Ben gave us a hands-on with the Dell XPS11 last week so I wanted to follow up with my own video hands-on from MWC. I took the opportunity to get up-close with the keyboard and test it. POV keyboard video coming up…
Like Ben, I worry about the keyboard. It has advantages in its slim design, light weight, dust and water resistance and, possibly, in longevity, but you will not want to use this keyboard to write reports. Data-entry, emails, social networking, URLS, banking and other activities could work out fine making this a great sofa-side laptop but at this price, is it worth it? You can do all those things on an 8-inch Windows 8 tablet for $199. (Current offer at BestBuy.)
Dell don’t have much to say about the keyboard quality in their marketing… Read more... (244 words, 3 images, estimated 59 Sek reading time)
We’re in a good place with Ultrabooks right now. Haswell gave us the battery life we were waiting for and prices have come down. Effectively the Ultrabook project is over but the brand, and the soul of the Ultrabook continues. A Dell XPS13 has been leaked for Q3 and it’s highly likely we’ll see a launch at Computex in June but don’t expect any large-scale products or refreshes until Q4. While some may say that’s a slip, it was much the same with the last generation.
With Broadwell we can expect another tick (or was it a tock?) in the Intel strategy of improving processor architecture and then improving the manufacturing process. This time round we’re moving to a 14nm process which, like the move from Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge, gave us power efficiencies. We also got a refreshed GPU in that round too so maybe we’ll see some ‘Iris’ action on Ultrabooks later this year. Read more... (378 words, 2 images, estimated 1:31 Min reading time)
At first glance, the Dell XPS 11 has it all. It’s sleek, convertible, and has a 2k screen! It’s one of the thinnest and, dare I say, sexiest, Ultrabooks ever released. But will a novel keyboard design be its Achilles’ heel?
The Dell XPS 11 might be the nicest Ultrabook I’ve laid my hands on. Real carbon fiber gives the unit an unmistakably svelte and sturdy feeling despite its minimum thickness of just 11mm and weight of 1.13kg.
The 11.6-inch touchscreen display has a whopping 2560×1440 resolution which is particularly remarkable when you see how thin the screen is. The screen also flips back, Yoga-style, to convert the unit into a tablet.
The unit can be equipped with the i3-4020Y, i5-4210Y, or i5-4300Y (all Y-variant processors being slightly lower power than their U-variant counterparts seen on the XPS 13 and 15). The ports are understandably (albeit regrettably) thin for such a thin and small device: full size HDMI (finally), 2x USB, and full SD (also finally!). Read more... (534 words, 2 images, estimated 2:08 Min reading time)
“We want Android to be your primary OS”
iConsole demonstrated a very high quality game on an Ultrabook at MWC this week and it wasn’t what you might expect. As a partner of Intel they’ve been working with recent releases of Android 4.x for i86 and have put together a thought- provoking demo of high-power Android. You can see it in the video below.
Interestingly Christopher Price references ‘high performance Android devices from Intel that will be on the market late this year.” What devices is he talking about? The Samsung ATIV Q got stomped-on by Google. The ASUS Duet is also, reportedly, having problems getting out the door. Are other dual-boot devices, or even pure Core-based Android devices, being worked on? Read more... (252 words, 1 image, estimated 1:00 Min reading time)
Yes it’s a bit late, but we did get our hands on some exciting devices at last month’s CES 2014 in Las Vegas and have some video for you to see.
Perhaps the most interesting device announced at the show was the Asus Duet, a dockable x86-based computer (similar in design to the Transformer Book) which natively runs both Windows 8.1 and Android x86 with quick switching between the two. We’ve seen similar devices which actually have Android hardware inside in addition to the usual x86 Windows hardware. The Duet is different in that Android here is actually running on the same Haswell processor that Windows runs on—at the same time. Android also has access to all of the ports on the device since it is running natively on that hardware. Asus claims the Duet runs Android up to twice as fast as tablets based on ARM processors. Read more... (556 words, 1 image, estimated 2:13 Min reading time)
Take a look at the back of most Ultrabooks and you’ll find nothing. By having sealed-in batteries the OEMS save money, weight and space. The owner, however, is left with the big unknown of battery lifetime and if you’ve ever owned a laptop you’ll know how totally useless they are when you have to drag the mains cable around with you everywhere. I recently had to order a new internal battery for a Samsung Series 5 NP530 that is under two years old and has zero battery capacity. On the other hand I’m typing this on a two-year old Ultrabook that still has 85% battery capacity. So how long will the average battery last?
Read more... (835 words, 6 images, estimated 3:20 Min reading time)
It’s sad news today as we hear of Sony’s intention to sell their PC business. The VAIO brand will go to Japan Industrial Partners, be re-evaluated and reduced to Japanese marketing operations only. The chances of us ever buying a VAIO laptop or Ultrabook outside Japan now look very slim indeed.
In a press release Sony state they have concluded a Memorandum of Understanding to sell the VAIO brand and business with terms to be agreed by end of March. “…the Company has determined that concentrating its mobile product lineup on smartphones and tablets and transferring its PC business to a new company established by JIP is the optimal solution.” they say.
The planned (global) Spring lineup will go ahead and with design, development, manufacturing and sales employees being transferred to the new company there are signs that new VAIO products can be expected in the future; Just not globally. Read more... (346 words, 1 image, estimated 1:23 Min reading time)
Remember back to IFA last September and my interview with Ben Saunders of the Scott Expedition? They’ve been walking for 102 days now and in 2 days they will have completed the 1800 miles that Sir Robert Falcon Scott failed to complete in 1912. This is an amazing accomplishment, not only for the two expedition members on the journey but for two Sony Vaio Pro Ultrabooks, solar panels, Li-Ion battery packs and a satellite internet link that has provided, for the first time, amazing photos, blogs and videos during such an expedition.
Join me in counting-down the hours, the last 85 kilometers to the finish line and an amazing job well done.
Live tracking is available via Google Earth and the KML link on http://scottexpedition.com/tracking
We’ll be setting up an interview with Ben as soon as we can in order to get the detail on the solar-powered Ultrabooks. Read more... (176 words, 1 image, estimated 42 Sek reading time)
ABI reported last week that ultra-portable PCs accounted for 12% of all notebook shipments in 2013, way short of anything Intel wanted to achieve with the Ultrabook segment. It raises questions as we see marketing efforts for Ultrabooks fall. Is this leading-edge notebook segment ever going to be a big seller? If it has good profit margins does it need to be or are we underestimating the impact that the Ultrabook ‘project’ has had on the wider notebook market?
12 % of 183 million notebook shipments is 22 million units. That’s not bad for a segment that has unit profits that will exceed what the average notebook achieves. Not only is the average selling price higher but the margin is likely to be higher in terms of percentage. With Acer declaring losses related to Ultrabooks though, one has to be careful about predicting profit. The costs of changing production lines, suppliers and marketing may have been too much. Read more... (476 words, 1 image, estimated 1:54 Min reading time)
WiGig is a technology that has the potential to change the way you use computers and having tracked it since 2012 I’m hoping it’s close to maturity. With Wilocity announcing that they’ve shipped 1 million WiGig chips it’s a good sign that we’re nearing the point where the technology will start appearing on customers wish-lists.
Wilocity have been working closely with Qualcomm as a development partner and Dell as a customer and most of those WiGig chips will have ended up in the Latitude Ultrabooks and the D5000 WiGig dock, a $279 accessory.
The intra-room technology is intended to provide a transparent solution for wireless display, wireless USB and wireless PCIe and is likely to appear in ‘paired’ solutions until the implementations are all working from the same IEEE 802.11ad specs. Those were finalized in late 2012. As numbers and competition ramp up, prices should come down and you could see consumer-level solutions. That could take a few years yet though. Read more... (256 words, 1 image, estimated 1:01 Min reading time)