Apple is said to currently be considering the launch of a new MacBook Air notebook PC with a 14-inch display. Citing unnamed sources within Apple’s supply chain, DigiTimes on Wednesday reported that Apple is considering a 14-inch ultra-slim laptop computer to better address consumers in China, where 14-inch models have between 35% and 40% of the portable computer market. The site had previously reported that Apple is working on a 15-inch MacBook Air model, a claim that a number of other reports have mirrored. DigiTimes first reported that Apple will launch the 15-inch Air in the second quarter this year, but then issued a new report two weeks later stating that the 15-inch model was slated to launch in the first quarter of 2012 alongside new 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air models. It is unclear if DigiTimes is now suggesting that Apple will launch a 14-inch model in China and a 15-inch model for the rest of the world, or if the company is considering replacing the previously-rumored 15-inch model with a slightly smaller laptop. More →
Consumer technology hardware sales in the United States fell 0.5% percent in 2011, ending the year just shy of $144 billion according to market research firm The NPD Group. Roughly 60% of all sales were from PCs, TVs, tablets, eReaders, mobile phones and video game hardware, NPD said. Computers generated the most revenue with nearly $28 billion or roughly 20% of sales, with tablets and eReaders doubling sales to $15 billion in 2011. For the second year in a row, Apple led all consumer electronics brands and was the only one to increase sales during the holiday quarter, posting a 36% year-over-year increase. The Cupertino-based company accounted for 19% percent of all sales, almost double second-ranked Hewlett-Packard. Best Buy was the top retailer for the second year in a row, followed by Walmart and Apple respectively, with Staples and Amazon tied for fourth place. Online, direct mail and TV shopping channel sales increased 7% and accounted for 24% of all sales, up from 22% in 2010. Read on for NPD’s press release. More →
Taiwan-based Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute expects roughly 360 million combined personal computers and media tablets to ship in 2011, Taiwan Economic News reports. MIC sees PC shipments growing 6.6% over 2010 to land at more than 320 million units this year, and it thinks shipments of media tablets like Apple’s iPad 2ill w exceed 48 million units in 2011, up 198% from 2010. MIC senior industry analyst Chris Wei notes that the improving global economy and replacement PC purchases in the enterprise market would be largely responsible for this year’s growth. Needham & Company analyst Charlie Wolf recently estimated that Apple would ship 30 million iPad tablets in 2011, but the company will likely far exceed that figure if tablet shipments are indeed to surpass 48 million units as MIC predicts. More →
BGR’s Throwback Thursday segment is typically reserved for extinct tech, but this week we make an exception. On June 16th, 1911 — one hundred years ago today — Charles Ranlett Flint merged three companies to form the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company. Headquartered in New York City, CTR manufactured and sold scales, card-punch machines, meat slicers and a variety of other products that have long since been replaced by several generations of improved offerings. CTR changed its name to International Business Machines Corporation, or IBM, on February 14th, 1924, to better align its name with its wide range of products. IBM would hit its stride building tabulating devices, and it was at the forefront of developing the PCs we now take for granted. Now, 100 years later with a market capitalization of just under $200 billion, IBM remains a leader in the technology space, producing software and hardware that will shape the future of computing. Happy 100th, IBM, and here’s to 100 more.
BGR’s Throwback Thursday is a weekly series covering our (and your) favorite gadgets, games, and software of yesterday and yesteryear.
During the Computex tradeshow in Tapei, NVIDIA’s CEO Huang Jen-hsun said that sales of tablet PCs will surpass notebook sales in five years, Taiwan Economic News reported on Tuesday. It’s certainly no secret that NVIDIA hopes to profit off of that market shift — the firm already has its dual-core Tegra 2 chip in a number of tablets and phones from Motorola, LG, Samsung, Acer, and ASUS — and NVIDIA’s chief said that 14 of the top 20 global wireless carriers currently sell devices powered by its Tegra mobile processor. NVIDIA has already started showing off the power of its next-generation Kal-El quad-core mobile processor, too, but Hung says the company won’t stop there. It’s charging forward and will roll out a total of three new GPU models featuring a 28nm process technology between 2012 and 2014. The next chips are codenamed Wayne, Logan, and Shark. More →
During a press event in Japan recently, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that Windows 8 would would launch sometime next year. His firm says otherwise. “It appears there was a misstatement,” a Microsoft spokesperson recently said in a statement. “We are eagerly awaiting the next generation of Windows 7 hardware that will be available in the coming fiscal year. To date, we have yet to formally announce any timing or naming for the next version of Windows.” Despite Microsoft’s statement, we could still hear more about Windows 8 much sooner — even if it doesn’t actually launch in the coming fiscal year. “As we progress through the year, you ought to expect to hear a lot about Windows 8,” Ballmer said in his speech. “Windows 8 slates, tablets, PCs, a variety of different form factors.’ According to ZDNet, we could see an early build of the operating system as soon as the D9 conference, which begins on June 31st. More →
Google is expected to announce its long anticipated entrance into cloud-based music on Tuesday from its Google I/O conference in San Francisco. The New York Times reports that the service will initially be called Music Beta by Google, and it will allow users to store 20,000 songs in a cloud locker for free, which can then be accessed by any PC or Android device. Activity will be synced automatically between devices, so playlists created on one device will be accessible from all others, according to the report. Like Amazon’s recent Cloud Drive and Cloud Player offerings, it is expected that Google will launch its service without the support of major record labels. Also like Amazon’s offering, the service is expected to initially be very limited in functionality. In the beginning, Music Beta will reportedly be accessible by invite only. Motorola XOOM users with Verizon Wireless models will all receive invitations, and others will be able to sign up for invites at music.google.com. There is currently no timeline in terms of when the service might become available to the general public. We’ll be on hand reporting live from I/O later today, so be sure to tune in for all the latest news as it breaks.
If you’re a hardware manufacturer trying to figure out where to delegate R&D funds, you might want to pay attention to this. According to an article on ReadWriteWeb, smartphones outsold personal computers in the fourth quarter of 2010, marking the first time such an event has occurred. Analytics firm IDC provides the data, and indicates that smartphone OEMs sold 100.9 million units worldwide — an 87.2% jump year-over-year — while PC OEMs sold 92.1 million units worldwide — a 5.5% increase year-over-year. The report lists the top five smartphone vendors of 2010 (by units shipped and market share) as: Nokia, Research In Motion, Apple, Samsung, and HTC. More →
Oh, how things have changed since 2003. The Hitachi SH-G1000 Pocket PC — also known as the largest Pocket PC in history (we’re probably stretching, but still) — was one of the first Pocket PC devices we owned. Why did we buy it? Well, if we remember correctly, it was one of the first Pocket PCs to use cellular data (it used Sprint’s 1xRTT network for data), and this enabled us to constantly use AIM, send email, and use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer; it also took our pretentious-douche-factor to new heights when we used it in our local Starbucks. You didn’t need a stylus to type on the G1000 as it had a portrait, full-QWERTY keyboard built-in. As an added bonus, there was a rotatable camera, 400 MHz CPU, and 32 MB of RAM. While the device was not “pocketable,” the battery life was impressive; clocking in at over a day of average use, possibly two. The device retailed for $649 on Sprint. Anybody ever own one of these monsters?
BGR Throwback Thursday is a weekly series covering our (and your) favorite gadgets, games, and software of yesterday and yesteryear.
So much for that MetroPCS tagline “Unlimit Yourself.” It turns out that the carrier’s unlimited international add-on, which sounded like a great deal for just $5 a month, excludes many countries and regions like Israel and the UK. Now MetroPCS has been hit with a class-action lawsuit over the issue. The lawsuit accuses MetroPCS of false advertising and deceptive business practices because details aren’t disclosed and people are wrongly baited to sign up. Apparently, many people signed up for MetroPCS’ “Ultimate Unlimited” plan to qualify for the $5 add-on and found that their ability to place certain international calls were very limited. Before you sign up for this calling plan and add-on, make sure to check the fine print and be sure that countries you plan on calling are included.
If you’ve logged onto your Sprint account recently, you might have noticed that glaring red print under your “Online Tools” tab. So, if you relied heavily on your PCS Mail or Calendar for productivity, it’s all coming to an end apparently. It’s not news that mail is being discontinued – just consider this a friendly reminder. It was announced over the summer that all addresses ending in @sprintpcs.com will be shut down for good so save those messages before you’re locked out forever! What is new however, is that they’ve decided to shut down the PCS Calendar. Again, much like mail, there is no particular reason why they’re doing this, but we’re sure you can all use your imaginations and hit us with comments like, “Sprint is dying and they’ll soon be gone.” The more likely reasoning is simply a matter of some overdue Spring cleaning. Is anyone going to miss these services come December 31?
Thanks, Roger A!