Welcome to CNET Roadside Assistance, the show were the Car Tech guys take some time to respond to your queries and highlight your comments. This week, Nissan and Mazda's performance cars go head-to-head, a BMW driver wants help steering clear of iDrive, and LOL cars are back.Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 005
Better Place, which offers battery service for electric vehicles, opened today its first European retail station in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Better Place stations offer battery swaps for electric vehicles as an alternative to waiting to recharge the batteries. Commercial stations are already running in Israel and Japan. Until now, though, Better Place had only been testing pilot stations in the U.S. and Europe.
Most of the stations offer fast-charging plug-in spots for EVs, as well as battery swaps for subscribing members. The battery swap is a convenience for drivers because it takes only a minute to make the switch, according … Read more
Sony Ericsson is betting big that its Xperia Play will offer a new way to bring gamers and phone users together, but it's not the first time that the company has tried to do so.
Seven years ago, just as Sony Ericsson was getting into a groove with notable handsets like the P910 and S710, the company rolled out one of the more interesting mobile accessories I've ever seen. The EGB-10 Gameboard allowed you to play games on selected Sony Ericsson handsets while using controls that were more comfortable than a standard navigational keypad.
Though its design was … Read more
For larger laptops, CES 2011 seems to be more about gradual improvements than whole-scale innovation. Lenovo's newly-announced IdeaPad lineup updates seem to confirm this theory quite well: better processors, improved graphics, and Lenovo Enhanced Experience 2.0, an engineering tweak that Lenovo promises will offer extremely fast boot times. Though it can be pretty difficult to suss the differences out among the various lines of IdeaPads, we'll give you a rundown.
The IdeaPad Y570 and Y470 lead the pack, with second-generation Intel Core processors, and GPU options including Nvidia's new GeForce GT555 switchable graphics. These laptops have … Read more
Honda's 2011 CR-Z hybrid is about as sporty as it gets when it comes to hybrid vehicles. Granted, that isn't saying much. I mean the hatchback's 1.5-liter, IMA-boosted power plant only outputs 122-horsepower and manages a combined 34 EPA-estimated mpg. Ford's Fiesta manages similar numbers without the burden of hybrid trickery and complexity. So what's a self-respecting Honda tuner to do to improve the output of the CR-Z's engine room? How about a 200-horsepower engine swap?
Enter LHT Performance and Honda's 2-liter K20 engine, a mill a bit more befitting a sport … Read more
When Sony's latest e-readers were introduced recently, a lot of people wondered whether the touch-screen interface would be improved after previous attempts met with complaints of screen glare, contrast issues, and only so-so responsiveness. We expected it would be better, but were surprised by how well the touch-screen technology worked. So, what's the secret sauce?
Well, what's interesting is that Sony didn't use its own technology but actually licensed it from another company called Neonode. We're not saying that Sony never does this, but the company does take a certain pride in developing products with its own proprietary technology.
The latest Sony Readers, including the Pocket Edition PRS-350 ($180), Touch Edition PRS-650 ($230), and Daily Edition PRS-950 ($300), use a customized version of Neonode's optical touch-screen technology.
Neonode says its patented touch-screen technology, zForce, "supports high resolution pen writing in combination with market leading finger navigation including gestures, multitouch, sweeps and much more. zForce uses no overlay (like resistive and capacitive touch screens) on top of the e-ink display thus creating a 100 percent clear window free from reflexes and parallax effects and produces a true paper like experience."
The company also adds that its zForce technology is energy efficient and reduces the power consumption for so-called "low-power consumption" mobile electronics devices.
Neonode is a Swedish company that's been around for a while and even made some mobile phones, including the Neonode 2 in 2007. Back in 2008, the company filed for bankruptcy and many thought it had died but it's now become solely focused on licensing out its infrared-based touch-screen technology. … Read more
Rounding the corner leading to Honda's booth at the 2010 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, I was a bit taken aback as I suddenly found myself confronted with the largest gathering of modified CR-Zs I'd ever seen, 12 in total. Heck, considering that the CR-Z has only been available for a handful of months, this was the largest gathering of any CR-Zs I'd ever seen. Most of these examples were built by third parties, but at the center of Honda's presentation was a trio of special compact hybrids built by Honda itself: a 2011 CR-Z equipped … Read more
Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 191 SHOW NOTES
Apple's new Air is the first flash-only MacBook. So, how does it stack up against the handful of laptop lines out there that offer only solid-state drives?
Well, it's actually not a very pretty picture for other laptop lines based on flash memory only, or more commonly referred to as solid-state drives (SSDs). A few previously prominent laptops have either been phased out or are languishing.
Dell Adamo: This line of 0.65-inch thick aluminum-clad ultraportables from Dell have been SSD-only from day one. So, Dell actually beat Apple to the punch in this respect. But the line has been reduced to a single $999 model with a 128GB SSD--the higher-end Adamo with a 256GB SSD and faster processor is no longer available from Dell. And the novel Adamo XPS is no longer available for sale on Dell's Web site--this was SSD only too.
Dell Latitude E4200: Announced in August 2008, this line of pricey business ultraportables is still available and comes standard with only 128GB SSDs. Prices start at $1,729.
Lenovo ThinkPad X300/X301: The venerable ThinkPad X300 was from its inception SSD only. Alas, this line has been discontinued. Lenovo still offers comparable X series Thinkpads and IdeaPads but none are SSD only.
Sony Z series: The Z line is alive and well, thank you. Z laptops come with 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB options, with prices ranging from about $1,800 to well over $3,000.
Toshiba R500/R600: The Toshiba R500, now quite dated (first announced in June 2007), features only flash storage but the specs are a little long in the tooth, namely its older U7600 Intel processor and Windows Vista operating system.… Read more