If you're Intel, you have to be ecstatic at the recent trend towards owning a netbook. At a time when many tech companies are posting big losses, the surprising success of netbooks is helping Intel to weather the storm through sales of its Atom processor. But if you're Microsoft, the mood might be decidedly different, even if the company isn't letting on.
On one hand, Microsoft should be thrilled to see more PCs end up in the hands of end users, but that only applies if they come equipped with a Windows-based operating system. And while many netbooks now come configured with Windows XP, Linux is much more prevalent on netbooks than it is on notebooks, which is the result of both underpowered hardware and a desire to keep costs low.
The bad news for Microsoft is that the trend towards netbooks doesn't look to be letting up any time soon. Recent IDC figures show that if you take Atom processor sales out of the equation, total PC shipments are down almost 22 percent. As netbooks continue to sell, that means more users are becoming familiar with Linux, and at a time when Linux is far more user friendly than even one or two years ago.
Adobe and new BFF Nokia announced a $10 million Open Screen Project fund to encourage developers to create Flash-based applications and services for mobile devices.
"We are excited about the Open Screen Project Fund and the possibilities it offers to designers and developers worldwide," said David Wadhwani, general manager and vice president of the Platform Business Unit at Adobe. "With close to 40 percent of all new mobile devices shipped with Flash Lite in 2008, the fund will enable more developers to bring their rich content and services to a large number of mobile users."
To make a bid for a portion of the grant money, interested developers are being asked to submit concepts for apps built around the Flash platform, capable of running on Nokia devices, and support a variety of screens, such as mobile, desktop, and consumer electronics devices. Once submitted, projects will be reviewed by Open Screen Project partners that include Adobe, Nokia, and Palm, who will be looking for how innovative and compelling the user experience is, how robust the application or planned implementation, and how well it exploits the capabilities and features of Nokia devices, the companies said.
More information, including how to apply, can be found here.
Fans of Half Life and, well, things that are cool are advised to take a five and a half minute break from the daily grind and check out the fan film Escape from City 17 - Part One.
Directed by The Purchase Brothers, the life-action fan flick started off as a test project to experiment with various post production techniques, but has now turned into a multi-part series. The directors claim the short film was shot with "no money, no time, no crew, and no script," and that it only took $500 to make the first two episodes.
Check it out, then hit the jump and offer your critique.
Nvidia this week unveiled a new platform that ties its Tegra 600 Series 'computer-on-a-chip' technology with a $99 always-on, always-connected HD mobile internet device (MID). According to Nvidia, devices built around the new platform can last for days before it becomes necessary to charge the battery.
"Mobile internet devices have evolved to provide consumers with the performance and connectivity required by today’s lifestyle," said Michael Rayfield, general manager of the mobile business unit at NVIDIA. "Until now, consumers could get just another ‘gadget’ with limited functionality or a PC that’s not ‘always on’. A Tegra-based platform combines the best of both worlds."
In addition to a super-long battery life, Nvidia says its Tegra MID will be capable of both 720p and 1080p video playback and come equipped for full WiFi and 3G connectivity. The company also says the hardware will be optimized for Web 2.0 applications and utilize a complete software solution consisting of Microsoft Windows Embedded CE OS, application viewers, an internet browser, UI framework, a web mail client, and host of other goodies.
Too good to be true? Time will tell, but if Nvidia can deliver on all that it's promising, some very compelling devices could wind up in the market place. The graphics chip maker has indicated it is working with manufacturers who will build the new MIDs, the first of which are expected to show up in the second half of 2009.
The entertainment industry hasn’t met with much success during its battle against illegal fire sharing. It is foolish to believe that industry insiders, including some of the most ardent of anti-p2p zealots, are not cognizant of the futility of their anti-p2p campaign. They are just reluctant to concede that their approach has proved to be ineffective.
Johansen told Dagbladet, a Swedish magazine, that the ongoing fight against file sharing is useless. He believes that as copyright violations continue unabated, a fresh approach is needed - one that is more practical. "No one has ever won a battle when fighting against new technology," Johansen warned.
Computerworldreports that HP will offer not only Windows 7 Professional and Home Premium SKUs on its netbooks, but also the stripped-down (three apps open at a time) Windows 7 Starter edition. Making Starter available in all markets is a departure for Microsoft, which has offered Windows XP and Windows Vista Starter editions only in developing countries.
As we reported earlier this month, Windows 7, unlike Windows Vista, is designed to run on everything from netbooks to the most powerful desktop and laptop PCs on the market. Although HP isn't the first company to announce it would be running Windows 7 on netbooks (ASUS beat them to the punch back in October), HP's decision provides more backing for Microsoft's claim that Windows 7 covers all the modern PC bases. So, how about you? What's the lowest-performance platform you've used for installing Windows 7 Beta? Were you satisfied with the performance, or not? Join us after the jump for your chance to share your Windows 7 Beta on netbook or low-end PC platforms war stories.
Diamonds might be a girl's best friend, but Sparkle's Diamonds Sputtering technology looks to cozy up to videocards in an attempt to offer better heat dissipation.
The company today announced the new technology, which it says consists of outfitting the cooling fins on videocards with a Diamond-like Carbon (DLC) membrane. According to Sparkle and its R&D team, DLC offers high heat conduction capable of dissipating heat much more effectively than copper alone.
"The diamonds do heat dissipation four times faster than copper, it relies on the phonons which is produced by the crystal lattice vibration, to bring heat to lower temperature places," Sparkle wrote in its press release. "Diamond-like Carbon can achieve both functions at the same time, that is, transferring heat to lower temperature places with both graphite metal bond and diamond insulation bond (the covalent bond)."
It gets even more technical and goes on to discuss the process of Plasma Enhanced CVD (PECVD) to plate the DLC membrane on videocards, but the end result is a 5C temperature reduction on a 9500GT, according to Sparkle. But don't hold your breath for diamond-cooled videocards any time soon. Sparkle admits the technology carries a "high" cost and is still mulling over bringing DLC to market.
Sweden-based BitTorrent indexing site Pirate Bay goes to trial today in Sweden on accusations that the popular torrent site has helped millions of users illegally download copyrighted material. If found guilty, Frederick Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi, and Carl Lundström could each receive up to two years in prison along with a 1.2 million kronor (just over $140,000) fine.
At least two of the defendants don't seem too worried about the trial, and during a webcast news conference over the weekend offered a defiant message to the Swedish court.
"What are they going to do about it? They have already failed to take down the site once. Let them fail again. It has its own life without us," Ward was quoting as saying by TorrentFreak.
The court will also hear a civil claim being brought on by Warner Bros., MGM, Columbia Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Sony BMG, Universal, and BMG. Collectively, the companies are seeking 120 million kronor ($14.3 million) to compensate for alleged lost revenues.
"It does not matter if they require several million or one billion," said an also defiant Peter Sunde. "We are not rich and have no money to pay. They won't get a cent."
We'll continue to follow the trial as it unfolds, which, according to the prosecution, is expected to last for 13 days.
With the recent release of Nvidia's GTX 285 (single GPU) and 295 (dual-GPU) videocards, ATI's performance crown has been under siege. But according to chatter around the web, the GPU maker is set to respond with a new videocard in a couple of months.
Specifically, VR-Zone claims to have confirmed ATI will release its HD 4890 in April. The new card is expected to use the RV790 core and would appear to put to rest an earlier rumor stating ATI plans to name its new card the HD 4970. As currently spec'd, the HD 4890 will come clocked at 850MHz with GDDR5 running at 975MHz. The current RV770-based HD 4870 runs at 750MHz (core) and 900MHz (memory).
VR-Zone also says there will be two versions of the new card, a standard and OC edition. The standard edition is expected to launch in mid-April, with the OC card reaching retail by the end of April. if the rumor pans out, expect the OC edition to cost $299 at launch.
It appears as though the mobile sector is gearing up for a dual-screen revolution, or at the very least, we expect to see the concept start to become more readily available. Last month Lenovo introduced its two-screen W700ds Thinkpad, and now gScreen is seeing double.
Unlike Lenevo's W700ds, gScreen's G400 sports two full sized 15-inch LED-backlit displays. Graphics chores are handled with either an Nvidia Quadro FX 2700M or GeForce 9800M GT, both with 512MB of video memory. Other specs include an Intel Core 2 Duo T9600 (2.8Ghz) or P8400 (2.26GHz), up to 8GB of RAM, up 500GB of hard drive space, and the usual assortment of ports.
The company says it is also working on a ruggedized version called the TITAN M-1, which is "being built specifically to specs requested by the U.S. Navy for extreme environments." The internal hardware will be a bit different, not all of which gScreen is wiling to comment on, but did say it will come equipped with an Intel Core 2 Quad QX9300 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive and built to MIL-STD810F standards.
No word yet on price or ship date, but gScreen says customers can reserve the G400 starting February 25th through Amazon.com.