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IDC: There's Hope on the PC Horizon
January 18, 2016
IDC last week reported worldwide PC shipments totaled nearly 72 million units in the fourth quarter of 2015, down 10.6 percent year over year -- the largest YoY decline ever. While shipments in Q4 were slightly higher than in Q3, 2015 was the first year since 2008 that fewer than 300 million PCs were shipped. Longer PC life cycles and economic issues contributed to the poor results.
What the PC Industry Could Learn From the NRA
January 18, 2016
One of the fascinating things about the NRA is that buyers of guns think the organization represents them, when in fact its mission is to represent gun sellers -- not gun buyers -- and certainly never gun buyers against gun sellers. Guns for consumers largely have been banned in most of the world, with the exception of the U.S., which uniquely has the NRA.
Samsung Snaps Up Snapdragon 820 Chip Manufacturing Deal
January 14, 2016
Samsung Electronics on Thursday announced that it had struck a deal that will make it the sole manufacturer of Qualcomm's flagship mobile processor. Samsung last spring began mass production of a logic chip utilizing its 14-nanometer LPP (Low-Power Plus) process in its own Exynos 8 Octa processor. That process will be used for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip.
Behind the Scenes at CES
January 11, 2016
CES surprised me again this year. For a show that comes too early in the year for most buyers and companies, it still stood out as having some truly amazing things. It will be remembered for showcasing the birth of personal flight vehicles, along with a Tesla-beating car, and Ford showing how it could do what Apple couldn't. I'll fill you in on some of the back stories at CES.
Oculus VR Founder Laments Failure to Communicate on Pricing
January 8, 2016
Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey on Wednesday said the company did a poor job of communicating the price of the consumer version of the Oculus Rift headset. However, similarly priced products, such as TVs and smartphones, cost less to manufacture than the Rift VR headset, he said. A bare-bones Oculus Rift kit wouldn't cost much less than the bundle's $599 price tag, Luckey noted.
PCs May Not Be Ready for VR's Breakout Year
January 5, 2016
Will 2016 be a breakaway year for virtual reality technology? Exhibitors at CES 2016 this week seem to think so. More than three dozen of them will be flogging their VR wares at the show, more than double the number from last year. "2016 will be the year of VR," said Brian Blau, a research director at Gartner. "That's pretty clear with all the hardware that's going to be coming on the market."
Looking Ahead to 2016
December 28, 2015
Next week is CES, and I am so looking forward to coming home from that show. It used to be a lot of fun, but it covers such a massive amount of space that just getting around takes up much of the time. Given that most folks do prebriefings if they are smart, and that most of the really cool stuff is behind closed doors and not on the show floor, every year I question the intelligence of going.
10 Things on an Apple Fan's 2016 Wish List
December 22, 2015
When your favorite consumer tech company is also the best consumer tech company in the world, and said tech company is generally a magnet for hyperbole and blind customer loyalty -- while also producing more products at higher levels of quality than ever before -- what's left to really wish for? Plenty, it turns out. I'm not talking about a new Apple car or even any special new product category.
Cook Rearranges Apple's Executive Suite
December 18, 2015
Apple on Thursday announced some personnel moves that suggest CEO Tim Cook's future vision for the company. He named Jeff Williams chief operating officer, elevated Johny Srouji to senior vice president, broadened the powers of Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller, and added Tor Myhren as vice president of marketing communications.
Feds Give Commercial Off-the-Shelf IT a Closer Look
December 17, 2015
Federal information technology purchasing often involves large amounts of money based on the small print of acquisition requirements. Arcane procurement language seemingly can have a big impact on transactions. For IT vendors, provisions of recent legislation are prime examples of why it pays to scrutinize every line of the laws and regulations pertaining to federal acquisition programs.
27 Highly Desirable Gifts for Apple-Loving Fanatics - and 1 to Skip
December 10, 2015
Chances are, you know an Apple fanatic -- someone whose iPhone, Mac or iPad is a prized possession. If you don't know a true fanatic, you probably know a fan -- or barring that, someone who might appreciate an Apple-made gift this holiday season. To help you cut through the chaff, from one Apple fanatic to... someone else entirely, I've put together a list of the best Apple gifts.
Federal Budget Promises Stable IT Spending - Unless Politics Interferes
December 3, 2015
Just when the U.S. federal budget situation seemed about to settle down -- it didn't. With tens of billions of dollars at stake, federal acquisition managers and the IT vendors who support government agencies were breathing a sigh of relief when Congress and the White House agreed to a two-year government spending program last month. Then the wheels started to come loose.
Top 10 Open Source Developments of 2015
December 2, 2015
Open source is driving an ever-expanding market. The notion of community-driven development is a growing disruption to proprietary software controlled by commercial vendors, and the free open source software concept has become a major disruption in industry and technology. Open source is so pervasive that people overlook how it's the glue of modern communication and enterprise business models.
Will Apple Beat the Enterprise Curse?
November 16, 2015
Given that it is basically a big iPad with a better keyboard option and stylus support, the iPad Pro has been getting decent reviews. It can be classified as a first-generation product -- and as such, it does far better than most. However, there have been a huge number of companies in Apple's space that have gone under or stalled when they broadened their focus from the consumer to target IT.
Valve's Steam Gaming Hardware Hits Home
November 13, 2015
Valve this week rolled out the hardware phase of its road map from bedrooms and basements to living rooms and lounge areas with its long-awaited video game controller, PC link box and Steam boxes. Valve's road map to the living room began with Big Picture mode in 2011, continued with in-home streaming in 2014, and now includes the new Steam hardware.
Purism's Librem 13 Linux Laptop Is Sleek, Private and Secure
November 12, 2015
The combination of custom-made hardware paired with a tweaked Linux OS makes the Librem laptop lineup a unique offering with several innovative security features not offered in any other computer. The Librem line is a work in progress. The operating system just reached version 2.0 and comes preinstalled on the hardware built with the modified Linux kernel in mind.
OpenWorld's Substance Feast
November 4, 2015
For once, Oracle OpenWorld went long on substance. That's hard to do when you have so many products to discuss and Larry Ellison pontificating, but he was both under control and substantive -- though he couldn't resist taking a few shots at competitors. Oracle's team hardly ever sees SAP and IBM in deals these days, he announced, and he gave due praise to cloud pioneers NetSuite and Salesforce.
Gadget Ogling: Titanic Tablets, Eminent Earphones, and Wee Win 10 PCs
November 3, 2015
Samsung certainly is testing the boundaries of what a tablet can be with its latest device, the Galaxy View. The Galaxy View houses an octa-core, 1.6-GHz processor, 2 GB of RAM, and either 32 GB or 64 GB of storage, which is expandable through a microSD slot. That all sounds well and good, but consider the following: This Android device is an absolute monster.
HP, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Go Separate Ways
November 2, 2015
The long-awaited split of HP's personal computer and enterprise operations has taken place, and CEO Meg Whitman clearly faces the most challenging crisis of her career -- trying to save a legacy business from being buried by the sands of time and progress. HP on Monday began its first official business day as a house divided into two brand new $50 billion enterprises.
Tablets Losing Ground to Big Smartphones, Light PCs
October 30, 2015
Global demand for tablets continued a year-long slide, as shipments fell for the fourth consecutive quarter amid signs of market saturation in North America, Asia and Western Europe, IDC noted in a report released Thursday. Worldwide shipments fell 12.6 percent year-over-year to 48.6 million during the third quarter, according to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker.
Element 14 to Bake Custom Raspberry Pi's
October 29, 2015
Element14 on Tuesday revealed an exclusive agreement to offer OEM customers bespoke designs based on the Raspberry Pi platform. Raspberry Pi -- which has seen success in the educational and maker fields -- is targeting commercial manufacturers and the Internet of Things, signing up Premier Farnell through the latter's element14 brand to customize its boards.
Qualcomm Unveils Muscle Camera for Surveillance Systems
October 28, 2015
Qualcomm on Tuesday announced a muscle video camera for surveillance systems. Part of the company's Snapdragon 618 IP camera platform, it combines a six-core, 64-bit processor; next-generation graphics crunching; and embedded digital signal processing. The unit can perform advanced video analytics, which can reduce cloud processing and storage costs provide more reliable analytics, Qualcomm said.
Microsoft Opens Tony Fifth Avenue Store
October 27, 2015
Microsoft on Monday opened its flagship store in Manhattan. At more than 22,000 square feet, it's the company's largest store and its 113th brick-and-mortar retail establishment. It's also the first Microsoft store that's two stories high. The company gutted a 1930s building that was previously a Fendi store and replaced the street-facing facade with giant glass panes.
OMB Prohibits 'Wasteful' PC Purchasing Practices
October 27, 2015
Consumers who purchase desktop or laptop computers are able to select various options. When it comes to paying for the device, however, each consumer has the buying leverage of exactly one. If the customer is the U.S. government, the transaction surely involves a lot of pricing leverage for bulk purchasing. Not really, says OMB, which has launched a program to change the way agencies purchase PCs.
Why Dell-EMC Won't Follow in HP-Compaq's Footsteps
October 26, 2015
Why do some big mergers succeed while others fail? This seems to be a common question, and some of the research I've read about the Dell-EMC merger tries to connect it to the HP-Compaq merger, which apparently cost Carly Fiorina her job. I covered the HP-Compaq merger at length, and I was not a fan. I actually spoke to Compaq's CEO and argued he should pull out to save his firm.
Gadget Ogling: A Deluxe Dock, a Crafty Computer, and a T-rific Tablet Stand
October 24, 2015
Beddi is an alarm clock smartphone dock that has a few tricks to elevate it above others of its ilk. The system, from Witti, works with both iOS and Android devices, which you place on top and recharge with your own cable. Two things are really interesting: the price and the programmable buttons. As for the latter, that means using Bluetooth to pair your smartphone with Beddi's companion app.
System 76 Unleashes Wild Dog Pro
October 21, 2015
System 76 has announced its latest desktop release, Wild Dog Pro, with a range of high-end customizable configurations to enhance video editing and media creation, software engineering, CAD, and high-end performance for demanding games. It comes preinstalled with Ubuntu 15.10, and the default desktop environment is Unity. However, users can install other Linux distros and desktop environments.
Surface Book Evokes Oohs, Ahhs and Sticker Shock
October 21, 2015
Many reviewers have responded to the preproduction version of Microsoft's Surface Book the way an average Joe would view a top-of-the-line luxury car: The features are great, but the price is daunting. "Overall, we recommend it, especially to people who value performance, design and battery life above all else, and are willing to pay dearly for it," remarked reviewer Dana Wollman.
NX Leaks Hint at Nintendo Comeback
October 20, 2015
Nintendo reportedly has started to distribute software development kits for its next game console. The company hasn't laid out in detail the ecosystem of third-party software that it plans to build around its upcoming console, code-named "NX," but it plans to integrate it with a digital platform for smartphones, tablets, PCs and its own hardware. The NX will employ "industry-leading chips."
HP, 3M to Shield Laptop Screens From Visual Hacking
October 15, 2015
HP and 3M are collaborating on privacy screens to protect notebook PCs from visual hacking. "3M is developing an innovative light-enhancement film that can be incorporated into a system that enables light to be directed to other viewers when you want information sharing, and away from onlookers when you need private viewing," 3M spokesperson Jessica Walton said.
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