Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction, Design, User Interface

P1050445.JPG

Late in December of 2011 we received the Transformer Prime for review. What we did not recieve, however, was the keyboard dock. High demand by journalists for a look at the company's latest and greatest Transformer had left them short of docks, in turn leaving us short of a dock.

Now we've finally had our hands on one. Since it was shipped to us several weeks after the review Prime, we were able to give it our full attention. As with the original Transformer, the dock is one of the features that help the Prime stand out from the crowd - but that doesn't mean it is automatically destined for greatness. If the Prime wants to act like a laptop, it will have to be able to compete with laptops - and that's a tall order for a system without Windows or an x86 processor.

Besides a keyboard, the dock adds a few other specifications that are worth mentioning. Let's take a look at them.

specifications.png

So, as with the previous dock, you’re not just buying a keyboard. You’re also receiving an extended battery with impressive capacity and some additional connectivity. Given the MSRP of $150, however, you’d kind of expect there to be more than just a keyboard. 

Continue reading our review of the ASUS Transformer Prime Keyboard!!

WOA! We wanted Windows 8 on ARM details. We got them.

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | February 9, 2012 - 09:36 PM |
Tagged: WOA, windows, arm

Microsoft has been ridiculously cagey about the discussion of Windows 8 on ARM. At last month’s CES trade show there was a disturbingly low amount of information. Available information about Windows on ARM was in abrupt demonstrations performed by Microsoft spokespeople or behind glass display cases.

Today Steven Sinofsky of Microsoft released quite a bit of information -- over 8500 words even if you exclude image captions and section titles -- about Windows on ARM (officially named “WOA”). Feel free to read for yourself at MSDN’s blog, or keep on reading for our brief summary.

WinARM.png

Actually most of the blog post is about building Windows 8 on ARM.

We reported that Windows on ARM has been classified as stable for approximately two weeks at this point.  Our questions about WOA availability were answered, and more: WOA is intended to be released simultaneously as Windows 8 for x86-64. WOA will also not be available standalone and you must purchase a device with it pre-installed.

From the chipset through the firmware and drivers, the work is optimized to be great for WOA. Partners are working hard on creative industrial designs and form factors that will include more than tablets. These are all under development today.

[…]

The PC will come with the OS preinstalled, and all drivers and supporting software. WOA will not be available as a software-only distribution, so you never have to worry about which DVD to install and if it will work on a particular PC.

Applications written for Windows on ARM can only be distributed through Windows Update or the Windows Store. Being an advocate of the open PC I find this quite unnerving as it quickly creates situations where art becomes at the mercy of the platform owner similar to what is seen on the consoles. That said, it also seems to suggest that Microsoft is not intending WOA to be fill all the roles of a typical PC.

Win8office.png

Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote will be available for WOA as Office 15. The typical file explorer and desktop will also be available for WOA. Mouse and keyboard support is also available for Windows on ARM. These will all be available within Office so the user can control there their files will be stored.

Windows 8 for x86-64 will be released as an open Beta at the end of the month. Microsoft will also release, by invite only, devices for developers. The intent of course is to give developers time to create applications for WOA. You should not expect those devices to be any more than development tools designed to prevent day-one apps from being developed in a single day.

Source: MSDN Blogs

Archos looks to grab some tablet market share

Subject: Mobile | February 7, 2012 - 01:05 PM |
Tagged: archos, 101 G9, Android 3.2.1, honeycomb

The new 10.1" Archos 101 G9 sports a 1280 x 800 multi-touch capacitive screen and runs on a 4 core ARM cortex A9 @ 1GHz as well as 512MB of RAM which should be powerful enough to output 1080p video via the HDMI port.  There will also be two more models with faster processors and more RAM which should arrive to market in the near future.   The biggest change to this generation of Archos tablets is the bundled 3G stick which extends the networking capability of this device to include Wireless N, Bluetooth and cellular networks.  At $320 it is a little more expensive than some of the competition so head over to Hardware Heaven to find out if it is worth the extra money.

DH_archos-101-g9-tablet_front.jpg

"Archos are back with an updated "Gen 9" version of the 101 Android tablet. Featuring Android 3.2.1 and updated specifications can it offer something worthwhile in an ever more crowded market?"

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

Mobile

 

MAINGEAR Updates the TITAN 17 17 notebook with the power of Intel Core i7 3960x

Subject: Mobile | February 7, 2012 - 11:44 AM |
Tagged: titan 17, maingear, gtx580m, 3960x extreme edition

It will cost you a fair amount but MAINGEAR has assembled an awe-inspiring 17.3" laptop.  Go full out and you will have Intel's fastest processor, a pair of GTX580Ms in SLI and 32GB of DDR3 in quad channel!  Plus you get Jagged Alliance Back in Action and Batman Arkham City tossed in to sweeten the pot.

banner.jpg

Kenilworth, New Jersey – February 7, 2012 - MAINGEAR, an award-winning PC system builder offering custom desktops, notebooks, and workstations, has updated the TITAN 17 high performance desktop replacement solution with all new aesthetic features while still maintaining top of the line performance forPC gamers who want to harness desktop-like power wherever they go and creative professionals that can work on site with no loss in productivity.

The TITAN 17 features support for both the latest Intel Core i7 3930K and the Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition. With fast, intelligent multi-core technology that accelerates performance to match your workload, it delivers an incredible breakthrough in gaming performance. For both gamers and demanding users, the Titan 17 capitalizes on a dramatic leap forward in processing technology to provide all the power you need for even the most advanced games and applications.

MAINGEAR SHIFT Titan 17 front open.jpg

Constantly looking to push performance boundaries, MAINGEAR’s TITAN 17 features the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M, combining the power of DirectX 11 and NVIDIA PhysX technologies. The GTX 580M can also be configured in SLI offering up to 2x’s performance scaling on today’s hottest PC games. The TITAN lets you play games the way they’re meant to be played without having to worry if your video card is up to the task.

The updated TITAN 17 also features support for the Quadro 5010M, featuring up to 4 GB of graphics memory and 384 CUDA cores. Built on the innovative NVIDIA Fermi architecture, the latest Quadro mobile graphics offerings integrate high performance computing capabilities with advanced visualization, transforming your TITAN 17 into a mobile super computer.

Gamer and PC enthusiasts on the go will never have to compromise with the TITAN 17. This powerhouse notebook can be customized with up to 32GB of DDR3 memory with speeds up to 1866MHz, two hardwired USB 3.0 ports, up to three SSD or SATA HDD’s with hardware RAID support, and even when fully loaded; it keeps the option for an optical drive. As the power of the notebook will allow user to do more faster, the TITAN 17 also offers a full size illuminated keyboard and numeric pad.

The MAINGEAR TITAN 17 is currently available for pre-order and is offering free shipping along with the highly anticipated legendary game: Jagged Alliance: Back in Action and Batman: Arkham City PC games. For more details visit: www.maingear.com/titan17.

Technical Specification:

  • Video Card: up to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M SLI with 2GB GDDR5 or NVIDIA Quadro 5010M with up to 4GB GDDR5 Graphics memory
  • Display: 17.3” (16:9) Full HD (1920x1080) LED-Backlit Display with Super Clear Glare Type Screen
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-3930K Processor (3.20GHz)/(3.80GHz) in Turbo Mode, 12MB L3 Cache, LGA 2011 or Intel Core i7-3960X Processor Extreme Edition (3.30GHz)/(3.90GHz) in Turbo Mode, 15MB L3 Cache, LGA 2011
  • Memory: Up to 32GB Quad Channel DDR3 – 1600/1866Mhz
  • Optical Drive: Up to Blu-ray reader/8x Multi Combo (BD-R, DVD+-RW, CD-RW)
  • Hard Drive: Up to 3x 600GB Solid State Drive or 750GB 7200RPM SATA 2.5
  • Network Adapter: Bigfoot Networks Killer Wireless-N 1102 supports 802.11a/b/g/n
  • Keyboard: Illuminated Full size isolated keyboard with Numeric Pad, 6 instant buttons for Volume up, Volume down, Mute, Wi-Fi On/Off, Bluetooth On/Off, and Camera On/Off
  • Audio: Built-in High-Definition Audio Slots: One ExpressCard 54/34 Slot and Built in 9-in-1 Media Card Reader (MMC/RSMMC/MS/MS Pro/MS Duo/SD/Mini-SD/SDHC/SDXC)
  • Operating System: Genuine Windows 7 Home, Professional or Ultimate 64-Bit
  • Battery: Removable Polymer Smart Lithium-Ion battery pack
  • I/O Ports: 1-HDMI 1.4a out, 1-DVI-I out, 1 Display Port 1.2, 2-USB 3.0, 2-USB 2.0, 1 IEEE-1394b Fire Wire, 1-S/PDIF out, 1 RJ-45 LAN, 1-eSATA Port (powered USB 3.0 (AC/DC) combo)
  • Security: Kensington Lock and fingerprint reader Dimensions: (W)16.5" x (H)2.2" x (D)11.3", 12.13 LBs with battery pack
  • Price: Starts at $3,499

titan17-3d-trans.png

“The new MAINGEAR TITAN 17 offers the best in desktop replacement versatility.” Said Wallace Santos, CEO and Co-founder of MAINGEAR Computers. “With the power of the latest Intel 2nd generation Core I7 Extreme Edition desktop processor, dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580Ms in SLI and with the option to use Quadro 510M graphics, this system caters to anyone looking for the ultimate mobile powerhouse.”

Source: MAINGEAR

AMD shows 18mm thin reference ultrathin notebook based on Trinity

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors, Mobile | February 2, 2012 - 02:02 PM |
Tagged: amd, trinity, hsa, ultrabook, ultrathin

Today at the AMD Financial Analyst day in Sunnyvale, Lisa Su, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Global Business Units, showed off a reference design from Compal of an 18mm think ultrathin notebook that they are obviously hoping to compete with Intel's Ultrabook push.

ultrathin1.jpg

The notebook is based on AMD's upcoming Trinity APU that improves on the CPU and GPU performance of the currently available Llano APU.  There weren't many details though Su did state they were hoping for prices in the $600-800 range would could but a lot of pressure on Intel. 

ultrathin2.jpg

Asus Padfone To (Finally) Debut At Mobile World Congress

Subject: Mobile | January 31, 2012 - 03:30 PM |
Tagged: tablet, smartphone, padfone, asus, Android

Remember the Asus Padfone? I won't blame you if you do not as it is practically ancient by tech history standards. Making its first appearance at Computex 2011 last May, the device made a splash that quickly died off as it never came to market.  To be honest, I just assumed it had completely died off.  Apparently; however, Asus did not forget about it and is planning to show it off at this years Mobile World Congress according to an article over at Android Central. Here's hoping they've adjusted for the success of tablets that have surfaced in the interim and that it is at a minimum running the Honeycomb or Gingerbread (Ice Cream Sandwich would be even better) OS and a fast processor.

padfone.png

The Padfone, if the specifications from last year hold true is a 4.3" smartphone that can fit snugly inside of a 10" tablet form factor display that has it's own battery. The tablet portion can charge the smartphone and/or drive the larger display and the smartphone acts as the hardware of the device with it's SoC (system on a chip) and by allowing access to the 3G and WiFi data connections of the phone's radio.

There are still many question about the viability of such a device; however, with the rise in popularity of Android phones if Asus could make it such that any Android phone (within size constraints of course) could nestle itself inside the larger touchscreen display, they might have a popular product on their hands...

Microsoft Integrating Kinect Sensor Into Laptop Computers

Subject: Mobile | January 27, 2012 - 03:48 PM |
Tagged: portable, PC, microsoft, laptop, kinect

At CES 2012, Microsoft announced that they would be releasing a Kinect sensor and SDK (software development kit) for Windows.  In that same vien, the company is now exploring the idea of integrating a Kinect sensor directly into laptop computers.

something.png

Not the actual prototype.  Just a mock up I concocted.

The crew over at The Daily managed to get their hands on two such prototype laptops with integrated Kinect sensors.  They state tha the two machines resemble Asus laptops that are running Windows 8; however, upon closer inspection, the laptops have removed the typical 1.3 megapixel webcam that is common in today's notebooks and have instead placed a Kinect sensor bar at the top of the display instead.  They claim that a source within Microsoft has confirmed that the two laptops are indeed official prototypes.

Unfortunately, there aren't many details beyond that.  Whether Microsoft will forge ahead with this idea and license out the Kinect technology to laptop makers or if the prototypes will go into some bunker somewhere and never see the light of day still remains a mystery.  Currently at $250 (to end users, OEMs could likely cut a much better deal), it is not likely that we will see a proliferation of Kinect sensors into all manner of displays for notebooks, TVs, and desktops.  If Microsoft could get the cost of the technology down far enough that manufacturers could justify adding it, it could definitely catch on.  In the end, I don't think we'll be seeing Kinect powered computers any time soon, but in the future when the hardware is cheaper and there are Kinect for Windows applications readily available, it could happen.  Would you like to see Kinect in your laptop (insert Xzibit meme here) or desktop monitor, and if so what would you like to do with it?

Source: The Daily

The SSD powered Oaktrail tablet from Kupa is a trooper

Subject: Mobile | January 26, 2012 - 03:47 PM |
Tagged: tablet, ssd, oaktrail, mobile, Kupa X11, atom Z670, atom

You might not expect to see a tablet being examined at the SSD Review, except for the Kupa X11 which contains a 64 or 128GB mSSD drive.  As the Atom and Oaktrail pairing are perhaps not the fastest mobile chips on the block, the initial testing tried to determine if that chipset would prove to be a bottleneck.  They tested the Kingspec 128GB SSD which was included in the tablet as well as a Renice X3 120GB ‘SandForce Driven’ SSD and a Kingston mS100 SSD.  The Kingspec was the slowest choice of the three and even though the other two did perform more impressively Oaktrail did indeed prove to limit the performance of the drives.  On the other hand, it is still faster than a HDD and the SSD helps to extend the life of this 1366 x 768 10.1″ tablet to around 10 hours.  Also worth noting is that this tablet runs Xin7 Professional, not a trimmed down OS, and will fully support Win8.

ssdr_kupa.jpg

"Just prior to CES we had received an e-mail from a reader who had spoken of a company called Kupa, a tablet manufacturer who, as the reader had stated, “wasn’t afraid to experiment outside the box”. it took us all of two seconds to get to the Kupa Website and discover the Kupa X11, a tablet PC with all the power of a full size computer to include a Intel Atom Z670 1.5Ghz Oaktrail platform, 2GB RAM and your choice of 64 or 128GB SSD. Needless to say, we were impressed."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

Mobile

 

Source: SSD Review

LG X3 Android 4 Smartphone With Quad Core CPU May Debut at Mobile World Congress 2012

Subject: Mobile | January 20, 2012 - 08:00 PM |
Tagged: tegra, quad core, lg x3, LG, ics, android 4.0, Android

This year's Mobile World Congress in Spain is going to be an interesting one from a smartphone hardware perspective, especially if recent rumors hold true. If you thought a dual core Snapdragon chip delivered a speedy experience, LG has something to blow your mind: The LG X3 is a smartphone that is rumored to have a quad core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor!

LG_X3_Leak-470-75.jpg

The alleged LG X3 phone

The article quotes Pocketnow in detailing the less than 9mm thick LG X3's specifications which include the above-mentioned Tegra 3 Soc, an 8 megapixel rear camera, 1.3 megapixel front camera, a HSPA 21 "4G" network cellular radio, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, microSD slot, and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. This hardware will be put to good use in powering the phones 4.7" display with a resolution of 1280 x 720. Further, a massive 2,000 mAh (milli-amp-hour) battery will provide the quad core SoC and huge display the power they need. Though with these kind of specs, under heavy use, don't expect miracles even with such a large battery. The last big of leaked information on the phone indicates that it will be running the Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" mobile operating system (OS). Our own Matt Smith has a review of the Android 4.0 OS (running on the Transformer Prime) for your reading pleasure on the site now.

A quad core SoC (System on a Chip) in a phone... I just can't get past that; here I was thinking my 1.2 GHz single core Snapdragon processor was speedy. Before I even got my hands on a dual core phone, they are already packing them with quad cores!

Source: Pocketnow

When is an Ultrabook not an Ultrabook?

Subject: Mobile | January 19, 2012 - 06:17 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, Samsung, toshiba, LG, z830, Z835, Z330, Series 9

An Ultrabook must meet certain criteria to honestly be an Ultrabook.  It cannot be thicker than 0.8" at any point, it must weigh under 3.1 lbs, it should have a battery life above 5 hours, boot to desktop in around 10 seconds or less and most importantly it should cost no more than $1000.  These specs seem to have been relaxed by Intel, for instance the Samsung Series 9 is available in two sizes, one which will cost you $1400 and one that will cost $1500.  While it is certainly sleek and the 128GB SSD should keep the boot times quick, the price is well over what the spec calls for.  Contrast that with the Toshiba Z830 and Z835 which will cost you $700 and therefore does met the specifications originally laid down by Intel.  The SSD Reviews top 3 Ultrabooks also include the LG Z330 which does not sport a price tag though the Kilimanjaro based 256GB OCZ SSD inside of the ultrabook does suggest they will not be under $1000.  Still, they are pretty to look at.

ssdReZ330-right-side-closed.jpg

"There seems to be no doubt in anyone’s mind that 2012 is going to be the year of the ultrabook and CES 2012 Las Vegas was front and center with just about every ultrabook available, or soon to be, this past week.

Today’s report will examine three forerunners that appear to be in a position, above all others at this point anyway, to grab top marks in 2012. Those who know me may also feel this to be an unfair comparison as I have had the Toshiba Z830 as my tool of choice for a few months now."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

Mobile

 

Source: SSD Review