Google had announced last week that it was going to overhaul the Google Docs interface over the next few weeks. Some of those changes have already taken place. One notable change is that the filter for “PDFs” has been supplanted by “Files” in the "items by type" slide-down menu.
Nvidia isn't saying much about its next Ion platform, but if recent rumors turn out to be true, the followup platform looks to be a doozie. According to news and rumor site Fudzilla, Nvidia will double up the number of shaders on the second generation of Ion.
That means Ion 2, as it will likely be called, would ship with at least 32 shaders, providing a big boost to gaming performance on netbooks and nettops built around the platform. And best of all, thermals aren't expected to rise very much, if at all, on the upcoming shrunken version of Ion.
Nvidia's first Ion has yet to really penetrate the market and cut into Intel's Atom platform marketshare, but that could change as more major manufacturers jump on board. Samsung recently announced plans to launch an Ion netbook this month, and Lenovo's Ion-based IdeaPad S12 is due out in August.
Nevertheless, Fudzilla says Ion 2 should launch by the end of this year.
Taiwan-based Shuttle Inc. is mulling an entry into the notebook market, if the grapevine is to be believed. The rumor gained currency after Elitegroup Computer Systems' (ECS') ex-president of notebook business moved to Shuttle as its new president. However, the company has tried to downplay the rumor by contending that it is a bit farfetched to jump to conclusions based on the professional background of its new president. Shuttle is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of motherboards. Its product portfolio also boasts an assortment of small form factor computers and barebones.
While Windows 7, unlike Vista, runs well on netbooks, there are two big problems that must be overcome to make Windows 7 easy to install on netbooks:
Most netbooks lack CD or DVD drives
Netbooks run Windows XP or Linux, neither of which are supported for upgrade installations of Windows 7
As far as problem number one is concerned, there may be a solution: Cnet's Ina Fried reports that Microsoft is mulling over the idea of providing Windows 7 on USB thumbdrives to make upgrading netbooks easier without connecting an external CD or DVD drive. As we demonstrated earlier this year, you can install Windows 7 from a USB key after a bit of finagling. Creating a version of Windows 7 that's USB key-friendly would make the process a lot easier for clean installs.
However, what about Windows XP netbook users who want an easy upgrade? Fried reports that Best Buy's Geek Squad is looking at developing Windows 7 upgrade services.
Windows 7 does include Windows Easy Transfer to move user accounts, email, and data files from Windows Vista or XP systems, but is there a better solution that also works with programs? How about Linux netbook users? Any apps or scripts that can at least get the data over to Windowsland safely? We're looking for better suggestions for making the move from Windows XP or Linux on a netbook or other PC to Windows 7 as painless as possible for non-technical users. Think simple, think reliable, and join us after the jump to pass them along.
At long last, Nvidia may finally adding DirectX 10.1 support to its videocards, assuming Fudzilla is right on the money. According to the news and rumor site, Nvidia's GT200 will be refreshed to a 40nm manufacturing process and the new chips will sport DX10.1.
To date, ATI has been the only one to offer DX10.1 support on some of its videocards (yes, we're completely ignoring S3's Chrome series), a minor extension to DX10 that thus far hasn't meant much for gamers. To to fuel the conspiracy flames, that could change with Nvidia jumping on board. Remember that DX10.1 instructions did at one point show a performance boost on ATI cards in Assassin's Creed, but after a patch removed support for the instruction set, some accused Ubisoft of bowing to pressure from Nvidia after the GPU maker sponsored the title with its The Way It's Meant To Be Played program.
In any event, it looks like refresh will come on the tail end of summer or early fall.
Sun spent the past five years touting its Rock chip project. The Rock project has only yielded delays till now and the much vaunted UltraSparc server chip with multiple cores is still nowhere to be seen. But according to an unconfirmed report, which quotes sources privy to the sensitive details of the project, Sun has finally decided to cancel the Rock chip project. Sun had time and again claimed that the 16-core UltraSparc chip would turn the tide in its favor in the high-end server chip segment. One popular belief is that Oracle, which will soon acquire Sun, may have ordered the cancellation. The cancellation will help Sun trim its R&D budget.
File this one under unconfirmed, but word on the web is that Intel plans to release a six-core Nehalem chip before the end of the year. Citing "sources close to Intel," Bit-tech says existing X58 motherboard owners should be able to drop the new chip into their motherboard with only a BIOS update, giving current Core i7 owners a tantalizing upgrade path to look forward to.
Not much else is known about the supposed six-core Nehalem, however those same sources did say the new chip won't fall into the Core i7 naming scheme. The name is still being worked out
Should this come to fruition, Intel would be the first to market with a six-core consumer desktop CPU. AMD earlier this month released a six-core part well ahead of schedule, but it's a server chip and not a desktop part. Intel also has an existing six-core processor in Xeon form, also intended for servers.
If you thought the tension between Intel and Nvidia had already reached a boiling point over various licensing issues, just wait until the CPU maker (that would be Intel) releases its discrete graphics GPGPU solution called Larrabee sometime next year. The two companies (along with AMD/ATI) will suddenly be in direct competition on a whole new playing field, complete with a plot twist involving a longtime Nvidia graphics partner.
That partner, according to news and rumor site The Inquirer, is EVGA, who up to this point has been Nvidia's number one add-in-board (AIB) partner. Once Larrabee ships, that will change, The Inq says.
If true, this could be a big blow to Nvidia. EVGA has built an enthusiast following by offering one of the most flexible warranty policies in the business, and if the rumor holds true, this would be the second time a major partner jumped ship. Back in December of last year, XFX, another former Nvidia partner known for its liberal warranty terms, announced it would begin selling AMD videocards.
According to the rumor mill, Comcast is going to release a 100Mb service sometime in the not-too-distant future.
Currently, the fastest available service from Comcast is 50/20Mb, and will run consumers roughly $189 per month. There’s no word yet on how much this rumored service will cost, but going from the current model, we can gather that it will be costly.
We’ll be sure to keep our eyes on this as it develops.
Originally scheduled to debut in July, DigiTimes says Intel has gone ahead and postponed the launch of its Core i5 platform until the first half of September, or so that's what "sources at motherboard makers" have been telling them.
Bummer, right? Maybe not. The news and rumor site went on to say that Core i5 processors will show up in the retail sector by late August, with P55-based motherboards surfacing in mid-August. So to sum it up, Core i5 has been delayed until September, but Core i7 will be available in August. Color us confused.
As it currently stands, Core i5 will launch in three speed grades: 2.93GHz, 2.8GHz,and 2.66GHz for $562, $284, and $196, respectively (thousand-unit trays).