HP's newly announced Mini 311 netbook isn't the first ION-powered portable we've seen -- the Lenovo S12 and Samsung N150 both equip Nvidia's low-powered graphics accelerator (the equivalent of a 9400M). But HP's 11.6-inch offering is possibly the first accelerated netbook with the potential to break into the mass market. Part of that is due to its aggressive $399 pricing, which isn't shabby considering that the system is equipped with an Intel Atom N270, 1GB of DDR3 memory, 160GB storage, and a relatively high-resolution display. We got some hands-on time with the Mini 311, running several processor-intensive tasks to see if the ION chip makes a difference in real world performance.
Read on for the full specs, impressions, and more pics!
When we last visited the Lenovo Thinkpad T400s, we gave it a relatively good score based on its sleek, black matte chassis, its comfortable ergonomic keyboard and its reliable on-the-go specifications, which included a 128GB SSD. Now, the T400s has had a minor overhaul in hardware (including a touchscreen LCD) and software and we were lucky enough to get some hands-on playtime with the still-in-beta SimpleTap multi-touch software.
Japanese electronics manufacturers Casio, NEC and Hitachi have decided to merge their mobile phone divisions. The merged entity will be ready to lock horns with local and international competitors by April next year. Casio and Hitachi are already part of a joint venture they constituted in 2004. With NEC joining the existing joint venture, the resulting entity will, immediately after its birth, acquire the bragging rights that belong to the second-largest handset maker in Japan.
Score another win for open-source fans, and Google's Android platform in particular. While earlier this year LG seemingly committed to only releasing Windows Mobile-based smartphones, the handset maker today announced its first Android device, which the company hopes will give it "a broader and more dominant position in the market."
The new LG-GW620 comes with a 3-inch full touchscreen display, along with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard to mash out those Twitter updates and emails on the go.
"The LG-GW620 will appeal to first-time smartphone customers by offering a new and different kind of user experience," said Dr. Skott Ahn, President and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. "Our objective is to provide a wide selection of smartphones to satisfy the diverse preferences of today's consumers."
Perhaps looking to smooth things over with Microsoft, LG was also quick to point out that it will be introducing at least 13 other smartphones over the next 16 months, each one based on Windows Mobile.
As for the LG-GW620, it will be available in the fourth quarter in "select European markets." No word yet on price or U.S. availability.
Microsoft's new Zune HD doesn't launch until tomorrow, but you can already knock 15 percent off the pre-order price by going through Dell. Using coupon code 6FWJ247J1P44CK brings the 32GB player down from $290 to a little under $246 with free 2-day shipping. The same coupon code also drops the 16GB Zune HD down from $220 to $187.
Both models sport a 3.3-inch OLED touchscreen and Nvidia's multi-core Tegra processor inside to push high definition video and Flash content through a slim form-factor. If the Zune HD lives up to the hype, it will be the most powerful music and media player in its class. And with the above coupon code, one of the most affordable as well.
Still on the fence? The coupon is good until October 31, 2009 and also works on other electronics and accessories, excluding "power, batteries, monitors, Dell docking stations, cameras, camcorders, Samsung TVs, and storage."
Spotify is scheduled to launch in the US later this year, or early 2010, but the details of how it will work stateside are still up in the air. In Europe the free version is ad supported, and the ad-free version runs €10 (about $16.60) per month. Due to the competition Spotify faces in the US from services like Pandora, the London based firm is considering a single “freemium” service. Users would be able to pay for specific features.
The service allows users to browse and play any of over 6 million tracks. It even supports offline caching for those times when an Internet connection isn’t available. There is no word yet on the fate of these details for a US release. Licensing negotiations are currently all that stand in the way of US access.
OMG! Have u herd da newz? T-Mobile subscribers spend more time mashing their thumbs on tiny keys ferociously text messaging their contacts and updating their Facebook profiles than any other mobile customers, T-Mobile boasts.
"Our users are sending 600 messages per user per month on average. And, a lot of the users on our higher-end smartphones update their status on social networks a couple times a week," said Cole Brodman, T-Mobile USA's CTO.
Brodman said much of the activity can be attributed to Android users, who now have both the G1 and newer myTouch 3G to play with, as well as access to around 10,000 applications through the Android Market. In order to support these high-tech phones, a growing list of apps, and an active userbase, T-Mobile said it plans to update its 3G network to HSPA 7.2 by the end of the year, followed by another upgrade to HSPA 21 by next year.
Amazon may not have invented the e-book, but it sure did popularize the genre of electronics with its Kindle reader, and now everyone wants in on the action. The latest with intent to enter the e-book fray is Time, Inc., says Owen Thomas from NBCBayArea.com, who claims to have seen an internal document detailing the company's intention.
According to Thomas, the presentation, titled "New Platforms & Business Models for Publishers," is dated June 25, 2009 and contains handwritten notes updating the paper. Thomas says the presentation was circulated as recently as August, which would indicate that Time, Inc. plans to make a move within the next few months.
"We're speaking with a number of hardware and software companies as well as other content companies about various projects," said Time, Inc. spokeswoman Dawn Bridges when asked about the project. "At this point we don't have anything else to say publicly."
Thomas says the presentation points out Time, Inc.'s awareness of the publishing opportunity presented by the emergence of e-book readers and other portable reading devices, and "whoever defines the interface wins."
Both Samsung and Toshiba recently announced that they’d be among the first to release 2.5-inch 640GB hard drives for the mobile market.
Samsung’s new 640GB 2.5-inch Spinpoint M7 internal drive has a density of 516-Gigabit per square inch for each of the 320GB platters, which is a 28 percent increase per platter over it’s previous record setting 500GB internal drive. The density change allowed Samsung to up the storage capacity without adding additional platters.
On September 2nd Toshiba began shipping out their new sample 640GB 2.5-inch drive to OEMs and distributors. Given its density of 817.0 Mbit/mm2, the new drive will bring performance improvements over their previous generation of 5,400RPM drives, and will lower energy consumption by 28 percent.
iPhone owners and anyone else using AT&T's cellular network can look forward to faster WiFi, as the telco on Wednesday announced plans to rollout High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2 technology to boost its 3G network.
"Our deployment of HSPA 7.2 and supporting backhaul connectivity will enable our customers to continue to ride the leading edge of emerging devices and thousands of mobile applications," said John Stankey, president and CEO, AT&T Operations.
AT&T says it will begin deployment of HSPA 7.2 in six major cities, including Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, and Miami, all of which should see upgraded service by the end of the year. By the end of 2010, AT&T expects that list to include 25 of the nation's 30 largest markets (sorry Booger Hollow, Arkansas).
Coinciding with the rollout of HSPA 7.2 will be multiple compatible handsets and devices, including at least six new smartphones and two new LaptopConnect cards.