We've been highly skeptical of the benefits of buying a Netbook with a built-in Broadcom Crystal HD video accelerator.
First, we're fans of Nvidia's Ion GPU, which not only provides similar HD video playback assistance but also basic 3D graphics support. Second, the Broadcom part wasn't supported by Adobe's Flash player, making it useless for streaming Web video, which is what we'd imagine a lot of Netbook owners would want to play.
But, as the Nvidia Ion in its current form is not available on Netbooks built around Intel's newer Atom N450 CPU, the Broadcom chip is the only game in town at the moment.
Fortunately, Adobe has finally made Flash 10.1 beta 3 available for download, which, according to the PC makers who offer Netbooks with the Broadcom Crystal HD video accelerator, provides better HD Web video streaming performance.
We took a Netbook with the Broadcom Crystal HD video accelerator, HP's new Mini 210, and ran it through several Web video tests to see if the new Flash player actually provided any benefit. A video overview of our results is embedded (excuse the occasional cameo appearance by my face in the overly reflective glossy screen). … Read more
Update: Check out our video of Flash 10.1 beta 3 in action!
With portable 10-inch screens and prices as low as $299, a Netbook would seem to be a great choice for video-watching on the go. Sadly, your average Netbooks can't handle HD video, so getting a good experience from Hulu, YouTube, or Netflix on Demand is out of the question most of the time.
One could always apply some lowered expectations and consume only SD video sources, but if that really the kind of world we want to live in?
One step in the right direction was … Read more
It turns out Apple isn't the only company readying a touch-screen tablet computer.
We say that half-jokingly, of course. In the last few months, quite a few companies have signaled their intentions to go head-to-head (or at least offer an alternative) to Apple's much-ballyhooed iPad, which should hit stores in March. Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Acer, and Sony have or are in the process of readying gadgets they say will compete with the iPad. We've seen some demonstrations at the Consumer Electronics Show and other trade shows, but several gadget makers admitted to waiting to see what Apple was going to do before setting the specifications and price of their competing touch-screen tablets.
Now that they know, what are they going to do about it? That might sound a bit silly considering companies like HP, Dell, and Acer have larger market share than Apple--when it comes to computers. But in other, faster-growing areas--smartphones and music players--Apple's popularity far outstrips theirs. And in a new device category (it's reasonable to consider this a new category) they're all essentially starting from scratch.
So how will every company not named Apple try to compete for your touch-screen tablet computing dollar, assuming such a dollar exists? They will try to emphasize something about theirs being better, of course, be it in terms of price, style, speeds and feeds, or the movies, books, games, or TV shows available via their gadget. Dell, for example, providing evidence that an old dog can at least attempt new tricks, tends to emphasize style these days. HP's commercials try to sell you on how easily their product fit into your lifestyle.
More than anything, they should try to avoid selling it as a computer, in the classic laptop computer sense. If Dell and HP and Acer and their compatriots do that, they'll end up trying to convince people to spend money on basically yet another Netbook; something that's sort of like a PC, but not quite. It's just smaller, cheaper, and with less functionality than a traditional PC. And after sophisticated smartphones and cheaper Netbooks, do consumers really need yet another device that's not quite a laptop?… Read more
At next week's Geneva auto show, Mini will demonstrate what it calls industry-first iPhone integration with the car.
The technology, called Mini Connected, relies on a USB connection between iPhone and car to take advantage of the phone's data connection. Mini's announcement of the new technology mentions two applications, Web radio and a service called Mission Control.
With a connected iPhone, drivers using the Web radio function get access to thousands of Internet radio stations from around the world. However, Mini does not specify if Web radio is an application living on the iPhone or if it … Read more
Its first foray into the Flip-dominated mini camcorder market, the HMX-U10, didn't seem to make serious inroads. But at least one of Samsung's follow-up model in its U series, the HMX-U20, makes some necessary updates and adds a unique new feature for the category: a 3X zoom lens.
While zoom lenses are common on traditional horizontal and pistol-grip design models, to date the candy-bar design favored by Flip Video, the Kodak z series, Creative's Vados, and so on has been limited to fixed focal-length lenses.
The U20 also adds a captive USB cable, one of the missing … Read more
BARCELONA, Spain--Though it's been building its reputation in the last few months with models like the T-Mobile Tap and the Huawei M750, Chinese manufacturer Huawei doesn't have a huge presence in the United States. It takes a visit to its stand at Mobile World Congress to show what the company has up its sleeve.
Like everywhere else in Barcelona, Google Android took center stage for Huawei. The company didn't stage a low-put press event--and we thank them for that--but it rolled out four new Android phones. Here are the basics, and be sure to check out our … Read more
Apple has updated a few knowledge base articles that address problems with the Aperture 3 update, disc-burning issues with iDVD, reinstalling the Server Diagnostics utilities on the Mac Mini server, and managing noises in newer iMac models.… Read more
BARCELONA, Spain--They say good things come in small packages, and when it comes to gadgets, smaller is usually better. Then you get a case like the HTC HD2.
This gargantuan smartphone isn't a dream to carry around, but then you take a look at its gorgeous and luxuriously spacious 4.3-inch capacitive touch screen, and you might be willing to reconsider. Then you take another gander at its size again and think otherwise. Well, HTC understands that dilemma and has heard your cries, thus resulting in the HTC HD Mini.