Acer, one of the pioneers in the netbook market, is ready to embrace tablets and isn't shy about the direction they're going to take. According to company president Simon Lin, Acer is feeling pretty enamored with Google's open-source Android platform and thinks that Android-tablets will have what it takes to knock Apple's iPad down a peg or three.
That doesn't mean Windows is being left out in the cold completely. Acer plans to test launch a Windows-based tablet built around Intel's Atom architecture in the fourth of this year to see how the market reacts. Come 2011, however, Acer will launch at least one Android-based slate.
Acer's infatuation with Android extends from the smartphone sector, and according to Lin, that will remain the company's main focus in the mobile phone space too. As it stands, most of the 5-6 million smartphones Acer will have shipped by the time 2010 comes to a close will have been Android devices.
Wired editor Chris Anderson issued a strange bit of information via a tweet last night. Apparently, he was told by a T-Mobile manager in no uncertain terms that the nation's number four carrier would be getting the Apple iPhone 3GS later this year. The new iPhone 4 is apparently left out of the deal. This is still strictly rumor material, but it seems to jive with previous rumors.
There have been rumors that the iPhone could come to T-Mobile. The transition to T-Mobile would be simpler for Apple than moving to Verizon. T-Mobile also uses the GSM standard like AT&T does. The iPhone would just need GSM chips capable of operating on T-Mobile's 3G frequency. Verizon uses CDMA, and would require a much larger redesign of the phone's internals.
User's have been clamoring to get access to the iPhone on another carrier. Verizon is often cited as the best option considering their expansive network. T-Mobile has a much smaller, but faster, HSPA+ data network. Would you be interested in the iPhone if it were on T-Mobile?
If you have, for some reason, been hankering for a smartbook, you may be a little disappointed. Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs stated during a company event today that tablets have most likely killed the nascent smartbook market. With Qualcomm being one of the most ardent supporters of the smartbook concept, there's little hope for the category to continue.
The HP Airlife was the only device to be marketed as a smartbook. This Android-based device never really found its audience when it was released earlier this year. Still, Qualcomm will continue to make faster mobile chips, they're just more likely to be seen in tablets and smartphones than in light-weight computers.
If smartbooks had materialized sooner, they may have had a shot. But in the wake of the iPad, it's not hard to see how it ended up this way. Were you interested in the smartbook category? What will you do now?
Samsung on Tuesday introduced its new dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex A9-based processor designed for mobile applications. If all goes to plan, you'll soon seen this spunky chip in a variety of devices, including tablets, netbooks, and even smartphones.
"Consumers are demanding the full web experience without compromise while on the go," said Dojun Rhee, vice president of Marketing, System LSI Division, Samsung Electronics. "Given this trend, mobile device designers need an application processor platform that delivers superb multimedia performance, fast CPU processing speed, and abundant memory bandwidth. Samsung's newest dual core application processor chip is designed specifically to fulfill such stringent performance requirements while maintaining long battery life."
Built on a 45nm manufacturing process, the Orion processor, as it's being called, comes with two cores clocked at 1GHz, each with 32KB data cache and a 32KB instruction cache. There's also 1MB of L2 cache to help speed things up, Samsung says.
Interestingly, Orion also comes with an onboard native triple display controller architecture, so that a device equipped with this chip could support two on-device display screens and still have the chops to drive a third external display, like a TV or monitor via on-chip HDMI.
Select customers will get their hands on the new chip in the fourth quarter of 2010, with mass production to follow in the first half of 2011.
The future of smartphones is looking bright, at least if you use these devices for more than just making calls. While today's top-end units sport 1GHz Snapdragon and Hummingbird processors, LG is stepping up the smartphone game by readying new models built around Nvidia's dual-core Tegra 2 platform.
Let that sink in for a moment. We're talking about smartphones with two processing cores as well as an ultra low-power Nvidia GeForce GPU.
"Taking full advantage of the two speedy 1GHz processors sharing the workload in Tegra 2, consumers can experience up to 2x faster web browsing and up to 5x faster gaming performance over single core processors running at 1GHz," LG says (PDF).
LG didn't mention how much these next-gen units will cost, but did say they'll be part of its Optimus series and ship in the fourth quarter.
Philips Home Control's new DUAL QWERTY remote seems like the kind of thing you'd use to show off your hard-earned success when you have visitors, or maybe you just want something sexy to replace that boring remote, mouse, and keyboard you've been using to control your home theater.
"This new keyboard remote shows that we are on top of the upcoming trend," says Rick Siu, Director Product Management, Philips Home Control. "It was challenging to develop this remote to cater for all these features, while at the same time we wanted the design to be slim, easy to operate, and modern looking. From the enormous interest we have gathered during the pre-launch period, I can honestly say we succeeded with glory."
Sure, Siu is tooting his own company's horn, but from the pics we've seen, the DUAL certainly looks hot. How well it feels and functions is another story, but Philips feels its dual-sided device is the "perfect solution" for couch warriors. The top side features a remote control while the bottom sports a keyboard; alternate input methods include things like pointing, touchpad, and an optical sensor.
Verizon announced today that the Samsung Fascinate Android phone will be available on September 9 for $199 on contract, after rebate. Good news if you're in the market for an Android device on Big Red, but it looks like this device is a victim of carrier modification making it much less desirable. Early reviews have noted a number of strange decisions in the phone's software.
Verizon's Galaxy S phone has Bing as the default search provider. That means the home screen widget and the front search button will search Bing, not Google. No problem, you can change that, right? Well, no actually. You're stuck with Bing. Then the bundled VZ Navigator is set at the default navigation app for every UI action that should call up Google Navigation. Users can change this, but it requires some tweaking in settings to get Google Navigation back.
With a Galaxy S on every carrier now, it's hard to see the Fascinate as a viable option. Those on Verizon may be interested, but the carrier is likely to push their Droid line of phones harder as we move into the shopping season. Are these changes more than you'd put up with?
Acer split the difference between HP and Sony and Lenovo, tapping Intel’s Core i5 for the Aspire AZ5700-U2112. That design decision helped the Aspire Z5700 win three of the four benchmark competitions.
The next time someone asks about that bulge coming from your khakis, you can confidently respond, "Why yes, yes that is a supercomputer in my pocket, and I am happy to see you."
You'll be telling the truth if you install MIT's new software designed to perform complex simulations on mobile phones. The software simulates physical phenomena, such has how cracks form in building materials and how fluids flow in irregular channels, crunching the numbers in seconds that would typically take a supercomputer hours to calculate.
As the eggheads at MIT explain it, the software is designed for situations where the general form of a problem is already known in advance, just not the details.
"This is a very relevant situation," says David Knezevic, a postdoc in the department who helped lead the project. "Often in engineering contexts, you know a priori that your problem is parametrized, but you don't know until you get into the field what parameters you're interested in."
MIT News has a whole bunch more on the topic right here.
With all the hoopla surrounding tablets, it's easy to forget that there's still a market out there for netbooks. Samsung hasn't forgotten, which is readying the N350, a new netbook with dual-mode LTE and HSPA+ built-in.
Aside from the 4G connectivity, this new netbook sports mostly familiar specs, albeit around Intel's recently released Atom N550 platform. The N350 ships with a 10.1-inch screen, 1GB of DDR3 memory, a 250GB hard drive spinning at 5400RPM, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, memory card reader, USB 2.0 ports, and Windows 7 Starter edition.
German website Mini-Notebook-Laptop.com has the N350 shipping commercially this Fall for 429 Euros, or about $550 in American greenbacks.