It’s expected that Asus will begin selling their wildly popular netbooks in Walmart stores during the second half of this year. Given that they’re already being sold in Target and Best Buy, this doesn’t seem that outlandish.
The information (which comes courtesy of an “anonymous market source in Taiwan”) also noted that Asus is expected to market notebooks through Walmart as well. And while this doesn’t mean that they’ll be boasting the Eee line as their big seller, given the current economic perils, it’s very likely.
Asus is looking to increase their netbook shipments in the US from 650,000 in 2008 to over 1 million this year. If they add Walmart to their vendor list, this possibility becomes very likely.
Never content to leave well enough alone, we’ve spent a lot of time looking for an audio system that could topple B&W’s mighty Zeppelin off its perch as our favorite iPod sound system. And now we've finally found it -- in Focal-JMlab’s Focal XS Multimedia Sound System.
The Focal XS is the logical follow-up to Focal’s awesome iCub powered subwoofer, which had a 2.1-channel amplifier but didn’t come with satellite speakers. The new system includes not only a pair of excellent near-field satellites, but also an integrated iPod dock and a USB interface so you can sync your iPod to iTunes, and convert digital audio from your PC’s USB port.
To be entirely fair to the Zeppelin, these two devices are really designed for different applications: Where the Zeppelin system is designed to fill a room with sound, the Focal XS is more of a near-field system that’s best enjoyed when you’re sitting in close proximity to it. And that probably explains why, unlike the Zeppelin, the Focal XS does not have an analog video output that would allow you to watch movies stored on your iPod on your big-screen TV.
EVGA has to be feeling awfully confident in its videocards. Not only does EVGA allow its registered users to overclock its GPUs without invalidating the lifetime warranty, but its giving owners the tools to do so.
EVGA's Precision overclocking utility already makes it stupid simple to increase the core, memory, and shader clockspeed on its videocards, and now the company has made available its GPU Voltage Tuner utility to registered owners. With it, GTX 295, 280, or 260 graphics card owners can set custom voltage levels, potentially paving the way for greater overclocking headroom. Of course, increasing voltages also increases the risk of killing components, and so far EVGA doesn't allow sliding the tuner into the red zone, a feature which may be unlocked in a future version, EVGA states in its FAQ.
A prerequisite for using the utility is installing GeForce 181.22 drivers or later. EVGA notes that "it is possible to damage your hardware while adjusting your GPU Voltages - use at your own risk." We'd have to agree.
The Gyration Air Music Remote is absolutely awesome when it comes to controlling the cursor in a home-theater PC. But this device doesn’t deliver on its bigger promise to be a high-end universal remote control.
Like all Gyration remotes, this one uses a gyroscope to determine its own position in three-dimensional space. With its position established, the remote translates those coordinates to move a mouse cursor on the two-dimensional plane of a computer screen. Hold the remote in front of you, push the primary button, move your wrist up, and the cursor moves up. Point the remote to the left and the cursor moves the to the left -- and so on. Buttons to the right and left of the primary button perform the same functions as the left and right buttons of a conventional mouse.
Today Antec announced a brand spankin’ new PSU that will feature a new form factor designed specifically for their cases.
The new power supply, the CP-850, will swap over from the standard PS/2 form factor, the current standard for power supplies, in order to improve airflow, allow for better component selection and even operate quieter (or so Antec claims).
It’ll be available for $149.95 through major retailers (online and in store), and will come with a 5-year warranty.
The latest of many rumors regarding Amazon's next-generation Kindle eBook reader predicted the new device would make an official debut today, and New York Times blogger Brad Stone can now pat himself on the back for getting the release day right. Amazon has finally introduced the long anticipated Kindle 2, the followup to the immensely popular Kindle.
"Kindle 2 is everything customers tell us they love about the original Kindle, only thinner, faster, crisper, with longer battery life, and capable of holding hundreds more books. If you want, Kindle 2 will even read to you—something new we added that a book could never do,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO.
Who says AMD moves too slowly? Just a month after releasing its well regarded Phenom II mid-range CPUs, the company is back with no fewer than five new P-II chips and its new AM3 socket that support DDR3.
War. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Well, except when it’s a CPU war. In that case, it’s good for consumers. Really good for us. With the unveiling of five new AMD’s latest Phenom II CPUs supporting DDR3, it’s pretty clear that the CPU war that started with the unveiling of the Phenom II in January is escalating.
AMD’s new lineup includes the 2.6GHz Phenom II X4 for $175, the 2.8GHz Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition at $145, and the 2.6GHz Phenom II X3 710 for $125. AMD’s two other new chips: the 2.6GHz Phenom II X4 910 and the 2.5GHz Phenom II X4 805. The 910 and 805 are OEM only CPUs and pricing was not released but you can expect that gray-markets will carry them and that the prices will follow the numbers. The 805, for example, should be slightly cheaper than the $175 810 and the 910 should be cheaper than the $195 Phenom II X4 920.
Lost in the numbers? So where we. AMD’s lineup is so bewildering to us today that we had build a spread sheet just to sort it out! We give you the skinny on AMD’s latest quad and tri-cores and help you sort through AMD’s bewildering array of CPU choices.
Creative takes another stab at wireless audio streaming with the Creative Wireless Receiver, an AC-powered 4.0x2.75-inch block that you plug into powered speakers or your hi-fi system. The $70 device receives audio streams from a transmitter, such as Creative’s Xmod Wireless or X-Fi Notebook card (purchased separately), connected to your PC.
For our tests, we used the Sound Blaster X-Fi Notebook ($90), plugging it into the ExpressCard slot in HP’s monster-sized Pavilion HDX9000 notebook PC. The combination sounded great—at close range, at least. We placed the notebook and the sound card in a bedroom and streamed music to several locations within a 2,700-square-foot single-family home.
LaCie's newest Blu-ray burner might as well be called the 'Top Gun' model because the company obviously felt the need for speed when designing it. The newly announced LaCie d2 Blu-ray Drive gooses the burn rating to 8X, or double the speed of its previous high-capacity Blu-ray drive.
"With the doubling of the speed to burn Blu-ray discs, video professionals will be able to spend more time creating content and less time on production," said Christelle Dexet, Multimedia Product Manager for LaCie. "And for those who need to safely store large quantities of information for extended periods of time on secure removable media, the LaCie d2 Blu-ray Drive is an ideal solution."
The external drive supports both USB 2.0 and FireWire 400 and can burn up to 50GB on a single dual-layer BD-R disc. DVD recording checks in at 16X, CDs at 48X, and dual-layer DVD at 8X.
LaCie's d2 Blu-ray burner is available now starting at $450 and comes bundled with Easy Media Creator 10 and Toast 9 Titanium software.
It may only be a side note here in North America, but over in the U.K HP is shaking up its netbook lineup. Normally this isn’t something that would make headline news, but it underscores an interesting new trend. HP is dropping the Mini 2133, the only Linux netbook still in its fleet. Customers will still be able to purchase Microsoft versions of the Mini 1000’s and install Linux on their own, but will now be forced to pay the Microsoft tax.
Tech journalists and enthusiasts alike have been fascinated by Linux’s rise in popularity thanks to low cost PCs, but clearly the mainstream consumer still favors the familiar blue and green of Windows XP. Another unknown is what impact Windows 7 will have on Linux netbooks sales in the future. If the price of the starter edition is the same, or less than XP, we can’t help but wonder if the free OS will have what it takes to compete. Clearly Microsoft is taking the netbook threat seriously, but only time will tell who will win the war.
Will Linux survive in the netbook and low cost PC market? Hit the jump and let us know what you think.