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Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps face off in DoD contract

publié le 25 oct. 2013 17:20 par Jocelyn Lippe

Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps face off in DoD contract


Microsoft and Google are both approved to sell 50,000 seats of their respective cloud-office offerings into the U.S. Department of Defense.

The U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS) has approved for purchase 50,000 seats each Microsoft's and Google's respective cloud-office offerings.

Microsoft acknowledged the deal in an October 21 blog post. I asked Google officials about the deal and have yet to hear back.

Update: A Google spokesperson also acknowledged that Google was awarded 50,000 seats as part of the deal.

peoeis

Neither Microsoft (along with its bidding partner Dell) nor Google is actually getting paid for any of these seats until they start selling them into commands. Today's announcement is the commencement of yet another contest between the two office-service rivals.

Any U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) service or agency can go with Office 365 or Google Apps under this new Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) without any additional competition required. Under terms of the deal, from what I've heard from my contacts, Microsoft and Google both can sell into different commands in varying amounts, up to 50,000 seats each. 

I believe Microsoft will be fielding its Office 365 for Government SKU — the one which allows government agencies to deploy Office 365 in a controlled, locked-down environment — as its entry in this competition.

A new blog post by Microsoft's Curt Kolcun, Vice President of U.S. Public Sector, doesn't specify which Office 365 SKU Microsoft is using. Instead, it notes that Microsoft will be fielding "Cloud Services, including e-mail and calendaring, Office Web Apps, unified capabilities like Microsoft Lync, and collaboration tools like SharePoint."

Google is going to be pitching Google Apps for Government, a Google spokesperson confirmed, via the following statement:

"The U.S. Army will provide Google Apps for Government to an initial group of 50,000 Army and Department of Defense personnel. This effort is part of the U.S. Army's program to use commercial cloud services to improve collaboration, information sharing and mobile access for the men and women who serve our country. We look forward to working closely with the Army on this project."

Microsoft recently announced that Lync 2013 has been Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) certified, allowing DoD organizations to connect Lync 2013 to the DoD’s information network. 

Microsoft also recently announced that Windows Azure was granted a Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) from the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) Joint Authorization Board (JAB). According to Microsoft, Azure is the first public cloud platform to receive a JAB P-ATO. Microsoft is developing an Azure for Government SKU, as well, codenamed "Fairfax." 

Topics: CloudCollaborationGoogleGovernmentMicrosoftUnified Comms



By  for All About Microsoft | October 21, 2013 -- 17:19 GMT (10:19 PDT)

Harvard stores 704TB in a gram of DNA, may have us shopping for organically-grown storage (video)

publié le 23 août 2012 14:01 par Jocelyn Lippe   [ mis à jour : 23 août 2012 14:04 ]

By   posted Aug 19th 2012 1:06AM

Harvard stores 704TB in a gram of DNA, may have us shopping for organicallygrown storage video

Early research has had DNA making circuits and little factories. We haven't really seen DNA used as a storage medium, however, and it's evident we've been missing out. A Harvard team led by George Church, Sriram Kosuri and Yuan Gao can stuff 96 bits into a DNA strand by treating each base (A, C, G, T) as though it's a binary value. The genetic sequence is then synthesized by a microfluidic chip that matches up that sequence with its position in a relevant data set, even when all the DNA strands are out of order. The technique doesn't sound like much on its own, but the microscopic size amounts to a gigantic amount of information at a scale we can see: about 704TB of data fits into a cubic millimeter, or more than you'd get out of a few hundred hard drives. Caveats? The processing time is currently too slow for time-sensitive content, and cells with living DNA would destroy the strands too quickly to make them viable for anything more than just transfers. All the same, such density and a lifespan of eons could have us turning to DNA storage not just for personal backups, but for backing up humanity's collective knowledge. We're less ambitious -- we'd most like to know if we'll be buying organic hard drives alongside the fair trade coffee and locally-sourced fruit.




Sony Mobile moving HQ to Tokyo, cutting 1,000 jobs in Sweden

publié le 23 août 2012 13:57 par Jocelyn Lippe

By   posted Aug 23rd 2012 3:51AM

Sony Mobile moving HQ to Tokyo, cutting 1,000 jobs in Sweden

Sony's slow and painful transformation continues with a restructuring of its newly-minted mobile division. In October, it's moving its headquarters from Lund, Sweden (presumably a holdover from itsEricsson days) to Tokyo -- for deeper integration -- and repurposing the duties of its facilities in Tokyo, Lund and Beijing. As part of the changes, Sony Mobile will slash 15 percent of its workforce, with 1,000 employees being let go by the end of March 2014, in a trend we've seen across the industry. Most of those affected are in Sweden, with 650 on-site staffers and up to 450 consultants being shown the door.  



Sony Mobile Communications Announces New Operational Structure and Reduction in Workforce

LONDON, August 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Sony Mobile Communications AB ("Sony Mobile") today announced that it is altering the global operational structure of its development sites in Tokyo, Japan, Lund, Sweden and Beijing, China. In October 2012, Sony Mobile will move its corporate headquarters and certain other functions from Lund, Sweden, to Tokyo, Japan. Sony Mobile has also redefined the roles and responsibilities of each major development site to leverage the strengths of each respective site. These measures aim to enhance operational and development capabilities of Sony Mobile such as time to market efficiency, streamline supply chain management and drive greater integration with the wider Sony group.

"Sony has identified the mobile business as one of its core businesses and the Xperia™ smartphone portfolio continues to gain momentum with customers and consumers worldwide," said Kunimasa Suzuki, President and CEO of Sony Mobile. "We are accelerating the integration and convergence with the wider Sony group to continue enhancing our offerings, and a more focused and efficient operational structure will help to reduce Sony Mobile's costs, enhance time to market efficiency and bring the business back to a place of strength."

In relation to the operational structure changes, Sony Mobile plans to reduce its global headcount by approximately 15 percent (approximately 1000 personnel, including consultants) throughout the financial years of 2012 and 2013 (i.e. by the end of March 2014) as the company seeks to increase operational efficiency, reduce costs and drive profitable growth.

Today Sony Mobile filed a redundancy notification ("varsel") with the Swedish authorities to notify them that the company expects around 650 employees across a number of functions at Sony Mobile in Lund to be affected by job closures. The remaining headcount reductions will be primarily consultants in Sweden. Lund will continue to be an important strategic site for Sony Mobile, with the main focus on software and application development.

Sony Mobile is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony Corporation, following Sony Corporation's acquisition of Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson's 50% stake in Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB, completed on February 15, 2012.

"Sony" is a trademark of Sony Corporation. "Xperia" is a trademark of Sony Mobile Communications. All other trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

For more information, images and videos please visit: pressreleases.sonymobile.com

Sony Mobile Communications, Global Communications & PR department

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon review: the definitive Ultrabook for pros

publié le 23 août 2012 13:54 par Jocelyn Lippe

By   posted Aug 14th 2012 12:00PM

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The storied ThinkPad line has just turned 20 and, over all those years, the brand has established itself as something that (mostly) successfully straddles the line between boring corporate accessory and classy consumer choice. Stoic is an apt term for the machines and, through those two decades, they've only gotten better and better -- well, most of the time, anyway.

Welcome, then, to what is the latest and, therefore, what should be the best: the $1,499 ThinkPad X1 Carbon. It's an evolution of last year's X1, thinner and lighter than that pre-Ultrabook despite having a larger display. The Carbon moniker here not only describes this machine's matte black exterior but also applies to the woven and resin-impregnated composite structure within, delivering a rare mix of light weight, svelte dimensions and durable construction. It's a wonder to behold but can it improve on the previous ThinkPad X1's shortcomings? There's only one way to find out.

Look and feel

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The X1 Carbon has few vents and gills and other visually distracting features, all kept to a minimum to deliver a monotone, minimalist appearance -- and, presumably, a minimal radar signature, too.

Lenovo has deployed many a wedge-shaped stealth fighter in the past, but the new X1 Carbon takes the cake as the cleanest design we've yet seen in a ThinkPad. It has few vents and gills and other visually distracting features, all kept to a minimum to deliver a monotone, minimalist appearance -- and, presumably, a minimal radar signature, too. Closed, the laptop is just 0.71 inches (18mm) thick at the rear, slinking down to 0.31 inches (8mm) at the front, a taper that's accentuated when typing thanks to rubber pads that are slightly thicker at the rear than the front, making the keyboard just a few degrees more willing.

It's light, too, at three pounds (1.36kg), making this the thinnest and lightest ThinkPad ever. Not content with that, Lenovo goes so far as to call it the "thinnest and lightest business Ultrabook on the market" and, while we don't feel like drawing arbitrary classifications to determine which of the many, many Ultrabooks are intended for professionals, we're happy to report that the X1 Carbon doesn't overwhelm with either its heft or its breadth.

Despite the lightness and the thinness this machine feels incredibly stout. Though there is some flex if you twist hard enough, the laptop's carbon fiber chassis never feels flimsy. The keyboard tray is remarkably rigid, not bending even for typists with particularly heavy fingers, and, like last year's X1, it's able to survive eight MIL-SPEC tests. That means humidity, drops, temperature, vibration and even sand won't be an issue. It comes with a three-year warranty, but it's always good to know you won't be expecting to use it.

The matte black design is unmistakable ThinkPad, angular shapes and monotone lines everywhere.

The matte black design is unmistakable ThinkPad, angular shapes and monotone lines everywhere, but it's interesting to note that those angles have been softened somewhat. Where sharp edges are traditionally the norm they are subtly more rounded here. You don't really notice it until you get the X1 in your hands and carry it around for a bit, but the slightly rounded edges, plus the soft-touch coating, makes this a very comfortable laptop to actually use in your lap -- much more so than many metal Ultrabooks, including the MacBook Air, whose sharp front lip can do a number on sensitive wrists.

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Other than the optional SIM slot, located around back on 3G-equipped models, all the ports on the X1 are on the left and the right sides of the machine. On the right, starting at the back, you'll find a Kensington Security Slot, a USB 3.0 port, Mini DisplayPort, a 3.5mm headphone jack and an SD card reader. Move to the left and, at the rear, you'll find a new-style rectangular power plug, the vent for the (nearly silent) CPU fan, a USB 2.0 port and the ThinkPad's patented wireless switch, which instantly kills all transmitters and receivers in the machine to extend your battery life. Think of it as a physical airplane mode toggle, your best friend when desperately trying to put the finishing touches on your proposal while the battery life indicator down in the taskbar is showing single digits.

Somewhat annoyingly, only that USB port on the right is of the SuperSpeed variety, and there's no visual differentiation between this one and the lowly 2.0 port on the other side, other than a tiny, gray "SS" silkscreened nearby. You'll just have to remember. And, we couldn't help but think the big, rectangular power plug is a bit of a step backward from the traditional round ones. It's slightly harder to line up and insert but, more troubling, it's the same height as a USB port, meaning if you're blindly trying to find a home for your thumb drive you might find yourself trying to jam it in the wrong place. Both issues, we might add, that go away with a bit of familiarity.

The fingerprint scanner, which as ever lets you power on the laptop and log straight into Windows with just a single swipe of your digit of choice.

The latch-free lid closes securely but opens easily. It has a slight lip on it, so you won't struggle to separate it from the lower half, and the hinge allows the display to open fully flat if you're so inclined, which gives you maximum opportunity to ogle the keyboard and trackpad, which we'll describe in just a moment. Beneath that and situated to the right, in its traditional location, is the fingerprint scanner, which as ever lets you power on the laptop and log straight into Windows with just a single swipe of your digit of choice. Why more laptops don't offer this we'll never know.

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In the lid is a 14-inch, 1,600 x 900 display with a bezel thin enough to let this laptop's dimensions (13.03 x 8.9 x 0.74-inches) match those of what before would be considered a 13-inch size. But, there's still enough space above to insert the 720p webcam, which does a fair but unremarkable job of capturing your countenance for the world to see. Even in bright lighting there's plenty of grain on display, but it's good enough you won't feel the need to pack along an external camera.

You will need to pack the external Ethernet adapter, as there's no room for one within the chassis, but at least Lenovo was thoughtful enough to include one in the box.

Keyboard and trackpad

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The traditional wide, spacious keys found on ThinkPads have been retired, replaced by the island-style arrangement found in the new X1. It's basically the same layout that we found in the ThinkPad X230 so we won't detail all the minutiae here, but suffice to say this is a great layout that is both comfortable and responsive.

You'll never have a doubt about whether or not you properly hit each and every letter in that ridiculously complicated password corporate policy dictates.

The keys are widely spaced, which will take a little adjusting to for those coming from older ThinkPads, but their curvature and texture make them very finger-friendly, and they still have that distinctive tension and "thock" feeling when depressed, resulting in some stellar feedback. You'll never have a doubt about whether or not you properly hit each and every letter in that ridiculously complicated password corporate policy dictates.

There are two stages of backlighting, manually cycled by holding the Fn key and rapping on the space bar. The audio control buttons, one each for muting the speakers and the microphone, plus the volume rocker, have been moved back up to the top of the keyboard after a brief dalliance on the right side in the older X1. There, too, lies the configurable ThinkVantage button, which is black rather than its traditional blue.

Speed typists who hate to leave their home keys will definitely appreciate the presence of this pointing device just to the left of their right index finger.

With that, the bright crimson pointing stick is the main dash of color to be found in the keyboard, and it provides a visual and tactile highlight for the machine. Despite nearly everyone else on the planet embracing trackpads, Lenovo won't give up on you, TrackPoint, and we're glad for it. The shape here is the common Soft Dome variety, a cushy and comfortable surface that doesn't get in the way while typing. Quite to the contrary, speed typists who hate to leave their home keys will definitely appreciate the presence of this pointing device just to the left of their right index finger, three buttons just slightly above their thumb.

But, for those times when a trackpad is required, the X1 Carbon has a very good one. It's 37 percent larger than that found in the earlier X1, a glass unit that's happy to let fingers slide without much resistance. The button-free Synaptics unit is very responsive for the simple stuff, like two-finger scrolling and telling the difference between left- and right-clicks, and even more complicated gestures are well-handled, like four-finger application switching and pinch-zooming. It's among the most responsive we've yet used on an Ultrabook.

Display and sound

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If there's a fault to be found in the X1 Carbon it lies here.

If there's a fault to be found in the X1 Carbon it lies here: the LCD panel that you'll be staring at just about whenever you use this thing. On paper the 14-inch unit has it where it counts, clocking in with a 1,600 x 900 resolution. But, dig a little deeper and you'll find a few reasons to be disappointed.

The first time you look at the panel you'll notice what seems to be an excessively high dot pitch -- that is to say, there's a lot of space between pixels. If you have reasonably fresh eyes you'll easily be able to pick out the subtle dark lines that define the edges of pixels. Even if your eyes are perhaps a bit more tired, you'll be able to see that the whites have a bit of a gray hue to them. This is more noticeable even than on machines with lower-resolution displays, like that on the MacBook Air.

Maximum brightness here is 300 nits, a figure that's a bit underwhelming. It's a fair bit dimmer than theSamsung Series 9, for example, which clocks in at 400, and outdoor visibility in bright sunlight is virtually impossible here. But, Lenovo kindly opted for a matte display, ditching the glossy Gorilla Glass found in the prior X1. Sure, we've given up some aspect of durability, but we'll take that in exchange for the drastic reduction in eye strain when working in glare-riddled offices.

Viewing angles are adequate, but far from stellar. You can sway side-to-side for quite a ways before you start to notice any visual effects, but wander too far up or down and the contrast quickly drops off. You'll need to keep the display perfectly aligned to get the most out of this screen, something that fold-flat hinge makes easy enough, even if you're hanging from the ceiling.

The speakers are positioned on the bottom of the unit, shooting out of tiny slits angled to either side, echoing off of whatever surface you've set the laptop on to create a wider sound field than you might think possible out of such a svelte machine. When placed on a hard surface the effect is indeed quite compelling, with surprisingly loud playback and clear channel separation. Set the machine on a pillow or your lap, anything soft that blocks those channels, and the sound gets a bit more muted -- but even then it's plenty loud. Bass and tonal quality are on the poor side, but that's par for the Ultrabook course.

Performance

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PCMark Vantage3DMark06
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (1.8GHz Intel Core i5-3427U, Intel HD Graphics 4000)11,738Would not run
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 (2.5GHz Core i5-2410M, Intel HD Graphics 3000)7,7873,726
Vizio Thin + Light (14-inch, 1.9GHz Core i7-3517U, Intel HD Graphics 4000)13,5255,443
Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M5 (481TG-6814, 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-3317U, Intel HD Graphics 4000 / NVIDIA GeForce GT640M LE 1GB)7,3959,821
Acer Aspire S5 (1.9GHz Core i7-3517U, Intel HD Graphics 4000)12,8955,071
Samsung Series 9 (13-inch, 2012, 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-3317U, Intel HD Graphics 4000)8,6245,155
MacBook Air (2012, 1.8GHz Core i5, Intel HD Graphics 4000)13,4695,827
ASUS Zenbook Prime UX21A (Ivy Bridge Core i7 processor, Intel HD Graphics 4000)10,3334,550
Samsung Series 9 (15-inch, 2012, 1.6GHz Core i5-2467M, Intel HD Graphics 3000)10,5804,171
Lenovo IdeaPad U310 (1.7GHz Core i5-3317U, Intel HD Graphics 4000)8,3454,549
Lenovo ThinkPad X230 (2.6GHz Core i5-3320M, Intel HD Graphics 4000)8,2344,891
Sony VAIO T13 (1.7GHz Core i5-3317U, Intel HD Graphics 4000)8,1893,847
Note: higher scores are better

There are three possible CPUs for you to select, all sprung from Intel's verdant Ivy Bridge. Ours has the middle specification, a 1.8GHz Core i5-3427U with 3MB of L3 cache and a 1,333MHz FSB, all matched with 4GB of RAM and the HD Graphics 4000 integrated GPU. As such it's hardly a gaming machine, but it's playable in a pinch -- we saw about 25fps in Call of Duty IV at 1,024 x 768 on default settings. When cranking through the benchmarks we noted a substantial amount of heat pumping out of the left side of the laptop, which became uncomfortably warm. It did, however, stay almost perfectly silent.

Gaming and graphics benchmarks are definitely outside of the intended applications of this machine, though, a laptop that's rather more likely to be found running a PPT than an FPS. In that kind of application the laptop performs quite well. Intel's latest chips offer a huge boost over their 2011 predecessors, and indeed this X1 is far faster than that X1, its PCMark Vantage scores about 50 percent higher. Indeed, looking at the gamut of Ultrabooks, the X1 Carbon slots in about where you'd expect it to given its CPU configuration, and you can pretty well guess where the higher-spec, 2.0GHz Core i7 version would place, too.

Disk I/O is of course another thing, and we were not left wanting. Though of a rather limited size, just 128GB, our X1 Carbon's SSD averaged 510 MB/s (reads) and 339 MB/s (writes), which on the read side at least is right up there with the latest MacBook Air's chart-topping 551 MB/s. That'll have your latest quarterly presentation loaded in no time -- or all your favorite Quake mods. It also helps deliver a very respectable 21-second bootup from cold.

Battery life

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Battery Life
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon5:07
Samsung Series 9 (15-inch, 2012)7:29
Lenovo ThinkPad X2307:19
Samsung Series 9 (13-inch, 2012)7:02
MacBook Air (13-inch, 2012)6:34 (OS X) / 4:28 (Windows)
Dell XPS 146:18
HP Folio 136:08
HP Envy Sleekbook 6z5:51
Toshiba Portege Z8355:49
Sony VAIO T135:39
MacBook Air (13-inch, 2011)5:32 (OS X) / 4:12 (Windows)
HP Envy 14 Spectre5:30
Toshiba Satellite U845W5:13
Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M35:11
Lenovo IdeaPad U300s5:08
Samsung Series 5 Ultrabook (14-inch, 2012)5:06
Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M55:05
Dell XPS 134:58
Lenovo IdeaPad U3104:57
Acer Aspire S54:35
Samsung Series 9 (13-inch, 2011)4:20
ASUS Zenbook Prime UX21A4:19
Acer Aspire S34:11
Vizio Thin + Light (14-inch)3:57
Lenovo ThinkPad X13:31 / 6:57 (extended battery)

On our standard battery rundown test, which entails looping a video with WiFi enabled, the X1 managed just over five hours before depleting its last mAh. That's on the underwhelming side of average, with many Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks pushing one or two hours longer. Lenovo promises up to six and a half hours of battery life for the X1 Carbon, and we think it could manage that with the wireless switch set in silent mode. Unfortunately, Lenovo isn't offering an external battery slice for the X1 Carbon, and we don't see any connectors on the bottom that would enable them to add one in the future.

It's not all about longevity, though, and Lenovo is proud of the X1 Carbon's RapidCharge technology. We've seen that before and it, as ever, it works well here. Lenovo promises five hours of battery life can be added in just 30 minutes of charging, though a full charge will take another hour. Still, for a quick airport top-off before they call your boarding zone, that's quite handy.

Software and warranty

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Lenovo kindly kept the X1 Carbon's SSD free of most bloatware -- a good thing since there's only 128GB to work with.

Lenovo kindly kept the X1 Carbon's SSD free of most bloatware -- a good thing since there's only 128GB to work with. The only real annoying bit we found was Norton Internet Security, which seemed to pop up a frightening message about our computer being unprotected every few minutes. There's a 30-day free trial but we're guessing it won't take you nearly that long to uninstall this bit of nagware. There's a link to a free trial of Microsoft Office, but you'll need to download that yourself.

Other than that, there's the usual ThinkVantage suite of apps and Lenovo's SimpleTap application, which gives a finger-friendly grid of launching apps, not wholly unlike Launchpad on OS X. This is of limited use on a touchscreen-free machine like the X1, but could be more of a help in the upcoming IdeaPad Yoga.

Again, there's a three-year warranty here, which is a nice bit of reassurance.

Configuration options

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Though the unit we tested will run you $1,499, the X1 Carbon starts at a hundred dollars less, with a more modest Core i5-3317U processor, clocked at 1.7GHz instead of 1.8GHz. If you wanted to upgrade from the model we reviewed, you could pay $1,649 for a unit with the same processor, but 256GB in solid-state storage. Want 256 gigs and a Core i7 CPU? You're looking at $1,849. Regardless, these all come with 4GB of RAM and Intel's HD 4000 graphics. The resolution and warranty, too, remain the same.

All pre-configured models other than the base $1,399 unit include an Ericsson H5321gw HSPA+ WWAN and GPS module. It supports 21Mbps HSPA+ connectivity -- once you've brought your own SIM. As of now there's no way to configure the higher-end X1 Carbon models without this module, which is partly why those prices you see above are a bit higher than many others. But, expect to save about a hundred bucks by omitting this if and when Lenovo starts offering build-to-order units.

The competition

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Until HP ships the EliteBook Folio sometime this fall, the X1 Carbon won't have much competition from other high-end Ultrabooks aimed at the business set. For now, then, we may as well compare the X1 to other premium ultraportables. Among them, our reigning favorite might be the Samsung Series 9($1,300 and up), which is thinner than even the average Ultrabook, has a bright, matte, 1,600 x 900 screen and lasts an impressive seven hours on a charge. (It's also gorgeous, but then again, there ThinkPad diehards will be more inclined to love the X1's understated lines.)

It's a similar story for the 13-inch MacBook Air ($1,200 and up), which offers about six and a half hours of runtime and happens to have one of the most comfortable keyboard-and-trackpad combos around. On a practical note, it's configurable with up to 8GB of RAM and 512GB of solid-state storage -- a rarity for machines in this class. The biggest trade-off, perhaps, is that screen: with a 1,440 x 900 pixel count it's crisper than average, but still doesn't offer the pixel count that Lenovo (or Samsung, or ASUS or HP...) has to offer.

Speaking of ASUS, we just got our hands on the new $1,099 Zenbook Prime UX31A and while there's lots to love (fast performance, a pretty design, much-improved keyboard and 1080p IPS display) its trackpad was awfully jumpy, even after multiple driver updates.

If you don't mind spending $1,400 on a laptop and can suffer a little extra weight, you might want to check out the HP Envy 14 Spectre -- it's a bit heavy for a 14-inch Ultrabook, but we love its glass-and-metal design, tactile keyboard and rich 1,600 x 900 display. Bonus: it includes a generous two-year warranty and comes pre-loaded with full copies of Adobe Photoshop Elements and Adobe Premiere Elements.

Dell's XPS 14 falls into a similar vein, with its 1,600 x 900 display, and it costs less, at $1,100. It's also one of the few bigger-screen Ultrabooks that actually justifies its heft with long battery life (nearly six and a half hours, in this case). Oh, and if you read our review of the smaller XPS 13, you'll be glad to know Dell fine-tuned the trackpad too.

Lastly, given how expensive the X1 Carbon is, it's worth mentioning the Sony VAIO Z, even if it isn't technically an Ultrabook (these are standard-voltage processors, don'tcha know -- quad-core ones, even). At $1,600, it has a thin, 0.66-inch-thick chassis (also made from carbon fiber) and it comes standard with 8GB of RAM and a 1080p display. Interestingly, the drives are arranged in a fast (but risk-prone) RAID 0 configuration, and you can get up to 512B of storage, as with the MacBook Air. The real hook, though, is the external Power Media Dock, which houses a discrete GPU and optical drive. That'll set you back an extra $400, so start counting your pennies if that's of interest.

But, before we sign off, we'll again point out that the X1 Carbon's pricing includes an HSPA+ WWAN module in all but the base configuration, something you can't often find in an Ultrabook.

Wrap-up

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So, is the Lenovo X1 Carbon the ultimate Ultrabook? Not quite. Its display is merely fair, as is its battery life, and it's far from the cheapest choice out there. Those things are definite marks against, but if you can get past them this is a fundamentally impressive machine. It is properly thin and light and yet has none of the flimsy feeling that some of its competition offers. It also manages to be legitimately comfortable in the hand or on your lap, a description that similarly can't be applied to every other razor-thin machine.

This makes it a very consumer-friendly machine with a decidedly professional price-point and, with HSPA+ available across almost the entire range, it offers pro-level connectivity too. If you're looking for a durable, fast Ultrabook that won't weigh down your bag -- and that won't scream "look at me!" while you're checking in from the coffee shop -- this is absolutely it.

Dana Wollman contributed to this review.

ASUS ZenBook Prime - find your Zen

publié le 23 août 2012 13:51 par Jocelyn Lippe

Setting new standards in technology and fashion, the ASUS ZENBOOK™ Prime measures just 0.3" in the front and 0.78" in the back. It uses precision-crafted aluminum throughout its monoshell build, ensuring light durability. The artistically-crafted ZENBOOK Prime presents a delectable hairline spun metal finish with precision-etched concentric circles. The entire design has been optimized to offer a holistic approach towards combining beauty with speed, and balancing work with play. This incredible Ultrabook epitomizes sophisticated portability and entertainment in every way.






ASUS engineering has been able to accomplish the feat of bestowing the ZENBOOK Prime with uncompromising technical excellence despite its ultra-suave and compact form. At the heart of it all are the 3rd generation Intel® Core™ i5 and i7 processors, and the speed and reliability of up to 256GB SSD storage.1

The latest USB 3.0 ensures data moves up to ten times faster than USB 2.02, and Bluetooth 4.0 offers the latest version of the wireless connectivity standard. Dual band 2.4GHz/5GHz Wi-Fi derived from top-end ASUS router technology ensures the fastest networking, and to keep all of this cool, a proprietary V-shaped air channel drives heat away before it can cause instability.
 





The ZENBOOK Prime cares for users with extended convenience and accessibility. For complete responsiveness, it offers true 2-second instant on, coupled with the peace of mind afforded by a 2-week standby time with the security of automatic file backup to prevent data loss.

Exclusive ASUS USB Charger+ technology recharges all your mobile devices via USB, tapping an efficient battery that can last up to seven hours. And to keep working and enjoying in the dark, the easy-type backlit keyboard is exactly what you need.






The ZENBOOK Prime fields a vivid full HD 1080p IPS panel that brings visuals to breathtaking life with its anti-glare materials which reduce distracting reflections and unsightly fingerprints, while IPS technology affords wide 178° viewing.

To complement its superior visual finesse, the ZENBOOK Prime upgrades your video chats with a HD camera, and boosts sound enjoyment through the exclusive ASUS SonicMaster audio technology, developed together with Bang & Olufsen ICEpower®. Sharper high notes, clearer vocals, deeper bass, and a wider sound range all impress, completing a remarkably attractive portable multimedia package.






Engadget's back to school guide 2012: accessories

publié le 23 août 2012 13:45 par Jocelyn Lippe

By   posted Aug 22nd 2012 12:00PM

Welcome to Engadget's back to school guide! The end of summer vacation isn't nearly as much fun as the weeks that come before, but a chance to update your tech tools likely helps to ease the pain. Today, we've got a slew of accessories -- and you can head to the back to school hub to see the rest of the product guides as they're added throughout the month. Be sure to keep checking back -- at the end of the month we'll be giving away a ton of the gear featured in our guides -- and hit up the hub page right here!

DNP Engadget's back to school guide 2012 accessories

Sure, you may need ultraportables and such to get the bulk of your work done, but you also need a few add-ons to make tasks just a bit easier. In this installment of the back to school guide, we'll offer a collection of accessories that will do just that. From extra batteries to external hard drives andperipherals, what you'll find here should help you get through a day of back-to-back classes, without the need to worry about losing all those term papers if something goes wrong with the SSD. Of course, not all of these are meant to aid in serious, head-down studies. We also tackle a few options for keeping fit andiPad-powered study breaks, too. So head on past the break for the rundown on a gadget stash that'll help you ease back into the flow of things this fall.



On the cheap

DNP Engadget's back to school guide 2012 accessories


Skooba Design Cable Stable DLX

If you're like us, wrangling a bunch of cables each time you pack your rucksack is a regular occurrence. The Cable Stable DLX offers some relief here and has served a number of the folks at Engadget HQ well for quite some time. Compartments that can adjust to fit your mobile kit are available on one side, while the other can accommodate a tablet should the need arise.


Key specs: 15 flexible spots for cables and gadgets, mesh pockets, elastic tie-downs, zippered outside storage.

Price: $40 from Skooba Design



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DNP Engadget's back to school guide 2012 accessories


iRig MIC Cast
You won't find studio-quality recording here, but the iRig MIC Cast will come in handy for recording lectures and interviews with your iOS device. Expect audio that's a step above the built-in mic on your handset or slate, with companion software to lend a hand. The diminutive accessory also sports a 3.5mm audio jack for monitoring.

$40 from Amazon

DNP Engadget's back to school guide 2012 accessories

Samsung i515 charging system
If you splurged for the unlocked Galaxy Nexus to get your hands on Jelly Bean, you may have a bit of trouble putting the un-skinned Android goods down. We can't blame you there; however, that battery life is sure to suffer. Here, you'll gain an extra battery and a contraption that'll charge your phone and the spare at the same time, so be sure to get the extra Y-cable.

$40 from Verizon



Mid-level

Engadget's back to school guide 2012 accessories


TomTom Nike+ sport watch

If you're looking to fend off the freshman fifteen, this fitness wearable will lend a hand. The unit packs a GPS radio that works alongside shoe sensors to track distance and other stats with Nike+ software. Thanks to a recent update, the watch now features NikeFuel for comparing your performance with your mates.

Key specs: TomTom-powered GPS, Nike+, fitness tracker, personal coach, Mac & Windows compatibility and NikeFuel.

Price: $169 from Amazon


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DNP Engadget's back to school guide 2012 accessories

G-Technology G-Drive Mobile
Let's be honest, a backup is always a good thing to have -- even when you're on the go. With capacities up to 1TB the G-Drive Mobile is capable of maintaining your "Plan B" while also securing your work files. Also available in a 750GB option, the USB storage accessory touts a 5,400RPM SATA drive and is compatible with both Mac and Windows machines.

$110-$150 from G-Technology

DNP Engadget's back to school guide 2012 accessories

iCade iPad arcade cabinet
You can't use that Apple slate as a legit study tool all the time. For those pauses, snag the iCade iPad arcade cabinet for a bit of retro gaming right on your tablet. The unit runs on two AA batteries and plays nice with titles likeAsteroids and Centipede. Of course, the wooden construction will keep your iPad safe and sound, too.

$100 from ION



Money's no object

Engadget's back to school guide 2012 accessories


WD MyBook Thunderbolt Duo

While this Thunderbolt storage option is quite pricey, it does tout a list of specs that will soften the blow a bit. Available in both 4TB (2x 2TB) and 6TB (2x 3TB) varieties, these MyBooks can be daisy-chained together to form quite the backup solution for all of those precious libraries. And of course, 700 MB/s read speeds in RAID 0 will require little wait.

Key specs: Thunderbolt connectivity, 4TB and 6TB options, 700 MB/s reads alongside 500 MB/s writes and user-swappable drives.

Price: $500-$600 on Amazon


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DNP Engadget's back to school guide 2012 accessories


Verizon JetPack 4620L
The up-front cost of one of these isn't substantial, but when you tack on the two-year agreement, the grand total will add up. However, if you're finishing that term paper and the power goes out or you just need to get some work done on the road, this compact hotspot will keep you connected.

$50 on contract fromVerizon

DNP Engadget's back to school guide 2012 accessories


Wacom Intuos5 touch
Yeah, we know. Pen tablets aren't for everyone -- especially the high-end pro models. But for those looking to spice up their photography or design-related workflow, these make a nice grab. Available in three sizes, the Intuos5 touch models sport nifty, customizable swipe gestures with top-notch pen input you'd expect from Wacom.

$209-$442 from Amazon


Office 2013 en vente en février 2013, Windows Phone 8 en novembre prochain

publié le 23 août 2012 06:19 par Jocelyn Lippe

par La rédaction de ZDNet.fr, ZDNet France. Publié le vendredi 20 juillet 2012

Tags: MicrosoftOfficeWindows Phone 8,

Office 2013 en vente en février 2013, Windows Phone 8 en novembre prochainTechnologie - Présentée en Customer Preview cette semaine, la dernière version d’Office devrait être mise en vente à partir de février 2013 selon des informations de ZDNet. Pour Windows Phone 8, les premiers terminaux équipés arriveraient en novembre.

Microsoft a tout récemment confirmé que Windows 8 serait lancé le 26 octobre. Un lancement qui concerne les éditions x86 de l’OS, mais également la version ARM du système d’exploitation, c’est-à-dire Windows RT.

Mais selon une source interrogée par ZDNet, d’autres logiciels de Microsoft seront mis sur le marché au cours des prochains mois. Office 13 (ou 15), la dernière mouture de la suite Office, devrait ainsi débarquer en RTM (release to manufacturing) à compter de novembre, pour une disponibilité générale en février 2013.

Autre évolution majeure pour Microsoft, Windows Phone 8 : la RTM de l’OS mobile serait attendue pour septembre prochain, pour une mise sur le marché des premiers terminaux sous WP8 à compter de novembre.

Quant à Visual Studio 2012, les prix devraient être connus en même temps que la RTM, soit le mois prochain. La disponibilité globale suivra en septembre, en même temps que la RTM de Microsoft Dynamics NAV.


Voir aussi notre diaporama
La nouvelle suite Office de Microsoft en images




Outlook.com : une migration depuis Hotmail compliquée pour les Windows Phone

publié le 23 août 2012 06:15 par Jocelyn Lippe

par La rédaction de ZDNet.fr , ZDNet France. Publié le 1 août 2012

Tags: ,,,

Application - Si votre smartphone sous WP7 est configuré avec une adresse Hotmail, il est fortement conseillé de ne pas la modifier en outlook.com. Au risque de devoir réinitialiser le terminal.

Microsoft a pris un important virage avec son nouveau webmail Outlook.com,censé remplacer à terme Hotmail. Redmond vise ainsi clairement l'hégémonie de Google avec GMail et entend bien lui repasser devant.

L'éditeur peut d'abord compter sur la colossale base installée de Hotmail pour faire décoller Outlook.com. Il est d'ailleurs très simple de basculer d'un autre compte ou de son adresse Hotmail vers une adresse @outlook.com sans perdre aucune donnée.

Reste que cette simplicité est moins évidente depuis un Windows Phone. Si celui-ci est configuré avec une adresse Hotmail (en tant qu'identifiant général), il est fortement déconseillé de basculer vers une adresse Outlook. Il apparaît en effet que cette bascule entraîne d'importants dysfonctionnements dans le smartphone.

Couac 

Comme l'indique le blog MonWindowsPhone.com , les utilisateurs ayant effectué cette opération ont constaté "l’impossibilité de recevoir les nouveaux messages électroniques, de télécharger une application sur le marketplace ou encore de se connecter à Skydrive".

Microsoft a d'ailleurs diffusé un avertissement sur ce point : "Peut-être ne devriez-vous pas changer cette adresse de messagerie si vous l’avez utilisée pour configurer Windows Phone. Sur votre téléphone, les fonctionnalités utilisant cette adresse ne seront plus opérationnelles, notamment Marketplace, Xbox LIVE, SkyDrive, courrier électronique et autres".

Plutôt gênant donc pour un produit qui se veut universel et simple. D'autant plus qu'il n'est pas possible de revenir en arrière ! Le seul moyen pour débloquer la situation est de réinitialiser totalement le smartphone et donc de perdre toutes ses données...

"Pour pouvoir les utiliser de nouveau sur votre téléphone, vous devez rétablir les paramètres par défaut, ce qui efface l’intégralité du contenu personnel", explique Microsoft.

Bref, voilà un premier couac de taille pour le nouveau Outlook.com...


A voir : Outlook.com en images





Gartner : des ventes de mobiles en recul au 2e trimestre, les smartphones progressent

publié le 23 août 2012 06:07 par Jocelyn Lippe

par La rédaction de ZDNet.fr , ZDNet France. Publié le 14 août 2012

Tags: ,,,

Chiffres - Les ventes mondiales de téléphones mobiles ont reculé de 2,3% en un an, quand celles de smartphones ont grimpé de plus de 40%. Android reste en tête des systèmes les plus vendus.

Le basculement vers les smartphones est bien en cours. Selon les chiffres de Gartner pour le second trimestre, les ventes de mobiles ont reculé de 2,3% par rapport à l’année dernière, à 419 millions d’unités. Les smartphones se portent donc eux bien mieux, avec une progression des ventes de 42,7%, représentant plus d’un tiers (36,7%) des ventes globales.

Pour Anshul Gupta, analyste principal à Gartner : « L'environnement économique difficile et le report des achats par les consommateurs pour profiter des lancements des futurs terminaux haut de gamme et promotions plus tard dans l'année ont ralenti la demande sur les marchés. La demande de feature phones continue de baisser, affaiblissant le marché global des téléphones ».

Le marché des smartphones est toujours dominé par Android (64,1%), face à un iOS à la part stagnante (18,8%). D’une année sur l’autre, Android a ainsi progressé de plus de 20 points (43,4% en 2011) quand le système d’Apple gagne à peine 0,6 points (18,2% en 2011). La dégringolade la plus spectaculaire est bien celle de Symbian (Nokia), qui perd près de 17 points de parts de marché en un an, passant de 22,1% à 5,9% des ventes de smartphones.



Trois sites de téléchargement d’applications Android pirates fermés

publié le 23 août 2012 06:04 par Jocelyn Lippe

par La rédaction de ZDNet.fr , ZDNet France. Publié le 22 août 2012

Tags: ,,,

Juridique - Les autorités américaines, en collaboration avec la France et les Pays-Bas, ont fermé trois sites proposant des versions pirates d’applications, saisissant leurs noms de domaine.

Le FBI, le département de justice américain ainsi que plusieurs procureurs se félicitent de la « fermeture » de trois sites de téléchargement d’applications Android, par la saisie de leurs noms de domaine. Les boutiques alternatives d’applications pirates applanet.net, appbucket.net et snappzmarket.com sont désormais inaccessibles, avec la collaboration des autorités françaises et néerlandaises.

Les données étant pour la plupart stockées hors des Etats-Unis, la participation d’autres pays a permis d’obtenir les preuves nécessaires à la fermeture des sites. L’opération a notamment consisté à télécharger des milliers d’applications sur ces magasins non-officiels.

Comme le souligne Android Police, la possibilité de poursuites envers les propriétaires des sites reste floue, d’autant que les autorités ne mentionnent pas avoir découvert leur identité. Reste qu’il est difficile d’imaginer meilleur avertissement pour les autres sites de téléchargement, parfois payant, d’applications piratées.



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