Monday, May 10, 2010

Better Laptops are Coming

Last week, Intel announced a new line of processors built for the latest style of portable computer: Ultra Thin Laptops. The idea is to take the form factor of the netbook -- skinny & light -- and imbue it with the power of a modern laptop. The chips are the latest iteration in the ultrathin processor series that AMD pioneered last January. According to Intel, this chips require less power than traditional laptop processors. While they are not to be as powerful as a conventional laptop processor, they are expected to be more robust than their Atom processors, which are the chip of choice for today's netbooks.

This development is going to create competition for ... and the Windows-based answer ... to the Apple iPad. The opportunity, though, is for one of the leading laptop manufacturers to sell a touch-screen ultrathin laptop for under $1,500. I don't know if Dell or Lenovo or HP or Acer can pull that off. But if they can, then such a machine could be a category-killer for the traditional laptop. Most professionals do not need the power and capacity of a desktop replacement laptop. But the netbooks are just a bit underpowered for their needs. This machine would fill that gap. And the touch-screen would satisfy their desire to have a technologically advanced device on their desk.

For more, read ... ComputerWorld: Intel to launch new chips

Monday, May 3, 2010

The browser of the future

Google's Chrome browser hit the market just over a year and a half ago and it is fast becoming the replacement of choice for people seeking to break free from Internet Explorer. As the table presented here shows, Microsoft's flagship browser (regardless of version) has been steadily losing market share for a long time. Firefox had earned most of IE's losses by virtue of its superior interface, its innovative tabbed browsing, and - of course - all of those fantastic, free add-ons.

But while IE continues to lose ground, users are no longer defaulting to Firefox. Chrome gained a much larger slice of the market last month than Firefox. Certainly, Google has done its normal, excellent work of promotion. But there is more to the story than superior hype.

For one, Chrome is fast. Really, really fast. On every one of my PCs, Chrome launches and loads pages far more quickly than Firefox. Second, Chrome's exceedingly simple interface provides nearly an inch of additional rendering space on the screen. And of course, Google is encouraging their developers to make the application more useful everyday.

Firefox is still my preferred browser, but I suspect that may change in the coming months.

Credit where credit is due ...
Visit Net Market Share for more information about global browser usage.