News Bits: Acer 9800 now Available, MacBook Pro Battery Recall, New LG LW25-EV, More Vista Delays?

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Acer Aspire 9800 20.1″ Screen Notebook Officially Released in North America

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Acer officially announced availability of its giant sized 20.1″ Aspire 9800 notebook in the North American market today.  They had previously previewed it at Computex Taipei but given no exact release dates.  The Aspire 9800 is definitely not a “mobile” notebook and it would probably be a bit heavy to put in your lap given its weight of 17.2lbs.  What it does do is double as a fantastic entertainment center, especially due to the integrated HD-DVD drive. HD-DVD is a next generation form of media competing with Blu-Ray to replace the existing DVD format.

Some basic specs on the Aspire 9800 are as follows:

  • Processor: Intel Core Duo T2600 (2.16GHz)
  • Screen: 20.1″ WSXGA+, 200 nit brightness, CrystalBrite (glossy)
  • 2GB DDR2 RAM
  • Nvidia GeForce Go 7600 graphics card with 256MB RAM
  • Weight: 17.2 lbs
  • Dimensions: 18.7″ x 13.9″ x 2.4″
  • Hard Drive: 240GB (120GB x 2) 5400RPM
  • HD DVD-ROM / Super Multi DVD burner
  • 802.11 a/b/g wireless
  • VGA, AV-in, S-video TV-out, TV-tuner antenna-in, DVI-D with HDCP support

The Acer Aspire 9800 starts at about $2,800.

Apple’s MacBook Pro Battery Recall Program Begins

The previously ‘silent’ MacBook Pro battery recall has turned into a full-blown 15-inch MacBook Pro Battery Exchange Program. MacBooks bought from February through May of this year may be candidates for a battery replacement. If you have a model A1175 cell with a 12-digit serial number ending in U7SA, U7SB, or U7SC, then you are eligible for a replacement.

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The New LG LW25 Ultraportable Notebook Packs EVDO and Go7300 GPU

New LG LW25 ultraportable notebook in use at the pool

LG has unveiled a new 12.1″, sub 3-pound ultraportable notebook – the LW25-EV. Specifications include an Intel Core Duo T2400 (1.83GHz) CPU, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, an Nvidia GeForce Go7300 graphics card, 3G EVDO connectivity, and a DMB TV Tuner. There’s no further details concerning pricing or availability, but this 2.4-pound package sounds tempting already.  LG decided to use bikini models to demo the laptop, in case your eyes miss the laptop in the picture it’s on the lower left side.

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Microsoft Quiet on Question of Vista Release Date

In a financial analyst meeting last Thursday Microsoft failed to silence fears that a new version of its Windows software system would be further delayed, stirring concerns that a new technology cycle tied to the upgrade could be put on hold.

When asked what date Windows Vista will ship, co-president of Microsoft’s platforms and services uit said: “We will ship Windows Vista when it is available.”  Vista was set to ship this November to corporate customers, but based on the tone of comments from Microsoft it sounds like that may no longer be the case. 

The consumer availability of Windows Vista was expected for January of 2007.  Goldman Sachs financial analyst Rick Sherlund conjectures that this date is more likely March or April of 2007 — well after the crucial holiday shopping season.  Consumers should basically just assume nothing with Vista dates and make PC purchases based on if you need a new one or not — waiting on a Vista release could be a long running waiting game.

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Intel to Ship 1 million Core 2 Duo Processors in Seven Weeks

Intel isn’t dragging its heels when it comes to getting the Core 2 Duo processor to market. Chief Executive Paul Otellini said that the Core 2 Duo will ramp in production faster than any other processor, and will cross the one million mark in seven weeks.

Otellini said that the Core 2 Duo processors are supposed to be available in early August, and the Merom at the end of August.

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Taiwan Notebook Makers to See Increased Demand in August

Digitimes reports that Compal Electronics and Quanta Computer will see shipments ramp up in August due to the back-to-school demand. Compal expects to see its notebook shipments to exceed 1.1 million units in August, while Quanta is expected to ship 1.5 million. Wistron’s shipments may remain flat from July.

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Apple Newton vs. Samsung Q1 UMPC is running a rather amusing article – the Samsung Q1 UMPC vs. the Apple Newton. Although separated by over ten years, they share a similar form factor, work in a similar way, and are designed to redefine how users interact with computers.

Link to Story

Next Round of GPUs Could Consume 200W of Power

Not in notebooks of course. The next-gen of GPUs are going to consume an incredible amount of power – Nvidia’s G80 is looking to be around 175W, and ATI’s R600 200W. ATI’s consumption could be a bit less if they move to a 65nm process from an 80nm.

Either way, that is simply too much. The current borderline is 100W. When you’re looking at twice the power of the CPU, it’s time to rethink things. And if the next-gen GPUs are going to consume this much power, how on earth are they going to put one in a notebook? It could be a long time.

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Microsoft Office 2007 Beta Free Until This Wednesday

Consumers who download the 2007 Microsoft Office system Beta 2 will be charged $1.50 per download, beginning this Wednesday at 6 p.m. PDT, a Microsoft spokeswoman said.

“Since the end of May, Beta 2 has been downloaded more than 3 million times…That’s 500 percent more than what was expected,” the spokeswoman said. “The fee helps offset the cost of downloading from the servers.”

If you download the Office 2007 Beta during the “free period” further technical refresh updates will be free.  So if you’ve been thinking about downloading Office 2007 and don’t want to pay $1.50 then do it now!



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