To celebrate the theatrical release of Star Trek Into Darkness, Taiwanese PC maker Acer partnered with Paramount Pictures to create a limited Star Trek themed edition of its Aspire R7 touchscreen notebook. Just 25 of these special R7’s were produced, none of which were made available to the general public.
A study by CAST in conjunction with Rackspace reveals that users of wearable technology -- such as the Nike+ FuelBand and Jawbone UP -- feel using such devices boost their intelligence levels. The study looks at residents of the UK and US, and finds the wearable tech users not only feel cleverer, but also more self-confident.
These are not the only benefits the study unearths. US participants were generally rather more impressed with the benefits of wearable technology -- 71 percent of American users felt their health and fitness had improved as a result of using such devices, compared to 63 percent of those in the UK. More than half (53 percent) of US users believe wearable tech helps to improve intelligence, compared to just 39 percent of UK users.
Today at Computex in Taiwan, Asus announced a lot of new products, including a new MeMO Pad HD 7 tablet.
The Android device is 10.8mm thick and weighs just 302g. It packs a 7-inch 1280 by 800 IPS display with 170-degree wide viewing angle. The device is powered by a Qualcomm quad-core processor, has 1GB of RAM, and features a 1.2 megapixel front facing camera and an optional 5 megapixel rear facing camera.
Earlier today at Computex 2013, Asus Chairman Jonney Shih revealed a new Transformer Pad Infinity. The refreshed Android tablet/notebook boasts a 10.1-inch screen offering a massive 2,560 by 1,600 resolution. That’s higher than the iPad 4’s 2048 by 1536 retina display.
The device is powered by a quad-core 1.9GHz Nvidia Tegra 4 processor, and comes with 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage. You can increase the available storage via the SD card slot built into the companion dock.
Few are those who still profess a bright future for PCs and, starting today, even fewer will. According to IDC's latest forecast, in 2013 the PC market is expected to take another dive with shipments dropping by 7.8 percent. This is triggered by a shift in computing needs as users look for more versatility and less raw power.
"As the market develops, usage patterns and devices are evolving", says IDC program vice president Loren Loverde. "Many users are realizing that everyday computing, such as accessing the Web, connecting to social media, sending emails, as well as using a variety of apps, doesn't require a lot of computing power or local storage". Naysayers, it's time to face the music -- the average user can get away with a tablet or smartphone to get the job done.
Cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud. This fairly innocuous word has become one that is bandied around with abandon, often with the misplaced notion that it adds an element of 'cool' that was not previously present. But is working in the cloud all it's cracked up to be? Is it necessary? Should you care about it?
You don't have to think back all that far to remember a time when simply being online seemed like a fairly alien concept -- never mind actually working online. When the concept of Active Desktop was added to Windows 9x the notion of staying online throughout the day just to see the desktop update with the latest weather forecast, news, stock prices or other data was unimaginable.
Four months after Sony unveiled the Xperia Tablet Z, the Japanese maker announced that the fondleslab is now finally available to purchase worldwide through online and brick and mortar stores. Despite the fact that the Xperia Tablet Z hits the shelves later than initially planned -- March 1 -- the company says that this hasn't affected consumer demand.
"Xperia Tablet Z has received an incredibly positive response since it was announced and this is demonstrated by the strong pre-orders the product has received", says Sony's Tomokazu Tajima. The tablet touts some attractive specifications, namely the IPX5/7 and IP5X ratings for waterproofing and dustproofing, respectively, the low weight of only 495 grams and the 6.9 mm thickness.
Computer giant Dell has seen its net profits fall by 79 percent to $130 million in the first quarter of this fiscal year. This highlights the shift in consumer demand away from traditional PCs towards tablets. The company reports a decline of 9 percent in PC sales although revenue from software, services and new technologies was up by 12 percent.
Commenting on the results chief financial officer Brian Gladden says, "We made progress in building our enterprise solutions capabilities in the first quarter and are confident in our strategy to be the leading provider of end-to-end scalable solutions. In addition, we have taken actions to improve our competitive position in key areas of the business, especially in end-user computing, and it has affected profitability".
With Google I/O in full swing, and Glass a hot topic of discussion these days, two companies have revealed plans to release apps for Google's new wearable computing system. Social network Twitter and note-taking giant Evernote are both on board with the intriguing futuristic gadget.
Evernote's Andrew Sinkov announces that the company is "excited to unveil a first look at the Evernote experience on Glass". Sinkove goes on to explain "our current implementation focuses on two actions. First, you’ll be able to quickly capture a photo or short video and send it to your Evernote account from the Google Glass sharing menu. Second, you can choose a note from Evernote Web and send it directly into the Glass Timeline so that you have it available right in your field of view when you need it".
The white box battle is on, and laptops are losers. The big trend in tablets isn't iPad, contrary to public convention, but non-big-brand slates, which account for one-third of shipments, according to NPD DisplaySearch. Their success is good for Android, bad for Apple and worse for notebooks.
The early DOS/Windows PC market succeeded largely because of clones (like those from Compaq) and white label/box manufacturers and build-your-own enthusiasts. BYO isn't a tablet trend, but white box is, and its greatest impact is growth markets PC manufacturers count on -- or at least did.
Remember when Bluetooth phone headsets came along and suddenly there were all these people loudly talking to themselves in public? Schizoid behavior became, if not cool, at least somewhat tolerable. Well expect the same experience now that Google Glass is hitting the street, because contrary to nearly any picture you can find of the thing, when you actually use it most of your time is spent looking up and to the right, where the data is. I call it the Google Gaze.
Only time will tell how traffic courts will come to view Google Glass, but having finally tried one I suspect it may end up on that list of things we’re supposed to drive without.
Not every business embraces BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). The reasons for rejecting it are usually down to security concerns -- firms are understandably worried about their data falling into the wrong hands if the device gets lost or stolen once it leaves the building.
Security specialist Symantec surveyed 236 attendees at this year’s Symantec Vision, its annual user and technical conference held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, to find out how companies were handling BYOD, and despite the small sample size the results were interesting:
I own an iPad, which I love dearly. I use it for lots of things -- games, email, browsing the web, social networking, writing, viewing photos and video, and remote accessing my PC. The iPad, like all tablets, is a true jack of all trades and a master of some too.
But, try as I might, I can’t use it for "real" tasks. While it’s fine for writing small-ish articles on, I could never write a novel on it -- and I’ve tried. For some reason, I just can’t connect with typing on a touchscreen in the same way I do when typing on a proper full-size keyboard. And I could never imagine attempting detailed Photoshop work on a touchscreen either (well, not without a fine stylus at least).
"The era of PC dominance with Windows as the single platform will be replaced with a post-PC era where Windows is one of a variety of environments that IT will need to support", Van Baker, Gartner research vice president, says. The days of Windows as the applications and device hub are over.
The implications are huge for businesses, which must adapt to something else, too. While native mobile apps are all the rage today, their future is uncertain. Gartner forecasts that by 2016, more than half of those deployed will be hybrid, and that's good for any platform favoring HTML5, including Windows.
Microsoft's newest and oldest supported PC operating systems share some strange similarities. Windows 8 and XP launched during times of tepid computer sales, forecasts of low adoption and initially weak sales. Neither lifted PC shipments during the launch quarter. Yet the older software went on to be such a workhorse, as much as 40 percent of the install base clings to the OS -- nearly 12 years after launch. That's the future I see. Windows 8 isn't the new Vista, as so many pundits proclaim, but the new XP.
I am quite vocal about the changing of computer eras, a position taken up before Apple started selling iPhone in early summer 2007. But the change is a process gradual at first that accelerates over time. In the case of Windows or the typical personal computer set against cloud-connected devices there can be redefinition, and, with it, renewed relevance. No one should underestimate Microsoft or ignore the past when evaluating present trends. The PC and Windows died before and resurrected.