The $298 Compaq laptop that generated so much coverage this week goes on sale at Wal-Mart today. Hopefully no one was trampled this morning, but if Best Buy's recent experience with a $300 Acer laptop is any indication, it could be tough to get your hands on this one.
Laptops & Desktops
John Morris and Sean Portnoy deliver straight talk about notebook and desktop computers.
Sean Portnoy started his tech writing career at ZDNet nearly a decade ago. He then spent several years as an editor at Computer Shopper magazine, most recently serving as online executive editor. He received a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from the University of Southern California.
<p>John Morris is a former executive editor at CNET Networks and senior editor at PC Magazine. He now works for a private investment firm, which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this blog, and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made. No investment advice is offered in this blog. All duties are disclaimed.</p>
To date, the solid-state disk has been a tech mirage. The vision is great, but it always seems to be just over the horizon.
This week I'm at the Semicon West show in San Francisco. Most of this is inside baseball--the show is devoted to the companies that make the equipment used to manufacture chips--but in his opening keynote, Anand Chandrasekher, who heads up Intel's Ultra Mobility Group, discussed some details of the company's future mobile chips and demonstrated a few prototypes.
Acer and Lenovo will be among the first to release netbooks running Google's Chrome OS. These netbooks, which will be dual-boot systems with Windows XP as well, could be available as early as next month in some markets, according to several reports.
Almost since the start of the PC industry's "race to the bottom" with netbooks, computer makers have been attempting to reverse course, or at least slow the pace.HP tried painting peonies on the Mini 1000 and charging $700 for it (you can now find the Vivienne Tam Edition for less than $500).
There are two ways to address the limitations of netbooks: 1.) offer less-costly notebooks, or 2.
Laptops have long since overtaken their desk-bound brethren in terms of revenues, and more recently unit sales. In the first quarter, desktop unit sales dropped 23 percent, while notebook sales actually increased 10 percent compared with the same period last year, according to iSuppli.
Market researcher NPD says that consumers are confused about the difference between a netbook and a notebook. It's no wonder.
Everyone knows that PCs get faster and cheaper every year. For a while the shift to laptops seemed to slow things down a bit, but those days are over.
The tech industry is always looking for the next big thing: Bing is gaining on Google, the Palm Pre will dethrone the iPhone, and so on. One of the latest "next big things" is the duo of ARM and Android which, if you buy the hype, will wrest the PC industry from Wintel's grip.
Despite all of the hype about ARM-based smartbook and Android netbooks, you had to look pretty hard to find them at Computex 2009 in Taiwan this week. Ultra-thin laptops based on Intel's new ULV processors, however, were all over the show floor.
AMD has many challenges, but lately its ATI graphics business has been on a roll. Now the company is trying to capitalize on the momentum.
Intel announced its latest ultra low-voltage (ULV) processors at the start of the Computex trade show in Taiwan this week. The announcement was no surprise: Intel and computer makers have been talking about the chips (previously known as CULV for "consumer") for months, and in April MSI even announced a laptop, the X-Slim series X340, supposedly based on one of the new ULV chips.
Intel thinks business may be starting to pick up, but computer makers aren't as optimistic. Sales are slow in all categories and even Intel now concedes that one bright spot, netbooks, is cutting into sales of higher-priced laptops to some degree.
The battle over the role of netbooks appears to be escalating. Computer makers, aided by Nvidia, are broadening the features and performance of netbooks--adding larger displays and more-capable graphics.