Laptop Thoughts: News & Reviews on Laptops, Netbooks, Slates, and More.

Be sure to register in our forums and post your comments - we want to hear from you!

Android Thoughts

Loading feed...

Windows Phone Thoughts

Loading feed...

Digital Home Thoughts

Loading feed...

All posts tagged "software"

Friday, November 19, 2010

Viewsonic ViewPad 7 Unboxing

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 05:30 PM

"The ViewPad 7 gets unboxed!! In case you missed it, its got a 7-inch display capacitive touchscreen with 800×480 resolution, phone capabilities, front and back-facing cameras, 3G connectivity, a SIM card slot, and Android 2.2 "Froyo"."

Pretty good looking tablet, advertised as a Smart Pad with a Phone! Nice additions include SD and microSD slots. The ViewPad 7 ships with a case, with the case differing by geography. If you're in the UK, you can take part in Viewsonic's upgrade plan where you get up to £125 cash back when you trade in an old laptop, notebook or netbook. No additional solid details are available, like estimated price or availability in North America.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Windows 7 Touch UI Showdown: Mirabyte FrontFace vs ExoPC

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Software" @ 12:30 AM

"Windows 7 tablets aren't touch friendly even though they support Multitouch. There are a number of companies that have stepped into fill the void left by Microsoft in this emerging space so since we've got the ExoPC windows 7 tablet in our hot little hands we decided to put it head to head against Mirabyte."

As we start to see more and more Windows tablets, we're also starting to see UI enhancements to supplement or replace native Windows7 touch support. In the accompanying video, the ExoPC UI really looks promising, FrontFace is a bit more basic. The author had both installed, and showed them both. Not many details at this point, other than Frontface costing about 20 Euros. Check out the read link and the video and let us know what you think.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

ActiveWords: Supercharge Your Productivity for Free

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 05:01 PM

I've been a big fan of ActiveWords for many years now; it's a massive productivity-boosting tool that I use 50+ times a day (or more). It's an understatement to simply call ActiveWords a text macro program; it does so much more, and the video above shows you what sorts of things it can accomplish. Earlier this year, ActiveWords introduced a free version - you can use it with up to 30 of your own ActiveWords - which makes it a great tool to use and get comfortable with at no cost. I highly encourage you to check it out - it's a really superb tool!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Archos 43 Tablet Features Android 2.2

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Android Slates/Tablets & Accessories" @ 05:30 PM

"A connected AndroidTM palm-sized tablet A simple tap. Just a simple tap on the home screen of the ARCHOS 43 internet tablet and you'll be accessing all the major functions you need throughout the day wherever you are: HD video playback, HD camcorder, apps, emails and full Internet browsing. It's as simple as a tap."

An ideal form factor for carrying in a pocket at 4.3-inches, light at 4.6-ounces (130g), and sporting a ARM Cortex A8 processor with DSP at 1 GHz, as well as 3D OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics acceleration, this Wi-fi only tablet seems like quite a bargain at $249.99. With Android 2.2 (Froyo) already on-board, and a 720p video camera (camcorder), it seems that the only thing lacking is access to the Android Market. Archos' own AppLib store is offered, but is really no replacement. Reviews have been good, but many tablet seekers seem to be waiting for the larger Archos 101, already on sale in Europe ( link ), and rumored to be available soon in the US for $299.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Does the New MacBook Air Worry Microsoft?

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 08:00 PM;inTheNewsNow

"Ordinarily, the release of a single ultraportable Mac should not be reason for Redmond to quake in its boots, but yesterday's announcements by Apple should give the Windows team plenty of reason to fear. It's not that the product itself will put that much of a further dent in Microsoft's still-massive share of the PC market. However, the product demonstrates some capabilities that the Mac now can offer that Microsoft would seem to have a tough time matching."

My guess is, no, they're probably a bit sorry that they didn't push harder (and sooner) on the SSD concept, but their market share remains overwhelming, so worry, probably not. The gauntlet has been thrown down. There -are- Windows-based laptops that match-up well with the new MacBook Air, when hardware is compared (the Sony Vaio X is mentioned). But, Mac OS X really gets a boost when run on an SSD. The instant-on (from sleep mode) really is instant. When I'm done with Windows, close the lid. Ditto for the Mac. Open the lid, both come back, the Mac almost immediately, Windows needs a bit more time to awaken.

As for building more 'iPad-like' features into the Mac, it's a good idea as long as the 'old ways' continue to work. Windows has had touch capabilities going way back as well, so as operating systems evolve, we can expect the distinctions to blur a bit. Witness BootCamp and virtualization. Admittedly one-way to this point, but maybe the Hackintosh community will succeed (and/or be commercialized).

The concept of an App Store for the Mac is intriguing. Anyone who has ever searched for software for the Mac or Windows (or Linux) knows how iffy the whole process can be. Bad code, Viruses, Spyware, Keystroke Loggers, ad nauseam, are rampant. A "trusted" source is really the Holy Grail of software, so of course Microsoft will follow. Again, who benefits besides Apple and Microsoft? All of us.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Slate or iPad: Motorcycle or Bicycle

Posted by Michael Knutson in "HP Slate" @ 07:00 PM

"HP released its Slate 500 tablet this week. Immediately, everyone started comparing it with Apple's iPad. But the two devices have nothing significant in common. They are in entirely different device categories and can even be thought of as opposites."

image credit: uebergizmo / HP

A well-balanced article contrasting HP's new Slate with the iPad. Different tools to get to different end results for very different classes of users. The author describes the Slate as built using technology nearing the end of the line for the WIMP (windows, icons, menus, pointing devices) interface, and he thinks that in the future most mobile devices will be built using the new paradigm (as represented by the iPad), and will be predominantly MPG (multitouch, physics, gestures) computers. I do like the motorcycle vs. bicycle vision. But in real life, add an RV to the mix. Today when traveling for business, I pack a "work" laptop (locked-down, no fun stuff), that, with charger weighs say 6-pounds (~2.70 kg) - queue the RV. And quite often also an iPad tags along for down-time. In the near future I'll be able to carry an HP Slate and an iPad, at half the weight, twice the battery life, same amount accomplished - and my back and shoulders will thank me. I'll have the metaphorical motorcycle for work, and the bicycle for fun. And, as the Slate enters the mainstream, I'm sure that "fun" will be available, just as, at some point "work" will sneak onto the iPad. As the old saying goes,"use the right tool for the job."

Making Windows 7 More Tablet Friendly

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Laptop Thoughts Software" @ 04:00 AM

"As someone who believes in open platforms and user choice, I want Windows 7 to compete in the tablet space. After all, there are millions of applications that run under Microsoft’s desktop OS and there’s no app store gate keeper to stop anyone from writing and distributing software. Unfortunately, as I (and others) have seen on a number of tablets lately, the Windows 7 UI just doesn’t work well with finger input. On the bright side, we hear that Microsoft is working on a more touch-friendly interface for Windows, which is supposed to be based on the “big buttons” of Media Center."

This article is spot on. I just picked up a new netbook that converts into a tablet and runs Windows 7. After messing around a bit with the tablet functionality, I don't think I'll be making much use of it. This article hits the main reasons, and it was a relief to see that these are legitimate issue with the OS, not just that I wasn't using it correctly or hadn't read the manual type issues.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

HP Slate 500 Tablet PC Finally Appears - With Windows 7 Professional!

Posted by Michael Knutson in "HP Slate" @ 10:00 PM

"Nope, you're not dreaming, but feel free to pinch yourself, rub your eyes or take a cold shower! You've read right -- the HP Slate is finally official, and after all the teasing, back and forth, and (very recent) leaks, the Atom-powered, Windows 7 Slate will finally see the light of day -- though in a different way than originally intended."

The long-awaited HP Slate may be available soon, starting at $799. At 1.5-pounds (0.68kg), the Slate sports an 8.9-inch capacitive screen at 1024x600 resolution, 1.86GHz Intel Atom Z540 processor, 2GB of RAM, 64GB SSD, Broadcom Crystal HD accelerator for 1080p video, Windows 7 Professional, a Wacom active digitizer, front-facing VGA camera, and a 3MP back camera. Also a USB port, and a CONTROL + ALT + DELETE key, vital for Windows. With a rubberized back and metal edges, it has a very substantial feel, but still, some quirks, like a slide-out Windows license, and a digitizer, but no place on the Slate to hold the included stylus. This is intended for business and enterprise users, so no additional touch layers, tweaks or skins, but we expect that it will be available for consumer purchase from HP. No information on availability other than that it'll be released in the U.S. first, with other markets to be evaluated. A bit smaller than the iPad, it should run -business software- (like Microsoft Office) that is lacking on other tablets. Looks pretty good to me, but I do wonder about battery life.

EDIT: 22 OCT 2010. I just ordered an HP Slate 500 from HP's Online Store. Expected ship date is 12 NOV 2010. I can't wait!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Making Your Linux Laptop Sip Power

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 01:30 PM

"Power saving is a hot topic for laptop users who need to get things done when they are on the move and running on limited battery energy. Here is a list of smart Linux tricks to save battery power. According to Less, the leading source for power saving tips on Linux, the following components of our computer consumes most of our battery life and we can lengthen our battery life by tweaking them:"

There are probably about as many guides on how to extend your laptop's battery life as there are atoms in the universe, however most of them tend to be Windows or OSX focused. Some will include tips that apply to all laptops, but very few are targeted towards the Linux crowd. ProductiveGeek has compiled a list of useful tips that will help, though many fall into the "applies to all laptops" category. Still, every watt is sacred and those extra ten minutes you just gained could be the difference between life and death.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Another 7-inch Android Tablet: ZTE Light, by ZTE

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Android Slates/Tablets & Accessories" @ 09:00 PM

"ZTE didn't exactly manage to impress with its low-cost ZTE Racer Android handset, but the company's now back with yet another Android device: the 7-inch ZTE Light tablet."

Another tablet announced: 7-inch screen (no details on whether it's resistive or capacitive); Android 2.1 with a custom skin; WiFi and 3G (UMTS 2100 MHz/900 MHz HSUPA); 403 grams, or slightly less than 1-pound; 512MB RAM and 512MB ROM; built-in GPS; SD card slot; Bluetooth; 3MP camera; music and video player; a 3.5mm headset jack; and a battery rated at up to 10 hours. The picture is a rendering, so the shipping product may be different. No information on availability or price.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Enter the Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3 Ultimate Giveaway

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 07:00 PM

Hey everyone - just a quick reminder that our give-away of three copies of PaintShop Photo Pro X3 Ultimate closes tomorrow. Right now there's only a handful of entries, so your odds of winning are quite high. The contest closes tomorrow, so enter now!

Monday, October 11, 2010

CherryPad America - Silly Name, Maybe a Decent Tablet

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Android Slates/Tablets & Accessories" @ 04:00 PM

"Cherrypal, a California-based manufacturer, today announced the availability of its new sub $200 Android tablet – CherryPad America. CherryPad is powered by Samsung ARM11 800 MHz processor and runs Android 2.1 with an upgrade to 2.2 is planned for the fourth quarter 2010. CherryPad America also comes with a 7-inch resistive touch widescreen display at 800×480 resolution with built-in gravity sensor and 3200 MAH battery. Memory, storage and wireless functions include 256 MBs of DDRII RAM; 2 GB NAND Flash; Micro SD (1x) reader, and WiFi 802.11 b/g."

Silly product name aside, here's a sub-$200 7-inch tablet with what appears at first glance to offer decent specs. Samsung processor, SD card support, 1.1-pounds, Aluminum case, 6-8 hour battery life ... With a 30-day money back guarantee, and a 1-year replacement warranty, this may be an affordable way to get to know Android. No camera, no 802.11n wifi, but several external accessories mentioned. Zecozi's website has the CherryPad America listed ( link ) for $188, and shows the country of origin as being China, with support coming out of Palo Alto, CA, if needed. The tablet is shipped from Hong Kong, for a flat fee of $18.80 to the USA and Canada, and can be expected to arrive in the USA in about seven (7) days.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Amazon to Launch Android App Store

Posted by Tony Rylow in "Android News" @ 12:00 AM

" According to the latest bits of rumour in the blogging world, Amazon might be getting ready to launch an Android App market/store."

Amazon is rumored to be building their own app store that will be available, along with their own tablet. There will be a $99 fee to be a developer. There is no information about the tablet available.

Tags: software, amazon

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Win a Copy of Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3 Ultimate

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 08:00 AM

Last month, Corel released the newest version of their flagship photo editing suite: PaintShop Pro Pro X3 Ultimate. This $99 USD suite has a lot to offer, and new in this version is an enhanced photo organizer, enhanced raw support, easier batch processing, improved multi-core and multi-threading support for faster performance, new and improved tools (Smart Carver, Vibrancy, Object Extractor, On-Image Text Editing), HD video slideshows - and bonus tools like Corel Painter Photo Essentials 4 and Kai's Power Tools Filters. Anyone else remember Kai's Power Tools? I have some seriously fond memories of that software...

The kind people at Corel have offered me three copies of this $99 USD software bundle to give away - if you win, you'll get a digital download version of the software. So how can you win? Post a reply telling me what you're using now for photo editing, and how Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3 Ultimate would be better than what you have now - tell me which feature(s) you're looking forward to using. Check out the list of features and well me what catches your eye. That's it!

I'll randomly select three posts on October the 13th at noon (GMT -7), so make sure to have your post finished before then. One post per person, and the contest is open to anyone in the world. Have fun!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October 11, 2010: Will There Be a Windows Slate Under My Christmas Tree?

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 08:00 PM

"Microsoft is planning to unwrap its slate strategy next Monday at a press event in New York City, Neowin has learned.According to sources familiar with the company's plans, Microsoft will hint at its future Slate plans at the event on October 11. The event's main focus is Windows Phone 7 but Neowin understands that Microsoft officials will speak briefly about the company's future Slate plans."Will Microsoft finally announce a Windows tablet computer? A big New York City event scheduled for Monday, October 11th is expected to concentrate on Windows Phone 7, but slate (tablet) announcements "may" be a part of the program. With the iPad selling in the millions, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab on the horizon, Microsoft certainly is worried seeing a drop in netbook sales, a drop in their share prices, and a drop in their valuation from Goldman Sachs. According to Steve Ballmer, Windows-based slates -will- be available "from this Christmas." Is this too little too late?

Monday, September 27, 2010

BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet Announced

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 10:00 PM

"It looks like we might have spoken too soon. At this year's BlackBerry DEVCON, the possibilities are endless for Research In Motion. They have plenty of pent-up rumors and speculation being thrown around. Most of that around the BlackPad, the first tablet from the house that built BlackBerry. And, sure enough, RIM is working on a tablet device."

Pretty interesting announcement! For those of you not familiar with QNX (Que-nix), the basis for the PlayBook OS, it's a realtime POSIX OS (RTOS) developed in Canada in the early 1980s that was designed to be small, modular, symmetrical multi-processor capable, fast, and utterly reliable. In fact, back in the day it was used in all sorts of process control applications, and has evolved into controller software for many industrial applications. I even remember reading somewhere that it is (or was) used for controller software for nuclear reactors and is even used in Cisco IOS-XR Routers (BFRs). So, reliability? Oh yes. Can we expect the PlayBook to be fast? Oh yes. Am I eagerly awaiting this tablet? Oh yes!

Technical details: 9.7mm thick and weighing about 400g (less than 1-pound), the PlayBook will feature a dual-core Cortex A9 1GHz CPU, dual HD cameras, have 1GB of RAM, and a 7-inch display at 1024x600 resolution. It'll play hardware accelerated 1080p video (with Flash support), and has non-proprietary HDMI and USB connectors. It is a Wi-fi only device, but should support tethering to a BlackBerry. Additional details (like 3G and 4G support) to be announced by RIM, and availability is said to be early 2011.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Google Says That Froyo (Android 2.2) Is Not Meant for Tablets

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 11:00 PM

"Don't tell Samsung and all the other companies who have Android-based tablets on the docket, but Google isn't exactly sure that Android is designed for use on tablet PCs. In fact, they're certain it's a mismatch. Hugo Barra, Director of Products for Mobile at Google, recently spoke on the issue of seeing Android pop up on so many tablets, despite the fact that Android was built from the ground-up for use on smartphones."

Google is making it clear in the press that Android 2.2 (Froyo) is an OS that has been designed for small devices (Smartphones only), and that they do not officially support it on tablets (eg. no Android Market access). However, vendors like Samsung have been tweaking Froyo to support larger screens, and pretty successfully at that. Rumours are that Android 3.0 *will* directly support larger screens, so until then, vendors are on their own. Something else to consider: rumours abound of an upcoming ChromeOS tablet from Google ...

Monday, September 6, 2010

ViewSonic ViewPad 10 With Windows and Android Coming Soon

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 09:30 PM

"Today we had more hands-on time with ViewSonic's other exciting new tablet, the ViewPad 10. That's the dual Windows 7/Android slate I mentioned yesterday. For a Windows slate it has some pretty impressive specs. And just as with the ViewPad 7, ViewSonic avoids the mistakes that hindered other similar devices we've seen this past year. But is it awesome enough to compete with the iPad or Toshiba's Folio 100?"

The ViewPad 10 (10-inch screen) seems to be destined to be one of several 'business-class' tablets soon to be appearing on the scene. Details are a bit sketchy at this point, but the demo system was running Windows Home Premium 32, with full touch capabilities, and the Android version is 1.6, apparently the latest version supported by Intel. The tablet uses an Intel Atom N455 processor with a 16GB SSD, so performance promises to be at least equal to a comparably equipped netbook. Weight is 1.6 kg (3.5 pounds) so this is no lightweight tablet, but the form factor should allow it to be easily carried. Availability is 'soon' for Europe, and 'unknown' this side of the Atlantic, and price is estimated to be 549 Euros.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Battery Monitoring With Battery Bar

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 08:30 AM

"Typically, you have to mouse over that tiny System Tray power icon if you want Windows' read on how much battery life is left. BatteryBar adds a full-time, at-a-glance gauge to the right side of the taskbar, which, by itself, is mighty handy."

I have used laptops for a very long time. I have used laptops so old that I am paranoid about being away from a power outlet. While never laptops have helped teach me that it is okay to use a laptop that is not plugged in, I still watch that little battery icon in the lower right corner like a hawk. The problem is that wee icon does not tell me much. BatteryBar is a tool that gives you more information like an at-a-glance view of how much time you have left before things go dark. There are lots of tools like this, and I lament that my personal favourite, Notebook Hardware Control has not been updated in years, so I am always on the search for new programs like this to feed my paranoia. Does anyone have any suggestions on what to use to monitor their laptop life?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

An Early Review of the Dell Streak

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Dell Streak" @ 09:30 PM

"The Dell Streak is born into a hardware environment that desperately needs an Android-based tablet-or any kick-ass tablet that doesn't run Apple's "stop it now before it borgs the free world" iOS. Our current tally shows no fewer than 30 touch-operated tablets that could be launching in the next six months, and the majority of this freshman class of iPad killers will probably be running Google's mobile operating system."

This review rates the Streak as an average tablet, but as a pretty darned good (if huge) Smartphone. Simply holding the Streak up to an ear takes the author (and me) back to the early days of mobile phone bricks - it's really big. Using it as a tablet, some of the oft-described software quirkiness makes for a less than stellar experience, for example, web browsing on this 5-inch screen using the smallish on-screen keyboard. On the plus side, comparing the Streak to some typical Smartphones, its feature-set scores well.

I thought about getting a Streak, but rumors of upcoming models with larger screens (also from Dell) have convinced me to wait. That, and the fact that I need a tablet computer that runs Excel and Word ... meaning Windows in some flavor.

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Sponsored links