Acer believes there’s still consumer interest in netbooks despite the surging tablet market, and the firm recently said that it’s not giving up on the mini notebooks just yet. “Tablets have impacted overall netbook sales, but we’re not stepping away from the [netbook] segment,”Acer’s senior product marketing and brand manager, Eric Ackerson, told Forbes. “We think there’s still opportunity for sales, including in the U.S.” Acer’s not ignoring the tablet market — its Acer Iconia Tab A500 recently launched in the United States — but it also has some new netbooks up it sleeves that are expected to launch later this summer. The firm believes that netbooks, which are typically priced far below tablets, are beginning to offer an experience that’s on a par with notebooks thanks to bumps in hardware specs. “The death of netbooks is overstated,” Lisa Emard, an Acer spokesperson said. “We may not see the same explosive growth as before, but the netbook price point is still killer,” she added. More →
Reviewers and early adopters seemed to agree that Motorola’s Webtop laptop dock for the ATRIX 4G was both very nifty and very overpriced. At the same time, we were all intrigued when Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha said back in February that all of the company’s high-end smartphones would be compatible with the quirky Webtop laptop dock beginning later this year. Last week, Jha reiterated these intentions during the company’s earnings call, noting that the Webtop dock is one way Motorola will set itself apart from other manufacturers of Android-powered smartphones. “In the Android ecosystem, there is a need for us to differentiate,” Jha said. “[With] Atrix devices with the Webtop and lap-dock we really think there is an alternative way of viewing the convergence between mobility and computing. And we will continue to focus on that.” Jha continued, “You will see multiple devices from us in the second half… and we will expand the range of our lap-dock devices so we cover a broader price point, addressing both enterprise tiers as well as more consumer tiers.” That note about covering a range of price points may be the key factor here, and we’re anxious to see how Motorola will make this accessory more accessible while still refining the experience. More →
On Tuesday, Sony took the wraps off of two new Android tablets, the S1 and the S2, but two other devices — the “Freestyle Hybrid PC” and the “Ultimate Mobile PC” — were also teased by Sony execs during its IT Mobile Meeting in Tokyo. Sony’s keeping the specs for both devices close to the vest for now, but the Freestyle Hybrid PC offers a tablet form factor with a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard that doubles as a stand. Sony’s Ultimate Mobile PC appears to be a new thin and light laptop with HDMI-out, but its screen size and other specs remain unknown. We wouldn’t be surprised to see both of these devices break cover in time for the back to school season. More →
Break out your tin foil hats, people — they’re out to get you. Apple finally issued a statement on Wednesday regarding the recent uproar over iOS devices tracking their owners’ locations, but a new report from The Wall Street Journal will ensure that consumers can continue to cry foul. According to the WSJ, Apple and Google both track users’ locations not only using mobile devices, but also using computers. Apple allegedly collects location information each time its Mac computers scan for wireless networks, and Google is said to collect location data from Wi-Fi connected computers that use its Chrome browser or its search toolbar plug-in with other browsers. The report notes that it is unclear how Apple and Google use this data, and it says in “most cases” the location tracking services are opt-in. More →
An Apple hire from earlier this month ignited rumors that a composite, fruit-branded smartphone may be in the works. Kevin Kenney, the employee in question, assumed the position of “Senior Composites Engineer” at Apple after a 14-year stint making carbon fiber bicycles. The origin of this latest, notebook related rumor seems to be a blend of Mr. Kenney’s hiring, sprinkled with a dash of information published by iLounge earlier this year — stating that a “milestone” update to the MacBook Pro laptop family was due in 2012. The most recent Apple fodder has the company revamping its MacBook Pro line with a black, composite casing and improved specs. Not a lot of firm ground to stand on with this one, but worth mentioning nonetheless. More →
BGR on Friday reported on a massive 1,000-test 4G speed study conducted by BTIG Research analyst Walter Piecyk and his team. Piecyk’s controversial study found that Verizon Wireless’ new 4G LTE network handily beat Sprint’s 4G WiMAX network in the head-to-head speed tests. The tests used the mobile hotspot functions on Verizon’s HTC ThunderBolt and Sprint’s HTC EVO 4G, and found that Verizon’s 4G network averaged 9Mbps down and 5Mbps up while Sprint’s 4G speeds hovered around 1Mbps in each direction. With regard to Sprint and its WiMAX network, these findings are not in line with BGR’s experience. As such, we reached out to Sprint for comment. More →
Sprint is no longer the “4G king,” BTIG Research analyst Walter Piecyk proclaimed on Friday following a massive speed test that pitted Sprint’s HTC EVO 4G against Verizon Wireless’ HTC ThunderBolt. Piecyk and his team conducted more than 1,000 speed tests in New York City to determine which was faster: the ThunderBolt, running on Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE network, or the EVO 4G, running on Sprint’s 4G WiMAX network. The analyst found that Verizon’s offering was consistently and significantly faster than Sprint’s 4G phone. The speed tests were conducted using the integrated mobile hotspot functions on both devices, and the testers were equipped with both an Apple iPad 2 and a Toshiba laptop for the tests. In the tests, Verizon’s LTE network averaged speeds of 9Mbps down and 5Mbps up while Sprint’s WiMAX network averaged about 1Mbps both down and up. Verizon’s LTE speeds peaked at 19Mbps down and 10Mbps up during the tests. Piecyk also found that Verizon Wireless’ LTE network was more reliable than Sprint’s WiMAX offering, and it offers better coverage. Adding insult to injury, he says the ThunderBolt has better battery life than the EVO 4G as well. Hit the break for a chart mapping out BTIG’s findings.
Best Buy Connect — Best Buy’s mobile broadband arm — on Monday announced that customers can now sign up for 4G service. The 4G data service, which was launched through a wholesale agreement with Clearwire, is an option for customers purchasing one of Best Buy’s 23 supported laptop models from Asus, Samsung, Dell, HP, Sony and Toshiba, and Best Buy Connect provides all the service and support. Unlimited access to the 4G WiMAX network will set you back $45 each month with a two-year contract or on a month-to-month basis. If you sign up for a two-year contract, however, Best Buy Connect will waive the $35 activation fee, and Best Buy will knock $150 off the price of “select hardware devices.” Best Buy says that users can sign up for the 4G service nationwide, however access to the 4G WiMAX network is only available in the 70 U.S. markets where Clearwire offers it. Just last week Best Buy announced a new agreement to sell LightSquared’s 4G LTE service under its Best Buy Connect brand, although it’s unclear when that network will be offered. Hit the jump for the full release. More →
Apple has released OS X 10.6.7 for Mac computers, and it includes some stability, performance, and security enhancements. It also fixes display issues that have been plaguing early 2011 MacBook Pro models. The update should make the Back to My Mac software more reliable, resolves some issues that occurred while transferring files to SMB servers, addresses bugs related to FaceTime performance and the Mac App Store, and improves graphics stability and display compatibility when using your MacBook Pro with an external monitor. The entire update should be roughly 390MB in size and can be downloaded through Snow Leopard’s software update utility.
PC World has published a report that compares the 4G data speeds of both smartphones and laptop modems. As we’ve said in the past, we realize that you’re an AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon Wireless customer because that particular carrier provides the services you want, need, and/or like in your area at a price you can afford. Nonetheless, hit the jump to see who was declared the winner! More →
Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo revealed on Saturday that Apple shipped a total of 1.1 million MacBook Air units over the course of the refreshed laptop’s first quarter of availability. Though the firm’s figure is most certainly not confirmed by Apple, Ming-Chi cites channel checks in Asia in revealing shipment numbers, which would make the new MacBook Air one of the fastest-selling Mac computers in Apple’s history. Ming-Chi notes that sales have likely begun to slow in the first quarter of 2011, and Concord estimates that Apple will ship approximately 700,000 units this quarter. Shipments of Apple’s newly refreshed MacBook Pro computers are expected to make up for the slowing Air sales, however, and Concord notes that demand for the new Pro line will help offset slowed MacBook Air shipments. More →
Blog 9to5Mac has procured some interesting information in regards to what Apple is cooking up behinds its closed web store. The blog is reporting that all 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro models will have an Intel i7, quad-core processor clocked from 2.0GHz up. The laptops will also switch from NVIDIA graphics cards to AMD silicon. The base-line 15-inch MBP will have AMD Radeon HD 6490M with 256MB of RAM, while upper tier 15 and 17-inch models will sport a AMD Radeon HD 6750M chip with 1GB of dedicated RAM. The 15-inch model will be available with a 1920 x 1200, 1080p display and this display resolution will be standard on the 17-inch model. The SKUs and additional specs are waiting for you after the break. Anyone biting? More →
Following the Apple MacBook Pro leak saga? Rumors have been swirling practically every day about Apple’s latest MacBook Pro refresh, and a leaked photo from earlier today appears to confirm part of what we exclusively reported — that Apple’s new MacBook Pro’s will have larger all-glass multitouch trackpads. The same report also confirms the presence of a Thunderbolt port on the new MacBook Pro, which is Apple’s name for Intel’s Light Peak connection set to be unveiled tomorrow as well.
UPDATE: Upon closer inspection, it looks as though the MacBook Pro pictured above may have the same sized trackpad as the current 13-inch model, though it is possible that the new 13-inch model will retain the same sized trackpad while the 15 and/or 17-inch models may see a size increase. More →