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HP's New ProBook Notebook PC Line


Bluetooth Technology Gets Faster with Bluetooth 3.0


Oracle Agrees to Buy Sun for $7.4 Billion


More Details Surface About Microsoft's New Zune HD


Microsoft: Updates and New Releases Keep Rolling Out


New T-Mobile USB Laptop Stick


Thursday, April 30, 2009

HP's New ProBook Notebook PC Line


HP has launched the new ProBook Notebook PC line, which combines advanced technical features with an attractive, chic design. Aimed specifically at small and medium-sized business users, the stunning notebook series delivers aggressive pricing, exceptional style, and a variety of configuration options. The latest HP notebooks are available with a 14-inch, 15.6-inch, or 17.3-inch widescreen display.

Every ProBook notebook features an innovative keyboard design on a raised surface, making it spill-resistant and easy to clean. Other features include a media card reader on the front, four USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI output, and an Express Card/34 slot.

Besides its low cost and clean look, the HP ProBook series offers a few different OS options, including XP, Vista, and SUSE Linux. The first models in the series (the ProBook 4410s and 4415s) come with a 14-inch 16:9 display, an optional Blu-Ray drive, and a choice of AMD or Intel processors. Wireless connectivity includes standard WiFi and optional built-in Bluetooth technology.

The higher end models come with an integrated keyboard and Gobi communications technology for integrated 3G capability. Multimedia enthusiasts can opt for additional GDDR2 video memory or a variety of UMA graphics controllers.

Pricing for the new HP Probooks starts at about $529, and increases with additional add-ons and features. However, unless you need the new portable PC right away, you may want to consider holding off until Windows 7 comes out.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bluetooth Technology Gets Faster with Bluetooth 3.0


The next generation of Bluetooth technology, also known as Bluetooth 3.0, is supposed to hit the market soon, delivering transfer speeds up to 160 times as fast. The new specs are designed to increase the wireless standard’s bandwidth by a considerable margin and transform Bluetooth into the product it should’ve been a couple years ago. Right now there are more than one billion devices that utilize Bluetooth technology, but once the 3.0 version goes public at the end of this month, that number is expected to increase dramatically.

Manufacturers of home entertainment devices and consumer electronics can now design their products to transmit larger media files, including photos, videos, and more.
For instance, the new “high speed” technology could be used to transfer digital photos from a camera to a computer, or music files from a PC to an MP3 player. Also, the new Bluetooth 3.0 technology could be used to stream video from a camcorder to an HDTV.

The new technology is designed to be completely backwards compatible with older Bluetooth devices. Thanks to the reliance on 802.11, which is the same protocol used by routers and WiFi modules, electronic devices utilizing Bluetooth 3.0 will experience increased power savings and built-in enhanced power control. As a result, consumers will enjoy enhanced performance, better battery life, and improved responsiveness.

Some other benefits consumers will experience with this new technology include:

• Mass download photos to laptops, desktop computers, and printers
• Wirelessly synchronize music libraries between PC and music player or phone
• Send videos from phone or camera to PC or television

Manufactured products supporting the new Bluetooth 3.0 aren’t expected to hit the market for another 9 to 12 months.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Oracle Agrees to Buy Sun for $7.4 Billion



Early Monday, April 20, 2009, Oracle announced it had signed a definitive deal to purchase Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion. According to Oracle, they will pay $9.50 per share in cash; which is $7.4 billion, or $5.6 billion net of Sun’s cash and debt. This deal comes after Sun rejected an offer from IBM a few weeks prior. Reportedly, Sun did not like the terms that IBM was offering.

Sun Microsystems is one of many companies Oracle has acquired in the last few years including BEA, PeopleSoft, and Siebel. Oracle claims, however, that acquiring Sun will contribute $1.5 billion to Oracle’s non-GAAP operating profit in the first year, increasing to over $2 billion in the second year. This would make the Sun acquisition more profitable per share contribution in the first year than for the acquisitions of BEA, PeopleSoft, and Siebel combined.

Sun offers Oracle a large market share in the hardware and server OS business; which Sun established its name through during the dot-com boom. While Oracle currently does not have business in the hardware and server OS business, Sun’s Solaris has been a successful platform for Oracle’s database business. Due to their close partnership for 20 years, both companies feel this is a natural evolution of their relationship.

The largest area of common interest for the two companies is their support for Java software. Both companies claim Java is the most important software Oracle has ever acquired. Oracle believes Java is critical to Oracle’s middleware and that the company’s middleware offerings are on track to be as big as its database storage business. Oracle believes the acquisition of Sun combines best-in-class enterprise software and mission-critical computing systems.

While the deal with Sun will not provide as big a reach that its former suitor IBM would have, the buyout of Sun will provide Oracle a combined hardware / software business model similar to IBM’s, which it currently competes with in the database market.
We can likely expect great integrations of servers and server OS software with Oracle’s powerful Exadata database machine.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

More Details Surface About Microsoft's New Zune HD


After some pictures leaked last Saturday April 11, more unverified details and technical specifications of the Zune HD have now surfaced. Rumor has it that Microsoft’s new media player will be a serious competition for the Apple iPod Touch.

The Zune HD will apparently feature a Web browser, a larger multitouch screen in a 16:9 aspect ratio, and support for wireless syncing to laptops and desktop computers. Available in 16 and 32GB models, Microsoft’s new device will have a HDMI TV out port on the side and most likely support 3D Xbox games.

It’s also possible that the Zune HD will have a camera that allows you to shoot videos in HD with as much as 32GB of storage space. If this is true, the cost of Microsoft’s new media player will be higher than the latest generation of Apple’s iPod Touch.

In addition to these new-and-improved features, an updated software version will supposedly make the Zune platform even better. While a portable HD device that delivers 720p quality will certainly turn some heads, it’s hard to say if it will really outshine the iPod Touch. We can expect to see the new gadget hit the market sometime this fall.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Microsoft: Updates and New Releases Keep Rolling Out


Microsoft Corp. had released its latest edition of its Internet Explorer Web browser, IE8, on March, 19th, 2009 after almost a year of beta testing. Now, Microsoft is starting to push IE 8 updates to current IE users. Microsoft plans to start around the third week of April to send notifications through Automatic Update to users still using the following: users running IE6 or IE7 on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Server 2008. Microsoft will start with select users and then eventually expand to the entire user base.

These updates will not auto-install on any user’s machine. They will receive a Welcome screen that offers the user the choice to install now, later, or to not install at all. Users will need to opt-in to install the most current Internet Explorer Web browser IE8.

In addition to the latest version of Internet Explorer, there is a lot of chatter about the new Microsoft Operating System, Windows 7. The latest build to be leaked on the web has a build date of April, 4th, 2009, at 12:55pm. Due to the fact this version is almost identical to the previous build 7068 and has only improved upon minor elements of the UI including wallpaper and character images leads many to believe Microsoft’s final release candidate is very close. While Microsoft has tried not to announce an official release date, it is believed the release will be later this year.

What does this mean for users who currently run an older Microsoft Operating System? Well, not a lot at the moment. However, Microsoft has announced it will pull the plug on free support for Windows XP on April 14th, 2009. Security patches will still be developed and released for XP until April 2014, but over time there will be fewer apps that support the OS, ultimately killing XP. Many people have updated to Vista, so this will not be a problem for these users, but people running XP will eventually need to upgrade to the newest version of Vista or Windows 7. If you use Windows XP, don’t be too worried. A large majority of users still run the XP OS, so you will never be suddenly left out high-and-dry.

You can upgrade your software now to Windows Vista, or buy one of the laptops currently for sale since it will be awhile before the new Windows 7 has been released and all of the bugs have been worked out. It might be a good idea to have an external hard drive because the new Windows 7 will require that many people do a complete install and not just an upgrade. It is safest to backup and save your data and applications to an external hard drive or networked storage, install the new software and then reload your files. This ensures you do not loose anything.

The good news is Windows 7 will supposedly blast past XP, Vista and previous Operating System builds in terms of performance. This is something I think we are all looking forward to.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

New T-Mobile USB Laptop Stick

On Wednesday, March 25, T-Mobile announced the release of its new webConnect USB laptop stick, which provides seamless connectivity to the Internet through T-Mobile’s 3G high-speed data network or accessible WiFi. Designed specifically for on-the-go professionals or international travelers, the new T-Mobile webConnect is compatible with all of today’s laptops. Once it’s plugged directly into the USB port, the built-in software will automatically locate the best available Internet connection.

In addition to connectivity, the new T-Mobile laptop sticks can also double as external storage media. The small, portable accessory only weighs 1.5 ounces and measures 3.5 inches tall by 1 inch wide by 0.4 inch think.

So how much does it cost? Well, that all depends, because there are several pricing options available: a two-year contract for $49.99 (after rebate); a one-year contract for $99.99; or $249.99 with no contract. Service plans start at $59.99, and this gives you 5GB of wireless data per month. As an added convenience, the management software will monitor the amount of data you’ve used, so that you minimize any possible overage charges.

T-Mobile has lagged behind other major carriers when it comes to wireless connectivity and network accessories. However, they’re certainly making up for it now. As of the end of 2008, T-Mobile’s 3G high-speed data network is available in more than 130 U.S. cities. The company continues to expand its wireless broadband services, and by the end of 2009, the population currently covered by the network will have doubled, reaching nearly 200 million people in 230 cities across the U.S.

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