Dell unveiled a new ruggedized convertible tablet called the Latitude XT2 XFR today. It measures in at 1.5 inches thick making it the thinnest rugged convertible laptop on the market.
It is a “work in the field” type laptop weighing 5.4 pounds using a 4-cell battery. It features a 12.1-inch LED backlit display with multi-touch and gesture controls, Core 2 Duo processor (SU9600), and can support up to 5GB of RAM. The Dell engineers weren’t just hoping this thing could handle a coffee spill or a three centimeter drop, it has been designed to meet MIL-810G standards and is expected to be certified soon.
What does that mean? Well, for one, it can operate in temperatures ranging from minus 10 up 140 degrees Fahrenheit. It also features a thermal management system designed to keep things cool but also eliminate dust and water from entering the device.
The new laptop starts at $3,599 and will be sold in the U.S., Canada, UK, France, Italy, Spain and Germany.
MSI chairman Joseph Hsu wasn’t entirely positive in his future outlook, however. Windows 7, according to Hsu, will help pick up lagging notebook sales. But a shortage on optical drives and DRAM, which is expected to continue into 2010, will put a crimp on MSI’s ability to meet expected demand.
Gigabyte, on the other hand, is a behind on its projections to ship 200,000 notebooks in 2009 because of a lousy first half. But, the trend in the third quarter is upward, and Gigabyte expects it will get at least 120,000 notebooks out the door by year’s end. For 2010 Gigabyte vice president Richard Ma expects to ship 300,000 notebooks, with half made in-house, and the other half made by Quanta Computer.
On the netbook side of things, MSI reports that the proportion of netbooks shipped dropped from 50% of all notebooks to 30%. Market demand, according the HSU, for ultra-thin notebooks was also weak. Ultra-thin shipments should pick-up in 2010, however, once Intel starts shipping a dual-core CPU for this market segment.
We're not sure how we would envision a $1,200 mouse, but we're pretty sure it wouldn't resemble the Titanium Mouse by Intelligent Design. Yet that's how much the Dutch outfit says their rodent is worth. So what do you get in exchange for all those ducats?
A handcrafted Bluetooth laser mouse, for starters. Intelligent Design says the body is finished in hand-formed grade 1 titanium and high-quality plastic (resin). The $1,200 rodent also integrates a 3-button neodymium scroll wheel, and how can you put a price on neodymium?
It's wireless and runs on two AAA batteries, and it boasts support for Windows XP, Vista, 7, and Mac OS X. But then again, if you have $1,200 to spare on an mouse, you could probably just hire someone to move your existing rodent for you, and fetch your lunch while you're at it.
This did, however, get us thinking. What's the most you would ever consider paying for a mouse? Hit the jump and sound off!
The U.S. Defense Department has decided to cautiously reinstate the use of USB thumb drives and other flash storage-based media. Flash storage -- and devices which use them, including memory sticks, digital cameras, media players, PDAs, and more -- were banned last November after thousands of military computers were infected by various malware, most of which was traced back to thumb drives.
That ban will soon be lifted, at least partially. Robert Carey, chief information officer of the U.S. Navy, said in a blog post that only "authorized individuals" are likely to be given permission to use thumb drives, and even then only for "mission-essential functions." And these won't be personal drives picked up off of Newegg or Best Buy.
"The days of using personally owned flash media or using flash media collected at conferences or trade shows are long gone," Carey said.
Instead, the drives will be "government-owned and procured," and will also contain built-in encryption chips that may require both a password and a fingerprint scan to decrypt the data, among other safeguards that are yet to be worked out.
According to Jon Peddie Research (JPR), the graphics market performed extraordinarily well in the third quarter, which bodes well for the upcoming holiday shopping season. How well? Graphics processors spiked 21.2 percent over the second quarter,, which JPR says was already strong to begin with.
"A total of 119.45 million units were shipped in the third quarter, exceeding the record 111 million units that shipped in third-quarter 2008," said Jon Peddie, president of JPR. "So the market has caught up with, and exceeded, last year's highs. The crash of fall 2008 is now behind us."
AMD fared particularly well with on-quarter growth at 30 percent. Intel wasn't far behind, noting on-quarter growth of 25.2 percent on shipments of 63 million units, or twice as many as Nvidia, its nearest competitor.
And these weren't all integrated graphics, either. According to JPR, "integrated graphics in notebooks, including netbooks, increased 27 percent over the second quarter -- a great gain, but less than discrete."
MSI has so far been pretty quiet about its plans to enter the increasingly crowded e-book market, instead letting others steal the spotlight. Maybe not for long, based on what we just found out. According to MSI chairman Joseph Hsu, the company is developing an e-reader built around Nvidia's Tegra platform.
Sounds promising just on that tidbit alone, but unfortunately, we won't see anything from MSI in time of the holidays. There are still some kinks to be worked out, so MSI has decided to hold off until the first half of 2010 to divulge any more details. Bummer.
The timing might not be terrible for MSI. It's true that rival Asus also plans to release an e-book reader in the near future, but first run batches will be limited and aimed at charities. Consumer models aren't expected to ship until the first quarter of 2010. Plus, tapping into Tegra could potentially turn out to be a huge advantage for MSI, particularly when pitted against grayscale e-book readers like the one Asus is working on.
There’s very little to differentiate one netbook from another these days. Manufacturers are basically just putting different enclosures around the same hardware. That’s largely a result of restrictions placed on netbook specs by Intel and Microsoft. With the upcoming Atom N470 (Pineview), the spec requirements will be lifted a bit, but they’ll still be there.
Currently, netbooks are limited to 1GB of RAM in most instances. When the N470 is released around March 2010 that limit will be raised to 2GB. Manufacturers will also be able to include a 32GB solid state drive if they so choose. Intel boldly pointed out that they could totally put Intel’s Moblin OS on them too… no pressure though.
While it’s nice to see some movement here, is it anywhere near enough? Don’t most users that want more RAM just add it anyway? So, good news, or just plain depressing?
Lenovo continues to flesh out its line of Windows 7 powered PCs, this time by adding a handful of IdeaPad laptops and IdeaCentre desktops built around the newly released OS.
On the mobile front, Lenovo unveiled a trio of laptops -- IdeaPad Y550P, U150, and U550 -- with the Y550P probably being the most appealing to power users. Why? Because it's the only one of the bunch to use Intel's Core i7 platform. Like the Y550, the U550 also comes in a 15.6-inch form factor, but drops things down a notch with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor. And the U150 is aimed at the ultra-portable crowd. As such, it measures just 13.5mm thick and weighs a little under 3 pounds.
None of the new desktops sports Intel's Nehalem architecture, but the Lenovo H230 does make a strong pitch to penny pinchers. Starting at $300, Lenovo says consumers will have a range of HDD and DDR3 configurations to choose from. Those looking for a bit more oomph can step up to the K300, which is built around Intel's Core 2 Quad platform and includes an option for RAID. Rounding out the desktop solutions is the B500 all-in-one, which is also built around Intel's Core 2 Quad line.
Already a major force in the mobile PC market, Asus said it expects to ship 16 million notebooks and netbooks combined in 2010. That would be four million more than it shipped in 2009, but there's plenty of room for growth, suggests company president and CEO Jerry Shen, who predicts that global notebook shipments will balloon from 140 million units in 2009 to 180-190 million units in 2010.
The lofty goal is part of Asus' bigger objective, which is to position itself firmly as one of the world's top-three notebook vendors by 2011. Towards that end, Asus has already shifted roughly 30 percent of its popular Eee PC netbooks to Windows 7, which Shen says will be the primary driving force for notebook growth.
While the Eee PC line is Asus' bread and butter, the company also expects its ultra-thin lineup to grow in popularity and account for 20 to 30 percent of all its notebook shipments in the first half of 2010.
Shen also talked about his company's plans for the fast-growing e-reader market. According to Shen, Asus will soon launch its 9-inch grayscale e-book reader, although at first the focus will be on cooperating with a Taiwan-based charity organization. A consumer version is expected to follow suit perhaps as early as the first quarter of 2010 and be built around the same 9-inch grayscale panel.
And what about 3D notebooks and dual-booting Android netbooks? These are both areas Shen said Asus is taking a conservative approach.
Even we have to admit that in this economy, you have to be thankful if you’re not still driving a Pentium 4 rig. Still, for budget buyers today, the choice usually doesn’t get much better than a dual-core machine that takes overnight to encode video and a GPU that can’t push pixels downhill.
Fortunately, it’s no Pentium Dual-Core or Celeron that CyberPower opts to stick you with. Instead, CyberPower reached into its parts bin for Intel’s brand-new, budget badass: the $200 2.66GHz Core i5-750. This chip is like Chuck Norris in a bar fight: It not only wipes the floor with Phenom II X4, it commits a little fratricide against its Core 2 Quad and Core 2 Duo siblings, too.
To this Two-Buck Chuck, CyberPower adds what is definitely not a budget part: Nvidia’s fastest videocard in the form of EVGA’s GeForce GTX 295. At the foundation is Gigabyte’s new GA-P55-UD5 and 4GB of Kingston DDR3/1600. Storage is left to a 1.5TB Seagate Barracuda and a Samsung 22x DVD burner. A Cooler Master V8 cooler and Scout case complete the package.