TheONbutton Durham Computer Services

Remote IT Support and Computer & Technology Help in Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh NC

Sony Vaio P hands-on

Neil Berman

www.theonbutton.com

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Jan 15, 2009 Posted by | Computing, Hardware, Mobile, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

theONbutton@CES – Windows 7 Beta new features hands-on

If you tried to download the Windows 7 Beta yesterday you may have been part of the huge demand which overwhelmed Microsoft’s download servers.  Fear not, theONbutton is at hand with an exclusive video of many of the new Windows 7 Beta features to help you make up your mind…

Neil Berman

www.theonbutton.com

Jan 10, 2009 Posted by | CES, Computing, Microsoft, Reviews, Software, Video Features | , , , , , | Leave a comment

theONbutton@CES – MSI X320 differs from Macbook Air design by providing removable battery?

p1040117

This is a shot of the underside of the MSI X320, which as we already know looks very very similar to the Macbook Air.  However those of you salivating in anticipation of the X320 release may be even further encouraged by what appears to be a battery release catch.  Thank you  MSI for keepin it real and thinking of great design, real-life practicalities and the environment.

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Neil Berman

www.theonbutton.com

Jan 10, 2009 Posted by | Apple, CES, Computing, Hardware, Mobile | , , | Leave a comment

theONbutton@CES – Blackberry Curve 8900 announced and fondled

p1040112

Blackberry’s Curve has been a popular smartphone to date, balancing size, weight and features to good effect.  The new Curve 8900 seeks to capitalize on its predecessor’s success, adding a 3.2MP camera, a Bold style screen and revised keyboard.  The new Curve 8900 is due to be released in the US in February on T-Mobile, although with EDGE data only unlike the Bold which offers 3G on AT&T.

Gallery…

Neil Berman

www.theonbutton.com

Jan 10, 2009 Posted by | CES, Hardware, Mobile, News | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

theONbutton@CES – Palm Pre wins CNET Best In Show

palm-pre

Could this be Palm’s come-back moment?  Click the images for close-ups.

Neil Berman

www.theonbutton.com

Jan 10, 2009 Posted by | CES, Mobile, News | , , , , | Leave a comment

theONbutton@CES – Images of CES 2009

Neil Berman

www.theonbutton.com

Jan 10, 2009 Posted by | CES, Hardware | , , , , , | Leave a comment

theONbutton@CES – Asus CES 2009 booth walking tour including EEE Top

Neil Berman

www.theonbutton.com

Jan 9, 2009 Posted by | CES, Computing, Hardware, Video Features | , , , , | Leave a comment

theONbutton@CES – MSI booth walking tour including X320 and U115

MSI’s X320 is about as close as you’ll ever see to a Macbook Air without an Apple logo on the back of the screen.  When the lid is closed the laptop is a dead ringer for the Cupertino model, aside from MSI’s black and white color models which accompany the silver one.  The X320 should be released in the US in Q2 this year for under $1,000, sporting an Intel Atom and 13″ screen.

The U115 hybrid has a SSD and a traditional hard drive as well for mass storage.  The spinning hard drive can be turned off for extended battery life, MSI claims up to 12 hours of total usage.

Note that the white X320 in the video is a mock-up concept.

Neil Berman

www.theonbutton.com

Jan 9, 2009 Posted by | CES | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

theONbutton@CES – Nokia N97 Hands-On

The Nokia N97 is one of the most exciting smartphones to emerge for a long time.  Resembling an iPhone with a slide-out keyboard, the N97 is due to be released later this year.  Here’s the video tour…

Neil Berman

www.theonbutton.com

Jan 9, 2009 Posted by | CES, Hardware, Mobile | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

theONbutton@CES – EEE Top is a recession buster for wanna-be-cool homes

p1030840Whilst  some of the initial excitement of the EEE netbook range has started to wear off, the EEE Top is way cooler than I thought it would be.

For a start the device looks great in real life.  The touch sensitivity is great and the stunning keyboard has a storage home behind the screen.  In fact the entire product looks and feels like an Apple product.

The EEE Top has the Intel Atom guts of many a netbook, which means it’s a low energy user and it delivered responsive touch sensitive performance through Windows XP.  An instant-on facility allows access to Firefox and Skype amongst other applications.   This would be an extremely cool device to have dotted around the home.

Keep ’em coming Asus, and next time give us a sweet graphics card inside for 1080 HD. 

Neil Berman

www.theonbutton.com

Jan 9, 2009 Posted by | CES, Computing, Hardware, News | , , , | Leave a comment

theONbutton@CES – Sony brings out the stars for its keynote…and the Vaio P

p1030659Tom Hanks, Usher, Reggie Jackson and Dr. Oz all starred in Sir Howard Stringer’s Sony keynote this morning.  Oh, and the Vaio P  also appeared out of Sir Howard’s suit pocket for a brief outing.  Gallery below…

Jan 8, 2009 Posted by | CES, Computing, Hardware, Mobile | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

theONbutton@CES – MIDs & UMPCs everywhere

p1030701UMID’s M1 is the cutest ultra-tiny-light MID I’ve seen so far.  The 4.8inch screen needs to be close to your face, but the device is so light that it can easily be held for prolonged periods of time.  The keyboard is usable, but in fact I found the keys have slightly too much travel for fast typing.  The screen looks great however and is touch sensitive.

p1030721OQO’s model 2+ is awesome.  Why?  Because it has an awesome OLED screen, which is sooo bright and showed an HD video sooo well that I totally want one.  $1,499 of ultra-light awesomeness.  The non-OLED version starts at $999.

Neil Berman

www.theonbutton.com

Jan 8, 2009 Posted by | CES, Computing, Hardware, Mobile, News | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

theONbutton@CES – Steve Ballmer’s Microsoft Pre-CES Keynote

p10304161Steve might not have come on stage last night in a blazing storm, but his Keynote was packed with content, a frankly hilarious Xbox song from Tripod but unfortunately no Zune phone.  Here’s a summary from the front row…

  • Windows 7 Beta available now to MSDN and TechNet subscribers.  Due to be available to everyone on Microsoft.com on Friday this week.  I’ll write about it as soon as I find a spare PC…
  • Halo Wars (strategy game) and Halo 3 ODST (similar to current Halo 3 but with new storyline) were announced.  See Halo Wars screenshots on today’s earlier post.
  • Windows Live Hotmail, Messenger and Photo Gallery have been packaged into Windows Live Essentials and will be preinstalled on Dell PCs, together with Live Search
  • Live Search will also be installed on Verizon Windows Mobile phones
  • Microsoft sees continued development and take-on of seamless communication between PC, TV, phone and the internet cloud
  • A partnership with Facebook now pushes Facebook updates to your Windows Live profile
  • Windows 7 cool features demo’d: Play To allows you to stream media to play on any device in your Homegroup or stream from them.  Snap to side allows easy comparison of windows side by side.  Multitouch looks pretty awesome for map and photo manipulation, but is not in the Beta build.
  • Kodu Xbox 360 online community game creator was demo’d and looks like a lot of fun.
  • Netflix queue control from Windows Mobile phones is coming soon.
  • Internet Explorer 8 will hook-in with Hotmail to provide add-ins such as restaurant finders, whose results can be inserted directly into emails.

Neil Berman

www.theonbutton.com

Jan 8, 2009 Posted by | CES, Computing, Microsoft, News, Software | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

theONbutton@CES – Halo Wars Screenshots

Here are some first-look screenshots from Halo Wars for your deeelectation and deeelite, following Steve Ballmer’s announcement of the game in last night’s Microsoft keynote.   Enjoy…

Neil Berman

www.theonbutton.com

Jan 8, 2009 Posted by | CES, Gaming, Microsoft | , , , , , | Leave a comment

theONbutton@CES – Internet TV and 3D HD in your home

Common themes from Samsung and Panasonic today were internet enabled TVs and 3D HD viewing.

Internet TV is a great idea, although possibly

Panasonic has partnered with Amazon and Picasa as well as other content providers

Panasonic has partnered with Amazon and Picasa as well as other content providers

 hampered by the different content partnerships each vendor has chosen.  For example Samsung has paired up with flickr whilst Panasonic has gone with Picasa.  Both offer good content but neither offers the universality of choice available on the internet as a whole.  Some kind of common platform would be great to provide standardization and greater availability of content across vendors.

 

 

Samsung hosted a Q&A today

Samsung hosted a Q&A today

3D HD is a totally different proposition.  The idea of coming home and putting on the Jaws 3D glasses is just simply not appealing.  Plus for the significant percentage of people who either wear glasses already or can’t see 3D drawings, this might be more a curse than blessing due to the hassle of the whole viewing experience.  Anyhoo this something which is surely coming, and Panasonic announced today that it is creating 3D Blu-ray authoring studios in Hollywood. 

 

Neil Berman

www.theonbutton.com

Jan 7, 2009 Posted by | CES, Hardware, Home Theater, Photo & Video | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Apple fortifies home offerings whilst competitors journey to the cloud

Apple’s keynote at Macworld 2009 this morning was surprising.  After rumors suggesting a possible iPhone Nano and much needed new iMacs, we were instead given an in-depth look into feature updates on largely non-web-service software and an updated Macbook whose battery design sounds as problematic for environment as its servicing does for remotely located owners.

On a positive note it’s great to hear that iTunes is going DRM-free and that the new 17″ Macbook Pro will be offered without a glossy screen, albeit for an extra $50.  The celebrity music lessons on GarageBand also sound cute.

For me there were two worrying trends in this keynote:

1.  Apple continues to concentrate on non-web-service productivity software when Microsoft, Google and the IT industry as a whole continues to press on towards online web services such as Microsoft Office Web and Google Docs.  Apple is missing out on extending its application reach to Windows users by doing this.  iWork.com seems to be solely an online document sharing facility for local iWork users.

2.  Apple continues to concentrate on extremely powerful computers in relation to the market as a whole; even its base Macbooks are far more powerful than mid-range Vista laptops (which are cheaper).  This makes me concerned that when (the apparently very fast) Windows 7 gets released the value differential between Windows and Apple laptops will widen further, as Windows 7 will run well on cheap low power computers.

Enhancements like geotagging in iPhoto are nice for the small user-base they serve, but they don’t really extend Apple’s reach into Windows homes compared to say Picasa which is on offer for both Mac and Windows (as well as Linux) platforms.  I can’t help feeling that Apple is moving further towards high power local computing which might not be recession-proof, whilst the market as a whole is gravitating towards a more inclusive low power cloud model which also happens to be more recession-friendly.

Neil Berman

www.theonbutton.com

Jan 6, 2009 Posted by | Apple, Computing, Hardware, Microsoft | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

AT&T Fuze / HTC Touch Pro P4600 review

Last year I wrote about the HTC TyTN, which was later superceded by the TyTN II (AT&T Tilt) as the daddy of all productivity smartphones.  Since then HTC has moved on with its Touch range which aim to turn up the style, which was a bit lacking in the TyTN series.

HTC Touch Pro KeyboardOf the three new Touch models (Diamond, Pro and HD) the Pro is the closest successor to the TyTN range with its slide out keyboard.   I will make comparisons along the way to the Samsung Epix, which does a similar job in a very different style.

Picking up the Fuze is an altogether different experience to the Tilt it replaced.  HTC has taken everything good about the TyTN range and made it sleeker.  The all glass look is smart and the back cover has the beautiful angled surface first seen on the Touch Diamond.

One backwards step compared to the Tilt is the reduced number of buttons on the front of the Fuze.  Whilst instant access application buttons are present on the keyboard like the Samsung Epix, the Fuze makes you either slide out the keyboard or use screen presses like the iPhone.  Whilst this is not a huge problem it does make the Epix feel like a quicker phone to navigate.

The other significant change from the Tilt is that the Fuze loses the tilting screen, which seemed like a fragile but useful feature on its predecessor.

TouchFlo 3D Music AppThe Fuze feels mightily more petite to hold than the Tilt, but still a tad chunky in its depth to accommodate the keyboard.  Overall it looks smaller than the Blackberry Bold or the Samsung Epix but the Fuze’s 6oz weight makes the 4.4oz Epix less bulky in a pocket.

The Fuze has a more useful keyboard than the TyTN series and most other smartphones.  There are now five rows of keys, which reduces combination presses to a minimum.  The keys also have a positive feel, which aids typing speed.

For those who like to work outdoors, the Fuze’s screen is far brighter than the Tilt’s.  I’m writing this outside in full-on New York bright winter sunshine.  You don’t get much color contrast, but at least you can see what you’re doing.

The Fuze’s big screen advance is its resolution which, at 640×480, is simply spectacular.  The only comparison worth making is to the Blackberry Bold, whose screen is of similar quality.

HTC Touch Pro BackThe TyTN series packed a powerful punch for its time and the Fuze hits even harder.  The Fuze has a whopping 0.5GB of ROM for Windows Mobile to play around with.  Pair that up with a 528MHz processor and you have a device which flies along.  At one point I had 15 applications open simultaneously and the Fuze just kept going.  Operating system navigation is very responsive and AT&T’s Cellular Video streams well, as long as you have good 3G coverage.

There is also a MicroSD card slot which can handle cards up to 32GB to satisfy your thirst for videos/music/photos/applications.  MicroSD cards are now pretty cheap, I saw an 8GB card recently for $18.  However the Fuze loses brownie points for hiding it’s card slot under the back cover, unlike the TyTN which had exposed access on the side of the phone like the Samsung Epix.

The Fuze comes with Opera Mobile as the default browser.  This does a good job and offers multiple tabs and good finger control, but still plays second fiddle to Safari on the iPhone.  This is partly due to the iPhone’s larger screen and also because Safari renders pages better overall in my opinion.

HTC has enhanced its TouchFlo interface to ‘3D’ status with the inclusion of some nice widgets which make navigation very finger-friendly.  The email and music screens look good and scrolling through text messages and photos is great as one item is swept away to make room for the next.

HTC Touch Pro Exposed BackBattery life on the Fuze is only average, with a charge required on a nightly basis following moderate usage.  Regular video streaming eats battery time, as does constant surfing although I did find that a full day of battery life is realistic with sensible usage.

The Fuze ships with Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional, which means you get Office Mobile, Windows Media Player and Windows Live.  In addition to Messenger the phones also have IM clients for AIM and Yahoo and you can install third party applications to give access to more services.  Google Maps, AvantGo and Skype were one-click installs.

Overall the Fuze is a great smartphone.  In day to day usage I can’t decide if I prefer the trick TouchFlo 3D interface, sleek looks and amazing screen of the Fuze over the faster front panel key and mouse navigation of the Samsung Epix.  There is a popular perception that touch is the way foward, but if reactions to the iPhone have told us anything it’s that people still want keyboards.

If you’re looking for a Windows Mobile smartphone then the Fuze does a great job, however if you prefer buttons to fingers it’s worth checking out the Samsung Epix too.

Neil Berman

www.theonbutton.com

Jan 4, 2009 Posted by | Hardware, Mobile, Reviews, Video Features | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Are Windows 7 pre-Beta success stories responsible for Atom notebook rumors?

Today’s rumors that HP is discussing the possibility of using Atom CPUs for notebooks as well as existing netbooks is interesting for two reasons.  Firstly we have not seen the Atom in any laptops with >12″ screens, but secondly and more importantly I think this could be an indicator of confidence in early Windows 7 tests.

We have already seen Windows 7 running on an Asus EEE PC, and early impressions of the next-gen OS have been extremely positive for a stage so early in the pre-release phase.

So what does it mean if HP really is talking to Intel about supplying the Atom for notebooks?

  • Battery life should skyrocket, if the netbook crowd can be used as a benchmark.  My Wind gets over five hours in real-life usage and the only significant additional power drain on a notebook is a larger screen…but they also offer more real-estate for housing a larger battery.  Could full working-day battery operation from a large-screen laptop become a mainstream reality?
  • The concept is good news for organizations with a mobile/flexible-working workforce and a thin-client infrastructure.
  • Many consumers may only need low processing power as we move towards a web-based services computing model (eg. web-mail/photo/music/productivity apps).  They might trade notebook HD movie editing capabilities for longer battery life in real life usage…however this would require a sea change in marketing tecniques where high power specs aim to sell a life-changing experience.  It is probably a ‘Greener’ sell though, which could lead to Atom-based notebooks being more fashionable that more energy-hungry models.

Time will tell if anything comes of this, but when I put together the early Windows 7 success stories with rumors of HP talking to Intel about the Atom then it does all start to come together…in my hopeful mind!

Neil Berman

www.theonbutton.com

Jan 2, 2009 Posted by | Analysis, Computing, Hardware, Microsoft | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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