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All posts tagged "software"

Friday, August 13, 2010

Dell Streak Arrives ...

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Dell Streak" @ 08:00 AM

"We fit the whole world into a 5-inch screen. Introducing the Dell Streak. The perfectly-sized, go-anywhere entertainment, social connection and navigation device."

The ordering process is open today for "pre-registered" users, and begins tomorrow (14-Aug-2010) for everyone else. Prices start at $299.99 USD with AT&T two-year contract activation, or $549.99 USD without a contract and without accessories. The Streak can be purchased without a contract. The voice plans start at $39.99 USD monthly for 450 "w/Rollover" minutes, the data plans start at $15.00 USD monthly for 200MB of data, and the 2GB plan will cost $25.00 USD monthly. No unlimited data plans are available on new contracts.

Reviews on Dell's site are mostly from UK users, but are generally positive. Plusses include Web browsing, the high quantity and quality of Android apps and screen size and clarity; minuses mostly surround battery life, the old Android version (1.6), and speaker quality. There are also lots of comments about this device being perfect in size between an iPhone and an iPad, and lots of comments from "switchers." Can't wait for some more local reviews to start appearing!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

$35 Android-based Tablet in India - A Real, Working Prototype

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 01:30 PM

"The Gadget Gurus, the Subcontinent's answer to The Engadget Show, got a special hands-on with that $35 Tablet PC the world's been buzzing about -- delivered by none other than India's Human Resource Development Minister, Kapil Sibal himself. While constantly referring to "the $35 laptop" (we guess you could hold it in your lap) Mr. Sibal gave us the following info: it sports 2GB RAM, WiFI and 3G, microSD storage, and it runs the Android OS."

Pretty amazing! India plans to use one million of these devices -- delivered in 2011 -- initially in their higher educational system. The $35 cost is that charged to the Indian government and any retail pricing would presumeably be higher. Already some discussions have taken place (OLPC Association/Nicholas Negroponte, Microsoft) regarding making this a "world tablet," and not limiting it to India. Minister Sibal's goal is to get the price down to $10 each. Looking at the video, this is a real device, on real hardware, running Android and "off the shelf" apps. The guys at Gadget Gurus spent two hours trying to crash the tablet, and didn't succeed. Their verdict: good quick hardware and software with a mediocre touch screen requiring use of a stylus for some functions. My first thought was that this just looks like a larger Nokia N900. But it is still a remarkable achievement!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dell Streak Priority Pre-Sale Ordering Begins August 12, 2010

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Dell Streak" @ 02:00 PM

"Orders for the Dell Streak Tablet open up for U.S. priority pre-sale registrants at this Thursday, August 12. General availability follows a day later at The Dell Streak is available for $299.99 with new two-year AT&T contract†, and $549.99 without. Customers who purchase the Streak, and signed up during the pre-sale program, will receive a free second-day shipping upgrade. Customers who redeem their pre-sale coupon can purchase a Plantronics Bluetooth earpiece for 99 cents while supplies last."

image credit:

Delayed a couple weeks in the USA, ordering for the Dell Streak opens on August 12, 2010 for priority pre-sale registrants (click here to pre-register), giving you a 24-hour head-start on the general public. Lots of buzz about this 5-inch tablet -- shipping with Android 1.6 but expected to be upgradeable to Android 2.1 -- coming in the near future. Let the competition begin!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Dual-boot Windows 7 / Android AOD255 Netbook from Acer

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Acer Laptops & Netbooks" @ 03:00 PM

"Acer's latest crack at combining Google's Android mobile software and Microsoft's Windows XP OS in the same netbook was unveiled at a computer show in Taipei on Thursday."

Details are a bit sketchy at this point, but Acer has unveiled the AOD255 netbook in Taipei, with their own configuration management software (Acer Configuration Manager for Android) allowing a quick boot into Android, or a 'regular' boot into Windows XP. Interesting that Linux QuickBoot systems are being started to be replaced by Android.

The device sports an Intel Atom N450, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, a 10.1-inch screen, a 160GB hard disk, and a 3-cell battery (a 6-cell upgraded battery will set you back $95). Basic price is expected to be around $375 and availability is yet to be determined.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Dell Comparing Studio Series Laptops to MacBook Pros

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Dell Laptops & Netbooks" @ 12:00 PM

"It's no secret to those who follow tech that Macs tend to offer lesser specs than its competitors, and for more money. That hasn't slowed Apple's momentum in the laptop market, though, especially among college students. As the back to school season kicks off, Dell has posted a direct comparison between its Studio 15 and 17 laptops and the 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pro."

While the Studio series laptops perform well, and are priced significantly below comparably sized and configured MacBookPros, the intangibles make the big price difference somewhat less of a factor. Dell perhaps should have focused on their strengths in addition to re-hashing the "Apple tax." Stressing some simple things, like a one-year warranty standard vs. Apple's 90 days would perhaps have helped, but then, on the other hand, Dell's support has become somewhat of a liability recently. I personally like the Studio laptops, but would I choose one over a MBP? Probably not, despite the price difference.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Macallan Coming Soon to Windows 7 Tablet

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Laptop Thoughts Software" @ 03:00 AM

A lot of the UI certainly seem to be pulled from the Zune/Media Center interface, at least as a strong inspiration. But the peel back/page turn does look kind of interesting. They say we will see this in quarter 3 of 2010 from a major manufacturer. Given that we are already 1/3 of the way in, I find that kind of doubtful.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Big Competition for the iPad?

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 01:00 PM

"Check out this 14mm-thin contender: built by Pegatron and still at the prototype stage, the MasterPad looks to be the embodiment of Steve Ballmer's incoming armada of desirable Windows 7 tablets."

Tipping the scales at about 990 grams (around 2.2-pounds) in its prototype stage, the MasterPad may sport an 11.6-inch screen, 1366x768 resolution, 3G connectivity, webcam and 32/64GB SSD. Windows 7 (premium, apparently, from the video) and Android appear to be the OS options, and support for Flash and 1080p video is expected. Negatives, at least as described in the prototype are a 2-cell battery providing only 5-hours of use, and an Intel Atom 1.66GHz Atom N450 CPU. Looking at the video showing what I assume is the prototype, it appears reasonably thin, but has a massive onscreen keyboard. Arrival expected "in the coming months," and no pricing information was available.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Windows Mobile Lost a 'Whole Generation' Says Ballmer

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone Talk" @ 05:00 PM

"Steve Ballmer has delivered a mea culpa to Microsoft's partners for its slip-ups against Apple and Google on tablets and smart phones. Ballmer told Microsoft's annual Worldwide Partner Conference that Windows Mobile missed a "whole generation of users" and promised Windows Phone 7 will set things right."

Dear Microsoft,

I generally feel a lot of love for you as a company, but it's sure frustrating watching you miss the boat again and again. Remember when you laughed at the iPhone? Yeah, exactly, no one is laughing now. The hype around the iPad had been building for years - didn't someone in your organization (other than the Courier team) realize that this whole slate computing thing wasn't going to just be empty hype? Read more...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sony VAIO EC Series Desktop Replacement Monster

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Sony Laptops & Netbooks" @ 12:00 PM

"Sony's always had a knack for making some of the best multimedia laptops around, and the VAIO EC Series is all about continuing the trend. The desk-dominating 17.3-inch laptop is a monster of a machine, and has the internal guns to match – it's got a Core i3 processor, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470 graphics card, 4GB of RAM, 500GB of storage and a Blu-ray drive."

Sony's VAIO EC Series desktop replacement multimedia laptops are the next in a long series of "almost good enough to really be a desktop replacement" laptops. A robust processor and graphics, a very good display, coupled wth a 4x Blu-ray drive start things off well. But then comes the disappointment of mediocre speakers, no standalone multimedia buttons, lots of shiny surface, and an off-center trackpad with some reported quirks.

As with nearly all systems with this much power, battery life suffers, with 2.5 - 3.0 hours of use being all that one can expect. This is not a light machine at 7.3 pounds, so one could reasonably expect that it'd remain in one place (as a desktop replacement) and not rely on the battery. Bottom line is that this is a good, but unexceptional multimedia laptop for the price, and that Sony still commands and gets a premium for its products.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Is That A Desktop In Your Pocket?

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 01:00 PM

"If you don't understand the significance of what you're looking at then you're probably not paying attention. First off, that Aava slab of WoW slaying smartphone is underpinned by Intel's Moorestown processor. Yes, Intel, not ARM, as Chipzilla gets serious about taking its silicon mobile."

Interesting to see an early version of Intel-powered hardware and Nokia software (MeeGo OS) that looks like an amalgamation of WebOS and Android, with UI elements reminiscent of Nokia's N900. Using the Moorestown platform rather than the typical ARM chipset may provide the necessary horsepower to run some serious (PC-based) games, but battery life of an hour limits the fun. Not being a huge gamer, this seems to me to be a solution in search of a problem, what with all the other good-to-great handheld gaming platforms already available.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cool Your Vaio! BIOS Fix for Overheating Problem

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Sony Laptops & Netbooks" @ 09:30 AM

"Sony has issued a software fix to prevent a recent batch of Vaio laptops from overheating. Over 500,000 new laptops could be affected by the problem, in what could well turn out to be a PR disaster for the consumer electronics giant."

Sony Vaio owners continue to be plagued by overheating problems. After the massive battery recall of 2006, estimated to have cost Sony $250 million, the latest problem impacts about a half million laptops. Sony has issued a software fix that updates the system BIOS. ( Link )

Monday, July 5, 2010

Pioneer Competitors for iPad

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 09:42 PM

"Now that the buzz surrounding the Apple iPad release and the whispers of the Asus Eee Pad have died down, we thought it was about time that another contender to the market appeared from the woodwork. And we were right! Pioneer have just released details of not only one, but three new competitors - the Pioneer DreamBook ePad 7/10 (7inch), DreamBook ePad A10 (10inch) and DreamBook ePad L11 HD (11.6inch)."

With two new Android ePads and one new Windows 7 ePad from Pioneer, consumers will soon have some new tablet choices. What I see as the biggest iPad direct competitor, the A10, will run Windows7 on an Intel Atom N455 at 1.66GHz (or optionally) on an N475 at 1.83GHz with a maximum of 2GB DDR3 RAM; a 10.1-inch screen with 1024x600 resolution; a solid state (SSD) drive with 8/16/32GB; 802.11a/b/g wireless (no "n"); wired 100Mbps Ethernet; microSD card reader; and 1.3MP front-facing camera. One negative is that the 3-cell battery last only five hours. Expected pricing (converted from AUD) starts at $506. Upgraded component pricing is not yet available.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Today is the Last Day for Windows Anytime Upgrade

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Software" @ 06:30 AM

"Saturday, July 3 is the last day Windows Anytime Upgrade (WAU) can be used in the U.S. for upgrading Windows 7 on a new PC. WAU gives purchasers of PCs the opportunity to upgrade their version of Windows 7 to a more feature rich edition. This can be done through retail channels, but WAU offers an extra discount."

If you are in the US, today is your last shot. So before you start celebrating the long holiday weekend do yourself a favor and cure any of your computers of Windows 7 Starter.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

ASUS Eee PC 1215N Netbook for Power Users

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Asus Laptops & Netbooks" @ 02:00 PM

"The phrase "netbook powerhouse" would typically be considered an oxymoron. That was before ASUS announced its Eee PC 1215N bumpin' a 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Atom D525 processor with NVIDIA Optimus to intelligently switch between its NVIDIA Ion discrete and integrated graphics."

ASUS has always been good at anticipating the changing needs of netbook users, and the new Eee PC 1215N continues the trend, further blurring the thin line between netbook and laptop. Details are a bit sparse today, but this "network powerhouse" sports a dual-core 1.8GHz Intel Atom D525 processor, a 12-inch 1366x768 display, NVIDIA Optimus to allow switching between integrated and NVIDIA ION graphics, and hardware decoding for H.264, MPEG2 and VC1 HD Videos to allow 1080p video playback in 16:9 format. Read more...

New Entry-level Fujitsu TH700 Tablet PC

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 12:00 PM

"Regular reader Acerbic, in following up my review of the Fujitsu Lifebook T900, ran across a new product listing tucked into the Fujitsu site over the weekend: the Lifebook TH700..."

Full-featured, a bit chunky, and considered to be an "entry level" Tablet PC. Fujitsu appears to be positioning this PC as a direct competitor to the HP TouchSmart TM2, at a slightly higher price point, but with slightly better specifications.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cisco Plans for Business Tablet (Cius)

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

"Thanks to the iPad, tablet computers are finally a hot consumer item, after many false starts. Now Cisco Systems said it aims to take the tablet computer into the business world with its own device, to launch early next year."

Image credit: Cisco Systems

With Cisco's upcoming Cius Android-powered tablet scheduled for 2011, their long-term direction is becoming more clear: provide a tablet computer (and/or "thin client") that will connect to (and interoperate with) their world class videoconferencing platform, TelePresence, as well as a host of other complementary tools like potentially Citrix and/or VMWare. For more details, see Cisco's information page (link).

What Direction Should Microsoft Take in the Tablet Space?

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Laptop Thoughts Software" @ 03:00 AM

"Both Forrester Research and IDC analysts are banging the Microsoft tablet drum. They believe Microsoft can compete with the likes of Android, iOS/iPad, WebOS, but they need hardware partners in order to be successful — and there in lies the problem. HP is going full stream with WebOS after their decision to shelve its Windows Slate device (at least for now), Dell has been busy developing their own tablets running Android, and Lenovo has recently shifted to Android for its hybrid tablet/nettops."

In the past, Microsoft hasn't wanted to directly compete with the hardware partners selling their software. But if their normal hardware partners are not going to go after the tablet hardware space using Microsoft software, I think Microsoft should not have any qualms about going it alone. Market it as a consumer entertainment device, perhaps an expansion of the Zune/Xbox experience and grow from there.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Blu-Ray 3D on Your Laptop with PowerDVD 10?

Posted by Don Tolson in "Digital Home Software" @ 08:00 AM

Product Category: Video/Audio Player
Manufacturer: CyberLink
Where to Buy: Amazon [affiliate]
Price: Starts at $49.95USD for the Standard version. Ultra version tested is $99.95USD.
System Requirements: Windows XP SP3/Vista/Win7 -- Intel Pentium 4 3.0Ghz+ or AMD Athlon 64 2800+ 1.8Ghz+; 512meg RAM, DirectX 9.0. For Blu-Ray: WinXP SP3/Vista/Win 7 -- Intel Pentium 4, CoreDuo or Core2Quad or Athlon 64 4400+, 1Gig RAM; blu-ray compatible drive. Full system requirements can be found on the CyberLink website.
Specifications: Video: Blu-Ray, AVCHD, AVCREC, MPEG-4, MPEG-2, SMPTE, VC-1, WMV-HD, RM/RMVB, MKV, FLV, HDMI3.1. Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/7.1/HD, DTS/HD/96/24, HDMI3.1, AAC. A full description of supported formats is available here.


  • Wide variety of video and audio formats supported;
  • Blu-Ray and 3D emulation (needs compatible screen) with Blu-Ray 3D native support coming soon;
  • Includes TrueTheatre video 'noise' filters and stabilizer.


  • Music interface is lacking in 'modern' features (album art, playlists, etc.);
  • May overload some systems;
  • Overloaded with 'social networking' interfaces.


PowerDVD by CyberLink has been the DVD player of choice for OEMs for a number of years, providing a simple way to view movies on home PCs and laptops. With version 10, CyberLink extends the capabilities of the software to the point where a well-equipped media PC can compete with dedicated home theatre equipment. With Blu-Ray (TM), Dolby (TM) 7.1 and remote support, all you really need is a big screen monitor and you'd be all set. Let's take a look and see if you really need that dedicated Blu-Ray player.


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