Monday, July 12, 2010

WOF: How many email accounts do you use?

I regularly use four separate accounts. Besides the standard personal and work addresses, I have an ancient account that's dedicated to things like registrations, purchases and subscriptions, while another is solely for times when I'm not comfortable giving out the others. All of them are funneled through a single Gmail inbox, which makes it easy to keep tabs on everything.

According to recent stats (PDF) published by The Radicati Group, the number of worldwide email accounts is expected to increase from 2.9 billion in 2010 to over 3.8 billion by 2014, with around 75% belonging to consumers and 25% being corporate. Unsurprisingly, the report also suggests that the average user has about two addresses. While that's entirely plausible, we have a hunch you aren't the "average user" – right?

What about you? How many accounts are you actively using and do you prefer checking them through a Web interface or a desktop client like Outlook? There's a poll eagerly awaiting your mouse click after the break, but don't be afraid to leave a comment, too.

GeForce GTX 460 performance, price detailed

If you still had any doubts about its existence, however, now you can catch a glimpse of two actual products expected to debut in the coming days along with some press slides detailing their performance. There's not much that hasn't been detailed about Nvidia's upcoming mid-range Fermi card already. Leaks have been trickling in from multiple sources since April and by now we know the GeForce GTX 460 will be based on a cut-down revision of the GF100 chip, dubbed GF104, and that it will come in two versions -- one with 768MB GDDR5 and a 192-bit memory and a slightly more expensive version that will carry 1GB of memory and a 256-bit memory interface.

The information was posted by a forum member at Expreview and depicts Gigabyte's GTX 460 as slightly faster than a "generic" HD 5830 in most tests, while remaining a bit slower than the GTX 465. The slides refer to the performance of a reference design GTX 460 with stock frequencies at 675MHz, 3600MHz and 1350MHz for the GPU, memory and shader clocks respectively.

The price is $199 for the 768 MB variant and between $229-239 for the 1GB model, which is rather aggressive for a card that is expected to outperform the $220 Radeon HD 5830. For its part, MSI has a non-reference card in the works which will feature a Cyclone Cooler and should come factory overclocked to 725MHz for the GPU and 1450MHz for shaders. There's no word on pricing for this model yet and a 1GB variant hasn't been confirmed either.

Microsoft Xbox Live revenue estimated to top $1 billion

Microsoft itself has been mum about specific sales figures, but the math seems about right: the financial news outfit simply multiplied the number of users Microsoft admits paid the annual Xbox Live fee -- about 12.5 million -- by the average price of $50 and came up with $625 million.

They then took Xbox chief operating officer Dennis Durkin's remark at E3 that sales of downloadable content topped subscription revenue for the first time and you have a total upwards of $1.25 billion.

comparison, the company is estimated to have raked in $800 million a year earlier from Xbox Live. Microsoft's Xbox Live reportedly closed a record sales year for fiscal 2010, which ended June 30. According to estimates published by Bloomberg recently, the premium gaming service over this last year managed to break the $1 billion dollar mark collectively through subscriptions, movie and TV show sales, and other downloadable content.

With Microsoft making such a hefty sum from their hybrid subscriptions + virtual goods model it's no surprise rival Sony has taken notice and followed suit. Its PlayStation Network service has offered free multiplayer gaming to all console owners since the beginning, but at its E3 press conference last month, the company announced a new subscription plan dubbed PlayStation Plus offering premium content and services for a yearly $50 fee. Online revenue is crucial for both companies because sales of consoles themselves barely make up for the cost of building the hardware.

Tech Tip of the Week: Buying a Budget PC: DIY vs. OEM

We are taking another look at the market, but this time focusing on sub-$500 desktops as we compare our Budget Box with two similarly outfitted machines from Dell and HP.

Before getting started, we have to admit that going into this we thought our Budget Box would have a hard time competing with the subsidized bloatware-infested desktops peddled by massive system builders. As it turns out, that's not the case at all.

In a previous article, we compared the value of pre-assembled, performance-grade desktops from popular vendors to the DIY Enthusiast's PC recommended in our buying guide. That research left us with the same conclusion hardware buffs have harped on for years: getting your hands dirty results in cash savings as well as some higher quality components.

Hitachi unveils LifeStudio external storage solutions

All of the media is then displayed on a "3D visual wall" that should make it easier to find and organize files. The software also allows users to access online TV from certain content providers, and can be set up to enable automatic backups. On top of all this, Hitachi is throwing in 3GB of online storage with every drive.

This can be bumped to 250GB for $49 per year and all the content will be accessible from anywhere through a browser or iOS app -- on both free and paid versions. Hitachi has unveiled a new range of external hard drives that do a little more than providing users with large storage capacities. Available in both desktop and mobile versions, the new LifeStudio drives come loaded with software from Cooliris to help users manage their "digital mess" by pulling together all of the videos, photos, music and documents it can find in local storage, as well as integrating photos from your Facebook, Flickr and Picasa accounts.

Besides software there are also some unique aspects to the series design. The Mobile range comes in 250GB, 320GB and 500GB capacity points with a detachable 2.5-inch drive that fits comfortably into the cradle, while on the desktop side there are 500GB, 1TB and 2TB variants.

There are 'Plus' models for the larger two capacities in each class, featuring a USB stick magnetically mounted on a docking station that can sync with the main drive to take your data on the road.The USB stick is essentially a microSD reader and comes with a 4GB microSD card as its storage, but you can change this card to upgrade the storage to up to 32GB. Other than these features, the LifeStudio family comes pre-formatted using the FAT32 file system out of the box to fully support both PCs and Macs and connects to your system via a USB 2.0 interface -- there's no support for USB 3.0, eSATA or FireWire, unfortunately. Both the desktop and mobile solutions are available now ranging in price from $80 to $220, depending on features and storage capacity.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Latest in Smartphones: Third Quarter 2010

Whether you are focused on business and productivity, or are looking for something designed with multimedia and entertainment in mind, there are so many new smartphones being released week in and week out that it's hard to keep track of what's hot anymore.

Since hardware exclusivity agreements are all too common these days, it's possible the phone you want won't be available on the network you're on. Nevertheless, we've compiled a list with some of the best options currently out there and a quick glance of what's coming soon. Our selection covers every major U.S. carrier and lists devices according to their release date.

From phones in the Palm and BlackBerry catalogs that emphasize push connectivity and QWERTY keyboards for easier typing, to the popular iPhone and the latest breed of Android-powered devices that have flooded the market as of late, with its sheer number of available apps that can greatly extend the phones' functionality.

Mozilla officially releases Firefox 4 Beta 1

For a more in-depth rundown of the latest build, have a look at the online release notes – or just download it now and see the changes firsthand. Oh, and be sure to share your thoughts in the comments. Like us, we know many of you are pulling for Firefox 4's success, because things just haven't been right performance-wise since version 3.5.

•New Add-Ons Manager: gives you more space to manage your Add-Ons, Themes and Plugins. Customizing your browser has never been easier!
•HD Video: Watch hardware-accelerated, super-smooth, HD-quality HTML5 video on YouTube using the new WebM format.
•Privacy improvements: Mozilla always puts privacy first, and this latest beta fixes flaws in some Web standards that could expose your browser history.
•Crash Protection: Experience uninterrupted browsing (now available on all platforms) – when a plugin crashes or freezes, you can resume browsing by simply refreshing the page.
•Performance: We know that performance is important. In this version, we focused on improving responsiveness at start-up and during page loads. This is just the beginning for performance improvements in Firefox 4.

Mozilla has officially released the first of what will be many betas for Firefox 4. The organization published the Firefox 4 Beta 1 candidate build just last week, so if you are already running that version, this probably won't bring any significant changes. Anyone running the current stable build (3.6.6) is in for a surprise, though. Here are some of Firefox 4's highlights:

Aluminum-clad Asus netbooks pop up for preorder

The aluminum-body Asus netbooks that leaked back in March are finally circling the landing strip. All three are available for preorder via online retailer Excaliber PC with an estimated ship date of July 29.

The Eee PC 1015PED is the least expensive at $349 and features a 10.1-inch 1024x600 display, a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N455 processor, 1GB of DDR3 RAM, 250GB of storage, 802.11n and Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity, a six-cell battery with up to 10 hours of life, and Windows 7 Starter.The pricier systems don't deviate far from that course. The 1018P has a gig of DDR2 RAM instead of DDR3 and drops from a 48W/h battery to 44W/h. In it's favor, the system packs a trio of USB 3.0 ports and it's a third of a pound lighter in the same form factor (2.43lbs versus 2.76lbs). Meanwhile, the 1016P drops the USB 3.0 ports and picks up 2GB of DDR3 RAM, Windows 7 Professional, the heftier 48W/h battery, and weighs the most at 2.81lbs.

Blizzard forums to display users' real names

Real ID is a feature of the new service that allows players to communicate with each other over different servers and games. The change will reportedly promote constructive conversations and help the Blizzard community connect in ways that weren't possible before. But this could also alienate many good forum users who simply don't feel comfortable linking their comments to their real identities -- thus bringing forum participation down.

While this is a departure from the more traditional approach of assigning forum moderators to make sure the conversation remains civilized and on-topic, it's certainly not the first time something like this has been attempted to cut down on trolling. Several high profile blogs and newspapers have opted to turn off comments altogether, while others, like the Wall Street Journal in particular, currently require commenters to use their real names.

Blizzard Entertainment will be making a major change to its forums later this month. Starting with the launch of the new StarCraft II community site before the game's launch on July 27, anyone posting or replying to a post on official Blizzard forums will be doing so using their Real ID -- which is the first and last name on each user's account. Although some may see it as an invasion of their privacy, the idea, according to the developer, is to remove the veil of anonymity typical to online dialogue which often leads to "flame wars, trolling and other unpleasantness."

Sure, there could be some privacy concerns involved, but then again you always have the option of staying out of the conversation. What do you think? Will Blizzard's move really bring players together and encourage thoughtful dialogue between them or will this simply make the forum quieter and more inhibited?

White PS3 Slim hits Japan in July, Move bundles announced

With the Xbox 360 recently going 'slim' and swapping its original white color to black, Sony has decided to do just the opposite and announced a white version of its console. The new PlayStation 3 hardware will be launched in Japan on July 29 and will bring with it an expansion in the hard drive sizes offered -- rather than 120GB and 250GB models, the PlayStation 3 Slim will be available with 160GB or 320GB capacities.

The official launch lineup is comprised of almost entirely Sony-published titles -- EyePet, Sports Champion, Beat Sketch, among others and will be followed by several third party games later in November, December and into 2011. Current owners of Resident Evil Gold Edition will also be able to upgrade to motion control support via a free update that's scheduled for release in mid September -- a pack with the game, camera and controller will also be available.

The 160GB hard drive model will cost approximately $340 while the larger, 320GB version which can also be ordered in black will cost $400. Sony has not yet announced any plans to update its product line with the larger hard drive sizes or new color option outside of Japan, but a worldwide launch is possible depending on public demand. The company also provided an updated list with Move's upcoming software lineup and hardware bundles for the motion-controller.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Massive Hurt Locker lawsuit doesn't deter pirates

The firm then issues an ultimatum to the alleged pirates, who can settle for a set fee and make the problem go away, or they can risk being taken to court for $150,000, on top of legal costs. Revenue pulled in from the settlements is split with filmmakers.

This practice went mostly unnoticed for months until May, when an estimated 5,000 people were accused of downloading The Hurt Locker. Despite being the most influential and prominent case so far, attracting tons of publicity, the folks at TorrentFreak say it hasn't had any impact. Between the period of January and May, a group of lawyers calling themselves the US Copyright Group partnered with a number of small-time filmmakers to sue over 14,000 people suspected of illegally downloading movies. It may not sound like a lot (it's nothing compared to the number of people actively pirating) but by comparison the RIAA targeted 18,000 file sharers over the span of five years.

The site reports that the movie was downloaded just over 200,000 times in June, putting it in the top 25 most downloaded movies of the month – only a few percentage points lower than the previous month About 23% of those downloads are US-based, where the legal action is taking place.

For those unfamiliar with the story, the group leverages technology designed by a company called GuardaLey, which logs the IP address of those sharing a specific item over BitTorrent. Once collected, they get a court to force ISPs to reveal the account holders behind the IP addresses. TorrentFreak's stats are entirely open to interpretation, but the numbers at least partially suggest that people aren't deterred by the increased risks involved with downloading The Hurt Locker. Naturally, it could also mean they were simply unaware. What's your take on the matter?

Samsung's new Q-series notebooks headed to the US

Both the flagship 15.6-incher and mid-sized model are outfitted with an Nvidia GeForce GT 330M graphics chip and are mostly identical apart from size. The Q330 has 3GB of RAM, a GeForce 310M and appears to be the only one with Nvidia's Optimus graphics switching solution. Systems weigh between 1.97 and 2.39kg and they all have around 6 to 7 hours of plug-free usage.

Previously announced for the UK, Samsung has confirmed that its three new Q-series notebooks, the 13.3-inch Q330, 14-inch Q430 and 15.6-inch Q530, will also reach international markets. All of the systems are geared toward multimedia playback and feature LED-backlit 1366x768 displays, Intel Core i3 and i5 processors (2.13GHz to 2.4GHz), up to 4GB of RAM, 320 to 500GB of storage, and Bluetooth 3.0.

Pricing is expected to start at £599 (the equivalent of about $900), and units should be in stock at some point this month. It seems Best Buy already has a version of the Q430 available for $800, although it features a GeForce 310M instead of the GT 330M that's mentioned in Samsung's press release

PC users dropping fixed connections for mobile broadband

The number of HSPA/LTE-connected PCs grew to 25 million during 2009, a 71% increase on-year, and Berg believes the adoption rate of mobile broadband in PCs will continue at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.6% to 81 million by 2015.

Meanwhile, the North American market is evolving at a slower pace, with mobile broadband accounting for 7.1% of the total number of connections. The region should grow at a CAGR of 34.8% to 34 million subscribers over the next five years. That figure is bound to rise as the number notebooks increasingly feature embedded mobile broadband connectivity. Around 5% of notebooks in Europe and North America were WWAN-equipped last year, and that's predicted to reach 45% in five years.

With mobile Internet usage skyrocketing, Berg Insight analysts expect an increasing number of people will replace their fixed PC connections with mobile broadband solutions. The firm reports that HSPA/LTE accounted for 17.3% of all broadband connections in Europe toward the end of last year. Austria is said to be the most advanced mobile broadband market, with a 15% penetration. Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Ireland and Portugal aren't far behind with penetration rates above 10%, while Belgium, Netherlands, and Greece are under 3%

Intel to revamp its CPU lineup, new 6-core part due mid-July

A Core i5 760 with two cores clocked at 2.9GHz will also be released, priced at $205, alongside a lower powered Core i5 870s with a selling price of $351. Finally, rounding off the revamp, Intel will deliver the Core i3 560 in August priced at $138 in thousand-unit quantities. Further models to be introduced in August include two Pentium and a Celeron processor, while the company will also be dropping its prices across several models.

Intel is preparing to revamp its range of Core i processors with the launch of four new models over the next few weeks. According to DigiTimes, the chip giant will kick off its new introductions in mid-July with the hexa-core Core i7 970, priced at $885 in thousand-unit quantities, or about $115 less than the range-topping Core i7 980X. The new six core part will reportedly run at 3.2GHz and sport a total 12MB of L2 cache.

Among the highlights for the cuts are the Core i3 540 and Core i3 530, which will drop to $117 in mid-July and mid-October, respectively, and the Core i7 950 which is rumored to be falling dramatically from $562 to $294 in August. That model runs at 3.06GHz and is part of Intel's high end LGA 1366 platform

AMD to increase top Athlon II X2, X4 speeds by 100MHz

Fudzilla reports that AMD is preparing to offload two speedier dual and quad-core processors, one being Regor-based while the other is Propus-based.

The Athlon II X2 265 will boost the range's maximum frequency to 3.3GHz, with other specs remaining identical to the existing 3.2GHz X2 260, such as a 65W TDP. The 265 is expected to arrive in time for the back-to-school period, probably in August.

The second processor is an Athlon II X4 645, which comes in an AM3 package, supports DDR3 1333MHz, and has a clock frequency of 3.1GHz – a 100MHz boost over the current X4 640. It should stick with the same 95W envelope and is also due in the third quarter, although no specific month has been cited.

Although these are only minor improvements on existing products, AMD is preparing a larger rollout toward the end of this year and into 2011 which will include the long awaited CPU/GPU Fusion chips

Apple iTunes accounts hacked, used to cheat ranking system

Apple has not officially responded to the problems, but Nguyen's apps have now disappeared from the App Store. We're not sure whether Apple decided to shut down the operation or the seller pulled the apps himself after the story blew up. Even more worrisome is the fact that this doesn't seem to be an isolated incident -- reports are now emerging about alleged "App Farms" in iTunes being used to scam users out of their money,

including one developer who hands out around 45 games for free (many of them clones that only differ by the number of "points" they offer), and then uses in-game points purchases costing upwards of $150 to make their money.

A rogue Vietnamese developer reportedly hacked into iTunes accounts and used them to purchase his book apps, thus artificially boosting their ratings and sales in Apple's App Store. Both The Next Web and Engadget covered the story over the weekend and noted that, at one point, the high volume of sales propelled Nguyen's apps to take over 40 of the top 50 book app slots in the store. According to The Next Web, up to $1400 has been spent on some users' accounts.

With over 100 million active iTunes accounts to date this is a serious matter. It's unclear at this point how the hackers got their hands on the iTunes account passwords, whether by employing phishing scams or through a vulnerability in Apple's system. Either way, it wouldn't be a bad idea to keep an eye on your account for any suspicious activity and make sure you are using a strong password

Cooler Master giving away gold PC hardware

To promote the launch of its recently launched Silent Pro Gold power supplies, Cooler Master is giving away various PC hardware products, including a special edition of the HAF X full tower chassis. There are two ways to partake in the event:

you can participate in social networking-related "games" for opportunity to win three standard prizes or purchase a qualifying Cooler Master product and enter its serial number for a shot at three "exclusive" prizes. One person will win the HAF X Gold chassis, a V6 CPU cooler, a 64GB SSD, and a "gold medallion," three people will win a "gold coin" and a V6, and 30 people have a chance at a 4GB golden flash drive. The exclusive prizes are similar, but upgraded. One person can win the HAF X Gold, a V6GT, a GTX480 and a gold medallion, three people will get a V6GT and a gold coin, while 10 participants will win an 8GB golden flash drive. For more details, head over to the contest site

Monday, July 5, 2010

Lenovo: We are lucky Apple doesn’t care about China

Most recently Lenovo's Chairman Liu Chuanzhi was caught saying they are lucky "Steve Jobs has such a bad temper and doesn’t care about China." Despite its current PC-centric focus, earlier this year Lenovo's management claimed that mobile devices would account for 80% of Lenovo's sales in five years.

Although this would also include their notebooks and upcoming tablet devices, right now they are pushing the LePhone, an Android powered smartphone that targets the iPhone and other competing devices. According to Chuanzhi, Apple is missing out by not putting the necessary effort in understanding the Chinese consumer, which in turn they see as an opportunity to become the brand that will drive consumer desire in the growing sector.

The first time you heard about Lenovo was probably when IBM's PC division was getting acquired by the Chinese manufacturer in 2004. By then Lenovo was already China's number one computer maker. The move cost them almost $2 billion, but that bought them a household name with worldwide recognition, as they continue to do by selling ThinkPad laptops under the Lenovo brand.

Lenovo has suffered the same kind of setbacks as everyone else in the slowing computer market, taking the losing end on the battle among major manufacturers like Acer, Dell and HP. However the company continues to strive in China, where it accounts for about 30 percent of the home PC market.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Archos 7 review

The Archos 7 Home Tablet is an inexpensive Android tablet meant for people who want to access media like video, audio, images, email and web content, but don't have high performance expectations. Aided by the easy-to-use Android 1.5 operating system, I found that the Archos 7 performed these tasks relatively well, but I had trouble navigating to, and controlling, these applications using the device's touchscreen.

The Archos 7 is the big brother to the earlier Archos 5, and while the screen is bigger, I could find little else to call an improvement over the earlier device. The Archos 7 still has the same 480-by-800 screen resolution, and the user interface looks and feels very similar to the earlier device. Connectivity is Wi-Fi only (802.11 b/g), as before. You must still rely on the limited Archos AppsLib market instead of the bigger Android Market to get new apps for the device.


Bigger than a smartphone and smaller than a laptop, the Archos 7 is 8 inches wide, 4.2 inches tall, and 0.5 inch thick. It weighs 13.7 ounces (the Kindle is 10.2 ounces, the iPad is 24 ounces). The screen is 7 inches wide. On top of the device, you'll find the power switch and the micro SD card slot. The headphone jack, power connector, and USB port are located on the right-side edge (if you're facing the screen). On the back, you'll find the handy kickstand, for when you want to prop the Archos 7 up on a surface.

Questionable Battery Life

Archos says the device will play video continuously for 7 hours before the battery runs out. I became very skeptical of Archos's claim after I noted that a fully-charged battery became 30 percent depleted after watching video for about an hour. I'm also skeptical of the company's claim that the device can play music for 42 hours on one charge.

I also noticed that the Archos 7 had become surprisingly hot after that hour of watching video. This could be an issue with the battery, and could ultimately be harmless. But if I had just unboxed the device, it might be cause enough to worry about the longevity of my investment.

Media Playback Not Terrible

The 720p video I watched on the device didn't jump off the screen at me, but I found it watchable. As I viewed the animated video that comes preloaded on the device, the colors looked rich, and I could detect some dimensionality in the picture. On the other hand, the regular (not animated) 720p video I watched seemed a bit dull, and didn't have the sharpness and clarity I expect from true high definition video. The Archos 7 won't bring you a rich cinematic experience, but may work just fine if you are mainly interested in the content itself, not the quality of the content.

The audio amplifier in the device is a little better than expected. The quality of the audio I heard in the headphones wasn't stellar, but I heard sufficient bass and treble tones at sufficient volume to keep me listening. The external speakers (situated on either side of the touchscreen) were loud enough, but sounded small and plasticky, maybe okay for dialogue but not for music.

The widescreen on the Archos 7 proved good for looking at web content, especially news. I was able to see five of six of the columns at the New York Times Website. The text wasn't the sharpest I've ever seen, but it was readable. The full size images I saw at the New York Times displayed surprisingly well, with rich colors and decent image sharpness.

Transferring files onto the Archos 7 was straightforward. You just plug the supplied USB cable into your computer, then use Windows Explorer (PC) or Finder (Mac) to move files into the folders of your choice on the Archos 7. The device supports a fairly impressive array of media file types. Video files supported include AVI, FLV, H.264, MKV, MOV, and MP4. You can listen to AAC, APE, FLAC, MP3, OGG, WAV3 and WMA (non protected) in the audio player. As for images, BMP, GIF and JPEG images are supported.

It's a good thing transfers are that simple because the USB cable would be your lifeline for getting music or video onto the device, not the web. The Archos does not support Flash, so no YouTube and no Hulu. The Archos 7 has 8 gigabytes of onboard memory, and has a micro SDHC slot if you need more space.

Touchscreen Trouble

While the Archos 7 performed its core tasks reasonably well, the unresponsiveness and sluggishness of the device's touchscreen made it tough for me navigate to those apps, and to control them once I got there. The device has no Home, Menu or Back buttons, so you're stuck with the touchscreen for navigation.

When I touched a button, the screen did not register my touch in a surprisingly high percentage of pushes, and there is no capacitive touch that causes a small buzz on the screen to acknowledge your touch. It was necessary to press the buttons slowly and forthrightly, and I found myself needing to repeat touches far too often. This made typing on the onscreen keyboard difficult. So searching, composing email, or even just entering usernames and passwords became a bit of a headache.

The Archos 7's touchscreen does not allow multitouch gestures (like pulling two fingers together on the screen to zoom in). So while reading the news or looking at maps, I had to use the onscreen buttons in the browser to zoom in and out. My fingers encountered a lot of friction and drag when I slid them across the touchscreen, making it hard to reposition the media I was looking at.

When swiping my finger across the screen to move a slider, I had some trouble grabbing the slider, or having done that, I had trouble holding onto it long enough to get it to where I needed it to go on the screen. This was especially bad in the video app, when trying to drag the handle of the progress bar in the video controls. I succeeded in moving it in about one of ten tries.
Apps Limitations

The Archos 7 comes preloaded with the Aldiko eBook reader, the Daily Paper news aggregator, the Deezer web radio client and the eBuddy IM client. The bad news is that you can't hit the Android Market for new apps. You have to get them (some free, some for-pay) at the Archos-created AppsLib store. After browsing the store, I saw a lot of apps, but no popular ones like Pandora or Facebook. Visit the AppsLib market page and the Android Market page to compare for yourself.

Lenovo Mini Wireless Keyboard N5901

Plenty of wireless devices tout their plug-and-play functionality, but I was pleasantly surprised at how readily a range of test devices detected the N5901. It connected to desktops running Windows 7, Vista, and XP without a hitch. And after a moment of confusion when I attempted to use the N5901 on a MacBook Pro.I was up and running with it as well.

Most keyboards this small tend to be a bit painful to operate, but even for my oversized mitts, typing on the N5901 wasn't too much of a chore (physical mobile phone keyboards are smaller). Though touch typing is impractical on it, the keyboard, with its raised keys of uniform size, was wide enough to keep my hands from cramping, Still, it clearly isn't intended for chores more involved than search queries and occasional email messages.

Priced at £50, the N5901 is fairly attractive. The black and orange motif is simple and elegant, though the glossy finish is prone to picking up fingerprints. Despite being lightweight, it feels solid and should hold up well in even the most chaotic of living rooms. Power comes from a pair of AAA batteries, they didn't run down during my testing, but the lack of a battery indicator means that you should probably keep a few spares handy.

The N5901 is equally comfortable to hold with one hand or with two (for thumb-typing), but Lenovo's decision to replicate a full-size keyboard actually works against the device. The Menu key, for instance, or the pair of Control and Shift keys are handy when you're rattling out prose on a full-size keyboard, but they are a waste of space on something this compact.

The keyboard's lack of a shortcut to Windows Media Center is a glaring oversight in a device that's supposed to simplify the user's living-room PC experience. Instead, it offers a key whose sole function is to fire up the My Computer window. And since the device lacks any sort of software, you'll have to use a third party utility to reprogram that button to perform something. The N5901 does offer volume and playback controls, which continued to function properly even when I tested them on OSX.

Toshiba NB305 review

Both new Toshiba models are essentially the same, with the NB300 finished in gloss black and the Toshiba NB305 in textured white or brown. The casework is quite similar to the NB200, with rounded front edges a little sharper at the front, good click buttons and a generally stout build quality.There’s the same predictable running gear as everyone else’s netbook, such as low-res 1024x600 screen, 1GB RAM, three USB 2.0 ports, an SD card slot and VGA-only video output. The hard drive is now 250GB, while the screen keeps its reflective-gloss glare coating.

Wireless facilities on the Toshiba NB305 have been upgraded to 11n, although the budget Atheros AR9285 card is not a full-speed MIMO solution, so network speed will be lower than with a true 802.11n network adaptor.One of the USB ports supports Sleep-and-Charge, to power or charge a USB device when the Toshiba NB305 sleeps.The Toshiba NB305 and NB300 replace the older Toshiba NB200. We liked the NB200 – it offered just the same specification as other netbooks of the day, but had a solid-feeling chassis, nice professional keyboard and sensibly placed large click buttons. It also offered one of the longest battery lives of netbooks at the time, at around 8.5 hours.

The overall weight is almost the same at 1.3kg. You have to look inside to find the main material difference – a newer Intel Atom N450 processor with on-board graphics controller.This is indeed fractionally faster, since the Toshiba NB305 earned 33 points in WorldBench 6, where the NB200 finished with 30 points when running the same Windows 7 Starter operating system.

The battery is almost as generous at 61Wh energy capacity, and this combined with the slightly more efficient Intel chipset helped the Toshiba NB305 along to an outstanding run time of 11.5 hours (690 mins) in the MobileMark 2007 Productivity test.But somehow the Toshiba NB305 has lost some of the stand-out quality of its predecessor. First the keyboard picks up the trendy Scrabble tiles – but small ones that feel very toy-like in action. The top deck of the opened netbook, along with the entire underside, is plastic sprayed with silver paint. And the tubular screen hinge has fake chrome trim along its length.


Amazon Kindle for Android app review

To use this app you must first log in to your Amazon account. If you don't already have one, you need to leave the app and create an account in a Web browser, which is unfortunate; it's an indicator of poor design when the user must leave an app to take advantage of core functionality.

But wait, you're not ready to return to the app yet. First you need to configure your 1-Click settings, and then you can browse the Amazon catalog and select your book(s)--with your Web browser, not with the Android app. Boo, hiss!

You can create bookmarks as you go, and jump to a specific location in the text. Unfortunately, the locations don't correspond to print-version page numbers; they are local and specific to your Android device. And though the menu has an entry for Go To My Notes & Marks, the app gives you no way to make notes, and no method to sync your Android bookmarks between devices. You can't search the text, either.

When Amazon released its proprietary Kindle ereader, it transformed the publishing industry. Then the company delivered a version of its ereader for the iPhone. Now Android users get a slice of the e-book action with the new Kindle app for Android. This app allows you to access and read your purchased (or free) Kindle e-books on your Android smartphone, and it automatically bookmarks the page where you left off reading.

That last omission is a pity, because a search function would have been convenient for following along as your English class covers Great Expectations or one of the other expired-copyright classics of literature available for free on Amazon. In its current iteration, Kindle for Android provides a way to access and read your Kindle e-books, but it lacks key features and is awkward to set up.

HP EliteBook 8440p notebook review

It's easy to get caught up in the minutiae of a notebook's technical specifications, but a big part of buying a great laptop that suits you is getting one with the right design. And the HP EliteBook 8440p's is a ripper. It compares favourably with top-end business laptops from Dell and Lenovo.

The magnesium alloy chassis feels incredibly sturdy and looks wonderful. The LED-backlit screen is held in place by metal hinges, and the notebook has a latched closing system. Embedded in the bezel are a webcam and a keyboard light.The display has a nice matte finish. It doesn't have exceptional viewing angles, but images look crisp and clear.

It Might Get Loud

This already-classic 2008 jam session between U2's the Edge, Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, and the White Stripes' Jack White is best seen on Blu-ray [S+V EIC Mettler totally agrees!-MM], but we won't blame you if you can't resist the instant gratification of streaming it. The three players investigate each other's genres, learn each other's licks, and charm you with their humility and honesty

10 Great Music Documentaries Streaming on Netflix

In the heyday of Blockbuster, music documentaries and concert videos were tough to find unless you were willing to settle for musty oldies like the Three Tenors or musty newbies like Britney Spears. But the rise of video-streaming technology - and in particular, Netflix's Watch Instantly streaming service - has made music-video content of all types easier to access.

Whether you Watch Instantly through a computer; through Netflix-compatible Blu-ray Disc players, TV sets, videogame consoles, and streaming boxes; or even on an iPad, there's a ton of amazing stuff you can be watching in a matter of seconds at no additional cost beyond your monthly Netflix subscription fee. Picture quality ranges from decent to good and the sound is plain old stereo but the content is compelling enough that I doubt you'll be disappointed.

Here's 10 of the best music programs available through Netflix streaming. Don't wait forever to watch them, though. I couldn't list one of my top picks - New York Doll, a touching documentary about New York Dolls bassist Arthur "Killer" Kane - because it recently disappeared from the Watch Instantly listings, although it's still available on DVD.

15. 50 Cent: Bulletproof

This infamously shit-tastic action game was originally “denied classification” in Australia — a country who cover more than their fair share on this list. Due to the large amount of violence found in the title, the Office of Film and Literature Classification decided they would simply refuse to rate the game — effectively banning it from their shores.

While this is a fairly frequent move from the nation, it’s always shocking to see them do it over something comparatively mild. It’s not like this is Manhunt, or anything. As often happens, a Bowdlerized version was eventually produced for sale Down Under.

Collaborative Software Delivery

The Jazz Integration Architecture (JIA) is based on the industry initiatice called Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration (OSLC). At the center of the Jazz Integration Architecture is the Jazz Team Server (JTS). The JTS implements the Jazz Foundation Services described by the JIA, which enable groups of tools to work together. These services include user and project administration, security, collaboration, query, and other generic cross-tool capabilities. When installed, tools are associated and work in conjunction with a particular JTS.

■Jazz separates the implementation of tools from the definition of and access to the data. \
■Jazz federates data across independent databases using Internet protocols.
■Jazz can access and integrate data where it resides - Jazz does not need to import and export data between tools or repositories
■Jazz assumes an open, flexible, distributed data model.
■Jazz allows tools to be implemented in any Internet-aware programming language or platform.
■Jazz supports multiple client technologies.

IBM is working on an initiative to provide a framework that dynamically integrates and synchronizes people, processes and assets associated with software development projects. Jazz is an initiative to transform software delivery making it more collaborative, productive and transparent.

Jazz is being developed as an open intiative. More details on how to download and start using the jazz platform can be found here.

WOF: your browser homepage

In the beginning there was Yahoo, the ubiquitous homepage of choice for millions of Web users in the late 90s. Coming from an era when Web portals were hot properties and ISPs nearly forced you to use their own, many continue to devoutly rely on Yahoo as their start page to see what's new on the Internet and the world.

Over the years however many different options and trends have come and go on how to start your browsing sessions. From Google's simplistic search box approach to RSS-inspired personalized homepages like Netvibes and Pageflakes. Most recently social networks have elevated themselves as a source of breaking news and an effective way to connect with those around you. The browser itself has also impacted how you can start every session

While we certainly encourage you to add TechSpot to your shortlist of first things to see when you browse the Web every day, in this week's WOF we ask you, what's your browser homepage and why? If you want to throw a brief story on how you used to code your own homepage filled with your favorite links back in the day (I did!) you won't hear us complaining. Discuss

Witstech's $200 tablet dual boots Android 2.1, Windows CE

Since it runs both Android 2.1 and Windows CE 6.0 you'll have access to applications from Google's Android Marketplace as well as Microsoft exclusives like the Office Mobile suite It also has a 7-inch 800x480 LED-backlit touchscreen, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, optional GPS ($15), one accessible mini USB 2.0 port, along with support for popular audio and video formats including MP3, WAV, WMA, AVI, MPEG4, MPEG2, WMV, and H.264. Notably missing from the spec sheet is an accelerometer, so you probably have to adjust the screen orientation manually.

Sales are officially open on the Wistech A81-E tablet device, which dual boots Android 2.1 and Windows CE 6.0. Priced at a respectable $199.99 via MeriMobiles, the slate features a humble ARM Cortex A8-based 600MHz processor, 256MB of RAM, 2GB of built-in flash storage and support for up to a 16GB microSD card.

The tablet ships with a "free" protective case and a stylus, while a 4GB, 8GB and 16GB memory card can be thrown in for an extra $10.50, $18, and $40.

Asus intros netbook with dual-core Atom, Nvidia Ion

Those chips promise to play stutter-free 1080p video on the 1215N's own 1366x768 display as well as larger external screens via HDMI-out, such as an HDTV in your living room. The system also features a 250GB or 320GB hard drive and 500GB of Asus' WebStorage, as well as USB 3.0, Bluetooth 3.0 and 802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity.

Asus decided to mix things up this week by unveiling a new multimedia netbook on Facebook instead of the company's own website. The Eee PC 1215N is designed to let people consume media on the run, with key features including Intel's 1.8GHz dual-core Atom D525 processor, which is more commonly found in nettops, and Nvidia's Ion discrete graphics with Optimus graphics switching

Pre-installed apps include Asus Vibe, a "one-stop repository" for various applications, and LocaleMe, an application that leverages Microsoft's Bing map to pinpoint one's location and display information about local areas. Eee PC 1215N users will also receive a discount on Boingo's global Wi-Fi services. Pricing and availability is still unknown.

Microsoft readying a multi-touch Arc mouse

The device is listed with the product code RVF-00003 and has an MSRP of around $70 (the same as Apple's device), according to Long Zheng of istartedsomething. Zheng also notes that Microsoft registered the domain "" in March, which is currently redirecting to Bing – a common practice for the company's placeholder sites.

You may recall a project from late 2009 that Microsoft was calling Mouse 2.0. As part of that research, the company was working on designs for a prototype multitouch mouse – one of which is pictured above. That specific unit featured a curved design similar to the existing Arc models, and it used FTIR to track multiple contact points.

There's no telling if this is what's coming to market, but any new multitouch peripheral from Microsoft could bring some attention to development for native Windows touch applications, and we can't complain about that. A new product listing for what is being called the "Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse" has prompted speculation that the software giant may be whipping up a rival to Apple's Magic Mouse.

HP Mini 110, 210 HD quietly upgraded with new Atom CPUs

The Mini 110 starts at $280 and has a 10.1-inch 1024x600 LED-backlit display, 160GB or 250GB of storage, a webcam and mic, wireless n, optional mobile broadband, a three or six-cell battery, Windows XP SP3 or Windows 7 Starter. At a pricier $330 base, the Mini 210 HD adds a Broadcom Crystal HD accelerator, a 1366x768 display, an embedded GPS module with HP Navigator software, Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit, and more colors.

HP has quietly updated a couple of its netbooks today, adding newer Intel Atom chips and more. Both the HP Mini 110 and Mini 210 HD have received the 1.66GHz Atom N455 and the 1.83GHz N475 as processor options. Interestingly, the Mini 110 seems to be equipped with 1GB of DDR2 system memory (you can swap it for a 2GB stick on your own) instead of taking advantage of the new Atom's DDR3 support, while the Mini HD 210 lists 1GB or 2GB of DDR3 RAM.

Pixel Qi 3Qi netbook screen kits announced, sold out

We are not sure how many kits actually went on sale but it seems the company might have underestimated the demand. Just two days after the low-power 3Qi laptop displays were officially announced and went on sale, priced at $275, stock has reportedly run dry. Maker Sheds is taking pre-orders for the displays and says it expects to begin shipping more by the middle of next week.

The screens have been tested to work with Samsung's N130 and Lenovo's S10-2 netbooks. It's been roughly two years since startup Pixel Qi spun off from the OLPC project to work on new display technologies that would reduce power consumption to help extend the battery life of laptops. The company has been showing off the fruit of its labor on a few tech trade shows since last year, and while the technology may not be available built into any netbooks, e-readers or tablets just yet, yesterday Pixel Qi began offering a DIY upgrade kit for adventurous modders.

The magic behind Pixel Qi's 3Qi displays is that with a flip of a button you can go from a traditional high-resolution color display, to a backlight-disabled state which makes it perfectly visible outdoors. The company claims the screens can consume up to 80% less power in this reflective mode compared to conventional LCD screens, as the screen will only use power when the display changes, but will maintain the quick response time of an LCD display.

Ethernet cables to replace HDMI? Sony, others believe so

HDBaseT 1.0 has the bandwidth to support full HD 1080p video as well as stereoscopic 3D and 2Kx4K formats. It provides up to 10.2Gb/s (on par with HDMI 1.4) and can theoretically scale up to 20Gb/s. You can use it to get online as usual, but it can also pump up to 100W of electricity, enough juice to power a small HDTV or something like a DVR, and it can be used with cables up to 100 meters long.

An alliance of electronics manufacturers including Sony, Samsung, LG and Valens have designed a new technology that could soon replace HDMI – and you won't have to buy any new wires. Called HDBaseT (PDF), the standard uses the ubiquitous RJ45 connector and existing CAT5e/6 network cables to send video and audio signals, connect to a network, and even power devices remotely.

The companies backing HDBaseT believe it's "poised to become the unrivaled next-generation home networking transport." The specification will be available for licensing this year and products with embedded HDBaseT technology are expected to reach the market by the second half of 2010 with adoption gaining mass in 2011.

Over 10,000 XP machines attacked by unpatched vulnerability

The hole apparently lies in the Windows Help and Support Center software that is included with Windows XP. Attackers are using various methods to take advantage of the bug, and payloads vary greatly. Microsoft has released a list of some of the payloads detected so far. Most are Trojans, and you can find the list toward the end of this blog post.

To date, Microsoft believes over 10,000 separate machines have been attacked at least once by means of the flaw. Those systems are scattered all around the globe, with attacks logged in about 20 countries.

The largest number of attacks are taking place in Portugal and Russia – about ten times the global average (where the US sits), to be precise. Users of Windows XP may want to double down on security until Microsoft deals with a recently identified flaw (CVE-2010-1885). A Google engineer found the hole last month and at first, Microsoft said it only saw "legitimate researchers testing innocuous proof-of-concepts" – but it didn't take long for malicious hackers to prey on the vulnerability.

The company is working on a fix and may release an out-of-band patch, but until then, users can use a one-click Fix-It tool to disable the Help Center. You can also delete HPC manually by following the brief instructions posted under "Workarounds" on the Security Advisory page, and be sure to create a backup as directed.

According to the security advisory posted for CVE-2010-1885, Windows XP SP2 and SP3, Windows XP Professional x64 SP2, Windows Server 2003 SP2, Windows Server 2003 x64 SP2, and Windows Server 2003 with SP2 for Itanium-based systems are all affected. However, in the executive summary, Microsoft says Windows Server 2003 systems are not currently at risk.

Microsoft intros InstaLoad battery technology, forgoes polarity

Along with making life easier to consumers, Redmond believes InstaLoad could be handy in many industries, including law enforcement, military, construction, outdoor sporting, and camping. The technology is compatible with popular off-the-shelf disposable and rechargeable batteries in sizes such as CR123, AA, AAA, C or D.

Microsoft has announced a new battery technology called InstaLoad that lets users install batteries in any direction, without regard to polarity. "Never again will people have to squint to see battery installation diagrams - the device simply works regardless if the battery is installed positive-side-up or positive-side-down," the company said.

Two such companies are Duracell and flashlight-maker AE Light. There's no information on when we'll see InstaLoad used in products by those companies – or any others for that matter.

Microsoft is offering a royalty-free license program to suppliers and manufacturers of accessibility products for people with hearing, vision or learning disabilities. You can find more information on other licensing options in the press release. Third parties are supposedly "lining up to endorse the technology" for use in their own products.

Finland makes broadband Internet access a legal right

"Finland has worked hard to develop an information society and a couple of years ago we realised not everyone had access," she said. As much as 96% of the country's 5.2 million people are already online, leaving only about 4,000 homes that need to be connected in accordance with the new law.

By comparison, the UK government aims to provide 99% of its population with 2Mb/s speeds by 2012 (up from 73%) – although there's no law. Finland has become the first country in the world to grant citizens with the legal right to in-home broadband Internet. As of today, Finns have the right to access a 1Mb/s broadband connection, and the country plans to increase that to 100Mb/s by 2015.

Talking to the BBC, Finland's communication minister Suvi Linden explained that the Internet isn't just an entertainment medium, but is also a crucial part of an informed society. In the US, the FCC is pushing for a similar standard with its National Broadband Plan. Like Finland, the agency believes the Internet is a valuable resource and US citizens should have cheap, speedy access. In fact, the FCC expects the Internet to displace phones, TV and other conventional communication technologies. It hopes broadband Internet will exist in 90% of US homes over the next decade, compared to around 65% currently.

iPhone 4 users file class action suit against Apple and AT&T

Additionally, at least one resident of New Jersey and another of Massachusetts have filed similar independent lawsuits in California. There's no telling how far these cases will make it, as rumors suggest Apple may resolve the issue with a software update. Unfortunately, the company hasn't been especially forthcoming about the problem, based on alleged emails from Steve Jobs.
•General Negligence (Apple and AT&T)
•Defect in Design, Manufacture, and Assembly (Apple)
•Breach of Express Warranty (Apple)
•Breach of Implied Warranty for Merchantability (Apple and AT&T)
•Breach of Implied Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Purpose (Apple and AT&T)
•Deceptive Trade Practices (Apple and AT&T)
•Intentional Misrepresentation (Apple and AT&T)
•Negligent Misrepresentation (Apple and AT&T)
•Fraud by Concealment (Apple and AT&T)
Fed up with the iPhone 4's reception issues as well as a lack of support, a couple of early adopters filed a class action lawsuit in Maryland yesterday against Apple and AT&T. The suit focuses on the antenna design flaw that weakens signals and drops calls when a user's hand touches the small gap in the bezel on the left side of the phone. The various claims made in the case are listed below.

Some of Jobs' purported messages entirely deny the reception issues, while others imply that Apple is working on a solution. In the meantime, those affected can use a protective shell for the iPhone 4, which should prevent you from touching the problem area – or you can simply hold the phone differently.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

iBuyPower Crams Core i7-980x Extreme Edition Into Paladin Desktop Line

If you somehow held off on buying a core i7 rig as soon as they popped out last year, you're in luck -- and your poor Pentium II system is flat out of it. Just about everyone has updated their gaming desktop lines this week with an option to splurge on Intel's 3.33GHz (or more) Core i7-980x Extreme Edition processor, and iBuyPower is no diffrent. Said PC builder is now offering the chip within four of its Paladin desktop, and given that the stock clock speed is far too sluggish for your own greedy self, the Paladin XLC V3 ships in an overclocked configuration that promises a 30 percent boost in performance over the stock silicon.

The rigs also ship with 6GB or 12GB of DDR3 memory the latest and greatest ATI / NVIDIA graphics cards, an optional Blu-ray burner and a fresh copy of windows 7. The lowest-end rig gets going at $2,159, while the aforesaid XLC V3 will set you back $4,409; the whole gang is available to customize

BIS 3.0 Coming To North American BlackBerry Users

It seems almost too good to be true, but it looks like the era of usable Gmail integration on BlackBerry might finally be upon us. CrackBerry is citing information that BIS 3.0 will be rolled out to North American customers in the wee hours of Sunday, March 28, when most of us are in a peaceful slumber (a good thing, considering that data services will be mostly down during the four-hour window).

Out the gate, 3.0 will offer Gmail label creation and deletion when using the plug-in along with support for OpenDocument file types and WMA audio, but the real meat should come shortly thereafter as two-way synchronization of read status and send messages "will be added throughout the Spring 2010 by region." Technically, Spring starts today, so this could show up the moment BIS 3.0 goes live -- but given that we've waited literally years for this to happen, we're not getting our hopes up prematurely.

Official: Apple Now Offering iPhone Contract Free

We heard from 9 to 5 Mac that Apple was due to begin selling a contract-free variant of the iPhone in the near future "at list price." And guess what happened when we inquired to an Apple store? That's right folks -- you can now pick one up for $499 (3G), $599, or $699 (3GS). We've confirmed this info at no less than five stores, so you should be hearing the same massage at your local Appletorium. Given the current unfriendly climate between Apple and Google, this could be seen as nasty jab, though the devices are still carrier-locked to AT&T, so you are not being given much freedom... and it's certainly not much of a statement. In many parts of Europe (France and Poland, for example) you can pick up the carrier-unattached device (and we mean totally unlocked), but that doesn't appear to be the case here.

Update : It's looking like those initial reports of unlocked devices are inaccurate. It sounds like these devices are still locked to AT&T -- so you are just looking at an off contract pricing scheme. Which is also totally lame.
Update2: We're getting mixed reports on the unlock status of these phones. One store says yes to the unlock, while others are saying they're still AT&T-locked devices being sold off contract. We're digging for more info on this now, so stay tuned.

Hypersonic-PC Powers Down For The Last Time

In 1997, Hypersonic joined the like of Voodoo, Alienware and Falcon Northwest in the gamble that gamers would but what were then gut-wrenchingly expensive (think $10,000) custom PCs. Ten years later, it was gobbled up by memory manufacturer OCZ, and soon came to our attention for selling a chic, tiny, but somehow nicely specced 12.1-inch laptop.

Today, the company is no more. The Hypersonic website reads that the firm is no longer accepting orders, and Techgage -- speaking to OCZ's chief marketing office Alex Mei -- reports that while OCZ will honor all warranties, the company is ceasing marketing and sales support for the Hypersonic brand. Sad, yes, but at least it's one fewer temptation to lure us extreme gamers into bankruptcy.

'The Panel' Rechargeable LED Monitor Sentences You To Productive Life

It would let me set up shop at that post cafe down the street." That's how justified your laptop purchase -- but as you sat, gently sipping your macchiato, you realized it would never work without your decidedly non-portable 24-inch Cinema Display's extra real estate.

We have been there many a time, and apparently so has start up named MEDL Technology, which has just finished prototyping the answer to our telecommuting (and portable gaming) woes. Going above and beyond the average, tiny secondary display, "The Panel" is an honest-to-goodness 13.3-inch LED-backlit monitor that's less than an inch thick, but packs incredible connectivity (DVI, VGA, Component, S-Video, mini-HDMI and USB) in addition to a sweet folding stand and up to five hours of rechargeable battery life.

MEDL told us that should they secure funding, the firm's looking to launch The Panel in Q4 2010, and is hoping to first swat business users with a sub-$350 price point. To work surrounded by coffee -- without being employed by Starbucks -- that's a small price to pay.

Samsung's ST5000 And WiFi-infused ST5500 Digicams Emerge In Korea

How's a company to follow-up on a point-and-shoot camera with two LCDs? Why, by tossing out a new one with integrated WiFi, of course! Originally teased last month, Samsung has gone ahead and rightfully introduced its new ST5000 and ST5500 over in South Korea, both of which tout 14.2 megapixel sensors, a 7x optical zoom and your choice of black or orange color schemes. The ST5000 gets gifted with a 3.5-incher rear touchscreen, while the ST5500 steps it up ever-so-slightly with a 3.7-inch AMOLED panel.

The both of 'em can handle 720p movies at 30fps (h.264 format), and the HDMI output ensures that these will easily pipe footage to your nearby television. If you're looking for built-in wireless for uploading or emailing pictures sans a PC, you'll need to focus on the ST5500, but most every other internal feature on the big boy is also on the lesser guy.

These seem to be headed out to South Korean shops as we speak, and we know that they'll be landing within the next month over in Britain for £279.99 ($417) and £349.99 ($521), respectively. As for you Yanks? Be patient, we guess.

Samsung's R30 and R80 Touch Of Color Laptops Now On Sale

Plain they are not, and Samsung's Touch of Color laptops that were launched at the tail-end of CES this year have finally begun to ship. As of now, the Core 2 Duo-equipped R430, Core i3-packing' R480, and Core i5-based R580 / R780 are all on sale at Best Buy, with prices ranging from $629.99 to $829.99 The whole lot seems to be available for shipping or direct pickup, so give that source link a look to figure out which configuration fits you best. Or don't no pressure.

Fan-made Pre Ad Gets The Point, Why Can't Palm (video)

We've already talked (at length) about Palm's failure to properly present its wares to the public. Using promotional campaigns that have fluctuated between gimmicky and creepy, the company has never allowed its superlative WebOS its time to shine. As if to illustrate our point to perfection, a loyal Pre user has put together his own, extremely professional, advert for the device, which manages to achieve -- in a mere 30 seconds -- what Palm has been strugging with for nearly a year.

It show off the handsome device, the effortless multitasking, the variety of apps, integrated service and video capabilities, and, most importantly, emphasizes the sheer beauty and ease of use of WebOS. See the video after the break.

Poker Surface Beutifully weds multitouch table, cellphone interaction and illicit gambling

It's the first poker table we've seem since the enviable x10 surfaced in 2008 that would fit appropriately in the new Aria (read: Vegas 2.0), and given that we just left the halls of CTIA ourselves, we couldn't be drooling any more heavily over this georgeous creation. Designed and built by students at the university of Duisburg-Essen, the Poker Surface magically combines a multitouch surface with an interactive mobile application that enables users to see their cards when they tilt the phone upwards towards their face.

Then, users can complete a play by sliding in their bet(s) and flipping their hand once they're all-in. There's no word on when (or if) this gambler's dream will be available for shipment to man caves everywhere, but you owe it to yourself to peek the video after the break, regardless.

Acer Aspire Ethos 8943G and TimelineX 3820T, 4820T, 5820T

The Ethos 8943G, pictured above, is described as a more affordable alternative alternative (at "half the price") to the ASUS NX90, packing a touchscreen-like trackpad for media control, a sturdy chiclet keyboard and an 18.4-inch full HD screen with decent viewing angle.

As for the TimelineX trio, Electricpig praises the brushed aluminum lids and the grip on the closed 13.3-inch model, but the meat lies in the the 12-hour battery life -- this is the same as the previous line-up, even though WiFi usage is included and the CPUs are now more powerful. If you fancy something more portable, word has it that the 11.6-inch TimelineX 1830T -- a no-show today -- will be out towards the end of june, otherwise the TimelineX trio can be yours from £599.99 ($909) in May, and the Ethos for £1,099.99 ($1,666) in June. Until then, gorge yourselves on the photos at the source links.

Oh, what a gloomy morning it's been in London, but that didn't stop Electricpig from attending Acer's UK launch event for its voguish Aspire Ethos and power-sipping TimelineX laptops.

PeWee PC loses the stylus, gains average netbook status

Previously on Computers Designed For Children, protagonist PeeWee PC introduced us to its creation, the Pivot Laptop a cute little netvertible with childish specs -- but a $600 price that set it well out of reach of the average piggy bank. One year later, PeeWee has matured, but not necessarily for the better.

For $100 less, the new PeeWee Power Laptop sports the same carry handle and kid-friendly construction as its predecessor (though with a faster 1.6GHz Atom N4 50 processor, mind you), but completely ditches the tablet PC functionality. Without a stylus or touchscreen for kids on which to express their creativity (read: color outside of the lines), we're not quite sure of the point. In truth, the power Laptop is neither laptop nor powerful -- merely a kid-friendly netbook at an adult price point. But hey, it's got a carry handle!

iPad apps: defining experiences from the first wave

There are now over 1,348 approved apps for the iPad. That's on top of the 150,000 iPad-compatible iPhone programs already available in the App Store. When Apple's tablet PC launches, just hours from now, it will have a software library greater than that of any handheld in history -- not counting the occasional UMPC. That said, the vast majority of even those 1,348 iPad apps are not original. They were designed for the iPhone, a device with a comparatively pokey processor and a tiny screen, and most have just been tweaked slightly, upped in price and given an "HD" suffix -- as if that somehow justified the increased cost.

Besides, we've seen the amazing potential programs have on iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and webOS given access to a touchscreen, always-on data connection, GPS, cloud storage and WiFi -- but where are the apps that truly define iPad? what will take advantage of its extra headroom, new UI paradigms and mutitouch real estate? Caught between netbook and smartphone, what does the iPad do that the iPhone cannot? After spending hours digging through the web and new iPad section of the App store, we believe we have a number of reasonably compelling answers.

Update: Now includes Wormhole Remote, TweetDeck, SkyGrid, Touchgrind HD, GoToMeeting, SplitBrowser, iDisplay, Geometry Wars and Drawing Pad