Google's army of Chrome OS devices continues to grow
Are mainstream users ready to live primarily in the cloud? With all the Chrome OS devices coming out (along with the ones that are already available), this year will be a good litmus test for the platform. Joining the ranks of those offering a desktop solution is HP, the world's second largest PC maker, which plans to launch a Chromebox in the spring. HP's Chromebox will initially debut in the U.S., though the OEM is mum on the price.
It looks like AMD is fleshing out its graphics card line with a new part. A look around the web reveals several references to an AMD Radeon R7 250X graphics card from a variety of third-party partners, including one from Diamond Multimedia that's available to purchase for around $100 street. Looking at the specs, the Radeon R7 250X slides neatly in between AMD's Radeon R7 250 and R7 260X video cards.
Asus and Google are quickly becoming BFFs. As you already know, Asus is the one that builds Google's 7-inch Nexus tablet, and earlier this week, Asus announced plans to release a Chromebox starting at $179 in March. Google has now taken the higher end version -- the one with a Core i7 processor -- and is targeting businesses with a Chromebox bundle that's supposed to make videoconferencing easy.
Bigger isn't always better, especially when you're talking about mobility. For example, have you ever wanted to take your home theater with you? That's a tough task, though Acer's new palm-sized K137 projector makes it easy to bring a big screen experience to a friend's house. It weighs just 1.1 pounds and measures 7.4 inches (W) by 4.6 inches (D) by 1.6 inches (H).
If you thought the tablet market was on the verge of being saturated, think again. According to DisplaySearch, tablet PC shipments will reach 455 million units by 2017, at which time slates will account for nearly 75 percent of the mobile PC market as a whole. DisplaySearch says falling prices and continued advances in display technology will be key in the upcoming growth of tablets.
VAIO PCs didn't fit in with Sony's reform strategy
There's a good chance you may never see a new Vaio PC sold in the United States ever again. We're not necessarily jumping to that conclusion, though it's a strong possibility since Sony just agreed to sell its Vaio PC business to Japan Industrial Partners Inc., a Japanese investment firm. By getting rid of its Vaio division, Sony frees itself up to focus on mobile, and specifically smartphones and tablets.
Google has to be pleased with the growing popularity of Chromebooks, which are laptops built around the search giant's cloud-based Chrome OS. If you're interested in Chromebooks but have yet to pick one up, you have another model to choose from. New to the U.S. market is Toshiba's first Chromebook, a 13.3-inch machine with an Intel Celeron 2955U processor.
Zotac, a company that's best known for its line of mini PCs, just fleshed out its Zbox family with a new model. The newly introduced Zbox ID45 comes to town wielding a 3rd Generation Intel Core i3 processor (Ivy Bridge) paired with Nvidia GeForce GT 640 graphics. It's a bit of a blast to the past to see a new system rocking a last generation foundation, though Zotac claims this combination offers plenty of performance while remaing energy efficient.
MSI today announced the arrival of its new GX Series of gaming laptops with AMD inside. These include the 15.6-inch GX60 Destroyer and 17.3-inch GX70 Destroyer, both with Full HD 1080p (1920x1080) non-reflective displays. Both models also feature the same APU and GPU -- an AMD A10-5750 processor clocked at 2.3GHz (3.5GHz Turbo) and AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics.
A potential candidate for a home brewed Steam Machine
It appears Powercolor is getting ready to launch a passively cooled version of AMD's Radeon R9 270 graphics card. Powercolor has yet to formally introduce what it's calling the R9 270 SCS3 edition, but if you look around the web, you'll discover some overseas retailers listing the SKU, including one that managed to get its hands on a press photo of the upcoming card.