Intel's Atom processor has become almost synonymous with low power netbooks and nettops, but there are other players eager to make their presence known. Chief among them is VIA, whose Nano processor might even be faster than Intel's Atom, clock for clock. Obtaining vendor support has been a problem for VIA, but that could change as Acer gears up to launch a low-cost and low-power nettop in early 2009.
Acer says it will likely surpass its goal of 12-13 million Aspire one netbooks shipped in 2009. The high demand has the company thinking about alternatives to Intel's Atom processor for its upcoming nettop so as not to eat into its Atom processor supply. Both VIA and AMD are being considered, says DigiTimes, though the company also hasn't ruled out sticking with Intel's Atom chip.
Acer's indecision doesn't stop at the processor. The company is also mulling which manufacturer it wants to produce the nettop. The three possible options include Quanta Computer, Wistron, and MSI.
Seagate is looking to push its full disk encryption (FDE) hard drives and is getting help from Dell in doing so. FDE drives come in both 5400RPM and 7200RPM flavors in capacities up to 320GB in Dell Latitude and Precision notebooks, and also Dell's Optiplex 960 desktops. According to Seagate, 500GB FDE drivers will be available by the end of 2008.
All information stored on Seagate's FDE drives are automatically encrypted and require a password before being accessed. Without the password, Seagate claims the drive essentially locks up. That could be bad news if an end-user manages to forget the password, but in this scenario, the drive can be unlocked remotely by IT staff using McAfee's ePO software. This only applies to the enterprise level, however, and when the drives become available in the consumer market, no such workaround exists, at least not yet.
From a performance standpoint, Seagate claims there are no noticeable performance impacts as FDE drives encrypt data as it is being written and decrypt when being read.
Some might argue that the mouse is currently a great tool for playing games of just about any genre, but Mgestyk Technologiespolitely disagrees. With the first (planned) public sale of a gesture control system, they seek to bring the Minority Report-like action straight to you.
Using only what’s been described as an “affordable 3D camera” and some proprietary software that will capture small hand gestures, they plan on challenging everyone’s favorite – the mouse. Understandably, some gamers might be reluctant to give up their Logitech or Razer in favor of holding their hands in front of a camera, there are undoubtedly some pretty notable foundations here.
In a video provided by Mgestyk there’s some pretty interesting footage demonstrating the technology that they've come up with. While yes, the reaction time between gesture and response may be a big higher than desired, there are plenty of people that have expressed interest. Mgestyk claims that they’ve got a waiting list for people looking to get their hands on the tech, and they aren’t willing to commit a release date or a price.
3D displays aren’t high on the list of things probable to be the next major form of home entertainment, but that hasn’t bothered JVC one bit. They’ve just announced their first 3D projector designed for home theaters, the DLA-RS2.
The projector won’t require any glasses; instead it uses D-ILA projection and stereoscopic video processing to present a 1080p 3D adventure.
Details are few and far between on the projector at the moment, but it has been confirmed that SENSIO 3D technology is at the heart, and it will provide a 30,000:1 contrast ratio. While the projector will require 3D content to make 3D images, it will be also compatible with DVD and Blu-ray discs until those become more common.
No word yet on the price, but it will be ready to take home sometime in 2009.
We thought thermal paper was dead and buried along with mimeograph paper, but look out, it’s back!
Folks who are nostalgic for the ’80s can get their curly thermal-paper fix with Planon’s portable PrintStik printer. Designed for road warriors, the PrintStik is a self-contained, battery-powered portable thermal printer. It’s small enough to fit in your bag, and if your expectations are low enough, it does the job. How low? It’s a gray-scale thermal printer, so you won’t be printing color graphics with it.
More on why this should be your last resort after the jump!
Cooler Master’s newest HAF (High Air Flow) chassis is the company’s magnum opus. It successfully unifies the best bits and pieces from a wide variety of Cooler Master’s previous cases under one roof. But more than that, the HAF features a number of unique and helpful additions that truly raise the bar for case design.
As hardware junkies, we have little trouble justifying our desire for netbooks. Microsoft on the other hand, is having a huge problem trying to figure out how to cash in on the craze.According to new research conducted by Bloomberg, Microsoft’s historic stock plunge of over 40 percent this year alone can be tied in part to the success of netbooks. These sub $500 PC’s are by far the fastest growing segment in the computing industry. And unfortunately for Microsoft, many of these devices don’t ship with Windows.
Internally, Microsoft estimates that around 70 percent of netbooks run at least some version of Windows. This is a far cry from the over 90 percent market penetration they enjoy in the notebook and desktop segments. Additionally, since the vast majority of netbooks run older versions of Windows, margins are much thinner. The OEM licensing fee of $40/$50 for Windows XP is a drop in the bucket when you compare it to the $100 or more they expect for Vista. Bridging the revenue gap isn’t as easy as raising the price for XP either. Especially when you consider that it only costs around $5 to deploy a version of Linux. The Microsoft tax is widely debated by netbook manufacturers who are scrambling to keep sticker prices low. As a result, Microsoft has cut projections for Windows growth in Q4 to as little as 2 percent. Earlier in the year they were estimating growth of around 9 to 10 percent.
While Microsoft might suffer in the short term, it appears the long term strategy is to address netbooks with the upcoming release of Windows 7. During PDC last week, Steven Sinofsky showed off a $399 netbook running the new OS.And according to Senior Vice President Jon DeVaan, “People will be pleasantly surprised and excited by how Windows 7 runs on low-cost machines”.The over arching question here is if Linux will gain any long term momentum as a result of its new found market penetration. I guess only time will tell.
So would you rather a faster netbook running Linux, or a slightly slower machine with Windows?
A small group of Maximum PC readers (and editors) tend to glaze over at the mere mention of the Eee PC. For those of you that fall into this category, I’ll do my best to keep it interesting and you’ll be glad to know, this isn’t an ordinary netbook announcement. The now household name that spawned a generation of inexpensive PC’s have unveiled a new form factor that brings the Eee product line closer to being a desktop solution than ever before. First impressions of the product are obvious, it is clearly intended to appeal to the budget conscious crowd who can’t afford an iMac, or simply don’t care to pay the Apple tax. Asus isn’t the first to take on the iMac, but the Eee brand name, and touch screen interface gives it an interesting advantage over its competitors.
The Eee Top will come in two variations, the ET1602 and the ET1603. Both models feature a 15.6” touch screen display, a 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU, 1GB of Ram, and a 160GB Hard Drive. Other less critical features include 802.11n networking as well as a built in card reader and web cam. The two models are almost completely identical with the one exception being the ET1603’s inclusion of the ATI Mobility Radeon HD3450 for graphics. The ET1602 by comparison will only sport Intel integrated. No pricing has yet been announced for either model, and both systems will feature Windows XP Home with a custom touch screen GUI.
So, is this the form factor of Eee PC you were waiting for?
While the solid state drive market might seem like it’s sprawling, Seagate politely disagrees… for now. The world’s largest hard drive maker is planning to get into the SSD game in mid-2009, when there will be more possibilities to make money.
Seagate’s CEO Bill Watkins recently said in an interview, “The problem is you can't make money out of it [mobile flash memory]… I don't need to get into a market I can't make money out of. I can get into that market any time - all I have to do is show up with a product and price it. The problem is, I can't show up with a product that's any better or significantly better than what they're getting now so I have to match their price.” And, according to Watkins both Micron and Samsung (big names in the current SSD industry) are selling at a loss. “To do the product is not a big deal but to make money at it - it's important to us.”
Aside from mentioning Seagate’s will to do well financially in the flash market, some plans were finally outlined by Watkins as to just how they’ll break onto the scene. They plan to do so with a “combo” drive. The Seagate drive will feature both single layer chips and multilayer chips of flash memory. The combination of these two technologies will offset the pros and cons of each, providing both a reliable and reasonably priced drive.
If the Phantom Lapboard sounds familiar, it's because we covered the promising product earlier this year. After spending some hands-on time with the peripheral, it was clear Phantom had a winning design on its hands, provided the company could address the dropout issues with the mouse and other annoyances associated with the rodent. Whether or not the final version represented an improvement over the unit we played with was supposed to have been answered back in June when it was scheduled to be available in limited quantities.
June has come and gone, but the Lapboard is nowhere to be seen. Has it dropped off the face of the earth to become vaporware just as the Phantom Console did over two years ago? Not yet, and maybe not ever. Unlike the Phantom Console, which left Phantom's website as if it never existed, the company is still talking about the Lapboard. In a recent blog post, Phantom Development Consultant John Landino says Phantom has come up with inventory funding and paid for its first shipment of Lapboards, which the company hopes to start shipping in its yet-to-be-opened game store before the end of the year.
It's hard to argue with anyone who might be skeptical about this latest update, but remember that the Optimus Maximus was once well on its way to becoming vaporware before it started shipping.