Windows 7 Beta trial ends
This week also saw the end of the public beta availability for Windows 7 build 7000. Steve Ballmer made a splash at CES announcing that the masses would get to test the next version of Windows in an official manner. It was a great month with most users reporting positive experiences. But all good things must come to an end, as downloads of betas are officially closed.
Did you download the beta? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
Other Windows 7 news of the week:
- Vista to Windows 7 Free Upgrade Plans Leaked?
- Microsoft Says Windows 7 Wins on Netbooks
- Windows 7 Starter Rumored at $200... Really?
- Microsoft Apologises; To Fix Win 7 UAC Flaw
EeePC rules the roost
Netbooks: it’s one of the fastest growing segments in the PC industry. Expensive little notebooks they are not, but certainly they do fill a niche very well.
Sadly, if some reports are to be believed, Asus’ line of Eee PC netbooks may soon become a little bit on the expensive side. Reports emerged that the Taiwanese computer maker is aiming to hike prices of its notebooks, including the Eee PC line, up to 20 percent. We hope this isn’t a scare tactic to make consumers purchase an Eee PC soon, but if it is indeed true, a new economical kid has arrived on the block.
Enter the Acer Aspire One AOD150. It’s really no different (on paper, at least) from the MSI Wind or Eee PC in 10-inch forms, except that it’s debuting at the very pleasant price of just under $350.
One netbook that we’re expecting a higher price from is the Dell Mini 10. We don’t know much about Dell’s 10-inch entry yet, other than it’ll have a display capable of resolving 720p video -- meaning higher resolution than current offerings -- a TV tuner and multitouch trackpad. We also learned a few new things this week, so click here to read what they are.
To top things off, Intel is now shipping a new configuration of its processor, the Atom N280, that will be able to play high-def video.
And finally, the term netbook is one that we’ve been throwing around quite a while, but software developer Psion is staking claim to that name -- and Google agrees with the trademark. Whatever, we’re still calling them netbooks.
Amazon's new Kindle 2
Ever since Oprah said that it was cool, the Amazon Kindle has exploded in popularity. She had the old Kindle, but now you can have have one that’s been upgraded in every way.
Amazon this week launched the Kindle 2
at the same price of the old one at $349. Despite the fact that the newest Kindle sports a 600 x 800 6-inch electronic paper display that looks and reads like real paper, most will be a little disappointed to find out there’s still no touch screen on Amazon’s reader. With 2 GB of memory, Kindle 2 can hold more than 1,500 books, compared with 200 with the original Kindle.
We can’t wait to see what Oprah thinks of it.
Plasma: Endangered species
It’s been a tough week for home theater addicts whose display technology of choice is plasma.
Pioneer’s Kuro HDTVs are regarded as the best of the breed, but sadly, stunning picture quality wasn’t enough to keep Pioneer’s TV division afloat, as the Japanese company is ditching the flat panel business altogether.
To make matters worse for plasma fans, especially those who felt the Kuro’s were a little too rich for their blood, Vizio said that it too would be exiting the plasma business.
Personally, a 240 Hz LED-backlit LCD will satisfy me just fine, but our own Tuan Nguyen is sad that he didn’t pick up a Kuro (at least not yet), and mourns the falling plasma technology.
Intel's 32nm Core i7
It was an exciting week for Intel, as it revealed that it has skipped over parts of its roadmap, dumping certain processors and going straight to the next iteration.
Prior Intel roadmaps did not mention Core i7 processors faster than the existing 3.2-GHz 965 Extreme Edition, but in the second quarter of this year we’ll see a Core i7-975 as the new flagship at 3.33 GHz. The regular Core i7 product line will also receive a speed bump -- the Core i7-950 will close the gap between the 2.93 GHz Core i7-940 processor and the Core i7-965 Extreme edition, providing a 3.06 GHz clock speed.
Early in the week, Intel held a press event in San Francisco showing that it plans to “leap ahead” with 32-nm CPUs in the fourth quarter of 2009, which it said will be Clarkdale processors with integrated graphics. Havendale, which should have been the first product with integrated graphics, disappeared. The Clarkdale multi chip package will consist of the 32-nm CPU paired with a 45-nm graphics unit.
See more on Intel's presentation on the 32-nm Westmere here.
The technology behind BitTorrent is for the mass distribution of files. While there are deep illegal activities associated with BitTorrent, the technology itself useful for many, many legit transfers -- for example, Linux distribution.
Meet Linuxtracker. Founded back in 2005 by Mark Angeli, the tracker listing site is free, open source, and a hot destination for Linux distros.
“I was getting into the BitTorrent ‘movement’ downloading the shows I missed at night while at work," Angeli said. "At this time I was also trying out new Linux distributions on a fairly regular basis and while I had decent download speeds, I wanted to find a better way to download and share Linux. Some of the bigger distributions were beginning to use BitTorrent as a means of distribution, but the smaller ones were having a hard time. I wanted to make it easy for them."
Tom's and AMD's overclocking contest
To end this week, we're going to give you a sneak peek at our big competition even that'll be kicking off next week. Starting Tuesday, February 17, 2009 those of you with AMD Phenom 9950 Black Edition processors will have the opportunity to push your CPU to the limit for a shot of being crowned the winner of the AMD CPU Virtual Overclocking Contest.
For this month’s contest, we’ll be sticking with the Phenom 9950 Black Edition, but those of you with the Phenom II 940 will get your chance in March.
As long as you have an AMD Phenom 9950 Black Edition and are a U.S. Resident (sorry international folks, but those are the rules we’ve been given), then you’re qualified to compete!