Posts Tagged ‘Laptops’
Microsoft Debuts Crowdfunding Program For Student Laptops, Offers Office 365 Free To First 10K Participants
Microsoft is introducing a new pilot project today called ”Chip In,” which sees the Windows-maker offering to help students crowdsource laptop purchases ahead of next school year. Students with a .edu email address can crowdfund laptop purchases of qualifying devices through the official Microsoft online store, and Microsoft will subsidize 10 percent of the purchase price itself, plus offer free copies of Office 365 University edition to the first 10,000 students to sign up for the program.
The Chip In promotion begins today and goes through September 1, so essentially spanning the entire summer for higher education students. The full list of eligible laptops includes 15 Windows PCs from Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba and Microsoft. The Surface Pro and Surface RT are both included in the list, as are some marquee Windows 8 devices from third-party partners like the Lenovo Yoga and Asus Taichi. Microsoft’s 10 percent discount is automatically applied to the pricing of all those on the list, which you can see here.
While it’s intended for students, U.S.-based faculty and staff are also eligible to participate so long as they have a valid .edu address. To participate, choose a computer, create a profile page using your FB account and request that friends and family chip-in to help meet your funding goal. If you fulfill your goal, Microsoft sends out a promo code you can redeem to complete the purchase. There’s even a provision that allows you to put any amount earned above your goal (should a device go on sale or get a price cut) toward other devices and items in the Microsoft Store. If you fall short of your goal, but raise at least $ 499, you can still use those funds toward a device as well. If you don’t meet that amount, your contributors won’t be charged.
This goes above and beyond the usual back-to-school promotions and is actually a pretty good idea in terms of letting students leverage the good will of relatives and friends who might want to give them a graduation/off-to-college gift but can’t fork up enough for a new laptop all on their own. It might be slightly annoying seeing a lot of inbound requests from students begging for notebooks, but on balance it seems like a good idea, and a smart way for Microsoft to get more people on Windows 8.
Between the launch of Intel’s
fourth generation core Haswell and Computex, June’s shaping up to be a big month for the PC industry. Fresh from letting us play with its new folding hybrid, Dell is whipping out new OptiPlex 9020 and XE2 desktops, an OptiPlex All-In-One and the Latitude E6540 business laptop. Given that they’re Dell machines, customization options will be limitless when they arrive in the forthcoming weeks, backed by all of those enterprise-friendly vPro, WYSE and Cloud management services that Dell’s attempting to become famous for.
MSI’s had a busy couple weeks: first it started selling a pair of laptops with AMD chips inside, and then it unveiled a flagship notebook with Haswell. Now, to complete the trilogy, the company’s refreshing the other models in its range. Starting with the GT series, the existing GT70 and GT60 are both getting a quad-core, 3.2GHz Core i7-4200MQ CPU with a 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX780M GPU or a 3GB GTX770M. Though the chipsets are the same, however, the 17-incher makes room for more robust internals, including a max of 32GB of RAM and a 1TB HDD paired with up to three 128GB SSDs arranged in a RAID 0 setup. The 15-inch version, meanwhile, tops out at 16GB of RAM with a single 128GB SSD and 1TB hard drive. If 8.6 or even 7.7 pounds is too heavy for yours tastes, you might prefer the slim GE series, where both the 15- and 17-inch models weigh in at less than six pounds. In exchange for a lighter design, of course, you get slightly inferior specs: a 2GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX765 GPU, 750GB hard drives, 8GB to 12GB of RAM and six-cell batteries, compared with a nine-cells on the beefier GT models. For what it’s worth, though, most configurations have the same 3.2GHz Core i7 processor. Additionally, the GE notebooks have been refreshed with backlit keyboards, but you still won’t get the full rainbow effect as on the GTs. In the US, at least, starting prices are as follows: $ 1,500 for the GT70 and GT60, $ 1,400 for the GE70 and $ 1,000 for the GE60.
Finally, MSI is also showing off a 14-inch model, the GE40, which has an altogether different industrial design than the other GEs, with small red lights on the lid meant to look like devil’s eyes. (Or wings. Whatever.) At 4.4 pounds and 1.14 inch thick, it’s an obvious competitor to the Alienware M14x. No word yet on pricing or availability, but MSI has preliminarily said it will boast a 2.9GHz Core i7-4702MQ CPU, 2GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760M GPU, 8GB of RAM and a battery rated for three hours. The screen will be a 1,600 x 900 non-IPS panel with an anti-glare matte finish. Storage-wise, you’re looking at a 128GB and 750GB SSD, or just the 750-gig HDD. Again, MSI hasn’t said when it’ll ship, but for now we’ve got hands on-photos of the GE40 (and those other machines, too) after the break.
In this episode, John Biggs, Matt Burns and Darrell Etherington discuss Microsoft’s just-announced Xbox One, complete with voice commands, a brand new Kinect, a slew of new entertainment/social features, and the best specs yet.
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Over the seven months since Microsoft released Windows 8, the sales data haven’t been encouraging, with IDC reporting a 13.9 percent decline in the PC industry last quarter, its largest on record. But it looks like there’s one bright spot: as much as 10 percent of new laptops sold that quarter included touchscreens. The numbers — 46 million laptop shipments, 4.57 million with touchscreens — come from DisplayBank, a division of market research company IHS, but they’re close enough to the 50.5 million laptops quoted by Canalys to warrant a look. If the numbers are accurate, that’s a 51.8 percent increase in laptops with touchscreens over the past quarter.
At some point — we’re not sure when — Sony’s naming scheme for laptops got confusing. There was the C series and the E series. The S, T, Z and even the F (RIP). Fortunately, Sony’s been working to clear things up: its first Windows 8 products all had descriptive names like “Duo” or “Tap.” Now, it’s streamlining its mainstream notebooks too. The company just unveiled some redesigned models for back-to-school season, and they’re all named ‘Fit.’ As the replacement to the entry-level E series and most of the T line, the Fit family includes both lower-end models (the Fit 14E / Fit 15E) and premium ones (the Fit 14 / Fit 15). They’ll be available this month, starting at $ 550 and going all the way up to $ 2,210, depending on how many upgrades you check off during the configuration process.
Regardless, there are certain specs you’ll find across the board – not just on the Fit machines, mind you, but on every Sony PC announced this season. These include NFC, backlit keyboards and webcams with Sony’s Exmor R imaging tech for better low-light performance. They’ll all have 1080p screens, too, with the exception of the 14-inch Fits, which start at 1,600 x 900. Both the Fit and Fit E will be offered with optional NVIDIA GT 740M GPUs (1GB or 2GB), touchscreens, optical drives and a choice of Core i3, i5 and i7 processors (Ivy Bridge for now). Ultimately, then, the difference between the two comes down to build quality: the Fit E is made of plastic, whereas the Fit has a thinner aluminum chassis, with the fans hidden above the keyboard, and a lid that covers the hinge. Also, the Fit will be offered with SSDs, with hybrid drives being the base option; the Fit E comes standard with a regular HDD and can be upgraded to a hybrid drive — and in any event, all of these will be available later this month.
Last fall, HP took a small step toward refreshing its ProBook business notebooks when it started offering some of them with AMD Trinity chips. Eight months later, it’s time for a real makeover: the company just announced a handful of new models with a thinner, lighter design and a fresh look. The ProBook 430, 440, 455 and 470 range in size from 13.3 inches to 17.3, and are made of aluminum, with spill-resistant keyboards and a soft-touch paint job. With the exception of the 430, which ships in July with Haswell, they’ll arrive this month with a mix of Ivy Bridge CPUs and AMD Richland chips. (Specifically, only the 14- and 15-inch models will be offered with AMD.)
Other particulars: they all have 1,366 x 768 matte displays (non-touch), with the 17-inch model stepping up to 1,600 x 900. All but the 430 can be had with an optional optical drive; if you skip it, there’s a weighted placeholder sitting where the DVD burner would be. Additionally, the 440, 450 and 470 can be used with a six- or nine-cell user-replaceable battery. Everything comes standard with a hybrid hard drive, but the 430 also has an SSD option. Again, all but the 13-incher will be available this month, for $ 499 and up. So, you can bide your time until then, or you can tide yourself over with that handful of photos below.
Gallery: HP ProBook 430, 440, 450 and 470
On the earnings call after Intel launched its Q1 numbers, its executives dealt with many concerns from analysts, including some asking what to get out of the business in Q4. According to CEO Paul Otellini and CFO / EVP Stacy Smith, among the reasons for investors to be optimistic are the prospects of less expensive touch display computer systems powered by its approaching Bay Path (quad-core Atom) and Haswell processors. Just how inexpensive you ask? According to Otellini, as transcribed by SeekingAlpha:
We have a particular specification for ultrabooks, which is the item that Stacy stated is visiting be centered at as reduced as $ 599 with some [diverse] SKUs to $ 499. If you look at touch-enabled Intel based notebooks that are ultrathin and light utilizing non-core processors, those prices are going to be down to as reduced as $ 200 probably.
We ‘d put more weight in those figures if they were rate tags affixeded to items or a minimum of from the OEMs that will construct them, but at least there’s a target. Whatever takes place, there makes certain to be a flood of new ultrabooks, tablets, convertibles and detachables hitting the streets later on this year, and if the price is right (along with some Windows 8 tweaks) perhaps they’ll be worth the delay.
Should the lowly Chromebook — once a laughingstock of the PC world — have Microsoft worried?
Google first announced its Chrome operating system back in mid-2009, before shipping the first Chromebook laptops with the software preinstalled two years later. At the time the idea of just a web browser for an OS seemed confusing to many, coupled with Google’s promise to target netbooks without the necessary functions and features. Nevertheless, Google shipped a developer device in late 2010 and the initial Chromebooks from Acer and Samsung went on sale in June and July in 2011 at $ 349 and $ 299 respectively. They weren’t huge sellers, but recent models could change that, and a new addition from Lenovo appears to strike at the core of…
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Laptop producers attending this year’s CES are, for the most part, still catching up with the touch revolution– deciding to modify, improve, and include touchscreens to their previous models instead of create a brand new paradigm. Some, like Lenovo, are trying out with the very best way to incorporate laptops and tablets, developing interesting new items such as the ThinkPad Helix. Stay tuned for all the most exciting laptop computer statements from CES 2013.