It has been a tumultuous year for internet service providers as the Federal Communications Commission continues to debate on net neutrality laws. But other issues that included customer service gaffes and the potential merge between Time Warner Cable and Comcast have not painted ISPs in a good light. As a result, Time Warner Cable was ranked the worst company in customer satisfaction by the American Consumer Satisfaction Index.
Samsung takes a break from mobile handsets to announce a pair of PC products
Between all the Galaxy smartphone and tablet releases, we're a little surprised Samsung has time to take a breath, let alone announce a pair of sleek looking PC products. Yet that's exactly that the company has done today. Specifically, Samsung today unveiled its ATIV Book 9, an all-aluminum laptop with an Intel Broadwell Core M processor inside, and ATIV One 7 Curved, the company's first curvaceous all-in-one PC.
Microsoft and Intel have started working together to promote low-cost Windows laptops in the $200 and under range, which prior to the collaboration was a space that mostly belonged to Chromebooks. So far things are off to a slow start, at least if Amazon's holiday sales are any indication. Amazon says that its top three PC sales over the holiday period were all Chromebook models.
Heading into the new year, AMD's resolution is to increase its laptop market share, and the key to doing that lies in its Carrizzo and Carrizo-L laptop chips. Going forward, the chip maker will take a plug-and-play approach that will make it easy for hardware partners to plug any Carrizo chip into any laptop, regardless of the size of the notebook or what pricing tier it falls into.
The reason Microsoft is rolling with Windows 10 instead of Windows 9 for its next major operating system is because the changes are so dramatic, it warranted a generational leap in naming the product. That's the official story Microsoft wants us to believe, anyway, and while there are alternative theories -- like lazy coding -- there are parts of Windows 10 that are truly shaping up to be vastly different than Windows 8/8.1. That includes the browser, and word on the web is that Microsoft is rolling out a new vehicle for surfing through cyberspace in Windows 10.
We obviously favor gaming on the PC, and that's not about to change. However, we also recognize that some gamers like to groove on multiple platforms. Apparently so does Asus, which just announced its Strix 2.0 headset with support for PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, smartphones, and tablets. Granted, you may look a little funny wearing one of these things on the bus as you battle enemies on your smartphone, but hey, the option is there.
The movie North Korea supposedly didn't want you to see
Despite the efforts of hackers who were apparently ticked off with Sony Pictures Entertainment over The Interview, a far-fetched comedy in which the CIA enlists the help of TV personalities played by Seth Rogan and James Francos to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, millions of Americans watched the movie since its Christmas Eve debut. More precisely, The Interview grossed $15 million in total consumer spending after just four days of being released online, Sony said in a release.
Unlike desktop PCs, you can't just open up your laptop and insert an audio card for discrete audio processing. However, there are USB-based solutions, including Asus' new Xonar U3 Plus, a pocket-sized USB sound solution with a built-in 150-Ohm headphone amp, DSP (digital signal processor), and other features. According to Asus, the Xonar U3 Plus is essentially a smaller version of its existing Xonar U5 and gaming-oriented U7 Echelon Edition with Sonic Radar.
A new mid-range GTX 900 Series card may be imminent
We expect to see quite a few product announcements at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next month, which runs from January 6-9. However, rumor has it one part that won't make the trip is Nvidia's GeForce GTX 960 graphics card. Instead, a Chinese-language website thinks it's privy to Nvidia's plan to launch the GeForce GTX 960 on January 22, 2015.
The next step in China's effort to block all things Google
After several months of service disruptions, China appears to have found a way to block access to Google's Gmail service through third-party email clients. China had already been disrupting service to Gmail for the better part of six months, though users have been able to login via third-party software. As of Friday, that was no longer the case, and Internet users in China are pretty peeved about it.