Retail PC sales rise up on Chromebook and Mac shipments
As we've said time and again, the PC sector is alive is well. According to NPD Group, retail PC sales grew nearly 3 percent during the 10-week back-to-school shopping season that went from July 4th through Labor Day week), compared to a 2.5 percent decline in the same period a year ago. Where things get interesting is when you break down those sales to look for trends in consumer spending.
Asus has been winning over gamers with its Republic of Gamers (ROG) line of laptops, some of which sport aggressive designs. Others, like the new Asus G551 and G771 gaming laptops, feature a more traditional aesthetic with an emphasis on quiet cooling -- Asus describes the scheme as an "almost-silent cooling system" that efficiently removes heat with minimal fan noise.
Samsung, one of the biggest participants in Google's Chromebook movement, is planning to cease all laptop sales in Europe, multiple outlets are reporting. The decision effectively ends Samsung's presence as a traditional PC player in Europe, as it doesn't sell deskop computers in the region, either. Samsung does, however, continue to sell tablet PCs and smartphones in Europe.
If you're looking for a business laptop to bring into the boardroom and take notes with, there's nothing for you to see here (unless you want to make a splash in front of your colleagues and bosses). However, if it's an aggressive design and affordable price tag you're after, Xotic PC may have something of interest. Meet the Phantom X1, Xotic PC's latest 15.6-inch gaming laptop starting at $1,159.
It doesn't matter if you're sticking with Windows or trying your hand at Chrome OS, HP has new systems for whichever platform you ultimately choose. Those going with Chrome OS might be interested in HP's second generation Chromebook models available in 11.6-inch and 14-inch models, both of which are splashed with color. And those wanting to go with Windows might find something of interest in HP's new Envy x2 and Pavilion x2 detachables.
New systems for the board room, game room, and beyond
Lenovo already blitzed the IFA 2014 convention in Berlin with a number of product announcements yesterday, but as it turns out, the company was just warming up. Picking up where it left off, Lenovo today announced a new portfolio of devices that include the ThinkPad Helix, Horizon 2s, Horizon 2e, ThinkCentre Tiny-in-One (TIO), and Edge 15 with starting prices ranging from $279 on up to $999.
Don't accuse Lenovo of putting all of its eggs in a single basket. That wasn't the company's strategy up to this point, nor is it the road to success going forward -- instead, Lenovo is kicking off the 2014 IFA Consumer Electronics Unlimited show in Berlin by showcasing three new tablet and gaming systems. They include the Tab S8, Y70 Touch laptop, and Erazer X315 desktop
Some Surface Pro 3 tablets are prone to overheating
A limited number of Surface Pro 3 owners have been reporting issues with their tablets overheating, even when running light tasks or simple sitting at idle. In turn, this has led to the cooling fan ramping up to excessive noise levels. Microsoft is aware of the overheating issue and has promised Surface Pro 3 owners that a fix will be issued "as soon as possible." It's unclear if that means it will come on Patch Tuesday (September 9), before, or after.
Digital Storm today unveiled its Bolt II Battle Box Titan Z Special Edition, which is a specially priced Bolt II small form factor (SFF) rig wielding a dual-GPU Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan Z graphics card. In addition to adding a Titan Z, Digital Storm went back to the drawing board and redesigned the Bolt II to accommodate a new Hardline Cooling System consisting of a 240mm radiator, pump, and "stunning" acrylic tubing with yellow coolant.
With Windows 9 (Threshold) rumored for an introduction next month along with a Release Preview for consumers and developers alike, it's safe to say that the Windows 8 era is winding down, though some would argue it never truly began (market share figures would back that argument). So, what do you do if you're an OEM looking to pick up sales for the back to school season? Well, if you're HP, you promote Windows 7 and offer shoppers an enticing discount.