Let's hope Google's Android platform doesn't turn out to be some devious plot at taking over the world, because if it is, there will be no stopping them. In addition to powering a bevy of smartphones, a couple of netbooks, and even an e-book reader or two, Asus will use the open-source OS in an upcoming robot.
Thankfully it's not one of those malicious robots hell-bent on destroying the human population like you see on some sci-fi flicks. Quite the opposite, actually, as the EeeBot (what else would Asus call it?) will be an educational robot with other software and services as part of several technology projects funded by the Taiwanese government.
As described in an outline on a government website, the goal is to build an affordable robot to interact with kids. The EeeBot project will focus on building content and services around the robot to subsidize the cost of the hardware, and Asus will work on both hardware and software as part of the project.
The University of Antwerp gave everyone a chuckle last year when they built a quaint little supercomputer made out of four high end Nvidia GPUs. Apparently, that was just a practice run. The same group has now constructed a 13 GPU monster of a supercomputer called Fastra II.
The rig contains six dual-GPU Nvidia GTX295 cards and a single GTX275. As you can imagine, there were a few issues getting the whole system up and running. Motherboard manufacturers don’t usually anticipate someone needing to run 13 GPU cores. With a little persistence and a custom BIOS from ASUS, the tiny supercomputer was up and running. The whole affair cost only 6000 Euros, and is capable of twelve teraflops.
The value per teraflop is high considering most conventional supercomputers cost millions of dollars to build and run. You can check out some possible applications and crazy benchmarks here.
Most of you know ASRock as the brand name behind budget-oriented boards, some of which pack a lot of value for the money. And that's been the intention all along. The Taiwan-based company was spun off from Asus in 2002 in order to compete with major OEM players like ECS and Foxconn, but every once in awhile the mobo maker designs a board that attracts the attention of the enthusiasts. Some of you might still remember (and maybe even still own) the ASRock 939Dual-SATA2 board, one of the first boards to implement both an AGP and PCI-E slot with nary a performance hit on either side.
Packing features that belie a budget price tag has been the company's staple, but does it have what it takes to compete at the high end? We may soon find out. According to sources at motherboard makers, Pegatron Technology is expected to use the ASRock brand name to compete against firt-tier mobo makers and vendors, and that includes Asus after the company is spun off in July 2010.
ASRock will end up shipping 7 million of its own-brand motherboards in 2009, putting the company in position to wrestle with MSI and ECS for the No. 3 spot in global branded motherboards. In addition, Asus plans to reduce its mobo outsourcing to Pegatron from 50 percent to just 30 percent of Asus' total shipments, freeing Pegatron up to churn out even more ASRock branded boards next year and beyond.
It's not all about motherboards, either. Pegatron will use the ASRock brand to promote desktops and notebooks, and could even use it on smartbooks, e-book readers, handheld devices, and LCD TVs, the sources say.
According to reports, Asus is in the process or branching off its contract manufacturing wing and will create a new company Pegatron Investment Holdings Company. As part of the split, Asus will issue a bunch of shares, 75 percent of which will go to the company's shareholders, and 25 percent to be held by Asus.
It's not clear whether or not Pegatron will also offer its manufacturing services to other Taiwanese companies or if it will exclusively supply parts to Asus. But either way, Asus is expected to put a ton of effort into promoting its own brand identity. The other major benefit is that Asus will drop its own capitalization by up to 85 percent.
While AMD's split into separate design and manufacturing businesses comes to mind, this move is more in line with what Acer did back in 2001 when it formed an independent company called Wistron to handle its manufacturing division. The move proved crucial in expanding Acer's global presence, and the company now rivals Dell as the top OEM in the world.
Pocket-lint is reporting that Dell is readying a tablet device for unveiling at January’s CES in Las Vegas. Pocket-lint says “details so far are thin,” but according to “multiple back ops sources” the device will have a 5-inch screen and run on the Android OS.
Dell’s only comment: “Dell continually develops and tests new products that extend the mobile experience. We have not made any product announcements and do not comment on speculation, rumor, or unannounced products.”
Who isn't working on a handheld tablet these days? A week ago you could have said Asus, but if you said that today, you'd be wrong. Maybe.
According to the latest rumor, Asus is preparing to launch its own tablet under its Eee line, which it will call the Eee Pad. There isn't a whole of details to share at this point, but it looks as though the device will come with a 4 to 7 inch panel and offer a combination of tablet PC and MID functions, or at least that's what industry sources are saying. The same sources say Asus' Eee Pad is largely inspired by the rumors of Apple's planned tablet.
What's less than 1 inch thick, weighs a hair over 3 pounds, and costs 99,000 yen (that's about $1,100 in U.S. currency)? Award yourself 100 geek points if you answered Asus' upcoming UM30 notebook.
According to reports, Asus will launch the 0.77-inch, 3.1-pound notebook tomorrow in Japan. It will come equipped with a 13.3-inch TFT color, LED backlit LCD panel with a 1366x468 screen resolution. Inside will sit an Intel Core Duo SU 9400 processor clocked at 1.4GHz, up to 3GB of DDR2 RAM, and a 320GB hard drive.
Akihabara News says it will also support SD, SDHC, MiniSD, and MMC cards. And of course the entire thing will be driven by Microsoft's Windows 7 Home Premium in 64-bit form.
No word yet on when Asus plans to ship this literal lightweight stateside.
It doesn't matter how good you've been all year, Santa won't be placing an Atom N450-based netbook under the Christmas tree this year. But on the bright side, you may not have to wait long. According to reports, Asus, Acer, Lenovo, and MSI, all of which originally planned on launching Atom N450-based netbooks this month, will release the units on January 11, 2010.
The decision to hold off until then complies with their agreement with Intel to only launch the products after January 10. There will be three versions of Atom N450-based netbooks using different OSes, the most popular (and expensive) expected to be Windows 7 Starter. The other two include Moblin Linux and Windows XP Home.
If you’re bored to tears with all the features high end motherboards tend to have, Asus is aiming this product at you. The new Asus ROG Maximus III Extreme has a trick new to motherboards. You can tweak the settings via a Bluetooth enabled cell phone. So if your CPU is feeling a little tired, why not overclock it via your wireless handset?
The current incarnation of the Republic of Gamers series allows users to connect another computer via USB to adjust settings on the fly. The Bluetooth can also be used for other purposes. “RC Bluetooth is also capable of performing standard Bluetooth functions, such as stereo music playback, Skype messaging, Internet access via a Bluetooth phone, and mobile phone or PDA synchronization,” said the Asus press release.
The Maximus III also packs all the features you’d expect plus a little more. It will rock USB 3.0 and SATA 6G. Users will also find 5 PCIe 8x connections. Curiously, this particular board will be socket LGA 1156 instead of the higher end LGA 1366.
Let's set the record straight. A 12.1-inch portable PC lands in netbook territory, even if it does toe the line between netbook and laptop. Going any bigger lands in that debatable gray area, so long as it still sports an Intel Atom processor or comparatively low power chip (VIA Nano, for example).
Asus' new Eee PC 1201HA doesn't have to worry about that, and the 12-1 inch netbook is now available for U.S. consumption. Essentially a larger version of the Eee PC 1101HA, the new model comes with a 12.1-inch 1366x768 display, an Intel Atom Z520 processor (1.33GHz), Intel GMA 500 graphics, 1GB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive, Wi-Fi, and Windows XP (no love for Windows 7 here).
The 1201HA also comes with a 6-cell battery, which Asus claims is good enough to power the netbook for 5.5 to 7 hours before needing a lifeline to the nearest wall socket.