Consumers aren't getting touchy-feely with their notebooks
The emergency of tablet PCs and smartphones taught everyone the value of touch computing, and with Windows 8, Microsoft tried to carry that momentum over to traditional PCs. It didn't take, or least it hasn't so far, because if it had, we'd all be owners of touchscreen monitors and touch-enabled laptops. However, it looks like that ship may have sailed for certain segments -- because demand for touchscreen laptops has been weaker than expected, vendors have reportedly stopped developing them.
Just a few blocks away from Apple's flagship store
Microsoft on Monday announced that it signed a lease to open its first flagship store at 677 Fifth Avenue in New York City, which will serve as the centerpiece of its Microsoft Stores experience. This is something Microsoft has wanted to do ever since it opened its first retail store back on October 22, 2009, but it had to be the "right location." As it turns out, that ideal location is only blocks away from Apple's flagship store.
Built to meet U.S. military-standard 810G requirements
Asus is all set to welcome a new Windows 8.1 ultrabook to its AsusPro B Advanced line of business notebooks, a range made up mostly of 14- and 15.6-inch models. The incoming AsusPro Advanced BU201 will be a tad different, though. With a screen size of 12.5-inch, it will be the joint smallest model in the lineup when it goes up for sale.
Retail PC sales rise up on Chromebook and Mac shipments
As we've said time and again, the PC sector is alive is well. According to NPD Group, retail PC sales grew nearly 3 percent during the 10-week back-to-school shopping season that went from July 4th through Labor Day week), compared to a 2.5 percent decline in the same period a year ago. Where things get interesting is when you break down those sales to look for trends in consumer spending.
Look for lower priced SSDs in the coming weeks and months
We have to admit, we've been spoiled by solid state drive price drops in the past year or so. While once considered cost prohibitive by many, SSDs are mostly affordable these days, provided you're not trying to match your 4TB hard drive in capacity. SSDs typically sell for less than 50 cents per gigabyte with prices continuing to drop. Accelerating the process is a price war in China that's leading to even lower cost SSDs.
Intel is turning to China to help the chip maker become a more competitive force in the mobile industry. Part of Intel's strategy is to invest up to $1.5 billion for a 20 percent stake in two Chinese mobile chipmakers, Spreadtrum Communications and RDA Microelectronics. The investment is being made under holding company Tsinghua Unigroup, an operating subsidiary of Tsinghua Holdings Col, Ltd., a solely-owned limited liability corporation funded by Tsinghua University in China.
We've seen our share of colorful motherboards with loud designs that scream, "Hey, look at me!" They're typically aimed at gamers, overclockers, and enthusiasts in general, and so is MSI's Z97S SLI Krait Edition motherboard, though it's an attention-getter for a different reason. Rather than draw eyeballs with flashing LEDs and a range of colors, MSI opted for a classy black and white scheme.
Samsung, one of the biggest participants in Google's Chromebook movement, is planning to cease all laptop sales in Europe, multiple outlets are reporting. The decision effectively ends Samsung's presence as a traditional PC player in Europe, as it doesn't sell deskop computers in the region, either. Samsung does, however, continue to sell tablet PCs and smartphones in Europe.
First major complaint of the iPhone 6 Plus emerges
Some of Apple's iPhone launches have been marred by controversial design flaws, such as the iPhone 4's antenna issue in which Steve Jobs accused owners of holding their handsets the wrong way, and the iPhone 5's tendency to ruin photos with a purple flare when there's a bright light source (a side effect of the sapphire glass covering the phone's camera). Well, you can add the iPhone 6 Plus to the list -- some users are complaining that their ultra-thin iPhone 6 Plus phones are bending out of shape just by having the handsets in their pockets.
ARM on Wednesday unveiled its Cortex-M7 processor, a 32-bit part that offers double the compute and digital signal processing (DSP) capability of today's most powerful ARM-based MCUs. The company intends for its Cortex-M7 chip to find a home inside high-end embedded applications in next generation vehicles, connected devices (think: Internet of Things, or IoT), smart appliances, and more.