Saturday, February 26, 2011

MOTOROLA XOOM NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE FROM VERIZON, NO CONTRACT REQUIRED TO UNLOCK WIFI

The Motorola Xoom Android tablet is now available for purchase from Verizon Wireless. Best Buy has been selling the tablet to pre-order customers since February 24th. Verizon is also charging $799 for a contract-free tablet.If you sign up for a 2 year data plan you will be able to pick it up for $599.

Meanwhile, Verizon has confirmed that customers who are willing to buy the tablet at full prize will no longer be required to register for a one-month data plan. It was earlier reported that paying for at least one month's data plan is required to unlock the tablet's WiFi functionality. Of course, if you are not interested in using 3G, there is really no point in buying the tablet at the moment by paying the contract-free price of $799, because Motorola has plans to offer a WiFi only version sometime soon. And that model is priced at $599.

In related news, Verizon will reportedly offer free upgrade to 4G in about 3 months. Customers will have to send in their tablets to get the upgrade, though.

DELL UPDATES XPS 15 AND XPS 17 NOTEBOOKS WITH SANDY BRIDGE PROCESSORS

Dell has updated its XPS 15 and XPS 17 multimedia notebooks with Intel's latest 2nd generation Core i series Sandy Bridge processors and new NVIDIA GeForce 500M discrete graphics. The XPS 17 is also available with an optional 3D capable display.

The 15.6 inch XPS 15 L502x and the 17.3 inch XPS 17 L702x also support the NVIDIA Optimus automatic graphics switching technology. Select models also feature the Intel Wireless Display technology and built-in TV tuner. Full HD display resolution is also available as an optional feature. Dell says the new XPS notebooks aren't affected by the recent chipset issue that affected some Sandy Bridge laptops.

The Dell XPS 15 L502x and 17 L702x have a starting price of $1,049.99 and $899.99 respectively. Both models are expected to start shipping on March 15th.

CLOSER LOOK AT THE FUJITSU STYLISTIC Q550 WINDOWS TABLET

Fujitsu showed off a Windows 7 tablet with an Intel Oak Trail processor and a 10.1 inch display at CES in January. However, Fujitsu didn't reveal a lot of details back then. Now it looks like the tablet is ready for prime time. Fujitsu will reportedly show off the tablet at the CeBIT trade show in Germany in March.

The Fujitsu Stylistic Q550 is aimed at business users, rather than consumers. It will run Windows 7 Professional operating system. It will be powered by an upcoming Intel Atom Oak Trail processor. The tablet has a touchscreen display which recognizes both pen and finger input. There is also a fingerprint scanner and a smartcard slot.

The Fujitsu Stylistic Q550 will also have a solid state disk of up to 64GB, front and rear facing cameras, a USB port, and optional 3G mobile broadband. The tablet will reportedly be available in Europe in April. No word on pricing at the moment, but bear in mind that Fujitsu has no history of launching cheap computers.

WIFI ONLY HTC FLYER UP FOR PRE-ORDER IN GERMANY

The WiFi only version of the HTC Flyer Android tablet is now up for pre-order in Germany. The Flyer is powered by a 1.5GHz single core processor. It has a 7 inch capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. The tablet also supports a pressure-sensitive stylus.

The 3G-enabled model of the tablet went up for pre-order at Amazon Germany last week for 669 Euros. Now German retailer Cyberport has started taking pre-orders for the WiFi-only model. It is priced at 499 Euros (about 685 USD) but that price includes the VAT.

Besides the stylus support, what makes the HTC Flyer interesting is the operating system it runs. It will ship with Android 2.4 at a time when most PC makers are busy announcing tablets with Android 3.0. The Android 2.4 is very similar to the version of Android that HTC has been running on its smartphones for a while. The company has also developed a new version of its Sense user interface with full screen widgets to run on top of Android. No word on pricing or availability in other parts of the world.

MSI WINDPAD 110W WITH AMD ONTARIO CHIP COMING

MSI has been showing off Windows based tablets for a while. While none of these machines are available in the market yet, one of them - the WindPad 100W - is now up for pre-order from Excaliber PC. It has an Intel Atom Z530 processor and Windows 7 operating system. It is priced at $649.

Now it looks like the WindPad 100W has a sibling called the WindPad 110W. This model will have an AMD Fusion processor. Digitimes report that MSI will show off the tablet at the CeBIT trade show in Germany next month.

The MSI WindPad 110W will reportedly have a 10.1 inch display. It will be powered by an AMD C-50 dual core processor with Radeon graphics. Of course, the AMD C-50 isn't as powerful as the AMD E-350 Zacate processor. In fact, the C-50 is no better than the dual core Atom processor. On the bright side it comes with powerful Radeon graphics which means that it will be able to play 1080p HD video. It also supports the DirectX 11.

The MSI WindPad 110W also has 32GB of storage, a G-sensor, ambient light sensor and WiFi. Still no word on pricing or availability.

ACER ASPIRE AS7741Z-4633 OVERVIEW

The Acer Aspire AS7741Z-4633 is budget-friendly 17.3-inch multimedia notebook. One of the best selling laptops at Walmart, it is now available for just $498.

The Aspire AS7741Z-4633 has an Intel Pentium P6100 dual core processor clocking at 2GHz. Other specifications include a 320GB hard drive, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, Intel HD integrated graphics, DVD burner and a 6-cell battery that will reportedly get up to 3.6 hours of run time. Not bad for a 17 inch mainstream laptop.

The Aspire AS7741Z-4633 runs Windows 7 Home Premium operating system. It also has a 1.3 megapixel webcam, stereo speakers, HDMI, VGA, Gigabit LAN, 3 USB ports, WiFi 802.11b/g/n, a 5-in-1 media card reader and a 1600 x 900 pixels display.

The notebook sports a brown chassis with a mesh-patterned lid. It weighs 7.26 pounds.

SONY LAUNCHES VAIO CA10 AND CB10 NOTEBOOKS

Sony has officially introduced the C series Sony Vaio CA10 and CB10 notebooks. The 14 inch Sony Vaio CA10 and the 15.5 inch Vaio CB10 notebooks feature Intel's second generation Core i5 processors. Select models have the AMD Radeon HD 6630 hybrid graphics, support for Intel's Wireless Display 2.0 technology and Blu-ray drives.

The Sony Vaio C series will be available in Neon orange, Neon green, Lighting White and Bolt Black colors. Other features include chiclet style keyboards with backlights and webcams. While the Vaio CA10 has a standard resolution display, the Vaio CB is also available with optional full HD resolution display.

The new Vaio C series will be up for pre-order on March 13th at Sony's official website. Prices will start at around $800. Availability is expected in spring.

HANVON HPAD A112 ANDROID TABLET COMING

Hanvon is all set to introduce yet another Android tablet at the CeBit trade show scheduled to be held in Germany next month. The Hanvon HPad A112 has a 7 inch display with a resolution of 800 x 600 pixels. It will be powered by a 720MHz ARM11 processor and run Android 2.2.


Sure, the tablet doesn't have a powerful processor. But like the Hanvon HPad A116 the company introduced at CES in January, the A112 is also being positioned as an ebook reader and media player for which you don't necessarily have the best processor out there.

The tablet is capable of playing H.264 video of up to 1080p resolution. It also supports other media formats such as MP4, MOV, AVI, ASF, MKV, WMV etc. The HPad A112 also has WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMI port, a USB port, a 3 megapixel camera and optional 3G and GPS. It will be available with 256MB or 512MB of RAM and has a 3300mAh battery.

The Hanvon HPad A112 is expected to be available in the second half of 2011. It will run about 399 Euros or $545 US.

DELL INSPIRON DUO CONVERTIBLE TABLET NOW SELLING FOR $399

Microsoft Store is now selling the Dell Inspiron Duo convertible tablet style netbook for just $399. The computer has been available for a while, but at launch it sported a $549 price tag.

Unlike typical convertibles which would let you rotate the display down over the keyboard, the Inspiron Duo has a display that rotates inside the lid. When the display faces inward, you can use the machine like a typical netbook. When the display faces outward, you can close the lid and use the machine as a tablet.

Specs-wise, the computer has a 10.1 inch capacitive multitouch display with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. It is powered by a 1.5GHz Intel Atom N550 dual core processor with 2GB of RAM and a 320GB, 7200rpm hard drive. The device runs Windows 7 Home Premium. It has a 4-cell battery, a 1 megapixel webcam, 2 USB 2.0 ports and WiFi 802.11b/g/n.

DELL INSPIRON DUO CONVERTIBLE TABLET NOW SELLING FOR $399

Microsoft Store is now selling the Dell Inspiron Duo convertible tablet style netbook for just $399. The computer has been available for a while, but at launch it sported a $549 price tag.

Unlike typical convertibles which would let you rotate the display down over the keyboard, the Inspiron Duo has a display that rotates inside the lid. When the display faces inward, you can use the machine like a typical netbook. When the display faces outward, you can close the lid and use the machine as a tablet.

Specs-wise, the computer has a 10.1 inch capacitive multitouch display with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. It is powered by a 1.5GHz Intel Atom N550 dual core processor with 2GB of RAM and a 320GB, 7200rpm hard drive. The device runs Windows 7 Home Premium. It has a 4-cell battery, a 1 megapixel webcam, 2 USB 2.0 ports and WiFi 802.11b/g/n.

ASUS INTRODUCES EEE PC 1011PX WITH ATOM N455

Asus has introduced a new Eee PC. The Asus Eee PC 1011PX is essentially an updated version of the 1001PX which is one of the cheapest and most popular Eee PCs available at the moment. Asus is expected to officially introduce the netbook at the CeBIT trade show in March.

The Eee PC 1011PX is expected to be sold as Eee PC R011PX in some countries. It has a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N455 processor (the 1001X has an Atom N450 processor), 1GB of DDR3 RAM, a 250GB hard drive and WiFi 802.11b/g/n. The netbook runs Windows 7 Starter Edition.

The main difference between the Atom N450 and N455 processors is that the N455 supports DDR3 memory. Bear in mind that there will be no major boost in performance.

MOTOROLA XOOM NOW UP FOR PRE-ORDER FOR $800

Best Buy has started taking pre-orders for the upcoming Motorola Xoom Android tablet. The tablet will be available in stores on February 24th. The model that is currently up for pre-order is 3G-enabled and has a price tag of $799.99. Motorola has also confirmed that there will be a WiFi only version of Xoom, however, there is no word on the availability of that model.

Meanwhile Best Buy isn't the only retailer taking orders for Xoom. Wirefly is also taking orders for the same price. Both models are designed for use on Verizon's wireless network. It looks like Verizon has no plans to subsidize the tablet. The data plans associated with the tablet are month-to-month which means you can cancel any time. Plans run between $20 per month for 1GB of data and $80 per month for up to 10GB of data.

Interestingly the Best Buy ad mentions that customers will have to pay for at least one month of service even if they want to use the tablet as a WiFi-only device. And that is kind of funny because devices usually ship with WiFi activated. In this particular case it looks like WiFi will need to be 'activated' by paying an extra fee.

11.6 INCH SONY VAIO YA WITH INTEL CPU HITS EUROPE

The Sony Vaio YB which is currently available in the US for $550 is an 11.6 inch laptop based on AMD's E-350 Zacate processor. It has an attractive design and delivers decent performance. And now a variation of this laptop has been spotted in Italy. In terms of looks, the Vaio YA is virtually identical to the YB, but it is powered by an Intel processor.

Precisely, the Sony Vaio YA is available with your choice of an Intel Core i3-380UM processor or a Core i5-470UM chip. It runs Windows 7 Home Premium or Professional and has an 11.6 inch display with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels.

The base configuration has 2GB of RAM and a 320GB hard drive. The laptop supports up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM. Higher capacity hard drives and solid state drive options are also available. Sony says that the laptop will get around 6 hours of run time with the standard battery. If you need more up time, a 12 hour battery option is also available.

The Sony Vaio YA is priced at 649 Euros or about $887 in Europe. That price includes the VAT. It is not clear whether this model will be available in the US.

LENOVO LEPAD ANDROID TABLET COULD SHIP AROUND THE WORLD IN MAY

Lenovo says that its 10 inch Android tablet called LePad will be available around the world in the first half of this year itself. The tablet will hit China in late March. In May it is expected to be available everywhere else.

The Lenovo LePad is powered by a 1.3 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. It has a 10.1 inch multitouch display with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. It runs Android, although it is not clear which version of the OS.

The Lenovo LePad started its life as the IdeaPad U1 Hybrid. It is still a part of the U1 Hybrid which is essentially a docking station which uses the tablet as a display for a Windows computer. The concept was introduced at CES 2010. Back then Lenovo had no intention to launch a tablet. It was probably the popularity of the iPad that prompted Lenovo to offer the U1 Hybrid display as a standalone tablet. Still, no word on when the U1 Hybrid will hit the market.