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Johannes Knapp is over in New York for us at the moment covering an Acer press event, which introduced several new mobile products today.
He has first delivered us with a hands-on video of the Aspire R7 laptop. What's interesting about this laptop, and the first thing you'll no doubt notice, is that the keyboard and touchpad have been switched of their usual locations. That of course means the touch pad is on top and the keyboard is below. Acer has done this since the unit features a special hinge that allows you to position the screen at different angles and also flip it over to show your lunch date what's on your screen. You can set the screen down to act like a tablet, it's rather nifty indeed.
There are several different configurations of the R7 including one with an Intel Core i7-3537U CPU or Intel Core i5-3337U CPU. Storage options are aplenty including 500GB, 750GB or 1TB HDD or if you like speed, a 120GB or 256GB SSD. There is support for up to 12GB of DDR3 RAM and you can opt to add in an NVIDIA GeForce GT750M 2GB GPU over the standard embedded Intel HD 4000 graphics.
Google are looking to dig their heels into yet another market, according to a new report from DigiTimes, both Acer and ASUS are optimistic about the long-term prospects of Google's Chromebooks, and are now working on low-priced systems that will arrive in the second half of the year.
Acer will be aiming at students with a new 11.6-inch model to be released in July, as well as Chrome OS-powered systems to be expected from ASUS, HP, Samsung and Lenovo later in the year. We actually reported on vendors wanting to push Android-based products onto the market, so this might be it. Hold onto your seats folks, we're going to be experiencing a bumpy next couple of years for Windows.
Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst with KGI Securities, has a new report forecasting that the product highlight of Apple's upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will introduce refreshed MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models.
These refreshed products would see Intel's new Haswell chips inside, the chipmaker's fourth-generation Core processors. Kuo thinks that Apple will continue with non-Retina MacBook Pros, seeing strength in the 13-inch model, leading him to believe we'll see Apple continuing the production of non-Retina models. He says:
Contrary to our previous projection, we now think Apple will continue to make the MacBook Pro alongside the MacBook Air and Retina MacBook Pro because the 13" MacBook Pro remains the most popular product in the MacBook line. Also, there is still demand in emerging markets, where Internet penetration isn't advanced, for optical disk drives.
The analyst believes that the updated non-Retina MacBook Pros could ship right after WWDC, but the new Retina-based MacBook Pro models would ship later down the line due to the more expensive, and harder to make Retina displays.
Last week I covered a story about Intel's CEO Paul Otellini predicting that Microsoft Surface tablets would soon see a price drop to $200. Now we are hearing a different story coming out of Intel, and the word is that it will be Android based notebooks that will sell at the $200 price point.
In an interview with CNET, Intel executive VP Dadi Perlmutter said that the $200 touchscreen devices will predominantly be Android based notebooks running on Intel's Atom mobile processors. While this news is still quite exciting, I still believe a $200 Microsoft Surface tablet would see massive sales. On the other hand, I will still be all in for a $200 Android based notebook.
When asked about Microsoft selling $200 tablets, Perlmutter had the following to say:
"We have a good technology that enables a very cost-effective price point. The price of Windows 8 laptops depends on how Microsoft prices Windows 8. It may be a slightly higher price point."
According to Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst for KGI Securities, Apple will start production on a Haswell-powered MacBook sometime in May in preparation for a late summer launch. A late summer launch flies in the face of what Tim Cook said during an investor call: "Our teams are hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software, and services that we can't wait to introduce in the fall and into 2014."
Kuo expects the MacBook line to feature a vastly updated design and only Retina displays. Intel is currently thought to be planning to release Haswell at Computex in the first part of June, so this timeline matches up with Intel's schedule, lending some credibility to this claim.
We don't doubt that Apple will make use of Intel's Haswell CPUs, it's just a matter of when exactly they make the switch and to what degree they update the MacBook line.
Apple's MacBook Pro is a delicious notebook, most people know that, but according to a new study from PC efficiency software vendor, Soluto, the MBP is the world's most reliable Windows PC.
Soluto used "data from its massive online database of PC crashes, hangs, and performance metrics to identify the 10 most reliable Windows PCs you can buy today". Their study found that the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro with Boot Camp installed is "at the top of the list". Their study found a few other suitable candidates, the Dell Vostro 3560, the Dell XPS 13, Acer's Aspire E1-571, Acer's Aspire V3-771 and Apple's 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro.
When it is all swirled together, Apple computers make up 33% of the six most reliable Windows PCs in the world.
This morning Acer launched a new teaser video that featured glimpses of a new "revolutionary notebook" that appears to have some sort of uni-hinge design that allows the screen to flip over. The teaser is paired up with a Star Trek Into Darkness trailer, and quite well I might add.
The video concludes with a link to Acer's "Explore Beyond Limits" website which features two more Star Trek / Acer product integrated teaser videos as well as some high resolution desktop wallpapers. The new laptop looks interesting and you can expect full coverage on the device at Acer's launch event on Friday May 3rd.
Inhon, a Taiwanese manufacturer of notebooks, has just unveiled the Blade 13 Carbon ultrabook. While the news of another ultrabook may not sound exciting, the Blade Carbon is something to get excited about, as it claims the title of thinnest and lightest notebook in the world.
Weighing in at just 870 grams, the 10.7mm thick (thin?) Blade 13 Carbon is more than 400 grams lighter than Apple's MacBook Air, and more than 6mm thinner. Inhon ditched the aluminum unibody idea in favor of carbon fiber, which resulted in a much thinner profile and the record weight listing.
Inhon will release the Blade 13 Carbon in several different configurations including models with Intel Core i5 and i7 low-voltage chips, 1080p 13-inch display and a 128GB or 256GB SSD. RAM is said to be limited to just 4GB, though. The Blade 13 Carbon will begin shipping in June at a price point of $1350. Unfortunately those of us state side will not get the chance to pick one (as yet) up as Inhon has no US distributors that we could find.
We've already got the Retina MacBook Pro from Apple, featuring a 2560x1600 display, and Google's Chromebook Pixel with its 2560x1700 display - but both of those machines are built for Windows. Toshiba have just unveiled a new Ultrabook, that comes with Windows 8 - the Kirabook.
Toshiba's Kirabook comes with a 13.3-inch 2560x1440 display, giving us slightly less pixels than Apple and Google's offerings. Kirabook starts from $1599, which gives you an Intel third-generation Core i5 processor, 256GB of SSD, 8GB of RAM and a backlit keyboard. The $1999 model provides touchscreen capabilities, and a bump in processor to the Core i7. Toshiba's Kirabook is 0.7 inches thick, and weighs 2.6 pounds.
We should see pre-orders open up on May 3, with shipping beginning on May 12.
This morning Samsung announced the release of its much anticipated Series 9 Premium Ultrabook with full HD resolution. Featuring a 1920x1080 SuperBright display, the Series 9 laptop reproduce 16 million colors, giving users a photo and video experience like never before.
Weighing in at just 2.5 pounds and slimming down to half an inch thick, the Series 9 looks to be a formidable contender in the ultra-portable class of Ultrabooks. The weight saving and slim size are attributed to an all-aluminum uni-body design that rivals the MacBook Air in beauty.
The Series 9 not only looks good, but it packs a punch as well by sporting hardware such as an Intel Core i7 processor, 128GB SSD and an Intel Integrated HD 4000 graphics chipset. A battery life of 5.8 hours will get users through most domestic flights, as well as any situation where connectivity to the power grid is not feasible.
Retailing at $1399.99, the Series 9 Ultrabook is now available for purchase through major retailers.