When most people think of Logitech the first thing that comes to mind is hardware. Webcams, mice, keyboards, just about anything that you can consider a peripheral. But all that is about to change thanks to their latest acquisition, SightSpeed, which they hope will take them right into the software game.
So what’s it cost to for a hardware giant, such as Logitech, to get their fingers deep into the software game? As it turns out, only $30 million in cash (the deal is expected to close in early November). The addition of the 25-person company to Logitech’s roster comes with the goal of creating solid video communication software to go along with their extremely popular webcams. Current users of SightSpeed are open to use a free version of their software, or a premium version that costs either $9.95 per month or $99.95 a year.
As of right now there’s no telling if the software of the fancy new acquisition will cost anything to use, or if it’ll be an upgrade on the software bundled with the cameras, but with any luck more details will emerge soon.
It was at the beginning of 2008 that the Blu-ray/HD DVD format war came to an end, and it looks like the beginning of 2009 is going to see the start of a new battle. Blu-ray just got a new competitor, and if maker Royal Digital Media can deliver on their promises, it could mean big trouble for Sony’s format.
News of the new format broke by way of a press release from DreamStream, who RDM has contracted to provide military-grade, 2,048-bit encryption for the discs. Compared to Blue-rays paltry 128-bit encryption, the new format should prove significantly more of a challenge to crack, which must look good to publishers looking to protect their IP.
RDM says that their as-of-yet-unnamed HD disk will be able to hold 100GB of data, and will support 1920p video. That means that a single disc will be able to hold about 4 hours of super-HD content.
The best part about RDM’s new format? According to the press release, it’s based on “inexpensive red laser technology” and therefore the discs and players will cost about as much as traditional DVDs and players.
The format is scheduled to launch as soon as the beginning of 2009. It’s going to be interesting to see if they can keep their promises. If they can, is this going to spell the end of Blue-ray? Tell us what you think after the jump.
Google has already begun rolling out the next update to its recently released Chrome browser. Chrome program manager Mark Larson said in a mailing list post this week that "You will automatically get updated in the next few days," but for the impatient, many users can grab the updated version right away by selecting 'About Google Chrome' from the wrench menu.
The update takes Chrome to version 0.3.154.9 and addresses a variety of bug fixes, performance tweaks, and security vulnerabilities. One such vulnerability includes a scenario where, once a user opens a pop-up window, the site could show a different web address than the one that supplied the information. Larson warns that such a flaw could be used to trick users into giving up sensitive information.
Other changes include the ability to sort columns in the password manager, adding a command line switch to the start the browser in incognito mode, better support for Windows Media Player, crash fixes, and more, as outlined in the release notes. Note to Google: We want extension support!
Even notebooks and PCs that earn Maximum PC's coveted Kick Ass award leave room for improvement. Take Gateway's stellar P-7811FX gaming notebook, for instance. Somehow, Gateway managed to cram a bevy of high componentry into a package that's priced way below what gamers are accustomed to paying for pixel pushing laptops. But while the 9800M GTS and 4GB of DDR3 RAM are noteworthy high points, the integrated speakers and poor placement of the optical drive's eject button are both less than ideal. More SATA ports would make for welcome additions, too.
We all have different ideas as to what's important when it comes to desktop and mobile PCs, but we're ultimately left at the mercy of the manufacturer. Think you can do better? In a joint effort between Asus and Intel, your ideas can be heard and shared, and might even materialize on an actual shipping product.
That's the concept behind WePC.com, a new site by Asus and Intel that encourages visitors to share ideas and even create what they would consider to be a Dream PC. After selecting from three different categories -- Gamer PC, Notebook, and Netbook -- you can describe your idea(s) and name your creation, and even upload an image of what you're envisioning. Selecting the Dream PC option gives you even more options, including the ability to post a YouTube video, and greater control over the specifics, like what ports should be included, whether a large hard drive or an SSD is more important, and much more.
Once published, other community members can vote on your creation and leave comments. And if intriguing or popular enough, Asus might even build it. With Intel inside, of course.
What do you envision? Hit the jump and tell us all about it.
We know what you’re thinking, what more could a motherboard vendor put on the PCB that would convince anyone to part with $400? Asus thinks its latest Rampage II Extreme board in the Republic of Gamer’s series will do it.
This X58-based Core i7 board features support both Tri-SLI and CrossFire X, six DDR3 DIMM slots, EAX 4.0 software support, an audio card riser, heat pipes, LCD poster displays and a joystick and probe ports to connect your multi-tester.
What the hell do you need a joystick on a mobo for? Using the provided small single-line LCD display, you can toggle voltages, overclocking profiles or clock speeds. Want even more insane features? The board features probe ports to connect a multi-meter to the motherboard to read direct voltages for the RAM, southbridge, PCI-E, CPU, QPI and CPU PLL’s.
One feature the board doesn’t have that we expected was support for Nvidia’s nForce 200 chip. Instead of the Nvidia hardware, Asus has SLI certification for up to three-way SLI in a x16/x8/x8 configuration. There’s no word as to whether Asus plans to offer a board with an nForce 200 part in it yet.
Web magazine Yanko Design sports a tag line that reads 'Form over function,' but one of its newest entries, the Glide Keyboard from Weston Boege, appears to have neither. The conceptial keyboard/mouse hybrid is a design that attempts to fuse both input devices into a single product. Underneath the keyboard would sit an optical sensor for tracking the keyboard's movement, and low friction pads purportedly make it easy to nudge the peripheral around your desk space. Let's break this one down.
We like funky looking gadgets just as much as the next person, but apart from the black and white color scheme, we're not impressed by the Glide Keyboard's looks.
We're not exactly sure what problem the Glide Keyboard has been designed to solve. Is it supposed to help users with limited desk space for multiple peripherals? If so, moving a full sized keyboard around in cramped confines just seems like a bad idea.
Maybe the picture misrepresents what the final product is supposed to look like, but from our angle, the curved plank won't be doing any favors for your fatigued digits. And what do you do when you reach the end of your keyboard tray before the on-screen cursor reaches its destination? Pick up the keyboard and reposition it? No thanks.
That's our opinion - what's yours? Hit the jump and sound off.
Citing un-named sources at channel vendors in China, DigiTimes says that Foxconn Electronics (otherwise known as Hon Hai Precision Industry) may be jumping out of the branded motherboard market. The overseas rumors stem from Foxconn reportedly cutting off its sales department from taking any new orders on select motherboard models, in addition to no longer putting together order volume forecasts for all of its new models. In other words, the company looks to be clearing its inventory.
While power users typically levitate towards the likes of Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI, Foxconn is far from being a small player in the motherboard market. The company has seen steady growth since shipping six million of its own branded boards back in 2005, and surpassed the 10 million mark in 2007. Estimated shipments for 2008 have the company seeing an annual growth of around 30 percent.
Who isn't streaming or planning to stream Netflix content these days? If asked that question yesterday, you could have answered 'TiVo' and been correct. But today we've learned that Netflix and TiVo have partnered to offer streaming downloads by the end of 2008.
This isn't the first time Netflix and TiVo have flirted with each other. Back in 2005, it looked as though the two were going to cozy up to each other before the deal ultimately fell through "indefinitely." Fast forward to today and Netflix now adds TiVo to a growing list of players who either already are, or soon will be streaming the online rental service's downloadable catalog of titles. Other players include Roku and its set-top box, Microsoft with an upcoming dashboard update to its Xbox 360 console, and select Blu-ray players from LG (LG BD300) and Samsung (BD-P2500 and PD-P2550).
The deal with TiVo has already entered the beta stage for select TiVo owners, and an official roll-out is planned for early December. The service will be available to Netflix subscribers who own a TiVo HD, HD XL, and Series3 DVR.
Toshiba this week announced what it claims is the "industry's largest density SLC NAND chip at 16Gb." The claim comes from the company's new lineup of 43nm Single-Level Cell (SLC) NAND flash memory products available in densities ranging from 512Mbits on up to 64Gbits.
"The new ranges includes three products, 16Gb, 32Gb, and 64Gb, which integrate monolithic 16Gb chips, the highest density SLC NAND chips available," Toshiba said in a press release.
Up until this point, Toshiba's production of SLC chips has been confined to 56nm and 70nm process technologies. Taking the density down to 43nm, Toshiba is touting both the read and write performance of the new parts, as well as the reliability in terms of write and erase cycles.
Devices using the new chips, including mobile phones, office automation equipment, and servers will start showing up in the market in 2009.
Microsoft has joined forces with Akamai to provide a consummate high-definition video streaming experience for PCs. The two companies announced that Akamai will launch a beta version of its HD video streaming service christened AdaptiveEdge Streaming for Microsoft Silverlight in early 2009. The beta release will only be accessible to a few of Akamai’s own customers (content providers).
Windows Server 2008 and Microsoft Silverlight will form the skeletal base of the service. Akamai’s service will exploit Microsoft’s new Web server technology, called Internet Information Services 7.0 (IIS7.0) Smooth Streaming, which is aimed at delivering uninterrupted streaming videos – sans any buffering. “Smooth Streaming is an evolution of proven Silverlight technology that has powered global online events,” said Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the .NET Developer Division at Microsoft, in a press release.
Microsoft clearly hopes that high-definition streaming video can help its Silverlight platform turn the tide and gain more traction. Of course, if Akamai’s service finds favor among providers, it will automatically endear Silverlight to all such content providers. The camaraderie between Microsoft and Akamai dates back to 1999, when the two first strung together a similar partnership.