Unveiled on a fashion-show-like runway at Macy's in Herald Square, the new laptops are basically upgraded versions of Dell's existing workhorse 1505 and 1705 models, now with Intel's new Centrino Duo platform, 802.11n support, and a fairly radical (for Dell) new design. Also new to the party is a 14-inch laptop (our new preferred size for mainstream users) known as the Inspiron 1420, and the hot-to-trot … Read more
Usually we know about this stuff before it happens (and we're then sworn to secrecy), but we're officially surprised at today's news that HP has revamped its online desktop lineup. We have a few of these desktops en route for the full review treatment, but until then, you can check out the full lineup here.
No real earth-shattering news, as it's mostly just a refresh. The biggest highlight is that HP has officially added that hybrid Blu-ray/HD-DVD drive to its m8010y and m8100e Media Center PCs.
Dell took notice earlier this year when customers and the media reiterated complaints over the glut of crapware, or preinstalled PC software, packaged with new computers. Many PC makers said they do offer ways for consumers to wipe a new computer's slate clean. But this week, Dell announced it would hand more control over to customers during the purchase process.
Dell.com customers buying an XPS system, Inspiron notebook or Dimension desktop can select a "no software preinstalled" option. This will eliminate productivity, ISP, photo and music software, but not everything.
Adobe Reader, trial versions of antivirus … Read more
I didn't fully appreciate how much Adobe Photoshop Lightroom changed how I deal with digital photos until I tried the latest version of the regular Photoshop software, CS3.
I shoot raw images almost all the time, and I wanted to try out the new features of Adobe Camera Raw 4.1 that's available only to Photoshop CS3 users. I like its new "clarity" adjustment, and appreciate more control over sharpening, but trying those tools out felt like a trip back to the stone age.
Lightroom isn't perfect, and it doesn't replace regular Photoshop. But … Read more
Alienware made an interesting announcement today with the news that, "for a limited time," you can order a bare-bones Alienware case directly from the Dell-owned boutique. Just $400 will get you the classic P2 Alienware chassis in either silver or black, complete with an electric-blue lighting kit. It does not come with the custom lighting software that lets you tie the light behavior to various applications, as found on its full-fledged systems. At $400, Alienware's case becomes one of, if not the single most expensive bare-bones kits on the market. Of course, few others look like an … Read more
Gateway is recalling 14,000 lithium-ion notebook batteries, the company said Tuesday.
The announcement comes after four reports of Gateway notebooks overheating over the last few years. One of the incidents caused "minor property damage," according to Gateway. The batteries in question are used in two models of its notebooks, the 400VTX and 450ROG, sold in the U.S. between May and August 2003.
"The root cause of this battery failure became apparent as the batteries aged and performed repetitive recharging cycles. After an in-depth analysis of the four reported incidents, Gateway took proactive measures to launch … Read more
Patterned media and heat assisted. Those are fightin' words in the hard drive industry.
Patterned media technology, actively promoted by Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, stores data in tiny bits laid down in a platter in an intricate pattern. The bits are separated by each other to prevent data corruption. By contrast, in heat assist drives, championed by Seagate Technologies, a bit gets heated to a few hundred degrees Celsius, gets imprinted with data, and then cools down. (We wrote an early story on the debate here.)
Both technologies will allow hard drives to store more data than they do now, … Read more
Here's a good rule of thumb: when a product is recalled for, say, bursting into flames, take the time to get the replacement.
A Toshiba laptop containing a recalled Sony battery caught fire and burned a desk in Great Britain last month, Toshiba said today. The laptop maker asked Sony to investigate the incident, and a short circuit in the battery pack was deemed the culprit. Toshiba says it will reach out to customers to ensure they are aware of the potential danger of continuing use of recalled batteries. A list of 28 models of affected laptop will be … Read more
Stronger-than-expected notebook shipments in the beginning of the year should push the overall growth of the PC market higher than previously anticipated, according to market research firm iSuppli.
The worldwide PC industry is expected to reach 264 million units in 2007, up 11.2 percent from 239 million units shipped last year, according to iSuppli. The previous estimate was 10.7 percent growth for the year.
The firm, which periodically issues forecasts for a variety of markets, said Monday that shipments of notebook PCs in the first quarter of 2007 were up 23 percent, 3 percent higher than previously anticipated. … Read more
Blu-ray is extending its early lead in the high-def video wars.
Blockbuster Inc. announced on Monday that it would rent only Blu-ray discs, and not HD DVDs, in its 1,700 company-owned stores. That's supposed to take effect by mid-July.
The company said the decision was based on Blu-ray rentals "significantly outpacing" HD DVD rentals, and added that both formats will be available through its Web site.
While the dueling formats are technically somewhat similar, Blu-ray enjoys the advantage of being backed by more film studios (Sony, 20th Century Fox, Buena Vista, and Lionsgate) vs. HD DVD, … Read more