In the market for a new LCD monitor? Count yourself among the few. Citing "market sources," Digitimes says that first tier PC brands, including Hewlett-Packard (HP), Acer, and Dell, have all pulled in the reigns on new LCD monitor orders for 2011 because of weaker-than-expected demand.
The exact reason for this has analysts stumped. Some market watchers say the weak demand might just be the result of the typical business practices for this time of year, as the peak season typically occurs in the third quarter. Because of this, vendors end up setting higher order volumes to receive more favorable pricing, and then reduce orders in the forth quarter.
But is that what's happening? It should also be noted that several LCD makers have been rocked by price fixing lawsuits in recent months, and it could be that PC vendors are waiting to see how it all plays out before fully replenishing their LCD monitor stock.
Go quad or go home. That's the general theme behind Patriot's new Xporter Rage series of USB flash memory drives, which offer up to 27MB/s read and up to 25MB/s write speeds, a result of the quad-channel design.
"The Xporter Rage USB Flash Drives are exceptionally fast and provide an outstanding value to users," states Meng Jay Choo, Product Manager at Patriot. "Designed around the quad-channel performance solution, these drives are some of the fastest available. When you also consider the convenience and ease of use offered by the capless rubber-coated housing, Rage drives are ideal for enthusiasts and professionals who need to transport and quickly access their important data on-the-go."
The Xporter Rage series is available now in a variety of capacities to suit a number of budgets, including 8GB ($25 street), 16GB ($40 street), 32GB ($75), and 64GB ($140).
Logitech on Thursday unveiled a full lineup of HD webcams along with its Vid HD videoconferencing software. By combining one with the other, users are able to make 720p video calls, record in full 1080p HD, and upload HD content to Facebook and YouTube with a single click, Logitech says.
"HD video calling is a critical step toward our vision of a world in which video communication is as mainstream and seamless as a telephone call — for anyone, anywhere," said Eric Kintz, vice president and general manager of Logitech’s video business. "With Logitech HD webcams and Vid HD, you have everything you need to share, to connect, to see the people that matter to you in breathtaking detail that far surpasses the quality of embedded webcams."
For those who want to record in 1080p, you can pick up Logitech's HD Pro Webcam 910 for $100, which also features two mics (one on either side of the webcam lens) and measures just 25mm deep. The Logitech HD Webcam C510 runs a little less at $60 and drops HD 1080p recording, but is otherwise the same webcam but with a fold-and-go design.
Yet another reason why you just can't have enough USB ports, Samsung has developed a USB-powered LCD PC display that requires no AC/DC power source.
The display, which was being shown off at the SID 2010 conference in Seattle, measures 18.5 inches and consumes as little as 6.3W. Plug it into a USB port and you're good to go.
"We are planning to start volume production of the LCD display for desktop PCs in 2011," Samsung said.
In order to ditch the traditional power cord, Samsung had to figure out a way to reduce power consumption. The company did this by improving the transmittance of the panel and luminance efficiency of the backlight. According to Samsung, the transmittance of the panel is at about 7 percent, but the company declined to elaborate on what technologies it used to achieve this.
What we do know is that it comes with an edge-lit type backlight that taps into LEDs for its light source. Samsung's LEDs boast a higher efficiency than traditional LEDs used in LCD monitors, but at a rated lifetime of 30,000 hours, they also offer about 20,000 hours less.
We're big fans of the Das Keyboard, a mechanical plank with oh-so-satisfying key action and a pair of USB ports. Adesso's latest gaming keyboard, the MKB-135B, also sports mechanical keys and two USB ports, but kicks it up a notch by tossing audio jacks into the mix.
Adesso's full size keyboard offers up the same tactile and audio response inherent with mechanical key switches and is good for up to 20 million keystrokes. In addition, the n-key rollover function permits up to 6 keys to be pressed at the same time, ensuring all your keystrokes will be registered no matter how fast you type.
On the top left is where you'll find the integrated hi-speed USB 2.0 hub, which also provides 500mA power current so you shouldn't run into trouble charging your MP3 player and other handheld devices. Next to the two USB ports are the mic and audio jacks.
Beginning April 25, you'll be able to stroll into Target's flagship downtown Minneapolis store or one of 102 south Florida stores and purchase Amazon's Kindle ebook reader, Target announced today.
"We’re excited to be working with Amazon to help even more readers discover Kindle, in-store only at Target," said Mark Schindele, senior vice president, Target. "We strive to enhance our product offerings to include surprising products and services at great values so we’re proud to be the first brick-and-mortar retailer to sell Kindle, allowing our guests to feel how lightweight and easy on the eyes Kindle is."
Prior to this, Kindle has only been available online direct from Amazon. But that was before the ebook reader wars got a lot more interesting when, earlier this month, Best Buy confirmed plans to carry Barnes and Noble's Nook. What's more, Apple's iPad and a flurry of other handheld tablets on tap threaten to cut into the Kindle's market share, and we suspect this limited brick and mortar run will end up expanding to other markets.
The Kindle will sell for the same price ($259) in Target as it does online.
Right now the line between ebook readers and handheld tablets have been drawn, but as time goes on, we may see the line separating the two segments start to blur. Enter Liquavista, a Dutch firm who has developed a color ebook reader that supports video and may end up including Web browsing as well.
Liquavista tapped into a technology called "electrowetting," which the company claims is up to four times more energy efficient than LCD screens. Electrowetting involves small electrical charges moving colored oil within each pixel, and also has the advantage of fast image loads. According to Liquavista, the new display can change images at up to 60 times per second, whereas current ebook readers can take up to 2 seconds to load each page.
"You certainly could see this technology in your smartphone, in your mobile phone, in your Web tablet, in your PC, in your notebook" said Guy Demuynck, head of the firm. But eventually you could see it in your home as your television screen in your living room."
Even more promising for ebook readers and other portable devices, Liquavista says electrowetting works well in sunlight.
Display maker Viewsonic has quietly thrown its hat into the ebook reader ring by unveiling the VEB620 and VEB625, a pair of ereaders that have so far been unaccompanied by a press release or any kind of fanfare.
Both models sport a 6-inch E-ink display, 2GB of onboard storage, and an accelerometer so you can view your ebooks in either landscape or portrait mode. Other features include a 3.5mm headset jack, SD card slot, a 0.5W speaker, support for MP3 audio, and support for XML (epub, fb2), HTML (HTML, HTM), PDF, TXT, and RTF.
Viewsonic says you can turn pages by using the left and right buttons or by shaking the ereaders left or right. The slightly taller (10.9 inches vs 9.9 inches) VEB625 adds touch functionality to the mix so you can also use a finger swipe to turn pages, take freehand notes and highlight sections, and peck notes on a virtual keyboard. In addition, the VEB625 integrates Wi-Fi connectivity.
There are plenty of Logitech fans who swear by their Harmony remotes, but if you're not rocking a complex home theater setup, then what's the point of investing in a decked out remote? Good question, and one Logitech will try to answer with its just-announced Harmony 300 designed for simpler home entertainment systems.
"Most universal remotes have a bad reputation for being hard to program and, as a result, you still use more than one remote to control the devices you own," said Ashish Arora, vice president and general manager of Logitech's digital home group. "With the Harmony 300, we wanted to deliver the Harmony remote promise of one remote to control your entertainment system to everyone. No more excuses -- it's time to get rid of the stack of remotes on your coffee table and simplify your home entertainment experience."
Logitech said it designed a refreshed Web-based setup exclusively for the Harmony 300, in which you'll connect the remote to your PC, go to www.myharmony.com, input your devices, and let Logitech do the rest. The peripheral maker also promises your Harmony 300 will never be out of date, boasting a growing online library that already supports more than 225,000 devices from over 5,000 brands.
The Harmony 300 will be available in early April for $50.
Asus today announced the launch of its Cine5 PC speaker. According to Asus, it's the world's most compact five-channel speaker and serves up multi-directional surround sound.
"By integrating an array of speaker drivers into a single bar, the Cine5 PC speaker helps users save space in their study rooms," Asus said. "Additionally, installation is simplified by eliminating the need to set up multiple satellite speakers—users just need to place the Cine5 PC speaker below the computer monitor. No positional adjustment is necessary to get the sweet spot for audio recreation."
The Cine5 pumps out 25W max (15W RMS) and measures 373 x 100 x 100 mm with metal stands (373 x 100 x 80 mm with rubber stands). it comes with a 3.5mm jack for multi-channel inputs, headphone output, volume knob, and a 5.1 channel audio cable.
Asus also says you can expect a bit of punch with the Cine5, despite its compact size. By using a specially-designed bass reflex port, Asus claims the Cine5 provides 15dB more bass than speakers of similar size.