Asus is on target to ship between 300,000 and 400,000 handsets by the end of 2008, which isn't nearly as many as the company would have liked. Part of the lower than expected shipment numbers can be attributed to not having enough models to choose from. So far in 2008, Asus has launched just seven new smartphones, or only half as many as the company had hoped with its initial target of 13 to 15.
Going into 2009, Asus plans to make a bigger push into the smartphone market with at least 10 new models, almost all of which will support 3G and come with a touchscreen. Both the transition to 3G and developing handsets based on Google's Android platforms have prevented Asus from releasing as many models as it would have liked up to this point, but according to industry sources in Taiwan, Asus has strengthened its R&D to address both of these areas. If Asus meets its new goals for 2009, it could prove interesting as Asus and rival handset maker High Tech Computer (HTC) try to one-up each other with new devices.
As predicted, HP today announced that they will immediately begin taking orders for the TouchSmart TX2, the first multi touch laptop widely available to consumers. The laptop, priced starting at $1,199, will begin shipping at the end of November.
The TX2’s multi touch interface will work with any program that already supports multi touch, as well as with HP’s integrated MediaSmart media suite. The laptop features an array of gestural controls, including all of the multi touch standards, like pinch-zooming and two finger rotation, as well as the ability to open MediaSmart at any time by drawing an “m” on the screen with both fingers. The screen uses capacitance-based touch detection and is designed to accept input either from the pad of a finger or from a built-in digital pen.
With a 12.1 inch screen and weighing in at 4.3 pounds, the TX2 is physically nearly identical to its predecessor, the TX2000. The only thing differentiating the two visually is the TX2’s glossy, charcoal-colored finish and “Reaction Imprint” design.
All but the cheapest loadouts of the TX2 come equipped with Turion X2 dual-core processors. All models will ship with Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics, and consumers can opt for up to 8GB of DDR2 SDRAM and 500GB of hard disk storage. The laptop also features a webcam and optional fingerprint reader.
What do you think of the TX2? Are multi touch laptops going to become the norm? Let us know after the jump.
One Laptop Per Child's "Give 1 Get 1" program is making a comeback, only this time the OLPC association has teamed with Amazon.com in hopes of ironing out any kinks in the ordering and distribution process. Amazon will start taking order for XO laptops on Monday, November 24 and promises to ship the devices within 30-days, at least in the U.S. Those ordering from the U.K. and elsewhere will be taken from Amazon's U.K. site and will start shipping in the first quarter of next year, or possibly later.
The Give 1 Get 1 program ran for six weeks last year, and in that time managed to sell 160,000 XO laptops. And since more people decided to donate the machine rather than keep one, over 100,000 XO laptops ended up going to school kids in countries like Haiti and Rwanda.
"The phenomenal success of last year's Give 1 Get 1 program created tremendous demand from both the public who wanted to give more and from countries that saw an opportunity to attack poverty through education," said Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman of OLPC, in a statement."
The Give 1 Get 1 promotion runs $400, in which one machine goes to a child in a developing country and the other to the donor who placed the order. Alternately, donors can opt to give away as many individual laptops as they want for $200 per XO.
This week marks a double whammy for PC I/O standards. With the USB Promotor Group announcing the final 1.0 version of the USB 3.0 standard, it has paved the way for the PCMCIA trade association to finalize its ExpressCard 2.0 standard, which it has done today.
"ExpressCard technology is closely tied to the PCI Express(r) and USB specifications, and the 2.0 release of our standard takes full advantage of recent advancements in both interface technologies," said Brad Saunders, chairman, PCMCIA. "Now that the new SuperSpeed USB specification is ready, PCMCIA can move forward to finalize the ExpressCard 2.0 release and make it available to members in early 2009."
Saunders went on to say that new products capable of taking advantage of the new standard will materialize in 2010. ExpressCard 2.0 gives the spec a considerable speed boost by supporting transfer rates up to 10 times faster than ExpressCard 1.2. The new 2.0 standard is also backwards compatible with products compliant with any previous standard.
At long last, the Dell Mini 12 is availableto order for those of us that inhabit North America.
While Dell won’t be shipping out the $549 netbook until December, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get your order in now if you want to be among the first to get one. Packing a 1.33GHz Atom processor, 1GB of memory and a 40GB hard drive, the Mini is looking to be a solid productivity machine, all factors taken into consideration.
The Mini 12 can upgrade to a 1.6GHz Atom processor and an 80GB hard drive, but you’ll end up spending a notably steep $758 for it.
While Intel's Atom chip has been finding its way into nearly every netbook release, AMD has been playing it conservative by taking a wait-and-see approach. At this point, it's not hard to see that netbooks are here to stay, and AMD finally looks ready to capatilize on one of the hottest tech fads of the year.
According to AMD's updated processor roadmap, the chip maker is primed to target mini-notebooks and netbooks with a pair of new processors called Caspian and Conesus. Both are 45nm parts and built using the same architecture as the company's just-released Shanghai chip and both will be dual-core parts with an integrated DDR2 memory controller.
Caspian, which will find its way into ultraportables, will come with 2MB of cache compared to 1MB on Conesus. The latter will also utilize a BGA package so that it can fit into the limited space netbooks afford. Even still, AMD chief executive Dirk Meyer contends that netbooks aren't going to be the company's focus.
"First order, we're ignoring the netbook phenomenon," Meyer said, "concentrating on PC notebooks above that form factor.
Huh? Randy Allen, the senior VP of AMD's Computation Solutions Group, clarified Meyer's curious statement by saying AMD will cede part of the netbook market to Intel, particularly Mobile Internet Devices. "We won't be going to the bottom where Atom is going," Allen said. Allen further stated that customers of the Yukon netbook market don't want a "compromised PC exeprience."
Another day brings with it yet another netbook release, but this latest one makes all the rest look like ginormous notebooks by comparison. Korean manufacturer UMID was spotted showing off its pint-sized portable PC with a touch-screen that measures a scant 4.8-inches, more than 2 inches smaller than the typical netbook.
Despite its small stature, UMID's mini-netbook manages to cram a bunch of goodies underneath the hood. Intel's Atom processor makes a predictable appearance, along with the standard fare 1GB of memory and up to 32GB of SSD storage. But UMID also stuffs the netbook with wireless broadband WiBro, a digital TV receiver, HSDPA, WiMAX, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a webcam, and a micro-SD slot. In addition to Linux and XP, the device also supports Vista.
UMID plans to launch its new tiny netbook sometime in 2009.
Hitachi’s latest, the Travelstar 5K500.B mobile hard drive is next in line to offer built-in data encryption. With the increasing popularity of this trend, the big H has also managed to make it relatively easy to encrypt any valuable data you might have laying around. Thanks to a private security key, the user can encrypt and decrypt data as they see fit.
The new drives also include TCG Storage Security, which supports pre-boot authentication, and up to four different data ranges with multiple user and administrative authentication options.
And while the data encryption options are certainly nice, what really ices the cake is the drastically lowered power consumption. Using only 1.4 watts during various read/write processes, the drive will only consume 10% of the power that an average 3.5” 500GB drive does.
The Travelstar is reportedly going to be shipping worldwide in December, with an enterprise focused version designed for applications that run 24x7 shortly after.
Nvidia looks to take on both Intel and Apple and make a bid for the mobile device market with its Tegra chip. The low powered "computer on a chip" boasts an ARM based processor core, HD video decoder capable of 1080p playback, a variation of the GeForce graphics core, an integrated media processor, and more.
Right now the chip is in the development phase, which company president and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang says is going exceedingly well. Barring any snags, Huang says we can expect to see Tegra shipping sometime between April and June of 2009. The launch would likely kick off with the Tegra 600 running at 700MHz, Tegra 650 running at 800MHz, and the Tegra APX runing at 600MHz.
It remains unclear which partners plan to utilize Tegra, but given the specs, it shouldn't be hard to find willing manufacturers.
Google's open-source Android platform may not have revolutionized the mobile industry just yet, but it has spurred some interesting comments among top level execs. Two weeks ago, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said that the current iteration of Android isn't "good enough to put the Sprint brand name on it," and taking it a step further, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer says he sees the move as being finanically unsound for Google.
"They can hire smart guys, hire a lot of people, blah dee blah dee blah, but you know they start out way behind, in a certain sense," Ballmer said while speaking at Telstra's annual investment day.
Ballmer went on to say that he doesn't understand Google's strategy, criticizing a product launch launch "that has no revenue model." But the potshots didn't end there. Ballmer further indicated that "Google doesn't exactly bubble to the top of the list of competitors we've got going in mobile." Oh snap!
Is Ballmer underestimating the potential of Google's Android platform? Hit the jump and give us your thoughts.