A New Kind of Laptop
In early December, Google shipped a limited edition of Cr-48 laptops running its Chrome operating system (OS). This unique laptop targets the always-online, those who live in the ‘cloud’ (see our cover story in the December 17, 2010 issue). The OS is, effectively, a browser. It takes advantage of the file storage and variety of applications available online, eliminating the need for buy-and-install programs. This keeps the specs simple. There’s no spinning hard disc (it uses Flash storage), which means a machine that doesn’t reach lap-scorching temperatures. It is frugal with power, with the battery giving 8+ hours of active use. While the OS is still in beta, expect machines from Acer and Samsung to hit the market in mid-2011.
While some may argue that 2010 was the year of the tablet, 3D has a very good case too. At any rate, it looks like it might just own 2011, with Nintendo’s portable 3DS console making its bid to be the standard bearer, offering 3D viewing without special glasses. It is scheduled to launch in Japan on February 26, 2011, and in USA and the EU countries in March. Reports say it will launch with a lot of the bigger game makers ready with versions for the new machine. It will come with a 3.53-inch top screen and a 3.02-inch bottom touch screen, three cameras (one inner and two outer), motion and gyro sensors and a Slide Pad that allows 360-degree analogue input.
An Apple a Day
The new generation of iPods is already generating buzz in India, and we think they will go big in 2011. The new iPod Touch, for instance, is almost everything the iPhone is; you can’t make calls, but if you’re in a WiFi zone, you can use FaceTime to video chat with friends who have the app installed. The redesigned iPod Nano now has a multi-touch interface and is almost half the size and weight of the previous generation. It has the ability to create and edit playlists, a built-in FM radio and up to 24 hours of music playback on a single battery charge. There are rumours that Apple might launch an iPad 2, a mini, by mid year.
The Executive Tablet
Research In Motion announced its first ever tablet recently, the BlackBerry Playbook, which should hit the market in the first quarter of 2011. RIM may be late to the game, but from all we’ve read, the new gizmo has a winning combination of business features and tech specs. A customised BlackBerry Tablet will help it pair with a BlackBerry smartphone to get full access to its push technology enterprise solutions, with straight-out-of-the-box compatibility with BlackBerry Enterprise Server. RIM is also planning to build an Apps ecosystem for the tablets and is now allowing developers to submit their applications for approval into the company’s BlackBerry App World.
Windows on Your Phone
Despite early — and somewhat successful — attempts to corner the hand-held devices operating system space, Microsoft never got anywhere near the kind of dominance it has with the Windows OS. The phone makers pretty much took over, with their own OS’, leaving the software giant out in the cold. That may change soon. The new Windows Phone 7 OS has been making waves, getting good reviews out of a tech community accustomed to dissing Microsoft products. Coming in for praise is a re-imagined interface with great ease-of-use, and smooth implementation of MS Office products. WP7 hasn’t made an entrance in India yet, but with so many people still equating computers with Microsoft, first-time smartphone buyers might choose the comfort of the familiar.