Friday, August 27, 2010

Is Google planning a Chrome netbook?

It has come to light that Google has trademarked the name "Speedbook" fuelling speculation that it may be the name of a soon-to-be-released Chrome netbook.

The name was trademarked with the US Patent and Trademark Office last week and was discovered on BNet.

We initially wondered if Google was planning to rename its rumoured upcoming attempt at social networking, Google Me, to Speedbook. As a kind of middle finger up to Facebook over its recent lawsuit against teaching community TeachBook.

But that was just a flight of fancy on our part. The category Google filed the "Speedbook" trademark in was "computer hardware" - which gives a pretty big hint at what it might be planning to use the name for.

The Chrome OS is a fast-boot Linux-based operating system which gives the bear necessities for getting online - offering a faster boot-up time and overall experience. Given the super-fast speeds Google is saying Chrome OS will deliver, it seems just about right that it may plump for "Speedbook" as a name for its range.

Google has already confirmed that it plans to release the Chrome OS in Autumn of 2010. There has been speculation that it will target the netbook market first before going for tablets, letting its Android OS take the fight to the tablet market instead.

Acer is rumoured to be the first company that will deliver a Chrome OS device, with some early speculation that it would have released a netbook as early as June. This was quashed by Acer, but we're half holding our breath and expecting it to ship a Chrome netbook some time this year.

Dell also signed a partnership with Google to deliver Chrome OS on a range of laptops, suggesting that it will have a broader market than just netbooks. Given how stripped down we hear Chrome is in comparison to Windows it could be a limiting experience.

The truth is we don't really know. It's not clear if either of these third-party devices will utilise the "Speedbook" name. The fact that Google has trademarked it suggests that it may attempt a foray into the hardware market as it did in the mobile sector with the Nexus One.

The smartphone was technically good and received positive reviews but poor marketing led to poorer sales until finally it was rebranded as a developer phone

Google didn't make the phone itself - it teamed up with HTC. We wonder then, if a netbook is on the way, who it might team up with for its Google Speedbook offering. Acer is a likely candidate.

That said, in early July Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that Google most likely won't need to launch its own Chrome device. Circumstances may have changed since then. There could be a surprise product launch some time soon.


LG says it will mass produce flexible 19 inch e-paper

LG Display has said that it is developing a new generation of colour and flexible e-paper. It hopes that these may go into future products such as e-readers or tablets.

According to an SEC filing the company expects to begin mass producing 9.7-inch colour and 19-inch flexible e-paper, which is the display used in e-readers on which text appears as it would on printed paper.

The company's 9.7-inch IPS LCD screen is already used in Apple's iPad, and LG also supplies the 9.7-inch e-paper display for the Amazon Kindle DX e-reader. It is thought its new creations could go into future generations of e-readers or tablets and the 19-inch could possibly used for e-readers the size of traditional newspapers.

Another avenue LG may be considering is how an interactive, larger sheet of e-paper could work with progressing advertising - think interactive posters.

Competition for e-paper is going to heat up. Each company realises it must do something interesting and innovate in a way others aren't, and excel while they're doing it. Earlier this year Samsung showed off colour e-paper, which it said was capable of displaying video (although it now seems the company has pulled out of the market) and Fujitsu also announced a colour panel this year. 


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

AMD reveals more details on Bobcat, Bulldozer cores

Fabless chip company AMD has disclosed more details of its up and coming cores, codenamed Bulldozer and Bobcat.

Bobcat will be the core AMD uses when it releases its first Fusion chip, codenamed Ontario, in early 2011.

The other Fusion chip, Llano, will use a K8 related core.

AMD in a briefing for journalists, said that Bulldozer is the "heavy lifter" aimed at server and high end desktops, while Bobcat is aimed at the netbook and notebook market.

Bulldozer pairs two integer execution cores with components that can be shared, while there are instruction set extensions. A single core is usually used for hyperthreading. Bulldozer includes better power management. It will be built on 32 nanometre process technology. This will be the first processor to use high gate k metal. SMT forces two threads into one core, with threads competing for resources.  Core multiprocessing (CMP) has dedicated cores for each thread.

Bulldozer's separate CPU integer act as two "strong threads". Sharing resources dynamically switches between shared and dedicated components. The FP operations are shared between the two integer units. On an eight core Bulldozer chp the L3 cache is shared with divisions transparent to hardware, OS and applications.

Bobcat is an efficient low power X86 core, aimed at the netbook and notebook market. It is a sub one watt capable core, with an out of order execution engine, uses SE1-3 and virtualisation. AMD claims it will deliver 90 perfence in less than half of the silicon area.

Bobcat will be the CPU element of Ontario Fusion, using a high speed bus architecture and a shared low latency memory model, and will appear early next year, ahead of schedule.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

MSI launches FX600 notebook

MSI has today launched its FX600 notebook, which MSI believes combines functionality and power with a stylish exterior.

The FX600 comes with a 15.6-inch LCD LED backlit display with 1366x768 resolution, along with a built-in high definition webcam. It comes with four built-in speakers with THX TruStudio PC.

The standard version is powered by an Intel Core i3 processor, but an upgrade to an i5 is also available. It also comes with Intel's Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading technology, designed to boost performance without impacting battery life too much.

It comes with 4GB of DDR3 RAM and contains an Nvidia GeForce GT 325M discrete graphics card with 1GB of memory. It comes with 500GB of hard drive space as standard.

Connectivity-wise it comes with built-in 802.11b/g/draft n WLAN, Bluetooth, a four-in-one Card Reader, three USB ports, one e-Sata port, and one HDMI port.

It also comes with a Blu-ray or Super Multi optical drive and Cinema Pro, making it a viable multimedia machine.

The main focus of the F Series of notebooks, however, seems to be its design. MSI said that it wants these notebooks to be "a symbol of vogue" as well as a "luxury item". It has a sheek black exterior, but this is not really any more impressive than other notebooks on the market, including in other ranges by MSI.

The standard version of the notebook will be available to buy from Argos for £599.99 from early August.

notebook 1

notebook 2

notebook 3