Friday, August 26, 2011

Lenovo's M71z all-in-one is 20" of touchscreen, $599 and up

Lenovo’s all-in-one M71z may be geared for the office, but its impressive specs make it a powerful yet space-efficient computer hub at home too.

Powered by the second-generation Intel Core i-processor, DDR3 RAM, with the option for up to 1 TB hard drive or a 160 GB solid state drive for 15-second bootups, all combined with a 20″ touchscreen monitor, there is a lot to like about the M71z. (Windows 7 [Home Premium and up] and Vista do offer touch controls so you can open and close programs and windows by tapping the monitor.)

The all-in-one also comes equipped with a whopping six USB ports, a DVD burner, chassis intrusion switch to let you know when your computer has been opened, as well as a DisplayPort for plugging in a second monitor so you can catch up on your emails while you watch a movie. You also have the option for a 2-megapixel web cam and digital array microphone that should yield high-quality web chats, perhaps even good enough for a job or television interview. For those living in tight quarters who may not be able to spare a desk for an all-in-one computer, the M71z can be mounted on the wall or on a desk mount using the universal Vesa devices.

At $599, the M71z seems like better bang for your buck when compared to Dell’s all-in-one Inspiron One 2305, which has an older AMD CPU but offers a slightly larger touch display at 23″ for $750. HP’s business-minded Omni Pro 110 starts at $639 but doesn’t include a touchscreen monitor. To be fair, we won’t know until the M71z launches in October the exact components that are included in the base $599 price tag. Lenovo’s all-in-one will be sold on its website and through its business partners.


Apple's OS X Lion now on a USB stick, $69.99

Although downloading a copy of the OS X Lion from the Mac App Store is economical ($29.99) and convenient for those who already have Snow Leopard, it can make things much more difficult for some users who are:

  • Upgrading from Tiger to Lion (but on hardware that meets the OS requirements)
  • Upgrading from Snow Leopard for the first time but have no Internet connection
  • Installing a new hard drive (where previous copy of the OS is on the old hard drive) and have no Internet connection

In these more unusual circumstances, having the OS on a USB drive maybe the only way to get the job done. Starting today, Apple is offering the OS X Lion on a thumb drive for $69.99, available from its online store now and will probably be in retail stores soon.

The most important thing to note about installing Lion via the USB stick is that Lion’s built-in recovery mechanism — to automatically prompt you to re-download a copy from the Mac App Store — will not work. Subsequent installs of Lion must use this same drive:

When you install OS X Lion using the USB thumb drive, you will not be able to reinstall OS X Lion from Lion Recovery. You will need to use the USB thumb drive to reinstall OS X Lion.

This $70 8 GB USB drive buys some peace of mind that you can still get your Mac(s) up and running even under the least ideal conditions, as long as you don’t misplace it. Alternatively, if you’re feeling frugal and have some time to spare, you can create your own DVD boot image of the Lion installer following these instructions from CNET that will let you troubleshoot your computer even when there is no ‘net.


SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip is a budget iPod shuffle, but better

SanDisk’s newest Sansa Clip Zip MP3 player may look like an elongated iPod shuffle with a color display on top and a clip on the back, but is actually packed with so many features that it makes you wonder why anyone would hand $50 over to Apple for a shuffle.

For the same price as the 2 GB shuffle, you could get a 4 GB Sansa Clip Zip that comes with a micro SDHC card slot expandable to 32 GB, a 1.1-inch color display for cover art and a graphical interface, and a music player that triples as a stopwatch, FM radio and voice recorder. The SanDisk player is also available with 8 GB of internal storage for $70.

Audiophiles would be pleased to know the Sansa Clip Zip supports FLAC rather than Apple’s proprietary Lossless file format. Other music and audiobook file formats that it supports include: MP3, WMA, secure WMA, Ogg Vorbis and AAC compatible (DRM-free iTunes). So rather than spend time googling for tips and converters to get your non-M4a files to play on an i-device, this MP3 player simplifies the process of getting the files you want to your device.

While the Sansa Clip Zip is thicker than the shuffle at 0.58-inch and measuring almost twice as tall at 2.25-inch, it is still relatively light and portable for strapping onto belt hoops. Its internal rechargeable battery is good for 15 hours of use, according to press materials. Even though a dedicated MP3 player seems out of place when most phones already double as music players, it still has its uses. For students facing a long commute who do not want to drain their phone’s battery just by listening to music, or athletic types who need their own personal soundtrack while hiking but don’t want to risk dropping their phone on the trail, the Sansa Clip Zip is an affordable player to use, worry-free.

Taking a page from the shuffle, the 4 GB Sansa Clip Zip comes in seven different colors, while the 8 GB model is only available in Black or Grey. Both the 4 and 8 GB SanDisk players are available in the U.S. and Canada now for $50 and $70 respectively, with a rollout to Europe planned for September.

[Source: SanDisk press release]


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sony confirms plans to make all PlayStation Vita games downloadable

Is digital distribution the future of gaming? Sony seems to think so. The company has announced that games for its upcoming PlayStation Vita will be sold on the PlayStation Store alongside their physical counterparts.

The news, however, is more of a confirmation. Sony had been saying as early as March that it planned to offer digital versions of the Vita’s titles. Still, its nice to know that the company is actually committing itself to the move.

Sony has been pretty busy with with announcements over the past few days. Yesterday, the company revealed the bizarre Wi-Fi-less PSP E-

1000 as well as a $50 price-drop for the PlayStation 3 to $250.


BlackBerry phones could get Android app compatibility in 2012

Could the Blackberry soon follow the PlayBook’s lead and gain the ability to run Android apps?

That’s the story according to Bloomberg, which says that RIM’s QNX phones could be seeing the functionality as soon as early 2012. The report says that the move is a result of RIM’s desire to boost the sagging sales of its phones. With the the Android Market currently boasting over 250,000 apps, the move would be a smart one if RIM is serious about increasing the appeal of its phones.

Of course, the move is also an admittance on RIM’s part that the PlayBook’s ecosystem doesn’t exactly fill the current demand for extensive app offerings. So let’s hope RIM fills out its own app selection as well.



Dell Launches New Generation of Dell EqualLogic Storage Solutions

Dell today announced new Dell EqualLogic storage solutions and supporting software to help customers address the data management requirements of increasingly dynamic, virtualized data centers. The company also released details of new integration across its storage portfolio with the forthcoming VMware vSphere® 5 virtualization and cloud infrastructure platform.

Today’s announcements represent another milestone in the continued evolution of Dell Fluid Data solutions, designed to help customers more effectively manage valuable business information in virtualized data centers.

"Organizations of all sizes continue to place a priority on boosting IT asset efficiency while improving IT responsiveness to business pressures. Ever greater exploitation of virtualization is a key element in these efforts, and the deployment of flexible and intelligent storage systems is frequently the key to successful efforts," said Richard Villars, vice president of storage and IT Strategies at IDC. "Dell's continued investment in advanced yet cost effective storage solutions along with a continued expansion of its enterprise service and solutions organization, puts the company in a strong position to help IT organizations get the most from their data centers, today, and in the future."

New Dell EqualLogic Storage Platform Extends Fluid Data Architecture

In support of customers’ growing storage demands, Dell introduced the EqualLogic PS6100 and PS4100 family of virtualized, IP-based storage offerings. Together with new Dell EqualLogic firmware version 5.1, Dell offers customers its next generation of EqualLogic storage solutions that seamlessly integrate into existing environments without downtime or a major overhaul. This helps customers to focus on managing their storage and not the manual process of upgrading infrastructure.

This launch marks the introduction of 2.5-inch drive support for the EqualLogic product line, providing greater density that enables users to store more in less space. Additionally, customers can gain up to 60 percent performance improvement on typical workloads with the EqualLogic PS Series compared to the previous generation EqualLogic arrays.

“The new EqualLogic capabilities mark a significant next step in the evolution of the Dell Fluid Data architecture and extend Dell’s leadership in virtualized IP-based storage solutions that are easy to manage,” said Darren Thomas, vice president and general manager, Dell Enterprise Storage. “The new storage arrays and virtualization tools can help our customers run highly optimized and efficient data centers by automating configuration and improving performance without forcing forklift upgrades.”

“VMware and Dell have proven time and time again that the integration of storage infrastructures and virtual environments can have a dramatic impact on a customer’s ability to increase flexibility while streamlining IT management,” said Narayan Venkat, vice president, product management, storage, VMware. “Our joint engineering efforts to integrate Dell storage solutions with the VMware platform continue to help customers grow their environments, meet business needs, and more efficiently manage business requirements without adding complexity or cost.”

EqualLogic PS Series arrays, regardless of generation, work together to automatically manage data, load balance across all resources, and expand to meet growing storage needs. Dell provides these capabilities without requiring customers to “rip and replace” their storage environment during each upgrade cycle as they would with other vendors. Readmore...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

ThinkPad Tablet on sale, shipping in days

One of the most interesting tablets in the Android world is the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet that is aimed at the enterprise worker. The ThinkPad slate has software optimized for workers and optional pen support for taking handwritten notes. There are three models of the ThinkPad Tablet now available on the Lenovo site, with shipping of August 29 indicated.

The configurations available for order break down as follows:

Wi-Fi only, 16GB - $499

3G/Wi-Fi, 32GB - $569

3G/Wi-Fi, 64GB - $669

Pen - $30

Keyboard folio - $100

These are not cheap but according to Lenovo are loaded with special features to increase productivity for professionals. These include the optional pen that rests in a convenient silo in the tablet frame, and software aimed at converting handwritten notes to digital text.


Cheaper 8 GB iPhone 4 to join iPhone 5's late September release?

While most iPhone rumors in recent months have focused on the iPhone 5, a few of them have aimed not at the next generation of the phone, but the current one.

The latest rumor comes via Reuters, which reports that Apple is working on a cheaper 8GB iPhone 4 to be released alongside the upcoming iPhone 5. The device’s memory would be a significant step down from the 16GB and 32GB iPhone 4 models sold currently. Decreased memory was the only change mentioned in the Reuters story.

Reuters’ report echos previous rumors concerning a cheaper iPhone, which sources said would work alongside Apple’s iCloud service.

How significant this new iPhone 4’s price cut will be is still unknown, but if the iPhone 3GS sales are any indication, the move is sure to be a smart one.


Acer adds 7" Iconia Tab A100 to tablet lineup, $330

In the same week that we find out HP’s 7-inch tablet TouchPad Go is almost launch-ready, Acer announces its own 7-inch Iconia Tab A100, which is available exclusively from Walmart starting today.

Besides sharing the same display size as the likes of RIM PlayBook and HTC Flyer, the A100 is subtly different from its competitors. For one thing, it’s the first North American slate to run Android Honeycomb 3.2, which is geared for 7-inch screens, so it should provide a better user experience than the smartphone OS (Android 2.4 Gingerbread ) that shipped with the HTC Flyer.

Touted as a mobile entertainment device, the mini Iconia Tab comes pre-loaded with Adobe Flash 10.3, Acer LumiRead, Google Books eReading apps, as well as Acer’s media sharing platform that links up all DLNA-compliant devices so users can access their files wirelessly.

Other technical specs of the A100 include:

  • Display: 7-inch TFT WSVGA, 1024×600 resolution, 16:10 aspect ratio with 75-degree wide viewing angle
  • CPU: NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core
  • GPU: Ultra Low Power GeForce
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • Cameras: 5-megapixel rear-facing camera with flash and can record HD 720p videos in camcorder mode; 2-megapixel front camera
  • Ports/Connectors: 1 HDMI port, 1 microUSB port, and a Micro-SD card reader
  • Connectivity: Acer InviLink Nplify 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi CERTIFIED, Bluetooth
  • Battery: 1530 mAh Li-polymer battery for up to five hours
  • Dimensions: 0.5-inch thick
  • Weight: 0.92 pounds

The A100 is priced very competitively, starting at just $330 for the 8 GB, Wi-Fi only model. Because the slate has a built-in a Micro-SD card slot, it can get away with providing less internal storage space to keep its price tag relatively low. (The 16 GB, Wi-Fi-only PlayBook, by contrast, is retailing for $499 at Best Buy — I’m pretty sure an 8 GB Micro-SD card does not cost $170.) For those looking for more on-board storage capacity, the 16 GB A100 will set you back $350.

While I can understand the appeal of the 7-inch form factor from tech companies’ point of view: many already have a 10-inch tablet in their lineup, so shrinking the design by a couple of inches allows them to offer a similar product at a more budget-friendly price point. But are consumers interested in tablets at this size? Wouldn’t 7-inch slates be competing with e-readers like the Nook Color?

What do you think? Is a 7-inch tablet with a lower price tag like the A100 more enticing than a larger 10-inch slate that costs a bit more money?


First Look: ASUS' 13in UX31 Ultrabook

Until a few months ago the term ‘Ultrabook’ didn’t exist. Referring to a new category of Wintel powered ultrathin products designed to take Apple’s Macbook Air head on, the first mentions of the name came at Computex, a few days after ASUS unveiled its UX21 laptop.

At the ASUS launch in Taiwan we had a chance to get some glimpses of the UX21 through the pack of camera wielding journalists that descended upon it every time it was being displayed. On the hype scale it came second to the Padfone tablet/smartphone hybrid, but it still impressed us a lot (once we released it was running a Core i7 rather than an Atom processor).

Also read: Enter the Ultrabook: making the Windows laptop v MacBook decision

It was the UX concept that sparked the Ultrabook idea by Intel, which is making special variants of its Sandy Bridge processors for the laptops. Since then there have been rumours coming out of Taiwan that there is some serious back and forth going on between Intel and laptop manufacturers, largely over the cost of the components and the subsequent ability to be price-competitive with the MacBook Air. The latest reports from Digitimes are that tier one manufacturers are getting a 20% discount on processors and that’s it.

12 and 13in versions

To date most of the Ultrabook focus has been on the 12in UX21, but ASUS has a second model with a 13in screen that will soon be in production. Called the UX31, there are a handful of samples floating around the globe, and we made a visit to ASUS’ Sydney offices to take a look at this thin and light beauty before it finished its brief visit to Australia.

After spending a few hours with this beauty our excitement levels are high. While there are certainly compromises made to get high end hardware into a small form factor, the end result is a razor thin laptop with power that belies its size. Inside the 3mm-17mm wedge of unibody aluminium sits a Core i7-2637M clocked at 1.7GHz (which is half the speed of a desktop Core i7-2600). This is paired with 4GB of DDR3 and a 128GB Sandisk SSD. Shipping models will come with either Core i5 or Core i7 CPUs, and SSD capacity will include 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB options. The 1600 x 900 13in LED backlit screen is driven by the processor graphics built into the CPUs, which has been key to getting everything into the tiny chassis.

Also in this wedge sits a Lithium polymer battery, which we didn’t get a chance to test. ASUS is claiming this will deliver 7 hours of battery life. One other factor that helps eke the most out of this battery is a 2 second resume from sleep when the lid is opened. This enables a usage model where the UX31 can be removed from a bag and re

The chassis itself is a unibody aluminium design, with a somewhat striking circular polish pattern around the ASUS logo on the lid. Open it up and there is a large scrabble-tile keyboard, suitable for even the comically massive hands of this writer. The touchpad seemed quite responsive and the aluminium surrounding it all was refreshingly resilient to fingerprint smudges. Audio quality wasn’t up to the level of some of the better engineered laptops out there, but it was surprisingly good for something in such a sleek form factor.

We also nerded out a bit over the way ASUS has integrated the ventilation slots into the screen hinge, making them relatively unobtrusive. We did a bit of a manual check of the base for hot spots and couldn’t find any telltale signs of where the CPU was – but we had only been running light workloads and will revisit it with some more CPU intensive benchmarks once review hardware becomes available.


omparisons to the Macbook Air are inevitable, and despite our initial worries that one could do little to differentiate a tiny wedge of aluminium, ASUS is playing to the strengths of the Windows platform with the UX31. On the left hand side (near the back, which is the only part thick enough to house ports)

sits a USB 2 port, headphone jack and SD card reader. On the right side sit the hole for the charger, a USB 3 port, Micro HDMI and Mini-Displayport slots. This is a perfect feature set for such an on-the go product.

We should know soon exactly what the plans are for an Australian launch of the UX31. It is definitely coming, but ASUS is ironing out specs, prices and timing. Odds are that Acer will beat them to the punch, with a local Ultrabook launch scheduled for early September, but given everything we have seen to date of the UX31 and UX21, ASUS is setting a very high bar for the competition.

ady to go near instantly, which all plays into the convenience that Ultrabooks are supposed to deliver.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

XFX AMD Radeon HD 6990 4GB Video Card Unboxing & First Look

AMD Radeon 6990 is the beast VGA card . he most powerful graphics card in the world. Readmore...

Call of Duty: Black Ops 7680x1600 GTX580 Tri SLI

COD Black Ops GTX580 7680x1600 Tri SLI running on 3 x 30inch LCD samsung Readmore...

ASUS Mars II dual GTX 580 running Crysis II at 3240 x 1920 - you want!

ASUS had a very wicked setup at their Computex booth displaying the power of its amazing Mars II video card which runs two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 chips on one card.

Anyone for Crysis II at 3240 x 1920? Wow!