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Chromebook devices are seeing strong growth, with sales increasing 67 percent quarter over quarter, but still have a long way to go, according to ABI Research. Acer leads the current Chromebook market, ahead of Samsung, Hewlett-Packard and Dell - but each company hopes to see the low-cost laptops continue to see increased interest from consumers and vertical industries in 2015.
"Consumers are hungry for a product that is cost effective but also provides the versatility and functionality of a laptop," said Stephanie Van Vactor, ABI Research Analyst, in a statement. "The growth of the Chromebook market demonstrates a niche that is gaining traction among consumers."
The price of mobile hardware is dropping in price, and Chromebooks are often significantly cheaper than other laptops, so it will take time for the market to develop. Total Chromebook-powered device shipments are expected to tally 4.1 million in 2014, a drop in the bucket compared to the estimated 300 million shipments of traditional PCs.
Samsung today announced the Chromebook 2 powered by an Intel Celeron processor, as the company continues to support Google-powered operating systems. The Chromebook 2 is a light device designed to power on fast and utilize cloud-based storage - it likely won't be a desktop replacement for business users, but could be a fun, inexpensive product for consumers to play with.
The device runs Google Chrome and is powered by an Intel Celeron N2840 (2.58 GhZ) processor, 2GB DR3L RAM, 16GB storage, Intel HD graphics, and supports 1366 x 768 resolution. The Chromebook has an 11.6" screen and weighs just 2.65 lbs., with battery life up to nine hours.
The Samsung Chromebook 2 with Intel Celeron processor is now available for pre-order with a $249.99 MSRP, and will be released next week.
ASUS has unveiled its new Republic of Gamers G751 series gaming laptop, which can be configured up to be a serious gaming powerhouse. This includes the option of an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900M series GPU, the second-generation Maxwell chip that is doing wonders for gamers, as well as the exclusive ASUS TurboMaster GPU overclocking technology from ASUS.
First up, the G751 has a "stealthy F-22 Raptor-inspired" design, which definitely looks like a mean gaming machine. On top of that, we have a 17.3-inch Full HD display, with touch support being included on the G751JM model. The configurable specs start with multiple options of Intel's Core range of processors. We have the i7-4860HQ and i7-4710HQ for the G751JT model, the i7-4710HQ for the G751JT, and finally, the Core i7-4710HQ or i5-4200H for the G751JM.
The ASUS ROG G751 can house up to 32GB of DDR3L 1600MHz RAM, a slew of storage options with up to a 512GB NGFF PCIe-based SSD, but when it comes to GPUs, this is where it gets fun. The new gaming notebook from ASUS can be configured with up to the new Maxwell-based, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M with 4GB of GDDR5 RAM, on the G751JY at least. The G751JT features the GeForce GTX 970M with 3GB of RAM, while the G751JM includes the GTX 860M with 2GB of RAM.
Alienware has a very powerful gaming laptop in its new Alienware 18, but now news is coming out that the gaming laptop can be configured with its Core i7-4940MX processor overclocked to an incredible 4.4GHz. While this clock speed might not be all that impressive on the desktop, for a notebook with limited cooling abilities, and a very limited space to dissipate heat, this is damn impressive.
The smaller, and cheaper Alienware 17 can be configured with an overclocked Core i7 processor, with its i7-4910MQ capable of being configured to hit 4.1GHz. Intel's latest Core i7-4940MX has a stock clock speed of 3.1GHz, and boost clock of 4.1GHz. Alienware's laptop system designers decided to crank it up a bit with some factory overclocking, with Intel writing through its 'Chip Shot' blog that the overclocked i7-4940MX to "enable some of the highest-performance laptop PCs on the market". The company is aware of the thermal issues with an overclocked processor in a gaming notebook, where it added "Alienware engineers really got creative and developed a new thermal solution to ensure reliable and cool operation in such a small system".
The Alienware 18 gaming notebook is quite a beast, with an 18.4-inch 1920x1080 display, configurable with up to two, yes two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880Ms in SLI, or two AMD Radeon R9 M290X GPUs in Crossfire. Up to 32GB of dual-channel DDR3 1600MHz RAM, a slew of storage and ODD options, as well as an 8-cell 86wHr battery. The Alienware 18 starts at $2099, but if you build it up as serious as those aforementioned specs, you're looking at closer to $5000.
Lenovo has the best Windows notebook on the market, where I totally fell in love with, and still gloss over, the Yoga 2 Pro. The company has just unveiled its successor, the Yoga 3 Pro, which improves on the small amount of things the Y2P had problems with.
The Yoga 3 Pro is 17% thinner, and 15% lighter than the Y2P, with Lenovo claiming that the change in results has it "weighing less than a bottle of water". We still have the 13.3-inch 3200x1800 QHD+ display, which was super crisp on the Y2P. Lenovo has spent time improving the already great hinge design, with the Y3P featuring a "watchband" hinge that Lenovo claims is "hand-assembled from more than 800 individual pieces of steel and aluminum".
Inside, we have Intel's Broadwell-based Core M-70 processor running the show, backed up with up to 8GB of RAM (still no 16GB, Lenovo?), and up to 512GB of SSD. The company has fixed the Wi-Fi issue on the Y3P, baking in a new 5GHz 802.11ac chip into the Yoga 3 Pro. Lenovo has also improved the software inside of the Y3P, with something it calls "Harmony" that automatically adjusts settings to optimize whatever software you're using. If you were to be reading an e-book for example, Lenovo's Harmony software will "change the brightness and color temperature according to the environment lighting". If you are watching a movie, Harmony will automatically adjust the audio settings to give you a better sense of immersion.
NVIDIA Editor's Day 2014 - What's the use of an improved notebook GPU if it's going to suck down more battery life than ever? Oh wait, the Maxwell-based GTX 900M series doesn't use more power, it actually gives you longer battery life when you're not tethered to a power socket.
With NVIDIA's testing on an MSI GT72 notebook, powered by its new GeForce GTX 980M GPU running 1080p Ultra on the three games above (League of Legends, GRID 2 and Tomb Raider), the improvements are huge.
As you can see, we have a 30% boost for League of Legends, 29% boost for GRID 2, and a huge 55% boost in Tomb Raider on the GTX 980M.
Which gaming notebook should you buy? Here's a head start.
Boutique PC gaming company Digital Storm will embrace NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 900M, 970M and 980M video cards in its upcoming 15.6" and 17.3" gaming laptops. The 15.6" Equinox and Lance will be complemented by the 17.3" Behemoth and Krypton laptops, which will offer "beyond 1080p graphics" and extended battery life for gamers.
The Digital Storm gaming laptops using the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900M, 970M and 980M GPUs will be available early next month. Pricing starts at $1,483, but gamers can customize each model based on budget and desired hardware capabilities.
NVIDIA's GeForce 900M series should prove to be popular among partner OEMs and customers, as mobile gaming is pushed even further.
Sitting here, I was watching an episode of Under the Dome when I had a random thought about my Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro, and when the Yoga 3 Pro was coming. I decided to Google it, and noticed that Lenovo had a listing on its website, going as far as listing the Yoga 3 Pro, but it hitting a 404 error.
This set me off on some digging, with some sources stating that the upcoming Yoga 3 Pro will feature Intel's new Core M processor, and most of the same specifications of the already impressive Y2P. We should see 8GB of RAM, varying SSD sizes, and the beautiful 13.3-inch 3200x1800 IPS display.
Samsung has withdrawn from the European laptop market, pulling its Ativ notebooks and Google Chrome-powered Chromebooks. Overall, the PC market has struggled as smartphones, tablets, and phablets take over - and the laptop market has also suffered. Sony spun off its VAIO laptop business to completely separate itself from the declining sector. For Samsung, the company continues to have great success utilizing Google Android on its smartphones and tablets, which is where future focus will remain high.
"We quickly adapt to market needs and demands," Samsung said in a statement. "In Europe, we will be discontinuing sales of laptops including Chromebooks for now. This is specific to the region - and is not necessarily reflective of conditions in other markets. We will continue to thoroughly evaluate market conditions and will make further adjustments to maintain our competitiveness in emerging PC categories."
Sony spun off its VAIO laptop business to completely separate itself from the declining sector.
According to a new report from Jack March, the upcoming 12-inch Retina MacBook Air will offer a slew of improvements. It seems like it's close to being reworked in every department, from its display, processor, speakers, charging technology, and more.
First off, the report states that the upcoming Retina MBA will offer a "noticeably thinner design", where it will be completely fanless. Fanless, you say? This is thanks to Apple adopting to Intel's new Core M processor, which offers performance improvements, as well as lowered thermals and power requirement. OEMs can bake these into their devices, offering up fanless tablets and laptops.
Next up, the source said that "the display bezels are noticeably thinner, quite similar to the current MacBook Pro Retina lineup" with next to no space between the keyboard and the edge of the upcoming 12-inch MBA. Additionally, the speaker has been moved above the keyboard, and is still "visible". The source continues with a juicy rumor, stating that Apple will get rid of the already impressive MagSafe connector, replacing it with a new charging technology that has never been used on any Mac to date. I'm hoping we see wireless charging, but I won't be holding my breath. Lastly, Apple will reportedly replace the standard USB ports on the new 2015 Retina MacBook Air with the new reversible USB Type C ports. The company should offer the new MBA in various color options, sometime in mid 2015.