Acer president and CEO Gianfranco Lanci acknowledged yesterday all the attention Google's open-source Android platform has been receiving and assured investors that his company has taken notice, too.
"We are testing Android on a lot of different solutions," Lanci said during Acer's first-quarter investors conference in Taipei. "We are working on an Android solution for the smartphone, but I think it's too early to say if we're going to see Android on a netbook in the near future."
Lanci had previously been critical of Android for use in netbooks, noting Android is not yet ready to fit the needs that come with them, such as being able to "view a full web for the total internet experience." At the time, Acer did say it was testing Android for netbooks, noting that other companies have been doing the same thing.
Netbooks aside, Acer's latest statements regarding smartphones follow in line with what HTC, Far EasTone, and Samsung have also indicated. In other words, be prepared for a deluge of Android-based cellphones in the not too distant future.
At long last, Microsoft has confirmed that Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 is complete, by releasing it to select manufacturers. It even hit torrents, hours before it was officially announced on the Windows Vista Team Blog.
As for an official download, it’s not clear when Service Pack 2 will be available. They’ve stated that they will push the final version to customers through Automatic Update over the next few months, but those that aren’t ready can still use Microsoft’s service-pack blocking tool.
Along with this, Microsoft has started pushing Vista SP1 to users that had previously blocked it, in order to prime them for SP2.
For those wondering, Service Pack 2 will bring Windows Search 4.0, the Bluetooth 2.1 Feature Pack, the ability to record data on Blu-ray natively through Windows, Windows Connect Now (a simpler WiFi tool), the addition of support for UTC timestamps in the exFAT file system, as well as various security and performance updates.
Last month, Asus shipped its first ever Eee PC netbook to integrate a Super-Multi optical disc drive, a trend which still hasn't caught on full-force. The Eee PC notwithstanding, if you must have a DVD drive with your optical-less netbook, one solution is to buy an external drive, but Century may have a better idea. The company plans to release a netbook stand with a built-in Panasonic DVD drive.
The stand/DVD drive measures 260 x 190 x 19mm and weighs 52g. It supports DVD±R/+RW (8x), DVD±R DL/-RW (6x), DVD-RAM (5x) and CD-R/-RW (24x), and comes with two USB 2.0 ports for good measure. Also included is a small 4cm cooling fan. And according to a rough translation of Century's product page, the stand also looks to incorporate a 2.5-inch bay for a SATA-based HDD or SDD.
Century's multi-functional stand will be available in Japan starting this Friday for $100, CrunchGear reports.
According to Mozilla, beta 4 will be the last beta before the final version of Firefox 3.5 is released.
As stated by Mike Beltzner, Mozilla’s Director of Firefox, all of the remaining beta issues in Firefox 3.5 have been worked out. And, while they don’t rule out the possibility of beta 4 uncovering additional issues, they fully believe that they’re on track for a release sometime in late Q2.
Mozilla is estimating that nearly 900,000 people are currently using the beta versions of Firefox 3.1/3.5, and they hope that all of this support will allow them to release full versions more regularly. While it took them about two years to release 3.0, it’s only taken them one to develop 3.5.
While most 3D controllers force you to either load yourself up with markers or hold a controller in order to use them, some students at Northeastern University have managed to create an interface that is based off of the theory of electrostatics.
The interface is made up completely of copper pads that sense an electrical field above them, allowing users to have a pretty sizeable workspace. So far, they’ve been able to create applications that allow you to draw, move 3D models around, and even scratch a digital record.
If you’d like to see it in action, be sure to check out a video of it here.
Softpedia reports that pirated copies of Windows 7 will be provided with security updates, update rollups, and even service packs. What is Microsoft thinking? Is Redmond promoting piracy?
The idea of providing security and other updates to pirated copies as well as legit copies of Windows might seem crazy, but here's the reasoning, straight from Paul Cooke, director of Windows Client Enterprise Security:
Keeping a machine up to date is one of the first steps in helping ensure that they remain reliable, compatible, and safe from threats when they are online. Some of the most famous incidents of malicious software infection have come after security updates were publicly available from Microsoft - Blaster, Zotob, Conficker and Sasser, just to name a few. Rest assured that we at Microsoft are committed to making sure that security updates are available to all of our users to help ensure a safe online experience for everyone.
Note that Cooke is laying the blame for many recent security problems where it belongs: on users and companies who will not upgrade their software to block such threats. By continuing the recent policy of allowing users of non-genuine Windows to receive security updates, Microsoft is saying, in effect, 'don't blame us if unpatched systems are compromised.'
However, don't think that Redmond's turning a patched eye to either casual piracy or software counterfeiting. Pirated copies of Windows 7 won't be eligible for some of Microsoft's goodies, and Softpedia points out that counterfeit copies of Windows often come with a "free" bonus: malware.
For your chance to sound off on security for software pirates, join us after the jump.
You probably won't pull the global economy up by its bootstraps simply by upgrading your motherboard, but you will help reverse the downward sales trend mobo makers have had to contend with. According to a report by the Taiwanese Market Intelligence Institute (MIC), only 32 million motherboards were sold in the first quarter of 2009, a 16 percent drop from one year ago.
While sales in the US were down, the European market showed the most severe slowdown, according to the report. And it doesn't look to get any better in the second quarter of 2009.
"Markets in each region are entering the off-season, and channel inventory replenishment activities are slowing down," said Vincent Chang, MIC industry analyst. "market shipment momentum is thus weakening. Only several PC brands have continued to make procurements in April."
Chang went on to predict that year end sales figures, while still comparatively dismal, will fare a little better. He expects worldwide motherboard shipments to be in the 134 million range, or a 9 percent drop from 2008.
So there you have - tell your significant other you're only upgrading to Core i7 to help save mobo makers.
It's been nearly six months since Cooler Master impressed us with its HAF (High Air Flow) chassis, a full tower case we deemed worthy of a 9/KickAss award (get your recap right here). Its combination of effective and quiet cooling along with build and cable management options made it a joy to work in, and Cooler Master looks to duplicate those same qualities in a smaller, more compact mid-tower package.
Cooler Master says its HAF 922 supports up to seven case fans in all, three of which support 200mm fans that can be swapped for smaller 120mm units (the case will ship with three fans - a 200mm front intake with red LED, 200mm top exhaust, and and a 120mm rear exhaust). Despite being a mid-tower, Cooler Master also says the downsized HAF will still support liquid cooling with room for an internally installed radiator.
In the tale of the tape, the new enclosure will check in at 10 (W) x 19.7 (H) x 22.2 (D) inches and weight 19.2 pounds, compared to its 932 big brother, which checks in at 9.6 (W) x 22 (H) x 22.2 (D) inches and 29.1 pounds.
We're told the HAF 922 will start shipping on May 12 with an MSRP of $130.
Even if they won't say it publicly (and they aren't), Apple appears pretty juiced at the prospect of developing its own chips. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal Online, Apple has been hand-picking people from all over the semiconductor industry, which also includes engineers for creating multifunction chips for use in cellphones.
One such hire includes Raja Koduri, the former chief technology officer of the graphics group at AMD. Koduri started his new position this week, while other online job postings include a call for several chip-related positions, some of which are described as "verifying functionality correctness of a high performance chip design."
While Apple is keeping silent on the subject, the company's tight-lipped approach might be one of the reasons they're looking to develop their own chips. Citing people familiar with the situation, WSJO says Apple not only wants to beat its rivals to market with new features, but also wants to keep a lid on its technology plans with external chip suppliers.
Amazon this week announced some changes to its Personal Document Service, with the biggest one coming to its fee structure. Starting May 4th, no longer will it cost a dime for every document Kindle owners send to their eBook reader (via Whispernet, the Sprint-based EV-DO network that delivers books and user conent to the Kindle), where they're automatically converted for viewing. Instead, Amazon is switching to a consumption-based billing model and will charge 15 cents per megabyte, which will be rounded up to the next whole megabyte.
The other change is the addition of RTF and DOCX file formats. These will be added to the current supported file types, which includes DOC, HTML, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TXT, AZW, MOBI, and PRC. PDF documents are also somewhat supported, although Amazon warns that "Some complex PDF and DOCX files might not format correctly on your Kindle."
For those looking to avoid fees altogether, Amazon reiterated that users can still send their personal documents as an email attachment to "name"@free.kindle.com, where they will be converted and emailed back to the recipient free of charge.