CES is the time to unveil nifty devices, and that's what Cloud Engines has done with its Pogoplug. Essentially a USB-to-NAS adapter, the small gadget connects external USB hard drives to the internet through your router.
"Consumers are buying millions of external drives to store their personal content, yet extending this content outside the home is overly difficult.," said Daniel Putterman, chief executive officer of Cloud Engines, Inc. "Pogoplug makes this possible for anyone, with no network setup or configuration."
Cloud Engines claims the setup routine will only take seconds with no network configuration hassles or other installation woes. Just plug the Pogoplug into an electric outlet, connect the Ethernet cable to your router, and attach your USB hard drive, the company says. Once the registration code is entered, end users will be able to access data from anywhere with an internet connection using Windows Explorer or Mac Finder. The Pogoplug also comes with an iPhone application, and an open API for developers to code their own nifty third party programs.
The Pogoplug is available now for pre-order through www.pogoplug.com at an introductory price of $80, with an MSRP set at $100. Shipping expected in March.
AMD's financial struggles have been well documented throughout the past year, but it isn't the only chip maker feeling the sting from a lackluster global economy. And while the technology world is abuzz at CES showing off new gadgets and prototypes, Intel's fourth-quarter warning comes as a sobering reminder that all is not well.
The No. 1 chip maker said it expects just $8.2 billion in revenue for the quarter, representing a disappointing 23 percent drop from the same quarter one year ago, and a 20 percent tumble from Q3. Intel had warned in November that its Q4 results would be less than previously forecast, but at the time, the company still expected to pull in up to $9.3 billion.
Perhaps most disheartening about the less than expected revenues -- for Intel, anyway -- is what impact the netbook industry might be having. The netbook market has exploded in recent months, and it's been Intel's Atom processor that has provided the dynamite. But unlike much higher priced notebooks, these $500 and under laptops don't offer the same attractive profit margin, apparently no matter how well they're selling.
Smaller sized notebooks are all the buzz and have now garnered the attention of Gateway. The OEM today announces its first 13.3-inch notebook with the introduction of its new UC series.
"The new Gateway UC Series notebook line hits the sweet spot of mobile entertainment with an excellent pairing of a chic portable design, widescreen display and mainstream notebook performance," Gateway wrote in a press release. "Gateway's first notebook PC with a 13.3-inch widescreen display, it sports a small footprint and lightweight 5.3-pound design that is idea for travel and taking to work and class."
The 5.3-pound ultraportable kicks off with the UC7308u and UC7807u, the latter of which comes equipped with an Intel Core 2 Duo T6400 (2.0GHz) processor, 3GB of DDR2-667 RAM, Intel's integrated 4500MHD graphics, a 250GB hard drive, 8x DVD burner, and six cell battery. Other features include a 1280x800 Ultrabright LCD screen, HDMI port with HDCP support, 801.11a/b/g/n, and a webcam.
Gateway's billing the new series as ideal for those who "want more than what a netbook can deliver" without sacrificing a small form factor, and included in the new ultraportables is "Switchable Graphics Technology."
Both the UC7308u and UC7807u are available now priced at $750 an $800 respectively.
It took nearly the whole of last year for Opera Software to develop version 9.7 of its Device SDK. Now that the SDK is ready, Opera has decided to flaunt it blithely at CES. Among the major additions to the SDK is Opera Link, which “continuously synchronizes your bookmarks and Speed Dial between any computers, mobile phones and now devices.”
The 9.7 SDK also brings along a much smoother hardware accelerated version of Opera Zoom. The SDK is available to all device manufactures interested in offering an enhanced internet experience on their devices.
Nova Mobile Systems has brought its new extra durable UMPC SideArm 2, which succeeds its sturdy Sidearm UMPC, to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show. As is the case with most UMPCs, Nova’s SideArm 2 to is equipped with an Intel Atom. The UMPC has a 7” touch screen and weighs less than 2 pounds. However, the weight goes up to a shade less than 2.5 pounds if the user opts for the 10+ hour battery option.
Consumers will be able to choose between a SSD with up to 64GB storage capacity and a HDD with a maximum of 120GB space. Its connectivity features include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and 3G. SideArm has many variants aimed at different set of users and supports Windows Vista/XP and Linux. The company is heavily plugging the rugged nature of the UMPC, which comes with a rotating hand strap and has been drop tested to 4 feet.
At tonight's CES Microsoft keynote speech, Steve Ballmer talked a lot about the shape of things to come in the Windows community. Fortunately, he also made a couple announcements that are about the here and now. One such announcement was that Windows Live Essentials, a suite of free, fundamental communications software for Windows is out of beta.
The suite includes Messenger, an email utility, photo management software, and Writer, a blogging program. Movie Maker is also available for free, though it is technically still a beta release. The programs can be downloaded for free here (although something tells us most of our Maximum PC readers already have favorite programs that accomplish the Essential tasks), and will come pre-installed on most Dell PCs.
Additionally, Windows Live Essentials can integrate with certain "web activities" such as Facebook, allowing you to synchronize data on those services with data on your home computer.
So, what does everyone think of Windows Live Essentials? Is this the start of a iLife-esque unified Windows experience, or is it not enough? Hit the break and leave us a comment.
Microsoft’s CES keynote was, as expected, light on megaton gaming news, but a somewhat small – though undeniably interesting -- gem did manage to escape from Microsoft’s warchest. Titled Kodu, this easy-to-use game-creation tool is operated with only the Xbox 360 controller. However, based on a demonstration given during the keynote, Kodu could very well relegate games like LittleBigPlanet to the musty back corner of the toy box. Said MPC’s own Will Smith upon viewing the demo:
“The kid doing the Kodu demo (Sparrow) is hardcore with the radial menus. I forget how awesome they are if they're fast enough that you can actually use them. She was using the radial menus to adjust items in her game world. These are incredibly deep radial menus, compared to other apps. This is a pretty impressive tool, and she's controlling it entirely using the Xbox controller. There are lots of little games in the world.”
According to a Microsoft press release, Kodu’s colorful vistas are “expressed in physical action-reaction terms, using basic concepts like vision, hearing and time to control your character’s behavior.” Sounds pretty wicked.
Kodu launches this spring on the Xbox Live Community Games Channel.
See the rest of Microsoft’s game-related announcements after the break.
Want to bring some law back to this lawless, DRM-overrun country? Here’s your chance. The Federal Trade Commission plans to devote an entire town hall meeting to the do’s and don’ts of DRM, and it’s asking for input from those who feel that digital rights management has been mismanaged.
“Digital rights management (DRM) refers to technologies typically used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, and copyright holders to attempt to control how consumers access and use media and entertainment content," the FTC explained on its official page. "Among other issues, the workshop will address the need to improve disclosures to consumers about DRM limitations."
Even better, making your voice heard is as simple as vandalizing a blank email page with one of your scandalous messages – though bombarding the FTC’s inbox with outraged anti-DRM hatemail probably isn’t the best idea.
"The Commission invites interested parties to submit requests to be panelists and to recommend other topics for discussion. The requests should be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 30, 2009....The Commission will select panelists based on their expertise and on the need to represent a range of views."
Frankly, we’re all for this. No matter the meeting’s outcome, it’s a sign that people in positions of power – and not just keyboard warriors – are beginning to realize DRM’s invasive nature. At the very least, cries of DRM’s deviance will no longer ring ineffectively in the ears of companies like EA. DRM has finally hit the big time, and the big time’s hitting back.
Here's some breaking news: At the Microsoft CES Keynote, Steve Ballmer has just announced the launch of the Windows 7 Public beta. Customers of Technet and MSDN can get the beta right away (if you hadn't already been tempted by the various leaks) while the rest of us will have to wait until 2 days from now to snag the trial OS.
In his keynote address, Ballmer stressed that Windows 7 will provide faster performance, longer battery life, faster boot times, and a less obnoxious security alert system. Early reports from people who have tried the beta seem to back these claims up, and we're very excited to see how the public will react to this beta.
Though many people are keenly awaiting the commercial launch of USB 3.0, it is advisable that they subdue their alacrity a touch as it will take some time for the technology to warm-up. A prototype USB 3.0 hard drive being showcased at the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show is only able to manage read speeds up to 1320Mb/s and writes speeds of up to 1000Mb/s, which is around a quarter of what is possible with USB 3.0.
A representative for the USB Implementers Forum also confirmed to TG Daily that it will take a bit of time before devices begin to fully tap the potential of the new technology.