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Dell's Latitude 12 E7240 - in and Beyond the Office
July 03, 2014
A confluence of recent events has gotten me thinking about laptops. First, IDC and Gartner released PC market surveys that suggest a significant slowing in the declines plaguing PC sales for the past few years. Then last week, due to "stronger than expected demand for business PCs," Intel said it was raising Q2 and full-year revenue and gross margin expectations.
The Big Winners at Google I/O 2014
June 30, 2014
At last week's Google I/O, Nvidia was the big winner. It was showcased in TVs, mobile devices and automotive as the supplier of a key technology. Other brands were mentioned in the keynote, but it was Nvidia that was mentioned most consistently -- and its technology apparently was connected to most of the demos. Though it was mentioned only in passing, Lenovo actually was the other big winner.
Verizon Flips Off Chromebook Pixel Customers
June 24, 2014
Though early purchasers of the LTE model of Google's Chromebook Pixel were promised two years of limited data, it appears Verizon has reneged on those assurances. The WiFi-only Pixel cost $1,299 while the LTE model set back consumers an extra $150. Those who bought the system through the Google Play Store when it went on sale last April were offered 100 MB of free Verizon data every month.
Microsoft Aims to Put Some MacBook Airs Out of Circulation
June 24, 2014
Microsoft is offering up to $650 worth of in-store credit to MacBook Air owners who are willing to trade them in and purchase a Surface Pro 3. The campaign runs until July 31. All models of MacBook Air are eligible for the deal, though the value given in the trade will vary, depending on the specific model and its condition. The offer is an extension of the company's "Recycle for Rewards Program."
Apple Edges Into Entry-Level Desktop Market
June 18, 2014
Apple is making a foray into the entry-level desktop market with the introduction of a lower-cost iMac. The 21.5-inch, all-in-one system features a 1.4 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor. That increases to up to 2.7 GHz with Turbo Boost Speeds. It includes an Intel HD 5000 graphics card, 8 GB of memory and a 500-GB hard drive. As is standard in iMac systems, this model includes 802.11ac WiFi.
Dell vs. Apple: Round 3
June 09, 2014
When Dell and Apple first confronted each other in the 1990s, Dell was a startup and Apple was a mature company attempting to fight Dell's kind of fight. It didn't go well, and Apple almost failed. When they faced off for the second time, Apple had been dramatically transformed by Steve Jobs into a much leaner, more-focused firm. Dell was having its own mid-life crisis, and Apple clearly won.
Apple vs. Microsoft Marketing: Spark vs. Spork
June 09, 2014
During Apple's WWDC keynote event last week, it became exceedingly clear that we won't be seeing a converged iPad/MacBook device anytime soon. Unlike Microsoft, with its Surface Pro 3 effort, Apple doesn't seem at all interested in forcing iOS and OS X into a single unified operating system. In fact, Apple doesn't seem to be interested in making OS X touch-based or touch-enabled.
IBM Flexes X6 and Xeon Muscle
June 02, 2014
IBM's new Flex System compute node solutions -- the x280 X6, x480 X6 and x880 X6 -- don't qualify as anything new, some might say. After all, they utilize solutions announced months ago -- IBM's X6 in mid-January and Intel's Xeon E7v2 a month later -- which means they simply have been upgraded with the respective vendors' latest and greatest technologies.
Surface: The Embodiment of Microsoft's Vision
May 26, 2014
Surface largely was the brainchild of Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's last CEO, and it resulted from a similar thought process that created Zune. In other words, the OEMs weren't building a product that was competitive with Apple, and Microsoft got frustrated and felt it could do a better job. In both cases, the conclusion that ultimately should have been drawn was that OEMs alone weren't at fault.
HP's Whitman Pulls Out the Chain Saw
May 23, 2014
In the wake of a weak second-quarter earnings report, HP has announced it will eliminate 11,000 to 16,000 jobs. The news was a blow; it was only two years ago that HP announced it would undergo a massive restructuring to move away from its PC roots. As part of that restructuring it planned to eliminate 34,000 jobs from its payroll, which then came as a shock.
The Apple-ization of Microsoft's New Surface
May 22, 2014
Microsoft is positioning its new Surface Pro 3 tablet as a laptop replacement device -- instead of competing head-to-head with the Apple iPad. However, the Surface Pro 3 naturally invites comparisons to both the MacBook Air and the iPad Air. Plus, Microsoft has had plenty of time to smooth the rough edges from Windows 8 and build a more competitive mobile device.
Going Gold - IBM's Mainframe Turns 50
April 22, 2014
Longevity doesn't get much respect in the tech industry, partly due to new technologies regularly entering and dominating industries and commercial markets. However, cultural factors play a part, too. Much of IT's vibrancy results from the startup mindset and youthful employees who willingly embrace crushing 80-hour work weeks for a chance to become millionaires -- or billionaires.
Data Center Fire Fries Samsung's Un-Backed-Up Servers
April 21, 2014
A fire that erupted at the data center of Samsung SDS in Gwacheon, South Korea, reportedly took out services to Samsung smartphones, tablets and smart TVs for several hours. The company reportedly stopped all services offered through its website and smartphone apps, and said consumers could not use its online payment services or receive text message confirmations of payments made.
Amazon's Rumored 3D Smartphone May Radically Change E-Commerce
April 16, 2014
A picture may be worth a thousand words but the photo of what might be a smartphone in development by Amazon has produced many more words than that. The photo shows a black smartphone that looks like any number of mobiles on the market, save for the number of cameras on the front. In addition to the typical front-facing camera for selfies and video messaging, there are four others.
Amazon Sets TV on Fire
April 02, 2014
Amazon on Wednesday put paid to the buzz circulating around its plans for a set-top box, announcing Amazon Fire TV at a New York event. The size of a CD box and just over half an inch thick, Fire TV takes on set-top boxes, the iPod, Apple TV and game consoles. It plugs into users' HDTVs to provide instant access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, Showtime and Amazon videos.
Is Google Thwarting Android-x86 Development?
March 26, 2014
Has Google been spreading FUD to discourage computer makers from using an Android OS retooled to run on legacy computers? The maintainer of the Android-x86 Project has suggested that the Justice Department should investigate whether Google has been interfering with adoption of the open source code his community is developing. The FOSS development world is hardly free of rivalry and power plays.
HTC Flips Switch on One M8 Buzz Machine
March 26, 2014
Ask the Internet. That's the pitch in HTC's TV ads for its new flagship smartphone, the HTC One M8. It's a pitch that hopes to acquire by word of mouth what HTC was unable to get for its predecessor: consumer mindshare. "The challenge for any vendor outside of Samsung and Apple in the North American market is to get on the radar screen," said Gartner analyst Van L. Baker.
Rumor vs. Reality in Silicon Valley, Part 1
March 25, 2014
Like most small, inbred communities, Silicon Valley encourages and thrives on gossip, even when it's of little substance. In popular-speak, Valley gossip has a "low signal to noise ratio," but the rumor mill is vibrantly alive despite that shortcoming -- partly due to venture capitalists, whose efforts parallel the day-to-day business of technology.
Nvidia ECS: Where Real Innovation AND Execution Are on Display
March 17, 2014
One of the questions I've been getting regularly, both because little companies like WhatsApp are in the news and because large firms are struggling to find early stage innovative firms, is "Where do you go to see a lot of small innovative companies?" Firms like this get lost at shows like CES. They just don't have the budget to stand out against the bigger firm's announcements and footprint.
Does Apple's Quiet Loyalty Program Make CRM Sense?
March 11, 2014
Apple has bumped up the discounts offered in a loyalty program available to customers who spend at least $5,000 on its products over 12 months. It reportedly added unlocked iPhones and Apple TVs to the program as well. Apple may be aiming to improve penetration in the enterprise market while shoring up its position in the education sector in the face of increasingly fierce competition from Google.
LaCie Fuel Is Much More Than a Run-of-the-Mill Portable
February 26, 2014
Cords have been the bane of digital life since the introduction of PCs. As wireless devices proliferated, though, the need for cords has declined, thanks to technologies like Bluetooth and WiFi. One product area where cords have been persistent, however, has been storage. Sure, the cloud has provided some relief, but local storage units often require a cord to tap into a wireless net.
The End of 'Good Enough' Computing
February 26, 2014
During the heyday of the dot-com boom, then-HP CEO Carly Fiorina espoused "good enough" computing. Despite significant performance differences between x86 servers and Unix and other enterprise-class systems, the dramatically lower cost of x86-based products would cause organizations to rethink their computing priorities and adopt, buy and deploy x86 whenever and wherever possible, she maintained.
Raising Linux to Grow Open Source
February 19, 2014
The open source business model has an inherent ability to bring software rivals together. This approach to developing and distributing software keeps expanding the usefulness and success of the Linux operating system as well. Linux has not yet come close to replacing Windows on the desktop, but open source is much more than Linux. Its "co-opetive" nature is spreading through the enterprise.
Has Linux Conquered the Cloud?
February 12, 2014
Linux on the desktop may have missed its adoption time line, but Linux in the cloud is a win-win proposition for the post-PC movement. Microsoft's Azure may be the only real threat to Linux cloud dominance -- all other major cloud software platforms are based on Linux and open source software. Some enterprise Linux distros are showing up as cloud-based offerings.

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