AMD really is kicking sand in their competitor’s face in the graphics business, but they dipped into their marketing bag for an old trick at the annual Game Developer Conference: developing a vague branding strategy, complete with logo. At a presentation where the company featured guest speakers from leading game companies, AMD discussed its commitment to developer relations. At the end, they rolled out a new brand: AMD Gaming Evolved.
“AMD Gaming Evolved” is a catch-all brand that is “a reflection of our ongoing commitment to gamers.” It’s as if AMD’s eventual goal is to cover the entire surface of your PC with stickers with AMD logos.
Says Roy Chen, ARM’s manager for worldwide mobile computing: “The first tablet devices will launch in the second quarter by [mobile network] carriers. You'll see a lot more in the third quarter.” A lot of this activity, Chen says, will take place in China, and he expects there’ll be products offered by the top ten telecommunications network operators.
ARM’s insight apparently comes from an inside view of the products its chips are being used in. ARM is often requested for additional engineering support, or is tied into a partnership arrangement.
While ARM's insight may be accurate, 50 seems like an awfully high number. It could be a matter of how ARM is defining a tablet PC. Perhaps it includes some new touchscreen-enabled smartphones. If accurate, however, and all of these new devices are legitimate tablet PCs, it will make 2010 a very interesting year indeed.
The Mini 5, code named “Streak”, is a 5-inch WVGA (800 x 480) touchscreen, with a 5 megapixel autofocus camera with flash on the rear, and a VGA webcam on the front. It also has a 30-pin docking connector. Unfortunately no other specs are available, other than finish. It looks like the Mini 5 will be available in a rainbow of colors.
Another interesting tidbit from these leaked documents--Dell’s partnering with Amazon for content delivery. It looks like the Mini 5 will come with a Kindle eReader application, and support Amazon's MP3 and video streams. Such a connection is logical, given that tablets are going to need content, and making it easier for users to get that content might make the Mini 5 more attractive in the marketplace.
Unfortunately, the information of greatest import (besides what's under the hood)--price and availability--is still unknown at this point. But, just knowing the Mini 5 is out there might give some potential early iPad adopters pause, which could play out to Dell’s advantage.
It’s a change that makes sense, and is probably long overdue. The current formatting standard for hard drives is a legacy from floppy disks--formatting in blocks of 512 bytes. This makes for a lot of wasted hard drive space, when error correction and block gaps are tallied in. Given the amount of space that can be wasted on a 1TB drive with 512 byte blocks, it’s time for a change.
The new standard, promulgated by the International Disk Drive Equipment and Materials Association (Idema), which all hard drive makers have committed to adopting, is a 4K block. Besides an eight-fold reduction of the amount of unused space, this standard doubles the amount of error correction per block. Hard drive makers can squeeze out more storage capacity on the same size hardware. Steve Perkins, a technical consultant for Western Digital, estimates the format to be about 7 percent to 11 percent more efficient.
Windows 7 (and Vista), along with Apple’s Tiger, Leopard, and Snow Leopard versions of OS X, and all builds of Linux released after September 2009 are 4K aware--they can handle the new formatting standard, no problem. But XP can’t. It’s stuck, permanently, in the 512 byte block world. Hard drive manufacturers know this, so they have built in emulation for the 512 byte block size. The emulation, however, can result in slower performance. David Burks of Seagate anticipates a 10% drop in performance for XP users.
It’s not a big hit, to be sure, but it is a start. With hardware development on-going, and XP frozen in time, it’s not a matter of if XP will become obsolete, but when. That day, to the possible chagrin of some XP users, may be sooner than they'd like.
The Sony Vaio P is a weird device. It’s much smaller than a netbook, but much better-equipped. It has wireless broadband access from Verizon, onboard GPS, a ThinkPad-style pointing stick, and an eye-straining high-resolution screen. It’s also incredibly expensive. So who exactly is the Vaio P for?
At just 9.8 inches across, 0.8 inches thick, and 4.8 inches deep, and weighing just one pound, five ounces, the Vaio P is made for mobility—it makes a 10-inch netbook look like a desktop replacement. Into those tiny dimensions Sony crams parts that—on paper—put your old Atom netbook to shame. The Vaio P uses a 2GHz Atom Z550 paired with the US15W chipset and GMA500 integrated graphics. By comparison, last year’s typical netbook used a 1.6GHz N280 on an Intel GSE945 chipset with GMA950 graphics. The Vaio P also ships with 2GB of DDR2/533 and a whopping 256GB Samsung MLC SSD, which itself is responsible for $700 of the Vaio P’s price tag. The full Windows 7 Professional OS is a welcome change from Windows XP—or worse, Windows 7 Starter.
The Vaio P’s eight-inch screen offers an eye-watering 1600x768 resolution. This is the first time we’ve ever seen a screen that was too sharp; reading text on it for more than a few minutes hurt our eyes.
Pining away for a medium format DSLR camera but can't bring yourself to drop 20 large for Mamiya's DM40? Maybe Pentax has your number, who just introduced its 645D camera for the comparatively bargain-bin price of $9,400.
It's the company's first medium format DSLR, which comes with a high-performance CCD image sensor produced by Kodak. The sensor measures 44mm by 33mm and boasts 40MP shots.
Other features include a 14-bit A/D converter, lightweight body, dual SD/SDHC memory card slots, the company's DR (Dust Removal) II mechanism, 11-point wide-frame AF sensor, 77-segment multi-pattern metering, 3.0-inch color LCD, HDR function, HDMI output, and whole host of other goodies.
Asus today announced the launch of its Cine5 PC speaker. According to Asus, it's the world's most compact five-channel speaker and serves up multi-directional surround sound.
"By integrating an array of speaker drivers into a single bar, the Cine5 PC speaker helps users save space in their study rooms," Asus said. "Additionally, installation is simplified by eliminating the need to set up multiple satellite speakers—users just need to place the Cine5 PC speaker below the computer monitor. No positional adjustment is necessary to get the sweet spot for audio recreation."
The Cine5 pumps out 25W max (15W RMS) and measures 373 x 100 x 100 mm with metal stands (373 x 100 x 80 mm with rubber stands). it comes with a 3.5mm jack for multi-channel inputs, headphone output, volume knob, and a 5.1 channel audio cable.
Asus also says you can expect a bit of punch with the Cine5, despite its compact size. By using a specially-designed bass reflex port, Asus claims the Cine5 provides 15dB more bass than speakers of similar size.
Not everything being shown off at CeBIT will actually make it to retail, so we may never actually see Lian Li's PC-T1R chassis. Judging by the pictures, that might not be a bad thing.
Lian Li certainly found itself thinking outside the box on this one, perhaps a bit too far. At first glance, the PC-T1R looks like a gigantic metal spider, but that's not even the quirkiest part. What we can't wrap our heads around is why the oversized contraption only accommodates micro-ATX motherboards. The whole point of building a mATX system is to save space, but good luck stuffing the PC-T1R into your home theater cabinet or any other tight squeezes.
Misgivings aside, the PC-T1R also makes room for a hard drive, optical drive, and power supply. There's an on/off switch, and according to news and rumor site Fudzilla, should this make it past CeBIT, you'll be able to buy it in red or black for about $225.
HP could soon find itself in court, as over 100 Chinese consumers are none too happy with what they claim are faulty laptops, a lawyer for the group said this week.
According to Reuters, Jiang Suhua, a lawyer at Yingke Law Firm in Bejing, claims the problems have to do with overheating videocards ultimately causing the laptops to malfunction. Suhua said there are about 170 complaints so far for a problem that apparently dates back to 2007.
"Yes, we can bring it to court, but right now it has not reached that state," Suhua said.
HP says it had a program in November 2007 to offer a free repair to anyone with an affected laptop, but the OEM stopped short of commenting on this specific complaint.
Chrome is fast becoming ubiquitous with bling, and if that's the case, Sceptre's new line of 24-inch HD LCD TVs bring the bling like no other displays you've ever seen before.
Sceptre describes the new line as "chic" and "sleek," but no matter what you call it, the all-chrome bezel is sure to turn heads. That might have been Sceptre's intention all along.
"We design our television monitors to not only perform exceptionally, but to also look exceptional in any home," said Cathy Chou, vice president of operations, Sceptre. "When it comes to form and function, we, at Sceptre, like to push the industry envelope."
Behind the bezel sits a 24-inch 1080p full HD LCD display. Sceptre measures the response time at 2ms (G to G). Other specs include a 4000:1 dynamic contrast ratio (1000:1 static), dual HDMI and USB ports, 300 cd/M2 brightness, built-in speakers, and viewing angles measured at 170 L/R and 160 Up/Down.
In addition to chrome, Sceptre's also offering its new set in black, red, pink, and blue, all of which are available now for $400.