Sprint may not be impressed with Google's Android in its current form and be content to sit on the sidelines, but that isn't stopping Asus from getting in the game with an Android-powered handset of its own. Citing un-named "company sources," news outlet DigiTimes reports Asus will launch an Android-based Google phone sometime in the first half of 2009. It remains unclear what Asus' marketing strategy will be, but speculation suggests the company may initially release the new phone under its own brand name in Taiwan followed up with customized models in other markets later on.
Asus isn't new to the handset game and has already shipped 30,000 units in Taiwan so far this year. The company expects that number to reach 40,000 by the end of the year. Asus will ride those shipments into 2009 with a 3G model using Qualcomm's dual-core solutions planned for Q1.
While Microsoft ponders the future of instant-on technology, notebook vendors aren't waiting for a Windows-based solution. The newest entry is Lenovo who, in a joint collaboration with DeviceFM, has started shipping IdeaPad S10e netbooks with the quick starting Splashtop instant-on OS.
"We are thrilled to partner with Lenovo to bring instant-on capabilities to netbook users," says Mark Lee, CEO and co-founder of DeviceVM. "Netbook users want an instant-on, instant-off, efficient and secure way to get online, and Splashtop is the perfect solution."
Splashtop isn't a new concept and can already be found on several motherboards, desktops, and notebooks, but this marks the first time the instant-on OS will make an appearance on an ultraportable netbook. With the Splashtop OS, users can access applications like Firefox, Skype, and Picasa in just a few seconds rather than waiting for Windows to load.
The next time you're out shopping for toilet paper, kitty treats, motor oil, and a gigantic jar of pickles, you can add a G1 Android-powered smartphone to your list and save money on that too, all without ever having to leave the store. That is, provided you're shopping at Wal-Mart.
Starting Wednesday, the mega-chain will begin selling the G1 phone to both new and existing T-Mobile customers in 550 of its stores, but there's more reason to buy the phone at Wal-Mart than just convenience. According to Wal-mart spokeswoman Melissa O'Brien, the G1 will run $149 for new customers, or $31 less than what you'd pay T-Mobile, who's selling the same phone for $180.
For those of you just coming out of a coma, the G1 is the first Google Android-powered smartphone on the market. Demand for the phone with an open-source OS has been high, with an estimated 1.5 million units already sold through pre-order sales.
Plan on picking one up? Hit the jump and sound off.
For the first time in the history of the industry (unless you've been keeping count), there have been more notebook shipments in the U.S. than desktops, according to IDC's U.S. Quarterly PC Tracker. The mobile milestone comes in the third quarter of 2008, in which notebooks grabbed 55.2 percent of the market.
Helping notebooks whiz by desktops was a record volume of shipments to the tune of 9.5 million units, an 18 percent growth over last year. The numbers come as vendors put increased focus on notebooks over their desktop offerings. Toshiba, for example, has put all its efforts into its notebook business, whereas companies like Sony, Acer, and Lenovo each exceeded the 65 percent notebook ratio, according to IDC.
"The consumer market continued to be the top driving factor in the notebook offensive but the commercial sector played a critical role too" says David Daoud, research manager, U.S. Quarterly PC Tracker and Personal Systems at IDC. "The consumer market has long favored notebooks, with mobile ratios exceeding the 70% mark. So it is clear that the small and mid-markets, as well as the enterprise and public sector buyers, are seeing good value in mobility."
What IDC didn't touch on was what effect the booming netbook market has had on notebooks surpassing desktop shipments. It was reported earlier this month that 80.6 million netbooks had been shipped in Q3, a 15 percent jump from one year ago. And the demand for low cost laptops doesn't look to be diminishing anytime soon (just ask Intel, who recently purchased the Netbook.com domain). According to Mika Kitagawa, prinicpal analyst for Gartner's Client Computing Markets group, netbooks are actually benefitting from the economic crunch.
The decision to go with a 64-bit version of Vista over its 32-bit counterpart remains a dubious one, but not so as far as netbook vendors are concerned. Most new laptops are now shipping with a 64-bit OS. Take Best Buy's newest shipment of HP laptops, for example, who shows 11 models listed as "new arrivals." All but three come with Vista 64-bit, with the remaining models sporting Windows Vista Business downgraded to XP Pro, also in 64-bit form.
Falling memory prices could be one reason for the sudden push into 64-bit territory. Of the 9 laptops outfitted with Vista, all of them come spec'd with 4GB of RAM. But is a 64-bit OS truly necessary to take advantage of 4GB or more?
"The 64-bit versions of Windows can utilize more memory than 32-bit versions of Windows," Microsofts writes in its FAQ. "This helps minimize the time spent swapping processes in and out of memory by storing more of those processes in Random access memory (RAM) rather than on the hard disk. This, in turn, can increase overall program performance."
Running 4GB of RAM on a 32-bit OS isn't a complete waste, but because most systems will only show around 3.25GB as being installed, it's easy to see why notebook vendors would opt for a 64-bit OS to avoid customer confusion. Throw into the mix that hardware and peripheral support in Vista 64-bit is very good and it becomes a low risk option.
Hit the jump and tell us what flavor of Vista you'd prefer to have on your notebook: 32-bit or 64-bit?
It just so happens that text messaging isn’t the soulless form of communication that we’d all thought. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Jeffery Hancock of Cornell University has recently run an experiment on using only text messaging as a form of communication to convey feelings, and the results might surprise you.
The study consisted of 44 pairs of participants, all using only text messaging as means of communication for 20 minutes with the goal of finding out as much about their partner as possible. They were also asked to talk about something that was stressing them out. To help promote communication, one member from each pair watched either a scene from Sophie’s Choice (where a mother in Auschwitz is forced to choose which of her two children would be put to death) or a clip that simply involved small talk.
The results came out with astonishingly high accuracy. They showed that every participant was able to accurately convey their partner’s state of mind, mood and felt a real connection with them. Those teamed up with the watchers of Sophie’s Choice were also notably saddened after the chat.
So as it turns out, texting is a very viable form of communication. It allows us more time to formulate an answer to whomever we’re speaking with, and to be more honest with them than they might be over the phone or email.
Even as Google pushes its own SmartPhone platform, it continues to release some pretty rad apps for the competitor. Google Earth for the iPhone has hit the App Store’s virtual shelves as a free download, and it’s definitely worth a look.
The pint-sized Google Earth looks to have all the same functionality as the computer version, including integration with Wikipedia and Google’s Panoramio library of pictures from around the world. Of course, navigation is a little different on the iPhone, with zooming controlled by pinching your fingers on the screen, and scrolling handled by sweeping a digit across the display. In a nice touch, the viewing angle can be controlled by actually changing the angle of your iPhone.
The apps also integrates Google’s “My Location” feature, which uses cellular tower triangulation to identify your approximate location on the map.
They’ve also posted a video showing off the new app. Check it out and let us know what you think.
For shame, Google. The G1 has barely even launched, and it’s already faced with its first major breach. An exploit has been discovered by an independent security expert which could potentially allow hackers to hijack the web browser on the G1, allowing them access to users’ passwords, cookies and text messages.
The exploit was discovered by Charlie Miller of Independent Security Evaluators, who first noticed the hole in the Android SDK. He bought an early G1 off a T-Mobile employee on eBay, confirmed that the exploit worked on the real deal, and reported the problem to Google two days before the G1 launched.
The exploit takes advantage of a buffer overrun flaw in one of Androids 80 open-source components. Android uses an out-of-date version of the component, newer versions have addressed the flaw. To protect G1 early-adopters, Miller hasn’t publicized which of the 80 components is the one with the weakness.
Google’s response? “We are working with T-Mobile to include a fix for the browser exploit, which will soon be delivered over the air to all devices, and have addressed this in the Android open-source platform.”
As far as Nvidia is concerned, any problems that may have plagued its previous mobile GPUs are a thing of the past. Bill Henry, director of notebook marketing at Nvidia, recently stated that the graphics chip maker has "updated the materials" used to manufacture the company's chips. Nvidia was successful in getting that message across to Apple, who chose to use Nvidia's 9400M GPU it its refreshed MacBook line, but Apple's not the only one who's convinced.
According to news outlet DigiTimes, several global top-tier notebook vendors are jumping on board Nvidia's 9400M bandwagon. Some of these include heavy hitters Asus, Acer, HP, and Dell, all of which plan to launch MCP79-based (9400M) laptops by the end of the year. Speculation among notebook vendors suggest that Nvidia's new chipset could end up with a 20 percent market share of Intel-based notebook platforms.
If true (and according to Ujesh Desai, Nvidia's GM of GeForce products, more than 10 MCP79-based notebooks will have been released by the beginning of next year), Nvidia's fortunes could take a much needed turn for the better, both in public perception and investor confidence, the latter of which has watched the company's stock price plummet compared to not even one year ago, before the market went haywire.
Is Nvidia on the up and up? Hit the jump and give us your take.
No sooner do you fill up your credit card purchasing the latest components, new technology emerges rendering your parts obsolete. Welcome to the world of computers. This fact of computing isn't limited to just the desktop sector, and even though Intel's Centrino 2 platform has just recently manifested in the market place, the company offered onlookers a glimpse of its next generation mobile platform at this year's Intel Developer Forum in Taiwan.
The new platform, currently code-named "Calpella," will include processors based on Intel's upcoming Nehalem architecture, due out in desktop form next month. As with every subsequent generation of notebooks, part of the focus on Calpella will be on preserving battery life and you can expect a number of new features aimed towards this goal. These include power switches capable of shutting down individual processing cores, and independent voltage for memory and I/O.
"It's a very different platform than anything they've done to date," said Nathan Brookwood, an analyst at research firm Insight 64. "When Calpella shows up, everything inside that laptop will be brand new."
No specific release date has yet been set, but rumblings point to sometime in Q3 2009.