Asus Transformer Prime Review

Asus Transformer Prime: ReviewIt may seem to many of you that this article is passé since the Asus Transformer Prime was released some three months ago. However, when I explained my proposal to Chris, he agreed to let me write it based on my personal change in attitude regarding it. First of all, I originally saw little merit in the addition of yet another tablet unit being released onto the current market since I had become numbed by the rhetoric that the Apple iPad is the tablet to buy and others need not apply. My attitude, however, began to change when a friend of mine mentioned he was going to purchase an Asus Transformer Prime because it came with a ‘quad core processor’ (something he mentioned at least a dozen times over the course of one evening).

With his comments in mind, I decided to do additional research into the Asus Transformer Prime confirming that, while it had experienced a few issues that needed to be addressed (including a rebooting issue), three updates in February of 2012 appear to have resolved the issue.

Fortunately, I was able to see this for myself last Monday when my friend brought his Asus Transformer Prime for a visit and I got to spend three hours navigating its Android system.

My first impressions:

  • The aluminum circular swirl back plate is very attractive and stylish.
  • It is fast. Have I told you it has a quad core processor?
  • It appears to me that this unit is just slightly thinner and lighter than an iPad.
  • Screen quality equals that of the first two generations of the iPad (not the newest and greatest).
  • Micro HDMI and Micro SD card slots make the unit more versatile.
  • The eight-megapixel camera is an improvement over most tablets.

As I navigated my way around the system, I found the tablet very easy to use. This may be due to the fact that I am an experienced Android user, and have previously used versions from 2.0x to the newest Ice Cream Sandwich. But like most versions of Android, the manufacturer has modified the system to meet its needs. (Or should I say perceived needs?)

The system wasn’t perfect, though, since we were unable to activate the sound using the settings option, no matter how many times I tried to slide the sound on. Believe me when I say that this became quite frustrating and it took me venturing out to the Asus Transformer Prime forum to discover a voice of reason stating that you just had to swipe across one menu item to activate the sound icon. In other words, the solution was easy, but this information had to be searched for.

Once we had finally achieved this milestone, we were ready to install the desired applications. But before we could do that, we had to take the time to look at some of the pre-installed toys to see how well they worked. We began this process by testing the video quality of the Netflix HD program using the micro-HDMI hooked to an HDTV. I found that I was very impressed with the quality of the video and it was, in fact, 1080P quality. In addition, there were no slowdowns, jerking, or jitters within the video or sound, which made for a pleasant viewing experience. Of course, I am sure that the addition of a 10 G cable connection via a wireless router helped with the quality performance.

Next, we downloaded some MP3 files that the owner had previously purchased and were, at the time, sitting in the cloud. Once they were downloaded and installed, we learned that the tablet’s lone speaker was placed where one would typically have their hands when holding the tablet. This resulted in the sound coming over as muffled, but the simple act of moving our hands solved the problem.

The best feature, however, is the built-in camera that features eight megapixels with Flash. The picture quality was definitely above average — even exceeding the quality of some smartphones that I have used. In addition, the rear-facing camera is OK for video conferencing but I didn’t notice anything different than what one would normally expect for video conferencing. Despite the quality, though, I still think that it is easier to use a smartphone to capture those special moments in life than to lug around a tablet.

Once finished with checking out the unit’s built-in features, I was able to check out Asus’ docking station and keyboard, which my friend had purchased for an additional $149. He felt that the addition of these features would make the unit more versatile for him since he is often on the road. However, in my opinion, it merely turns the Asus Transformer Prime into a nifty laptop replacement.

With that being said, though, I enjoyed the brief time I spent trying the keyboard and found it very comfortable to type on. The only potential problem I saw with the docking station was that it was charged via the tablet unit.

This once again brought up another observation. Is a tablet meant to replace business laptops or desktop systems? This issue must be considered, in the cost analysis, prior to purchase since Asus’ Transformer Prime costs $499 for the unit and another $149 for the dock/keyboard. As a business owner, one must therefore consider that a fairly well-equipped laptop computer can be bought for approximately $650. In fact, in December 2011, I bought a 17″ Toshiba with a quad core processor, 6 GB of memory, 650 GB hard disk, Blu-ray player, HDMI out, along with other toys for around $600.

However, my laptop doesn’t have…

  • the cool factor. A laptop just isn’t cool, whereas tablets are.
  • touch screen capability.
  • the same ease of transport as a tablet (something that brings it up more than a notch when you think of lugging it through an airport terminal).
  • an aura of fun. (Tablets are just fun to use).

However, if cost is not an issue, I believe that tablets like Asus Transformer Prime can do just about anything that a laptop computer can, albeit not as well. Additionally, once you are done working, you can use your tablet for entertainment purposes from games to surfing the Internet.

So while I will always believe that Apple produces a quality product, I also believe that the Asus Transformer Prime is an excellent option for those who want to use an Android operating system instead of being locked into the Apple iOS / iTune vice. While I am sure there are those out there who may have never even thought of opting for a non-Apple tablet, I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest that others may wish to give serious consideration to the Asus Transformer Prime, which is a definite contender.

Comments, as always, are welcome.

CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by johncatral

Adding A Tomato To Your Router Could Increase Your Broadband Performance

Most newly purchased routers have only the most basic features enabled. The consumer is left on their own to figure out what features to turn on or off and which will bring the biggest performance gains. Tomato is an open source firmware that can streamline performance on many of the most popular routers and also is easy to use for the novice. Those who have advanced Windows and networking knowledge may even benefit more than a novice user.

So what do you need to do to use Tomato open source firmware? First of all you will need to determine if your router will work with Tomato. Below is a list of the routers that Tomato will work with:

  • Linksys WRT54G v1-v4, WRT54GS v1-v4, WRT54GL v1.x, WRTSL54GS, WRT160N v1, WRT300N v1, WRT310N v1
  • Buffalo WHR-G54S, WHR-HP-G54, WZR-G54, WBR2-G54, WBR-G54, WZR-HP-G54, WZR-RS-G54, WZR-RS-G54HP, WVR-G54-NF, WHR2-A54-G54, WHR3-AG54
  • Asus WL500GP v1/v2, WL500G Deluxe, WL520GU, WL-500W
  • Sparklan WX6615GT, Fuji RT390W, Microsoft MN-700
  • D-Link DIR-320, ZTE ZXV10 H618B, Ovislink WL1600GL

Once you have confirmed that Tomato will work with your router, download the firmware software onto your computer. The next step you will want to take is to extract the .bin file to an executable. Next you will need to log into your router as an admin and find the firmware upgrade button. Check your user manual or How to Log in to Router Settings to find out how to log into your router via your browser.

After the upgrade is complete, your router will restart and up will pop the Tomato router software screen, which looks like this:

Another recommendation is to make sure you change your SSID to something that is unique for your network. Also use a broadcast channel that is not being used by your neighbors or other businesses in the area. This will reduce the possibility of interference problems for you and also for the other networks that may show up. Also make sure that you set up a security encryption that provides the best possible protection from prying eyes; this also should help in preventing unwanted person[s] from tapping into your router.

One word of caution. The folks at Tomato have a disclaimer on their Web site that states they are not responsible for damages that could occur when using this firmware upgrade. They also state that you use this firmware at your own risk. With this disclaimer in mind, I would only recommend this upgrade to advanced users who are familiar with networking and are not afraid to take the risk of using this software. I would also have a backup copy of the original or upgraded firmware from the router manufacturer just in case something does go wrong.

In addition, there are multiple versions available.

I have not tried the Tomato open source software since I do not have a router that is compatible. If you have tried the firmware upgrade, let us know what your experience has been.

As always, comments are welcome.

Source – Tomato Web site

Source – How To Geek

Build Your Own Web Server The Easy Way Using Ubuntu-Server 11.04

Have you ever given any thought to building your own Web server? I have and when I read the simple to follow instruction which are linked below using Ubuntu-Server 11.04, I was amazed just how easy it actually was. Though I have read that Ubuntu-Server will work on older computers, I did not have an old system available, so I decided to use my gaming machine.

Hardware: AMD 64 bit 3.0 dual-core, Asus mobo, 4GB RAM, Nvidia 9600, built-in network adapter. I removed the SATA hard disk and found an older Seagate 120GB hard disk I had in the garage and even found a ribbon cable. Yes, the Asus mobo has an IDE ribbon connection. LOL

I downloaded the AMD 64 bit edition of Ubuntu-Server 11.04 and burned the .iso file to CD. This may seem unimportant but the directions specifically stated to burn the image to a CD that is 80 minutes/700MB in size. The image will not burn to DVD, according to the author.

You also need to have the computer hooked up to the Internet via a network connection cable [hard-wired], since Ubuntu-Server may not play well with your wireless connection.

I next followed the author’s directions, gave the server a name, selected the OS to use the entire hard disk, did not select encryption [I have nothing worth hiding], and set up a username and password. The hard disk was formatted and the software installed. Now here is where you may experience problems. There is not a pretty GUI for Ubuntu-Server 11.04. Hey, what do you want for free? Don’t worry boys and girls, the author has you covered.

The author provides you with some basic Linux commands, shows you how to obtain updates for the system, and includes how to test your Web server to confirm that it is working properly. In addition, the author walks you through the steps of adding additional useful software to your new server so that you can host the most popular software like MySQL and Apache. As you can guess, I am a newbie at this so I hope I have the terms correct.

If you are a relative newbie like myself to Linux, the author also provides a free .pdf document that will assist you further in getting your server running correctly. This is a 350-page document and is a complete guide to assist you.

Comments welcome.

PS If there is anything I have written that needs correction from you Linux experts, please comment and I will correct the entry. Thanks in advance.

Source – How to build your own Webserver with Ubuntu Server 11.04 (“Natty”) by Robert Schifreen

Source – Direct Download To Ubuntu-Server 11.04

Source – .pdf format 350 page guide

Would You Buy An Asus Chrome Netbook If It Sold For $250 Or Less?

Rumors are starting to fly that there may be a relatively cheap Chrome or Android Netbook computer coming our way, priced at $250 or less. The rumors also suggest that the price could drop to as low as $O if one signs up for a Verizon 3G data connection plan. The company that could make the small netbook computer is Asus and I would have to state that this could be an accurate rumor for several reasons.

Though I have no proof of this and it is purely speculation on my part, but when I first received my Google Chrome Ct-48 netbook computer, I thought it may have been built by Asus. Why Asus? Google is going to need an established company to produce their first generation computer system. Consumers are going to want an inexpensive netbook but will not sacrifice on quality. Asus produces quality products at competitive pricing.

There was also this experience I had just before receiving the Cr-48 that had to do with a Asus laptop system I repaired. Though I have basically given up repairing computers as a full-time business, I still dabble occasionally repairing computers for family and friends. So after removing a malware critter from the system I returned the unit to its owner. Two days later when I received the Cr-48 the feel of the keyboard mimicked the Asus I had repaired. Coincidence? I’m not sure, but it gave me the feeling that Asus may have been part of the Google Chrome netbook production.

So who might be interested in a netbook computer from Asus? Someone like me. I tried using an Apple iPad to post a blog article and found it cumbersome. The built-in keyboard is awkward for me on the iPad. Since the Cr-48 has a traditional keyboard it is easier for me to use. If I had to make a choice between a tablet computer or a netbook system, I would have to go with the netbook for my personal use.

So what is currently happening in the world of Google Chrome and the Cr-48 netbook computer? A VP from Google has tweeted on March 8th, 2011 that the shipping of Cr-48 netbook computers has ceased. Google is now preparing to enter into a second phase of development as they continue to fine tune their Chrome OS. Google is mum on exactly when the Google Chrome OS will be released or when Google Chrome OS equipped computers will hit the street. There are some who are saying that June, 2011 is when Google will make a Chrome or Android netbook available.

I switched my Cr-48 over to developers mode to test more of the beta features Google is trying. If you haven’t tried developers mode, you may wish to give it a try. Performance improvement is amazing. :-)

Comments as always are welcome.

Source – CrunchGear

Source – Twitter

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Microsoft Windows 7 Tablets Could Fail Because Of Pricing

Microsoft Corporation located in the rainy state of Redmond, WA., had announced that they were preparing to introduce a Windows version for the tablet computer. What Microsoft failed to tell us was that the price of using a Windows-based tablet computer would cost double what the same Android powered system would cost. Why is a Windows tablet costing so much more? It is the hardware requirements.

While Android can function nicely on an Atom processor, Windows 7 needs an Intel Core i5-470 UVM processor and 4GB of memory to function correctly. In one recent article it stated these prices for the Asus Eee PC:

  • Eee Pad MeMO: starts at $499
  • Eee Slate: starts at $999 [Windows 7 box]
  • Eee Pad Slider: starts at $499
  • Eee Pad Transformer: starts at $399

Before I would plunk down $999 for a Eee Slate, I would purchase an Apple iPad. Which makes one wonder just how long Asus will produce a Windows tablet computer if sales are dismal?

There was also this statement:

And it’s not even designed for tablets. The user interface is designed for a cursor and a mouse, not fingers. There are few touch-enabled applications for it. Android is cheaper, built for touch, and has more than 200,000 available apps.
I am not surprised that Microsoft is taking this approach for tablet computers. They have become out of touch with what a tablet computer should be and thinking that by putting on Windows 7 they can fool the masses. Those days are over. I personally believe that consumers in the market to buy a tablet computer will want something priced at $500 or less.
Users are also not going to want a stripped down version of Windows 7 or even Windows XP on their new tablets.

Just my two cents.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source – SAI

Netbooks Examined

My wife is a die-hard Mac user. Her reasons are simple enough. It does what it needs to do and of course, she can sync her iTunes library with it. But that is on the desktop. We also own a couple of Eee netbooks. Her Eee is the 8.5 hour model, mine the 11 hour option. In both cases, these battery life estimates must be in standby because the life of the batteries are closer to 5-7 hours, give or take various activities.

My wife’s Eee happily runs Windows 7 starter edition. Everything works great, as advertised — no complaints. The only bug I have found is that sometimes the power-management thinks that it’s still plugged in.

Back on my Eee, I am running a the latest Ubuntu 10.04 netbook release. Once you consider the resolution provided and get used to the differences, this is the release specifically calibrated for netbooks and it shows. As with Windows 7, everything works out of the box. Wi-Fi, webcam, power-management, etc. So this works out well for me. The bug, in this case, for Ubuntu would be that my silver suspend touchpad button doesn’t work. I found a simple alternative with a GUI program called ”touchfreeze” that fits the bill just great. It docks next to my clock, and I just toggle it from there. And if I need my touchpad, it can be set to disabled while typing.

So where does this leave me on operating systems, netbooks, and the like? Honestly, no reason to change what is working for my wife. Despite being a Mac user, she is fine using Firefox on Win 7 — clearly no reason to start messing with that.

On my end, I am just used to Ubuntu. It’s what I use every day, therefore I’ve never even booted this netbook to Windows once. Seriously, it’s never even been fully booted into Windows and Ubuntu was the first OS run on it. So that was a good match for me.

Netbooks vs. notebooks? Well, honestly the netbook doesn’t really replace the notebook on many levels — lack of optical driver, screen size, etc. But for writing and doing many other minor Web based tasks, you can’t beat it for what it provides. I would say for those who spend most of their time on a desktop and want something with crazy battery life for a reasonable price, consider a netbook. The Eee is a household favorite around here, that’s for sure.

[awsbullet:eee netbook]

Has The Netbook Market Peaked?

Have netbooks hit their peak? That is the stance some articles have taken recently, due to the slow down in sales. But I think that, more than anything, those who need to buy them have. We own one Eee running Windows 7 and will be picking up another one for myself tomorrow, which will run Ubuntu 10.04. The specific model I am buying tomorrow will have about a nine-hour battery life. Seriously, to get this kind of battery life with the decent performance of the Intel Atom CPU, it’s a no brainer for those of us looking to leave the oversized notebooks at home.

Now the speculation out there is that the Atom CPU is plateauing. Fair enough — perhaps it is. But the point that the iPad has slowed down the sales of netbooks is, at best, unlikely. Those looking for netbooks are looking at a completely different price point, different experience, and different needs.

The iPad is very cool — I make no qualms about that. But for my humble needs, a well built netbook running with lots of memory and a serious battery life is plenty. Besides, we’re still in a financial “recovery,” so if I can replace the stuff I need from my notebook, for a better price, that is the approach that I’m taking.

[awsbullet:netbook Windows 7]

Can Asus Really Challenge Apple In The Tablet Market? Some Think It Can

For the past few years Asus has been expanding its business from motherboards and video cards to a complete series of notebook and netbook computers. Now the computer company is getting ready to challenge Apple and is coming out with its own tablet computer. The company is said to be reading a tablet computer that will be powered by Google Chrome or Android operating systems and also will provide a heavy dose of multimedia capabilities. In addition, the system maker is hoping to propel itself to the number 3 computer manufacturing spot by the end of 2011.

One recent article states:

Even as new projects beckon, Eee PCs remain a big focus. Asus says it continues to work on making the devices thinner, more reliable and more battery-efficient and is expanding the line, known for its casual, intuitive software, to be more business-oriented. “The netbook market is getting more mature, so segmentation is more important,” said Shih. “We’re trying to address more commercial customers.”

Asus now asks its employees to follow “human-centered design thinking” called STS across all its products. The approach stresses a transition from thinking about device features or “specs” to “scenarios,” meaning how a consumer will actually use the product. The strategy inspired Asus to bulk up its audio technology staff while developing its NX90 laptop, a sleek, aluminum-covered device meant to serve as a multimedia hub in a living room. These employees, known internally as the “Golden Ear Team,” fine-tuned the notebook’s audio-frequency software so that someone listening to classical music would be able to easily follow the strains of a violin, if desired.

After it conquers the living room Asus wants to place its products throughout consumers’ homes. “There will be many different form factors, depending on different scenarios,” said Shih. “We’re interested in making anything that can improve your life experience.”

With Asus and Acer pushing the envelope on development of computers and other devices, one can see how the folks in Taiwan are getting ready to replace such companies as HP and Dell here in the U.S. This shouldn’t come as any surprise since most everything else we now use in the U.S. is manufactured outside of our country.

Comments welcome.


ASUS Eee – Behind The First Impressions

Recently my wife and I picked her up a new Asus Eee netbook. It came with an Intel Atom CPU, 1 gig of RAM, a webcam, 802.11n, Windows 7, and an eight hour battery. Right out of the box, it’s worth every penny spent. Seriously, for those looking for a cheap notebook replacement that is not designed to be a replacement for a desktop machine, this is a fantastic option.

The battery life is a bit all over the map, but seems to dance around 5-7 hours, depending on what the unit is being used for. The display was also pretty bright, even though I am thinking I like the display on a comparable Samsung a bit better.

As one might expect, I did run those pesky Windows updates, to make sure everything is running at peak performance. Immediately after doing so and then doing so again, and then again (seriously Microsoft, let’s do these all at once please), I finally found myself coming to the end of an updating adventure.

Right away, I discovered two things that really bothered me. First, my battery was no longer detected. Second, the button to disable the touchpad no longer worked. Turns out the touchpad was my fault, as I killed the needed auto-start Asus program that allowed it to work under Windows. However, the battery issue was clearly neither hardware related nor something I did myself. It happened immediately after the updates.

So being the kind of guy  I am, I went to the hardware manager and uninstalled all of my AC/battery power options. When prompted, I DID NOT remove the driver. No sense in making this more complicated. Not the most elegant solution, but this is a Windows machine… which translates into PLENTY of rebooting anyway. Boom, problem solved. After doing this, my battery was once again being detected. Yea me!

Would I recommend getting one of these for yourself? For the money spent, yes. While my wife wanted an iPad with a keyboard attachment (why?), I felt that this made a heck of a lot more sense in the long run. It’s a very sporting little machine. I’d love one of these for myself!

[awsbullet:Asus Eee netbook]

Computer Reliability Statistics – How Reliable Are They?

Computer Reliability Statistics – How Reliable Are They? You Decide.

Last week I wrote two articles about how Computerworld had been the victim of fraudulent information, provided by one of their contributors, whom they subsequently terminated. Today I was reading an article about computer reliability in which the author was questioning the methodology and data that previously has been reported by Rescuecom Corporation, in which they had stated that these brands were reliable according to their data:

  1. Apple (AAPL)
  2. Asus (AKCIF)
  3. IBM/Lenovo (LNVGY)
  4. Toshiba (TOSBF)
  5. HP/Compaq (HPQ)

I found this interesting because I had previously reported this data in an article I wrote. Which brings me to question just how accurate any data about reliability really is?

In the article it states the following information:

So what’s the problem? The results are meaningless, given the methodology. According to Rescuecom president Josh Kaplan, the company looked at a sample of 69,900 support calls it received from its clients in 2009. It then looked at the machine that was the subject of the calls, and compared the percentage breakout to the U.S. personal computer market share data (percentage share of computers shipped) from market researcher IDC. However, there are a few major problems:

  • The company doesn’t have support contracts with users. They simply provide support for people who call.
  • Rescuecom assumes that the calls come in a breakdown proportionate to the computer-buying public as a whole.
  • Rescuecom compares its numbers to market share numbers for people who bought computers in the country last year.
  • They assume that every call for support indicates a problem with the computer, even if the software and hardware are functioning as designed and a user misunderstood how to do something.

It’s not that the Rescuecom people are trying to pull one over on the public. I think they’re sincere. Unfortunately, misunderstandings of statistics are as rampant in the high tech industry as they are anywhere, and journalists should get a lot smarter about what they read in press releases.

So who should we trust when it comes to accurate data about computer reliability? I recently received the 2010 buying guide from Consumer Reports. The report basically supports the findings of Rescuecom. But just how reliable is this data from Consumer Reports?

So my question for you is this. Who do you trust to provide accurate data on the reliability of computers?

Let us know what you think.

Comments welcome.


Asus Eee PC 1005 With Case For $249 – Deal or No Deal?

The folks over at Best Buy are offering an Asus Eee PC 1005 with a slipcase on sale for only $249.98. The netbook has the following features:

Product Features

  • Intel® Atom™ processor N270
    Features a 533MHz system bus, 512KB L2 cache and 1.6GHz processor speed.
  • 1GB DDR2 memory
    For multitasking power, expandable to 2GB.
  • Note: Optical drive not included
    Compatible with optional external recordable CD/DVD drives (not included).
  • 10.1″ WXGA LED-backlit LCD widescreen display
    With 1024 x 600 resolution showcases movies, games and other images in rich clarity.
  • 160GB Serial ATA hard drive (5400 rpm)
    Offers spacious storage.
  • Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 950
    With 224MB shared graphics memory for lush images.
  • Built-in 1.3-megapixel webcam
    Makes it easy to video chat with family and friends.
  • 3-in-1 digital media reader
    Supports Secure Digital, Secure Digital High Capacity and MultiMediaCard formats for easy digital photo transfer.
  • 3 high-speed USB 2.0 ports
    For fast digital video, audio and data transfer.
  • Built-in high-speed wireless LAN (802.11b/g/n)
    Lets you wirelessly connect to the Internet.
  • Built-in 10/100 Mbps Ethernet LAN with RJ-45 connector
    For a quick and easy wired Web connection.
  • Weighs 2.4 lbs. and measures just 1.4″ thin
    For lightweight portability. 92% full-size keyboard for comfortable typing.
  • Long battery life
    Of up to 3 hours and 48 minutes to give you more time away from an outlet.
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition operating system with Service Pack 3 (SP3) preinstalled
    For a stable operating platform from which to launch programs, applications and games.

This comes with Windows XP which for simple internet access should be adequate. It is light weight and would be easier to carry around at an airport. Asus also has a good reputation when it comes to reliability.

So what do you think. Deal or no deal?

Comments welcome.

Best Buy link

Netbook or Laptop – The Differences Continue To Be Blurred – IMHO

I got an email from an acquaintance of mine asking me about what to buy, a netbook or a laptop.

Hi Ron, I read your article about computer reliability and noticed that Asus was rated #1 and Toshiba was #2. I am looking for a portable computer and I am somewhat confused as to the difference between two systems I am looking at which are close in price. One is an Asus Eee netbook for $329.99 and a Toshiba which is priced at $379.99. Both are at Best Buy.

Which would you buy?

What is really hard about giving advice on which computer to buy is if something goes wrong with the model you recommend, guess who the bad guy is? The second problem is putting your own preferences aside. I’m a Toshiba laptop guy. So with this in mind I took a look at the two brands and compared them.

The Asus comes with an Atom 1.3 GHz cpu, 1 GB RAM, 160 GB sata hard disk, 12.” screen and no optical drive. The operating system is Microsoft Windows XP with SP3. The Asus weighs only 3 lbs. and has 6.5 hours of battery life. This makes it ideal for traveling.

The Toshiba comes with a Celeron cpu at 2.2 GHz, 2 GB RAM, 250 GB data hard disk, 15.6 screen and a DVD burner. The Toshiba weighs 6 lbs. and has only 2.5 hours of battery life. The operating system is Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium.

At first glance the Toshiba seems like a better buy. Bigger screen, faster processor, more memory, larger hard disk and Windows 7. But what it really comes down to is what are you going to use the laptop for?

For home use I would go with the Toshiba laptop. But if you are a road warrior and spend a lot of time in airports, buy the Asus.

That is my 2 cents. What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Asus Eee netbook at Best Buy for $329.99

Toshiba laptop at Best Buy for $379.99

Is Google Going To Reinvent The Netbook Or Just Improve On The User Experience?

Google has some very specific visions on what a Netbook should be and how their new operating system will change how the current crop of Netbooks will change. In a screen shot of their new Chromium operating system, they have three must have features, that the new operating system will have. These are speed, simplicity and security.

Google is also going to insist that manufacturers that wish to produce a Netbook running the Google operating will have to adhere to specific guidelines from Google. As an example, Google wants their OS running on flash memory based solid state drives [SSD]. These types of drives run faster and are more power efficient. Conventional magnetic platter drives need not apply.

Google seems to be taking a page from Apple. Google does not want their operating system and pint sized, cheap Netbooks with tiny keyboards. If you have seen the Asus Eee PC with the 10.1 screen, this would seem to be the smallest Netbook Google may choose to have their operating system installed on. Just a guess on part.

What do you think? What is your vision for a Google PC? Is Google going to reinvent the Netbook or just improve upon it?

Comments welcome.


Notebook Reliability – Asus The Best And HP The Worst – What Do You Think?

Reliability for notebook computers according to a publication by Square Trade rates Asus as the most reliable and HP the least reliable. So who is Square Trade? It is a company that offers warranties on computer systems and its results were based on 30,000 notebooks that required repairs. The chart below shows which computers it found to be the most reliable:

Highlights of the study include:

Looking at the first 3 years of ownership, 31% of laptop owners reported a failure to SquareTrade. Two-thirds of this failure (20.4%) came from hardware malfunctions, and one-third (10.6%) was reported as accidental damage.

Netbooks are projected to have a 20% higher failure rate from hardware malfunctions than more expensive laptop computers.

ASUS and Toshiba were the most reliable manufacturers, with fewer than 16% having a hardware malfunction over 3 years.

FWIW – I have owned Toshiba laptops as well as having repaired [software] problems on the systems, and I must agree that the company makes a very good product. But what about you? Who do you think makes a good laptop?

For the prices Apple charges one would think it would have a higher reliability rating.

Comments welcome.

Source – Square Trade in .pdf

Asus And Toshiba Could Merge And Become The #3 PC Maker

It seems like it was only yesterday when Dell was the number one PC company. But times have changed and it could be that Dell may end up as the number four PC maker if Asus has their way. It seems that Asus is courting Toshiba which could potentially push Asus to the number three position with either a merger or acquisition.

In a recent news article it also stated that:

This revelation might come as a surprise, considering Asustek’s normal policy, which stresses self-development and reliance on its own research capabilities. Now, though, it seems the manufacturer has hit a stump in its growth through its own means. The company has to expand its ways to deal with the strong competition set by Dell and Lenovo if it hopes to get anywhere beyond the seventh place it currently holds.

ASUS has to take note of the probability that HP, Acer and other laptop brands might have to make mergers of their own and should quickly decide on a course of action. However, although acquiring Toshiba would be the fastest way and would probably yield impressive short-term results, mergers require long-term analyses concerning economy, policies, interests etc., without which the instability and collapse of both companies may occur.

According to Asustek Chairman Jonney Shih, Toshiba seems to consider ASUS its preferred buyer. Nevertheless, mergers must account for the interests of both parties in order to ensure the company growth instead of a fleeting, short-term gain followed by bankruptcy. If the merger will occur, the two companies combined might score over 30 million sold products by 2011, easily achieving the third place.

It seems to me that a deal between Asus and Toshiba would be a good match. Both companies make quality products that are priced fairly. This alone should push both companies together to the number three position. With Acer nipping at the heels of Dell, the Round Rock company could see itself in the number four or five position in the next few years.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.