Probably the only one blindsided by the NPD Group's latest numbers is Sony, which according to a new report shows first-quarter Blu-ray player sales increasing by 72 percent to over 400,000 units. It's no coincidence that the average selling price for a stand-alone Blu-ray player has gone down 34 percent from this same time last year, with the average player now selling for $261 instead of $393.
"The rising penetration of high-definition televisions and lower Blu-ray player prices are broadening the format's market opportunity," said Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis at NPD. "Even as options expand for accessing movies digitally, Blu-ray is carrying forward the widespread appeal of DVD into the high-definition marketplace."
Along with more players finding their way into the mainstream market, sales of Blu-ray movies are up significantly, too. U.S. residents bought about 9 million Blu-ray flicks in the first quarter, compared to 4.8 million during the same quarter last year.
Another first-quarter revenue report, and another loss, this one from Nvidia. According to the report, the GPU chip maker's revenue slid 42 percent from last year, posting a net loss of $201.3 million, or 37 cents per share. That's a big change over last year when Nvidia posted a profit to the tune of $176.8 million, or 30 cents per share.
But hey, it seems everyone's numbers are down, and for Nvidia, analysts were anticipating worse numbers. While Nvidia's revenue of $664.2 million is a far cry from the $1.15 billion it posted last year, Wall Street had Nvidia pegged at $534.4 million, undershooting by $130 million.
To help cope with the recession, Nvidia has begun cutting back on its inventory, a method which seems to be working so far. Inventory was scaled back from 144 to 64 days sequentially, CNet reports, and revenue grew 38 percent sequentially from last quarter.
"We made good progress managing expenses and significantly reducing inventory," said Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of Nvidia.
It makes us sick to our stomach to think we used to pay $300 and up for premium 2GB memory kits just a few short years ago, when now you can get twice the capacity for roughly the cost of a Happy Meal, sans toy. If you're new to computing, trust us when we say that most of today's memory kits are a steal at their current price points.
Whether the same will be said about Patriot's newest SODIMM memory kits remains to be seen, but hey, we're stoked to see the higher capacity parts being offered in mobile form. The memory maker just announced two new additions to its Signature series, 4GB and 8GB DDR2-800 dual-channel SODIMMs.
"The performance gap between mobile and desktop computing has reduced significantly over the recent introduction of more powerful mobile platforms," commented Les Henry, Director of Engineering at Patriot. "By adding Patriot's DDR2 4GB module or 8GB in dual-channel mode, mobile systems can eliminate that gap and perform like a true desktop replacement."
No official word yet on pricing or availability (Newegg lists the not-yet-stocked 8GB kit for $299), but 8GB? Suck it, netbooks.
Nvidia has just released a new WHQL-certified driver, version 185.85, for GeForce videocard and ION platform owners. The new driver adds official support for the recently released GTX 275 videocard, as well as support for CUDA 2.2, which Nvidia says will result in improved performance in GPU computing applications. Other performance claims include:
Up to 25 percent in The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
Up to 22 perent in Crysis: Warhead with antialiasing enabled
Up to 11 percent in Fallout 3 with antialiasing enabled
Up to 14 percent in Far Cry 2
Up to 30 percent in Half-Life 2 engine games with 3-way and 4-way SLI
Up to 45 percent in Mirror's Edge with antialiasing enabled
You read that right - that's up to a 45 percent boost in Mirror's Edge, according to Nvidia. In addition, 185.85 updates the PhysX software to 9.09.0408 and offers "numerous bug fixes." Barrage of links below.
One of the best-kept secrets about Windows 7, its support for a Virtual Windows XP mode, has become a potential headache for a lot of computer users who want to keep running fussy legacy apps under Windows 7. To maintain high system performance, Virtual Windows XP Mode requires the processor to support hardware virtualization (and the system BIOS must enable the feature).
As ZDNet's Ed Bott reports, trying to figure out which Intel processors have hardware virtualization (known in IntelLand as VT support) requires a lot of time with the Intel Hardware Spec Finder. Ed spent the time, so you don't have to wonder about Intel desktop or mobile CPUs (but check the update on page 1 for news about some CPUs that are getting updated to add VT support).
What about AMD CPUs? That's a bit easier to figure out, thanks to a statement from an AMD spokesperson quoted by Cnet:
All CPUs AMD is currently shipping, except Sempron, include AMD-V and therefore support XP mode.With the exceptions of Sempron-branded processors and Turion K8 Rev E processors, all notebook processors shipped by AMD include AMD-V and therefore support Windows 7 XP mode. With the exceptions of Sempron-branded processors and pre-Rev F Athlon branded processors, all of the desktop processors shipped by AMD include AMD-V and therefore support Windows 7 in XP mode. Also, all AMD Opteron processors shipped by AMD from Rev F forward include AMD-V.
Want an even easier way to get the virtualization scoop on your systems? PCWorld recommends the SecureAble test page at the Gibson Research Corporation website. Run SecurAble to determine if your processor supports hardware virtualization, hardware data execution protection (DEP) and to learn if it's a 32-bit or 64-bit CPU. Give SecurAble a try and let us know if you found any surprises about your system.
While no word had been shared about the potential of an Android netbook from Dell, a hastily released press release from a company called Bsquare has gone ahead and confirmed it (presumably, without Dell’s permission).
The press release (which is posted after the break) states “Bsquare Corporation (BSQR - News), the leading software solutions provider to the global embedded device community, today announced it is porting Adobe's Flash Lite 3.17 technology onto Dell Netbooks running Google's Android platform.”
Bsquare had attempted to remove the information hoping that no one would be the wiser, but the quick eyes of the Internet don’t miss a thing – including rogue press releases.
While the existence of an Android based netbook has been confirmed, no additional details have been released.
Sure, you wanted to add some extra network storage with a NAS, but you just weren’t able to find anything stylish enough. Well, if a basic aluminum exterior with a single blue light is your definition of fashionable, look no further.
LaCie’s Big Disk and d2 network storage systems pack 1.5TB of storage (with an eSATA port for expansion) and 3TB of storage (by slapping two drives together using RAID 0) respectively. Both of them support a multitude of backup software, and play nice with DLNA-compliant devices.
The d2 Network and Big Disk Network are currently available for $190 and $380 respectively.
To those looking for another venue to get their very own supercomputer, you’re in luck! Nvidia has recently announced that their CUDA-based Tesla C1060 GPU is available in Dell’s Precision R5400, T5500 and T7500 workstations effective immediately.
If you’re worried that just one of these GPUs isn’t enough to handle your hardcore needs, worry not – just one C1060 has enough power to control the main system of the European Extremely Large Telescope project (reportedly the world’s largest). According to Jeff Meisel with National Instruments, a workstation “equipped with a single Tesla C1060 can achieve near real-time control of the mirror simulation and controller, which before wouldn't be possible in a single machine without the computational density offered by GPUs."
Three years ago AMD acquired graphics chip maker ATI for $5.4 billion, which has been producing and selling videocards as a separate division ever since. Under a new reorganization plan, that will no longer be the case, as AMD will merge its CPU and graphics units into a single group.
"The next generation of innovation in the computing industry will be grounded in the fusion of microprocessor and graphics technologies," AMD CEO Dirk Meyer said in a statement. "With these changes, we are putting the right organization in place to help enable the future of computing."
The new products group will be one of the four new groups, with the others focusing on technology, marketing, and customers. Senior VP Rick Bergman will lead the new products group, which AMD says will be responsible for deliver all of AMD's platforms and products.
AMD also announced that Randy Allen, senior VP, Computing Solutions Group, has decided to step down. Allen had stepped into his role a year ago as part of another major reorganization.
Billed as the "affordable, portable, internet companion," Dell appears to be readying its Mini 10v netbook for a retail release later this month. You may be more familiar with the Mini 10v as 'Bear,' or model 1011, both of which have appeared in previous roadmaps.
No matter what you call it, the new Mini looks to be another run-of-the-mill netbook. Gone is the Z-series Atom, to be replaced by the much more prominent Atom N270 (1.6GHz, 512KB L2 cache 533MHz frontside bus). Other standard-fare specs include a 120GB hard drive, 1GB of memory, a 1.3MP webcam, and Windows XP.