In stark counterpoint to small, fast systems like the MacBook Air, big-screened, heavy, packed-to-the-gills desktop-alternative laptops are still alive and well, although sometimes a little hard to justify. Toshiba's Qosmio line of laptops has been a well-known example of that type of massive machine for years, and 2011's update to the Qosmio largely continues the trend with a new design. The $1,899 Toshiba Qosmio X775-3DV78 is bulky, heavy (8 pounds), and expensive, but it's also got top-of-the-line features. A quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, powerful Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 graphics, and dual hard drives with a … Read more
Remember "thin and light?" The idea almost seems like a 2009 concept nowadays, as many manufacturers seem to be shifting back to more old-fashioned mainstream machines that emphasize optical drives over system weight. The newly announced lineup of HP Pavilion laptops, covering a wide range of models, was notable for not offering anything slimmer than the Pavilion dm3 a sleek thin notebook we reviewed and liked quite a bit. That system had no optical drive, but the new HP Pavilion dm4 adds one back in despite being under an inch thin. An etched metal chassis and new wider … Read more
LOS ANGELES--About halfway through a closed-door demo I was in this afternoon of Microsoft's just-announced full-body motion-sensitive control system, Project Natal, another reporter told our host that he was skeptical of what he was seeing.
A minute later, after taking the virtual controls himself of the game "Burnout Paradise" and giving Natal a test, the reporter walked back over to where I was standing and when I asked him if he was still skeptical, he gave me a chastened look and said, "It's interesting."
In other words, he was won over.
Project Natal, as … Read more
The big news from Microsoft' E3 press conference was clearly its "Project Natal" motion sensing technology.
We're pretty sure that it is based on technology from 3DV systems, an Israeli start-up that we wrote about some time ago. I'm hearing that Microsoft has in fact, acquired the company, as has been reported. I have yet to get that 100 percent confirmed, however.
In any case, here's a video from Microsoft showing the technology in action.
LOS ANGELES--It may be an off-year in the video game console, but you wouldn't know it by the lines outside the Galen Center at the University of Southern California, where Microsoft is having its annual E3 press conference.
Expected announcements include some form of motion-control system; new features and offerings for its popular Xbox Live service; and several hot new games, both from its own publishing outlets and third-parties. Among them is "Halo 3: ODST."
This blog followed Microsoft's announcements--including its new motion-control system, upcoming games, and several new features being added to the Xbox Live … Read more
Nintendo won't be the only video game console maker with a sophisticated motion-sensitive controller if a report out Tuesday from The Wall Street Journal is accurate.
The report said Microsoft plans to unveil a new video camera that would allow players of its Xbox 360 console to control games by moving their bodies. And if true, it's a clear shot across the bow of Nintendo and its innovative Wii console, which shocked the video game world when it was released in late 2006 with its own motion-sensitive controller.
For months, there had been speculation that Microsoft's interest in 3DV was about taking on Nintendo and the Wii. But neither company would confirm such speculation. On Tuesday, Microsoft declined to comment on the Journal story. … Read more
One of our biggest issues with HP's Pavilion dv3z was its AMD processor, keeping it from beating out the performance of comparable 13- and 14-inch laptops with Intel Core 2 Duo CPUs. The 13.3-inch laptop was otherwise a good deal, highly configurable, and thanks to an extended-life battery, able to stay up and running for nearly five hours.
However, if you feel like the slightly slower performance of the AMD processors isn't worth the cost savings, HP now offers the Pavilion dv3t with six Intel Core Duo processors to pick from. The base model comes with a … Read more
Microsoft may be poised to boost the Xbox unit with a simple wave of the hand.
The software giant is reportedly close to buying Israel's 3DV Systems, an Israeli start-up whose technology allows a gamer to control a system through nothing more than a hand gesture. (See video below for a CNET video demonstration of the technology.)
According to a report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Microsoft may be willing to spend around $35 million to acquire the company and its technology, which uses a depth-sensing camera to record a gamer's motions. The newspaper also noted that the … Read more
Microsoft hopes the acquisition of a virtual reality start-up will give it another trick up its sleeve in the game console wars, if one report proves true.
As anyone who has been following the video game industry over the last couple of years knows, Nintendo's Wii console has been the runaway sales leader.
In the early going of the so-called "next generation" of consoles, which began in late 2005 with the release of Microsoft's Xbox 360 and continued a year later with the launch of the Wii and Sony's PlayStation 3, each company tended to refer to the "console wars" as being a battle between the three.
But more recently, as the Wii has vaulted far ahead of either the Xbox or the PS3, Microsoft and Sony have recast the console wars as being just between the two of them; They argue, instead, that the Wii is a very different kind of machine and that, in fact, many Xbox or PS3 owners also own a Wii.
Semantics aside, it's clear that Microsoft and Sony have long since determined that their consoles might never catch up to the Wii in total sales, especially if they don't do something drastic to compete with the Wii's intuitive motion-sensitive controller, the Wiimote.
With its ZCam, a 3D camera that connects directly to a PC, 3DV was already hoping to be a player in the video game space, since the camera was designed to let players control games entirely with their hands. … Read more
I like video games. I'm just not particularly good at them.
I have decent hand-eye coordination, but I'm not really good at remembering that passing is A and shooting is B or that sort of thing. That's why I love the Wii. For many games, I no longer have to remember that stuff. I can just do whatever it is I am supposed to do.