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MacBook Air Competitor on the Way

Apple’s much-hyped “MacBook Air” may finally have found its competitor in Lenovo’s ThinkPad X300 — at least that’s what analysts are saying.Like the MacBook Air, the ThinkPad X300 boasts an ultra-thin frame though it weighs in at around 3.12 pounds, which is heavier than the very light-weight MacBook Air.Both the Air and the ThinkPad X300 sport a 13.3-inches wide-screen and a full keyboard.
But the Air lacks: an optical drive, a network port, extra USB ports (it has only one), and removable battery. By contrast, the ThinkPad X300 is a typical road warrior — what with a built-in DVD drive, three USB ports, and a removable battery.
MacBook Air users cannot upgrade memory on the device, and there’s no integrated support for EV-DO or HSDPA. By comparison, the ThinkPad X300 comes with an Ethernet networking jack, and can be customized with a cell-phone modem or GPS.There’s yet another advantage for ThinkPad X300 users; they have the option to choose between either Windows XP or Windows Vista.

Meanwhile, Lenovo’s ThinkPad X300 comes with a 64GB SSD (Solid State Drive) only, which might be the reason for the ramped up price; somewhere between $2,500 and $2,800. By comparison, Apple’s MacBook Air, when equipped with a 80GB hard disk drive (HDD), carries a lower price tag, i.e. $1,800.

However, add to the MacBook Air a 64GB SSD, and it comes for not less than $3,000, which is higher than the price of the ThinkPad X300.

While the ThinkPad X300 has almost all the features required to beat the hell out of Apple’s MacBook Air; there’s one drawback — its processor speed. The notebook includes a 1.2GHz Core 2 Duo processor. Whereas, the MacBook Air incorporates 1.6GHz and 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo processors.

All said, the X300’s 12W processor is believed to be more power-efficient than the Air’s 20W processors, in turn leading to greater battery life.

Citing from a Business Week report, the development of the ThinkPad X300 has taken nearly 20 months from the original concept to production. The mandate for the notebook is not so much to be a revenue spinner for Lenovo as it is to be a “halo” product for the company, somewhat like a MacBook Air is for Apple Computer.

In a statement, Lenovo Chairman, Yang Yuanqing said that they want to send out the message that if there’s any company in the industry that can continuously develop the most inventive and best-quality products with efficiency, it has to be Lenovo. Besides, they also want to send firepower against arch rivals, HP and Dell. Of which, Dell is believed to feel not at all threatened by Lenovo, not at least in the US market.

There’s no word yet on availability and pricing of this notebook.

Both the Air and the ThinkPad X300 sport a 13.3-inches wide-screen and a full keyboard.But the Air lacks: an optical drive, a network port, extra USB ports (it has only one), and removable battery. By contrast, the ThinkPad X300 is a typical road warrior — what with a built-in DVD drive, three USB ports, and a removable battery.MacBook Air users cannot upgrade memory on the device, and there’s no integrated support for EV-DO or HSDPA. By comparison, the ThinkPad X300 comes with an Ethernet networking jack, and can be customized with a cell-phone modem or GPS.

There’s yet another advantage for ThinkPad X300 users; they have the option to choose between either Windows XP or Windows Vista.

Meanwhile, Lenovo’s ThinkPad X300 comes with a 64GB SSD (Solid State Drive) only, which might be the reason for the ramped up price; somewhere between $2,500 and $2,800. By comparison, Apple’s MacBook Air, when equipped with a 80GB hard disk drive (HDD), carries a lower price tag, i.e. $1,800.

However, add to the MacBook Air a 64GB SSD, and it comes for not less than $3,000, which is higher than the price of the ThinkPad X300.

While the ThinkPad X300 has almost all the features required to beat the hell out of Apple’s MacBook Air; there’s one drawback — its processor speed. The notebook includes a 1.2GHz Core 2 Duo processor. Whereas, the MacBook Air incorporates 1.6GHz and 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo processors.

All said, the X300’s 12W processor is believed to be more power-efficient than the Air’s 20W processors, in turn leading to greater battery life.

Citing from a Business Week report, the development of the ThinkPad X300 has taken nearly 20 months from the original concept to production. The mandate for the notebook is not so much to be a revenue spinner for Lenovo as it is to be a “halo” product for the company, somewhat like a MacBook Air is for Apple Computer.

In a statement, Lenovo Chairman, Yang Yuanqing said that they want to send out the message that if there’s any company in the industry that can continuously develop the most inventive and best-quality products with efficiency, it has to be Lenovo. Besides, they also want to send firepower against arch rivals, HP and Dell. Of which, Dell is believed to feel not at all threatened by Lenovo, not at least in the US market.

There’s no word yet on availability and pricing of this notebook.

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Via Techcrunch

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A 40 hour laptop battery…..That’s what I want!!!

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Unbelievable, isn’t it? A laptop battery that can last for 40 hours! Research is going on at Stanford Tech to develop a hi-tech lithium ion battery that can keep your laptop running for 40 hours. You can keep those charging woes at bay for a longer time.

Assistant Professor Yi Cui and associates at Stanford’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering said they have developed a method to increase the life of rechargeable lithium ion batteries to a whopping 40 hours. Publishing in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, the Stanford researchers have shown that by using silicon nanowires as the battery anode instead of today’s graphite, the amount of lithium the anode can hold is extended tenfold.

Cui has filed a patent on the technology and is evaluating the formation of a company or licensing the technology to a battery manufacturer. Potentially two-day batteries could be on the market within “several years,” he said.

Silicon anodes are not a new idea. Researchers have known for some 30 years that they have the “highest theoretical charge capacity,” but, until now, they haven’t been practical because they change volume by 400 percent as lithium is inserted and extracted, the journal said. Cui’s solution: a sponge-like network of tiny silicon nanowires, each of which expands but doesn’t fracture.

Not only can the nanowires handle the extreme volume changes, they also “provide good electronic contact and conduction, and display short lithium insertion distances,” Cui wrote. “We achieved the theoretical charge capacity for silicon anodes and maintained a discharge capacity close to 75 percent of this maximum, with little fading during cycling.”

The nanowires are grown directly on the metallic substrate that collects current, a process that has several advantages, Cui explained. First, the nanowires’ small diameter can better accommodate the four-fold expansion in volume without fracturing. In addition, each nanowire is electrically connected to the metallic current collector, so all the nanowires contribute to battery capacity. The nanowires also offer efficient “charge transport” and eliminate the need for additives to conduct electricity, which add weight, the journal stated.

Let that sink in for a second. 40 Hours of battery life! That is ten times the life of today’s standard laptop battery. But you have to wonder how will the industry react to this recent announcement? If Cui and his associates can succeed in commercializing this breakthrough, the need for larger capacity laptop batteries will go the way of the dinosaurs.

Via Tigerdirect

iPhone nano rumors heating up, destined for Q4?

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While analysts have been speculating that Apple may unleash a smaller (and cheaper) handset in the not too distant future in order to grab a sect of market share not interested in the relatively pricey iPhone, the rumors are seeming to gain traction. According to Kevin Chang, a JP Morgan analyst based in Taiwan, Apple is actually looking to “launch a cheaper version of the iPhone in the fourth quarter that could be based on its iPod nano music player.” The report cited anonymous sources “in the supply channel” and also referenced the now-famed patent that suggests such a device could be materializing. Still, we’d highly recommend taking all of this in with a healthy heap of salt for the time being, but don’t be incredibly shocked if your next iPod nano unexpectedly rings while you’re stereotypically browsing through Gorillaz tracks.

Via Engadget

Hitachi advances technology in hard drive storage

Researchers of Hitachi Ltd have created the world’s smallest disk drive heads which are 2,000 times smaller than a human hair. They minimised to ‘nano level’ a key component in hard drives to achieve this miracle. This will enable them to make hard drives of up to 4 terabytes for desktop computers and 1 terabyte for laptops in the next four years creating a revolution of sorts in computing. Even a one-terabyte hard drive can hold a mammoth amount of data, equivalent to the text contained in one million books. It is learnt that Hitachi will unveil its achievement at a conference in Tokyo this week. The technology used is similar to magneto-resistance that earned the Physics Nobel for this year.

Hitachi announced a new breakthrough in technology storage by developing the world’s smallest read/write head for hard drives. The name for the storage device is dubbed, “Current Perpendicular-to-the-Plane Giant Magneto-Resistive” or CPP-GMR head.

The new hard disk drive can be installed in desktops, notebooks and even little gadgets such as multimedia devices or digital cameras. This would give digital video recorders approximately 4 terabytes in storage. Currently, digital devices such as digital cams using a removable flash-card that holds about 1 gigabyte.

Hitachi says the new hard drive will be available for desktops by 2009. The notebook version will be available 2011.

As for storage, the common hard drive today can read media tracks that are 70 nanometers apart, but the new Hitachi drives have read media tracks that are only 50 nanometers apart.

Hitachi researchers plan to present its new hard drive at the Perpendicular Magnetic Recording Conference in Tokyo.

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