The primary appeal of Chromebooks is the price of entry -- without a low price tag, these modern day cloud-based netbooks probably wouldn't find much of an audience. This begs the question, is there a market for slightly more expensive Chromebook models with bigger size displays? Acer intends to find out by launching its Chromebook 15, the industry's first Chromebook device with a 15.6-inch display.
Amped Wireless is beginning to integrate touch functionality into its home networking devices. We saw it first with the TAP-EX, a high-power Wi-Fi range extender with a built-in touchscreen, and now there's the TAP-R2, an AC750 Wi-Fi router with touch display. This isn't the first router with a touchscreen we've seen, though Amped Wireless is billing it as the industry's first high power touch screen Wi-Fi router.
NZXT last fall launched its S340 mid-tower ATX chassis, an entry-level case intended to bring a premium quality design without emptying your bank account (it's listed on Newegg for $70 plus $8 shipping). Now as we embark on a new year, NZXT is offering new color options for its S340 case -- "Gloss Blue" and "Gloss Red," both of which are accents to the matte black paneling.
Thermaltake's Tt eSports division has just uncaged a new rodent for gamers, the Black V2 laser gaming mouse. The Black V2 is a follow-up act to the original, and according to Thermaltake, it's been upgraded in just about every way possible, including the laser sensor, surface finish, grips, buttons, and even the mouse software, which Thermaltake says it retooled after going back to the drawing board.
Samsung takes a break from mobile handsets to announce a pair of PC products
Between all the Galaxy smartphone and tablet releases, we're a little surprised Samsung has time to take a breath, let alone announce a pair of sleek looking PC products. Yet that's exactly that the company has done today. Specifically, Samsung today unveiled its ATIV Book 9, an all-aluminum laptop with an Intel Broadwell Core M processor inside, and ATIV One 7 Curved, the company's first curvaceous all-in-one PC.
Microsoft and Intel have started working together to promote low-cost Windows laptops in the $200 and under range, which prior to the collaboration was a space that mostly belonged to Chromebooks. So far things are off to a slow start, at least if Amazon's holiday sales are any indication. Amazon says that its top three PC sales over the holiday period were all Chromebook models.
Heading into the new year, AMD's resolution is to increase its laptop market share, and the key to doing that lies in its Carrizzo and Carrizo-L laptop chips. Going forward, the chip maker will take a plug-and-play approach that will make it easy for hardware partners to plug any Carrizo chip into any laptop, regardless of the size of the notebook or what pricing tier it falls into.
Unlike desktop PCs, you can't just open up your laptop and insert an audio card for discrete audio processing. However, there are USB-based solutions, including Asus' new Xonar U3 Plus, a pocket-sized USB sound solution with a built-in 150-Ohm headphone amp, DSP (digital signal processor), and other features. According to Asus, the Xonar U3 Plus is essentially a smaller version of its existing Xonar U5 and gaming-oriented U7 Echelon Edition with Sonic Radar.
A new mid-range GTX 900 Series card may be imminent
We expect to see quite a few product announcements at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next month, which runs from January 6-9. However, rumor has it one part that won't make the trip is Nvidia's GeForce GTX 960 graphics card. Instead, a Chinese-language website thinks it's privy to Nvidia's plan to launch the GeForce GTX 960 on January 22, 2015.
PC vendors are not sure what to expect from Windows 10
Trying to predict the PC market is like to trying to forecast the weather a month in advance -- it's a crapshoot, basically. So, we're taking it with several grains of salt that PC vendors are reportedly doubtful that the Windows 10 launch next year will stimulate demand for replacement systems. One reason they feel that way is because of the lingering rumor that Microsoft may make Windows 10 a free update.