Subject: General Tech | November 1, 2011 - 12:25 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows 8, tablet, software, kal-el, hardware, Android
With Asus’ previous tablets being a success, the company has decided to push forward with four new tablets that are slated to debut next year. The new tablets will join the ranks of the Transformer and soon to be released Transformer Prime tablets under the Asus Eee Pad lineup. Of the four new devices, two tablets will be running Google’s Android OS (Operating System) while the remaining two tablets will run Microsoft’s Windows 8 OS.
The two tablets running Android are slated for release in the first quarter of 2012. While Asus has not released any specific hardware specifications, they will likely be powered by the quad core Nvidia Kal-El ARM processor like the upcoming Asus Transformer Prime (or the Kal-El’s successor).
On the other hand, quarter 3 of 2012 will see the release of two tablets running Windows 8. Interestingly, Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors are also supposed to launch in 2012, which would make for a nice match of technology. Whether we'll see Ivy Bridge powered tablets; however, will depend on how soon Ivy Bridge launches and how quickly Asus can turn around and roll out a product designed around it.
The marketing speak in the above slides indicates that at least the marketing department is excited about the prospect of what they have dubbed hero products. They are striving to win mind share and achieve a “perfect” product. Whether they will achieve that or not remains to be seen; however, having more Windows 8 tablets isn’t a bad thing! More information can be had here.
Are you still holding out for your “perfect” tablet, and if so what are you looking/waiting to see from a tablet?
Subject: General Tech | November 1, 2011 - 08:15 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: PC, gaming, fps, ea, bf3, battlefield 3
As many readers of the site will know, the PC Perspective guys have been a “bit” interested in EA’s latest multiplayer first person shooter (FPS) Battlefield 3. Ryan for one has been “testing” Battlefield 3 extensively since the game’s release as he admitted on the latest TWICH podcast.
According to EA, the PC Per staff are not the only ones to enjoy the game (despite some game issues; I’m looking at you Origin) as Battlefield 3 has sold a whopping 5 million copies. It seems as though Battlefield 3 has emerged from the battle against stability issues to win the war and be a successful release. Battlefield 3’s sales have also impressed Electronic Arts who claimed the 5 million copies have surpassed their “best expectations.” Unfortunately, they have yet to release the numbers (that I want to see) concerning the percentage of sales of the PC versus the consoles.
Another bit of positive BF3 news is that almost 99 % of the game stability issues have been fixed. M ore information on the game issues can be found here. Until next time, feel free to hit up the PCPER BF3 platoon and play with some fun people!
Subject: General Tech | November 1, 2011 - 07:58 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: webOS, software, hp, hardware, computers
In a move by HP that is becoming less surprising by the day, the company has reconsidered (yet again) its position on WebOS and will be keeping WebOS hardware and software around for the foreseeable future (or at least until their next announcement).
Although several tech sites reported last week that WebOS would soon be getting a final nail in the coffin and abandoned by HP, Vice President (for the Personal Systems Group) Todd Bradley stated the exact opposite sentiment in an interview recently.
3 heads of a dragon all going different directions... sound familiar HP?
Specifically, Mr. Bradley appeared on the television show Bloomberg West to talk about the company’s plans to keep the PSG (Personal Systems Group) part of the company. When questioned about WebOS, he stated that the various reports on HP shutting down the WebOS division were “unfounded rumor(s).” He further stated that HP is in fact continuing to invest in WebOS software and WebOS hardware. You can see a video of the full interview here (fair warning: the video is set to auto-play on the site).
Speaking of WebOS, Best Buy has recently snagged Touchpads while HP itself has depleted its inventory. Unfortunately, Best Buy is only willing to sell the HP Touchpads to customers who also purchase a HP or Compaq laptop or All-In-One computer, at least if you want a reasonable price on the units. More information on that can be found over at Maximum PC.
Any bets on how soon it will be before HP changes directions yet again and I have to eat my words?
Subject: General Tech | October 31, 2011 - 10:27 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: zenbook, ux31, ultrabook, asus
Finally a reviewer has managed to get their hands on an Ultrabook; The Tech Report gives the low down on ASUS' Zenbook UX31 in their lateset article. It is every bit as pretty as the pictures implied and is not too bad looking on the inside with a Core i5-2557M, 4GB DDR3-1333 on Intel's QS67 chipset with a 128GB Adata XM11 SSD for storage with the 1600x900 TN display powered by the SandyBridge processors onboard graphics engine. Interestingly, The Tech Report finds its physical characteristics to match or beat the 13" Macbook Air, which costs $200 more so perhaps there is hope for this form factor. Throughout the review are the inevitable comparisons to Apple, who have already mastered this form factor, as well as mention of the soon to be available IvyBridge books which should be about half the price.
"The first 13" ultrabook from Asus looks extremely tantalizing on paper—not to mention visually. Is it as good as it seems, and is it worth the $1,099 asking price?"
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- HP ProBook 4430s Review @ TechReviewSource
- ontemporary Netbook Platforms Comparison @ X-bit Labs
- Dell Vostro V131: A Budget Business Laptop @ AnandTech
- Asus Zenbook UX31 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Spire Cassi SP316PL @ CoD
- hermaltake Massive23 GT & Cooler Master NotePal U Stand Cooler @ kitguru
- Tablets of 2011: Holiday Season Update @ Techspot
- Rooting Sony PRS-T1 lets you get at the Android goodies @ Hack a Day
- HTC Titan Review: Windows Phone 7.5 on a Giant Screen @ techspot
- Samsung Galaxy SII Android Smartphone Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Samsung Galaxy Fit Review @ Tech-Reviews
- Nokia Lumia 800 hands on @ The Inquirer
- Griffin Beacon Universal Remote for iPhone Review @MissingRemote
Subject: General Tech | October 31, 2011 - 03:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: cortex, ARMv8, arm, 64bit
We've now some more detailed information on ARMs new 64 bit ARMv8 processor and its strengths and weaknesses. For the most part it resembles the 64 bit architecture that Intel and AMD use, an extended 32 bit architecture with several hold overs. Perhaps the most disappointing is that ARM has the same 48 bit limit to virtual address space that the competition has. If ARM had managed to overcome the limitations of canonical form addresses, they would have something that neither Intel nor AMD could bring to the server room. ARM desperately needs somthing to offer that the competition cannot if they are to convince admins to move from a familiar architecture to a brand new ARM architecture; power savings probably won't be enough. Drop by The Inquirer to read up on the improved exception levels and encryption acceleration of the new ARMv8 architecture.
"At the ARM TechCon conference in Santa Clara on Thursday, the top brass at ARM Holdings, the company that controls the core designs and licenses them to a slew of chip makers for modification in smartphones, tablets, and other embedded devices, showed off the new ARMv8 architecture. It's an incremental improvement over the current v7 architecture, just like the 64-bit extensions to the original 32-bit x86 processors from Intel and AMD were."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Quantum dots to revolutionize flat panel displays @ SemiAccurate
- Microsoft plans a commercial Kinect SDK next year @ The Inquirer
- Intel SNA Acceleration Architecture Continues To Mature @ Phoronix
- The Weight of an e-Book @ Slashdot
- The seed of something great: Acorn 3.1 reviewed @ Ars Technica
- Ubuntu 11.10: Xen vs. KVM vs. VirtualBox @ Phoronix
- LSI Purchase of SandForce - Our Discussion With VP Gary Smerdon @ The SSD Review
- The TR Podcast 99: New PC builds for a new Battlefield
Subject: General Tech | October 30, 2011 - 06:32 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: valve, Portal 2, editor
Now do not get me wrong, I have no problems with complicated modding tools that give you nearly endless power over your creations: I just think this is cool. Valve has announced on their official Portal blog that they are soon releasing a simplified puzzle creator for their popular crate dating sim, “Portal 2”. Along with the new editor for the mod creators themselves, mod consumers will have an easier time acquiring the puzzles they desire through Valve’s Steam Cloud service. According to the screenshots released by Valve, the puzzle creator looks startlingly like something out of the Sims -- potentially introducing more people into videogame modifications as a whole.
Be honest… how many of you will search the item repository for cake?
Image from Valve Software
This news comes on the heels of free DLC released for Portal 2’s co-op mode earlier this month. As a part of the Steam Cloud integration, community features will allow you to follow certain mod developers that you find make levels that speak to you (like the companion cube) and keep up to date with their works. Unfortunately, with Valve, the duration between announcement and release could be Half of your Life so there is no guarantee when we will see the tools and features. If only they could give us our personal Jonathan Coulton bundled with the editor.
Subject: General Tech | October 29, 2011 - 09:56 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: software, pdf, open source, mozilla, firefox, browser
One of the most useful features in Google’s Chrome web browser is the built in PDF reader. It is a feature that I use almost every day, and although I keep an install of Firefox’s Aurora browser as a backup I have yet to return to using Firefox as my main browser since first checking out Chrome.
For now though, the team has released PDF.js as a browser extension for the open source browser. In addition to the extension download, the source code is available on GitHub for anyone to view and edit.
PDF.js displaying a Dell service manual in PDF format.
As it is now, the PDF.js add-on rather basic, but is definitely off to a good start. You are able to navigate by sections or page thumbnails accessible by a mouse-over pop-up menu on the left of the window. Along the top are buttons for previous and next page, navigating to a specific page, zooming in and out, downloading, printing, and searching the PDF document.
During some informal testing using a 94 page Dell service manual in PDF form, scrolling was smooth enough until hitting a new page upon which there was a bit of lag. Navigating to specific pages was rather quick, however.
The PDF reader is off to a good start and I may have one more reason to switch back to Mozilla’s browser soon enough. What do you guys and gals think about built in PDF support, is it something you find useful during your daily browsing? If you're interested in checking it out for yourself, the extension is available for download here. Simply download this "pdf.js.xpi" file and install it (choose the Firefox or Aurora executable for installation if Windows does not assign the .xpi extension to Firefox automatically) using Firefox. Now navigate to a PDF file on any webpage to have it automatically open using PDF.js.
Subject: General Tech | October 29, 2011 - 06:33 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: zelda, starcraft 2, starcraft, mod
So you may be aware by now that PC gamers often like to mess with their game and customize it as they desire. Sometimes you even see the magical situation where one game gets grafted into another like a turducken you can play with. You do not play with your food, do you? Regardless of your eating habits it is perfectly reasonable to play with a videogame in your videogame and could be reasonable in the near future to play some Zelda in your Starcraft.
Technically a turducken would be a Portal Gun inside Link to the Past inside Starcraft…
The mod appears to have made quite a bit of progress judging by three of their released videos. According to what I can tell: multiplayer is being worked upon, soldiers are related to zerglings by death, and chickens are no longer the most deadly beings of the land. Unfortunately, being that Link and the soldiers are the only units with attacks right now (so it would seem) it suffers from classic Starcraft 2 issues: Terran imba.
What do you think?
A few months ago, there was talk coming from Hewlett-Packard regarding their Personal Systems Group, which is the OEM/PC Manufacturing aspect of the company. Management talked and seemed to decide that they would pull and IBM and sell off their PC division to become a services company. This plan was pushed by the (now) former CEO Leo Apotheker who came from a services background. The company stopped rolling out WebOS devices including the HP Touchpad, and was further considering getting rid of the whole PC division.
A surprising "whoops" emanated from HP today as the new CEO Meg Whitman reversed the previous plans to spin off the PC or Personal Systems Group division. According to Ars Technica, HP’s PSG isn’t going anywhere any time soon. The site quoted the new HP CEO in stating “it’s clear after our analysis that keeping PSG within HP is right for customers, and partners, right for shareholders, and right for employees.” She believes keeping the Personal Systems Group makes HP stronger.
Not only is HP keeping the OEM aspects of the company alive, they are planning on expanding their current lineup in the mobile space with, and you guessed it, an ultrabook of all things! While this is likely much to the chagrin of our own Jeremy Hellstrom who would rather have 2 X79 motherboards duct taped together than an ultrabook, consumers and fans of a certain other fruit flavored slim form factor computer will likely appreciate some more competition in the ultrabook space to bring down prices a bit.
HP’s Executive Vice President over the PSG, Todd Bradley, has been quoted by several sites in a conference call yesterday as saying an HP Ultrabook is coming very soon.
"We’re very focused on having a suite in that ultramobile space. And you’ll see that very soon."
-via Maximum PC
What do you think of this move? Does HP need a lesson in moderation in a time when they are either all on or all off on decisions (that are further flip flopping back and forth), or will jumping into the Ultrabook game be a good thing for the company?
Subject: General Tech | October 28, 2011 - 05:39 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ultrabook, Intel, market share
Everyone's current favourite kicking horse, the ultrabook, is poised to take over almost half of all consumer notebook sales by the end of 2012 ... at least according to what DigiTimes heard from Intel. Even stranger is that instead of breaking out into laughter, the manufactures peg the likely market penetration at about 25%. Currently there are models from Acer and ASUS which you can purchase for your very own, but don't go out looking for reviews of them. You can find some quick previews and overviews but as far as performance testing you are not going to find the same information as is available for every other mobile form factor; take that as you will.
The Ultrabook is expensive, as SemiAccurate recently pointed out you can get better performance from a notebook half the price and almost the same size. It also seems odd that a form factor specifically limited to only 50,000 units produced in the first run is going to take over the market. Even with broader adoption from companies like Lenovo or Dell, the math does not seem to support a 25% share of the market, let alone 40% and requires you to completely ignore the willingness of the consumer to pay $1000+ for a mediocre laptop. It is small and shiny though; never underestimate the draw of shinies!
"While Intel aims to increase the proportion of ultrabooks among global shipments of consumer notebooks to 40% by fourth-quarter 2012, the proportion is estimated to only reach 20-25% based on current market conditions, according to sources from Taiwan-based notebook supply chain makers.
The sources pointed out that most suppliers are aggressively developing components for ultrabooks, but actual order volumes have so far been below their expectations. Although the suppliers all understand that ultrabook are still testing the water, weakening growth of the traditional notebook market and dropping profits have prompted them to put great hopes on the success of ultrabooks.
As for Intel's 40% goal, the sources pointed out that Apple's MacBook Air will become a strong threshold for ultrabooks since there is not yet a single product can outmatch the MacBook Air in terms of performance and price."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- New in the Maker Shed: DIY Hologram Kit @ MAKE:Blog
- Microsoft banishes usage graphs so Windows 8 can show 640 cores @ The Register
- Google+ opens up to enterprises and apps @ The Register
- Insulin pump hack delivers fatal dosage over the air @ The Register
- (At least) 4 web authentication authorities breached since June @ The Register
- Exclusive: AMD far future prototype GPU pictured @ SemiAccurate
- BlizzCon 2011 Roundup @ HardwareHeaven
- Win the new Sapphire HD6970 Battlefield 3 FleX Edition! @ kitguru