Saturday, May 29, 2010

HP Recalls Thousands of Laptops

HP Recalls Thousands of Laptops

Hewlett Packard has announced that it's recalling 54,000 laptop batteries. The lithium-ion batteries could possibly overheat and catch on fire. The batteries, which were made in China, came with laptops purchased both in stores and online from August 2007 to July 2008. Many were also sold independently.

According to HP, less than 3% of the laptops have the defective batteries and they company will replace them for free. The batteries can burn someone or catch on fire. The company released a statement saying, "HP fully stands behind the products it makes and has taken a proactive approach to this situation to ensure the safety of our customers and the integrity and quality of our products."

In May of last year the company recalled 70,000 laptop batteries, due to overheating, but the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that more batteries than originally thought were overheating. The recall spans over 31 different brands of computers. Initially, two different consumers complained but later an additional 38 complaints were filed by people injured by handling the batteries and laptops.

HP is not alone in recalling laptop batteries. Over 10 million Sony batteries were recalled between 2006 and 2008. 4 million of those were recalled by Dell, 1.8 million by Apple, 340,000 by Toshiba and 338,000 by Fujitsu. Lenovo, Acer, Sharpy and Sanyo also recalled their laptops. According to Consumer Product Safety Commission spokesman Scott Wolfson, said that almost any laptop battery can overheat if charged too long or if laptops don't have good ventilation systems.

If your laptop battery has been recalled and you ned a temporary back-up, why not consider a laptop rental?

Looking for Laptop Rental information? Visit our Tech Travel Agent Laptop Rental Page for a variety of laptop rental solutions for business or personal use. Or call today at 800-736-8772.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Sony Dash: True Tablet or Not?

sony dashSo Sony has decided to dive somewhat into the tablet industry but not completely. The Dash has a tablet-like appearance and many of the same functions, but it is not exactly as portable as tablets like the iPad.

The Sony Dash has a pretty basic structure. It features a seven-inch touchscreen, stereo speakers, a snooze bar/menu button, volume buttons, a USB port, a headphone jack, and of course the power connection cord. The case that encompasses the Dash is made of a rubber-like material that allows you to get a good, secure grip on the device.

The biggest problem that I see with the Dash is the fact that it does not have a battery. This means you can’t just carry the Dash around. You are constricted by the fact that it must be plugged into an outlet. Sony says that there next version of the Dash will have a battery, but that makes me wonder even more why they didn’t just put a battery in the version that is out right now. I feel that having a battery would definitely elevate it to complete tablet status.

So we’ve discussed the external side of the Dash, but what’s exactly inside of the device? The Dash has a 500MHz processor and 256MB of RAM. Having this type of power under the hood allows for video playback, but it isn’t exactly enough to be considered extremely fast. The touchscreen is responsive, but the OS seems to lag behind at times.

The Dash runs Chumby OS with a custom Linux build. Now not many people have heard of a Chumby OS. I know that I had never heard mention of it before, but it is simply a Flash runtime that features Chumby widgets that Sony calls Dash Apps. There are over 1,000 Dash Apps. Now, with the Linux side of things, Sony added the capabilities to utilize Bravia Internet Video Streaming that allows for apps from Netflix, Pandora, Slacker, Amazon Video On Demand, YouTube, and a variety of other providers.

The Sony Dash is being called “an amped up alarm clock” by reviewers at engadget, and honestly in comparison with Apple’s iPad, that’s really all it is. Every action is easier to perform on the iPad, especially since the iPad has the option of using an external keyboard. Also the fact that the iPad is portable gives it a huge up on the Dash, and the iPad’s OS doesn’t lag behind. Now, it is $300 more that the Sony Dash, so that is something to definitely consider.

So it is your decision whether or not you think the Dash meets your needs. It’s only $200, and it does perform a decent amount of satisfactory actions. It’s an interesting approach to the tablet industry by Sony, but I think that they will most definitely do better with the Dash once they install battery capabilities.
Looking for Laptop Rental information? Visit our Tech Travel Agent Laptop Rental Page for a variety of laptop rental solutions for business or personal use. Or call today at 800-736-8772.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Panasonic’s Truly “ToughBook”

panasonic toughbookThis notebook is literally almost indestructible. It can withstand 70-mph winds, 6-inches of blowing rain per hour, and being dropped from a height of 6 feet over 25 times. This notebook is none other than Panasonic’s ToughBook CF-31.

This tank like piece of machinery looks very similar to is rugged predecessor, but the inside of the CF-31 shows exactly how Panasonic has made some changes. This ToughBook features a Intel Core i5 processor that almost doubles the performance and increases protection without having to sacrifice any battery life. This laptop that is generally meant for government agencies and police forces is listed at $3,799. This is about $1,000 less than the original ToughBook, which should make this much more available to those that need the notebook.

The ToughBook almost looks like a toolbox when it is closed up. The lid, bezel, and handle are all made of a magnesium alloy that is surrounded by a hard black plastic. The lid is held up by a pair of heavy duty hinges, and when you close the lid there is a spring-loaded latch that firmly secures it to the base.

The notebook measures 11.9 x 11.5 x 2.9 inches and weighs 8.8 pounds. This obviously is not the kind of notebook that you slide into your backpack and head to class with. However, it isn’t that difficult to get around with, because Panasonic designed the notebook to have an easy access handle to make carrying fairly simple.

Panasonic has also stepped up the protection with the CF-31. This incredible notebook is able to withstand temperatures ranging from -20 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit while operating and -40 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit when turned off. As I mentioned previously, it can withstand incredible wind, water, and drops from heights. It can also survive up to 310 pounds of pressure on its lid as well.

Besides protecting against the environment that the notebook will be placed in, it also provides you with great security. It includes a Smart Card reader, fingerprint reader, Trusted Platform Module (TPM) v1.2. It also features a conceal mode that turns off or dims the screen, all LED lights, and sounds immediately with a single press of a button.

The keyboard on the CF-31 is a great size and is fairly responsive. It is also backlit which is an incredibly useful feature. The touchpad is a little on the small size, only measuring 2.3 x 1.6 inches, but it is pressure sensitive which means that it can be used even when wearing gloves. A stylus is also built in if you don’t want to deal with using your finger.

The ToughBook features a 13.3-inch screen with 1024 x 768 resolution. This might seem kind of low compared to most other laptops, but it works great for the touchscreen applications.

The CF-31 has a variety of different buttons and ports including: four USB ports, Ethernet, HDMI ports with a SIM Card slot beneath, a power switch, fingerprint reader, SD Card slot, ExpressCard/34/54 slots, Wi-Fi switch, VGA, and DVD drive. A webcam is not included, but it is available as an option.

Performance wise, the CF-31 operates on a Windows XP operating system, has the latest 2.53-GHz Intel Core i5-540M CPU, and has 2 GB of RAM. The battery life was pretty good, lasting for 6 hours and 32 minutes.

Overall, the ToughBook CF-31 is quite an impressive notebook. I was first intrigued by the indestructible exterior of the laptop, but when looking at the inside, I was even more amazed. Yes, it is very pricey, but it is an almost unbreakable piece of machinery. Although it may not be practical for everyday use, I think that this is definitely great for someone in a line of work like the police force. This notebook is really interesting to read up on. It has so many different features that you don’t find in a regular notebook. Although its not for everyone, it is an extremely cool laptop that definitely deserves some recognition.

Looking for Laptop Rental information? Visit our page for Laptop Rentals for a variety of laptop rental solutions for business or personal use. Or call today at 800-736-8772.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thin is In When it Comes to Laptops

Thin is In When it Comes to Laptops

According to iSuppli, a market research firm, 2010 will be all about netbooks and ultra-thin laptops. As a matter of fact, even though the market experienced a 19% increase in sales last year (up from 2008), numbers for this year are expected to be even higher. They also expect this trend to carry on for the next four years, into 2014.

Laptops, Ultra-thin laptops, and Netbooks

In 2010, over 34.5 million netbooks are expected to ship (an increase of 30%) and in 2014, those numbers are expected to reach 58.3 million units sold. When it comes to the newer ultra-thin laptops, 14.5 million units are expected to ship this year, which is a 93% increase from the 7.5 million units shipped in 2009. As for standard laptops, they still dominate the market (160.5 million units are expected to ship in 2010), but growth is only about 21%. It's expected that notebooks will continue to dominate the market over the next few years, but thinner versions are definitely on their way up.

Acer is Number One

When it comes to computer-makers, Acer remains number one. The company, based in Taiwan, was at the top in 2008 and 2009, and iSuppli expects that to be the case in 2010. 37% of all laptops shipped last year came from Acer, which drives sales with competitive pricing, strong channel distribution, and quick production to market time. Asustek Computer came in at number, while Hewlett Packard, Samsung, and Dell rounded out the top five. However, the number two spot will potentially see Samsung or HP taking over. Those five companies alone make up 90% of the laptop market.

Another reason for Acer's popularity is it's creation ultra-thin laptops in 2009, something other companies hadn't yet started making. The company shipped around five million ultra-thin laptops in 2009. Asustek shipped about 700,000 ultra-thin unites, and together with Acer, dominated the market. Companies such as HP, Dell, and Toshiba didn't get into the ultra-thin game until late in the year, but they are expected to do so in 2010, which means lots of changes and competition to be number one.

Total Numbers

If iSupply's data is any indication, laptop popularity, as a whole, will continue to grow and dominate the computer market, with more and more people trading in their powerful standard laptops for netbooks and ultra-thing models. Rumor has it some companies, such as Toshiba, will be working to make thinner laptops more powerful.

In 2009, 166.9 laptops were sold. This year, 209.5 unites are expected to sell, with 371.5 units being sold in 2014.

Looking for Laptop Rental information? Visit our Tech Travel Agent Laptop Rental Page for a variety of laptop rental solutions for business or personal use. Or call today at 800-736-8772.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

New Toshiba Laptop Has Interesting Features

New Toshiba Laptop Has Interesting Features
Some information about a new Toshiba laptop has been leaked and some of the details are pretty interesting. The information, which came from VozExpress, may have you asking yourself if it's all too good to be true!

The new laptop will featured a 512GB solid-state-drive, instead of a 500GB hard drive, which may be one reason the laptop is said to be extremely light. (Rumor has it, it'll weigh about 2.2 pounds, making it one of the world's lightest.) However, the solid-state-drive will probably drive the price up compared to what its counterpart with a hard drive would cost.

It will use standard-voltage Intel Core i3 or i5 processors, which is a big difference compared to most other ultra-portable laptops, that use a low-voltage processor. For this reason, Toshiba has been extremely inventive with its battery...or should I say batteries. The higher-voltage processor would eat up the battery life of a normal battery. But for this computer, in addition to the primary battery, the new laptop will feature a second battery, using Super Charged ion Battery (SCiB) technology.

According to CNET, batteries that use the SCiB technology have the ability to be recharged to 90% in a matter of ten minutes...yes, ten minutes. Many tech experts have been drooling over that information. Imagine, recharging your laptop in less time than it takes to wash a load of dishes or clean out your email inbox. This could mean huge things for the laptop industry and send Toshiba's competitors into panic mode.

In addition to the SCiB technology, the laptop is said to be the first laptop with a "honeycomb rib structure. It will also supposedly feature the new Blaze Mountain CPU cooling. There are no details as to when the 13-inch laptop will be released, or how much it will cost, but you can bet the details have many people waiting impatiently for more.

Looking for Laptop Rental information? Visit our Tech Travel Agent Laptop Rental Page for a variety of laptop rental solutions for business or personal use. Or call today at 800-736-8772.