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Samsung's Chromebook Pro Earns Respect
February 14, 2017
Some early reviewers of the Samsung Chromebook Pro characterized it as a "MacBook killer," but others were more restrained in their enthusiasm. Jointly developed with Google and first demoed at CES 2017, the Chromebook Pro is slated for release next month. Samsung's Chromebooks basically are lightweight productivity tools that rely heavily on access to cloud-based resources.
Was Apple's Outstanding Q1 a Fluke?
February 6, 2017
Apple had a good quarter, but if you look under the numbers there is a ton of trouble. It just dropped behind Google in brand value, and valuation may crater in a few months. The iPhone 7 did well, but that shouldn't be a surprise, given that its biggest competitor, Samsung, saw its phone literally go up in flames last quarter. The Galaxy 8 is coming, though, and it looks really impressive.
Customizing a Computer? Here's What You Need
January 26, 2017
There are plenty of reasons to build a custom computer. While custom computers may initially be more expensive than prepackaged desktops or laptops, they can provide you with nearly endless possibilities, whether you're looking for a top-notch gaming machine, a system for mixing music, or the ideal choice for developing Web applications. Custom is the way to go for performance and flexibility.
Asus Tinker Board Joins Raspberry Pi on the Bargain Table
January 25, 2017
Just when you thought Raspberry Pi couldn't be knocked from its market-leading perch, along comes Asus with a rival device that may give the Pi a run for its relatively little money. Asus just launched its own low-cost computer, the Tinker Board, which is being sold in the UK and Europe for about $57. Its features could interest open source enthusiasts in doing a little comparison shopping.
Gadget Ogling: The CES Spectacular Edition
January 12, 2017
Trust Razer to come up with something completely ridiculous that I need in my life immediately. Project Ariana is a projector that incorporates Razer's full-spectrum lighting system, Chroma. It uses a wide-angle lens to project images. Its 3D depth-sensing cameras detect objects in a room and adjust for them accordingly so that it still projects a flat image.
CES 2017's Magic
January 9, 2017
CES was a fascinating show this year. One of the things that made it so fascinating was that everyone and their brother had cars demonstrating one form of technology or another. It kind of makes me wonder what we'll see at the next car show -- PCs, drones, tablets and smartphones? That wasn't the only surprise at the show, though. Nvidia, long thought of as living in Intel's shadow, broke out.
Lenovo Surprises With Home Tech Play
January 4, 2017
Lenovo watchers expected the company to announce a number of new laptops when CES rolled around, but the company surprised on Tuesday when it also unveiled new products aimed at the home technology market. "The Smart Assistant and Smart Storage line probably caught everyone off guard," said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy.
Looking Ahead to CES: This Will Be a Big One
January 2, 2017
CES week is here, and it's the one week of the year I look forward to looking back on. CES is a killer show -- not because you are up to your armpits in interesting new products, but because it is so spread out that it'll kill your legs as you hike all over the damn place. One year, I walked so much I actually ripped the soles off both shoes. This show is weird, in that it really comes too early.
Microsoft Trumpets Stellar Surface Sales
December 12, 2016
Microsoft announced robust sales of its Surface line ahead of the holiday season. November was the best month ever for consumer Surface sales, according to Brian Hall, CVP of Microsoft devices marketing. The sudden surge follows this fall's unveiling of the Surface Studio, the Surface Dial, and the Surface Book with Performance Base, which delivers twice the graphics power as its predecessor.
Microsoft and Intel's Project Evo Ups the PC Game
December 9, 2016
Microsoft and Intel have announced Project Evo, their highly anticipated collaboration to create the next generation of personal computers. The project aims to expand on new advances in AI, mixed reality, advanced security and gaming, Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft, unveiled some of Project Evo's ambitious plans at the WinHEC event in China.
Gadget Ogling: Mac's Back, Nintendo Returns, and Huawei Goes to the Edge
November 5, 2016
Apple has unveiled a redesigned MacBook Pro, giving the company's core laptop its first full refresh in a few years. The design has metal on all sides, along with a Force Touch trackpad double the size of previous versions. There's a customizable OLED touch strip above the keyboard that responds to gestures and taps, useful for fast access to emoji or secondary controls within an app.
Lenovo's Yoga Book Aims for Top Shelf
November 2, 2016
Lenovo's recently unveiled 2-in-1, the Yoga Book, is available in Android Marshmallow and Windows 10 Home versions. Reviews have been mixed, with some praising its look and feel, but some considering its capabilities not up to scratch. Its Intel Atom processor doesn't provide enough power for a workhorse device, they've argued. The Android version costs $500 and the Windows version goes for $550.
Apple vs. Microsoft: Remixing the Magic
October 31, 2016
What I think is funny in this market is that most people can look at two companies, see the difference in their performance, and not learn the fundamental lesson. The core magic is this: having someone who is running the company who both understands the technology and understands either the customer's current needs -- or how to manipulate customers to need what you make.
Apple Brings a Surprising Touch to MacBook Event
October 28, 2016
Apple on Thursday unveiled two new MacBook Pro laptops, adding a touch more power to the line. Both the new 13-inch and 15-inch models will be offered in silver and space gray. They have a Touch Bar that replaces the row of function keys found on laptops, as well as a Touch ID fingerprint scanner incorporated into the power button. They sport a Force Touch trackpad that's twice the size of the trackpad in previous models.
Microsoft's New Tech Targets Human Creativity
October 27, 2016
Microsoft made a slew of announcements at its New York City event Wednesday, focusing on the idea of user as creator. Among its new offerings: the Surface Studio, an all-in-one desktop computer with a touchscreen that's 12.5mm thick; the Surface Dial, a new input device that provides haptic feedback; the Surface Book i7; VR headsets for Windows 10; and a revamped Paint app with 3D capability.
Gadget Ogling: Magnificent Mics, Intriguing E-Ink, and Compact Computers
October 26, 2016
I've tried dipping my toes into the world of podcasting with a friend this year. We haven't found it easy to get together to record, but for the two trial runs we've had, I bought a Blue Snowball mic. I'm very pleased with the sound quality, so I'm fairly certain I'd be happy to have Blue's latest microphone, Raspberry. It's a gorgeous, portable little thing.
Microsoft Event: Come for Windows, Stay for Surface
October 25, 2016
Microsoft's Windows 10 event, scheduled for Wednesday, actually could focus more on hardware than on the operating system, given that the next Windows 10 refresh is expected in March. A new Surface device -- possibly an all-in-one computer with a 21-inch or larger screen -- could be in the offing. "Microsoft hasn't had a desktop Surface product yet," noted tech analyst Rob Enderle.
New MacBook Will Headline Apple's Thursday Show
October 25, 2016
A refreshed MacBook Pro likely will be the highlight of an event scheduled for this Thursday at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California. The update to its flagship MacBook line couldn't come at a more critical time. "Apple has been under increasing pressure from Dell, Lenovo and others in this space and needs to up its game considerably lest it be accused of neglecting notebook users and customers," said tech analyst Charles King.
HP Debuts Flashy New Computers
October 14, 2016
Watch out, Apple. HP on Wednesday introduced a new generation of premium computer products that could generate the kind of excitement in the market that's usually the domain of the folks at One Infinite Loop. Among the new HP offerings are a new tablet-laptop convertable, a svelte laptop, an innovative all-in-one model, and a 4k display designed for dual screen setups.
All Systems Go for Andromeda
October 11, 2016
Although Google didn't drop any new details on the progress of Andromeda at its Pixel event, that doesn't indicate any tempering of enthusiasm for the new operating system. Andromeda reportedly is a mashup of Android and Chrome, with features from Chrome having been ported into Android rather than the other way around. It's expected to show up next year in a new laptop, dubbed "Pixel 3."
Intel's Kaby Lake Chip Promises Deeper Internet Immersion
August 31, 2016
Facing a shrinking market for personal computers and a stalled market for tablets, Intel on Tuesday unveiled its 7th-generation processors, code-named "Kaby Lake," which deliver more speed and power than its 6th-generation chipsets, while improving battery efficiency. Intel has positioned the new Kaby Lake chipsets as ideal for the immersive Internet.
Reports: MacBook Pro Is Getting a Makeover
August 10, 2016
The long wait for a MacBook Pro refresh appears to be nearing an end, if the latest rumors are correct. The new MacBook Pros expected to launch this fall will feature a Touch ID power button and a touch-sensitive OLED strip that will replace the physical function keys on the keyboard, according to reports. The strip will bring up functions appropriate to the application that's in use.
Xiaomi Unveils Budget-Friendly MacBook Air Rival
July 28, 2016
Xiaomi on Wednesday unveiled the Mi Notebook Air, its challenger to the MacBook Air. The 13.3-inch model is priced at about $750, compared to the MacBook Air's $1,050 price tag in China. The device is also available in a 12.5-inch version. The Mi Notebook Air offers a number of features that aren't available in a MacBook Air. The 13.3-inch model is gaming-ready.
Microsoft Makes It Easier to Say No to Windows 10
June 28, 2016
Microsoft on Tuesday announced a new Windows 10 upgrade policy -- weeks after losing a $10,000 case in a small claims court. The owner of TG Travel Group in Sausalito, California, last month won a final judgment after she alleged that her computer was upgraded to the new operating system without prior authorization, according to court documents.
Windows Holographic: Changing Our Perception of the World
June 6, 2016
There were a lot of interesting announcements last week, ranging from cool new devices to what was basically an Amazon Echo on wheels from Asus. Such is the nature of Computex -- arguably one of the most powerful technology shows in the world. However, one of the most fascinating was Windows Holographic, which goes far beyond Hololens to redefine the world as we perceive it.
HP Offers Versatile PC Gaming Machines for Grown-Ups
June 2, 2016
HP last week introduced several new additions to its Omen by HP gaming hardware line: 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch laptops, a desktop PC and a 32-inch Quad HD4 display. The laptops will be available next month with a starting price of $900; the desktop and display will be available in August at HP online and at select retailers, with pricing as yet undisclosed.
Could the Next Disruptive Consumer Product Be a Flip Phone?
May 16, 2016
Smartphones appear to be losing their luster, and the king of smartphones -- Apple -- clearly is not having a good year. Suddenly, I'm hearing that there is an upswing in flip phones, making this feel a bit like a Game of Thrones episode, when a believed-dead king returns to seize the throne by surprise. Clearly, the market is looking for the next big thing.
Clock Is Ticking for Free Windows 10 Upgrade
May 10, 2016
Microsoft last week announced that Windows 10 was running on 300 million PCs and reminded customers that its free upgrade offer would end July 29. After that date, the price to upgrade to Windows 10 Home will be $119. "We're pleased to see Windows 10 become one of the largest online services in less than a year," said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate VP of Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group.
HP Chromebook 13 Wins High Praise - for a Chromebook
May 2, 2016
HP and Google last week unveiled the HP Chromebook 13. Designed with input from customers on what they want in a next-generation Chromebook, the device is about 13 mm thick, weighs 2.8 pounds, has a brushed anodized aluminum chassis, and is the first Chromebook to use Intel's sixth-generation Core M processors. It has a USB C port, and HP offers a USB-C docking station as an option at $145.
Wall Street Pummels Apple After Weak Q2 Earnings Report
April 28, 2016
Apple shares were trading at around $95 as of mid-day Thursday in the wake of the company's disappointing Q2 earnings report. That was even lower than Wednesday's opening price, which was down more than $8 from Tuesday's $104.35 at market close. The company's second-quarter performance was dismal. The iPhone recorded its first drop in sales -- to 51.2 million units, down from 61.2 million in the year-ago quarter.
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