Retail PC sales rise up on Chromebook and Mac shipments
As we've said time and again, the PC sector is alive is well. According to NPD Group, retail PC sales grew nearly 3 percent during the 10-week back-to-school shopping season that went from July 4th through Labor Day week), compared to a 2.5 percent decline in the same period a year ago. Where things get interesting is when you break down those sales to look for trends in consumer spending.
Canadian handset maker is slowly turning things around
If we look back a year ago, it seemed like BlackBerry was dead in the water with no lifeboat in sight. Fast forward to today and the Canadian company is in better shape with losses continuing to narrow each quarter. Granted, the company would rather be posting profits, but first it needs to find solid footing from which it can build upon. We don't know if the company is there yet, however, it's a somewhat of a positive sign that BlackBerry posted a better-than-expected $11 million loss, or 2 cents per share, for its fiscal second quarter.
Look for lower priced SSDs in the coming weeks and months
We have to admit, we've been spoiled by solid state drive price drops in the past year or so. While once considered cost prohibitive by many, SSDs are mostly affordable these days, provided you're not trying to match your 4TB hard drive in capacity. SSDs typically sell for less than 50 cents per gigabyte with prices continuing to drop. Accelerating the process is a price war in China that's leading to even lower cost SSDs.
Intel is turning to China to help the chip maker become a more competitive force in the mobile industry. Part of Intel's strategy is to invest up to $1.5 billion for a 20 percent stake in two Chinese mobile chipmakers, Spreadtrum Communications and RDA Microelectronics. The investment is being made under holding company Tsinghua Unigroup, an operating subsidiary of Tsinghua Holdings Col, Ltd., a solely-owned limited liability corporation funded by Tsinghua University in China.
The folks at Valve announced that its Steam Music Player is now out of beta and is available for all Steam members to enjoy. Through the Steam Music Player, you can listen to your own collection of tunes while playing games -- just use the Shift+Tab overlay. This eliminates the need to exit a full screen session or otherwise switch over to load up your songs or to control playback options.
Mockery is the sincerest form of flattery? Maybe not in this case
We like some of Acer’s products, most notable the Aspire S7 which we awarded a 9 Kick Ass in our review. Still, the company recently made some headlines for being perceived as old, cheap, and out of touch on Conan O’Brien’s late night talk show. The video below shows Conan's mock Acer keynote conference, which was done shortly after Apple’s 9/9/14 event.
Asus has been winning over gamers with its Republic of Gamers (ROG) line of laptops, some of which sport aggressive designs. Others, like the new Asus G551 and G771 gaming laptops, feature a more traditional aesthetic with an emphasis on quiet cooling -- Asus describes the scheme as an "almost-silent cooling system" that efficiently removes heat with minimal fan noise.
Every so often, Amazon offers up a collection of paid apps for free, not including its daily free app. Back in July, Amazon served up 29 apps worth over $100 for free, and this time around, Amazon is giving away over two dozen Android apps worth almost $175. The highest priced app of the bunch is Merriam-Webster's Third New International Pro from Paragon Software Group. It normally sells for $59, but can be had for free for a limited time.
We know you don't come here to read Apple news, but when things are this bad in Cupertino, it's pretty tough to ignore -- it's like watching a train wreck and then trying not to tell anyone about it. The train in this case is Apple and the wreck is its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus launch. The latest in the ongoing saga has Apple apologizing for its problematic iOS 8.0.1 update, which has caused some users to lose cellular service and Touch ID functionality.
Security researchers have discovered a major security bug in the Unix shell known as Bash (Bourne-again shell), one of the most commonly used utilities in Linux and one that could potentially affect a great number of Unix and Linux web servers. By exploiting the newly discovered vulnerability, an attacker can take complete control of the system and/or execute shell commands that could make a server vulnerable to even more threats.