is expected to close before the end of the year.
HTC seems to be interested in acquiring graphics IP, which begs the question whether the phone manufacturer is planning to design its own ARM S3 graphics chips for its future phones. What do you think of the deal?
Introduction, Design and Ergonomics
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.
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!!