Bad news for the computer industry. According to market research company Gartner, PC shipments will plummet nearly 12 percent in 2009, recording the worst decline the industry has ever seen. This even after contracting sales in emerging markets for the first time.
"The PC industry is facing extraordinary conditions as the global economy continues to weaken, users stretch PC lifetimes, and PC suppliers grow increasingly cautious," said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner.
The 12 percent free fall translates into 257 million computers expected to be sold, but its even worse for desktops, whch are expected to slide a staggering 32 percent from last year. Laptops, meanwhile, are expected to go up by 9 percent, no doubt the result of strong netbook sales, a sector that had been keeping the worldwide PC market growing up to this point.
Street Fighter IV may claim to have lived out its early days on the street, but that’s a damn lie. In reality, the current king of fighters spent less of its time scrounging together street cred and more picking up virtual credits in the backs of arcades ploughed flat by herds of rail-thin DDR players.
However, a quick look at the wreckin’ machine’s boxy guts reveals a shocking secret: It’s a PC. Runs Windows and everything. So why delay the game’s PC punch-out until after consoles take it for a ride?
"Well the answer is the game's not done," Capcom VP Christian Svensson said after calling accusations of piracy-avoidance “completely absurd.” "So, to put things into perspective, the Street Fighter IV team is working on two things right now. They're finishing the PC SKU, and people are like, well the arcade was the PC, how hard can it be? Well we had all of these additions for the console version in terms of content that didn't exist on the PC. All of that needs to be rolled back in.”
“All of that takes time. The testing on PC in particular is a very, very time consuming process. Testing and optimisation versus obviously when we're working on console or an arcade board for that matter, it has a known configuration that we can optimise for out of the gate," he explained.
“Your next question to me is probably, well why don't you just hold the console versions until the PC is done? The answer is the unfortunate financial realities of making our numbers within certain financial years or quarters drives when we have to actually get some stuff out of the door.”
“The other part of this is while the PC is an important part of our business today, the forecast does not justify holding back the lion share of the revenues that comes from consoles to make it happen.”
It wasn’t long ago that Intel first started talking about programmable matter (their concept for an amorphous blob formed from microscopic glass spheres that can take any shape). Thanks to a video from CNN, the idea makes a lot more sense by showing the concept in action.
Now, the video is all pre-rendered, the concept still remains. The short video shows a group of designers messing with the frame of a car, as well as changing its color and even cracking it open to check out the seat configuration.
The video also mentions that Intel is “on the edge of discovery” with programmable matter. So, while it’s admittedly the thing that dreams are made of today, it won’t be for quite some time that this is a readily available resource.
At today’s DEMO conference Always Innovating plans to debut their new netbook, which will offer 10 to 15 hours of battery life, weighs under two pounds and will feature a touchscreen, all for less than an Amazon Kindle.
Always Innovating will offer a base model of the netbook for $299 that will not feature a touchscreen, but will have an ARM Texas Insturments OMAP3 processor, a 1024x600 8.9-inch screen, 8GB of flash storage, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth, and 6 USB ports. For $100 more, you can upgrade to the touchscreen version.
It’s reported that the Touch Book will be available in the U.S. around May or June 2009.
At CeBIT Asus showed off a new concept for a laptop that gets rid of the keyboard in favor of a second screen. The two screens are both touch, and when coupled with software allows for virtual interface devices (such as resizable keyboards and trackpads) to be implemented.
Sadly, this dual panel laptop is currently the product of a corporate-sponsored entry to a design competition, so it is entirely possible that it will never hit the market. Though, we’ll keep our fingers crossed that it will.
You might not realize it, but unless you unplug your computer or turn off the power strip it's plugged into, your PC still consumes electricity when turned off. We're only talking about one to four watts for the average system, but that's enough for Fujitsu-Siemens to dub its new Esprimo 7935 system as a "zero-watt" PC.
According to Fujitsu-Siemens, the new enterprise desktop consumes no energy whatsoever when turned off, and does so without having to pull the plug. While no big deal for the average consumer, a business with several computers could potentially cut back on its power bill by a significant amount if its PCs aren't constantly pulling electricity during overnight off-hours.
The new PC also boasts an 89 percent efficient power supply, a motherboard with no halogen or lead, and conforms to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Energy Star 5.0 standard.
Look for the Esprimo 7935 to start shipping in the second half of 2009. No word yet on price.
Does the newly released Kindle 2's text-to-speech feature violate copyright law? That's a question Amazon would rather avoid asking, and so on Friday the e-tailer announced it would be modifying its eBook reader to give authors and publishers the final say on whether or not to enable text-to-speech.
Even though Amazon has decided to pass the buck on possible legal ramifications of using text-to-speech, the company maintains that it doesn't infringe upon copyrights. In a statement released Friday, Amazon said "Kindle 2's experimental text-to-speech feature is legal: no copy is made, no derivative work is created, and no performance is being given."
Amazon says it pulled the 180 because it believes "many rights holders will be more comfortable with the text-to-speech feature if they are in the driver's seat." Or, as CNet interprets it, "Amazon caved." Amazon had been receiving criticism from the Authors Guild, who said it wouldn't rule out the possibility of suing Amazon. By making the text-to-speech function optional, Amazon has left authors and publishers to fend for themselves if they decide to enable the feature, which most of them probably won't.
Did Amazon make the right decision? Hit the jump and tell us what you think.
Talk about a true desktop replacement - Asus' new W90 laptop packs enough hardware inside to leave most mainstream desktop PCs in the dust. It's also one of Asus' first notebooks to boast an 18.4-inch LCD display, and at that size, it better (and it does) support full HD with a 1920x1200 resolution.
The W90 comes with a speedy Intel Core 2 Duo T9600 processor (2.8GHz, 6MB cache, 1066MHz frontside bus) on the Intel X38 chipset, complimented with 6GB of DDR2-memory, a 320GB hard drive, and DVD burner. But it's the graphics that really makes the W90 a desktop replacement for gamers. The 11.46-pound lappy owes some of its bulk to a dual-GPU ATI 4870 X2 videocard with 1GB of video memory - sweet!
As is expected, the W90 doesn't come cheap, and is available now for $2,200 through Newegg.com. That also includes a backpack, mouse, and 12-cell battery.
ATI has been eerily quiet regarding the company's first 40nm-based graphics release, code named RV740, and instead letting rumors swirl around the web. That's okay, because review site Guru3d managed to snag a sample of an as-yet un-named RV740-based videcoard and has put it through a variety of DX9 and DX10 benchmarks.
On the hardware front, Guru3d says the new part comes equipped with 640 shaders, 32TMUs, and 16 ROPs. If this sounds familiar, it's because these are the same specs as those found on the RV770LE, only the RV740 bumps up both the core frequency from 575MHz to 650 MHz, and memory frequency from 1800MHz to 3200MHz. The wide gap in memory frequency can be attributed to the use of GDDR5, compared to RV770LE's GDDR3. But are the higher frequencies enough to make up for the smaller 128-bit memory bus on the RV740?
According to Guru3d, the answer is yes. The new card fell in between in the Radeon HD 4830 and HD 4850 in every benchmark the site published, no matter whether it was tested at 1280x1024 or 2560x1600. Not at all bad for a card that is expected to sell for under $100, however there's been no official word yet on price.
During a phone interview with InformationWeek, Dirk Meyer, CEO of AMD, said the chip maker is on track to deliver 32nm CPUs by the middle of next year, with testing of the new chips to be complete by the end of this year and volume production to begin in Q4 2010. This would put AMD roughly a year behind Intel in shifting to the smaller manufacturing process, as AMD's rival chip maker is expected to produce 32nm chips by Q4 of this year.
AMD closes its deal with the Abu Dhabi government tomorrow for the creation of AMD's manufacturing spinoff, the Foundry Co., who will create the new chips. Once finalized, the deal will lift about $1.1 billion in debt out of AMD's books, freeing the company to concentrate on designing new parts.
It remains to be seen if AMD will also integrate major graphics in a 32nm process through the Foundry Co. as well.