Innovative Portable Devices Work, Some of the Time
Morning folks, today’s GlobalTV Monday Morning tech segment with co-host Mike Sobel featured the newest and coolest looking tablet and cellphone. But looks cab be deceiving.
DELL COMPROMISES ON SWANKY LAPTOP/TABLET
The Dell Inspiron Duo convertible tablet $549.99, is now available on www.dell.ca and lands into a special niche of its own. But despite the smart design and functionality, it also has its drawbacks. It’s targeted at folks who want to keep their Windows 7 experience portable with a blend of traditional and new multi-finger touchscreen features. It also has an optional Duo Sound Dock $99.99, which you will need if you want more ports than the two USB ports and headphone jack the Duo comes with. When I first saw the Duo at CES, I was really excited. But the Spartan innards of the duo will leave you wanting for more. THE GOOD: It’s a 10-inch laptop, with descent resolution and the nicest hard rubber surface for holding and carrying around. It converts to a slate tablet by cleverly flipping its screen around and closing on top of the keyboard. It also has sufficient memory. Now you have a touch screen tablet running on a full version of Windows 7. THE BAD: It’s actually a beefed up Netbook (comes with two GB of RAM) running on a two core Intel Atom processor. That makes it from my tests, about 25 per cent faster than the traditional netbook clamshells that sell in stores now for about $200 less…and they have all the extra connections like SD card, Ethernet cable, in and out audio and connection to a larger monitor. To get most of that, you need to buy the Duo Sound Dock $99.99. It only has a four-cell battery do you might finish a two hour HD movie you have downloaded or copied with at best, ten minutes of spare computing time. Compare that to most Netbooks that have more than half hour to spare and remember, cheaper. The multitouch screen is slow and burdensome and it can barely play back the 720p HD video most digital cameras shoot today. And where is the Pen input when you use the Duo as a slate? Nope, you have to use your fingernails to write freehand or the onscreen keyboard which works fine.
NOTE TO DELL: Put in a faster 2nd generation i3 Intel Core Processor with capable HD graphics, a six-cell battery (there is room for it) and make it pen-capable, like the sadly forgotten Windows Tablet PCs. Then I will gladly fork out the combined $649.98, even a bit more.
MOTOROLA SURPRISES WITH SMARTPHONE INNOVATION
The Motorola Atrix, available at Bell Mobility ($169.95 with a minimum $50 monthly data/voice plan or $599.95 no term) is the most innovative smartphone shown at the CES show in Vegas in January. It’s twice as powerful as competitors with a dual core 1GHz chip delivering 2 GHz of power, and with power comes a unique selection of accessories. Like the Motorola Lapdock $329.95, which looks like a 11.6-inch laptop that is actually run by the attached Atrix phone. Now you can run the phone’s applications on a larger screen and watch full HTML web, play HD games, do email, work with included office suites and more. When you disconnect the Atrix from the Lapdock, which is really an empty shell with a screen and keyboard, all the information stays in the Atrix phone. Genius, but it does take some getting used to, as it’s not Windows that is showing on this laptop’s screen, but a special higher graphic version of the connected phone. But you can drag and size multiple windows and apps on the larger screen and even plug a wireless mouse in the two included USB ports.
You can also attach the Atrix on the MultiMedia Dock $129.95, with remote control, for outputting to an HDMI (cable included) connection of an HD TV and show HD movies, and 5 megapixel pictures. The HDMI cable also works directly off the phone.
The Atrix runs the full version of Mozilla Firefox browser and supports Adobe Flash Player 10.1. The four-inch quarter HD resolution – 960×540 (518,400 pixels) is second only to the iPhone4. It has 16 GB internal memory and supports 32 GB external micro SD memory for a total of 48 GB. The 5 – megapixel digital camera with digital zoom and dual LED flash is sharp as is the 720p HD video. There is also a front VGA camera for vid chats.
It also features a biometric fingerprint scanner and acts as a remote control for scheduling recordings for your Bell TV at home from anywhere. Motorola Media Link software installs on your PC when you first connect it to a Windows PC and included Motoblur service synchronizes Facebook, Twitter MySpace, email, Gmail and more. It backs up your data automatically for recovering later or transferring to a new phone. If you lose your phone you can find it through Motoblur.
The Atrix has up to 9 hours talk time and 250 hours standby, can be used as a hotspot for up to eight Wi-Fi devices and being an Android phone has all the Google goodies including the second largest app store for free and affordable applications.
Ah, yes, I almost forgot folks. Today is the official Windows Internet Explorer 9 launch date. Needless to say, it’s a browser all modernized-like and keeping up with competitors, and then some. Go to this link to find out more. http://www.ie6countdown.com/ and check out Ziad Ismail’s blog at: http://windowsteamblog.com/ie/b/ie/ It’s interesting to note that Microsoft is officially launching IE9 at the South by Southest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, a gathering of progressive geeks who historically have nat been IE fans. Can’t say Microsoft isn’t confident about this version.
IE9 is smaller than previous versions with performance improvements beating current competitor’s versions. It has beefed up security, and a nifty feature of pinning web sites to your taskbar behaving like applications which can be refreshed and use Windows 7 Jump List Feature for quickly getting into other parts of a web site.
It’s amazing how many computers, at home and business still run IE6 worldwide, now ten years old! But the reality is that IT managers find it costly to keep up with every new version of software, even if it’s free. The nice thing about browsers like Firefox’s soon to come version 4, Google’s newest Chrome 10 (Windows, Mac and Linux) Apple Safari and IE9, for consumers is that they are free and you can try them all at the same time and compare.