In the market for a gaming notebook? If so, Asus' G73 laptop might be the steal of the year, albeit it's still early. Nevertheless, we haven't been this stoked about an affordable gaming notebook since Gateway wowed us with its P7811-FX machine.
Those looking for battery life first and performance second need not apply. But if you're into desktop replacements, the G73's spec sheet will certainly oblige. Inside the 17.3-inch laptop sits an Intel Core i7 720QM quad-core processor, and that's just the beginning. You'll also find 8GB of DDR3 memory, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 graphics with a 1GB frame buffer, and a 500GB hard drive spinning at 7200RPM.
The G73 also boasts a 1920 x 1080 screen resolution, DVD burner, 4 USB ports, VGA and HDMI, an 8-in-1 card reader, 2.0MP, 8-cell battery, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.
If you've never heard of TransferJet, it's a close-proximity wireless transfer technology offering high-speed transfers of larger files from your handheld gadgets to other devices. The physical transmission layer comes rated at 560Mbps, while the maximum data throughput (think: real-world) is 375Mbps (you can read more about TransferJet here).
Toshiba didn't say exactly what products will be the first infused with TransferJet, nor what kind of pricing premium the technology would result in. The company did say, however, that TransferJet will probably be added to just a handful of models to begin with. And because it has already been demonstrated by Toshiba's UK laptop division, it's a safe bet that we'll likely see this appear on Toshiba's laptop line first.
"I think it is a big opportunity. We have two strategies at Nvidia: One is to put graphics everywhere, the other one is to [find more ways to] integrate discrete chips into the box," Haas said. "I think there is definitely a place for [external graphics cards for notebooks,] no question. We continue to look at whether this is a GPU [docking station] or external devices."
So what exactly is Nvidia planning for the notebook segment? We don't know, and Haas wasn't willing to divulge what exactly her company might be cooking up. But she did say that the price of graphics adapters is something that would need to be addressed.
"I think, the issue that has to be solved for something like that is the right price-point that hits the right segment. There is definitely a lot of interest in it and [this is] something we are keeping our eye on to be able to offer something there," Hass added.
Acer may have taken a cue from Intel in terms of learning how to play hardball. We're not sure what exactly the OEM said to Compal Electronics, but whatever it was, it worked. Citing anonymous sources in the notebook industry, news and rumor site DigiTimes reports that Compal has suddenly turned orders from Asus to produce volume notebooks.
Asus had originally wanted to keep 70 percent of its notebook production with Pegatron Technology and outsource the remaining 30 percent to Foxconn. But in order to save costs, Asus decided to cut back orders with Pegatron to 50 percent and outsource the other 20 percent to a third player.
That's where Compal comes in. Asus had interest in letting Compal produce anywhere from 10-20 percent of those remaining orders in the second half of 2010, but Acer, speaking in private, managed to convince Compal to turn the orders down.
What's interesting is that Acer's market muscle might extend beyond Compal. Quanta Computer, Wistron, and Inventec are also weary about working with Asus, the sources added.
“We have a lab in Korea that is currently working on developing a laptop with partially-transparent screen,” Samsung Electronics America's Reid Sullivan told PlusPlasticElectronics. “Soon, I imagine that all Samsung's audio-visual products will feature this technology. We want to be the first in this market.”
It appears as though transparent AMOLED displays have infatuated Samsung. It also plans to launch a see-through MP3 player christened IceTouch, which according to the report will be available in the early half of 2010. The IceTouch is likely to cost around $330. The real challenge for the consumer will be to think of a practical use for such gadgets once they cease to be a novelty.
Do you know how often we hear about promising new battery technologies every year? Over 4 million times. That's what it feels like, anyway, even if we're way off in our estimation. But here's another number: One. That's how many battery breakthroughs we expect to materialize in an actual product in 2010.
The technology we're referring to comes from a Japanese company called Eamex, who says it has discovered a way to increase the life of high-capacity lithium-ion batteries. We tend to give this one a bit more credibility, if only because Eamex isn't talking about a theoretical tech that could eventually lead to the demise of lithium-ion.
What Eamex has done is figure out a way to stabilize the electrodes and prevent the deterioration of tin. Why's this important? Because it means the batteries can withstand a lot more charge and discharge cycles. We're talking about over 10,000 cycles with a shelf life of 20 years. By comparison, Apple says a MacBook or MacBook Pro battery can withstand about 1,000 cycles over about 5 years of constant use.
Unlike other battery technologies, you don't have to wait a decade for this one to come to market. Eamex says it will ship a battery with about 10,000W of power per kilogram (suitable for electric cars and scooters) by the end of 2010.
Redmond, we have a problem. According to several user reports, Windows 7 inherited Vista's poor power management when it comes to laptop battery life.
The reports mostly come from users on Microsoft's TechNet forum, who complain of reductions in battery life from two hours down to 30 minutes, and in some cases, even less. There have also been complaints of batteries not fully recharging, and some have even claimed that their laptop batteries are forever damaged by whatever drainage problem might be occurring.
These types of issues also plagued Vista and were supposed to be addressed in Windows 7. Towards that end, Microsoft said it was investigating the potential problem, noting that part of the issue relates to the BIOS. According to a Microsoft spokesman, the appearance of error messages suggesting that users replace a perfectly good battery is likely a BIOS issue and the result of Windows 7 pulling data from the PC's firmware.
Battery drainage complaints in Windows 7 are nothing new and have been noted by users dating back to the OS's beta testing days. The issue is particularly problematic for netbook users.
Acer's never been shy about its plans to become the world's largest PC maker, but as it turns out, gunning for that No. 1 spot, at least in terms of notebook shipments, might be harder than the OEM thought.
In the last quarter of 2009, Acer shipped about 9.5 million notebooks, an impressive number, but not as impressive as the 11.38 million units HP managed to ship out. That gives HP a bit of breathing room after Acer previously closed the gap to 1.05 million units (the narrowest it's ever been) when it shipped 9.91 million units in the third quarter, compared to Acer's 8.86 million.
HP has the North American market to thank for increasing its lead, due mostly to a series of sales promotions during the holiday shopping season, including a sub-$300 mainstream notebook.
Looking ahead, HP expects to ship 44 million notebooks in 2010, while Acer will push its ultra-thin line in an attempt to move beyond its original goal of 40 million units.
Just about everything you could want to know about Alienware's M11x 'sorta-netbook' has been leaked to the Web, including when the 11.6-inch notebook is supposed to launch.
It looks as though the M11x will land first in Japan this Friday, February 5th, and then in Malaysia sometime later this month. According to a leaked slide, Dell has decided to bump up the price from $799 to $899, putting the M11x further away from traditional netbook territory.
Not that there would be any mistaking the M11x with a traditional netbook. Rather than an Atom processor with integrated Intel or Nvidia Ion graphics, the M11x will come configured with either an Intel Pentium 1.3GHz chip or Core 2 Duo 1.3Ghz processor, and Nvidia's GT 335M graphics with a 1GB frame buffer, giving the notebook enough power to play 720p HD video
The M11x was originally scheduled to launch in the U.S. sometime this spring, but given that it's being released in Japan later this week, we wouldn't be surprised if Dell released it stateside much earlier.
Forget about over-the-top aesthetics and loud color schemes, MSI is having no part of it, at least not with the latest entries to its Classic series notebooks. Instead, MSI's new CX420 and CR420 keep it relatively simple with an "exclusive Cross-Hatch Color Film Print patterning" the company claims gives them a "fashionable appearance."
Looks aside, it's what's on the inside of these 14-inch notebooks that count, and it all begins with Intel's Core i5 platform. The CX420 also sports up to 4GB of DDR3 800 or 1066 memory, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470 graphics with a 1GB frame buffer, up to 500GB of HDD storage, a 4-in-1 card reader, 1.3MP webcam, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, 10/100/1000 Ethernet LAN, 6- or 9-cell battery, and Windows 7 Home Premium
The CR420 boasts an almost identical spec sheet, except the built-in graphics share the frame buffer with system memory, and the onboard Ethernet LAN tops out at 10/100.