You won’t find Lenovo calling the $499 ThinkPad X100e a netbook, but at first glance you can’t avoid thinking that’s exactly what it is. From the outside it looks like a shrunken ThinkPad T series, though its matte lid is available in both traditional black and red. Yes, you heard it: a ThinkPad in red. The 11.6 inch screen gives it a wider body than most 10 inchers, yet Lenovo has managed to fit the same gratifying, chiclet keyboard as the ThinkPad Edge 13. And even despite the limited deck real estate there’s a good old red pointing stick and a nice sized touchpad. So, why not just call it a netbook? Well, that’d be because it has stronger performance parts than the typical Intel Atom CPU. Instead it’s one of the first ThinkPads to have AMD processor options, including single and dual core Althon Neo and dual core Turion processors. In our brief hands-on we couldn’t gauge much on performance or battery life (though it does have a protruding six-cell on the back), but in the meantime you will have to feast your eyes on the gallery below and hold tight for our full review.
Sure, you may scoff at a television designed especially for seniors, but we think members of the Greatest Generation deserve a little high definition in their golden years, and thankfully so does TV Ears. The company, which produces those wireless headsets you see advertised during The Price is Right, will soon be introducing the TV Ears TV, a 32-inch LCD with an integrated transmitter, meaning fewer confusing wires, doo-dads, whatsits, and thingamabobs. The set ships with a specially designed remote control (featuring a grand total of six buttons) and will turn itself off after four hours of inactivity, saving power when the user dozes off — or falls and can’t get up. The set will be available in March for $1,199 and, before you cry foul at the 300% markup over comparable youth-friendly sets, know that the price also includes delivery, installation, and a toll-free support number. Not having to be grandma’s personal television tech support? That’s the greatest gift of all.
Spracht. It’s probably not a company name you’re intimately familiar with, but as with Jawbone, we’re fully expecting it to become a mainstay in the Bluetooth earpiece sector after this unveiling. The Aura EQ earset is one of the wildest BT devices we’ve seen to date, boasting a slick, almost futuristic design and a smattering of features that are startlingly unique. For starters, it ships with twin switchable, focusable microphones, and if its ability to pair with up to eight phones doesn’t bowl you over, maybe the built-in six-band equalizer will. Essentially, this headset will amplify and equalize the voice of whoever is speaking, which compensates for volume loss in certain ranges when communicating on a windy day or over a lackluster connection. Finally, exterior touts a capacitive volume control: simply slide your finger up or down the base, and the volume increases or decreases. No knobs or minuscule rocker switches to fuddle with. You’ll be able to check this out worldwide in March for around $79 (estimated street price).
You may be able to get your iPhones and iPod Touches in 32GB flavors these days, but what’s an unlucky early adopter stuck with an 8GB model to do? Get an AirStash, maybe, a device that pledges to add wireless storage to those devices and, potentially, make internal storage constraints a thing of the past. It looks like an oversized thumb drive, with a USB plug on one end and an SD slot on the other. Charge it up, dump some content on that memory card, throw it in your pocket and, according to the manufacturer, you’ll be able to connect to it wirelessly from your handset — and your friends too, if you like. There are some obvious security concerns here but right now we’re going to completely ignore those because of the potential for greatness here, which we hope to see in the flesh in the next few days.
More concrete facts have emerged on Nokia’s complaint to the International Trade Commission about Apple. Finnish publication Taloussanomat reports that the complaint is nearly 50 pages long, and mentions several specific technologies as being stolen. These include the clickwheels on iPods, and the enlarged key icons seen when tapping on an iPhone or iPod touch’s virtual keyboard.
Other interface elements said to be copied from Nokia include highlights of web and e-mail links in messages, and the automatic shutoff of touchscreen controls when bringing a phone to the ear. Apple is also accused of breaking one patent on combining multiple camera functions on the same chip, and another relating to merging a speaker and an antenna. Both are connected in terms of space-saving measures.
Taloussanomat also reports that Nokia has plans to begin a second lawsuit against Apple, in addition to the one filed in October. The company must still contend with an Apple countersuit, which alleges that it has copied the iPhone because it cannot otherwise compete. While Nokia remains a dominant phone maker worldwide, it has lost smartphone share to companies like Apple and RIM.
We predicted it would happen, and it finally has: Internet Explorer 8 has surpassed IE6, easily the most hated version of Microsoft’s browser among the tech-savvy, after passing IE7 the month before that. At the time, we also predicted that Firefox’s steady gain would result in the browser passing the 25 percent mark in 2009, but alas, that will have to wait until sometime in 2010. Instead, Chrome was the big winner this past month, stealing third place away from Safari, while Opera remains in fifth place. In December 2009, only Safari and Chrome showed positive growth.
Between November and December, Internet Explorer dropped a significant 0.92 percentage points (from 63.61 percent to 62.69 percent) and Firefox dipped 0.11 percentage points (from 24.74 percent to 24.63 percent). Chrome jumped a sizeable 0.71 percentage points (from 3.92 percent to 4.63 percent), passing Safari, which moved up 0.10 percentage points (from 4.36 percent to 4.46 percent). Opera, on the other hand, kept steady at 2.31 percent, though as we reported last week, we expect big things from the little guy.
Chrome’s progress is certainly impressive: Google released its browser in December 2008, meaning that it only took a year for it to capture third place in the market. Looking back over this past year, it seems that Chrome is stealing users from Internet Explorer and Safari, surprising for those who thought Google would primarily steal Firefox users. Of course, this could still be happening, and Firefox could be simply stealing more users from Internet Explorer and Safari than it loses to Chrome. Based on accounts from our friends and families though, Chrome is getting looks from all camps.
Google struck a distribution deal with Sony in September 2009, and it will likely try to sign similar ones with other OEMs in 2010. Chrome is now in official beta for Mac and Linux and we think those versions look promising, but still need work. As the browser matures, Chrome’s market share growth is likely to continue.
From the chart above, you can see how Internet Explorer 8.0 continues to grow in market share, with it finally passing IE6. Internet Explorer 8 was released in March 2009, so it has taken Microsoft less than a year to push its latest version ahead of version 6 and version 7. While this is slow progress, it should nevertheless make a lot of Web developers very happy. Before the end of 2010, we’ll likely to see IE8 pass both IE7 and IE6 combined, though by that time we’ll probably also have an IE9 beta or two to play around with. Microsoft has said that it wouldn’t force its users to upgrade, but is touting IE8′s improved security in order to get IE6 and IE7 users upgrading.
You can see the market share pie for December 2009, according to Net Applications, at the top of this post. The graph just above shows how things at Ars are very different: Firefox continues to dominate, but the default browsers for Windows and Mac OS X still show their strength, and Chrome’s lead over Opera is much more significant at Ars. Compared to last month, IE gained share, while Firefox lost some. Safari dropped quite a bit, while Chrome and Opera gained. Chrome’s gain was particularly noticeable; given how it did worldwide, we’re not too surprised.
It’s not the previously rumored Tuesday, Jan. 26, but Digital Daily is claming a “source in a position to know” has told them:
Apple (AAPL) is indeed planning a media event later this month at which the company will announce a major new product.
Steve Jobs has “dented the universe” previously with the Apple II, Mac, iPod and iTunes, Pixar, and again with the iPhone. He’s reportedly been working on a new product, often referred to as “the tablet” (or iTablet) with special focus for the last while. Given how tightly integrated Apple is as a company, where Mac development enhances iPhone enriches iPod touch amps up Apple TV goes right back into the Mac, whether or not this new product is an iPhone, and iPhone HD, a new iPod, or the much-rumored iTablet, the services and technologies it brings with it will no doubt be reflected in iPhone 4.0 and whatever 4th generation iPhone comes later.
That’s why TiPb is following these stories with such interest. iTunes LP and iTunes Extras is a side note until it’s the foundation for new media on an iTablet and iPhone. The iTablet OS X is a tangent until iPhone HD uses its pixels to much the same effect.
And that’s why we’ll do our best to cover it for you up to Jan. 27, on that day, and thereafter. (Unless it’s only iLife ‘10, in which case we’ll blog it and move on… )
Meanwhile, let us know what you think Apple will be announcing, and what you want them to announce, if different.
HP Middle East and Dubai Autism Centre announced today their new partnership to enable children with autism to use computer and internet technologies with HP’s unique TouchSmart technologies. The new range of TouchSmart products includes the HP Pavilion dv3 with TouchSmart, the HP TouchSmart600 PC and the HP TouchSmpart300 PC. HP Middle East will donate some of these TouchSmart products to the Dubai Autism Center to enable and educate children with Autism through touch technology.
All three products feature HP TouchSmart 3.0 software – HP’s latest touch suite that includes new applications – TouchSmart Canvas for organising and editing photos with touch gestures and TouchSmart Live TV for not only watching television broadcasts but recording and pausing live TV and getting detailed information on programs using the electronic guide.
HP TouchSmart 3.0 software boasts new visuals and personalisation, new interaction and improved applications, the software further delivers touch capabilities and an intuitive interactive experience to customers. Customers with previous TouchSmart PC models will soon be able to receive a software download with some of these new exclusive touch applications that include new visuals, personalisation of tile colours and backgrounds, interactive tiles for quick access to all touch content, as well as enhanced core applications and new applications.
HP Pavilion dv3 with TouchSmart key features include, 13.3-inch diagonal LED touchscreen display, Core 2 Duo Intel processor, NVIDIA GeForce G105M graphics with 512MB dedicated video memory, as well as Windows® 7, Internal optical disk drive and matching slip case. It is available in a fresh new navy blue HP Imprint finish, Modern Vintage, the dv3 is the perfect size for touch interactions and designed for mobility.
HP TouchSmart PCs fits elegantly within the home; the swivel base, tilt webcam and wall mount capability provide customers with the flexibility to use and collaborate with this product in a wide range of locations in the home. HP TouchSmart600 key features include 23-inch 16:9 1080p full HD widescreen display, Intel® Core™ 2 Duo processor, NVIDIA® GeForce® graphics processor and up to 4GB memory and up to 1TB HDD. It also comes with Microsoft Windows® 7, Wi-fi and Bluetooth and Wireless keyboard and mouse.
HP TouchSmart300 key features include 20-inch 16:9 720p widescreen display, AMD Athlon™ dual- or triple-core processors, ATI Radeon™ HD graphics and up to 4GB memory and up to 500GB HDD. It also comes with Microsoft Windows® 7 and Wi-fi.
The Dubai Autism Center (DAC) this month, shall be receiving from HP some of these TouchSmart products, to help children with Autism participate in educational computing activities through the power of touch technology. HP will be teaming up with a software provider to provide further software that will allow optimal results. The Dubai Autism Center is a non profit organisation that provides information, support, advice and training to professionals and parents of children with Autism. Founded in November 2001DAC is focused on providing holistic intervention programs to children with Autism as well as spreading awareness about this serious disorder. The center relies on the help of companies like HP to continue its services to kids with Autism in Dubai.
Young startup Touchco revealed today that it has developed a new touchscreen technology that could add pressure sensitivity to multi-touch even as it drives the cost down. Known as Interpolating Force-Sensitive Resistance (IFSR), it uses embedded resistors that alter the level of capacitance, or stored electric charge, depending on the amount of pressure applied at a given point. The technique would still allow for the light, quick touches of a capacitive touchscreen like the iPhone’s but could add extra functions for more deliberate presses.
IFSR’s very nature would also allow much more complex input: where regular capacitive multi-touch is often limited to between 2 and 10 active input points at a time, the new development supports a theoretically unlimited number of inputs and could even use whole surfaces, such as the owner’s palms. It should also work better with inanimate objects and could ignore accidental input.
Cost is also relatively low: a whole square foot of the surface currently costs $10 and would cost less per unit if split into several pieces for smartphones or similarly-sized devices.
Unlike many technology-centric companies, Touchco plans a quick turnaround and should ship IFSR in both opaque and transparent forms for e-book readers, notebooks and even music purposes over the course of 2010. The most definitive example is an in-progress Disney digital sketchbook that would let children draw with either their fingers or a peripheral like a brush or pen. [via New York Times]
A recent patent application was brought to the public’s attention on Bnet. The patent lends people to believe that Google may begin using YouTube to host some sort of online games. Google’s patent, Web-Based System for Generation of Interactive Games Based on Digital Videos, was filed back in February, but was just published in December. The patent brings about the idea of interactive video clips that can contain link objects, which can be used to jump to specific parts of the video. This can sort of be understood like a DVD menu, where clicking on a certain choice will jump you to a certain scene of the movie.
Here’s the patent description:
“A video may have associated with it one or more annotations, which modify the appearance and/or behavior of a video as it was originally submitted to an online video hosting site. Some examples of annotations are graphical text box annotations, which display text at certain locations and certain times of the video, and pause annotations, which halt playback of the video at a specified time within the video. Some annotations, e.g. a graphical annotation (such as a text box annotation) comprising a link to a particular portion of a target video, are associated with a time of the target video, which can be either the video with which the annotation is associated, or a separate video. Selecting such annotations causes playback of the target video to begin at the associated time. Such annotations can be used to construct interactive games using videos, such as a game in which clicking on different portions of a video leads to different outcomes.”
As confusing as the above description is, it’s very hard to ignore the possibilities implied. The ability to create games that jump in and out of videos would be possible. Not only that, but one could even create a game by just recording video clips and setting anchors at specific points in the video, giving each choice in the game a unique outcome. Bnet points out that this has the potential to allow anyone with a video camera and a basic video editing program to create games.
It will be interesting to see if this patent actually gets put to use. Big companies patent things all the time, and many of those patents never see the light of day. YouTube Games. Interesting indeed.