A new report by Gartner suggests that by the year 2015, your kids are going to make you feel old. Really old. The reason? They're going to look at you funny when you talk about growing up on PCs without touchscreens, which they'll find more horrific than when your folks used to talk about trekking to and from school 5 miles in a blizzard, uphill, both ways.
"What we're going to see is the younger generation beginning to use touchscreen computers ahead of enterprises," said Leslie Fiering, research vice president at Gartner. "By 2015, we expect more than 50 percent of PCs purchased for users under the age of 15 will have touchscreens, up from fewer than 2 percent in 2009. On the other hand, we are predicting that fewer than 10 percent of PCs sold to enterprises in 2015 for mainstream knowledge workers will have touchscreens."
The reason enterprises will be outpaced by 15-year-olds in adopting touchscreens is because of the heavy requirements for typing and text input, Gartner says. And as prices come down, schools will emerge as a major market to touch and pen-enabled devices, exposing kids to touchscreen computing at a younger age than ever before.
"Consensus among the Gartner client U.S. school districts is that over half, and possibly as many as 75 percent, will be specifying touch and/or pen input within the next five years," said Ms. Fiering. "Consider this as the precursor to a major upcoming generational shift in how users relate to their computing devices."
Which do you value more in a notebook, sexy aesthetics or raw performance? If you answered "both," then Acer's Ethos line might be right up your alley.
On the performance side, these desktop replacements pack an Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850 or 5650 graphics, up to 16GB of DDR3 memory, up to two 640GB hard drives, 5.1 surround sound, optional Blu-ray player, multi-card reader, and eSATA and HDMI ports.
Hiding all that hardware is a gorgeous chassis with a matte silver back and a black and silver interior theme. But it's the trackpad that steals the show. Acer equipped the trackpad with touch-sensitive buttons to control your media.
"The media console is now combined with the touchpad, providing a set of commands all managed by a single key and a completely new approach to entertainment control," Acer said in a statement.
The Acer Aspire Ethos 18-inch model (8943G) should be available in the U.K. towards the end of June for around $1,675, while the 15.6-inch model (5943G) will follow in Q3. No word yet on when these will ship stateside.
iBuyPower is hoping to attract touchy-feely gamers with its new Battalion Touch CZ-11 notebook. The CZ-11 is the second in a line of new multi-touch notebooks from iBuyPower, while the Battalion series are the only multi-touch gaming laptops in the world, the OEM claims.
"Multi-touch is one of the fastest growing PC gaming interfaces," said Darren Su, Executive Vice President of iBuyPower. "Pairing those capabilities with a Core i7 processor, high definition LCD, and graphics card allows the CZ-11 to meet the mobile gaming needs of almost any user."
The CZ-11 sports a 15.6-inch full HD (1920x1080) LCD display, Intel Core i7 720QM mobile processor, 4GB of DDR3 memory, ATI Radeon HD 5650 graphics, 500GB hard drive, optional Blu-ray, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, 3-in-1 card reader, 6-cell battery, and Windows 7 Home Premium.
Pricing starts at $1,100, or $1,300 as configured above.
We're not sure why these haven't received any fanfare up to this point, but for those of you who like to get all touchy-feely with your notebooks, Dell's new Studio 1558 Touch and Studio 1749 Touch notebooks both beg to be groped.
Perhaps a press release is forthcoming, but for the time being, you'll find these models in Dell's online catalog. From what little we're able to lift, both come with a mobile Core i5 processor clocked at 2.4GHz, 3GB of memory, a 320GB hard drive, and Windows 7 Home Premium.
"These Studio 1558 and Studio 1749 laptops put the fun in functional," Dell's catalog reads. "The touchscreens let you scroll, pan, and zoom within a variety of applications, manage and edit photos and videos with TouchCam, and indulge your artistic side with YouPaint, all with a simple slide of your fingertips."
According to the catalog, the 1558 and 1749 start at $999 and $1,049, respectively.
The current lot of PDAs, and perhaps their smartphone and Tablet PC stand-ins, are neat technology, but could you go to war with one? (Maybe even more relevant: could you afford to drop yours?) If what you need is something that will withstand a lot more abuse, AIS Industrial Innovations has something that might interest you: the Mobile Rugged PDA (RPDA37), with the looks and brawn that pair well with your cosplay Master Chief outfit.
The Mobile Rugged PDA is MIL-STD-810F/461F compliant, has an “ingress protection rating of IP67” and meets the IEC 60529 (IP65) international protection standard. It’s build to withstand extreme conditions, repeated five-foot drops, and thermal shock. And it has cool rubberized bumpers.
While that’s impressive, perhaps the internal specs aren’t. The RPDA37 has a Marvell PXA270 625MHz processor, 256MB RAM, and a base storage of 256MB Flash ROM. It has a 3.7-inch transflective TFT LCD that’s touchscreen capable. Resolution depends on the option chosen: either QVGA, 240 x 320, or VGA, 480 x 640. And for operating systems there’s a choice of Windows CE 5.0 or Windows Mobile 6.1.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are standard, but GPS/GAlILEO and GPRS/3G/3.5G are optional. Ports include two USB 1.1 Type A connectors, one USB 1.1 Type B mini connector, an RS-232 port, and ethernet port, headphone and microphone jacks, and a Micro-SD slot.
If you really got to have one you’re going to need to save. The base model will set you back $1,899.
The new Asus T101MT netbook tablet was spotted in an FCC filing back in December, but it’s now been made official. The systems comes with the familiar netbook internals including a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450 processor, a 10.1-inch LED-backlit screen (with touchscreen capabilities), and 1-2GB of RAM depending on which version of Windows 7 the customer opts for. Consumers will also have a choice between a 160GB hard drive, or a 320GB hard drive with 500GB of Asus cloud storage free for a year.
Of course, the real trick here is the rotating screen that swivels around to put the computer into tablet mode. The system is not obscenely heavy at 2.9 lbs, and will offer a reported 6.5 hours of battery life. As an extra added bonus the SD card slot will be able to read the new SDXC cards up to 32GB in size. No specifics on price or availability were announced, but we’ll keep an eye out. Does this sort of form factor interest you at all?
Lenovo has introduced three new value systems rocking AMD CPUs and graphics. The C315 is a stylish little all-in-one set up, and the G445 and G555 are laptops. Lenovo is making no mistake about the message here. “Our new G series notebooks and C series all-in-one desktop are designed for users who want a simple but powerful computing experience without any headaches,” said Lenovo’s Dion Weisler.
The C315 will have a fairly large 20 inch widescreen display with touchscreen technology built in. It will have an Athlon dual-core CPU, 4GB of RAM, and ATI Radeon Mobility graphics. At $649, this isn’t a bad deal at all. It’s sort of a budget HP TouchSmart machine.
The laptops look like nice values as well. Both will have 16:9 widescreen displays and Turion II dual-core CPUs. Radeon HD graphics are, of course, also on board. Lenovo did not detail what specs would differentiate the two units, which makes us curious as they both have the same MSRP of $449. Keep an eye on this if you're looking for a deal on a system and power isn't tops on your list.
Asus is apparently making plans to release their first Pine Trail powered all-in-one PC. The Eee Top ET1610PT will come equipped with the fairly new Intel Atom D410 single core CPU, and of course, Intel integrated graphics. The PC will have a 15.6 inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 1600x900. It will also come equipped with 802.11n Wi-Fi, which is a nice feature on a low end machine.
Strangely, this new PC will come with Windows XP preinstalled. You read that right, no Windows 7 on this bad boy. The presence of that touchscreen display makes the decision to go with XP just that much more baffling. The machine is expected to go for 400 Euros when is ships.
Touchscreens are a kludge. For the most part they consist of a touchscreen laid over a display. It works, but it adds an extra layer of complexity and weight to any device that uses one. Samsung says it will begin mass producing a 3.3-inch AMOLED WVGA panel for mobile devices this March, which effectively merges the touchscreen into a single device.
An AMOLED is an incredibly thin LED screen, with brightness nearing that of LEDs, and which has no need for backlighting. What Samsung has done is place the touch sensor onto the display, making them one in the same. (The touch sensor is 0.001 mm thick.) This single-piece device is not only less complex, it’s lighter and thinner.
According to Samsung, “Through mass production, we want to make this touch embedded AMOLED panel number one in the LCD and AMOLED market. Also, we want to mass produce touch screens and construct a system so that we can expand the display market.
As the marketplace is pushing for smaller and smaller, Hewlett-Packard (HP) is bucking the trend with bigger. HP recently demonstrated a new design, which it has dubbed the “wall of touch”, built with up to nine 43-inch to 46-inch, 1.5-inch thick LCDs with 1080p resolution. It behaves like a really big TouchSmart computer.
The “wall of touch” is driven by a Z800 workstation, employs a standard touchscreen interface, as well as a gesture-capture interface. Gestures are picked up by optical cameras and a magnetic strip that detect when a user nears, and the movements of the user's hands.
The “wall of touch” is basically a really big TV. HP says the system can access cable and satellite, as well as download and stream media. It connects to social networking sites. And it plays DVDs and DVRs.
HP plans to make the “wall of touch” a mainstream product. HP says it will be available to consumers in 2011. The price tag, depending on options, will range from a couple thousand dollars up to $100,000 or more.