The Lenovo ThinkPad X300 does well but falls short of Apple's MacBook Air in key areas, says a new review by Walt Mossberg. Due for release on February 26th, the X300 is found by the journalist to offer more features, though it was significantly bigger, heavier, and more expensive than the Apple notebook. Prices start at $2,476 for a bare-bones model or $2,799 for a ready-to-run version with a half-size battery; while appropriate for the cost of the 64GB solid-state drive, the system has no option for a traditional hard disk to lower the system to Apple's starting $1,799 price tag, Mossberg notes. The likely most popular X300, which comes with a DVD drive and a full-size battery, will retail for close to $3,000.
The FCC will on Monday hold a public hearing to discuss the ramifications of traffic shaping, it has announced. The focus will specifically be on the concept of net neutrality, an FCC policy which traffic shaping is said to violate, by dictating which services and/or websites an ISP customer can use. Panels at the hearing will be staffed by academics, engineers, lobbyists and politicians, in contrast to a workshop held last year which was mostly helmed by industry representatives and supporters. The hearing is scheduled for 10AM to 4PM at the Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Art Lebedev Studio today announced that it had at last begun shipping the Optimus Maximus. The anticipated keyboard builds OLED displays into the keys that can change depending on the context; Photoshop can replace normal letter keys with editing icons, for example. Also unique to the Maximus are ten keys designed just the Optimus' features and the ability to create custom profiles that can in turn be traded through removable SD cards. The controlling Mac OS X and Windows software, Optimus Configurator, also ships today.
Canadian carrier Fido has adopted two high-end smartphones, which are now on sale. The first is Samsung's BlackJack II, which like the version at Fido parent Rogers, has been simply renamed as the Jack. The phone features items like a QWERTY keyboard, a two megapixel camera and a built-in GPS receiver, with storage provided by 155MB of internal memory and external microSD cards. Its major highlight however may be support for Fido's burgeoning 3G service, which here allows 3.6Mbps HSDPA. The Jack costs as little as $225 CAD after a three-year contract, a data plan and a $100 rebate; contract-free, it can cost as much as $425.
The Korean home division of LG is releasing a new version of its SH150 slider, the SH150A. The A refers to the introduction of a new, 2.2-inch AMOLED screen for the phone, which boosts color depth to an unprecedented 26 million colors -- more than one and a half times the number found on most HDTV sets. This is mainly for the sake of watching DMB mobile TV, which can also be displayed in HD resolution.
ASUS has catered to both frequent video chatters and gamers with the launch of two new displays. Both the 22-inch MK221H and the 24-inch MK241H sport swiveling 1.3-megapixel cameras with microphone arrays, giving users of any OS with USB webcam support the ability to join video chats without extra hardware or software drivers. HDMI is equally standard on the screens and allows them to double as a TV equivalent for outside sources, such as Microsoft's Xbox 360 or a dedicated Blu-ray player. Chin-mounted 2W stereo speakers provide sound for users without the space for separate audio.
Google today expanded its AdSense web service to include AdSense for video, one of the first large-scale ad revenue systems for web-based footage. The feature allows videos from YouTube to either embed ads in the videos themselves or to use the company's overlay system to put text ads on top that change based on the video and its surroundings: ads will change based either on text on the video's host site or on cues in the video itself, Google says. In-video ads are paid out based on impressions while text ads are based on the number of actual clicks.
French mini-PC vendor Linutop yesterday unveiled the Linutop 2, a more powerful version of its tiny Linux-based PC, offering faster internals, greater capacities, and an optional VESA mounting bracket. While the original is geared towards being a web surfing kiosk or digital sign computer, the Linutop 2 is designed primarily to be a home computer, according to LinuxDevices. Linutop is selling the model for 280 Euros (~$410US).
HP's Compaq 2133 ultra-mobile PC may use non-Intel hardware to achieve an exceptionally low price, says an off-hand remark in an article comparing the devices. Although previous leaks have pointed to Intel's Silverthorne forming the backbone of the 8.9-inch miniature notebook, the report claims that at least one version will use a Via processor and sell for $499, putting the computer into the same price .league as the ASUS Eee PC and Everex CloudBook. This is most likely to involve Via's notebook-oriented C7-M processor and should be helped by the use of Linux instead of Windows as the stock operating system.
Though typically associated with cellphones, Motorola has announced its very first collection of modems based on the DOCSIS 3.0 standard, which has yet to deploy in any wide fashion in North America but can dramatically increase the possible bandwidth of cable Internet connections. Aimed at the average consumer is the SURFboard SB6120, which permits as much as 160Mbps in standard DOCSIS mode, or 195Mbps under Euro-DOCSIS; because of its internal design, this works without the need for hybrid support by cable operators.
Following its introduction of the mainstream-oriented GeForce 9600 GT, NVIDIA has also announced a new video card for professionals, the Quadro FX 3600M. Slotting into notebooks, the card is equipped with 512MB of G-DDR3 memory, and uses a 256-bit interface that provides up to 51.2GBps of bandwidth. Its primary purpose is for tasks such as CAD, modeling and rendering, and as well as various kinds of simulation.
Microsoft today quickly halted speculation about its significant announcement by revealing that it will freely publish the application programming interfaces (APIs) and communication protocols for many of its key products, allowing any company looking to use some of Microsoft's techniques for their own software. The access extends to both Windows Vista and Server 2008 as well as the .NET framework that underpins some application code. Office 2007 and Microsoft's latest server suites for Exchange, SharePoint, and SQL are also covered, according to the company. More than 30,000 pages are expected to go online and will include documentation of how the company implements cross-platform standards.
Apple is developing a technology that would let users tailor the content of a podcast to their own needs, says a new US patent filing. Recognizing that current podcasts are essentially one-way downloads, the company describes a system that would let users set criteria that appears in the podcast. Software loaded on the subscriber's computer would either allow direct control of the podcast's contents by the user or else retrieves data already stored on the computer for later use. This information is promptly sent to a server that processes the information and automatically generates both current and future podcasts in a custom RSS feed based on that data; different audio and video could be added to each file from a basic template.
T-Mobile this morning revealed HotSpot@Home Talk Forever, a new spin on its existing voice-over-Internet service that takes the previously mobile-only concept to landlines. Similar to Vonage and other VoIP systems, subscribers attach a landline phone to a specialized router that that eliminates the need for long-distance fees; users can place unlimited calls to any place in the US. T-Mobile's variant includes a special Linksys router that also supplies 802.11g Wi-Fi for other devices in the home, including T-Mobile cellphones already using the mobile version of HotSpot@Home.
Paramount has become the last studio to drop HD DVD, the company quietly said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter. The movie house said it would begin releasing movies on Blu-ray in the near future and claimed it was "pleased" that the industry had chosen a single HD movie disc format. This should help the end user, Paramount claims. The company follows previous HD DVD holdout Universal in switching to Blu-ray and came more than a day after Toshiba halted HD DVD production, leaving both studios with virtually no alternative but to opt for Blu-ray.
Microsoft will make a "significant company announcement" within hours, the firm announced today. Without providing details, the software developer notes that it will hold a mid-day conference and makes clear that the news is unrelated to its attempted acquisition of Yahoo. However, the presentation will include both Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer, chief software architect Ray Ozzie, and legal counsel Brad Smith, suggesting that the news will involve legal issues relating to the company's core Windows or Office businesses. Servers and Tools senior VP Bob Muglia is also said to be involved.
NVIDIA's contribution to the ongoing Game Developers Conference is a new addition to its staple GeForce graphics card line. Marking one of the instances in which the graphics chip maker is launching its mid-range card first rather than its flagship, the 9600 GT is designed to replace the outgoing 8600 GT and dramatically improves performance: in addition to boosting the clock speeds for the core and memory from 540MHz and 1.4GHz to 650MHz and 1.8GHz, the 9600 doubles the number of onboard stream (pixel and geometry) processors to 64.
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