Potentially bad news for summer shoppers looking to upgrade their LCD display, whether it be a TV, computer monitor, or a new notebook purchase. According to DisplaySearch, LCD panel prices for the first half of July have increased significantly, a result of panel suppliers intentionally tightening up supply in order to increase Q3 profits.
On the plus side, we're only talking about $3 to $7 more for LCD monitors, $3 to $5 for notebooks, and $5 to $15 for television displays, but that could be just the beginning. According to news and rumor site DigiTimes, some panel suppliers plan to raise prices for the monitor segment even more in July.
On the flip side, we've seen some 24-inch LCD displays selling for less than $200, such as the Asus VH242H and other models. So what gives? One reason is that some vendors are reducing prices to clear inventory as a way to maintain market share. In addition, low-cost models are becoming increasingly attractive for the same reason (gaining market share).
We've seen TV tuners added to PCs before -- not the least of which includes AMD/ATI's once immensely popular All-in-Wonder series -- but Bristol takes it a step further and has added a complete PC to a TV for the ultimate hybrid.
The 22-inch and 32-inch ViewSurfer PC/TVs come with a FreeView tuner and an integrated netbook-esque PC complete with an Intel Atom processor, a 160GB hard drive, 1GB of memory, four USB ports, Ethernet, and Windows XP. It also comes with an air mouse and wireless keybaord.
"This is a full digital television set," said Paul Fellows, Brisol Interactive's chief executive officer. "The red button works, and the TV is completely independent of the PC functions. You don't have to be in Windows to watch TV."
Bristol plans to launch the ViewSurfer PCs in October with the 22-inch model priced at less than £500, or about $815 USD. No word yet on how much the 32-inch model will run.
We've been hearing about TechCrunch's CrunchPad for a year now, and according to The New York Times, the sexy looking tablet will soon become a reality at an affordable point.
Michael Arrington, founder of TechCrunch, apparently plans to hold an event at the end of July or beginning of August to make an announcement about the CrunchPad. Arrington also promised that it would be for sale "as soon as possible."
Barring any last minute changes, the CrunchPad's sole puprose will be to surf the Web. As soon as you turn it on, a Web browser pops up. The tablet will not come with a hard drive or keyboard, although Arrington said users can plug in a keyboard if they wanted to. Intel's Atom processor will run the "Internet consumption device."
Arrington said the CrunchPad will cost less than $300.
Just over a year ago, Finnish mobile firm Nokia acquired Symbian, a move that put the handset maker in direct competition with Google and Apple for mobile internet market share. But despite a vested interest in sticking with its Symbian platform, word on the web is that Nokia is developing a mobile phone powered by Google's open-source Android OS.
Nokia's decision came after seeng its global smartphone market share drop from 47 percent in 2007 to 35 percent last summer and 31 percent by the start of 2008. That's a frightening trend for a company which makes about four out of every 10 mobile phones being sold.
The smartphone maker has been doing everything it can to remain relevant in the mobile sector, including forging an alliance with Intel to develop a new breed of Intel Architecture-based mobile devices.
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.
A-DATA today unveiled a new line of colorful USB flash drives with a swivel design case the company claims will keep the USB connector free from harm.
"Unlike conventional swivel-designed USB flash drives, the unique asymmetric outer casing of C903 protects the USB connector and serves as a lock mechanism to prevent the connector from sticking out due to constant turning and wearing," A-DATA stated in a press release. "The same design enables users to turn and store the USB connector properly in place with much of an ease."
The case comes constructed with a glossy metallic finish wrapped around either a bright red or blue USB stick, with initial capacities available up to 32GB.
Japanese company NEC Electronics Corp shipped samples of the first USB 3.0 host controller in early June and expects to churn out a million every month beginning this September. The first devices based on the interface will most certainly be external hard disk drives, with more exciting applications like hd video streaming expected to follow later.
Already announced in Europe last month, Archos is bringing its new Archos 9 PC Tablet to the U.S. market. The ultraportable tablet weighs less than 22.29 ounces and measures just 0.63-inches thick.
On the hardware front, the Archos 9 boasts a full touch-sensitive 9-inch screen, an Intel Atom Z515 processor (1.2GHz, 512KB cache, 400MHz frontside bus), 1GB of RAM, up to 120GB of storage, 1.3MP webcam, and an optical track-point mouse.
On the software side of things, the new tablet will come pre-loaded with Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7 OS. It will also include Microsoft Office and a host of other apps, such as "Web TV & Radio, video conference, antivirus, parental control, photos and movies edition applications, and more."
The Archos 9 PC Tablet will go on sale sometime this fall for an as yet undetermined price.
Seagate, who originally planned to serve up enterprise SSD products in 2008 and later changed its target date to sometime in 2009, has suffered a setback in SSD development that may end up delaying the release until at least 2010, according to an investment bank briefing note.
"Notably in the last two weeks, we heard that Seagate (the company we think is closest in terms of market penetration) had another setback in its efforts to design an enterprise storage drive to compete with ZeusIOPS," wrote Kevin D. Vassily, an analyst at investment bank Pacific Crest Securities.
It remains unclear exactly what kind of setback Seagate is running into, but Vassily did bring up LSI in his note, the company Seagate picked to design and supply controller silicon for its SSDs. If Seagate is forced to find a new supplier, it might be mid-2011 or later before Seagate is able to ship SSDs in any volume, Vassily says.
Freedman believes manufacturers will have to ultimately “go with a metal case” to achieve that ultra-thin form factor they are after. However, the use of metal cases will make ultra-thin notebooks costlier.
A reference to Intel’s CULV (Consumer Ultra Low Voltage) technology – meant for ultra-thin notebooks - in Freedman’s report elucidating the design issues prompted Intel to clarify that the “case design issues reported to be found by an ODM, not consumers, in early production units for ultra-thin laptops have nothing to do with Intel processors whatsoever.”
Freedman had said that some manufacturers are more interested in manufacturing 11-inch and 12-inch netbooks with the Atom processor rather than ultra-thin notebooks with Intel’s CULV technology.