Microsoft's Kodu game-development tool is now no longer restricted to the Xbox 360. Kodu's journey to the PC was not entirely a walk in the park for its developers as they had to do some serious work to make it compatible with the keyboard-mouse combo. The tool is supposed to be ridiculously easy even for kids, allowing them the opportunity to channelize their creativity in an enjoyable manner. It is available as a technical preview at this point in time. Microsoft researcher Matt MacLaurin is credited with the development of Kodu. The former Apple employee is currently part of Microsoft's Fuse Labs. He got the idea of creating Kodu in 2006, when he sensed his three-year-old daughter's interest in computers.
The SG41J1 is a low end PC based on the G41 chipset and runs Core2 Quad CPUs. You’ll get integrated Intel graphics on this model. The next step up is the SH55J2 which has the Intel H55 supporting both Core i3 and Core i5 CPUs, but still just integrated graphics here. If you’re out for performance in your tiny PC, the SX58HJ3 is the way to go. It will run Core i7 CPUs and somehow has room for a CrossFireX or Nvidia SLI setup.
Stepping a bit out of their comfort zone, Shuttle is also showing off their now Shuttle X50 V2 all-in-one. It will have a dual-core Atom and Intel GMA graphics. No availability or pricing information was released.
For as long as netbooks have existed, people have been buying more and more of them. More than 33.3 million netbooks will have shipped by year’s end, amounting to a 103 percent increase over last year. Revenue will be up about 72 percent indicating some price cuts. But according to DisplaySearch, as laptops with ultra low voltage (ULV) CPUs become cheaper, netbook sales will slow considerably.
They project netbook shipments to only grow by about 20 percent next year. Still, the situation can’t be bad when 20 percent growth is a big drop. As ULV laptops creep below $500, consumers will begin purchasing them in larger numbers. ULV computers have similarly good battery life, but better performance than netbooks running Atom chips.
The report also suggests that the uptick in ULV sales will likely mean manufacturers will take a revenue hit of only 1% or so. While netbooks will remain big sellers, they probably won’t have another year like 2009.
Desktop-style internet browsing is expected to become a mainstream feature across all mobile phone segments, including budget and feature phones, as mobile phones are now being taken very seriously as internet devices by vendors and users alike. With an increasing number of people taking to the internet on mobile phones, the mobile internet market is certainly headed upwards, both in terms of its overall worth and bandwidth consumption.
Morgan Stanley has published a couple of voluminous reports, called 'The Mobile Internet Report” and 'The Mobile Internet Report Key Themes,” in order to quantify this boom. According to the two documents, it expects the mobile internet market to be "at least 2x size of Desktop Internet” in the coming few years. A recent study had confirmed the iPhone's status as the most popular mobile internet device when it revealed that the smartphone accounted for half of the world's mobile data bandwidth.
Does this mean that the iPhone will ride the mobile internet wave to become just as popular an internet device as the ubiquitous PC? Morgan Stanley definitely believes the odds favor the iPhone, which "may prove to be the fastest ramping and most disruptive technology product / service launch the world has ever seen." The firm believes that smartphone shipments will outnumber PC shipments by 2012.
Oh, Windows 7. I enjoy a number of enhancements to the operating system over that of its lesser brother, Windows Vista. However, one of the chief omissions of this new OS has actually been one of the more useful staples of Windows for a long time. It's the good ol' network activity light, a little icon in your tray that would blink on and off to match whenever you sent or received network traffic. Not only was this tiny icon a quick troubleshooting device--no send light when loading an Internet-using application means trouble--but it was a useful way to tell how much bandwidth you've eaten up during your daily computing session, as you'd get your usage stats by simply hovering your mouse over said icon.
But alas, there is no way to resurrect said icon or functionality natively in Windows 7. Sure, you can bring back an icon of-sorts, but it ain't gonna blink. Sorry. It's just a simple little link to your Network and Sharing center. To truly reap the benefits of the old-school network activity light, you're going to have to look to a third-party developer. That, or click the jump, because I've found the perfect little utility that replicates this feature in Windows 7 error-free.
Brian Rakowski, the Google Chrome product manager, dishes out the details on the Official Google Blog. The Google Chrome betas for Mac and Linux, he says, were engineered to meet the demanding expectations of both platforms. Mac users, he says, will be impressed with the almost instantaneous launch time--so fast “there’s hardly even time for the icon in the dock to bounce!” The Mac version integrates with Mac features, such as the Keyhain, spell check, and SandBox for enhanced security.
For the Linux beta, Google remained faithful to the open source community, with more than 50 contributors contibuting to Chrome's foundation, Chromium. Google Chrome for Linux fits natively with the operating system where possible, including integration of native GTK themes, and updates managed by the standard system package manager.
Google, according to Rakowski, is all too aware that a browser without extensibility just isn’t a browser. But, at the same time, Google didn’t want to jeopardize Google Chrome’s speed and stability. Extensions, according to Rakowski, accomplishes these objectives. Extensions, says Rakowski, “are as easy to create as web pages, easy to install, and each extension runs in its own process to avoid crashing or significantly slowing down the browser.” Rakowski says there are more than 300 extensions now ready for use, but only for Windows and Linux boxes.
The same sources say today's 10-inch models will be relegated to entry-level markets, where they'll do battle with smartphones. Expect the next generation of 10-inch netbooks to sport touchscreen displays, which will fill in the mid-range markets, while 12-inch models will drive the high-end.
Because Intel has pigeonholed its Atom platform to netbooks sized 10 inches and less, vendors are expected to turn to Nvidia's Ion graphics platform comibned with an Intel Atom or VIA Nano chip for 12-inch models. The downside to this is cost, as the Ion chipset raises the price by about $60.
If you're a true geek, then you love experimenting with and comparing all the different Web browsers on the market today. You might have a default browser of choice for rendering most Web pages, but you still keep a number of other browsers available for their usefulness, their speed, or their compatibility in synchronizing to devices you already own (cough the iPhone cough). It's fun to surf the net in different ways. And, depending on the Web site, you might also need to have other options on hand in case a site fails to work in one rendering engine.
So how, then, do you toggle between these browsers? Sure, you could assign each to your right-click context menu and scroll through the "open with..." choices each time you need to switch to a new app. That's kind of ugly and tedious, don't you think? A fun little application called Browser Chooser improves this process by giving you a pretty little GUI for selecting your browser of choice whenever you want to pull up a page. It's a lightweight utility that's as easy to configure as it is to use, giving you the flexibility to pull up a number of different rendering engines at the touch of a button.
If I asked you in 1993, “What’s a PC?”, you’d probably have pointed to the beige box sitting under your desk at work. In 1999, if I asked you the same question, the odds are good that you’d have shown me a grey box in your den. In 2005, you would probably have shown me a shiny new notebook. But, as I sit here in 2009, I’m finding it difficult to answer this seemingly simple question.
Sitting on my desk, I have four extremely powerful computing devices, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Let’s decide which of these are personal computers together.
Machine A features four CPU cores, and a host of GPUs and coprocessors. Machine B is more modest, with three CPU cores and a decent GPU. Machine C is even more modest, with a dual-core CPU, but a woefully inadequate GPU. Machine D pushes a lot of its workload onto dedicated processors, but still sports a dedicated GPU.
So, what’s all this powerful hardware? A home-built gaming PC, an Xbox 360, a Lenovo X200s notebook, and an iPhone 3GS.
It's a pretty slick deal of Amazon to open up its Kindle library to devices beyond those of the company's handheld book readers. But just because the Kindle software has gone multi-platform doesn't mean that it's a sure winner. No, it's the ease-of-use and almost iTunes-like functionality of this simple e-book reader that makes it a great piece of software for your desktop or laptop PC.
You can't do very much with Kindle for PC aside from read books purchased through Amazon's extensive library--which, in itself, makes sense. You wouldn't really want another piece of software to read PDFs, right? Joking aside, the one thing this software does, it does well. Grabbing new book titles from Amazon is as easy as logging into the Web site, hitting download, and waiting for the book to quickly refresh itself in your Kindle for PC home screen. Your collection of digital novels appears as the front covers of each title, and you can sort this list by the order in which you downloaded the e-books, their names, or the author's name.