The tenth anniversary of the iTunes Store is looming on April 28th, and Apple wants to do more for the occasion than treat itself to a nice dinner. It just launched an interactive Decade of iTunes timeline (within iTunes itself, naturally) to remind us how far its music service has come since 2003. While the retrospective includes the expectedsales milestones, media links and plugs for iPods, it’s surprisingly detailed: you, too, can learn that Morcheeba rocked the album charts when iTunes reached Scandinavia. Apple has fiercer competition these days that not surprisingly goes unacknowledged, but it’s good to have at least some context for Cupertino’s more recent achievements. Catch a taste of that early iTunes Store vibe after the break.
Take a stroll through the laptop section at Best Buy recently? If you have, you know Toshiba’s got a firm stronghold on the cheapie notebook market. The thing is, $400 systems don’t exactly offer high margins — a problem when people aren’t buying that many PCs to begin with. And besides, who wants to be known for shoddy build quality and ho-hum designs? Not Toshiba, anyway. The suits in Tokyo were so fed up with the company’s low-rent reputation that they decided to launch a premium line to prove Toshiba is indeed capable of making high-end machines. That line is called KIRA, though for now there’s just one product to speak of: theKIRAbook, a 13-inch ultraportable starting at $1,600.
For the money, you get a mix of modern design, top-shelf components and a whole lot of sucking-up from Toshiba’s technical support. Topping the list is a 2,560 x 1,440 display, making this the first Windows Ultrabook to sport such a high-res screen. (We’ve already seen similar panels on the Chromebook Pixel and the Retina display MacBooks.) Additionally, users receive two years of warranty coverage and a dedicated support line, with near-instant pick-up times and a US-based staff (something customers have been asking for, says Toshiba). Also included: full versions of Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 and Premiere Elements 11, along with 25GB of online storage and a two-year Norton subscription — something HPalready bundles on select machines. The KIRAbook will be sold in the US, Japan and Australia, with prices ranging from $1,600 to $2,000. It’ll ship May 12th and go up for pre-order on May 3rd, but for now, we’ve got a detailed walk-through video waiting after the break, along with some early impressions. So come join us — because who doesn’t enjoy laptop porn?
Toshiba Kirabook hands-on
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Toshiba Kirabook: the making of
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Our disappointment with the viewing angles aside, this is otherwise the simplest, most thoughtful design Toshiba has come out with in a very long time. The machine is made of magnesium through and through, with pressed metal on the lid and a die-cast variety on the bottom. On the inside, Toshiba went with the same honeycomb framework it’s already been using on its Portege laptops. The hinge, meanwhile, is 5mm thick — and sturdy enough to keep the display still even while you’re jabbing at it with your finger. All told, the result is a laptop that’s at once durable and lightweight. Impressively, the KIRAbook weighs 2.9 pounds, and that’swith the touchscreen. Without, it’s just 2.6. Not bad, considering the current-gen 13-inch MacBook Air weighs 2.96 pounds even without a touch panel.
Like the Air and many other Ultrabooks, the KIRAbook has a wedge shape, with the machine getting narrower and narrower as you move away from the hinge. Somehow, though, Toshiba managed to keep the edges round, similar to lots of other machines in the company’s lineup. It’s only around the palm rest where the edges get really sharp, but you won’t notice it when the notebook is closed. In fact, something about the weight distribution makes the KIRAbook very easy to grip in one hand, though again, those contoured edges help too.
According to Toshiba, the keyboard here is an attempt to correct some of the flaws on the Portege Z835 / Z935 (we were pretty vocal in our complaints, if you recall). This time around, the company contoured the top of the keys ever so slightly, and also allowed for a bit more travel. Not that we were able to do a side-by-side comparison with the old model, but it certainly felt easier typing on the KIRAbook than on the Z835. It also helps that the keys have a soft finish, along with some crisp backlighting (there’s a light underneath each key, similar to HP’s Radiance setup).
Before we close out, we’d be remiss if we didn’t give you a little more information about specs and performance claims. The first two configurations (the $1,600 non-touch and the $1,800 touch model) will both have Core i5 processors, whereas the highest-end, $2,000 machine will come with a Core i7 chip. Regardless of which one you choose, eight gigs of RAM and 256GB of solid-state storage are standard. Either way, the KIRAbook is launching with Ivy Bridge CPUs, though it wouldn’t surprise us if a Haswell refresh came later. With last year’s Ivy Bridge chips, though, the 52Wh battery is expected to last a little over six hours on a charge. In other words, a similar battery life rating as other Ivy Bridge Windows 8 Ultrabooks, except this time, there are a lot more pixels to light up.
We’ll be honest: when Lenovo said it would ship the new student-friendly ThinkPad X130e starting on December 20th, we didn’t actually program an alert in our calendars, reminding us to place our orders on the very first day it became available. But it looks like at least a few you did just that, and were quite taken with this durable 11.6-inch laptop. As it turns out, though, you’ll have to wait a little longer to get yours — Lenovo’s product page is now saying it won’t be available for individual purchase until February. Apparently, it’s because the X130e’s rubber bumper, recessed ports, reinforced hinge and Core i3 / Fusion innards were just too irresistible to educators: a Lenovo rep told us all the early units have been scooped up by hungry school districts, meaning individual students and other fans of inexpensive, ruggedized laptops will have to wait for a later batch.
Is there any tablet that’s hotter than the Transformer Prime right now? (Please, don’t say the Kindle Fire.) For weeks we geeks, early adopters and people who love their tech toys have been awaiting this, and none too patiently. Make no mistake: this will be one of the slickest products we test this year and it isn’t just because the original Transformer had such an inventive design. The Prime is the first device packing NVIDIA’s hot-off-the-presses Tegra 3 SoC, making it the world’s first quad-core tablet. This comes with promises of longer-than-ever runtime and blazing performance (five times faster than Tegra 2, to be exact), all wrapped in a package measuring just 8.3mm (0.33 inches) thick — even skinnier than the iPad 2 or Galaxy Tab 10.1. Throw in specs like a Super IPS+ Gorilla Glass display, eight megapixel rear camera and a confirmed ICS update in the pipe and even we seen-it-all Engadget editors were drooling.
All of which means we dropped just everything when a 32GB Prime showed up on our doorstep earlier this week, and soon enough, you’ll have your chance to nab one too. ASUS announced today that the WiFi-only models will be available through online sellers the week of December 19th, and in retail the week after. (No word yet on 3G versions for the US just yet.) It’ll start at $499 for the 32GB model — not bad considering five hundred bucks is the going rate for a high-end tablet with 16GB of storage. From there you can get a 64GB number for $599, while that signature keyboard dock will set you back a further $149. Worth it? Read on to find out.
It’s been around in a few different hues, and has since grown into a TouchWiz UX kind of outfit, and we’re guessing it’s about time Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 found its way into our weekly HWYC feature. It’s undoubtedly the Android slate to beat, even today, but that doesn’t mean that it’s spit-shine perfect. For those who opted for this beaut, we’re keenly interested in hearing how your experience has been. Are you still satisfied with Honeycomb as a tablet operating system? Is the screen still wowing you? Any durability issues we should know about it? And if you had the keys to Sammy’s Design Kingdom, what would you do differently on the next Tab 10.1? Realign the aspect ratio? Go matte? Up the screen resolution? Speak up in comments below — and keep it sane, cool?
Chances are you’ve heard plenty about Pixel Qi’s super-efficient, transreflective displays. The odds are equally as high that you’ve never touched one before, either. Well, 3M aims to change all of that and make good on founder Mary Lou Jepsen’s continued promises to get those screens out into the consumer wild. Infusing the LCD company with an undisclosed amount of cash, 3M’s New Ventures investment arm is betting the combo of its Optical Systems Division’s LCD film technology expertise and funding will not only ramp up production of the sunlight-readable color screens, but also innovate uses for it across “…consumer markets as well as digital signage and touch applications.” It’s a nice shot of confidence for the display maker’s much-touted, albeit scarce tech, and could be the financial boost necessary to take Jepsen from underdog to industry heavyweight. We’ll keep a close eye out for how this develops. In the meantime, you can jump past the break to read the hyperbolic PR for yourself.
Are you one of the unlucky Alienware M11x owners who had hinge issues with the laptop, but feared you’d be stuck with a faulty folding mechanism due to an out of date warranty? Well, worry no more, because Dell has extended its hinge replacement program to include owners anywhere on earth with an R1 or R2 M11x regardless of warranty status. Getting those busted bits replaced is easy peasy, as affected parties need only contact Dell Tech support to get the repair process started. For full details about getting your afflicted alien fixed hit the source below — and feel free to give Dell some daps for doing the right thing while you’re at it.
We’ve been all giddy since the Cintiq 24HD waltzed through the FCC last month… and now, we have even more reason to be excited. Although unconfirmed, signs continue to point to a 24-inch HD display (1920 x 1200 supported) — upon which Wacom has implemented a stand that appears to allow the user to customize their viewing angle based on the task at hand. According to CG Everything, the peripheral is said to boast 2048 levels of pressure sensors with a 60-degree tilt sensor, 92 percent Adobe RGB color saturation, 190 nits of brightness, 550:1 contrast ratio and a 13ms response time. We’re still waiting on Wacom to corroborate all of this, but those who’d rather throw caution to the wind can indulge below.
Window N5 TOP Tablet PC with Android 2.2 System and WiFi/3G/G-sensor Functions – 8GB
Window N5 TOP is a 5.0 inch multi-dot resistance touch screen, 800×480 pixels tablet PC. Adopts the Android 2.2 system. The CPU is Rockchip RK2818 660Mhz, and the device is capable of playing up to 720p HD video supporting the usual suspects of file format and codec types. It also has other functions: Smart handwriting, Games, FM radio, Smart reading. And Built-in G-sensor. Support WiFi, 3G Network.
Window N5 TOP Tablet PC Features:
- Screen: 5.0 inch multi-dot resistance touch screen, 800×480 pixels
- OS: Android 2.2 system
- CPU: Rockchip RK2818, 660MHz
- Latest UI design
- Support: WiFi, 3G external doogle
- Memory: 8GB on board, RAM: 256MB DDR2, Support TF card
- Viedo: 720p, MKV、AVI、RMVB、FLV etc. formats
- Audio: MKV、AVI、RMVB、FLV etc. formats
- Built-in G-sensor
- OTG port
- Other functions: Chat on line, Smart handwriting, Games, FM radio, PDF E-book reading etc.
- Battery: Li-lion battery
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