By our own admission, MacBooks aren't half bad. In Maximum PC'sApple's Notebooks Take On the PC Competition, Apple's MacBook walked away as best-in-class in the professional segment, much to the dismay of the PC faithful. But that doesn't mean we're willing to squeeze our wallet dry to own one.
On average, you can expect to pay twice as much on an Apple PC versus a Vista computer. And people are doing just that. Windows PCs still dominate the lion's share of the market at 80 percent, but Apple continues to cling to a respectable 20 percent slice of the pie. Making its piece even more savory, Apple's making over 35 percent of the revenue share. Think about that. Despite claiming one-fifth of the market, Apple's cashing in on over a third of the revenue.
These numbers come courtesy of the latest NPD sales information, but some feel that Apple has done as well as it ever will at the current price point. Joe Wilcox from eWeek writes, "What's next? I predict that Apple's grab for dollars has gone about as far as it can, without price cuts. Apple's higher prices buck industry trends."
That may be the case, but can trendy hipsters be expected to buck the trend of overpaying?
Newsflash: The internet can be pretty damned groovy. So much so that Australian men are finding happiness from being online, whether it means fragging with buddies or getting neck-deep in social networking sites. But is the internet gender specific?
According to the "Happiness Index" study, which surveyed over 8,500 Aussies ranging in age from 18 on up to 64, more than half of the male respondents find happiness by surfing the web, whereas only 39 percent of women respondents felt the same way, instead preferring family time.
"This index gives insight into the way we tick, with the results being useful to Australian businesses who want to better communicate with their customers," said Karen Phillips, managing director of The Leading Edge, who conducted the survey.
So what else did the survey reveal? How about that more men (48 percent) than women (40 percent) find happiness between the sheets, or that more women than men prefer reading a book and eating comfort food.
Dell last week said it planned to make a major push in outfitting all of its notebooks with LED backlighting by the end of 2011, which not only represents a step towards being green, but will have customers saving green to the tune of $20 million based on a 220 million kilowatt-hour reduction. That's good news for all involved, and it gets even better if other OEMs jump on board, and it appears they are.
Citing "market watchers," DigiTimes reports that LED backlighting will make headway anywhere from 30 to 40 percent of the notebook market in 2009. Overall penetration for 2008 has been much less at 10 percent, but Dell and other big name notebook vendors have put an increased emphasis on LED-backlight models resulting in a strong 15 percent penetration in the fourth quarter. Momentum is expected to carry over to next year and beyond.
Don't bother telling Lenovo that the global economy is slowing down and now might not be the best time to go on a spending spree. The OEM knows the situation, and maybe a weak economy is exactly the reason China's largest PC maker is now looking to expand by acquiring other companies.
"Although we remain cautious, it is time for us to take on another challenge," said Won Wai Ming, Lenovo's CFO. "We've seen valuations go down in this market, which presents us with opportunities to grow either by acquisition or partnership."
Lenovo, the fourth largest PC maker on the planet, appears to be targeting the consumer section of Fujitsu Siemens Computers. According to earlier media reports, Siemens is looking to sell its stake in the joint venture, which in turn would have Fujitsu shopping around its end-customer business (Fujitsu's reportedly only interested in its commercial customers business). Should this all come to fruition, Lenovo, who's built up net cash reserves of $1.8 billion, would be in a position to pounce.
That is unless Acer again brings its wet blanket to the Lenovo party.
When an MMO begins to feel its bones a creakin', and decides it's time to curl up and die from natural causes (read: WoW), one of the first phenomena an outside observer will witness is the server merge. Generally a result of sudden population deflations from formerly-packed games, when servers collide, the game in question has probably seen better days. Age of Conan, sadly, is one such game.
"I can today confirm that we are actively working on an approach to merge servers, both in Europe and North America," announced AoC director Craig Morrison. "It's important for us to ensure the best gameplay experience for you all, and more healthy populations on each and every server will make sure we maintain healthy communities for the game in the future."
But AoC's troubles don't end there. Funcom, the loincloth-tacular MMO's publisher, may soon be dressing like its scantily clad (but undeniably manly) hero. As of now, Funcom's stock is sitting at a two-year low -- trading for a mere $5.
So, moral of the story? Never, ever prefix your game's title with "Age of..."
Tiberium, EA's second attempt at bolstering the frail, emaciated FPS genre with its popular Command & Conquer license, sucks. Or at least it did -- until EA gave it the old "It's not us; it's you" speech while pointing to a particularly splintery portion of the chopping block.
"The game had fundamental design challenges from the start," said EA LA's Mike Verdu. "We fought to correct the issues, but we were not successful; the game just isn't coming together well enough to meet our own quality expectations as well as those of our consumers."
"The quality bar has been raised," he added. "Now we need to step up our focus on great design and execution, catching any problems early and correcting them quickly."
Additionally, a portion of EA LA's elite team now finds itself jobless, but EA corporate "will make every effort to place affected individuals on projects within the studio – and where that isn't possible, to connect them with opportunities in other teams at EA."
As game development costs continue to surge upward, we can't help but fear we'll see more mid-development games unceremoniously dashed against the curb, with no chance for a reinvigorating adjustment or two.
Are there any other troubled games you think might soon be circling the drain?
We may or may not recognize it, but fluid is a very integral part of our everyday lives. It decides everything from our fuel economy to (in some cases) how cool our computer runs. Until now, there was only one key way of deciphering the mechanics of fluids, and that was the Prandtl equation, developed in 1904. Sadly though, the Prandtl equation has many limitations, including only having the ability to calculate only two-dimensional problems, and a steady flow (such as that of a car traveling slowly). Thanks to a breakthrough by MIT’s George Haller, that’s all about to change.
A recently developed new equation, which is a product of four years of work by Professor Haller, will apply to three-dimensional and unsteady flows. This was confirmed with the aid of Thomas Peacock, the Atlantic Richfield Career Development Associate Professor at MIT, who lead experiments in order to validate the equation. Professor Peacock states, “This is the tip of the iceberg, but we’ve shown that this theory works.” The new work will probably go down as one of the greatest scientific advances of the decade, if it survives the peer review that will come.
This innovation in the mechanics of liquids will have an overwhelming influence on many industries, including aerospace, automotive and even computers. With these breakthroughs in calculating how liquids will act and perform in different environments, there’s no doubt that your PC’s liquid cooling system will soon get an overhaul.
Whatever you do, don't blame the bad economy on Intel. Engineers working for the chip maker claim today's processors have netted a savings of 20 Terawatt hours over that of earlier generations if used in the same time period. In monetary terms, that equates to saving the world economy $2 billion in energy costs since the Core architecture's launch two years ago. Of course, the inefficient and hot-running Prescotts of yesteryear didn't exactly set the bar very high for green improvements, but $2 billion (if correct) is impressive no matter how you slice it.
"This is no small figure - it’s a significant amount of energy savings, and an example of what technology innovation by the ICT industry can do to improve energy efficiency on a large scale," writes Lorie Wiggle, GM of Intel's Eco-Technology Program.
Meanwhile, while Intel's Atom series doesn't have nearly the global energy impact as its desktop and business CPUs do, it's interesting to note that the recently released dual-core Atom 330 processor doubles up its power consumption over the Atom 230 processor.
Going green is something that just about everyone is worrying about these days, and NETGEAR is no exception. Having recently announced a new line of Wireless-N routers with the Prius driving consumer in mind, they’ve finally thrown their hat into the eco-friendly ring.
NETGEAR’s new routers will be shipping in packaging that has been made from at least 80% recycled materials, as well as boasting a fancy new on/off switch that will allow users to save energy when the network isn’t in use. There’s also a separate on/off switch that will allow users to turn off only the router’s wireless component.
The inside of the routers will be getting quite a makeover as well, "The enhanced wireless speeds and greater coverage provided by Wireless-N technology enables the simultaneous use of applications such as voice-over-IP, video and multimedia streaming, console gaming, and Web surfing. The launch of these new Wireless-N networking solutions makes it easier and more affordable for consumers to replace their existing routers or modem routers and upgrade their WiFi networks to support these more bandwidth-intensive applications. The new product family is feature-rich in terms of performance capabilities and ease of use as well as energy-efficiency,” says Som Pal Choudhury, NETGEAR’s senior product line manager for advanced wireless products. And when he says affordable, he means it. These bad boys will run you only $89 for the router, and $119 for the router with a built in DSL modem.
SanDisk on Tuesday announced plans to release a 16GB microSDHC and Memory Stick Micro (M2) mobile memory cards, which would qualify as the world's largest mobile phone removable memory card capacity. The timing couldn't be better either, as handsets continue to up the ante with high tech features like media playback, HD digital camera capabilities, GPS, gaming, and everything else manufacturers can stuff into a mobile phone.
"Handsets have become far more than just phones - they’ve become mobile jukeboxes, mobile offices, even mobile movie theaters," said Avi Greengart, Research Director for Mobile Devices at Current Analysis. "Flash memory cards have increased in storage capacity, but even an 8GB card may be too small for anyone with GPS map data, a few movies, a game or two, a presentation file and other applications."
Officially available at Best Buy Mobile stores in October and Verizon Wireless stores in November, SanDisk has set the MSRP for the 16GB microSDHC at $100, and $130 for the M2.