Meanwhile, a new data analysis has compared the four top Twitter-like competitors in China: Sina, Tencent, Sohu and Netease. Sina had the most visitors to its Weibo service over the 17 days of the Olympics with 310 million visits. Tencent came in a distant second with 200 million, followed by Sohu with 120 million and Netease with 40 million. The amount of time that users spent on the site, showed Sina had an impressive lead with a 70.6 percent share. The most discussed athletes on weibo were swimmers and gymnast. (We believe this is not true, now it should be the 110 meter hurdler…) The figures only include PC traffic, so it certainly don’t offer a complete picture of the social network in China, since nowadays mobile platform has already dominates China internet.
While the new iPhone will feature updated hardware and may have a new design, we’re just as interested in Apple’s software improvements.
That’s increasingly where the smartphone business is headed, and while Apple’s software is still ahead of the competition in general, there are some areas where rivals Google and Microsoft are doing better than Apple.
What’s in iOS 5?
While the iPhone hardware is certainly sexy, it’s software that really makes it an iPhone. So what does Apple have planned for the next major version of its iOS software for iPhones and iPads?We asked a dozen iOS developers what they wanted from iOS 5, and their responses included: A better alerts and notifications system; more background processing features — so the New York Times app could download news articles while you’re sleeping, for example; and potentially “widgets” to customize your iPhone’s unlock or home screens.
We’d also love to see a much better camera app, and maybe a better photo management app, more like iPhoto for Mac OS X. The iPhone camera is becoming very important, and while third-party developers like Instagram have done some really cool things with it, it makes sense for Apple to improve the built-in camera software, too.
Is this another whole new iPhone design?
We expect some of the usual updates — faster, more memory, new chip, maybe some new hardware features — and a new design for the iPhone 5.While the iPhone 4 is still an attractive phone, and is still selling, it will be a year old this June. That’s a long time in the smartphone industry, where new phones are constantly coming out. So we don’t expect another iPhone 3GS-like “update” from Apple ever again, where it keeps the same phone case design from one year to the next but only upgrades the guts.
This supposed leaked image could be it — sure looks like the iPad 2 — or could be a fake. But either way, we expect a new design.
The critics have shut up about Apple’s iPhone 4 design, and “Antennagate” didn’t seem to have any effect on sales. So we wouldn’t be surprised to see the iPhone 4 stick around as Apple’s cheaper iPhone model. But we expect at least some moderate updates this year to the high-end model.
Will Apple finally turn on some more “cloud” services?
The iPhone 5′s hardware and software is important, but “cloud” services on the back end are becoming increasingly important for smartphones, and Apple could stand to make some improvements there.For example: How about letting you sync your phone over wi-fi instead of having to plug in a USB cable? How about being able to access your iTunes music library from anywhere? How about being able to grab some of your iPhoto pictures from the road?
How about sharing photos with other iPhone users without having to email them?
Some or all of these features could potentially be built into a new “MobileMe” service, which Apple could potentially make cheaper or even free. Some may have to wait to be built into the next version of Mac OS X, which is expected to ship this year.
But this is an area where Google is doing more interesting things than Apple, so it’s time to wake up.
When will it go on sale?
Apple has launched a new iPhone every June or July since the first one went on sale in 2007. We don’t expect anything different this year.Except that last month, FBR analyst Craig Berger hypothesized that the iPhone 5 launch may be pushed to September because of what he was hearing from the supply chain: “For the iPhone 5, we continue to hear that a July launch is unlikely, with various casing suppliers and touch suppliers still ramping up, with some chip vendors not having yet received firm iPhone 5 orders, and with other sockets like the image sensor … still in flux.”
We believe Apple intends to release the iPhone 5 in the summer, as it has in past years. But anything is possible, including a delay. Though, on the other hand, Apple launched the iPad 2 earlier than expected, albeit in very short supply.
Will iPhone 5 include near field communication (NFC) technology for mobile payments?
One of the major new features expected for the iPhone 5 was supposed to be near field communication (NFC) technology, which would allow you to make a payment or exchange media with another iPhone just by holding it close to another NFC device.But the iPad 2 has shipped without NFC, and recently the Independent reported that Apple is telling carriers that the iPhone 5 won’t have it, either.
It looks like Apple’s payment revolution will have to wait another year.
Will the iPhone 5 be 4G? Will the phones be hybrid AT&T/Verizon units? Or separate like the iPhone 4 and iPad 2?
We don’t expect the iPhone 5 to support 4G LTE networks. We think Apple will wait until 2012 for that, in order to have the smallest phones and the best battery life.In theory, there will be a chip someday that lets Apple make a single iPhone that works on both GSM networks like AT&T and CDMA networks like Verizon. Other phones have used these chips for years. But the question is when they will be to Apple’s liking, in terms of size, functionality, and pricing.
This is something we expected for the iPad 2, but Apple instead went with two different 3G lines — separate AT&T and Verizon devices. Perhaps because the dual-mode chips weren’t ready yet. Perhaps because they weren’t cost effective, when the majority of the world doesn’t use CDMA.
Will the iPhone 5 be dual-mode devices? Or just single-mode like existing Apple devices?
Does Apple have another social network up its sleeve? Or will it finally work closer with Facebook?
Is Apple going to continue to move into social networking? We had heard a rumor that it was working on some sort of social app for photo and media sharing, and some code found in an iOS beta called “Media Stream” seems to back that up.As much as we’d like to see Apple make the iPhone more inherently social, we also don’t have much confidence in their understanding of what social tools are all about, how they should be designed, and what makes them fun and useful. Last year, Apple introduced Ping and GameCenter, two social networks. We don’t hear much about them.
So should Apple continue to make its own social tools? Or should it work to integrate existing social networks like Facebook and Twitter deeper into the iOS experience, the way other phones have?
Will it be bigger? Or smaller?
There are regular rumors that Apple is working on smaller or bigger iPhones.We have no doubt that Apple has tested many sizes of iPhones. And rival HP is launching a tiny phone this year called the Veer. But history has shown that Apple is very happy with the size of the iPhone.
If we had to pick either way, we’d expect an iPhone with a slightly larger screen, not a tiny iPhone nano. Nothing too big — probably not like the massive Android phones from the likes of HTC, Samsung, and others. But a bigger screen could be better for games and movies, so maybe someday Apple will make one.
Still, we wouldn’t hold our breath.
Will Apple have an ingenious iPhone case like the iPad 2′s smart cover?
Apple’s “smart cover” for the iPad 2 has really gotten a lot of attention. It’s smart that the cover was designed as part of the iPad, and not as an afterthought.The current iPhone case, the “bumper,” is okay — but if anything, it got stuck in the middle of the Antennagate fiasco. And it’s nothing too special. Just a case with no back.
Will Apple come out with a crazy cover of some sort for the iPhone 5? Or will it just try to make the actual phone more durable so people don’t need a case? The nice thing about the bumper, after all, is that it doesn’t add much bulk to the phone — it’s basically a high-tech rubber band.
How much will it cost? Will there be a “free” iPhone this year? How about lower service fees?
Image: Dan Frommer, Business Insider
Android phones are starting to creep down in price, and Apple hasn’t really done much with its iPhone pricing since 2008.Will this be the year that the low-end iPhone drops to $0 from $99 after subsidy? Will Apple devise some more plans with the carriers to make data access more affordable for entry-level users?
Is there really a super-cheap iPhone on the way for developing markets?
The last five years have seen two great things being championed and heralded by anyone who has had any measure of interest in the Internet – Social Networking and Apple.
On one hand, the unexpected lightning-fast development of Facebook, Twitter and Zynga to the top of the Internet has inspired even the greatest of companies to stick a hand in the social networking pie. On the other hand, Apple, the company already made relevant by the wildly famous iPod, has generated massive consumer interest in their unveilings of the iPhone. It’s no surprise then that people have put two and two together, and have decided to bring social networking exclusively to the iPhone. Here are 4 of the top choices which you can dive right into right now.
Path takes the concept that people want social networking, but they also want it to be personal. Facebook seems like the ultimate offender of this principle, with its wide-sharing features and privacy issues, while Google+ seems to recognize this by providing people with the capability to aggregate their friends into Circles.
Path, which had appeared long before Google+ took the stage, takes this a step further by recommending a social network with only your closest friends. As self-described by its official website, Path is a “simple way to share life and never miss a moment with family”. It only allows you to share your updates with up to 50 of your friends, and the interface behind this activity is clear and seamless enough to encourage it.
Clearly, Path was developed with the intention of making social networking a sweet, enriching experience, as opposed to the social atmosphere that it is today. It is an amazing concept, to say the least, and Path’s burgeoning user base is only proof that people want what they have dreamt up more than ever.
Klip is very new on the social scene – as new as a month perhaps – but it highly deserves a place on this list because of its remarkableness. Klip is basically an app for you to share your videos. That’s right, that’s all it does – share videos you have took with others. The brilliance of it lies in the ability to assign hashtags to your videos, not unlike Twitter, which categorizes the videos according to their nature in the public arena.
So, if you’re a person who likes cat videos, just look up “#cat”, and all the cat videos taken by Klip users show up on your screen! The propensity for its use is just so large in scale; imagine a major event being shared by hashtags – a feature still unavailable on Youtube or Twitter – in a personal space by thousands of individuals. It’ll be like a video version of Twitter all over again.
Klip’s interface is very pleasing, with the small video box giving users the feeling that it was made just for the iPhone. It’s also easy to navigate, and once its number of users grows, the developers will have a goldmine of information sharing on their hands.
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3. Pool Party
Google has a tendency for scavenging successful products and making their own version, backed by their enormous resources to take down the existing competition – and it seems like Pool Party is their latest effort yet.
Created by wholly-owned subsidiary Slide (which also created the recently pulled Photovine HP elitebook 8530w notebook battery), Pool Party is an attempt to unseat Instagram, the hipster photo-filtering social app which is presently taking the streets by storm. Pool Party is in its essence a photo-sharing app, where people share their photos into a “pool” with friends in a sort of group album. This creates opportunities to share photos taken from parties, hikes and sleepovers with a select group of people, much in the same way Google+ encourages sharing with Circles.
Pool Party is currently in beta and only accepts invitees, but as with all Google’s products they’re bound to be released to the public soon and gather a quick following. If you simply cannot wait, you can visit here to get an invite.
With the multi-capabilities of the iPhone, many people seem to have forgotten that the iPhone is primarily a phone; but Heywire’s creators aren’t one of them. Realizing the potential for a worldwide-based, affordable text messaging service, they have created a working, effective version of the Messaging app which bypasses all carrier costs. As long as you have access to the Internet, you can text message to any number from 45 countries, from anywhere in the world.
So how is this different from Whatsapp, Facebook or MSN Messenger on the iPhone? Well, Heywire not only provides you with a Heywire account, it also provides you with a temporary US number which others can reach. This means that even those without the app, or friends using Blackberries or old-school Nokias, can communicate with you by not only receiving but sending text messages to your temporary number, all without incurring the extravagant carrier costs usually associated with international travel.
Research is underway on a new class of rechargeable powerpack known as a lithium-air or lithium-oxygen battery. These devices could store more than 10 times the energy found in current lithium-ion batteries, which would greatly extent the time required between recharging cycles. Because lithium-air uses freely available oxygen as a cathode reactant, the weight of the battery significantly decreased.
These power cells could even beat the energy density of hydrogen fuel cells, making one efficient lithium-air car battery able to store the equivalent energy of a tank of gasoline. The battery technology is not yet commercially available, although it’s actively being developed in several places.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has developed a lithium-air battery with three times the energy density of any existing battery on the market today. One prototype is pictured above. MIT researchers state that some of the issues that must be dealt with before commercialization of these new laptop batteries is safety in operation and insuring that the battery is robust enough to survive many charging cycles.
Although MIT has discovered that electrodes with gold or platinum show a much higher level of efficiency than simple carbon, lithium in metallic form is highly reactive to water. This poses a problem should water make its way into the oxygen inlet of current lithium-air prototype batteries. Researchers are working to better understand how the chemistry of these substances affects longevity through discharge and recharge cycles as well.
Some companies have stated a ten-year goal for full commercialization of lithium-air battery technology. MIT researchers believe that small portable electronics will be the first to benefit from the improved batteries, with products such as electric cars taking advantage of the devices after they come down in price and become more widely available.
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Lenovo’s 2012 Q2 global PC shipments figure at 12.8 million, came close to matching current leader HP’s 13 million units, thanks to a 15 percent increase compared with the same period of last year, according to a recent Gartner’s research.
“It’s just a matter of time before Lenovo becomes number one and it won’t be surprising at all if it happens later this year,” said Frederick Wong, executive director at Avant Capital Management, according to a Reuter’s report.
Although the global PC demand was flat for the quarter because of the economic uncertainties in the Eurozone and the United States, Lenovo’s growth remained strong, narrowing the market share gap with HP to only 0.2 percent, controlling 14.7 percent of the pie. A series of acquisitions and aggressive pricing were the driving force behind its quick expansion, said the research.
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But the low profit margin and increasing competition in other product segments may slow Lenovo’s overall growth.
According to Thomson Reuters’s data, the company’s operating profit rate in 2012 Q2 was only 1.4 percent, which lagged far behind HP’s 7.4 percent and Dell ‘s 6.2 percent.
“HP, Dell and Acer have switched lanes in the PC race and passed the baton to Lenovo in terms of focusing on sales rather than margins,” said Dickie Chang, an analyst at IDC in Hong Kong in a PC Pro article.
The competition in other markets like smartphones, tablets computers, and enterprise market is set to put pressure on the first Chinese company to crown a technology sector.
Lenovo’s smartphones account for less than eight percent in the mainland China market, but it has been struggling to gain traction in high-end products against Apple and Samsung, and also finds it hard to beat ZTE and Huawei’s “under-a-thousand-yuan ($157)” smartphones that flood the market.
In the tablet space, with only one million pieces sold since its launch in Jan 2010, its answer the Android-run Ideatab, is also facing increasing competition this year from alternatives such as Kindle Fire, Nexus 7, and Microsoft’s Surface.
It also faces a steep challenge in the world server market, currently dominated by HP, Dell and IBM–with 29.2 percent, 21.8 percent and 12.1 percent in sales volume respectively–in which Lenovo holds a distant 2 percent market share.
Since the launch of Android OS, technology has taken a revolutionary turn especially the smartphones department, and since there has been a horse race between the leading companies to secure the top spot. Companies like HTC, Motorola and Samsung being the leader of smartphones have thus delivered some of the coolest and awesome smartphones that runs Android OS and had satisfied their customers in every aspect. So here are some of the best smartphones in business that runs Android OS.
10. Google Nexus one:
Though Nexus One was released a long time ago but still it makes his way to the top ten android based smartphones. It runs Android 2.1(éclair) and what makes it best is its extended features and unique designed and of course users acceptance.
Specification: CPU: 1 GHz Scorpion processor, Adreno 200 GPU, Qualcomm QSD8250 Snapdragon chipset
Display: AMOLED capacitive touch screen, 16M colors, 480 x 800 pixels, 3.7 inche
Memory: 512MB RAM, 512MB ROM, Extended memory upto 32GB
Battery Time: upto 290 hours with10 hours of talktime.
9. HTC Desire:
Another brilliant smartphone by HTC. Although it bears a strong resemblance to Nexus One but it has many other strong features that makes it more desirable samrtphone. It runs the Android 2.2 (froyo) OS and has 5mp camera.
Specification: CPU: 1 GHz Scorpion processor, Adreno 200 GPU, Qualcomm QSD8250 Snapdragon chipset
Display: AMOLED or SLCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, 480 x 800 pixels, 3.7 inches
Memory: 576 MB RAM; 512 MB ROM, extended memory upto 32 GB
Battery Time: 340 hours and 7 hours of talktime
8. HTC Droid Incredible:
Well HTC smartphones has always been at the top of the leading smartphones list and why is that because they have always satisfied their users with their unique features. HTC Droid Incredible is one of the HTC’s best android based smartphone. It features Android 2.1 (éclair) operating system and 8mp autofocus camera with other important features as follows.
Specification: CPU: 1 GHz Scorpion processor, Adreno 200 GPU, Qualcomm QSD8650 Snapdragon chipset
Display: AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, 480 x 800 pixels, 3.7 inches
Memory: 8 GB storage, with 32 Gb memory card option.
Battery Time: upto 146 hours with 5 hours talktime.
7. Samsung Epic 4g:
Samsung Epic is the one fastest smartphones and it has also dominated HTC recently but failed to make an impact over Motorola who is currently leading the whole market. Samsung Epic contains the Android 2.1(éclair) operating system and has many other power packed features that will rock the user.
Specification: CPU: 1 GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor, PowerVR SGX540 GPU, Hummingbird chipset
Display: Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, 480 x 800 pixels, 4.0 inches
Memory: 512 MB RAM, 512 MB ROM, upto 32gb extended microSD option
Battery Time: upto 300h with 6 hours talktime.
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6. HTC EVO shift 4G:
Another glory set but HTC called EVO shift. This smartphone is another one of the most wanted smartphones in the world. It contains Android 2.2 (froyo) with 5mp camera and huge storage option.
Specification: CPU: 800 MHz Scorpion processor, Adreno 205 GPU, Qualcomm MSM7630 Snapdragon chipset
Display: TFT capacitive touchscreen, 65K colors, 480 x 800 pixels, 3.6 inches
Memory: 512 MB RAM / 2048 MB ROM, 2GB in external memory included upto 32 GB
Battery Time: upto 146 hours with 6 hours talktime.
5. Motorola Droid X:
Another blockbuster in the smartphones market, Motorola Droid X is a perfect competitor in the leading smartphones list and contains the Android 2.1 (Éclair) operating system and 8mp camera.
Specification: CPU: 1 GHz Cortex-A8 processor, ; PowerVR SGX530 GPU, TI OMAP 3630-1000 chipset
Display: TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, 480 x 854 pixels, 4.3 inches.
Memory: 6.5 GB storage, 512 MB RAM, 16 Gb included
Battery Time: upto 220 hours with 8 hours talktime
4. HTC Thunderbolt:
The master of the android based smartphone HTC delivered yet another super bomb smartphone with Android 2.2 (froyo) OS that has won many users heart. But this phone has faced tough competition with other smartphones so currently it stands at no.4.
CPU: 1GHz Scorpion processor, Adreno 205 GPU, Qualcomm MSM8655 Snapdragon
Display: TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, 480 x 800 pixels, 4.3 inches
Memory: 8GB storage, 768 MB RAM, with external memory option upto 32GB.
Battery Time: unknown.
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3. Sony Ericsson Xperia Play:
Those who want a “play station” along with other features like phone and internet can now find all these things in Sony Ericsson Xperia Play. This uniquely designed set has all the power packed specs and features the brand new operating system Android 2.3 (Gingerbird) and so it is ranked 3rd in the list.
CPU: 1GHz Scorpion processor, Adreno 205 GPU, Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon
Display: LED-backlit LCD, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, 480 x 854 pixels, 4.0 inches
Memory: 400 MB, 512 MB RAM with 8Gb microSD. Memory extendable to 32Gb.
Battery Time: 425 hours with 8 hours of talktime.
2. Samsung Galaxy S 4G:
Samsung has delivered one of the best smartphones in the world. But it has fell just short to Motorola Atrix. However this Android based smartphone is still good enough to be ranked at no.2.
CPU: 1GHz ARM Cortex A8, PowerVR SGX540 GPU, Hummingbird chipset
Display: Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, 480 x 800 pixels, 4.0 inches
Memory: 1GB ROM, 512 MB RAM including 16GB microSD memory card.
Battery Time: 300 hours with 7 hours talktime.
1. Motorola Atrix 4G:
Motorola Atrix is currently leading the list of best Android smartphones. It has a beautiful sleek design and 5mp camera. It is also known as mini laptop because it features dual core processor and 2.2 Android OS.
CPU: Dual Core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 proccessor, ULP GeForce GPU, Tegra 2 chipset.
Display: TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, 540 x 960 pixels, 4.0 inches
Memory: 16 GB storage, 1 GB RAM, external memory up to 32GB.
Battery Time: Up to 250 hours and 9 hours talktime.
The company did not provide a time frame for when the Android 4.1 port would be complete, or when the OS would be deployed in products.
“Intel continues to work closely with Google to enable future versions of Android, including Jelly Bean, on our family of low power Atom processors,” said Suzy Greenberg, a company spokeswoman, in an e-mail.
Smartphones running on Intel chips are currently being rolled out with Android 2.3, code-named Gingerbread, and are due to get Android 4.0, code-named Ice Cream Sandwich, as an update, though a time-frame has not been provided.
Lava International and Orange are among companies that launched Intel Inside smartphones with Gingerbread. Lenovo released an Intel Inside smartphone in China with a customized version of Android, and Motorola is due to release smartphones and tablets Intel chips with the Android OS later this year.
Intel has a minimal presence in the smartphone and tablet markets, which are dominated by ARM. The first tablet to get Android 4.1 was Google’s Nexus 7, which was based on an ARM processor. Device makers that license ARM processors such as Asus and HTC are due to deliver over-the-air updates to Android 4.1 for devices in the near future.
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ARM’s rival MIPS, whose processor designs go into low-cost tablets, is also racing to complete a port of Jelly Bean to work on its processors.
Intel’s Atom ProcessorIntel is a big backer of Android, and is mainly putting the OS on smartphones and tablets with its Atom chips code-named Medfield. Intel Inside smartphones carry Medfield chips, and a few tablets have been announced with Medfield. Vizio has announced it would use a Medfield chip in an upcoming 10-inch tablet.
Intel’s next-generation Atom chip for tablets, code-named Clover Trail, is being targeted for use only in devices with Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 OS. Intel is not porting Android for Clover Trail tablets, and hopes to expand its presence in the tablet market primarily around Windows 8 and Clover Trail. Microsoft has also announced Windows RT for ARM processors.
ARM is a step ahead of its rival with devices already carrying Android 4.1. But Intel is trying to attract developers to write applications for Android on Atom processors. It is sponsoring a contest where the company will award US$29,000 in cash prizes to attract Android developers to write games for Intel-based tablets and smartphones. As part of the contest, users can test the code in an Android 4.0 emulator.
Google has also said it would release an Android Platform Development Kit (PDK) to hardware companies to customize the OS for a chipset or device ahead of release.
Dell’s Inspiron 15R special edition is the latest talk in the laptop market. Dell is already in news with the launch of desktop models powered by Ivy Bridge processors. Dell fans are made even happy with the news of the laptop line up coming in with the Ivy Bridge processors.
Key features of Dell Inspiron 15R special edition include the following.
- 15.6 inch display screen
- Full HD LCD display screen
- Dimension of 378 x 252 x 29.4-33.4 mm
- AMD Radeon HD 7730 graphics
- 64-bit Windows 7 Home operating system
- Weight of only 2.9 kg
- 4GB of DDR3 RAM
- Processor speed of 2.10 GHz
- 2GB of video RAM
- VGA port
- Hard drive of 750GB with 5400rpm
- Intel Core i7-3612QM quad core processor OR Ivy Bridge processors
- HD web cam
- 8 in 1 card reader
- 2 built-in stereo speakers
- Digital microphone
- Intel HM77 Express chipset
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled
- USB 3.0 ports
- HDMI port
- Microphone and headphone jack
- 4 Waves MaxxAudio technology
- Laptop Battery life of 6 hours
- DVD Super Multi drive
Consumers are given options for choosing between two display models. The first one is a HD WLED display with a resolution of 1366 x 768. The second one is a FHD True-Life display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. The computer gadget has an elegantly designed aluminium finish. Intel WiDi with the system will assist in viewing video contents of high definition on large screens wirelessly.
Intel Rapid Start Smart Response facility with this Dell laptop helps to get on from the sleep mode within seconds. The inbuilt audio technology by Skullcandy helps in delivering good quality sound which adds to the entertainment features of this laptop.
Good Dell Inspiron 1545 battery life is assured with the help of 6-cell Dell Latitude d620 battery. Data transfer facilities are made supportive with the availability of full Bluetooth connectivity and options for USBs. HD web cam helps users in enjoying high quality video call and chat options. The efficient processor along with user friendly Windows operating system makes this gadget the most convenient one. Efficiency, fast processing, good graphics etc are the highlights of this laptop with the addition of Ivy Bridge processors.
Dell Inspiron 15R Special Edition is out in the laptop market this month. This new laptop from Dell with Ivy Bridge processors can be purchased at a price tag of around Rs.50,000/-. Dell admirers can expect the upcoming laptops also to be out with the latest Ivy Bridge processors.
If I had been drinking something at the time, I would have spit it all over my screen. That’s because I was reading a laptop buying guide that was so superficial, so full of errors, half-truths and oversimplifications, that I couldn’t believe my eyes. I won’t name any names, but this was my favorite gem: “Most flash drives still exceed 300 gigabytes, which is enough for most people.” Um, actually most SSDs start at 128GB.
Here’s another: “Battery life specs mean little. Have a power cord with you.” Oh, and the processor doesn’t matter at all.
If I were a parent reading a guide like that heading into the back-to-school season, I would have just thrown up my hands and did some eerie eeny-meeny-miny-mo at Best Buy. But you don’t have to. Just follow my simple buying tips.
1. Choose The Right Size
Although 15-inch laptops tend to be the cheapest, 13- and 14-inch models are better for students because they usually weigh under 5 pounds, making them much easier to transport to and from class.
A smaller 11-inch laptop will often do the trick, but it’s not as practical back at the dorm, where your student would probably want to plug it into a bigger monitor.
2. Pay for Premium Design
One feature back-to-school shoppers tend to overlook is the look and feel of the laptop and materials used. After all, your student will want to be seen around campus carrying something that’s sleek instead of clunky. At the same time, the notebook should feel like it’s built to last. When possible, opt for a design that at least has a metal lid, which will help protect the display and resist wear and tear during those years away at school.
The HP Sleekbook ($599), for instance, has a brushed aluminum finish on the lid and around the keyboard, and a soft-touch finish on the bottom that’s easy to grip. Another tip: if you press down on the lid or keyboard and you see a lot of flex, keep on looking.
3. Get Specs for the Long Haul
Despite what you may have heard, the CPU can make a big difference. For instance, Intel’s latest third-generation Core processor (also called Ivy Bridge) offers up to twice the 3D graphics performance, which means the difference between being able to play “World of Warcraft” at a smooth frame rate and watching it stutter on the screen.
If you’re looking to save money, though, a second-generation Core processor wi ll do the trick. Stay away from Pentium CPUs, though, as they’re just not fast enough for the long haul.
As for memory, 4GB is sufficient, but if you can find a notebook for the same price with 6 or 8GB of RAM, get it.
A notebook’s storage drive has almost as much impact on its performance as its CPU. While more expensive and lower in capacity than hard drives, Solid State Drives (SSDs) dramatically improve the performance of the entire system so consider a system that has one.
If you’re buying a laptop with a traditional hard drive, go for one that operates at the faster 7,200 rpm speed and, when possible, opt for a minimum of 500GB, though you can get away with 320GB.
4. Consider an Ultrabook
Intel and its partners are going right after students with a new class of laptop called Ultrabooks, which sport thin profiles and wake from sleep almost as soon Junior flips the lid. They also offer at least 5 hours of battery life.
These notebooks tend to be more expensive, but there are a few value-priced models that parents and students should consider, such as the 14-inch Dell Inspiron 14z (4.2 pounds, $699) and Toshiba Satellite U845 (3.9 pounds, $749).
Lower-cost Ultrabooks combine a solid state drive with a traditional hard drive, which is fine for students, but more premium notebooks, like the 13-inch MacBook Air and ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A, opt for all-flash memory. Your student will be trading blazing-fast performance for a smaller 128GB of storage, in which case the cloud will have to be their friend.
5. Go for at Least 5.5 Hours of Acer as07a41 battery life
Saying that battery life specs mean little and that you should just bring the power cord is a cop-out. It’s not always easy for students to plug in when they’re going to class or finishing up a paper in the campus coffee shop. So get them a notebook that lasts at least 5 hours and 30 minutes on a charge. How can you tell? Our reviews include results from our homegrown battery test, which involves continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi.
While it’s too pricey for some, the 13-inch MacBook Air blew us away with its 8 plus hours of endurance in our tests (continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi). Another long-distance runner that’s a good choice for students is the Sony VAIO S Series 13 ($899), which not only lasts more than 6 hours in our test but features an optional battery slice that doubles the endurance.
6. Pick a Good Keyboard and Touchpad
Your student will be doing lots of typing, from writing reports to Facebook updates, so they should try it out to make sure there’s enough travel and springy feedback instead of a cramped or mushy keyboard. And don’t ignore the touchpad, which is just as important. Make sure navigating the desktop is smooth instead of jerky and that multi-touch gestures like pinch to zoom and two-finger scroll are responsive. If the buttons are integrated into the pad, make sure they’re easy to press and not too stiff.
7. Consider Both Macs and Windows PCs.
Doing more of our computing online has indeed made choosing an OS less important, but there are still fundamental differences in the overall user experience. For example, some may like the fact that Apple’s OS X Lion offers an iPad-like Launchpad to see your apps, while some will prefer the way Windows 7 lets you multitask. Generally speaking, Macs are more secure and are typically better designed machines, while Windows’ systems tend to be cheaper and offer a wider array of programs (especially games).
The differences between Windows and Mac will become even more pronounced this fall with the introduction of Windows 8 and Mountain Lion. Windows 8 has an entirely new interface that, while dynamic, involves a learning curve. Meanwhile, Mountain Lion will bring more iOS features to the Mac while keeping the overall look and feel the same.
Things are going badly in the Nokia-Microsoft marriage. The first batch of Windows phones did not do as well as Nokia hoped – that was the beginning of their troubled partnership. And then, Microsoft announced that Windows 7 phones would not get the Windows 8 updates. In one fell swoop, the Nokia Lumia 900 was all but dead. Only 300,000 of these ill fated smartphones have been sold – a market share of 0.3 percent.
And frankly, what store wants to buy a phone that seems doomed to fail? Within a few weeks of purchase, its operating system will be outdated with no chance of being updated. The Nokia Lumia 900 comes only with the modest Windows 7.8 update, which has just a few of the updates that will appear with Windows 8.
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Nokia is preparing for the worst, halving the price of the Lumia 900 to $50. It’s an incredible price for a smartphone, and people looking for the basics of a smartphone without the hefty price tag should snatch one up. Even the Windows phones from HTC and Samsung have been selling better than Nokia’s. For their sake, let’s hope Nokia’s Windows 8 phones fare better than the 7′s.