Just about everything you could want to know about Alienware's M11x 'sorta-netbook' has been leaked to the Web, including when the 11.6-inch notebook is supposed to launch.
It looks as though the M11x will land first in Japan this Friday, February 5th, and then in Malaysia sometime later this month. According to a leaked slide, Dell has decided to bump up the price from $799 to $899, putting the M11x further away from traditional netbook territory.
Not that there would be any mistaking the M11x with a traditional netbook. Rather than an Atom processor with integrated Intel or Nvidia Ion graphics, the M11x will come configured with either an Intel Pentium 1.3GHz chip or Core 2 Duo 1.3Ghz processor, and Nvidia's GT 335M graphics with a 1GB frame buffer, giving the notebook enough power to play 720p HD video
The M11x was originally scheduled to launch in the U.S. sometime this spring, but given that it's being released in Japan later this week, we wouldn't be surprised if Dell released it stateside much earlier.
Straight out of Redmond's Hardware division this morning is the announcement of a new gaming keyboard, the SideWinder X4 Keyboard with "advanced anti-ghosting technology."
"We're always looking for new and novel ways to enhance people's interactions with their PCs," said Steven Bathiche, research manager of the Applied Sciences Group at Microsoft. "We know that ghosting can be a problem for gamers, so we wanted to develop a way to eliminate this issue and improve the overall gaming experience, and we've succeeded with the new anti-ghosting technology in the SideWinder X4 Keyboard."
More specifically, the new SideWinder's anti-ghosting tech allows gamers hopped up on Red Bull to furiously mash up to 26 keys simultaneously without the PC ever skipping a beat.
In addition to anti-ghosting, Microsoft's latest plank also boasts mode switching (standard mode and two gaming modes), automatic profile switching, programmable macro keys (three banks of six keys to assign up to 18 macros per profile), in-game macro recording, automatic macro repetition, backlit keys with three illumination levels, and media keys.
Don't count Nintendo president Satoru Iwata among the Apple faithful ready to snatch up an iPad as soon as it becomes available. Judging by the majority of reader comments in our news coverage earlier this week, Iwata's as unimpressed with the tablet as the rest of you.
"It was a bigger iPod touch," Iwata said. "There were no surprises for me."
Iwata, who one could argue knows a thing or two about tech trends, is equally dispassionate about the concept of 3D gaming, so it's probably safe to say you won't be seeing Super Mario jump out of your TV set anytime soon.
"I have doubts whether people will be wearing glasses to play games at home. How is that going to look to other people?," Iwata said at a Tokyo hotel.
Probably no sillier than Alec Baldwin waving around a Wii remote in this SNL sketch.
Speaking of motion controls, Iwata put to rest speculation in the Japanese media by denying rumors Nintendo is working on a DS-equipped motion sensor similar to the one used with the Wii, while adding that the company is not working on a Wii upgrade for high-definition television sets.
Maingear this week announced its new F1X Gaming PC series, a line of high-performance systems available exclusively through TigerDirect.com, CircuitCity.com, and CompUSA.com (all Systemax subsidiaries).
"We're excited to partner with Tiger Direct to offer even more gamers the unparalleled performance, meticulous craftsmanship, and premium customer service that comes with every Maingear PC," said Wallace Santos, CEO and Founder of Maingear. "Our partnership with Tiger Direct allows us to bring our message of quality computers and customer service to a new audience, with new ways to acquire a Maingear system including Bill Me Later."
The F1X series is being made available in three different configurations, including the ultra high-end F1X 750. This flagship model packs an Intel Core i7 975 processor overclocked to 3.6GHz, 12GB of DDR3-1333 memory, dual ATI Radeon HD 5870 videocards, an 80GB X-25M (second generation) SSD, 1.5TB Western Digital hard drive, a 6X Blu-ray buer, 22X DVD burner, closed loop watercooling, 1000W Silverstone power supply, and Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. As a top-end unit, it also commands top dollar to the tune of $5,149.
The F1X 500 (Core i7 950) and F1X 200 (Core i5 750) takes things down a notch and sell for $3,100 and $2,250, respectively. You can view their configurations here.
For gaming on the go, it's probably a better idea to pack a PSP or DSi in your carry-on luggage than to stuff an Xbox 360 in your suitcase and hope it makes it in one piece. It's not that the luggage handlers play a game of kickball with your suitcases, but do you really want to risk having your $300 console tore into?
That's exactly what a man named Adam claims happened to him, who wrote to the consumerist complaining that US Airways destroyed his console after telling him everything would be hunky-dory.
"I was flying out Logan Airport and I checked my Xbox 360 in my baggage," Adam writes. "The agent assured me that here would be no problem with it. When I got home I found that they had put a little Ziploc bag on top of my things, and the bag was filled with tiny metal components that used to be in the Xbox. It's broken and they're telling me tough luck. Any advice?"
Already given, Adam--see above. But it's too late for that now, assuming Adam isn't pulling a fast one. Seems like this is the kind of thing that would warrant more than just a single paragraph description. And with no accompanying pic, color us skeptical, though the possibility is duly noted.
Boutique system builder iBuyPower this week announced the availability of what the company claims is the planet's first ever multi-touch gaming notebook, the Battalion Touch CZ-10.
"Availability," in this case, means you can pre-order the unit, but you won't have to wait very long. iBuyPower says it will begin shipping the CZ-10 starting on January 22, just over a week from now.
"We believe multi-touch compatibility is the future of mobile gaming," said Darren Su, Vice President of iBuyPower. "We are proud to be the first company to market with a multi-touch gaming notebook and look forward to all the new multi-touch games due out this year."
The customizable Battalion Touch comes standard with an Intel Core 2 Duo P8700 processor, 2GB of DDR3-1333 RAM, ATI Radeon HD 4650 graphics, a 250GB hard drive spinning at 5400RPM (7200RPM available for $11 more), 3X DVD burner, 3-in-1 media card reader, 802.11a/g/n Wi--Fi, a 6-cell battery, and Windows 7 Home Premium. Pricing starts at $999.
Nintendo's Wii console is starting to grow up. No, you still can't watch Blu-ray movies, or even standard DVDs, on the game console, but the best selling (and least expensive) current-gen console is going to integrate Neflix's online streaming video service.
Netflix is already available on both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles, and up to this point, Nintendo has been content to focus solely on gaming. According to a report in The New York Times, however, Nintendo may be feeling the pressure to compete on a larger scale than just console games, which are having to contend with a rise in cheap (smartphones) and free (social networking sites) gaming alternatives.
"You have to wonder if people are going to buy prepackaged $60 videogames in the future," said Mark Mahaney, managing director for Internet research at Citigroup. "If you are a console maker, you better quickly hurry to add more functionality and features to your console."
Wii owners will need a broadband subscription and have at least a $9/month Netflix subscription to enjoy the streaming service, which is a better deal than Xbox 360 owners get, who must also have an Xbox Live Gold membership.
Dreaming about what the Xbox 720 (or whatever Microsoft decides to name the Xbox 360's followup console) will be like? Well, keep dreaming, because the Redmond outfit has no plans of replacing the four-year old console any time soon, and is instead focused on Project Natal and other ways of extending the console's lifespan.
"I think it's important to say that the Xbox 360 is the console of the long future for us. There is no need to launch a new console, because we're able to give this console new life either with software upgrades or hardware upgrades like Project Natal," said David Hufford, senior director of Xbox product management. "The Xbox 360 was designed for a long life, and I don't even know if we're at the midpoint yet."
Microsoft is concentrating on bringing Project Natal to the Xbox 360, which the company indicated should be ready for the 2010 holiday season. After that, it's anyone's guess what else Microsoft has planned, especially if, as Hufford suggested, the console hasn't even reached its midpoint yet. Could Blu-ray finally be in the Xbox 360's future? Probably not.
"We love our prices right now," Hufford added. "I don't want to say that technology stops, but we believe we have a high quality console, and we stand by that quality with an unprecedented warranty, so we think we're in a good place now heading into the Natal era."
Leave it to Alienware to put 'gaming' and 'netbook' in the same sentence, let alone the same room. But that's basically what Dell's gaming venture has done with the unveiling of Alienware's 11.6-inch M11x ultraportable.
Of course, netbooks are all about battery life, and towards that end, the M11x boasts switchable graphics. Want to browse the Web or compose an email? Then there's no need to tap into the Nvidia GT335M GPU. But once you're finished being productive and ready to kick-back with a bit of small-screen gaming, just flip the hot switch to turn on the faster graphics (complete with a 1GB frame buffer), which will load in under two seconds, according to Dell representatives. And by doing so, Dell claims you'll be able to run Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 at over 30fps in full-HD mode and settings cranked up to high.
Other details remain elusive, such as what kind of supplementary hardware the M11x is packing. We do know it comes with a DisplayPort, HDMI, and VGA ports, but other than that, we'll have to post an update when more details emerge.
Dell says it plans to ship the gaming netbook sometime this spring for under a grand.
To help ring in the new year, Asus has a new 17-inch gaming laptop on tap for a late January launch. The upcoming G73JH will carry the company's Republich of Gamers logo and boast an Intel Core i7 processor and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 graphics.
Screen resolution checks in at 1920x1080, which is entirely appropriate (and manageable) given the CPU and graphics combo. Other specs include up to 8GB of DDR3 memory, two SSD/HDD slots, optional 2X or 4X Blu-ray drive, up to a 45-in-1 USB 2.0 card reader/writer, Bluetooth, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, 2.0MP webcam, and a bunch of other odds and ends.