As we demand more and more from our mobile devices manufacturers are forced to try and stuff higher power CPU and GPUs inside ever-shrinking laptop and tablet shells. This leaves them in tricky position; they have to either put in tons of fans or make the materials for their products. Some have tried to split the difference with a combination of fans, materials and also components that react to the demands of the user. However, (you knew there was a however didn’t you) there are times when these are not enough and where the ergonomics of modern laptops (to include thin and light). Due to this unfortunate fact cooling companies have managed to open up a market for coolers which are intended to keep your high-performance laptop cool. Many of these are ungainly (in terms of ergonomic) despite bringing better cooling to the table. They also tend to be bulky and difficult to transport making their use limited. Thermaltake has a novel design that aims to deal with both portability and ergonomics, the GOrb II. Let’s take a look at this interesting device and see if it really does help bring something new to the table.
Under lengthy title LaVie Z LZ750/NS NEC announced lightest ultrabook laptop that should weigh a maximum of 795 grams together with battery. To make it so loghtweight (we must emphasize that it is a fully fledged notebook) they were combining materials such as magnesium when making the case.
The designer of the laptop as we know it, Bill Moggridge, passed away this last weekend at the age of 69. Morrgridge was one of the pioneers of industrial design that created the first laptop for Grid Systems, a startup firm. The first model that is also considered the first laptop ever the Grid Compass was his baby. At only 12 pounds weight it was a breakthrough for the current “mobile” solutions that were averaging at 26 pounds. It featured a folding display and it was used by NASA and the military. The price was $8,150, which was quite a lot back in 1982.
Now that Windows 8 has hit the “general public” in the form of a developer’s preview we are starting to see the internet community chime in about whether they like it or not. I have been reading quite a bit of this (as you can imagine) and have been struck once again by how people complain about, yet resist and fear any type of change.
I have been working in the IT industry since the birth of Windows 3.0 one of my first large scale projects was implementing Windows 3.11 for workgroups into Fort Riley during my time with the US Army. I can remember the grumbling prior to this “new” software coming in about how the current system was terrible because it could not do this or that. When we brought Microsoft in (we even brought the early components of Office in) the same people that complained about the current UNIX based system were suddenly its biggest fan. I can remember one clerk who complained loudly and often about the system suddenly thought it was the best one we had. She did not like the new Windowed interface and Word was just horrible compared to her usual word processing application (which was called Wordstar).
Now take a big jump forward in time; Windows 8 is a rebuilt OS with a new (although somewhat cheesy) UI. Microsoft has really put in some effort to move with the market and change the OS to meet the needs of the new tablet based consumer. If you think about it more and more people are moving in the direction of the tablet/smart phone for their day to day needs. I am not saying it is there for productivity but for the general computing people do the tablet is the ideal platform. Microsoft HAD to change and reinvent its OS or it would be lost in the stampede of more and more powerful general usage tablets.
I personally own both an Android and Windows based tablet. One is the Asus EEE Slate EP121 the other is the Asus Transformer. When I want to tinker around or just surf the net I grab the light and small Tegra 2 armed (no pun intended) Transformer. When I want to do some work I grab the EP121 with its Core i5 470 UM and 4GB of RAM. The problem with Android (and even the iPad to a certain extent) is that there are no real productivity applications that truly work. Polaris Office, Documents to Go, and all of the others that I have tried all fall very short of the mark of MS Office or even Open Office. Apple knew this with the iPad so they came up with light versions of their productivity applications for iPad users. Android has nothing like this so it is hard for me to get real work done. Instead I surf the net looking for news and then add it to my Evernote account and pull out the EEE Slate or power up the desktop to get the real work done.
This brings us to Windows 8; Microsoft is taking a leaf out of Apple’s book here with their development of a light version of Windows 8 for ARM. It will give people a consistent feel to their computing experience. It the OS you run on your tablet looks and feels the same as the one you run on your desktop that is an improved user experience. Now you can also bet there is a version of Office in the works for ARM to keep that the same. It will be like the interaction between the iPad and Apple’s OSX clean and consistent. Microsoft is doing something very smart with this move and from what we are hearing many of the tablet makers are behind this movement. We know that nVidia certainly is.
Between now and the time that Windows 8 Launches (around November 2012) you will hear people taking sides ARM, x86, Windows 8, Windows 7 (much like those that did not want to leave XP), Tablet, Desktop, Laptop; the choices will be just as confused as some of the reasons to be on one side or the other. Just keep in mind that with one move Microsoft has made it possible to cover all of these. Windows 8 will work for ARM and x86. Windows 8 can run with the Metro UI for Tablets and can also run in Desktop Mode for more traditional PC’s and Laptops (giving you a Windows 7 feel). No matter the camp you are in it looks like Windows 8 could have something for you.
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Acer has unveiled Chromebook which bears a mark C720-2848. It is a 11.6 inch notebook with a 1.4-GHz Intel Celeron processor based on the Haswell architecture.
Photos and descriptions of two new tablets from Lenovo appeared briefly on the website Red Dot 21 and shortly after disappeard. They will come with Windows 8, and will offer functionality of standard laptops.
One of the great arguments in the PC industry is always who (or what) is faster. We all want to know what CPU, GPU, HDD, SDD, etc., is the fastest. We might not be able to buy that particular product, but we want to know, and we will scour the internet in the hopes of finding out which is truly the king. In these cases, the issue is often settled by the smallest margin (1-2 frames per second) which might not even be noticeable to the average person. However, there is a new term that is being swapped out for speed, and that is responsiveness. Unfortunately, responsiveness is not the same as speed or power, but this term is being used very often. During a recent trip to a local box store it was used to push a system that while responsive, was actually quite slow when put it to the test.