Rolling out of T-Mobile this week is the Garminfone, which as you might have guessed is both a smartphone and GPS. Asus had a hand in building the device, opting to stuff a Qualcomm MSM7227 processor (600MHz) into the 4.57 inch x 0.5 inch by 2.46 inch smarthpone rather than the far sexier Snapdragon chip clocked at 1GHz.
Other design decisions include a 3.5-inch display with a 320 x 480 resolution, 4GB of internal memory, and a 3 megapixel camera. Living up to its namesake, the Garminfone comes with extensive navigation features with turn-by-turn directions, voice, weather, traffic, and gas prices, and you can even record your own custom voices as navigation prompts with Garmin Voice Studio.
Unlike other smartphones, where GPS is typically tacked on as an afterthought, the opposite holds true for the Garminfone - it's primarily a GPS with smartphone capabilities. Layered on top of Android is a custom home screen, though it does come preoloaded with Google Mobile Services giving you instant access to Google Calendar, Gmail, YouTube, and GoogleTalk.
The Garminfone is available now for $200 after $50 mail-in-rebate card and with a 2-year service agreement.
Most first-tier motherboard makers started off the year with lofty shipments goals, but it looks as though all of them will have to play catch-up after a disappointing month of sales. Asus, Pegatron, MSI, and Gigabyte each saw over 10 percent on-month revenue drops in the month of May, the mobo makers said.
Waning demand in Europe and China are largely to blame for the slumping sales, which the companies hope is only temporary. Asus was hit particularly hard, noting revenues of $674.12 million for May, a decrease of 22 percent on the month. However, Asus is still up by a whopping 79.71 percent on the year, and up over 80 percent in combined revenues for the first five months of 2010.
The same trend holds true for Gigabyte, though to a lesser extent. Gigabyte's revenues for May were down almost 11 percent, but up nearly 6 percent on the year, while accumulated revenues from January through May were up 17.63 percent on the year.
MSI's numbers are down, both for May (17.88 percent) and on the year (0.07 percent), though combined revenues were up for the first five months (21.74 percent).
A little late in the game or not, AMD recently said it wanted to focus more attention on the netbook market rather than jump into tablets. Helping AMD do that is Asus, which plans on releasing an AMD-based Eee PC later this year.
It's called the Eee PC 1015T, and according to the spec sheet on display at Computex, the upcoming netbook comes configured with an AMD V105 processor inside. The 10.1-inch netbook also sports an ATI Radeon HD 4200 series GPU, up to 4GB of DDR3 memory, 250GB/300GB hard drive with 500GB of cloud storage (Asus WebStorage), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, optional Bluetooth 3.0, 6-cell battery, and Windows 7 along with the pre-boot Express Gate OS.
Otherwise, the Eee PC 1015T retains the familiar Seashell design as previous Eee PC netbooks along with a glossy finish. No word on when or where Asus plans to bring this one to market, or for how much.
There's a code among motherboard makers that says integrated graphics have to suck. To be fair, today's IGP boards are plenty powerful enough for everyday computing tasks and even some light gaming duties, but don't kid yourself, you're not going to build a respectable gaming machine without a discrete graphics card. Not yet, anyway.
Asus has apparently decided to challenge this notion that integrated graphics have to be second rate. How so? Well, they've gone and slapped a Radeon HD 5770 chip on an Intel X58-based motherboard they're calling "Immensity." What's more, that isn't even the only graphics trick up this concept board's sleeve - it also comes equipped with a Lucid Hydra chip, which means that you can add two more PCI-E graphics card for three-way CrossFireX action, or mix and match both ATI and Nvidia graphics cards.
Even though this is a concept board, it sounds as though Asus is fairly confident this one will eventually graduate from prototype status into a shipping product. Here's hoping Asus not only goes through with this, but starts a trend in the IGP market.
Computex is one of the biggest computer exhibitions in the world. Every year thousands of journalists,analysts, manufacturers, geeks, innovators and booth babes converge to view, demonstrate and hype the latest and greatest tech items. From laptops to cameras, heat sink fans and dual-core processors, Computex is where company's reveal up-and-coming products, display futuristic concept technologies and wow crowds with their demos. While Computex wraps up, we've chosen four major highlights of the show. Here's what you need to know:
One of the many products Asus is showing off at the Computex convention is a mini-ITX motherboard with a pretty hefty list of features. Built around AMD's AM3 platform, we could see the M4A88T-I Deluxe, as it's been dubbed, being used in an HTPC build with a bit of gaming pep.
The board is based on AMD's 880G Northbridge, which has been paired up with the SB701 Southbridge. It measures just 17cm x 17cm, but includes integrated Radeon HD 4290 graphics, two DDR3 memory slots, eSATA, three SATA ports, two USB 3.0 ports, integrated 5.1 audio, Gigabit LAN, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, DVI and HDMI outputs, and of particular interest to gamers looking to pack a punch in a small space, it also comes equipped with a full PCI-Express x16 slot.
From what we gather, the board also supports Asus' Core Unlocker feature, which allows you to unlock additional cores on select AMD Phenom II X2 and X3 processors.
At the Computex convention (where else?), Asus peeled out of the showroom floor with a pair of new Lamborghini notebooks, the 12.1-inch VX6 and 15.6-inch VX7.
Redesigned once again, these two new models sport more curves than the company's previous Lamborghini models and include glossy casing, chiclet keyboards, and Bang & Olufsen ICE power sound systems. The larger of the two packs an Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 processor, Nvidia N11E-GS graphics, up to 16GB of RAM, and a 1920x1080 display.
Bringing up the rear, the VX6 comes out of the garage with a 1366x768 LCD display, Intel Atom D525 processor (1.8Ghz), Nvidia ION 2 graphics, and up to 4GB of RAM.
No word yet on when these will ship or for how much.
Computex doesn't officially kick off until tomorrow, but most vendors are already in place and some have begun showing off their upcoming gadgets. Once such company is Asus, who has been busy talking up its ROG G53 notebook.
This 15.6-inch gaming powerhouse will come with Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 processor options, up to 16GB of DDR3-1333 memory on quad-core configurations (up to 8GB on dual-core configs), LED backlit HD display, Nvidia "Enthusiast" graphics, two storage compartments with support for up to 1.5TB HDD or 1TB SSD, optional Blu-ray drive, USB 3.0 ports, and HDMI.
Jumping on the 3D bandwagon, Asus says some of these will come equipped with embedded sensors and active shutter glasses, both for 3D gaming and for hooking up to your HDTV for 3D movie watching.
Asus, which has showed an increased interest in the mobile market the past few years, wants to become a top-3 notebook vendor and is apparently willing to buy its way there, according to a report in the Chinese-language Commercial Times.
As the Commercial Times tells it, Asus chairman Jonney Shih is pretty adamant about growing its notebook business through acquisitions, and has already reached out to Toshiba. Nothing has yet been finalized, and it's not even clear how far the two are in discussions about a possible deal.
It's not surprising that Asus would be interested in Toshiba's notebook business. Toshiba, which focuses mainly on regular sized notebooks, currently ranks No. 5 both worldwide and in the U.S. in laptop sales, while most of the success Asus has enjoyed comes from its Eee PC netbook line.
Amazon is doing everything it can to keep its ebook platform relevant, and to help do that, the Web store went and partnered with Asus, who has agreed to pre-install the "Kindle for PC" application on select netbooks and notebooks sold at Amazon.com.
"We are thrilled that customers will begin to enjoy the Kindle for PC experience right out of the box with ASUS devices," said Ben Thacker, VP Sales and Product Management, Systems Business Group, North American Channel, ASUS Computer International. "Kindle is something our customers have been asking for and by pre-installing Kindle for PC on select long battery life products, we believe we are providing our customers an even richer PC experience. Working with a customer-centric company such as Amazon and pre-installing their Kindle for PC application is a natural fit for ASUS."
The move also helps Amazon stave off what's sure to be increasing competition by a handheld tablet market on the verge of exploding. Apple's iPad is just the first of what's expected to be many tablet releases this year, and as the iPad has shown, tablets are up to the task in performing ebook chores.
So far there are six Asus netbooks/notebooks sporting the Kindle app, including the 1005PE-MU27-BK, 1005PE-MU27-BU, 1005PE-MU27-WT, 1005PE-MU27-PI, UL30A-X5K, and UL30VT-X1K.