Advertising

The Seattle Times Company

NWjobs | NWautos | NWhomes | NWsource | Free Classifieds | seattletimes.com

Business / Technology


Our network sites seattletimes.com | Advanced

Brier Dudley's Blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

E-mail Brier| 206.515.5687 | Follow Brier on Twitter| Microsoft Pri0 blog| RSS feeds Subscribe | Blog Home

February 28, 2011 9:01 PM

Any Danger Sidekick users left? T-Mobile, Microsoft shutdown looms

Posted by Brier Dudley

If you stuck with a T-Mobile Danger Sidekick phone after the 2009 data crash, it's probably time to shop for a new phone.

Danger data services for Tmo Sidekicks will stop working after May 31, the carrier announced tonight.

Microsoft has run the services since it acquired Danger. It's been rocky for Sidekick customers, some of whom suffered through the 2009 system crash and were compensated with $100 gift cards.

T-Mobile set up a tool on its website to help Sidekick users export personal data, such as photos, contacts, calendar items and bookmarks to a new device, a computer or an e-mail account.

The company's also going to provide special offers to Sidekick holdouts. Details about the offers will be provided in a few weeks.

I'm guessing T-Mobile is going to encourage the customers to upgrade to the new Android-based 4G Sidekick that the company's releasing this spring, if it ever comes.

Microsoft has run the Danger Sidekick services since it acquired Danger in 2008.

Comments | Category: Microsoft , Phones , T-Mobile |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 28, 2011 12:07 PM

Photos: Lamborghini Aventador supercar with UW ties

Posted by Brier Dudley

Lamborghini just announced details of the Aventador -- developed in partnership with the University of Washington and Boeing -- and released official photos of the car.

The photos weren't available in time to publish with today's column on the UW's Lamborghini lab because the company was waiting for a press event at the Geneva Auto Show, where the Aventador LP 700-4 was just unveiled.

A few of the cars could show in the Seattle area this summer. They list for $370,000, or $379,700 with the gas-guzzler tax included.

From the press release:

It is based on an innovative monocoque made from carbon-fiber that combines exceptional lightweight engineering with the highest levels of stiffness and safety. The new twelve-cylinder with 6.5 liters' displacement and 515 kW / 700 hp brings together the ultimate in high-revving pleasure with astonishing low-end torque. Thanks to a dry weight of only 1,575 kilograms (3,472 lb), which is extremely low for this class of vehicle, the weight-to-power ratio stands at only 2.25 kilograms per hp (4.96 lb/hp). Even the fantastic 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) acceleration figure of just 2.9 seconds and the top speed of 350 km/h (217 mph) do not fully describe the Aventador's extreme performance. And yet, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are down by around 20 percent compared with its predecessor, despite the considerable increase in power (+8%).

frontale alto luci 1.jpg

fronte ali luci.jpg

3-4 anteriore.jpg

interno centrale.jpg

retro 3-4 grigio.jpg

Comments | Category: Automotive , Education |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 28, 2011 10:30 AM

Call me Gadget: White iPad spotted, plus Verizon Windows Phone

Posted by Brier Dudley

This is going to be a big week for gadget news.

Apple is headlining it with the iPad 2 that it's unveiling Wednesday in San Francisco. The early line on the device is that it's slimmer, more powerful and has a camera.

A new leak at 9to5mac.com says there will be a white version of the iPad, based on a white bezel that surfaced in China.

Also appearing today is an image of an HTC Trophy smartphone running Windows Phone 7 on Verizon Wireless.

Verizon hasn't yet said when it will carry WP7 devices, and its executives have talked down Microsoft's mobile effort, but the phones were still expected to arrive soon.

Engadget's report on the Verizon WP7 Trophy also says it has copy-and-paste capability.

If that's not enough, more hints that Apple may offer lower-cost iPhone options were floated in a Bernstein Research report that was picked up by Forbes blogger Eric Savitz. It quoted Apple CFO Tim Cook saying the company is planning "clever things" to serve the lower-end, prepaid cellphone market.

Comments | Category: Apple , Gadgets & products , Microsoft , Windows Phone , iPad |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 28, 2011 9:21 AM

UW Lamborghini lab in top gear, Aventador next

Posted by Brier Dudley

One of my favorite stories over the past few years was about the lab that Lamborghini opened at the University of Washington in 2009 to research and develop composite materials.

The story just keeps getting better.

On Tuesday at a car show in Geneva, Lamborghini is taking the wraps off the first production car to come fully through the lab, through its entire gestation process.

Called the Aventador, it's a $370,000 Batmobile that goes from zero to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds.

rolling_chassis_01 (3) (2).jpg
The Aventador's bare body -- before the V-12 motor and other parts are added -- weighs just 504.9 pounds.

frontale alto luci 1.jpg
That's because of a carbon-fiber design tested in the basement of the UW's ornate aeronautics and astronautics building.

The Aventador is a big reason the UW Lamborghini lab exists.

Lamborghini has used carbon-fiber components for decades even though it's been outrageously expensive to manufacture.

When the company decided to build its next flagship production car with a carbon monocoque body -- a single shell of carbon-reinforced plastic -- it approached Paolo Feraboli, a UW assistant professor of aircraft materials and structures and a former Lamborghini employee who also worked on the Boeing 787.

Feraboli told Lamborghini in 2007 that its only option was to adopt new, more efficient manufacturing technologies like Boeing's and abandon the techniques the car company had used for the past 30 years.

"That's how the lab occurred," Feraboli said.

Lamborghini then spent millions setting up the lab and a new factory in Italy to produce the Aventador and future models built with composite materials.

Aventador is the name of a famous Spanish bull. They could have called this one the Husky instead.

"Pretty much every piece -- every composite piece -- has come through here," Feraboli said, explaining that the UW lab did quality control, process improvement and mechanical testing to verify the parts' strength and stiffness.

In Seattle, the lab is a sort of hub for Lamborghini to work with the school, Boeing and other partners, including golf-club manufacturer Callaway and Intel. This team is already working on future Lamborghinis, which may include wireless sensors embedded into the carbon components.

Other companies are also seeking the lab's help developing new products. One is looking into an e-reader with its entire case made out of ultralight carbon fiber and another is developing carbon-fiber bike helmets. Feraboli said he's also working with another large carmaker that he wouldn't name.

The lab also helped Lamborghini produce a one-off concept car called the Sesto Elemento (below) that was shown in Paris in September, previewing some of the technologies in the Aventador.

Sesto Elemento - 3_4 Front.jpg

top.jpg

The biggest advance is mostly hidden, in the manufacturing of the monocoque. The new system reduces the number of times components have to be cured under heat and pressure in an autoclave. Only one trip to the autoclave is required, and the cured shell then serves as a mold for additional carbon parts that are cured with a different process Lamborghini developed, which uses carbon fiber mats impregnated with resin.

Feraboli said these improvements helped Lamborghini increase its output of carbon shells from a pace of two per week, when it was making the limited-production Reventon supercar, to four a day.

The cost per raw shell has also fallen from $100,000 to less than $15,000 apiece.

Feraboli said the manufacturing technologies will be used by Lamborghini's parent company, Audi, for higher-production cars and eventually its mainstream sedans.

"The Aventador is the first step," he said. "Now we're going to be able to build with intensive carbon fiber other vehicles. With those technologies we're looking at reducing even further the cost. We're looking at potentially making cars such as the A8 or the A6 out of carbon fiber."

Lamborghinis don't really need to go faster. There aren't many places to drive around 200 mph, Chief Executive Stephan Winkelmann said in a news release last week.

So the key to improving performance -- and lowering emissions -- is reducing the cars' weight, he explained.

"Every new Lamborghini will make use of this carbon-fiber technology for optimum weight reduction," he said.

In a media briefing at its new factory last week, Lamborghini noted that it decided to produce its new carbon monocoque completely in-house, because of the complex materials and process involved.

Maybe that was another lesson it learned from Boeing.

(This appeared in today's paper)

profilo.jpg

Comments | Category: Automotive , Boeing , Education , Gadgets & products |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 24, 2011 7:45 PM

State tech awards announced: Isilon, DocuSign, Swype and ...

Posted by Brier Dudley

Judges couldn't decide on the top commercial tech product or service in the Washington Technology Industry Association awards program tonight and declared a tie.

Sharing the award are DocuSign, a leading electronic signature platform, and Isilon, the enterprise storage vendor that was acquired last November by EMC for $2.25 billion.

The tech trade group announced the winners of its 16th annual Industry Achievement Awards at a dinner event at the Showbox Sodo.

"This impressive group of companies shows that Washington state continues to be a place where passionate technologists can leverage the talent and resources here to achieve great success," WTIA Chief Executive Susan Sigl said in a release.

Here are the other winners:

Consumer product or service of the year: Swype, which offers a text-input system for touchscreen devices

Service provider of the year: HasOffers Affiliate Tracking Program, a cloud-based platform for retailers and brands to manage affiliate programs.

Best early-stage company of the year: Ground Truth, a mobile analytics company

Best seed-stage company of the year: SPARQcode, which provides marketing tools using QR barcodes scanned by customers with mobile phones.

Innovative manufactured product of the year: XKL and its "DarkStar" fiber optic transport products for enterprises to link campuses and datacenters and create regional networks

Best use of technology in government, nonprofit or education: OpenDataKit.org, a collection of free data collection tools

Technology leader of tomorrow: Gizan Gando, a sixth grader at Asa Mercer Middle School in Seattle.

Comments | Category: Startups , Tech work |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 24, 2011 3:11 PM

On hiring spree, Google expands in Seattle and Kirkland

Posted by Brier Dudley

To accommodate new employees that it expects to hire this year, Google is expanding its offices in Seattle and Kirkland.

The company's been talking up its growth plan over the past month, saying it expects to add more than 6,000 employees this year globally.

After that news came out, Google received a record 75,000 resumes in a single week. Locally, applications to the Seattle and Kirkland offices jumped 62 percent above the weekly average.

Google's hiring talk comes as tech companies large and small ramp up their hiring after running lean through the downturn. The situation is exacerbated in Seattle by Silicon Valley companies such as Facebook, Zynga and Salesforce.com setting up new engineering offices here.

Competition for top talent is leading to dot-commish hiring gimmicks, including referral bounties of $10,000 to $12,000 being offered by Seattle startups SEOmoz and EnergySavvy.

Seattle and Kirkland Google managers wouldn't talk about competing for talent with any particular company, but in a meeting today they emphasized the thoroughness and responsiveness of Google's hiring practices.

Google is expanding its Fremont campus by leasing 30,000 square feet formerly occuped by Getty Images, adjacent to Google's building just north of the Fremont Bridge.

In Kirkland, Google began moving employees into the third building on the campus it opened in 2009.

Combined employment at the two sites grew 50 percent last year, to about 800 people, according to site managers Brian Bershad and Scott Silver.

Google's likely to hire more than 100 this year,but the managers wouldn't provide specific forecasts. However, they offered plenty of clues and hints to inform speculation about what to expect.

"I do expect, given what we're seeing in terms of resumes and the amount of resources we're putting into the hiring process, that we will grow substantially in 2011," Bershad said.

Google is expecting 2011 to be the biggest hiring year in its history, and the "Sea-Kirk" facilities should get their share.

"In this area we've always grown faster than the rest of Google, always, every year," said Silver. "It's mostly a testament to the talent that are here."

Google is working on a number of projects in the local offices, including search, messaging, maps, ad systems and the Chrome browser and operating system. Bershad said a particular emphasis in recruting this year will be for user-experience experts, to improve the design of Google products.

Unlike most of Google's regional offices, the Seattle and Kirkland facilities are almost entirely filled with engineers, with more than 90 percent of the staff involved in research and development, as opposed to sales and administration.

Google's engineering presence in Seattle began in 2004 with three employees in Kirkland.

The company leased the three-building Kirkland campus while it was under construction in 2007 and moved into two of the buildings in 2009. Silver said Google will eventually fill the third building, which has about 75,000 square feet of space.

Among the occupants may be former employees of Widevine, a Seattle digital-rights management software company that Google acquired in December. At the time, plans were to move the 60 Widevine employees to the Kirkland campus.

Comments | Category: Google , Microsoft , Startups , Tech work |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 18, 2011 3:50 PM

Microsoft reveals stock award for new server boss

Posted by Brier Dudley

Microsoft today filed a report disclosing the stock award given to Satya Nadella, who was promoted to president of the server and tools business on Feb. 9.
bio_nadella.jpg
Nadella, 43, received 217,499 shares that vest in blocks starting Aug. 29 and continuing until Oct. 21, 2012.

At today's closing price -- $27.06 -- that's a $5,885,522.94 signing bonus.

Strangely, the filing says that Nadella doesn't own any shares directly or indirectly. Either that's an omission or Nadella's done a lot of diversification in his 19 years at Microsoft.

Comments | Category: none|Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 18, 2011 12:44 PM

Photo: Obama with Steve Jobs, Zuckerberg, Ellison, et al.

Posted by Brier Dudley

In case you haven't seen it, here's the official White House picture of President Obama's dinner with Silicon Valley's most prominent tech leaders in Woodside, Calif., last night.

Steve Jobs was on Obama's left, Mark Zuckerberg was on his right and Larry Ellison was facing him across the table. Apparently it wasn't a necktie sort of event.

Microsoft wasn't represented, unless you count board member Reed Hastings, chief executive of Netflix, and partner Carol Bartz, chief executive of Yahoo.

Can you pick out the billionaires?

Other guests were Cisco's John Chambers, Twitter's Dick Costolo, Google's Eric Schmidt, Genentech's Art Levinson, Kleiner Perkins' John Doerr, Stanford President John Hennessy and Steve Westly of Westly Group. It took place at Doerr's house, according to the Mercury News.

obama.jpg

Comments | Category: Billionaire techies , Public policy |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 18, 2011 12:02 PM

Video: President Obama at Intel in Oregon

Posted by Brier Dudley

Here's the White House video stream of President Obama's visit to Oregon and Intel's Hillsboro factory, via the Oregonian, which is also blogging the event.

UPDATE: The speech is over. Here's a video of Obama and the introduction by Intel Chief Executive Paul Otellini:









Video streaming by Ustream

Comments | Category: none|Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 17, 2011 3:34 PM

Video game sales fall 5% and "Black Ops" still tops

Posted by Brier Dudley

The year started with a thud for the video game industry, which saw U.S. sales fall 5 percent to $1.16 billion in January, according to an NPD report today.

Game hardware sales were down 8 percent compared with January 2010 and sales of new, physical games were down 5 percent.
Thumbnail image for CodBO.jpg

A lone bright spot was sales of accessories, which grew 6 percent, to $235 million. Maybe everyone who received a console for Christmas finally bought a second controller. Or maybe they were buying dance mats and Kinects, since dance games were among January's top sellers.

NPD no longer provides the monthly sales data for different consoles and the big manufacturers didn't rush out the usual press releases, talking up their January sales.

(Update: I spoke too soon. Microsoft issued a release saying it sold 381,000 Xbox 360 consoles in January, 48,000 more than the same period last year, and overall sales on the platform "topped $551 million.")

"Call of Duty: Black Ops" (pictured) continued to be the top-selling game sold at retail across all platforms.

Here's the top 10 list of games sold during the month:

npd1-2011.jpg

Comments | Category: Games & entertainment |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 17, 2011 1:36 PM

Disney Internet CTO starting new Seattle venture

Posted by Brier Dudley

Bud Albers, a veteran digital media executive, is leaving Disney Internet Group to start a new company in Seattle.

Albers spent three years as chief technology officer of the Seattle-based group, which runs a vast technology platform used by Disney, ABC and ESPN.

Earlier, Albers was CTO at drugstore.com, Getty Images and MediaNet Digital, where he worked on the launch of music services including Zune, MTV's Urge and Yahoo Music Unlimited.

Now he's "just looking for something new and exciting," he said.

Albers said it's too early for him to discuss the business he's starting but it sounds as if it will involve digital media convergence.

It's also going to be located in Seattle, where the Missouri native is settled with his family.

"If you're going to start something I cant think of a better place do it," he said.

Albers' departure comes as Disney's interactive media group is cutting costs to restore profitability. That's led to layoffs, including the closure last month of a 70-person game studio in Vancouver, B.C.

Comments | Category: Digital media , Startups |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 16, 2011 5:31 PM

Leaks ahoy: Dell Win8 tablet in January, Sony game pad in fall

Posted by Brier Dudley

Gadget blogs were full of juicy reports today.

First Engadget posted details of a $599 tablet that Sony may be preparing to release in September as a browsing-gaming-reading device, with the PlayStation brand. It's based on Android Honeycomb with a 9.4-inch touchscreen, USB ports and an Nvidia Tegra 2 processor.

It seems like a natural move, to continue Sony's development on Google's software beyond the new Sony Ericsson gaming phone and GoogleTV devices, and create a bigger mobile device that connects to Sony's online media services.

sonytab.jpg
But the coolest thing about the tablet is its design, with a curved edge on one side, like a magazine that's opened rolled back. The idea is to make it easier to hold for a longer period of time, according to the report.

Then WPCentral and Android Central posted what look like authentic, internal Dell marketing documents showing upcoming phone and tablet releases into early 2012.

The phone roadmap includes a "next generation" Windows Phone 7 device coming in July - it looks like Dell's current Venue Pro WP7 phone - and two dual-core devices based on the upcoming Android "Ice Cream" software, including one with a 4-inch screen appearing in September and a 4.3-incher in October.

Even more interesting, though, is Dell's tablet lineup. The highlight is a Windows 8 model code-named "Peju" that's scheduled to appear in January 2012. If true, that's the first clear indication of when to expect Microsoft's next major operating system. A January launch at the Consumer Electronics Show would also be a tidy follow-up to Microsoft's announcement last month that Windows 8 will run on tiny, mobile-device processors.

Before Peju arrives, Dell plans to ship at least three more tablets based on Android, including a Honeycomb-based device called "Gallo" in April.

The Windows 7 tablet that Dell mentioned recently may be the "Rosemount," which is apparently going to be released around June 1 and have a high-definition screen with 1366 by 760 resolution.

Comments | Category: none|Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 16, 2011 4:08 PM

Not many AT&T-to-Verizon iPhone switchers, apparently

Posted by Brier Dudley

You never would have guessed from the breathless press and stock analyst coverage earlier this year, but there wasn't a huge rush of iPhone users from AT&T to Verizon, apparently.

The latest "evidence" comes from a report today on the Boy Genius Report blog, which said it received sensitive sales information from an Apple source.

Its data shows that in the first week after Verizon iPhones went on sale, they outsold AT&T models in Apple stores but not by a huge margin.

Nor was there a stampede of AT&T customers, according to BGR's report. It said just 14 percent of people buying the Verizon iPhone were AT&T iPhone owners making the switch.

Thirty percent were Android users switching to iPhones, and 25 percent were trading from BlackBerry devices.

This contrasts with Verizon's jubilant announcement that it sold more iPhones on its Feb. 10 debut than any other phone launch in its history.

Still, the 14 percent figure stuck out. When I polled AT&T iPhone users in the Seattle area on Feb. 3, asking how many would switch to Verizon for better service, 15.5 percent said they're absolutely making the switch.

I wonder if there will be a rush of Windows Phone 7 owners to Verizon and Sprint if and when they start carrying the devices later this year. Or maybe the WP7 fanboys will wait for a Nokia model.

Comments | Category: Apple |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 15, 2011 9:01 PM

Doxo raises $10 million, adds PSE bill pay

Posted by Brier Dudley

Seattle online bill payment service Doxo is announcing that it raised $10 million from Jeff Bezos, Mohr Davidow Ventures and Greg Gretsch of Sigma Partners.

That's in addition to the $5.25 million that Doxo raised from Bezos and Mohr Davidow in 2009. It's going to use the funding to develop new product capabilities and expand sales and marketing.

Doxo launched its service in October, offering consumers a free service for managing and paying bills online. It sells the service to companies and muncipalities, offering its paperless system as a way to reduce costs.

The company is also announcing that Puget Sound Energy has joined the service, enabling PSE customers to sign up for Doxo accounts where they can receive and pay their utility bills for free.

Doxo was started in 2008 by veterans of Qpass.

Comments | Category: none|Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 15, 2011 5:17 PM

More details of Obama's Oregon Intel visit

Posted by Brier Dudley

President Obama's Friday visit to Intel's research factory in Hillsboro, Ore., will be streamed live starting around 11:30 a.m., The Oregonian reported today.

Obama's meeting with Intel Chief Excecutive Paul Otellini at the D1D research factory and they'll talk up Intel's efforts to support science, technology and math education.

Intel's the prime example of the investment in innovation that Obama called for in his state of the union address.

The company announced last October that it's spending up to $8 billion on a new chip factory in Oregon and upgrades to other plants as it moves to 22 nanometer chips. It said the expansion will create 1,000 new, ongoing jobs in Oregon where it's already the largest private employer.

Comments | Category: Intel |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 15, 2011 5:00 PM

Excell Data laying off 60

Posted by Brier Dudley

Bellevue's Excell Data is laying off 60 employees, according to a notice filed with the state Employment Security Department.

The layoffs began Feb. 8.

Excell provides technology consulting and technical support to clients such as Microsoft, Boeing and the city of Seattle.

In the early 1990s, Excell grew rapidly along with Microsoft, with which it had a close relationship. The company was sold to Cambridge Technology Partners in 1998 and to Dallas-based CompuCom in 2001

Calls to a CompuCom spokeswoman and Excell's office in Bellevue weren't immediately returned.

Comments | Category: none|Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 15, 2011 4:24 PM

Microsoft loses top ad VP to Facebook

Posted by Brier Dudley

It's hard to keep the big chair warm in Microsoft's ad sales department, apparently.
Everson01_print.jpg
Kara Swisher's reporting that Carolyn Everson (left), vice president of global advertising sales and trade marketing, is leaving after just seven months in the job. Everson, a former MTV Networks executive, led Microsoft's multibillion ad business on Bing, MSN, Windows Live, mobile, gaming, Atlas and the Microsoft Media Network, according to her official bio.

Everson replaced Robin Domeniconi, who held the spot for 18 months.

Facebook confirmed Everson's hiring to Swisher, who noted that Everson will report to a former Google employee, David Fischer, Facebook's vice president of advertising and global operations.

It's a little awkward because Microsoft's a big investor in Facebook.

But it's not like she's moving from Redmond to Palo Alto, though. Everson continued to live in New Jersey, according to her Microsoft bio.


Comments | Category: Facebook , Microsoft |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 15, 2011 1:15 AM

Facebook phones, Flyer Tablet and more from HTC

Posted by Brier Dudley

Remember those rumors about a Facebook phone?

It turns out HTC and Facebook spent several years developing two of them that are being announced today in Barcelona.

HTC worked with Facebook to integrate the social network into the phones, adding a dedicated Facebook key with the "F" logo that pulsates when you're doing something shareable on the phone.

When taking pictures, you can press F to upload them to Facebook, for instance, or when using Google Maps, you can press it to share your location.

"HTC has brought Facebook to these two new devices in an innovative way enabling people to connect and share easily whenever they want, wherever they are," Henri Moissinac, head of Facebook's mobile business, said in the release.
ChaCha_3views.jpg
Jason Mackenzie, president of HTC North America in Bellevue, said Facebook's logo appears on the special key but "we will not brand this as the Facebook phone or anything."

Mackenzie said the "ChaCha" model with a 2.6-inch touchscreen and exposed keyboard will compete with the BlackBerry Curve.
HTC Salsa.jpg
The second model is a touchscreen-only phone called the Salsa, with a 3.4-inch screen.

They'll be available in the second quarter, at prices to be announced later.

UPDATE: AT&T is going to carry the phones, perhaps exclusively, according to Ina Fried.

Both are based on version 2.4 of Google's Android software and have Facebook integrated into the HTC Sense interface.

When calling or receiving a call from a Facebook friend, the software displays friends' latest status and photos and alerts you if their birthday is coming up.

HTC's also announcing a tablet computer, the "Flyer," that will go on sale in the second quarter. It's intended to be a high-end device, with an aluminum housing, a 7-inch diagonal touchscreen, a 1.5 gigahertz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 32 gigabytes of RAM and HSPA+ wireless capability.
HTC Flyer.jpg
It's launching with Android 2.4 but will be upgradeable to the upcoming "Honeycomb" version of Android that's optimized for tablets.

HTC designed a new version of its Sense interface for the larger screen of a tablet, with a carousel for navigating icons and widgets.

The Flyer also comes with a stylus for taking notes on the device. Mackenzie said this is needed in part because it's a more polite way to take notes than typing on a tablet or laptop during a meeting.

HTC is playing up the Flyer's media capabilities. It will feature HTC's new "Watch" video download service and come preloaded with the OnLive streaming game service, taking advantage of a $40 million investment HTC is making in the Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup.

The Flyer also has a 5 megapixel camera plus a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera for videoconferencing.

The price of the Flyer and bundled services such as OnLive will be announced later, Mackenzie said.

Also being announced is a new version of HTC's Desire model, with an aluminum unibody design; the Incredible S with a 4-inch screen (up from 3.7-inches on the previous Incredible); and a lower-end Android phone called the Wildfire S that's intended to be a more affordable smartphone sold for $100 or less by wireless carriers.

The Desire S, the Incredible S and the Wildfire S in four flavors:

HTC Desire S.jpg

HTC Incredible S.jpg

HTC Wildfire S.jpg

Comments | Category: Android , Facebook , HTC , Phones , iPad , iPhone |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 14, 2011 2:44 PM

Geeky Valentine's Day goodies

Posted by Brier Dudley

Here are a few geeky Valentine's Day gift ideas that I've received over the last few days.

Perhaps your valentine is interested in a customized DAT tape drive, as suggested by HP?

vday1.jpg

Newegg has a few ideas for those whose true love is a PC:

vday2.jpg

Best of all is Valve's gift advisory, accompanying its "Portal 2" pre-order announcement:

Comments | Category: Tech work |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 14, 2011 1:23 PM

Qualcomm 2.5 Ghz quad chips announced, for Windows 8?

Posted by Brier Dudley

If you haven't upgraded to a smartphone running Qualcomm's 1 gigahertz Snapdragon processors yet, there's no rush.

Dual-core models are just arriving, and Qualcomm just announced a quad-core, 2.5 gigahertz beast to arrive in early 2012.

The capabilities of the new APQ8064 processor blur whatever's left of the line between mobile phones, tablets and PCs.

They also preview what's coming to smartphones and tablets shown at next January's Consumer Electronics Show:

-- 12 times more power and 75 percent lower power usage than the first Snapdragon.

-- Quad-core graphics processor "for a console-quality gaming experience." (Qualcomm's chief executive hinted at this during HP's WebOS launch last week).

-- Support for cameras with up 20 megapixel resolution.

-- 3-D stereoscopic photo and video capture and playback.

-- Full 1080p HD and 3-D video output to large screens, via HDMI.

-- Integration with LTE/3G radio modules.

-- Support for PC-type DDR3 memory, plus PCIe interfaces and multiple USB ports.

-- Support for near-field communication.

Snapdragon processors are used in many of the latest smartphones, but the quad-core model seems aimed at tablets and other mobile computers as much as phones.

Qualcomm's announcement said it will provide computer makers with a platform "that can meet all of their design configuration needs for tablets and next generation computing and consumer electronic devices."

This hardware hints at the sort of mobile computers that will use Windows 8, or whatever Microsoft calls its next major operating system. Microsoft announced in January that it's designing the software to run on this kind of system-on-chip hardware.

With a 2.5 Ghz chipset the size of a matchbook, your next PC may be the size of your phone, and your phone may be more powerful than your current desktop.

Comments | Category: Gadgets & products , Microsoft , PCs , Phones , Windows 8 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 14, 2011 12:25 PM

Q&A: HP exec on WebOS vs Microsoft Windows

Posted by Brier Dudley

(Here's an extended version of the Q&A with Hewlett-Packard's Phil McKinney that ran in the paper today ...)

This is a happy Valentine's Day for Steve Ballmer, who has a new best friend forever in Nokia, the world's biggest phone company.

It's just in time, since Microsoft's relationship with the world's biggest PC maker is on the rocks. Hewlett-Packard last week said it's going to use its own operating system for tablets, mobile phones and even PCs going forward.

Thirty years after the PC emerged - and Microsoft won the most profitable franchise in history - the cards are being reshuffled.

PC sales are slower, computers now fit in your pocket and the mix of devices people use to compute, connect and communicate is in flux.

As this new era of mobile computing gets its stride, there's no single winner yet. Not in the way Microsoft dominates the PC, Google owns search and Nokia used to lead the mobile phone business.

HP and Nokia traded places, and not just in Ballmer's little black book.
Nokia pretty much gave up on building its own smartphone software, and decided to use Microsoft's platform on hundreds of millions of pocket computers it will produce in the coming years.

HP went the opposite direction. It pronounced that its next big push into mobile computing will be based on its own software. It aims to build more than 100 million devices a year on the WebOS platform it acquired when it bought Palm last year for $1.2 billion.
HiRes4_06HP_CP_PHIL_025 (2).jpg

To learn more about this split with Microsoft, I buttonholed Phil McKinney, (left) chief technology officer of HP's personal systems group, during the WebOS launch event in San Francisco. Here are edited excerpts of our conversation:

Q: You said there are operating systems "appropriate for the job." Are you going to dump Windows?

A: No, there's a huge user base that still wants the PC. The key is that even on their PCs, people want to have it integrated with their devices. We have our PCs, you have your pads, you've got your phones. How do they work together? In today's world they all act as individual information islands. What WebOS does is bring all that together.

Q: It sounds like a shift in your PC business to WebOS?

A: The PCs and laptops, it will be a combination of taking the existing operating systems and bringing WebOS onto those platforms and making it universal across all of our footprint.

Q: Will you use virtualization to run both Windows and WebOS on PCs?

A: No, it's not virtualization. It's an integrated WebOS experience we're looking to bring.

Q: When will we see these PCs?

A: We haven't announced that yet.

Q: Microsoft's building Windows 8 now. Why didn't you just tell Microsoft what kind of operating system you wanted?

A: We have a great partnership with Microsoft. You think about the number of PCs we sell, we're Microsoft's largest customer. We have a huge installed base of Microsoft platforms. We're working with Microsoft on the future of Windows and we're very optimistic on what that future is, but what we think is we can bring an enhancement to that.

Q: It sounds like HP sees WebOS as a peer with Google's Android, Apple's iOS and Windows. When will it reach their scale?

A: We're not putting out numbers and projecting what the sales are going to be, but we've laid out a platform that's going to be very attractive for the application developers. When you think about when it's rolled out across PCs and laptops, we'll have the largest device footprint on which to attract the top application developers.

Q: How will WebOS work with non-HP peripherals? What if you have a Canon or Dell printer?

A: There are standard interfaces between those platforms.

Q: So you started heading down the path to WebOS five years ago?

A: Five years ago, when we started the original Slate tablet work in my team - my innovation team - we did a bunch of consumer research. We built 60 devices and put them in people's hands. We quickly realized what people were looking for was not just what they have on their desktop or laptop crammed into a small form factor.
It really is a different kind of experience. We could go off and develop our own operating system from scratch, but when we saw and did the due diligence on WebOS we really saw the power of what WebOS already had built into it, the power that could deliver to us.
That's when we started the M&A activity to acquire Palm.

Q: Is this a fork, with Windows staying on your business line and WebOS for consumers?

A: The key is what we see as the consumerization of IT. Look at how many technologies going into the enterprise are really decided by the consumer. I go out and buy a consumer phone, bring it into the workplace and say, 'I want my e-mail on this consumer phone,' right? I buy a pad, I bring a pad in.
What you're seeing is this collapse -- this lack of differentiation -- that's going to happen between what is a consumer technology and what is an enterprise technology. What the enterprises really want is manageability, security. There's an entire WebOS roadmap to build in all of the security models so not only is it a great consumer device. But it will be the best and most friendly enterprise device that allows the enterprises to manage it, control it, secure the piece of information that's important to the enterprise, but all in one device experience.
Thumbnail image for hp web os pc.jpg
Q: Going forward, will HP put most of its resources into WebOS devices vs. Windows?

A: Yeah. I mean, you're obviously seeing the huge effort here. We do have the Slate 500 Win 7 device that's out there. It's an enterprise-focused device. Enterprise customers like that from the standpoint that they can install their own security models that they're quite familiar with. But when you look at where we think the mobile platform operating system is, our obvious focus is WebOS.

Q: Will this confuse developers and enterprises, about which platform to use?

A: With WebOS on a PC, you won't have to make that choice. You can develop your WebOS app that'll run on your phone, your slate and your PC.

Q: Are you going after new markets with WebOS, or will it take share from Windows?

A: I don't think we're taking away. The market is in expansion - it's not like we're all at a stable market and, therefore, everybody's trading market share. For us the advantage is we're in 174 countries. We've got supply chain logistics, 88,000 retails stores. We're one of the largest consumer electronics companies in the world simply by the shelf space we control in retail on a global basis. So our reach is what really allows us to bring scale to the equation.

Q: Did you opt for your own operating system because of the cost or technical limitations of Windows?

A: When you think about mobile devices, you can go at it two different ways. You can say I'm going to take that legacy and bring it forward. Or you can say I'm going to take it from the users' perspective: what's the real experience I want to develop, let me think about that experience, then let me look for the technology solution best to lever that experience.
When we started this project five years ago we threw out any concept that we were going to use anything that existed today and we focused purely on the user. When we looked at WebOS we quickly zeroed in. That was the platform that we felt was going to be the platform to go forward. It's the only true HTML5, CSS, Javascript-native OS out there.
Everybody else - they built it on a legacy thought model whereas the WebOS guys came at it from a different perspective.

Q: So Microsoft's plans to put Windows 8 on system-on-chip hardware wasn't enough of a a fresh start?

A: I can't talk about the future of Microsoft's products. We're working very closely with Microsoft; we have in the past. We ship more PCs with Windows on it than anybody else in the world. We have teams working with Microsoft on future versions and what we think those future versions need to be.
Windows is a great operating system and it's appropriate for the tasks it's designed to do. And there are other operating systems that are designed for different kinds of tasks.

Q: Is this because you see a bigger shift happening - traditional PCs giving way to mobile devices -- so it's time for a new approach?

A: I think this is a little misnomer. Everybody talks about PCs going away. I don't think PCs are going away. It's not the fact that I'm not going to carry a PC or not going to have a PC at home. It's a situation where mobility, the role of mobility, has become such an important role. We go from "I have a desktop" to "I might have desktop at home but I also have a notebook." And then "I've got a mobile phone I carry with me."

Q: So now the question is, is there a new set of devices that kind of fill in what I need to do at any given point in time?

A: We're going to see a whole wide range of products coming from a wide range of manufacturers. It's going to inject a little bit of confusion in the consumers' minds as to "oh my gosh, which device?"
But the reality is consumers are going to have the ability to choose the best two or three devices to meet their needs. In some cases people will want a desktop, a padlike device and a very small, basic feature phone they can always fit in their pocket no matter what they're wearing.
The flip side is somebody may say I want a notebook and I need a smartphone.
It's really about allowing people to pick the two or three devices that they want and so the sizes, shapes and capabilities of all these devices are going to vary. Do you want a Pre3 [phone] and a TouchPad or do you need a laptop and a whatever?

Q: So HP's taking Apple's approach, with integrated software and hardware development?

A: I think the key is that if you want to differentiate in the marketplace you need to be able to control the key points of the differentiation.

Comments | Category: none|Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 14, 2011 10:42 AM

Video: Windows Phone with Xbox Kinect demo

Posted by Brier Dudley

This may be the most exciting Windows Phone 7 development announced today by Microsoft at Mobile World Congress -- a demo of WP7 phones connected to an Xbox Kinect game.

I wasn't there for Steve Ballmer's keynote but everything else -- Twitter, cut-and-paste, IE9, Office in the cloud -- was previously announced or unsurprising. Or maybe it all just seems anticlimactic after the Nokia partnership announced Friday.

Microsoft's isn't yet bringing Kinect motion sensing to the phone. Instead, it's taking player input from the phone and adding it to a Kinect game, turning the phone into an auxiliary controller.

When I asked the company when this sort of thing may come to market, a spokesman provided the following statement:

"The technology shown in the video is real and is an example of the types of experiences we'll be bringing to market. We remain committed to building a network that connects you to your friends and entertainment in innovative ways. This is just one example of what's possible as we explore new ways to interact with our technology. At this time, we aren't discussing specific experiences we'll be offering or a product timeline, but we look forward to sharing more in the future."

Comments | Category: Kinect , Microsoft , Windows Phone |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 11, 2011 5:05 PM

Redmond game studio brings gnomes to NASCAR

Posted by Brier Dudley

Have you ever seen a 150 mph gnome?

Redmond game company KingX Studios is giving people that opportunity.

To draw attention to its upcoming title "Odd Manor," the company's sponsoring NASCAR driver Tayler Malsam in the Camping World Truck Series.

Starting in the series opener at Daytona on Feb. 18, Malsam's truck will sport "Odd Manor" graphics, including a few gnomes on the truck's rear panels.

The social-network game will be released this spring on Facebook. KingX describes it as an "enchanting, folkloric adventure transporting people behind the walls of an enigmatic estate to solve a mystery set in a magical garden of gnomes, faeries, charmed plants, and mystical creatures."

Malsam, a Seattle native and fan of video games, is ready for the gnomes' company.

"It's fun to have them along for the ride at Daytona," he said in the release.

Here's a rendering of the gnomed out truck:

GnomesMalsamFull.jpg

Comments | Category: Games & entertainment |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 11, 2011 4:33 PM

Nokia Windows 7 phone design leaked?

Posted by Brier Dudley

Images of Nokia concept phones running Windows Phone 7 were posted this afternoon by AOL blog Engadget, and they look pretty credible.

They also look a little bit like the Samsung Focus Windows Phone 7, at least from the back, with the subtle taper on the back.

I wonder if this was a deliberate leak to build enthusiasm among gadget fans who weren't captivated by this morning's business-heavy announcement by Microsoft and Nokia.

Here's a screengrab of the page:

engadgnokia2.jpg

Comments | Category: Microsoft , Nokia , Phones , Windows Phone |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 11, 2011 9:38 AM

HTC exec on Nokia-Microsoft deal: Been there

Posted by Brier Dudley

The top executive at HTC's U.S. headquarters said he's not too worried about Nokia hooking up with Microsoft and the deal validates HTC's approach to the smartphone business.

After getting an early boost from Microsoft, HTC has emerged as a leading producer of advanced phones, claiming higher-end market share that Nokia's hoping to win back with Windows-based devices.
JasonMackenzie - HTC.jpg
Mighty Nokia is actually following the same path HTC took to its success, said Jason Mackenzie, (left) Bellevue-based president of HTC for North America and Latin America.

Mackenzie said Nokia's partnering with Microsoft is "a validation of what we're doing."

"Nokia's following a similar lead to what HTC's been doing, in not investing in our own platform, taking solid platforms and filling the gap to deliver a solid experience to the end user," he said.

As for the competition HTC will face from Nokia phones running Windows, it's "one more competitor," he said.

"I feel confident in what we're doing," he said. "We've got a fresh brand that's resonating with consumers."

HTC emerged in the late 1990s as the first manufacturer of Microsoft Pocket PC devices and early Microsoft smartphones that appeared starting in 2002.

In recent years the company invested heavily in software and hardware design studios in Seattle and San Francisco to differentiate its phones. It developed a polished software interface that it layers over the underlying operating system.

HTC continues to make phones based on Windows -- including five Windows Phone 7 models so far =- but it's now selling more phones based on Google's Android software. It released the first Android phone in 2008.

Mackenzie said HTC will continue to produce Windows Phone 7 devices, despite the Nokia announcement. It won't be announcing any new Windows models next week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona but several will be announced later in the year.

"Obviously Windows Phone 7 is a platform we've invested tremendously on" and "we'll continue to support that," he said.

Asked if the Nokia deal will improve the momentum of Windows Phone 7, Mackenzie said: "It broadens the ecosystem, which is good for everyone. We'll see."

Comments | Category: HTC , Microsoft , Nokia , Phones , Telecom , Windows Phone |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 10, 2011 1:38 PM

Sonos coming to Android phones

Posted by Brier Dudley

Sonos, the high-end streaming audio system, is releasing a new version of its controller software for Android phones.

It follows iPhone and iPod Touch versions of the software that were released in 2008, giving people an alternative to its $349 remote controls.

Sonos will release the free Android application in late March. It will run on smartphones running Android 2.1 or later with screen sizes of 320 by 480, 480 by 800 or 480 by 854.

A screenshot:

Android_Now_Playing.jpg

Comments | Category: Android , Digital media , Gadgets & products |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 10, 2011 10:22 AM

Snarky Google tweets reveal Microsoft-Nokia hookup?

Posted by Brier Dudley

Google's apparently not going to be dancing with Nokia.

Nokia's preparing to make a big announcement Friday, presumably about whether it will partner with Microsoft or Google to help revamp the Finnish phone giant's smartphone business.

But over the last few days, a few prominent Google employees have posted snarky comments on Twitter that imply Google's Android platform is no longer in the running. That implies that Nokia's going to announce that it will use Microsoft's Windows Phone software instead.

Fortune blogger Seth Weintraub and others called out the first, a coded Feb. 8 pronouncement from Google Vice President Vic Gundotra. He tweeted "#feb 11 "Two turkeys do not make an Eagle."

February 11 is the date of Nokia's partnership announcement. Weintraub noted that the "two turkeys" comment also echoes a 2005 comment by a Nokia executive, dismissing a competitive challenge from Siemens and BenQ.

If that wasn't enough, today Google's Android developer advocate, Tim Bray, trashed the judgement of Nokia Chief Executive Stephen Elop, former president of Microsoft's business division until last September.

Weintraub also spotted Bray's snark:

"Poor Mr. Elop. Has to make the big tech call not ever having written a line of mobile code or done system bring-up work."

Elop has a degree in computer engineering and management and worked at Lotus, Juniper, Adobe and Macromedia before joining Microsoft in 2008.

Bray tried to downplay the comment with followup tweets, saying that "I have no inside info on Nokia. What I said is also true of every other handset-maker CEO. Core prob in technology management."

Poor Mr. Bray and Gundotra. Their tweets also reveal something about Google.

Nokia's deal with Microsoft may not last forever. How enthusiastic is Mr. Elop going to be about Android the next time around?

Comments | Category: Android , Microsoft , Nokia |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 9, 2011 8:48 PM

HP's TouchPad, WebOS and Microsoft questions

Posted by Brier Dudley

SAN FRANCISCO -- Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday outlined a billion-dollar bet to reshape its huge personal-computer and mobile-device business to be more like Apple, using an in-house operating system rather than Microsoft Windows.

It's a blow for Microsoft to have its largest customer -- and the world's largest PC maker -- reject Windows for its new push into the fast-growing mobile-device business.

But shoppers may benefit from the increased competition and new options coming later this year.
Thumbnail image for hp event lineup macarthur.jpg
HP plans to release two phones this spring and a tablet computer in the summer, all based on the latest version of the WebOS software the company acquired when it bought Palm last April for $1.2 billion.

HP's tablet -- the TouchPad -- joins a flood of tablet computers to be released this year, including new versions of Apple's iPad, devices running Google's Android software and Windows-based tablets from Dell and other major PC makers.

Research firms forecast more than 50 million tablet computing devices will be sold this year. Gartner expects 64.8 million will be sold globally, rising to 154 million in 2013.

"These things are proof that the future is really wide open when it comes to growth and opportunities in the mobile space," Qualcomm Chief Executive Paul Jacobs said during the HP event.

The TouchPad was the highlight of a splashy media event in a waterfront pavilion Wednesday morning.

Yet HP made clear it was launching more than a few devices. It was presenting a new platform it expects to rival Windows, Android and Apple's iOS software used in the iPhone and iPad.

The company aims to build the largest community of connected devices in the world, creating a big draw for software developers, according to Steven McArthur, senior vice president for applications and services.

"Virtually no other company could credibly put forward such a goal," said McArthur, a former president of Expedia.

HP emphasized that the WebOS platform can be pushed through its vast network of customers, partner companies and retail outlets. The Palo Alto, Calif., company has more than a billion customers and distributes its products through 88,000 stores around the world.

It's going to count on wireless phone companies to help move the TouchPad, though. Verizon and others will start selling the device in summer for a price somewhere below $800.

The 1.6-pound TouchPad has a 9.6-inch diagonal display with 1,024 by 728 resolution and a front-facing camera for videoconferencing. It's powered by Qualcomm's newest dual-core, 1.2 gigahertz Snapdragon processor and will come with 16 or 32 gigabytes of storage.

It will be available first with Wi-Fi and later with 3G wireless service through multiple carriers.

The new phones include the tiny Veer, about the size of a credit card with a 2.6-inch screen. It has 8 gigabytes of storage, a slide-out keyboard, HSPA+ wireless and an 800 megahertz Snapdragon processor. It will go on sale in "early spring."
IMG00679-20110209-1310.jpg
"Never before has a smartphone done so much and felt so little," said Jon Rubinstein, the former CEO of Palm and now an HP senior vice president.

Rubinstein also showed the Pre3, a larger phone with a 3.6-inch diagonal screen, slide-out keyboard and HSPA+ and EVDO rev. It runs on a 1.4 gigahertz Snapdragon processor and will be available this summer.

Rubinstein said that with WebOS, the company aims to transform how people think, feel and connect to different devices and services. Devices running the software stay synchronized with online services and can integrate multiple providers of e-mail and online calendars, for instance.

To use all the features, though, users will need both a TouchPad and a WebOS phone.

For instance, the demonstrations Wednesday showed how messages coming into a Pre phone can be answered on a tablet. Web pages being browsed on the tablet -- such as a restaurant's website -- can be shifted to a Pre phone by tapping the phone against the tablet.

Todd Bradley, HP's executive vice president for personal systems, said the company is bringing memorable new experiences comparable to the first time he heard the whisper of an electric car.

"We should all witness these firsts as often as we can in our lives. If you think about it, creating those experiences for a living is what the technology industry is all about."

The phones and tablet had been expected, but Bradley added something extra when he announced the company also plans to extend WebOS to desktop and laptop PCs.

Executives provided no details of when WebOS PCs will arrive and said the company will continue to produce Windows-based PCs also.

Microsoft declined to make executives available to discuss HP's move but a spokesman provided a statement: "HP is a valued Microsoft partner, and we continue to work closely with them on many new products that bring great experiences to our mutual customers."

In January, Microsoft disclosed the next version of Windows will run on the tiny, integrated hardware platforms used in smartphones and the latest tablet computers, including the Qualcomm hardware HP is using for its WebOS devices.

But the new version of Windows may not arrive until late this year or in 2012.

HP looked into different operating systems when it began developing slate-type tablet computers five years ago, according to Chief Technology Officer Phil McKinney.

It decided the best approach was an operating system designed from the ground up for mobile devices and one that could be tailored for tablets.

"There are operating systems appropriate for the job," McKinney said.

That approach is similar to that of Apple, which develops its own hardware and software, and has led the emergence of mobile computing devices since its iPhone was first released in 2007.

HP also may have decided it was simply cheaper to develop its own operating system and developer platform, instead of paying to license the multipurpose Windows.
IMG00671-20110209-1147.jpg
It's a challenge to lure developers to a new platform, especially when they're already stretched developing applications for multiple platforms and devices, but HP has already landed a few big ones.

Time Inc. showed TouchPad versions of "Sports Illustrated" and "People" magazines that are expected to be ready -- along with Fortune magazine -- when the device launches.

HP also worked with Amazon.com on a TouchPad version of Kindle that supports the Kindle's new "collections" feature for managing libraries of Kindle books.

(This is an expanded version of my blogging live from HP's event)

Comments | Category: HP , Microsoft , PCs , Tablets , Windows 7 , Windows 8 , iPad |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 9, 2011 8:48 PM

HP's TouchPad, WebOS and Microsoft questions

Posted by Brier Dudley

SAN FRANCISCO -- Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday outlined a billion-dollar bet to reshape its huge personal-computer and mobile-device business to be more like Apple, using an in-house operating system rather than Microsoft Windows.

It's a blow for Microsoft to have its largest customer -- and the world's largest PC maker -- reject Windows for its new push into the fast-growing mobile-device business.

But shoppers may benefit from the increased competition and new options coming later this year.
Thumbnail image for hp event lineup macarthur.jpg
HP plans to release two phones this spring and a tablet computer in the summer, all based on the latest version of the WebOS software the company acquired when it bought Palm last April for $1.2 billion.

HP's tablet -- the TouchPad -- joins a flood of tablet computers to be released this year, including new versions of Apple's iPad, devices running Google's Android software and Windows-based tablets from Dell and other major PC makers.

Research firms forecast more than 50 million tablet computing devices will be sold this year. Gartner expects 64.8 million will be sold globally, rising to 154 million in 2013.

"These things are proof that the future is really wide open when it comes to growth and opportunities in the mobile space," Qualcomm Chief Executive Paul Jacobs said during the HP event.

The TouchPad was the highlight of a splashy media event in a waterfront pavilion Wednesday morning.

Yet HP made clear it was launching more than a few devices. It was presenting a new platform it expects to rival Windows, Android and Apple's iOS software used in the iPhone and iPad.

The company aims to build the largest community of connected devices in the world, creating a big draw for software developers, according to Steven McArthur, senior vice president for applications and services.

"Virtually no other company could credibly put forward such a goal," said McArthur, a former president of Expedia.

HP emphasized that the WebOS platform can be pushed through its vast network of customers, partner companies and retail outlets. The Palo Alto, Calif., company has more than a billion customers and distributes its products through 88,000 stores around the world.

It's going to count on wireless phone companies to help move the TouchPad, though. Verizon and others will start selling the device in summer for a price somewhere below $800.

The 1.6-pound TouchPad has a 9.6-inch diagonal display with 1,024 by 728 resolution and a front-facing camera for videoconferencing. It's powered by Qualcomm's newest dual-core, 1.2 gigahertz Snapdragon processor and will come with 16 or 32 gigabytes of storage.

It will be available first with Wi-Fi and later with 3G wireless service through multiple carriers.

The new phones include the tiny Veer, about the size of a credit card with a 2.6-inch screen. It has 8 gigabytes of storage, a slide-out keyboard, HSPA+ wireless and an 800 megahertz Snapdragon processor. It will go on sale in "early spring."
IMG00679-20110209-1310.jpg
"Never before has a smartphone done so much and felt so little," said Jon Rubinstein, the former CEO of Palm and now an HP senior vice president.

Rubinstein also showed the Pre3, a larger phone with a 3.6-inch diagonal screen, slide-out keyboard and HSPA+ and EVDO rev. It runs on a 1.4 gigahertz Snapdragon processor and will be available this summer.

Rubinstein said that with WebOS, the company aims to transform how people think, feel and connect to different devices and services. Devices running the software stay synchronized with online services and can integrate multiple providers of e-mail and online calendars, for instance.

To use all the features, though, users will need both a TouchPad and a WebOS phone.

For instance, the demonstrations Wednesday showed how messages coming into a Pre phone can be answered on a tablet. Web pages being browsed on the tablet -- such as a restaurant's website -- can be shifted to a Pre phone by tapping the phone against the tablet.

Todd Bradley, HP's executive vice president for personal systems, said the company is bringing memorable new experiences comparable to the first time he heard the whisper of an electric car.

"We should all witness these firsts as often as we can in our lives. If you think about it, creating those experiences for a living is what the technology industry is all about."

The phones and tablet had been expected, but Bradley added something extra when he announced the company also plans to extend WebOS to desktop and laptop PCs.

Executives provided no details of when WebOS PCs will arrive and said the company will continue to produce Windows-based PCs also.

Microsoft declined to make executives available to discuss HP's move but a spokesman provided a statement: "HP is a valued Microsoft partner, and we continue to work closely with them on many new products that bring great experiences to our mutual customers."

In January, Microsoft disclosed the next version of Windows will run on the tiny, integrated hardware platforms used in smartphones and the latest tablet computers, including the Qualcomm hardware HP is using for its WebOS devices.

But the new version of Windows may not arrive until late this year or in 2012.

HP looked into different operating systems when it began developing slate-type tablet computers five years ago, according to Chief Technology Officer Phil McKinney.

It decided the best approach was an operating system designed from the ground up for mobile devices and one that could be tailored for tablets.

"There are operating systems appropriate for the job," McKinney said.

That approach is similar to that of Apple, which develops its own hardware and software, and has led the emergence of mobile computing devices since its iPhone was first released in 2007.

HP also may have decided it was simply cheaper to develop its own operating system and developer platform, instead of paying to license the multipurpose Windows.
IMG00671-20110209-1147.jpg
It's a challenge to lure developers to a new platform, especially when they're already stretched developing applications for multiple platforms and devices, but HP has already landed a few big ones.

Time Inc. showed TouchPad versions of "Sports Illustrated" and "People" magazines that are expected to be ready -- along with Fortune magazine -- when the device launches.

HP also worked with Amazon.com on a TouchPad version of Kindle that supports the Kindle's new "collections" feature for managing libraries of Kindle books.

(This is an expanded version of my blogging live from HP's event)

Comments | Category: HP , Microsoft , PCs , Tablets , Windows 7 , Windows 8 , iPad |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 9, 2011 8:48 PM

HP's TouchPad, WebOS and Microsoft questions

Posted by Brier Dudley

SAN FRANCISCO -- Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday outlined a billion-dollar bet to reshape its huge personal-computer and mobile-device business to be more like Apple, using an in-house operating system rather than Microsoft Windows.

It's a blow for Microsoft to have its largest customer -- and the world's largest PC maker -- reject Windows for its new push into the fast-growing mobile-device business.

But shoppers may benefit from the increased competition and new options coming later this year.
Thumbnail image for hp event lineup macarthur.jpg
HP plans to release two phones this spring and a tablet computer in the summer, all based on the latest version of the WebOS software the company acquired when it bought Palm last April for $1.2 billion.

HP's tablet -- the TouchPad -- joins a flood of tablet computers to be released this year, including new versions of Apple's iPad, devices running Google's Android software and Windows-based tablets from Dell and other major PC makers.

Research firms forecast more than 50 million tablet computing devices will be sold this year. Gartner expects 64.8 million will be sold globally, rising to 154 million in 2013.

"These things are proof that the future is really wide open when it comes to growth and opportunities in the mobile space," Qualcomm Chief Executive Paul Jacobs said during the HP event.

The TouchPad was the highlight of a splashy media event in a waterfront pavilion Wednesday morning.

Yet HP made clear it was launching more than a few devices. It was presenting a new platform it expects to rival Windows, Android and Apple's iOS software used in the iPhone and iPad.

The company aims to build the largest community of connected devices in the world, creating a big draw for software developers, according to Steven McArthur, senior vice president for applications and services.

"Virtually no other company could credibly put forward such a goal," said McArthur, a former president of Expedia.

HP emphasized that the WebOS platform can be pushed through its vast network of customers, partner companies and retail outlets. The Palo Alto, Calif., company has more than a billion customers and distributes its products through 88,000 stores around the world.

It's going to count on wireless phone companies to help move the TouchPad, though. Verizon and others will start selling the device in summer for a price somewhere below $800.

The 1.6-pound TouchPad has a 9.6-inch diagonal display with 1,024 by 728 resolution and a front-facing camera for videoconferencing. It's powered by Qualcomm's newest dual-core, 1.2 gigahertz Snapdragon processor and will come with 16 or 32 gigabytes of storage.

It will be available first with Wi-Fi and later with 3G wireless service through multiple carriers.

The new phones include the tiny Veer, about the size of a credit card with a 2.6-inch screen. It has 8 gigabytes of storage, a slide-out keyboard, HSPA+ wireless and an 800 megahertz Snapdragon processor. It will go on sale in "early spring."
IMG00679-20110209-1310.jpg
"Never before has a smartphone done so much and felt so little," said Jon Rubinstein, the former CEO of Palm and now an HP senior vice president.

Rubinstein also showed the Pre3, a larger phone with a 3.6-inch diagonal screen, slide-out keyboard and HSPA+ and EVDO rev. It runs on a 1.4 gigahertz Snapdragon processor and will be available this summer.

Rubinstein said that with WebOS, the company aims to transform how people think, feel and connect to different devices and services. Devices running the software stay synchronized with online services and can integrate multiple providers of e-mail and online calendars, for instance.

To use all the features, though, users will need both a TouchPad and a WebOS phone.

For instance, the demonstrations Wednesday showed how messages coming into a Pre phone can be answered on a tablet. Web pages being browsed on the tablet -- such as a restaurant's website -- can be shifted to a Pre phone by tapping the phone against the tablet.

Todd Bradley, HP's executive vice president for personal systems, said the company is bringing memorable new experiences comparable to the first time he heard the whisper of an electric car.

"We should all witness these firsts as often as we can in our lives. If you think about it, creating those experiences for a living is what the technology industry is all about."

The phones and tablet had been expected, but Bradley added something extra when he announced the company also plans to extend WebOS to desktop and laptop PCs.

Executives provided no details of when WebOS PCs will arrive and said the company will continue to produce Windows-based PCs also.

Microsoft declined to make executives available to discuss HP's move but a spokesman provided a statement: "HP is a valued Microsoft partner, and we continue to work closely with them on many new products that bring great experiences to our mutual customers."

In January, Microsoft disclosed the next version of Windows will run on the tiny, integrated hardware platforms used in smartphones and the latest tablet computers, including the Qualcomm hardware HP is using for its WebOS devices.

But the new version of Windows may not arrive until late this year or in 2012.

HP looked into different operating systems when it began developing slate-type tablet computers five years ago, according to Chief Technology Officer Phil McKinney.

It decided the best approach was an operating system designed from the ground up for mobile devices and one that could be tailored for tablets.

"There are operating systems appropriate for the job," McKinney said.

That approach is similar to that of Apple, which develops its own hardware and software, and has led the emergence of mobile computing devices since its iPhone was first released in 2007.

HP also may have decided it was simply cheaper to develop its own operating system and developer platform, instead of paying to license the multipurpose Windows.
IMG00671-20110209-1147.jpg
It's a challenge to lure developers to a new platform, especially when they're already stretched developing applications for multiple platforms and devices, but HP has already landed a few big ones.

Time Inc. showed TouchPad versions of "Sports Illustrated" and "People" magazines that are expected to be ready -- along with Fortune magazine -- when the device launches.

HP also worked with Amazon.com on a TouchPad version of Kindle that supports the Kindle's new "collections" feature for managing libraries of Kindle books.

(This is an expanded version of my blogging live from HP's event)

Comments | Category: HP , Microsoft , PCs , Tablets , Windows 7 , Windows 8 , iPad |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 9, 2011 10:01 AM

Live from HP's WebOS launch, TouchPad & PCs unveiled

Posted by Brier Dudley

SAN FRANCISCO _ Microsoft leadership announcements and leaks about the next iPad can't distract from the fact that the world's largest computer maker today is launching its own operating system.

Hewlett-Packard is holding an Applesque launch event at a waterfront pavilion to present the latest version of the WebOS platform it acquired with the purchase of Palm last April for $1.2 billion. The company's also presenting new smartphones and a touchscreen tablet based on the software.

In addition to tablets, HP is going to put its operating system on personal computers, including laptops and desktops that have traditionally used Microsoft's Windows.
hp web os pc.jpg

I'll be updating this entry as the event progresses.

HP's executive vice president for personal systems, Todd Bradley, opened the event by saying the company's bringing memorable new experiences comparable to the first time he heard the whisper of an electric car.

"We should all witness these firsts as often as we can in our lives. If you think about it creating those experiences for a living is what the technology industry is all about," he said.
touchpad.jpg
Bradley said the company has more than 1 billion customers around the world in 174 countries, with 88,000 retail locations, and it's selling 120 PCs every minute.

Our intention with WebOS is to transform how people think, feel and connect to different devices and services, he said.

Jon Rubinstein, senior vice president, came on stage for the actual launch.

After talking about the genesis of WebOS five years ago, Rubinstein presented the first new product, the tiny Veer phone that's about the size of a credit card with a 2.6-inch screen but has 8 gigabytes of storage, HSPA+ wireless and an 800 megahertz Snapdragon processor. It also works as a mobile hotspot for up to five devices, and will go on sale in "early spring."

"Never before has a smartphone done so much and felt so little," he said.

Then he pulled out the Pre3, a more business-oriented phone with a 3.6-inch diagonal screen, slide-out keyboard and HSPA+ and EVDO rev. a world phone radios. It runs on a 1.4 gigahertz Snapdragon processor.

It's going to be available in the summer.

The tablet is called the TouchPad and has Qualcomm's newest dual-core Snapdragon processor that runs at 1.2 gigahertz.

The tablet is 1.6-pounds, a 9.6-inch display with 1024 by 728 resolution, has video calling capability and 16 or 32 gigabytes of storage.

Rubinstein said the pad has features that "blow away" the competition, including multitasking and "activity cards" that show open applications.

Driving home some capabilities that exceed those of the iPad, he said the device can be used to work with Microsoft Office documents via Quickoffice, runs Adobe Flash and has standard printing options. The device has printer drivers built-in and discovers and prints to wireless printers made by HP; there wasn't word on how it works with other companies' printers.

hptouchpad.jpg

A demo showed how the TouchPad and Pre phones sync together in the home, so calls and messags can be handled on the larger device.

Its calendar syncs with multiple sources, including Microsoft's Exchange and Google Calendars, and its email boxes supports multiple accounts at once.

hpevent dock.jpg

Although HP's firing a broadside at Microsoft by declining to use Windows on its new tablet, the company did throw roses to a few smaller Seattle tech companies. During the demo, the TouchPad was used to shop for a diamond at Blue Nile and find a recipe at AllRecipes.com.

The demo also highlighted a TouchPad Kindle application that renders pages with color illustrations and supports the new Kindle "collections" feature. Also shown was a special version of Sports Illustrated for the tablet.hp kindle.jpg

HP repeatedly called out the touchscreen keypad on the TouchPad, which includes a dedicated row of number keys.

hp keypad.jpg

HP will begin selling the TouchPad this summer in a WiFi version. A 3G version will follow later. Pricing hasn't been disclosed yet.

Rubinstein mentioned that the device's Skype application will work over Verizon's network, so Verizon's at least one of the 3G providers.

Qualcomm Chief Executive Paul Jacobs is now on stage, talking about the company's partnership with HP.

"These things are proof that the future is really wide open when it comes to growth and opportunities in the mobile space," Jacobs said.

Qualcomm's dual-core Snapdragon chips power console-quality gaming and stereoscopic 3D on mobile devices, he said.

HP has ambitious goals for the WebOS platform, which it sees as a major challenge to Windows, Google's Android and Apple's iOS.

The company's goal is to build the largest community of connected devices in the world, creating a big draw for software developers, according to Steven McArthur, senior vice president for applications and services (below).

"Virtually no other company could credibly put forward such a goal," he said.

McArthur - a former president of Expedia's leisure travel group - went on to say TouchPad will be the best mobile gaming platform.

Bradley came back on stage for the biggest news, though. HP plans to extend WebOS to other devices including printers and its laptop and desktop PCs. There were few details about the PC plans but it's a big blow to Microsoft.

I wonder what Microsoft, Apple and Google think of this bravado.

hp event lineup macarthur.jpg

Comments | Category: HP , Microsoft |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 8, 2011 2:18 PM

Microsoft, Boeing, UW engineers tapped by national academy

Posted by Brier Dudley

The National Academy of Engineering today announced that it's adding 68 new members, including three from the Seattle area.

Altogether the academy now has 2,290 members chosen for outstanding contributons to engineering research, practice or education and "pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."

Locals named to the academy are:

-- James F. Albaugh, Boeing executive vice president and president and chief executive officer of its commercial airplane division. He was chosen for "for technical leadership in defense and commercial aerospace industry."

-- Susan T. Dumais, principal researcher in the adaptive systems and interaction group of Microsoft Research. She was chosen for "innovation and leadership in organizing, accessing, and interacting with information."

-- Henry M. Levy, Wissner-Slivka Endowed Chair in Computer Science and Engineering and department chair at the University of Washington. He was chosen for "contributions to design, implementation, and evaluation of operating systems, distributed systems, and processor architectures."

Comments | Category: Boeing , Microsoft , Research |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 8, 2011 12:21 PM

Tablet frenzy continues: Dell unveils Windows 7 model

Posted by Brier Dudley

After launching a series of tablets based on Google's Android software, Dell today gave a sneak peek at a Windows 7 model coming out in a few months.

The device is aimed at business customers - but will be sold to consumers as well - and has a 10-inch diagonal screen, Intel's latest processors and an iPad-like design.

That's based on various reports from an event in San Francisco today where Dell announced 39 new PCs for 2011. Most are updated laptops and desktops.

This must be new PC week. Hewlett-Packard on Monday announced its new touchscreen desktops and today announced its new laptops. On Wednesday HP's also showing off its WebOS operating system, presumably with new consumer tablets.

There are also several rumors floating around about Apple unveiling the next iPad this week.

Dell's going to start selling its Windows tablet in May, according to PC Pro's report, but I wonder if the mockup was rushed out to get ahead of the HP news.

The device shown today was a non-functioning demo unit, with a decal instead of a working display, according to Cnet's blog from the event, which has a good picture of the tablet here.

Dell's also going to develop a 10-inch Android tablet, joining the 5-inch and 7-inch "Streak" models now carried by AT&T and T-Mobile.

During Dell's presentation, an executive said big companies want a Windows tablet that fits into their IT plans. Android can also fit, he said, but more want a Windows version, according to Cnet's report.

Get ready for a bunch of tablet announcements as PC makers start building devices based on Intel's "Oak Trail" system and launch them in time for the graduation and Father's Day sales season.

Comments | Category: Android , Dell , Microsoft , PCs , Tablets , Windows 7 , iPad |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 8, 2011 11:14 AM

Bing bites Google back, jumps 6%

Posted by Brier Dudley

Maybe this is why Google's been publicly trashing Bing.

Microsoft's underdog search engine saw a jump in market share over the last month, increasing its U.S. market share 6 percent, according to an Experian Hitwise report today.

Google's U.S. market share fell 2 percent over the same period. No doubt it's because Bing was siphoning off searches for terms like torsorapy and mbzrxpgjys.

experian-hitwise-PR-201102-percent-us-searches-among-search-engine-providers-450x208.jpg

Experian reported that Microsoft-powered search engines - Bing and Yahoo combined - had a higher "success rate" in January than Google by a significant margin. It said that 81 percent of searches at Bing and Yahoo resulted in a visit to a Web site, versus a 65 percent success rate with Google searches during the same period.

But could searches also be considered a success if people found what they were looking for without clicking through and beyond the search results? For instance, searchers may have been asking Google to help spell a word or find a phone number that's displayed without cicking through.

Experian also listed the retail sites that drew the most paid clicks in January. Naturally the list was topped by Amazon.com, which drew 11.25 percent of paid click traffic in January followed by Target, JCPenney, Sears and Lowes.

Comments | Category: Bing , Google , Microsoft |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 7, 2011 3:04 PM

Inside Verizon iPhone 4: HSPA+ chip, softer vibrator

Posted by Brier Dudley

If you haven't heard enough about the Verizon iPhone yet, there's a new analysis of its components from iFixit.

The company's teardown reveals that the phone contains a Qualcomm chip that supports HSPA+ data rates up to 14.4 megabits per second, even though Verizon uses a different technology.
iphone4-1.jpg
The same chipset is used in the Droid Pro world phone that supports both GSM and CDMA technologies, iFixit notes. It makes you wonder if Apple's working toward a universal model that would run on multiple carriers.

Verizon's iPhone also has a different vibrator than the iPhone 4 carried by AT&T. Verizon's has a linear vibrator for call and message alerts, unlike the rotational electric motor with a counterweight.

The result, according to iFixit tests, is that "the new vibrator has a quieter, softer feel and makes a better sound when on a table."

iphone4-2.jpg

Comments | Category: Apple , iPhone |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 7, 2011 2:09 PM

Amazon updates Kindle, adds real page numbers

Posted by Brier Dudley

A software update is adding some much-requested features to Amazon.com's latest Kindles.

A preview version of the software can now be downloaded manually (here's the link to the new Kindle software, version 3.1) before it's rolled out later to the latest-generation Kindles and Kindle 3G models.

New features include real page numbers that correspond to the pages in print editions. This will especially help Amazon in schools, where I've talked with teachers who gave up on Kindles in part because the device's odd page numbering system didn't track to printed books used in the classroom.

It may take awhile for real numbers to proliferate, though. Amazon said it's adding them to Kindle editions and so far has them in "tens of thousands" of volumes.
amzn-publicnotes.gif

Amazon is also adding a "public notes" feature that lets Kindle users choose to make their book notes and highlights public, sharing their thoughts "with friends, family members, colleagues and the greater Kindle community of people who love to read." I wonder how fine-grained the sharing feature will be -- for instance, can a teacher share highlights just with students in their class, or family members share only with each other?

That's one of several Web commerce features coming to Kindle. Amazon is also adding "Before You Go ...," a webby feature at the end of Kindle books designed to prompt users to rate the book, share a message about the book with a social network, get tailored suggestions of other books to buy and see more books by the same author.

The notes and "Before You Go" features may pull more Kindle readers back into Amazon's digital Web, but it could turn off some who just want to read books on the Kindle.

The update is also bringing a "new and improved" layout for newspapers and magazines. It will give readers a snapshot of news "and helps you decide what you want to read first," Amazon said in its release.

Here are screenshots of "Before You Go" and the paper layout:

amzn-beforeyougo.gif

amzn-papers.gif

Comments | Category: Amazon.com , Kindle , iPad |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 7, 2011 1:44 PM

Seattle "Tech-N-Tell" launches for startup demos

Posted by Brier Dudley

Less than a week after he quit Conceivian, Seattle startup impresario Marcelo Calbucci is launching something new.

Calbucci's Seattle 2.0 startup news organization has started a new event series called Seattle Tech-N-Tell, featuring six startups at a time demonstrating their products on a stage. The first one begins at 5:45 on Feb. 22 at The Crocodile in Belltown.

Calbucci, a Microsoft veteran, started Seattle 2.0 and the late social/family network service Sampa before joining Seattle startup lab Conceivian. He left Conceivian last week, telling his Twitter followers he's "looking to build my next startup."

Tech-N-Tell is not Calbucci's next gig. "It's just something I'm doing because I see a gap on ways for tech entrepreneurs to showcase their products and I thought I coudl help," he said via e-mail.

If you're going to attend, dream up a startup idea before registering, if you don't already have one in your back pocket.

Tickets are $25 for startup founders, "pre-entrepreneurs," job-seekers and "startupers." Investor types and service providers are charged $45, which is also what "others" must pay to attend. Students are charged $15.

There is no charge for startups to present. More details are at the Seattle 2.0 site.

Comments | Category: Startups |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 7, 2011 10:15 AM

HP unveils reclining touch PC

Posted by Brier Dudley

If you're in the market for an all-in-one Windows PC, there's a new option from Hewlett-Packard coming out this week.

The company today announced the TouchSmart 610, a $900 consumer model going on sale Wednesday, and the 9300 business version, which goes on sale in May.
touchsmart2.jpg
Both have 23-inch diagonal touchscreens, slot-load disc players and a sleeker design than the slablike TouchSmarts that first debuted with Windows Vista. They're still not as gorgeous as an iMac, but they're getting closer and have more hardware bang for the buck.

Their money feature is a tilting stand that reclines the display nearly horizontal into a position that's easier for prolonged touch activity and more natural for doodling, arranging photos, playing games. When reclined, the touchscreen is in a position more akin to using an iPad or other tablet computer while seated.
hptouchsmart3.jpg
HP also added a new laptop link application that lets users access and control the desktop of their laptop from the TouchSmart. The laptop's desktop appears as a window on the TouchSmart, and gestures and taps on the screen are converted to mouse clicks to remotely control the laptop.

The TouchSmart 9300 is going to be based on Intel's "Sandy Bridge" hardware platform, which was recalled with a glitch. The press release mentions the "second generation Intel Core processors." Pricing hasn't been announced.

The consumer 610 model is shipping with the first-generation Core i5 650 processor, at least to start.

It would have been nicer if the base 610 came with the quad-core i5, but the specs nevertheless aren't too shabby. The base model comes with 6 gigabytes of DDR3 RAM, a 1 terabyte hard-drive, a built-in TV tuner, HP's upgraded "Beats" audio system and a Bluetooth/80211.n radio.

UPDATE: The initial price and specs provided by HP were a little misleading. The base, $900 model has much lower specs. It doesn't have any flavor of Core i5 processor - it has an AMD Athlon X4 with 4 gigs of RAM and a 750 gig hard drive.

There's a higher-end model that starts at $1,149 that has the i5 650, 6 gigabytes of RAM and a terabyte drive. That changes the value equation.

HPtouchsmart1.jpg

Comments | Category: HP , Microsoft , PCs , Windows 7 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 7, 2011 9:55 AM

Elite Microsoft engineer to Splunk, Artale to Ignition (UPDATE)

Posted by Brier Dudley

Brad Lovering, one of Microsoft's top engineers until he left last year, is heading a new Seattle office for Splunk, according to a report by Mary Jo Foley.

Lovering is now vice president of development platform with the San Francisco-based company, which provides an enterprise IT data management system used by thousands of customers.

During his 24 years at Microsoft, Lovering rose to become one of the company's elite Technical Fellows.

Splunk investors include Bellevue's Ignition Partners, a venture firm led by a number of Microsoft veterans.

UPDATE: Lovering told me he'll be hiring five to 10 developers over the next year to work at Splunk's office, which is going to be in South Lake Union.

Ignition also announced today that Frank Artale is joining the firm as managing director.

Artale worked at Microsoft before joining a series of enterprise startups, including several backed by Ignition. He was chief executive of Consera before it was sold to Hewlett-Packard, and vice president of XenSource before it was sold to Citrix, where he was most recently vice president.

Ignition's release said Artale will focus on core infrastructure, networking and security investments for Ignition Venture Partners IV, a $400 million fund.

Comments | Category: Enterprise , Entrepreneurs , Microsoft , Startups , VC |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 4, 2011 11:47 AM

Seattle iPhone users mostly fine with AT&T, not switching

Posted by Brier Dudley

The results of our poll of Seattle-area iPhone users are pretty interesting.

Despite all the fretting about AT&T service that you read about, the majority of iPhone users responding to the poll believe the network's fine or even great.

The poll, which ran in my blog for the past 24 hours, received 1,837 responses before I shut it down a few minutes ago. The results were pretty mixed, which isn't surprising given the variation in cell service that people experience in different locations.
ChartExport.jpg
Asked if they're happy with their iPhone on AT&T's network in the Seattle area, 53 percent said yes and 5 percent said they don't care too much about the network. Another 44.8 percent said the network is not great or awful.

That satisfication tracks to the percentage of iPhone users wanting to switch to a Verizon model.

Asked if they'll buy a new Verizon iPhone to get better service, 58 pecent said no or probably not. About 4 percent said they don't care.
ChartExport (1).jpg
Among those leaning toward a Verizon iPhone, 15.5 percent said they're absolutely making the switch, right away; 23 percent said maybe.

Next we'll have to see how the Verizon iPhone buyers feel about their new service, and whether they're affected by Verizon's plans to limit data usage and degrade iPhone photos and videos if needed to maintain service levels.

Thank you to those who participated in the survey.

Comments | Category: Apple , Verizon , iPhone |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 3, 2011 2:59 PM

Overpaying for cell service? Probably, check handy rate chart

Posted by Brier Dudley

Lots of people think they're overpaying for wireless service, and they're right, according to a new report from BillShrink.

The billing analysis website studied more than 230,000 people's wireless plans last year and compared them with actual wireless usage.

It concluded people overpay an average of $336 per year because they're confused about all the different plan options.

"Despite the best efforts from the FCC and the carriers to create transparency in wireless fees, we've found that people are becoming even more confused about how to right-size their cellphone plans," Schwark Satyavolu, BillShrink chief executive, said in a release. "While tiered pricing creates more choice, it makes it paramount for people to accurately assess their phone usage. Even though data usage is surging, the majority of wireless customers are still throwing away money by getting plans with too much data capacity."

Highlights from its analysis:

-- People estimate that they need 711 wireless anytime minutes per month, but in actuality, the average person uses 651 anytime minutes per month.

-- People estimate that they use an average of 2,566 text messages a month. However, the average person uses 1,555 text messages a month.

-- People assume that they need 54MB of data per month, but they are actually using 81MB, which is still considerably less than current tiered data options, which start at 150 MB.

The company simultaneously released another one of its charts comparing different phone plans:

V3xzP.jpg

Comments | Category: Phones |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 3, 2011 11:39 AM

Poll: Is the iPhone so bad on AT&T you'll switch to Verizon?

Posted by Brier Dudley

It's hard to tell what's really going on with iPhone network coverage in the Seattle area.

AT&T coverage problems in New York and San Francisco are magnified because of the concentration of media outlets in those cities.

Some reports have suggested AT&T is actually better in the Seattle area than Verizon, but you wouldn't know it from the attention the Verizon iPhone is getting.

So i've got to ask iPhone owners - is your AT&T coverage that bad, and are you going to switch to Verizon? (Especially now that word's out that Verizon may throttle heavy data users ...)

(UPDATE: After getting a lot of response I've upgraded this account so the poll should run faster. I'll post the tally Friday.)

(UPDATE 2: The poll closed after 24 hours and the results are posted here. Thank you for participating)

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Comments | Category: Apple , Phones , Telecom , iPhone |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 2, 2011 6:07 PM

First reviews of Verizon iPhone out: Better, not perfect

Posted by Brier Dudley

The first reviews of iPhones running on Verizon are appearing.

Walt Mossberg -- who has had lots of dropped calls on AT&T -- said it's a big improvement:

On the big question, I can say that, at least in the areas where I was using it, the Verizon model did much, much better with voice calls. In numerous tries over nine days, I had only three dropped calls on the Verizon unit, and those were all to one person who was using an AT&T iPhone in an especially bad area for AT&T: San Francisco. With the nearly identical AT&T model, I often get that many dropped calls in one day.

But data speeds were much slower on Verizon. Mossberg said his testing found downloads on AT&T were 46 percent faster. He also encountered a few glitches but it didn't taint his experience:

Calls on the Verizon unit were mostly crisp and clear, including speakerphone calls and those made over my car's Bluetooth connection. On my first full day of testing, I did have several Verizon calls that dropped out for a few seconds, before recovering. Apple attributed this to a very minor glitch I'd encountered in my initial setup of the phone and urged me to reboot it. I did and suffered no more momentary dropouts.

He also mentioned "some issues" with network handoffs:

I did have some issues with the Verizon model. In the D.C. area, long a coverage stronghold for Verizon, it kept switching briefly from 3G mode to slower 2G mode. This didn't affect voice quality, and didn't last long, but it slowed data downloads drastically for short periods. Also, on my first day of testing -- after the setup glitch but before I rebooted -- the Verizon phone showed poor battery life, and had trouble connecting to my car's Bluetooth setup. After that, these problems disappeared. Bluetooth worked fine and I was able to make it through a day with the battery on both phones.

PC Magazine's Lance Ulanoff , who lives in New York, a city notorioius for iPhone challenges on AT&T, also said it was an improvement to have the iPhone on his hometown carrier:

Call quality was consistently good, though not markedly better than the best AT&T connection. Those dual CDMA antennas that sit on either side of the phone (they're part of the metal band that wraps around the edge of the handset) kept me connected during calls and data sessions through every location I tested. Yes, I did see the phone drop to 2G speeds once or twice. The phone indicated this with a small circle next to the bars.

David Pogue tried the phone in five cities and found the Verizon version dropped fewer calls:

In San Francisco, the AT&T phone dropped the call four times in 30 minutes of driving; the Verizon phone never did. The Verizon iPhone also held its line in several Manhattan intersections where the AT&T call died. At a Kennedy airport gate, the AT&T phone couldn't even find a signal; the Verizon dialed with a smug yawn.

Most impressively, the Verizon iPhone effortlessly made calls in the Cellphone Signal Torture Chamber of Doom: my house.

The Verizon iPhone did drop one call -- in baggage claim at the Los Angeles airport.
And, of course, there are regions where AT&T coverage is better than Verizon's. But in general, my testing matches the conclusions of Consumer Reports and RootMetrics.com: the Verizon iPhone has more bars in more places.

Comments | Category: none|Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 2, 2011 5:41 PM

Hulu partners with Viacom, Daily Show and Colbert return

Posted by Brier Dudley

Hulu just announced a content deal with Viacom that will bring shows like "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" back to Hulu's free video-streaming site.

The shows will appear on Hulu.com the morning after they are first broadcast.

Hulu's also going to add a big batch of Viacom shows to its Hulu Plus premium service. The network's "leading shows" like "Jersey Shore," "Teen Mom 2" and "Tosh.0" will come to the site 21 days after they first air.

Hulu Plus is also going to add more than 2,000 episodes from Viacom's library over the next few weeks.

In a blog post announcing the deal, Chief Executive Jason Kilar said the site expects sales of nearly $500 million this year, up from $263 million in 2010 and $108 million in 2009.

Kilar, a former Amazon.com executive, also said subscriptions to the $7.99 per month Hulu Plus service should pass 1 million a month this year.

"It is clear to us that -- because of the Internet and the increased competition/innovation it brings -- the future of TV is going to be very good to users, advertisers and content owners/creators," he wrote.

(For a great look at Hulu's evolution, check out this Wall Street Journal story from last week, detaling the hardball Kilar played with Hulu's owners).

Comments | Category: Digital media , hulu |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 2, 2011 4:56 PM

Three-week startup OnCompare launches

Posted by Brier Dudley

A group of 10 Web entrepreneurs in Seattle managed to build and launch a startup in three weeks.

The company, called OnCompare, is a Yelp-like recommendation service for rating and discussing software-as-as-service offerings.

"Chief explorer" Justin Wilcox, a former Microsoft engineer who was previously chief technology officer and co-founder of Nimbus Health, set the deadline because he's moving to San Francisco. (Here's his image from the OnCompare team page)
jensen.jpg
It began on Jan. 6, according to a mini-manifesto Wilcox posted on a blog, "3 Weeks to Live," that tracked the venture:

"Last night, my good friend Aaron (Jensen) & I hatched a really solid plan: start a revenue generating company in 3 weeks.

"The two of us are currently 'in-between' opportunities and decided to make some lemonade. Why not execute on a vision that may have some monetization hurdles but otherwise provides piles of value? It'll be fun, we'll learn something, it'll help people and, who knows, maybe someday, it'll buy us coffee.

"Besides, I'm heading to San Francisco in 3 weeks -- let's make the most of my time here."

A screenshot of the website:

oncomp1.jpg

Comments | Category: none|Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 2, 2011 3:08 PM

Paul Allen's Kiha lays off staff, halts beta

Posted by Brier Dudley

Paul Allen's mobile phone productivity startup, Kiha Software, is going through a few changes.

Last week, Kiha laid off an undisclosed number of its employees and on Monday it ended a public beta test of its software for organizing contacts and other information on Android-based mobile phones.

Allen invested $20 million in the venture before its "Aro Mobile" application was unveiled at November's Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco. The software received attention from national media outlets.

Kiha's chief executive and co-founder, former Microsoft manager John Lazarus, stepped down later in November. Kiha's website now lists Chris Purcell -- vice president of technology at Allen's Vulcan umbrella company -- as its top executive.

Spokesman David Postman said Allen isn't folding the company. He wouldn't comment on whether the company has been shopped to potential buyers.

"We're going through an ongoing assessment of what the best way to deliver that product is," Postman said. "The company still operates. We've got dozens of people working there who are working hard to figure out the best way to get this in the hands of consumers."

A news release issued last fall announcing Aro's public debut said it was "was born out of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's vision for a more intelligent mobile experience and was developed by Kiha Software during nearly three years of work by a team of nearly sixty talented professionals in Seattle, Washington."

Comments | Category: Billionaire techies , Startups , Telecom |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 2, 2011 10:31 AM

Tech pioneer Carver Mead at UW, on dawn of Intel and PC era

Posted by Brier Dudley

In a speech at the University of Washington last night, computer pioneer Carver Mead shared all sorts of anecdotes about early days in the microelectronics industry that led to the PC revolution and today's pocket computers.

Mead - who coined the term Moore's Law - told of having one of his regular dinners with his friend Gordon Moore in 1967 when Moore told him about plans to start Intel.

Mead talked about how he later observed the slow, manual lithography techniques Intel first used to create semiconductors in the 1960s. He then learned a better approach from aerospace companies that were using a computerized approach to produce circuit boards.

Later Mead started a foundry service for researchers to share the cost of manufacturing prototype semiconductors, a program that inspired the UW's new "OpSIS" silicon photonics foundry service. The service will be used by researchers and companies developing chips with lasers that transmit digital signals with light at phenomenal speeds.

Mead spoke at a kickoff event for the OpSIS foundry, which is led by Assistant Professor Michael Hochberg. Hochberg studied at Caltech, where Mead is Gordon and Betty Moore Professor Emeritus of Engineering and Applied Science.

Intel's contributing $250,000 to start OpSIS. Also supporting the effort are the Air Force and BAE Systems, which will produce chips for OpSIS at its semiconductor fabrication facility in Manassas, Va.

Intel Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner said during the event that OpSIS is "going to train a generation - or several generations - of designers and it's going to catalyze an entire industry to embrace photonics."

Hochberg said OpSIS will produce its first run of chips this summer and should make three or four runs a year going forward.

Researchers can pay for a slice of the production wafer, on which a number of different experimental chips are produced. Instead paying perhaps millions for a full batch of chips, they'll pay $20,000 to $30,000 to have their test chip produced alongside others.

"The idea is to make it accessible for the entire community to make these complex circuits," he said.

Here's a video of Mead's speech, provided by a UW spokeswoman. A professionally produced version will be broadcast later on the UW cable TV channel. In the meantime this one works pretty well as a podcast:









Video streaming by Ustream

Comments | Category: Education , Enterprise , Entrepreneurs , Intel |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 2, 2011 9:18 AM

T-Mobile mocks Verizon, adds G-Slate to tablet fray

Posted by Brier Dudley

It may be overshadowed by the scintillating announcement of Verizon's latest mobile billing options, but T-Mobile today is announcing a new tablet computing device based on Google's new Android "Honeycomb" software.

T-Mobile G-Slate_font angle.jpg
The G-Slate is supposed to be released this spring at a price T-Mobile isn't disclosing just yet. Built by LG, the device has an 8.9-inch diagonal, 3-D capable touchscreen.

It also has a rear-facing stereoscopic video recorder that captures 3-D, 1080p video - the kind that requires special glasses for the 3-D effect. The 5 megapixel camera also takes regular video and stills, and there's a front-facing camera for video chats over T-Mobile's network.

Inside there's a dual-core Nvidia Tegra processor with full Adobe Flash support, plus 32 gigabytes of internal memory, a gyroscope, accelerometer and adaptive lighting.

It's one of the first tablets using Honeycomb, which Google's going to talk up at a press event today at its Mountain View headquarters.

T-Mobile was the first carrier to release an Android phone, and the G-Slate is among a handful of Android devices its announcing this week.

It's also jabbing Verizon, mocking it for offering the iPhone only on its slower network.

The company's position, according to a statement relayed by a spokeswoman's message, is "why upgrade your smartphone and downgrade your network? It's no fun having a great device running on slow network."

T-Mobile today also began selling the Dell Streak, a small tablet with a 7-inch diagonal touchscreen, 16 gigabytes of internal memory and cameras on the front and back, capable of video chat and 1080p video recording.

The Streak costs $200 with a two-year service plan or $450 by itself. Monthly plans range from $25 per month for 200 megabytes per month (for current customers; $30 per month for others) to $40 per month for 5 gigs a month ($50 for new customers).
streak.jpg

T-Mobile today also announced that it's going to offer the Galaxy S 4G this month, a version of Samsung's popular Galaxy smartphone with radios capable of downloading at speeds up to 21 megabits per second on T-Mobile's HSPA+ network.

It's coming preloaded with the movie "Inception" to showcase its video capabilities.

The company's being coy about the Galaxy price as well, perhaps hoping for another round of stories when that crucial detail is disclosed. But it will be a non-starter if it costs much more than $200 Sprint is charging for its Galaxy - dubbed the Epic - that runs on its 4G WiMax network.

Galaxy S 4G from T-Mobile_front (1).JPG

Comments | Category: 4G , Android , T-Mobile , Tablets , iPad |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 1, 2011 2:18 PM

Cisco: Mobile traffic growing 26x, speeds 10x by 2015

Posted by Brier Dudley

It's a day of amazing tech news, from Google and Bing executives publicly taking potshots at each other to Apple turning up the heat on the Kindle and Sony Reader.

But the biggest jaw-dropper for me is a report from Cisco, predicting outrageous growth in mobile data traffic over the next few years.

The networking giant is expecting mobile data traffic to grow 26 fold -- at a compound annual growth rate of 92 percent -- from 2010 to 2015. At that point mobile networks will be carrying 6.3 exabytes per month.

There will be more than 7.1 billion mobile devices connected by 2015 -- close to one per person on the globe.

Mobile network speeds will increase 10-fold, from an average of 215 kilobits per second today to more than 2.2 megabits per second.

Two thirds of this traffic flood will be video -- video traffic will more than double every year from now until 2015.

If you've got a metered smartphone plan, brace yourself.

The average smartphone will generate 1.3 gigabytes of traffic per month in 2015, up 16 times from the curent average of 79 megabytes per month.

Tablets are adding to the network crush. They'll generate 248 petabytes of traffic per month by 2015 -- equivalent to the total amount of mobile traffic in 2010.

But for data consumption, laptops will remain the top of heap. Last year laptops connected to mobile networks generated 22 times more traffic than the average smartphone, averaging 1.7 gigabytes per month. Tablets last year generated an average of 405 megabytes per month and smartphones, 79 MB.

Laptops and smartphones "will continue to generate a disproprorationate amount of traffic, but new device categories such as M2M (machine to machine) and tablets will begin to account for a significant portion of the traffic by 2015," the report said.

Even more shocking: there are 48 million people in the world who own mobile phones, but don't yet have electricity in their homes.

A few charts from the report, including mobile data forecast through 2015, and data forecast by device type:

cisco2.jpg

cisco 1.jpg


Here's how much more traffic various devices generate, relative to a basic feature phone:

cisco3.jpg

Comments | Category: Enterprise , Telecom |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

Advertising

Marketplace

Advertising

Advertising

Categories
Calendar

March

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    
Browse the archives

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

October 2010

Features

Video

Demo of the Week: TeachStreet.com

Share your thoughts!

Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.