Configuring your next BMW isn't as easy as touching a table yet, but in the near future, it probably will be. BMW has released a video of its prototype BMW Product Navigator (aka BMW Konfigurator), which is powered by Microsoft Surface and designed by Vectorform, which created the interactive 2008 election map used by MSNBC.
As with the 2008 MSNBC project, Vectorform's BMW Product Navigator uses Microsoft Surface to manipulate video that is then shown on an HDTV. With the BMW Product Navigator, you place chips representing product options on the Microsoft Surface tabletop computer, and the changes you make affect the BMW shown on the video screen. And, just so you can make sure you're buying the Bimmer you want, Product Navigator can email you your custom configuration, print it, or copy it to a USB flash memory drive.
What do you think about the idea of gesturing your way to the car of your dreams? Is this the best way to use Microsoft Surface? For your chance to answer these and other burning questions, join us after the jump.
According to a blog post by Bob Familiar, an Architect Evangelist with Microsoft, the Windows 7 Beta 1 will be available at the upcoming MSDN developer conference. Said conference will take place from December 9th to February 19th.
In the post, familiar writes, “attend an upcoming MSDN Developer Conference and you will receive a Windows 7 Beta 1 DVD.” It hasn’t been made clear whether or not this means that attendees will receive the disc after or during the conference, but it has been confirmed by other Microsoft employees that the beta will be available.
One such confirmation comes from Keith Combs, who has stated that the DVDs will be available on January 13th. This places it right in time for this year’s CES, and mounts for an even grander unveiling at the trade show.
It's hard to fathom anyone using a netbook as their primary PC. There's only so much you can do with an under-powered ultraportable ill-equipped to run Photoshop, let alone try to attempt any kind of gaming. But as a secondary unit, the pint-sized PCs have proven extremely popular. Is there potential for netbooks to be even more?
Nvidia this week reiterated interest in the mini-laptop market, however hesitant the company might be. Taking a wait-and-see approach, Marv Burkett, the company's chief financial officer, said "we're not saying we're not interested; it's a matter of how the market will evolve." Ironically enough, Nvidia jumping on board might be just the evolutionary step the netbook market needs.
Hit the jump to find out what impact Nvidia coudl have on the netbook market, and why you should care.
As the memory competition continues to heat up, unlikely alliances will forge. Thanks to a joint press release, Hitachi and Intel have recently announced that they’ve signed a development agreement in order to create breakthrough performance enterprise-class SSDs.
They’ll be off to a running start too, thanks to Intel’s already deep foothold in SSD technologies. Their NAND flash memory already allows for extremely high operating rate and according to Randy Wilhelm, VP and GM of Intel NAND Solutions Group, “The new solid-state drives for the enterprise include a number of architectural breakthroughs and improve performance and energy usage models that will change enterprise computing.” He continued, “Intel and Hitachi GST share a common objective in delivering SAS/FC products based on solid-state technology that will help enterprise customers meet the skyrocketing demands for performance while reducing space, power and cooling costs.”
It’s expected that these drives will be available sometime in early 2010, and will be sold exclusively through Hitachi.
Forty years ago Doug Engelbart gave the first ever public demonstration of the computer mouse. But it wasn't until 1985 that Logitech introduced its first retail rodent. Now, 23 years later, the peripheral maker says it has shipped its one billionth mouse, which is almost enough to accommodate every PC user in existence.
"Since the first click of the Logitech® P4 mouse in 1982, Logitech mice have played an indispensable role in the evolution of the personal computer,” said Gerald P. Quindlen, Logitech president and chief executive officer. “During the last few decades, the way people use computers has changed dramatically – what was once strictly a business tool has become highly integrated into our personal lives. Logitech has continually pursued innovations to meet those changing conditions, introducing – in the last five years alone – the world’s first laser mouse, hyper-fast scrolling and the nano-receiver."
As of this moment, Logitech mice scurry in over 100 countries around the globe and the company now produces 7.8 million mice each month. But getting to 2 billion might not be as easy. Desktop sales are down, and both notebooks (which sport trackpads) and touch screen interfaces could detract from the mouse market. Logitech also faces stiffer competition than it ever has before, with companies like Razer, OCZ, and several others all vying a piece of the peripheral pie.
Three years ago, SED televisions were thought to be on the verge of competing with LCD HDTVs and plasma displays. By utilizing thousands of tiny electron guns for each phosphor pixel, SED looked poised to offer a compelling high definition solution with wide viewing angles and deep colors in a display as thin as LCD. But any plans to storm the market were quickly squashed when Applied Nanotech took Canon to court for illegally sublicensing its patents.
Fast forward to today and Canon is finally in the clear to launch SED-based televisions after having won the patent suit. Douglas Baker, Applied Nanotech's chief financial officer, admitted "it would probably be a futile effort" to try and appeal the case in the U.S. Supreme Court, so the only thing stopping Canon at this point is, well, the fear of being laughed at.
"At times like this, new display products are not introduced much because would laugh at them," Tsuneji Uchida, Canon's president, told Financial Times.
Uchida did say that Canon has been working on a cost competitive SED production process, so perhaps SED TVs might finally one day materialize. But first, Canon will need to set aside any fears it has of criticizers laughing at them. We hear picturing them in their underwear helps.
In a move that would make FCC Chairman Kevin Martin proud, YouTube laid out several goals for itself, half of which had to do with clamping down on sexual content. Rest assured, YouTube has "been thinking a lot lately" about how to make the entire video viewing experience a more pleasant one, and here's what it came up with:
Stricter standard for mature content: YouTube's pulling in the reins on censored material and in addition to pornographic images and sex acts, which are already removed when flagged, the video sharing site is also redefining what it considers "sexually suggestive." Among other criteria, any video intended or designed to arouse viewers will be considered sexually suggestive.
Demotion of sexually suggestive content and profanity: Videos that fall under the above category and/or contain profanity "will be algorithmically demoted" from YouTube's 'Most Viewed,' 'Top Favorited,' and other browser pages.
The two other changes YouTube plans to make involve improving its thumbnails so that the image actually represents the video, and enforcing more accurate video information.
Like, dislike, or are indifferent to the changes? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
According to VIA's recently revealed processor roadmap, the company will begin mass producing dual-core Nano CPUs in June of 2010. The late entry would appear to give Intel a significant head start, as the chip maker has already launched its dual-core Atom 330 CPU. But unlike Intel's chip, VIA's dual-core Nano will zero in on both netbooks (notebooks) and nettops (desktops) instead of strictly nettops.
However, Intel might still beat VIA to the punch with Pineview, the company's dual-core Atom part with an integrated graphics solution. That is, if Intel makes the new chip available for netbooks. If not, Intel would be leaving the door open for VIA to step in as the only one to offer a dual-core solution for the uber popular netbook sector. Moreover, despite Nano's lack of penetration thus far, benchmarks typically show the chip outpacing Intel's Atom, albeit while also consuming more power.
Meanwhile, it seems nobody knows exactly what AMD has planned. The chip maker previously announced it was skipping the netbook market, but at the same time would target mini-notebooks. Should the markets overlap, or if AMD has a competitive change of heart, it could make for an interesting three-way battle royal.
Intel has released a new mainstream Core 2 Quad processor in the Q8300. The new 45nm chip comes clocked at 2.5GHz on a 1333MHz front side bus just like the Q9300, but with 4MB of L2 cache instead of 6MB. Look for the chip to sell for around $224.
The new CPU will also likely mark the end of the line for Intel's Core 2 Quad lineup, at least for the immediate future. Of course, Intel will continue to make quad-core processors, just not for the suddenly defunct Core 2 platform. Instead, the company appears to moving all of its efforts to Core i7 and, as Stanley Huang, director of marketing and technical services of Intel's Asia Pacific division said in a statement, boosting Centrino 2's penetration rate.
Huang also reaffirmed that the company's Calpella platform is on schedule despite rumors that it might be delayed for a 2010 launch.
Joining Peter Molyneux, Good Old Games, and Stardock in a swelling anti-DRM chorus, Valve president Gabe Newell has voiced his concerns about DRM's diabolical rule. The big G-man's opinion? Most DRM (ahem) is "just dumb."
"As far as DRM goes, most DRM strategies are just dumb. The goal should be to create greater value for customers through service value (make it easy for me to play my games whenever and wherever I want to), not by decreasing the value of a product (maybe I'll be able to play my game and maybe I won't)," Newell said in an email to a fan named Paul Reisinger (who promptly posted the response on his Live Journal page).
"We really, really discourage other developers and publishers from using the broken DRM offerings, and in general there is a groundswell to abandon those approaches," he added.
Of course, this is a huge about-face for Valve, whose Steam platform once coated games in a jawbreaker-esque, nigh-impenetrable DRM shell. Luckily, Newell and co. had the sense to mash that particular padlock with a crowbar, rendering its DRM far more tolerable.
Nice preaching on Newell's part, though. Choir, do you have anything to add?