That’s the first thing we thought when we saw the new Arc Mouse, which Microsoft claims with “raise the style stakes” in peripheral design. We have to admit, it certainly looks different from any mouse we’ve handled before. The foldable design makes it extremely compact when snapped shut for travel purposes. Yet when expanded, the arch is spacious enough to fill out our manly palms. The Arc felt very comfortable in our hands as we moved it around a table, but was noticably lighter and not as solid as the gaming mice we're accustomed to. A micro transceiver snaps into the bottom of the mouse using a magnet, and only sticks out a single centimeter when plugged into a USB port (it uses the same 2.4GHz wireless tech as Microsoft’s other mice).
And if you’re worried about sturdiness, the Arc’s hinge has been tested to withstand 25lb’s of downward force, though we didn’t exert that much force in our test (we didn’t want to break it!). Surprisingly, it doesn’t use Microsoft’s new BlueTrack sensor, instead opting for a traditional laser tracker (no word on DPI). Look for the Arc to go on sale later this month (launching with black or red options) for $59.95.
The next-generation of Microsoft mice has arrived and – surprise! – this peripheral don’t feature any fancy lasers. The new Explorer mouse is the first that sports Microsoft’s new proprietary Bluetrack technology, something they’ve been hinting at on their website for the past few weeks. The big innovation is that a BlueTrack mouse will work on virtually any surface type, whether its granite, wood, or even carpet (glass and other reflective surfaces are this mouse’s kryptonite). We got some hands-on time with this handsome wireless mouse and were impressed by its tracking accuracy, stylish design, and mesmerizing blue glow. We also spoke with Mark Depue, the Platform Engineer Manager at Microsoft’s Hardware Group, to find out exactly how BlueTrack works.
Hit the jump for our in-depth technical interview and glamorous hands-on shots.
SSDs with a 64GB storage capacity fetched close to a grand last year. But their outrageous prices have become subdued with the passage of time. Now, if you act quickly, OCZ’s brand new Core V2 OCZSSD2-2C60G 2.5” 60GB SSD could be yours for $240 – approximately $4/GB. The SSD boasts read speeds of 170MB/sec and write speeds of 98MB/sec. It also features a built-in USB 2.0 port for firmware updates, and can serve as a replacement for your notebook’s HDD.
In a seemingly never ending battle with the FCC, Comcast is back on the offensive. The cable giant is looking to overturn the ruling reached on August 1st which found them in violation of the FCC’s network neutrality principles. Comcast was mandated to immediately cease any packet shaping initiatives and to publically disclose the full extent of its traffic blocking policies. Experts close to the case have chimed in on the issue and it would appear as though news of the appeal wasn’t all that surprising. Comcast has become famous in legal circles for appealing any decision it doesn’t agree with, and this case is no exception. Comcast firmly believes that packet shaping of peer-to-peer traffic is a legitimate and reasonable means of managing network traffic and intends to defend that contention to the bitter end. Despite the impending appeal, Comcast has agreed to abide by the FCC mandates until a new verdict is reached. Comcast’s packet shaping activities have been in the spotlight since late 2007 when the Associated Press revealed proof that Comcast was blocking P2P traffic during peak hours. The FCC case was seen as a test run help to determine if it could enforce its network neutrality principles. I’m sure most Maximum PC readers are rooting for the FCC, but since so little precedent in a case like this; the outcome of an appeal could still go either way.
Consumer electronics giant Samsung also happens to be the world’s premier NAND Flash memory manufacturer. It now aims to further strengthen its position by acquiring flash memory maker SanDisk, if reports in the Korean media are to be trusted. The rationale behind such a move is that an acquisition will not only bolster Samsung’s current flash memory production capacity but also save the company about $350 million annually – the amount Samsung pays SanDisk in royalties. SanDisk has been navigating through some rough financial weather lately, but still is coveted by couple of big companies. Of course, rumors of Seagate making a bid for the company have also been around. A possible acquisition would handover a considerable advantage to Seagate in the SSD market. SanDisk certainly seems to have a few takers.
Intel has pushed the release of its upcoming chips with integrated graphics core to 2010. According to the company, the move was necessitated due to the “client platform learning and customer feedback” it gained in 2008. These chips - codenamed Auburndale and Havendale -are based on Intel’s Nehalem microarchitecture and have integrated graphics core, memory controller and PCI-Express. They will be locking horns with AMD’s much vaunted APU (accelerated processing unit) that the company has codenamed Fusion. If AMD can release its Fusion in the second half of 2009, as widely speculated, it will have a bit of time to freely plug its APU.
Seagate hasn’t had to hard-sell its products directly to consumers hitherto, as manufacturers and disk drive resellers account for most of its sales. But all that will change in December with the airing of Seagate’s maiden commercial aimed at generic consumers.
Brian Dexheimer, the company’s president for consumer solutions, views the upcoming ad campaign as both an experiment and opportunity. The ad campaign will proclaim the indispensability of Seagate drives and show no gender bias – its Seagate not Gillette; there will be a separate set of ads for both men and women. Seagate’s ad budget has seen a substantial increase of 40% this year.
Buying a new monitor can be tricky. First, you must decipher the manufacturer doublespeak. Not all specifications are created equal, nor are they measured fairly: You truly can’t tell a book by its cover, nor a monitor by its box copy. And then there are the displays themselves. A monitor by itself might look good to you, but you won’t know what you’re missing unless you compare it against the competition.
We’re going to walk you through the basics of today’s LCD monitor technology and what it means to you, a consumer who wants the best picture for your pennies. But we’re not going to leave you hanging: We’re also going to review 10 monitors across a wide swath of sizes and prices to give you a head start on your purchasing decision.
Microsoft has revised the cap on hard disk space in netbooks running Windows XP. Now netbooks can have up to 160GB hard drive space, which is double the 80GB space previously permitted. It is anticipated that this increase in storage size will boost netbook sales, though not as significantly as enhanced processing power might. MSI and Asustek have already released the 160GB variants of their Wind and Eee PC netbooks respectively. This move can also dampen the sales prospects of SSD-bearing netbooks, which have comparatively lesser storage space due to current SSD prices.
At times it is easy to forget that Intel Atom is not the only power-efficient processor aimed at the netbook segment. Incase you had forgotten, Via is also vying for the same market segment. Only a couple of weeks after Via received a big order for Nano processors from HP, it has announced that leading Chinese PC OEM Tsinghua Tongfang is going to deploy the VIA C7-M processor in its S1 mini-notebook.
The S1 features a 1.6 GHz VIA C7-M processor, 1GB memory and an 80GB hard disk drive. With its weight of 1.2kg, the S1 is certainly a little bulky for its stripe. It has a rather convenient 10.2” screen and runs Windows Vista Home Basic – quite audacious to even attempt Vista on a netbook. Its Chinese price translates to $583. With Intel struggling to meet the staggering demand for Atom, the door is ajar for Via.