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ASUS is good and ready with Sandy Bridge being on desktops but it comes as no great surprise that the company would be trying to integrate Intel's latest technology into their mobile computing platforms as well. According to Notebook Italia, there seems to be some concrete evidence of four separate models of ASUS laptops getting the Sandy Bridge treatment, including a hefty gaming rig known as the G73SW.
According to information out now, the G73SW will be based on the Intel Quad Core processor with Huron River Sandy Bridge. The device will also have Intel Core i7-2630QM, 8GB of DDR3 RAM at 133MHz, a 17.3-inch LCD screen with 1920x1080 pixel resolution Full HD, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and USB 3.0 dual storage bays. Data storage can also be carried out by up to 2 hard drives. ASUS has decided to use two SATA 500GB 7200rpm signed Seagate Momentus XT series hybrid drives with a 4GB SSD.
Adding more to this already great device, ASUS is adding a Blu-ray drive and a dedicated graphics card in the form of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460m 1.5GB GDDR5 graphics card. The G73SW is available online for a price somewhere between $2,500 and $2,700. In addition to the G73SW news has also trickled out about the more compact G53SW.
This device is already available in some online shops and will come with an Intel Core i7-2630QM, 8GB of RAM, 1TB of data storage space on the hard disk, the GeForce GTX 460m graphics card, Blu-ray, webcam, microphone, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth and a 15.6-inch HD screen. Both of these devices run Windows 7 OS Home Premium 64bit and come with a carrying case, gaming mouse and guaranteed two year warranty. Alternately, you can get a lesser version of the G53SW which comes with 6GB of DDR3 RAM, 640GB of hard drive space and a DVD burner for around $1,700. Expect to see more details about these products at CES 2011.
Digital Storm has just announced their newest product, the xm15, a powerful new lightweight laptop based on NVIDIA's Optimus Hybrid Technology. The xm15 is a different kind of laptop that delivers targeted, extreme performance when you need it so you will always enjoy longer operation without losing the ability to enjoy the visual intensity of HD movies, multimedia applications, web surfing and gaming.
This laptop delivers high graphics for a variety of multimedia content due to NVIDIA's powerful GT 425M 1GB video card. By utilizing NVIDIA's Optimus Hybrid technology, this laptop can defer operation to a second separate integrated Intel graphics processor for less intensive applications. This switch happens automatically and seamlessly meaning that there is no interruption in operation.
By increasing and decreasing performance whenever necessary, the xm15 is able to extend battery life exponentially. The powerful video card in this device makes it not surprising at all that the xm15 has a 1080p HD LED screen that is capable of producing some truly incredible images.
The xm15 puts your benchmark tests to shame as well. It routinely scores above 7200 on 3DMark06 which puts it in the upper levels of laptop performance. Thanks to a built-in light speed eSATA and USB 3.0 transfer ports, you will never have to be tethered to stagnant bulk data. In addition to that, the xm15 comes with a built-in HDMI and VGA outputs, which means it can be taken anywhere and displayed everywhere.
According to Rajeev Kuruppu, Digital Storm's Director of Product Development, "The power demands of high performance laptops have always put a strain on battery life. With the development of NVIDIA's Optimus Hybrid Technology, we're finally able to design an affordable laptop that can handle graphics intensive applications. Our xm15 is the ideal solution for customers who want to consume graphically rich multimedia content, game or just browse the internet...it's truly a hybrid in every definition of the word."
Full specs of the xm15 consist of a 2.4GHz Core i5-520M, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, a 320GB HDD and NVIDIA's 425M 1GB graphics card for a base rate of $999. You can also increase your build to have a 2.53GHz Core i5-540M for $1,086 or a 2.8GHz Core i7-640M for $1,367.
The New York Times has said that Apple is now making a huge push for the illustrated e-books that they have available in their iBookstore.
The newest version of Apple’s iPad e-reader software, iBook 1.2, was released on Wednesday, December 15, and it introduced more than 100 new color e-books to the store. The Times reported that these new color books include children’s books, cookbooks, and photo books.
A few of the titles that have made the list include: chef Thomas Keller's cookbook, "Ad Hoc at Home," several books from the "Olivia" children's book series, and photographer Ansel Adams' collection of images called "In the National Parks."
With the announcement Apple seems to be focusing a lot on the addition of illustrated children’s books. The Times said that the company seemed very excited about it as well as many different publishers.
Jon Anderson, publisher from Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, said that his publishing company has been "itching to do it since e-books became possible." Unfortunately, for a while there was a lack of color options for e-books, but now there are endless possibilities. "It finally gives us the opportunity to have our picture books join the e-book revolution," said Anderson in an interview. "It gives us great opportunity to monetize our content in a way that we previously haven't been able to."
Simon & Schuster are releasing some great titles that will be included with the new color e-books released at the iBookstore. Some of these titles include: Candace Fleming's "Tippy-Tippy-Tippy, Hide!", Elise Broach's "When Dinosaurs Came With Everything," and Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell's "And Tango Makes Three."
The Times said that, according to Anderson, at the start of 2011 color e-books will begin to be released at the same exact time as the print edition of the book. Right now, this is already what has been going on for text-only e-books and their print versions, but soon it will apply to all e-books.
Apple told the Times that there will be many other publishers producing color e-books for the iBookstore in the near future. Just a few of these include: Disney Publishing, HarperCollins, the Hachette Book Group, and MacMillan and Workman Publishing.
This newest development for the iPad may cause some more issues for Amazon’s Kindle. The Kindle is equipped with an E-ink screen, which means that it cannot handle color. Apple’s iPad has been the preferred e-book reader by the majority of customers up to this point anyway, but this latest color development could cause even more distance between the sales numbers of the iPad and Kindle.
Apple’s new developments will most likely put some pressure on Amazon, and it could possibly result in a new color e-reader from the company.
Amazon has sold millions of Kindles, probably due to the E-ink screen featured on the device. The E-ink, backlit LCD screen featured on the Kindle makes it easy to read things on the tablet even in the bright sunlight, unlike the iPad and the Nook Color e-readers. Despite this great feature on the Kindle, they will definitely need to quickly look into developing a color e-book reader if they want to keep up with the other e-book readers available.
Just because the official release of the cloud-based Chrome OS is still months away, it hasn't stopped Google from launching a massive pilot program. This program offers specially-chosen end users, Google employees and journalists, their own prototype Chrome netbook known as the Cr-48. The sad thing is that these 12.1-inch laptops will never be sold commercially, but they do offer an extremely detailed preview of what can be expected from the very first Chrome systems that will be launched mid-2011.
The Cr-48's are not nor will they ever be available to consumers, so it is safe to say that the current design and hardware will more than likely not be exactly the same. On the other hand, there are several interesting things about these test products that may inspire things in the final product.
The Cr-48 is very similar in design to the MacBook. The chassis is rounded and shaped like one of the plastic MacBooks from the last generation and both devices have roughly the same keyboard size, shape and layout. Heck, even the hinges are similar. The chassis is made of a soft, black rubberized material which makes it comfortable to lay your wrists on it. The size is also very convenient coming in at 11.8 x 8.6 x 0.9 inches which makes it easy to fit in a carrying case or on your lap. However, the weight seems a bit heavy for the size ration as this device comes in weighing around 3.8 pounds.
The isolated layout of the keyboard offers you good feedback and key placement which makes typing extremely simple, but users will notice that the keyboard is void of any function keys. Instead, the Cr-48 has dedicated keys for forward, back, refresh, full screen mode, change windows, increase brightness, decrease brightness, mute, increase audio, decrease audio and power on/off. The caps lock key has also been replaced by a search button due to the fact that Google says they wish to "discourage all-caps typing."
The keyboard also has a bunch of shortcuts that you would typically see on the Windows version of Chrome. These shortcuts include things like CTRL + H for your browser history, CTRL + W to close a tab and CTRL +/- for zoom in and out. If you want to see a full list of these commands, all you have to do is hit CTRL + ALT + ?. You won't find any buttons on the touch pad. However, like a majority of netbooks on today's market, the touch pad itself is, in fact, a button. Many people do not like clicky touch pads, especially if they like to scroll with one finger and click with another.
The Cr-48 has a 12.1-inch screen with a resolution of 1280 x 800. This, as many of you probably already know, is extremely rare on netbooks but is a more than welcome addition. It allows plenty of vertical screen space for easy viewing of web pages and the matte surface of the screen allows the Cr-48 to provide very strong viewing angles to the left and the right.
The Cr-48 doesn't have a lot of ports on it unlike other devices. The right side of the netbook has an SD card reader as well as an audio jack and USB port. The left side includes a VGA port. Storage devices and memory cards work for uploading files to the cloud but do little else. The USB port also supports wired and wireless mouses.
If Google isn't trustworthy, then I don't know who is because, true to their word, the initial setup of the Cr-48 takes only a minute. After powering on the device for the very first time, you are prompted to configure your internet connection by selecting a Wi-Fi network. After this, you are asked to agree to the Google EULA and then to login with a Google account. Then you are given the option to take a personal picture with the integrated webcam which will, if you desire, accompany your login.
The one problem many people are reporting with the login is that the device does not recognize any login that is not followed by @gmail.com. Even if you use any number of accounts that are registered with Google, the Cr-48 will not recognize them. So, if you do not have a valid Gmail account, then you have hit a dead end in the login prompt because creating one during setup is impossible. If this happens, then you may need to log on to another computer that is not a Chrome-OS device and create a Gmail account ending in @gmail.com.
Google is definitely trying to shake things up in the netbook market with this device. A netbook designed completely around Chrome is a bold attempt, but if any company can do it, I'd put my money on Google. I mean, it is only a matter of time before they take over the world.
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Some people may wonder what the difference is between Google’s Chrome OS devices and their Android devices. For the longest time, I really wasn’t exactly sure myself, but for right now, it seems that the biggest difference is simply a keyboard.
Google’s Chrome OS seems to definitely be much more directed at netbooks and notebooks, while Android seems to be much more useful for the company’s vision of tablets. Linus Upson, the engineer director of both Chrome OS and Android, said in an interview that the company views the Chrome OS as “very focused on laptops.” This statement basically means that devices with a keyboard will be receiving the new OS.
"From a Chrome OS perspective, we're open source, you can look at everything," continued Upson in the interview. "We've done a whole range of mockups across a wide range of form factors.
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One of the biggest things people love about the iPhone, iPad and even the iPad Touch is the fact that they can go online and add hundreds of thousands of apps to their device if they want to. By opening up the App store, they can add games, wallpapers, tools or just about anything you could imagine to their device with a touch of the screen.
Well, news has been cuirculating recently that Apple is going to open up its very own, personalized app store, and thanks to recent news from Appletell, we may be getting the store sooner than we expected, a lot sooner.
According to Appletell, an inside source has claimed that Apple is targeting a Monday, December 13th launch of their Mac App Store. Apple supposedly told developers for apps featured on the Mac App Store to have their products ready to go as soon as December 6th, but that doesn't seem likely.
As for Apple, the company has yet to make any official announcement about this early release of the Mac App Store, and there is always the threat of delays. However, there has seemed to be a push to get the app store out before Christmas, which is well ahead of the previously stated January release date.
According to Appletell, the push is coming from none other than Steve Jobs himself. It was reported that Jobs wanted to go sooner than December 6th, but that obviously didn't happen. Nevertheless, Apple does seem to be way ahead of schedule on the Mac App Store.
Trying to hit the rush is a good idea, but many people are wondering how a digital software system will work as a Christmas present. Gift cards for the Mac App store are said to be coming out with the launch, which will make an excellent last second gift.
It is still very unclear if Apple will hit their target of a December 13th release date, or if this is actually true at all. If it is, and the company does meet their deadline, then there are going to be a lot of happy Mac fans come this holiday season.
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