Sunday, April 12, 2009

Exhaustive netbook battery comparison finds a clear winner, no victims

It's hardly the first netbook battery comparison to appear in the Thunderdome that is the internet, but this latest thirteen-strong round-up from Australia's NetbookReview is one of the more comprehensive to emerge as of late, with it only slightly compromised by a few netbooks that aren't available in the site's home country. Not surprisingly, the netbooks equipped with six-cell batteries came out well ahead of their less well off counterparts, with the MSI Wind U115 Hybrid leading the way with an impressive time of 6:56. That was obviously aided in no small part by the netbook's dual SSD / hard drive setup, and by a less commonly used 5100mAh six-cell battery, as opposed to the 6600mAh version used in the second and third place Eee PCs (which each clocked in around the four-hour mark). Bringing up the rear were the Lenovo IdeaPad S10 and Dell Mini 12, neither of which were able to eek out even two hours of use. As you might expect, however, all of the tests involved a worst-case scenario, so you can expect to get a good deal more juice from all of 'em if you're not spending every waking hour watching WMV files.

Michael Arrington drops science on CrunchPad, still won't sell us one

In case you missed it (we all have our off days, it's fine) we got our hands on a mess of leaked CrunchPad photos yesterday, and we have to say -- the device looks pretty damn good. Now that the cat's out of the bag, a certain Michael Arrington has shed a little light into what's going on over there at CrunchGear HQ. He says that the "significant step forward" for the device has been in regards to the software stack -- it's now entirely customized, including the (Linux) OS and browser. It also sports an Intel Atom chip; previously, the device has been running Ubuntu on a VIA chipset. "The total software footprint is around 100 MB," he writes, "which is a solid achievement." And last but not least, the industrial design and hardware for this bad boy is being done by an outfit in Singapore called Fusion Garage. It looks like the project is in good hands. But anything beyond that -- including, sadly, a timeframe -- is still anyone's guess.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

2G iPod touch to have Bluetooth capability unlocked by iPhone OS 3.0

Looks like that Bluetooth chip in the iPod touch 2G we've always thought was for Nike+ suddenly got a lot more useful: Apple's Greg Joswiak said that Bluetooth can be "unlocked" on the device during the iPhone OS 3.0 Q&A session. That's two years of rumors put to rest, right there, and a solid move, seeing as three of the major 3.0 features are A2DP, wireless accessory control and peer-to-peer connections over Bluetooth. Any touch owners feeling more inclined to drop the $9.95 now?

Fujitsu melts faces and wallets with FLEPia, the first color e-book for general consumption

After years of teasing -- FLEPia was first announced in April of 2007, and first proven in 2006 -- Fujitsu has at last released its color e-book (or e-paper mobile terminal, as they'd like you to call it) to the masses. Featuring an 8-inch XGA screen capable of displaying 260,000 colors, along with Bluetooth, WiFi and up to 4GB of storage via SD card, and measuring less than half an inch thick, FLEPia's not just getting by on color alone. Fujitsu promises 40 hours of continuos use, and the unit can be operated by its touchscreen or the assortment of function buttons. Naturally you can do the regular e-book thing, but the Japanese version of the device also includes full-on Windows CE 5.0, which would probably be a bit of a chore to use with the relatively slow screen refresh times of e-ink (1.8 seconds for a single wipe), but undeniably retrofuturistic. FLEPia ships on April 20th in Japan for 99,750 Yen (about $1,010 US).

iBUYPOWER's Gamer Power 906 rig does Intel Quad-core for a bit over $700

Sure, there are endless desktop configurations out there and oodles of good deals, but we're still smitten with this particular setup from iBUYPOWER: the Gamer Power 906. Putting that name to good use, they've managed to toss together an Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300 processor, NVIDIA 9600GT graphics with 1GB of RAM, a 500GB SATA hard drive and 4GB of system memory. There was even enough change left over for interior lighting -- and we all know about the direct correlation between ground effects for nerds and frags per minute. Available now for $710

Psystar pushes its luck, launches new Open (3) Mac clone desktop

Other Mac-cloners may know their time is limited, but good 'ol Psystar just keeps on forging straight ahead -- despite being locked in a nasty legal battle with Apple that could result in it getting shut down any second now. Ignoring that (sophisticated looking) elephant in the corner for a moment, the company has released its latest model, called the Open(3). It sports your choice of processors ranging from a 2.8GHz Core2Duo E7400 up to a 2.53GHz Core2Quad Q8200, up to 4GB of memory, 1TB of storage, a 6x Blu-ray burner, and graphics from an NVIDIA GeForce 9500GT, all packaged in a slim case that, while not quite up to Cupertino standards, certainly looks a fair bit more visually appealing than its previous black boxes. Prices start at just $599, but tick all those option buttons and you'll be looking at something closer to $2,000 -- a lot, but close to $1,000 less than a comparably spec'd Mac Pro. Get 'em while you can.

SmartQ 5 MID scores itself Ubuntu, a ridiculously low price tag

The SmartQ 5 from SmartDevices just took itself from me-too MID of the millisecond to a quite interesting value proposition. The touchscreen device, which features a 4.3-inch 800 x 480 screen, is now running an ARM-friendly Ubuntu distro, and has been given the low, low pricetag of 899 Chinese Yuan, about $132. Sure, it'll probably never surface Stateside, especially not for that price, but it's a good demonstration of what a little bit of decent ARM hardware and a popular Linux distro can do when they work together, hand in hand.

FijuFilm's FinePix F200EXR, and its pricetag, get reviewed

While some early shots showed a lot of promise, a full review was necessary to ensure that FujiFilm's latest compact camera would be the performer we were hoping for -- and that it would live up to its $400 price. According to Photography Blog this 12 megapixel shooter doesn't disappoint, scoring very high marks for image quality and features. Its EXR mode, which can toggle between favoring resolution, dynamic range, or low noise, works more or less as advertised, bringing far more depth to shadows than your usual pocket cam can manage. Pictures were clear through ISO 800, but anything above that (up to its ludicrous ISO 12800 mode) were too noisy to be usable. Overall the came was found to be a "veritable breath of fresh air" and a solid choice for a serious photographers who like air and don't want to lug their SLR everywhere.