Notebook vendors appear to cooling off towards the Blu-ray format, but can the high definition format attract more customers on the desktop? Buffalo seems to think so, who today has released not one, but two new 8x Blu-ray burners, one internal and one external.
The MediaStation 8x external Blu-ray drive holds promise for its obvious portability, and comes ready to connect via USB 2.0 or eSATA. The new drive measures 6.4 x 1.9 x 11 inches and weighs less than four pounds. In addition to 8x read and write speeds for BD-R media, Buffalo rates both the internal and external models at BD-RE 2x, DVD RAM 5x, DVD-R 16x, DVD+R 16x, DVD-RW 6x, DVD+RW 8x,CD-R 48x, and CD-RW 24x.
MSRP has been set to $400 for the external version and $350 for the internal model, both shipping with a suite of CyberLink software.
SanDisk is teaming up with major music labels, including Sony BMG, to offer “slotMusic”; 1GB memory cards preloaded with full length albums.
The albums will be sold at retailers likes Wal-Mart and Best Buy and will be encoded in high quality mp3 format. The microSD cards will have no DRM restrictions, allowing the music to be easily downloaded to a computer or loaded onto an mp3 player. SanDisk also anticipates that be offering 1GB cards, artists will take the liberty of offering more than just an average 11-track album, maybe even venturing to offer music videos, interviews, album art, bonus tracks, and other premium content.
This business venture is an interesting one, especially considering that SanDisk seems to be attempting to revive physical media. This could prove to be a difficult endeavor, especially with companies like Apple being ahead of the game with iTunes. There’s speculation that this is SanDisk’s way of trying to offset the takeover bids from Samsung and Toshiba, though analysts say there is little the company can do to try to stay independent.
We're still a month away from seeing the first mobile phone running Google's Android mobile platform hit the retail sector, but while ordinary folk have to wait patiently, there exists a handful of Google and maybe T-Mobile employees plugging away on the new phone. And it's from spotting one of these pre-release units in the wild that VentureBeat reports that Amazon will have a mobile store in place by the time Android ships.
Speculation suggests that the Amazon music store on Android will most likely be a mobile version of its existing AmzonMP3 online digital music store. Such a move would certainly heat up the competitive juices between T-Mobile's HTC Android phone and Apple's iPhone, and perhaps help Amazon grab some of the marketshare controlled by iTunes.
We're not sure how Sony envisioned the Blu-ray revolution once HD-DVD was taken out of the game, but the reality has to be different than what was perceived. With the high price of players, consumers continue to show a lukewarm response to the victorious high definition format, even with inflated figures courtesy of Playstation 3 console sales.
In response to how things have shaped up, DigiTimes reports notebook vendors are beginning to change their strategies and kick Blu-ray to the curb. Citing un-named sources, the tech news site claims Asus originally panned to put a Blu-ray drive in its upcoming N80 and N50 laptops, but now only plans to do so with the N50 model. Going forward, Asus will focus it's Blu-ray offerings on large size (and more expensive) notebooks in 2009.
But while Asus has left the door open, Acer looks to be completely abandoning the format with no plans to launch any new Blu-ray notebooks for the remainder of this year.
It's hard to imagine Pretec's newly announced 64GB CompactFlash as being small, but the company has done exactly that by concurrently releasing a 100GB CF card. All that storage doesn't come at a big expense to performance either, with the company claiming a 35MB/s access speed for the 233X CF.
Pretec also announced super high speed 333X 32GB and 50GB CF cards, with each one capable of running up to 50MB/s. Combined with the monstrous 100GB CF card, Pretec can now boast having both the highest capacity and fastest CompactFlash cards on the market.
On a side note, Pretec says it's Q-SATA technology enables users to combine up to four 64GB CF cards configured as a 256GB SATA SSD, a luxury that would run just shy of $1,600.
Much less expensive (but still spendy), the 233X 64GB and 333X 32GB CF cards will carry an MSRP of $399 and $630. We're afraid to ask how much the 100GB model will run, and at least thus far, Pretec is afraid to tell.
One of the commonly accepted keys to success is to write down your goals, and Mozilla has done just that. The open-source software company has identified four areas it would like to improve by 2010:
Deepen Mozilla's role as a centerpiece of the internet
Continue Firefox mindshare and marketshare momentum
Of most interest is Mozilla's focus on mobility and by 2010, the company plans to "have an effective product in the mobile market." That plan appears to include getting its TraceMonkey engine fine tuned to run on ARM processors. Preliminary results look very promising, though it's anyone's guess as to when Firefox Mobile will show up on handheld devices, with Mozilla saying only that it "will ship well before" 2010.
If the old adage 'size matters' holds any merit, Dell has nothing to worry about. The OEM's 17-inch Precision mobile workstation promises a no compromise approach, and at least on paper, that's exactly what users will get.
16GB of RAM
1GB graphics memory
Up to 1TB of storage in a RAID array
The 16GB of memory will be the first thing to jump out when glossing over the system specs, which will come as a boon to anyone into heavy content creation. Dell also says its new mobile line will be able to accommodate up to two 30-inch displays, and a jog wheel gives the Precision a unique twist in the notebook market.
Dell says the new Precision mobile workstations will be available soon, but hasn't committed to a specific release date or official pricing yet.
While SSDs are getting plenty of attention from us (and everyone else) these days, it's way too early to shovel the dirt over the classic spinning-disk hard disk drive technology, eWeeksuggests. You already know a couple of reasons: capacity and price per GB.
However, even if you can afford to give up some storage capaciy and a lot more cash, there are other reasons to think twice before turning your existing hard disk drive into a paperweight. At last week's DiskCon 2008 storage conference, experts cited by eWeek pointed out that NAND flash memory, the most common type of flash memory in use today, drops in performance with use, and that data retention is much shorter than with traditional disk drives.
So who's really excited about SSDs? Corporate data centers. In one case study described at DiskCon, a data center replaced hard disks with SSDs. The installation used one SSD for read, the other for write, and realized a 10x improvement in read/write speed and 5x less power consumption.
So, how do you feel about SSDs? Are you ready to pony up the extra dough and trade off some capacity to give SSDs a try today, or are you waiting until SSDs' price per GB, capacity and long-term behavior more closely mirror what hard disks provide today? See us after the jump for your chance to put in your feedback.
It looks as though today's 12-year-olds are well past the days of building model volcanoes for the school science fair. And if not, well, William Yuan just put the smackdown on the competition
Yuan, a seventh grader from Oregon, set out to improve solar technology, which at the moment could be a lot more efficient. And he appears to have done just that. Yuan's project, which he calls "A Highly-Efficient 3-Dimensional Nanotube Solar Cell for Visible and UV Light," could shake up the energy industry and lead to real change into how solar energy is harnessed and distributed.
For his project, Yuan used a special solar cell capable of harnessing both visible and ultraviolet light, whereas most solar cells use either photovoltaic (only visible light), or thermal. Ultraviolet light holds interest because it can potentially provide more energy than the longer-wavelength members of the electromagnetic spectrum. And if that weren't enough, Yuan designed his project so it could stand freely in three dimensions to collect more light, and to make use of carbon nanotubes to distribute the energy more efficiently than traditional cells.
For his efforts, Yuan received a well deserved $25,000 scholarship, a fellowship at the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, and a various other awards.
There's been much ballywho surrounding Windows 7, Microsoft's anticipated successor to Vista, and we've covered much of it right here on MaximumPC.com. From what is known, Microsoft appears to be working closely with system vendors to ensure Windows 7 enjoys a smooth rollout among preconfigured systems, and to avoid third-party drivers giving the new OS a bad rap in similar fashion to how the software maker suggests early Nvidia drivers did to Vista. But it now looks like users will have to wait until December before spending some hands-on time with Windows 7 beta 1.
In the meantime, a pair of videos showing off two features of the new OS have begun making the rounds. The first one shows the Windows 7 Start menu, which looks no different than Vista's. However, with the mouse pointer hovered over the icon, a search box appears just above it in the video.
The second clip showcases Microsoft's redesigned Calculator application. You can choose from four modes - Standard, Scientific, Programmer, and Statistics - and copy and paste values. A new Options menu brings more functionality to the table, such as quickly calculating specific dates and breaking them down in to years, months, weeks, and days. Templates and unit conversion are also included, giving geeks with a caculator fetish something to salivate over.
Check out the clips and hit the jump to let us know what you think.