Ah, summer. Summer means long sunny days, vacations at the beach, and--if you're in the United States--the Independence Day holiday. Which is why this weekly wrap-up is coming a day early: tomorrow my colleagues and I will be busy eating grilled meat and watching fireworks, all in the name of patriotism.
Because it spans the middle months of the calendar, summer can also be a time of reflection. We took the opportunity this week to look back on all that's happened so far this year and came up with a list of notable notebooks from the first half of 2008. We also pointed our viewfinder to the months ahead, when parents and students will be scouring the weekly ads for a back-to-school laptop (check back all summer as we post more back-to-school reviews).
Another theme to emerge this week: solid-state drives. OCZ Technology Group announced three low-cost models in its Core series of 2.5-inch drives. Apple significantly cut the price of the SSD-equipped MacBook Air. Meanwhile, CNET Labs staffer Dong Ngo uncovered a device that could let you make a less-expensive DIY solid-state hard drive. And SSD manufacturers defended themselves against charges that their products were energy hogs.
In product announcements this week, we saw a pink version of the Fujitsu LifeBook P8010E (too bad it's not available in the States). Gateway added three new models in its existing notebook series; all three include 64-bit Windows (stay tuned for reviews). HP broke out its first Puma-based systems, the Compaq 6735b and the Compaq 6535b. Germany-based Cizmo revealed the specifications of its Centrino 2-based gaming system. And Asus announced the ruggedized B51.
Other news worth reading: Nvidia revealed issues with some of its laptop GPUs, but gave no specifics; AMD showed long-term gains in market share, according to iSuppli; and the TSA has given the go-ahead for passengers to use newly designed carry-on bags that will let them pass through security without having to take their laptops out for the X-ray inspection.
Finally, my colleagues at CNET U.K. had a bit of fun comparing two breezily named laptops; behold MSI Wind vs. MacBook Air.
Have a great holiday!