Eventually, we’ll never leave our VR-enabled domiciles. But until that happens, we occasionally need to go outside – and Nvidia’s GeForce GT 10-series notebooks mean that when you do, you can at least take VR with you. The new 10-series GPUs for notebooks follow the 10-series desktop line launched earlier this year, which includes the GTX 1080, the first card by the company… Read More
Acer hit the stage a small event in the shadow of Manhattan’s One World Trade to show off some notebooks, notebooks and also some notebooks. Oh, and one more thing: notebooks, notebooks, and notebooks (also there were some notebooks). The star notebook amongst the notebooky notebooks is the company’s latest take on the Chromebook — the straightforwardly-named Chromebook 14… Read More
Intel has launched its Core M processor line at IFA 2014 this year, and is announcing a number of key launch partners that will be shipping Intel M-based convertible notebooks starting this holiday season. The new M chips allow users to build much thinner designs, since they’re incredibly energy-efficient and can run cool enough that they don’t require a heat-fighting fan in the… Read More
Google’s I/O developer conference is happening next week in San Francisco, and one of the big questions around what we’ll see there includes hardware. Now KGI securities analyst Mingchi Kuo (via 9to5Google), who unlike other analysts actually has a good track record of predicting things accurately, has let slip that one big reveal will be an updated Nexus 7 tablet, with a 1920 x 1200 7-inch display, a 5 megapixel camera and a new sleek, light design for the same $ 199 price point as the current version.
The Asus-built tablet will boast a new Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, a “narrow bezel” screen with pixel density of 323 (pretty close to that of the iPhone 5) and physical dimensions that make it either very close to or even smaller than Apple’s iPad mini. If true, that’ll make it handheld, and with a Retina-quality display, at a price that absolutely undercuts Apple’s $ 329 entry point with the mini.
Other additions to this model include wireless charging according to Kuo, which would be in keeping with that feature being offered standard with the Nexus 4. Google is using Qi-based induction charging, which means that it’s compatible with a wide range of chargers, and the new Nexus 7 would likely adopt the same tech.
Kuo also looked beyond the I/O conference to what we might see from Google in the coming months, which include some fairly surprising developments. There’s a plan to get Samsung Android-powered notebooks to market, for instance, over the next 3 or 4 months. Intel telegraphed Android-based notebooks via one of its executives in a report last month, as 9to5Google notes, but Kuo says that we won’t see these at I/O since the next major point release of Android, version 5.0, won’t be ready for the show.
Android-based notebooks are a bit of a head-scratcher since Google has already invested a lot in pushing Chrome OS on the desktop, and recent reports suggest Chrome OS might end up powering tablets, too. It seems contrary for Google to continue working on that while also building a version of Android that can power notebooks, but this may just be a case of Google putting bets on multiple horses over the long-term, which makes sense given that the company has repeatedly shown it’s willing to invest in products that end up being failures for the sake of gleaning insights from what went wrong.
Beyond that, Kuo says Google is still working on an a Google TV device which will compete with the existing Apple TV, which sounds like it might be a second, more feature-rich kick at the ill-fated Nexus Q can. Finally, he also says a smart watch device is expected to debut alongside Glass in Google’s wearable computing category, but that this won’t hit mass production until at least next year.
BlackBerry is launching the Z10 today in the U.S., but it’s already looking ahead to what comes next, according to an interview between ABC’s Joanna Stern and BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins. The company is working on ways that BlackBerry software can power your laptop or tablet, too, and all from your smartphone. Heins sounds like he’s describing an Asus PadFone, and revealed a dream of a personal computing world focused on just a single device.
Heins said, referring to the new BlackBerry smartphones, that we’ve now reached the point where you’re now carrying around a full-fledged computer in your pocket with “the power of a laptop.” He emphasized that BlackBerry wants to be the one to finally figure out how to truly consolidate all of a user’s computing devices into one, though when asked directly whether this would take the form of a laptop or tablet that supports and is powered by a docked smartphone, Heins told Stern that the company is working with a number of different options.
We’ll know more about BlackBerry’s unification plans at BlackBerry World in May, Heins said, when he plans to “talk about a few of those concepts” the company is working on. Another subject up for discussion at the event will be additional BB10 phones beyond the currently announced Z10 and Q10 handsets, he told ABC.
Hybrid tablet/PC/smartphone devices have a bit of a checkered past. The Asus PadFone has seen success in some international markets, but failed to make a splash in the U.S. And Samsung launched a Smart Dock for the Galaxy Note II that supposedly converts your smartphone into a mini desktop computer, but we’ve heard relatively little about that device and nothing about its popularity since its launch.
Another reason for skepticism is BlackBerry’s track record with the Playbook tablet. The Playbook was the first BlackBerry device to ship with a QNIX-based operating system, a clear precursor to BB10. It didn’t fare well: facing extremely low consumer demand, BlackBerry ran a number of fire sales and eventually stuck with a permanent, drastic price drop to get people buying.
Does that mean BlackBerry can’t pull off a tablet/notebook/smartphone unification? Not necessarily, but it also doesn’t necessarily instill courage. Still, it’s good to see the company aim for the kind of solution that’s seemed so promising in the past, even if it might be the proverbial Fountain of Youth of the tech industry – eminently desirable but ultimately mythical.