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Computex 2012 - We're live here in Taipei and we've just sat in on the Acer press conference where a fair amount of exciting gear was unveiled. Without going into a tonne of details [just yet], what we can tell you is that Windows 8 is a central part of not just Acer's future, but the industry's future. We saw some devices being shown off in the form of a few Ultrabooks, and a 27-inch all-in-one Windows 8-based PC, the Acer Aspire 5600U.
I've got to admit, before this event, I didn't have much faith in Acer going forward into the future, say, 5 years from now, but what they showed off gives me the utmost confidence that they have what it takes to win not just confidence in the industry, but consumer confidence. The all-in-one desktop they displayed was pretty insane, being capable of going into portrait, and swivelling completely horizontal, so it would feel like a super big tablet.
Standing there with our competition winner Roshan (amazing guy btw!), we listened to the presence-bringing J.T. Wang take the stage, where he reiterated how much Windows 8 will change Acer. Normally this would be just press talk, but the room filled with applause when he talked, and his aura took the room into his world. Acer showed off the Aspire 5600U which was very, very impressive, sporting a Full HD display and the ability to tilt completely horizontal. While this may sound unimpressive in text form, it was very cool to see this happen on-stage.
Intel is set to show off some new Ultrabooks powered by their third-generation Intel Core processors otherwise known as Ivy Bridge. Intel took to their blog to state this, and have announced there are now 21 Ultrabooks on the market today, and this list will continue to grow with more than 110 designs currently being worked on.
Intel have said to anyone outside of the company, this may look effortless, but it has been anything but. Intel have knuckled down with customers, partners and suppliers all around the world to "re-think and re-design virtually every major component that makes up an Ultrabook". Intel says they can't wait for everyone to see the next wave of Ultrabooks that sport the Ivy Bridge-based processors that are set to be unveiled next week at Computex in Taipei.
The latest report from DigiTimes is that heavyweights ASUS and HTC will not be making Chromebook's. Even after Google and Samsung unveiled their second-generation Chromebook, which was jointly developed by the latter company, ASUS and HTC are weary.
Why are they staying away from the Chromebooks? Because after seeing Acer's and Samsung's first-generation Chromebook's selling less than 200,000 units, both company's decided it wasn't for them and backed away from cooperating with Google on the second-gen Chromebook. Acer is reportedly still 'evaluating' the project, according to DigiTimes' sources.
DigiTimes cites 'some notebook players' pointed out that the first-generation Chromebook's sales were impacted by its hardware design, and competition from netbooks which have already seen dramatic price drops to $299-$399, as well as users' are more familiar with Windows. The same notebook players have noted that Chromebook's may find it difficult to replace netbooks in the market. On top of this, we also have the ever-increasing size of smartphones, with Samsung's GALAXY S III reaching 4.8-inches, as well as the still-powerful tablets which sell like hot cakes.
Google and Samsung sitting in a tree, C-H-R-O-M-I-N-G. Yeah, you get the point. Samsung have released two new Chrome OS-based products today, the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook and the Series 3 Chromebox. What makes these products stand out from the crowd? The cloud-based OS UI has been updated, and now sports multitouch trackpad support.
Coinciding with the new OS update, are Samsung's two products. The updates OS now sports an app-focused user interface that lets you select which programs you use the most, for easier access. Google Drive is now the data storage system, and deeper integration should come through in the coming weeks.
A revamped media player peeks its head up, too, as well as a brand new photo editor and uploader, as well as remote desktop support for both Windows and Mac. What hardware is inside the new system? According to The Verge's review on the units, the Chromebook sports a 1.3GHz dual-core Intel Celeron 867 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 12.1-inch screen, 1200x800 resolution, multitouch trackpad, Wi-Fi and 3G, two USB 2.0 ports, a 4-in-1 card reader and more than eight hours of battery life.
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It's looking like we will soon need to change this category to "Laptops & Ultrabooks" as more and more manufacturers are dropping Netbooks from the US market. Toshiba has confirmed that they will soon be joining the ranks of Dell and Lenovo who have also pulled out of the US Netbook market. It looks like tablets and Ultrabooks have killed the Netbook star.
Part of the reason for the change is that Netbooks have very little profit margin. So not only were sales slipping, but Toshiba wasn't making very much on the few sales that remained. Instead, Toshiba has decided to focus more on their Portege Ultrabook line and Excite tablet line. Looking at the money reasoning, you can see why. An Ultrabook sells for $800 or more which allows quite a bit more profit margin.
Another reason to focus on tablets is the upcoming Windows 8 which is designed with tablets in mind. Additionally, users like the higher performance capabilities of an Ultrabook as more and more users need to do more with their computers. It's pretty hard to play any sort of game or type any long message on a Netbook. If you still want one, HP, Acer, and ASUS are still offering them in the US. They will range from $200-$500.
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We were just invited to a pre-Computex press conference in Taipei by GIGABYTE Notebook whom on May 31st are launching a new laptop called the X11 Notebook.
As you can see from the slightly censored invite above, GIGABYTE is claiming that it is the lightest notebook on earth.
"In the universe, there are no everlasting stars.
In life, there are no eternal truths.
In GIGABYTE, innovation never stops.
Thus, we have discovered the 6th element.
Now we'd like to proudly present to you the lightest Notebook on earth!"
So, this might tend to suggest that GIGABYTE has discovered some form of new super lightweight material from another planet (okay sorry, I saw The Avengers for the first time today) and designed their upcoming X11 laptop with it. In any case, we'll find out for sure on May 31st, as TweakTown will be in attendance at the launch event in Taipei.
AMD CEO, Rory Read, has been quoted with quite a powerful quote: that there's enough processing power on every laptop on the planet today. He's specifically referring to what he calls the conclusion of the era between AMD and Intel to develop increasingly faster processors.
AMD spokesperson, Mike Silverman told the San Jose Mercury News that AMD needed to let go of the old AMD versus Intel mindset, as technology moves forward this strategy will no longer be the key focus. AMD CEO Rory Read also talked to Bloomberg Businessweek, where he said that computing is increasingly moving into the cloud where data centers are able to process computations much faster than a single computer, tablet or smartphone can.
Personally, I thought we were over this? I think the whole AMD versus Intel thing ended when we moved into multiple cores? Intel, in my opinion, is so far out in front right now, that CPU power just doesn't have the same effect it did years ago. You can upgrade from a Core i3, to a Core i5 and if you're not utilizing all of that power - is there a difference? If you're using your PC for Facebook and e-mail and move from a dual-core AMD to a quad-core AMD, do you notice the difference?
In order to further user's gaming experiences, Alienware will be the first to feature Qualcomm Atheros' new Killer Wireless-N 1202 chipset. The new wireless chip "is designed to provide improved performance and advanced control by automatically classifying and prioritizing gaming, video and audio network data to provide a superior, uninterrupted online entertainment experience."
"Alienware continues to be the leader in performance laptops and we appreciate that its customers are used to getting the best gaming experience possible," said Mike Cubbage, director of business development, networking business unit, Qualcomm Atheros. "The Killer Wireless-N 1202 will continue the tradition of delivering a superior gaming and real-time communication experience for Alienware laptop users by providing the best in online application performance, intelligence and control to ensure that critical online applications get the bandwidth and priority they need, when they need it."
"Gamers everywhere depend on Alienware to deliver superior experiences that help them achieve that 'epic win'," said Frank Azor, general manager at Alienware. "Integrating the Killer Wireless N-1202 technology-another first from Alienware-allows gamers to experience exceptional online gaming."