Author Archive | Jacqueline Emigh

IBM Storage Tech: DVRs in the Cloud, SSD Replacements

 

 

 

An IBM data center in North Carolina

How is IBM funneling its vast resources into research around future products and services? At a press and analyst day last week in New York City, the company talked up projects around replacing today’s flash-based SSDs (solid state drives) with new PCM (phase change memory) technology and dropping DVRs (digital video recorders) in favor of video storage clouds.

IBM is about to start field tests with cable TV companies around new cloud-based video storage services for consumers, said Steve Canepa, general manager for IBM’s Global Media & Entertainment Industry Division.

Meanwhile, for businesses, Big Blue is eyeing the release in another four years of new storage servers based on PCM, according to other speakers at the press event on Thursday in midtown Manhattan.

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Lenovo Celebrates 60 Millionth ThinkPad With Optimus Graphics

Celebrating the sales of sixty million ThinkPads over the past eighteen years, Lenovo on Wednesday announced immediate plans to add Nvidia’s Optimus graphics to T Series models, and talked long-time intentions for innovations in areas such as location awareness and VoIP. I was briefed on the news by Dilip Bhatia, Lenovo’s VP of ThinkPad marketing.

Starting today, Lenovo will outfit three models of T Series laptops with Optimus, a technology aimed at automatically switching between a built-in discrete graphics chipset — for games and other apps that demand high performance graphics — and an integrated graphics chipset, for faster PC performance and longer battery life.

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Fuji's Second-Generation 3D Camera: Are You Ready to Give Your Pictures Another Dimension?

At a very interactive product launch, Fujifilm this week rolled out a point-and-click camera that lets people display 3D photos on either a 3D TV or a PC. If you own the right kind of laptop or desktop PC monitor, you don’t even need to wear 3D glasses to view the third dimension of your work, Fuji officials said at the event at New York City’s Museum of Natural History.

Nevertheless, the new FinePix Real 3D W3 digital camera comes with an HDMI interface for instant viewing of 3D pics on virtually any manufacturer’s 3D TV with the assistance of stereographic 3D goggles. The camera will compete with a couple of new Sony models which, like the W3, are due to ship next month.

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Samsung is Really Serious About 3D TV

With the vast bulk of the still very emerging 3D TV market in its veritable hands, Samsung plans to place 3D TVs in more people’s living rooms by bringing out more entertainment content and less costly equipment. At an event this week in New York City, the consumer electronics maker did just that.

Many who got the mysteriously worded invitation expected to see the rollout of Samsung’s rumored tablet. Samsung instead presented the world’s first portable Blu-ray player with 3D output, a gadget that looks a lot like a netbook except for the DVD slot on the right-hand side.

Samsung also rolled out three new plasma 3D TVs–including a 50-inch entry in the Plasma C490 Series, the first 3DTV from Samsung in the $1,100 bracket–along with an LED 3D TV, a far pricier 65-inch model in the LED C8000 Series which goes for around $6,000.

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Samsung's Galaxy S Phone: Wireless Freedom of Choice

Now that the proverbial dust is starting to settle around the Samsung Galaxy S and its six known variants for major US wireless networks, how does the latest smartphone stack up against its many Android rivals–and against Apple’s iPhone 4, for that matter?

It all depends on who you ask. With smartphones getting announced in such rapid-fire succession, it seems to take less time than ever for opinions to start flying. Samsung only officially launched the Galaxy last week, at a press event I attended in New York City. Granted, a lot of details had already leaked out even before the launch. Already, though, the phone is getting analyzed and compared across every conceivable dimension.

In a presentation at the start of the launch on Wednesday, J.K. Shin, president of Samsung’s Mobile Communications Business, tried to keep things simple by citing three key differentiators for Samsung’s phone: screen, speed, and content. If onlookers were asked to put together the same list, they’d undoubtedly come up with all kinds of answers.

Personally, I’d keep the three factors Shin mentioned on my list, because the Galaxy S does have merits in all of these areas. But I’d also add two other factors–freedom of choice in wireless networks and smartphone form factors–and I’d place these two way above the other three.

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Dell Rolls Out More Usable Inspiron Laptops

Dell today announced U.S. availability of the sleek new Inspiron R laptops first launched a few months ago in parts of the world such as Australia and India.

Like Dell’s existing 14-, 15- and 17-inch Inspirons, the new R models are geared to carrying out multiple roles, ranging from replacing desktop PCs, to serving up multimedia home entertainment, to acting as take-along workstations on visits to Starbuck’s. Yet the Inspirson Rs bring a cooler look and a smoother feel.

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Phone.com Launches Advanced Calling Features for Android Phones and iPhones

Today is the official launch date for a pair of mobile software applications from Phone.com aimed at giving users of Android handsets, iPhones and other smartphones sophisticated telephone and VOiP calling features that might otherwise coat a boatload of money.

Already downloadable from Google’s Android Market, the new Phone.com Mobile Office provides users of cellular voice networks with features such as free (or relatively cheap) international calling, call histories, the ability to block calls from both unwanted and unidentified numbers, multiple call routing options, “professional” voices for messages, background music during hold times, and integration of voice calls with faxes and SMS text messages in a single mailbox.

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Verizon Wireless's New Plan: So Long Unlimited Data, Hello Buckets?

Remember the bad old days, before the advent of unlimited wireless data plans? Well unfortunately, with the vaunted arrival of 4G, it looks like those times might be returning if Verizon Wireless has its way. At the Barclays Capital conference in New York City this week, Verizon Wireless’s CEO Lowell McAdam said he hopes to ditch unlimited plans entirely on the company’s upcoming 4G LTE network, charging instead for “buckets” of megabytes.

McAdam also noted that, after the release of the first LTE-enabled device, Verizon anticipates using its 4G LTE network for voice starting in 2011. It remains unclear, however, whether Verizon’s LTE will also spell the end of unlimited voice calling plans.

Meanwhile, big carriers haven’t even been waiting for 4G to get here before doing whatever they can to increase people’s phone bills. A survey released this week by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) shows that one in six mobile phone users has been hit by “bill shock,” or an unanticipated hike in their monthly service fee not caused by a change in their calling plan. The majority–or 52 percent–of these “shocks” added $25 or more to the consumer’s monthly bill, with the hikes amounting to $100 or more 23 percent of the time.

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Facebook Privacy Tweaks Coming. How About Opt-In, Not Opt Out?

Staring down a storm of criticism around privacy issues on Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised today to give users an easy way to opt out of third-party services. Probably, though, most users would be a lot happier if Facebook came up with a simple approach to opting into those services, rather than out of them.

Public outcries over unwanted visibility of users’ Facebook information has reached the halls of Congress, spurring U.S. Senator Charles Schumer to release an open letter last month asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to produce privacy guidelines for all social networking sites – including Twitter and MySpace, for example, along with Facebook – as well as to keep a close eye on compliance.

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