I’ve been using Apple’s mid-2011 MacBook Air for almost a week now and even though it’s physically the same unit that it replaced (for the most part) on the exterior, this is an entirely different beast. For starters, Apple’s second-generation MacBook Air improved greatly on the first model by offering up a redesigned case complete with two built-in USB ports, an SD card reader and SSD hard drives as the only available options. The older Intel Core 2 Duo processors however, severely limited the computer. It was functional enough for me to replace a Core i7 MacBook Pro, but it was slow; normal tasks would bog the system down, and the computer would heat up at the drop of a dime. All this has changed with the latest MacBook Air, however. Read on for my thoughts.More →
Verizon Wireless on Tuesday unveiled the latest addition to its connected notebook PC lineup, the HP Pavilion dm1-3010nr. The new Pavilion laptop is Verizon’s first model to feature an embedded 4G LTE modem for high-speed 4G connectivity out of the box. The 1.2-inch-thick notebook is also no slouch where specs are concerned; highlights include an 11.6-inch 1366 x 768-pixel LED display, a 1.6GHz dual-core AMD processor, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, a 320GB hard drive, a VGA webcam and Windows 7 Home Premium. The HP Pavilion dm1-3010nr goes on sale this Thursday, July 28th, for $599.99. Users will also need to choose between one of two data plans — $50 each month for 5GB, or $80 each month for 10GB. Verizon Wireless’ full press release follows below. More →
AT&T on Tuesday revealed the first two 4G LTE devices that will launch on its forthcoming LTE network later this summer. The AT&T USBConnect Momentum 4G and AT&T Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G will christen the new cellular broadband network, which is set to launch in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio this summer before extending to at least 15 markets later this year. AT&T says 70 million Americans will be covered by its 4G LTE network before the end of 2011. Both the Momentum 4G USB modem and the Elevate 4G mobile hotspot will feature compatibility with AT&T’s HSPA+ 4G network as well, ensuring both coverage and confusion for customers across the country. “AT&T recognizes that customers want a consistent, responsive network performance from major cities to their neighborhood. Our deployment of 4G LTE technology backed by our nationwide HSPA+ network allows us to give customers a superior mobile broadband experience today and for years to come,” said AT&T Mobility SVP, Devices Jeff Bradley in a statement. “As we begin to roll out our 4G LTE network this year, AT&T customers will be able to choose from several new LTE devices, starting with the AT&T USBConnect Momentum 4G and AT&T Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G.” The Momentum 4G will cost $49.99 and the Elevate 4G will cost $69.99, each with a 2-year data contract. AT&T’s full press release follows below. More →
During the Computex trade show in May, Intel laid out its vision for new “Ultrabook” notebooks that will blend the performance of today’s laptops with a tablet-like experience in a thin and light product. While the company originally said that ASUS’ UX21 notebook would be the first such device when it launches in time for this year’s holiday season, a new report from DigiTimes suggests that HP will beat ASUS to the market. Reportedly, the computer manufacturer will use Foxconn Electronics for the production of at least two Ultrabooks, which will run on Intel’s 1.8GHz Core i7-2677M and the 1.7GHz Core i7-2637M platforms. Rumor has it that Foxconn has already started to ship the Ultrabooks to HP, but it’s unclear when the devices will launch. More →
Apple will refresh its MacBook Air line of computers on July 19th, iClarified reported on Wednesday. We began to suspect the update was imminent when early reports suggested that global supplies for the computer were in short supply in late May. Those reports were solidified earlier this week when stock of the MacBook Air at Best Buy and Amazon was depleted. The device is expected to pack the new Thunderbolt I/O port in place of DisplayPort, Intel’s new Sandy Bridge processors, and the brand new OS X Lion operating system. 9to5 Mac said that Apple will likely offer Intel’s 1.8GHz Intel Core i7, 1.7GHz Core i7, and the 1.7GHz Core i5 in its new machines. We love the current design of the MacBook Air, and rumor has it that there won’t be any hardware tweaks. We suppose that could mean the rumored anodized black version will never see the light of day. The good news is the long wait is nearly over. More →
What if you could charge your phone by simply tapping on the touchscreen display — never having to worry about plugging it in — or add more juice to your laptop every time you typed? New developments in piezoelectric technology at the RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia have brought those dreams closer to a reality. Researchers there have been able to create a new thin piezoelectric film that is capable of turning those taps, or “mechanical pressure,” into electricity. “The power of piezoelectrics could be integrated into running shoes to charge mobile phones, enable laptops to be powered through typing or even used to convert blood pressure into a power source for pacemakers – essentially creating an everlasting battery,” lead co-author, Dr. Madhu Bhaskaran, said in the report, which was published in the July issue of Advanced Functional Materials. The technology isn’t quite there yet; Bhaskaran said that the next step will be using the piezoelectric materials to generate enough electricity to actually power our devices, and then building them into “low-cost, compact, structures.” We’re dreaming up super thin devices with minuscule batteries that are always on, but the report didn’t suggest how long it will take for that fiction to become fact. More →
During the Computex trade show in Taiwan on Tuesday, Intel’s executive vice president Sean Maloney discussed a new category of laptop computers called “Ultrabooks” that Intel says will dominate 40% of the consumer market by the end of next year. Ultrabooks will blend the performance of today’s laptops with a tablet-like experience in a thin and light product, and the first such product is ASUS’ brand new UX21 laptop, which is due out by the 2011 holiday season. Initially, Ultrabooks will be powered by Intel’s latest Core processors, but they will also be powered by the firm’s new 22nm Ivy Bridge processor by the first half of next year. By 2013, Ultrabooks will be powered by Intel’s next generation “Haswell” processors. Maloney also said that its Atom processor family will “outpace Moore’s law” and that Intel will accelerate the processor from 32nm through 22nm to 14nm in just three years. The move will allow for more powerful and more battery-efficient Atom processors for tablets, netbooks, and smartphones. The firm also said that Android and MeeGo tablets running its Medfield processor will hit the market during the first half of 2012, and that Medfield will enable sub-9mm designs and products that weigh under 1.5 pounds. Hit the jump for Intel’s full press release. More →
Sony just took the wraps off of its new S Series VAIO laptop, a notebook with a 13.3-inch 1600 x 900 display that measures just 0.95-inches thick and weighs 3.8 pounds. Under its hood, the new VAIO is powered by Intel’s second-generation Core i7 processor, has AMD Radeon HD 6630 graphics with 1GB of VRAM, a Blu-ray drive, an LED backlit keyboard, and Intel Wireless Display 2.0 support, which allows you to share your laptop screen with your HDTV. Sony says its new S Series should offer 8 hours of battery life, and an optional $150 “sheet battery” can double that to 16 hours. The VAIO S Series starts at $1,350 and customers can pre-order the laptop now. Hit the jump for the full release. More →
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Dell is ready to readdress the luxury notebook market with a new ultra-thin offering to take on Apple’s MacBook Air. Dell launched its sleek Adamo line in March 2009 and its first model was an underpowered, over-designed offering that started at $2,000. Dell would later introduce less expensive Adamo laptops but consumers still wouldn’t bite, and the Adamo line was killed off in early 2011. On Tuesday, Dell will unveil its latest attempt to capture the hearts, minds and credit card numbers of prospective MacBook Air buyers with the slender XPS 15z. The new laptop will sport a price tag that starts at $999, and while Apple’s MacBook Air starts at $999 as well, that sum will only get you an 11-inch Air while Dell’s new notebook will apparently be the thinnest 15-inch laptop on the planet. Hit the break for a teaser video Dell ran earlier this month. More →
Microsoft on Thursday revealed its back-to-school offer for 2011, which is likely to drop students’ jaws and raise parents’ eyebrows at the same time. This year, students with a valid student ID who purchase a Windows 7 computer for $699 or more will receive a free Xbox 360 4GB video game console. “A hot new Windows 7-based PC with a free Xbox 360 is the ultimate productivity, social and entertainment package for students,” said Kathleen Hall, general manager of Windows Marketing at Microsoft, in a statement. “In one shot, with this great offer, Microsoft is giving students everything they need for a successful new school year.” We’re not sure how much the Xbox offer will help students with their school work, but it will definitely help them blow off some steam and avoid burning out while still managing to save them some money. The deal becomes available to students starting this Sunday, May 22nd. Hit the break for Microsoft’s full press release.
We can’t say it comes as much of a surprise, but Google has just taken the wraps off of a service many of us have been waiting for years to see… or should we say, hear. Google’s freshly unveiled Music Beta service will give users a cloud-based solution for storing and streaming their digital music collections — and we mean, their entire collections; Google’s service supports the storage of up to 20,000 songs as opposed to the 1,000 tracks supported by Amazon’s Cloud Drive product, which Music Beta will compete with directly. Google’s Music Manager app supports Windows and Mac, and it allows users to upload their tracks directly to Music Beta. The Web-based music manager is a full-featured music player that supports organization, playlist creation and plenty more. The related Android app features all of the same functionality as the Web player, and playlists created on one device will instantly be available on all devices. Recently played music is always cached by the mobile player, and albums can also be downloaded and stored for playback when data connections are unavailable. Music Beta is available initially by invitation only, and it is free — at least, it’s free during the beta period. Google’s updated music app with Music Beta support is available in the Android Market beginning today.
On Monday HP announced that it has updated its EliteBook, ENVY, Mini, Pavilion, and ProBook notebook families with some more robust models. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s new:
- HP’s ProBook 5330m, designed for business users, is less than an inch thick, weighs 3.9 pounds, and has a 13.3-inch screen. It’s powered by Intel’s Core i5 and Core i3 processors and comes with a fingerprint reader and other security options. It will debut on May 9th for $799.
- The ultraportable EliteBook 2560p can be equipped with either an Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor, has a 7,200rpm hard drive (or SSD), and sports a 12.5-inch LED-backlit HD display. Its brother, the EliteBook 2760p has a smaller 12.1-inch display and doubles as a tablet. The EliteBook 2560p will launch on May 23rd for $1,099 and the 2760p will hit the market on May 9th for $1,499.
- HP’s updated Mini 210 netbook has been revamped with a more modern aesthetic, weighs under 3 pounds, is less than 1-inch thick, and offers up to 9.5 hours of battery life. HP also added Beats Audio for improved music playback. The Mini 210 will launch in purple, charcoal, red, rose, and blue on June 15th starting at $299.99.
- HP’s Pavilion dv4 notebook has been updated to include CoolSense technology, which adjusts PC cooling on the fly to prevent overheating. It weighs under 5 pounds, has a 14-inch HD LED BrightView display, and will be available in espresso black and blue when it launches for $599 on May 18th.
- HP dropped Intel’s second-generation Core processors into the HP ENVY 14, and also added USB 3.0, a new “HP imagepad” for gesture support, and a precision-etched metal alloy-case. The ENVY 14 sports a 14.5-inch HD BrightView infinity LED display, Beats Audio, and more. It will launch on June 15th for $999.99.
Hit the jump for the full release from HP. More →
Blog SemiAccurate has published an interesting article stating that Apple intends to move its desktop and laptop computer systems from the Intel x86 architecture to ARM-based architecture in the semi-near future. “The short story is that Apple is moving the laptop line, and presumably desktops too, to ARM based chips as soon as possible,” reads the posting. “With A15/Eagle allowing more than 32-bit memory access, things look up, but it seems silly to do so before the full 64 bit cores come in the following generation. […] Think mid-2013. At that point, Apple can move to ARM without worrying about obsoleting code with an ISA [instruction set architecture] that is on the verge of changing, and no memory overhead worries either.” Apple’s iOS line of products are powered by ARM silicon. The publication cites “moles” as the source of the information — moles that have provided accurate intel (pun intended) about Apple’s manufacturing component choices in the past. Will Apple shift desktop architectures yet again? Will we get to see more commercials featuring barbecued moon men? Time will tell. More →