The future looks bright for touchscreen computing, which will get a boost from Windows 7's built-in support for multitouch technology. And in case you haven't noticed, touchscreen PCs are beginning to gain steam. But is the world ready for touch computing in its current form?
"The question is, can we rethink the touch interface as a first-class citizen and provide a fresh approach to the desktop?," says Anand Agarawala, founder and CEO of Toronto's Bumptop. "Not only is touch a more natural way to interact with your desktop, but it also adds to your productivity."
Up to now, there hasn't been much motivation to focus on touch. According to Display Search, only about 3 percent of desktops and notebooks currently come with a touchscreen. Touch technology is much more prominent in the smartphone market, so the first step is getting the hardware out there. Then there's the task of making touchscreens easier to use and functionally relevant.
"PCs with touchscreens look cool, but what do you do with them?," says Jennifer Colegrove, a director at Display Search. "When it comes to the iPhone there are 50,000 applications that use touch -- but what do you do on a PC with touch?"
That question might be answered sooner than you think.
Sony is accepting pre-orders for its newest laptop, the Sony Vaio X Series. Though most would consider this a “netbook” solution due to its hardware, it might be one of the snazziest, albeit most expensive, looking netbooks on the market.
Sony managed to cram an 11.1” widescreen, up to 2GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD and a 2GHz Intel Atom processor into a half-inch body weighing 1.6 pounds. They piled up some extras too: internal Verizon Mobile Broadband, GPS, webcam, and memory card readers. Oh, did I forget to mention, you could get up to 14 hours of use out of the included, extended battery (up to 3.5 hours with the standard).
No doubt, the extended battery increases the size and weight of the book, but all-things-considered it may be worth it to be that long without a power cable.
The price tag is steep (starts at $1299) for netbook-grade performance. You can check out more pics and pre-order your own at the Sony Style site. Is the X Series too rich for your blood?
Samsung Electronics, well known for its wide variety of computer peripherals, flat screen televisions, and digital cameras, appears poised to enter the memory card market.
DigiTimes is reporting that Samsung has struck an agreement with memory card maker Transcend to jointly market the cards for the Taiwan market. Samsung’s offerings will be targeted to the high-end market. Further details were not provided.
Neither Samsung or Transcend commented on the report. A formal announcement of the agreement is expected on October 20.
Has your PC been on th fritz lately? If so, there's a good chance it's the system memory causing all those headaches, according to Google's research. Google, which has several thousand computers in its data centers, collected real-world data on its systems and wrote a research paper (PDF) titled "DRAM Errors in the Wild: A Large-Scale Field Study."
"We found the incidence of memory errors and the range of error rates across different DIMMs (dual pin-line memory modules) to be much higher than previously reported," according to the paper written by Bianca Schroeder, a professor at the University of Toronto, and Google's Eduardo Pinheiro and Wolf-Dietrich Weber. "Memory errors are not rare events."
The results might surprise you. Google's research reveals that correctable memory errors occur in one of every three of the company's servers each year, and one in a hundred suffer an uncorrectable error, which usually leads to a crash.
It's important to note that Google's servers use ECC (error correction code) memory, yet each module, on average, suffered nearly 4,000 correctable errors per year. So what's the big deal if they're correctable? A correctable error on a Google machine is likely an uncorrectable error on your PC, says Peter Glaskowsky, an analyst at the Envisioneering Group.
However, Glaskowsky also points out that most consumer PCs aren't manipulating tons of data in memory.
Buffalo, who has offices in Japan, USA, Germany, UK, Ireland, and Taiwan, is well on its way to being the first to release a USB 3.0 hard drive. On Tuesday, the networking and storage company said its HD-HU3 series of USB 3.0 external hard drives would be the "world's first" to ship to retailers, Engadget reports.
The company also plans to offer NEC's IFC-PCIE2U3 2-port PCI-Express x1 host controller because, well, what good is a USB 3.0 drive without a controller to take advantage of it?
But before we get ahead of ourselves, it appears the drives will only be available in Japan when they ship later this month. According to Engadget, the 1TB model will run about $225 after the exchange rate, while the 1.5TB will cost $284. Later on, Buffalo plans to release a 2TB model, which will sell for around $530. Add another $60 for the controller.
Look for low-power DDR3 modules to hit retailers before the end of the year. That's because Elpida Memory today said it has finished development of its 40nm 2-gigabit (2Gb, with a lowercase 'b') DDR3 SDRAM and will ship samples next November. Mass production is slated to begin before the end of 2009.
On the manufacturing side, Elpida's smaller 40nm chips allows the company to achieve a 44 percent higher chip yield per wafer compared to 50nm, and a 100 percent yield for DDR3 products that operate at 1.6Gbps, the company said.
Elpida claims its 40nm 2Gb DDR3 chips use about two-thirds less current and support 1.2V to 1.35V operation, in addition to the DDR3 standard 1.5V. That's about a 45 percaent reduction in power consumption, which might not sound like much for a typical home user, but could add up in a server farm.
Acer’s entry-level easyStore H340 gives you everything you need to attach a robust Windows Home Server to your network, with plenty of room to expand. Its technical specs edge out HP’s comparably-priced LX195—both are budget servers equipped with a 1.6GHz Atom processor, but the H340 includes 2GB of RAM and 1TB of included disk storage. The feature that really sets Acer’s offering apart, however, is the availability of four hot-swappable drive bays, meaning you can add three additional 3.5-inch SATA drives with ease. And if those aren’t enough, the H340 also has five powered USB ports and even an eSATA port for you to go nuts with expansions.
If you don’t need terabytes of backup space for your network, the newest member of HP’s MediaSmart family may be the right fit for you. With 640GB of storage, the LX195 makes sense if your home network consists of just two or three PCs. Like its higher-end siblings, the LX195 lets you perform Mac OS backups, though you’ll have to partition additional drive space for Time Machine. Storage capacity is the LX195’s big weakness, since there are no extra internal drive bays or eSATA ports for additional hard drives. To enable WHS’s file duplication feature or add additional storage space, you’ll have to attach external drives with USB.
The LX195’s strengths lie in its small size and low power usage. It’s no bigger than a desktop speaker, and can be hidden out of sight under your desk. Its Atom processor draws very little power (especially when idle), and we couldn’t even hear the server operate during backups.
Corsair on Tuesday announced the launch of its new TX950W power supply, which takes its place as the flagship model in Corsair's TX series. The only higher wattage PSU the company offers is the modular HX1000.
The company's PSUs have earned a reputation as being reliable, and Corsair says this newest unit is "built using industrial-grade components to ensure clean and stable voltages." It comes with a dedicated +12V rail rated at a whopping 78A (936W), which the company says equates to 98.5 percent of the PSU's total power output.
Other specs include 80 PLUS Bronze certification (at least 85 percent energy efficient at typical load levels), six 6+2-pin PCI-E cables, active PFC, and a five year warranty.
No word on price or availability, though we'd guess it to be in the ballpark of $225.
It doesn't look like the oft-speculated Apple tablet will debut in November as The Wall Street Journalpredicted back in August, but if DigiTimes' sources prove reliable (and they often do), the real release could take place in the first quarter of 2010.
According to the news and rumor site's talkative sources, Apple has pegged Foxconn as its manufacturing partner to build what's sure to be a popular device, Apple tax be damned. And there will be plenty to go around, as sources say initial shipments should be in the neighborhood of 300,000 to 400,000.
The Foxconn-built Apple tablet will sport a 10.6-inch display and focus more heavily on e-book chores than it will on music playback. Expect a long battery life, the sources noted.