Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


HP unveils 2 new DreamColor displays

Posted by Alan at 2:58 AM on April 7, 2014

For most of us a monitor is important, but we only need it to be of standard quality. However, for those with photography needs and video editing tasks, the exact colors become vitally important. Now HP announces two new models of its DreamColor display, adding 27 and 24-inch versions.

“The HP Z27x and Z24x displays for PCs and Macs feature HP’s second-generation DreamColor Engine and provide up to 1.07 billion on-screen colors, achieving color error so small that it is not discernible to the human eye.”, the company announces.

According to HP, the new displays include up to 60 percent more pixels, contain up to a 4,000 percent increase in the internal color palette and are up to 57 percent thinner. The company claims three times to color accuracy over previous models, an ethernet-based remote management with an integrated web server that provides control of the display, and an SDK that allows customers to fully integrate the HP Z27x into their color workflows.

hp-z24x-z27x

“HP technology has enabled our studio to deliver amazing visual effects to our audiences,” says Kate Swanborg, Head of Technology Communications and Strategic Alliance at DreamWorks Animation.

Both monitors are available now, retailing for $599 and $1,499 respectively.

HP Goes Large with the Z1 at CES

Posted by Andrew at 6:37 PM on January 6, 2014

HP logoHP has announced the second generation of its Z1 high performance all-in-one workstation, with a 27″ ten-point touchscreen running Windows 8. The Z1 G2 is aimed squarely at power users, featuring 4th Generation Intel Xeon and Core processors, and RAID storage options paired with the latest NVIDIA Mobile Quadro GPUs for the best graphics performance. It also comes with Intel Thunderbolt 2 ports.

Since its launch in 2012, the highly acclaimed HP Z1 has opened the eyes and ears of customers hoping to solve business problems no longer being met by current vendors,” said Jim Zafarana, vice president and general manager, Commercial Solutions Business Unit, HP. “Today’s professionals demand high-performance products that are serviceable and easy-to-use, all wrapped in a sleek and elegant design.

HP Z1 G2

The Z1 G2 comes equipped with Thunderbolt 2 connectivity, for data transfer speeds four times that of USB 3.0. That’s nippy. To round out the high spec, the Z1′s audio capabilities aren’t too shabby either with dual-tone, front-facing speakers and DTS Studio Sound Audio. Overall, this is a beast of a machine.

The new HP Z1 G2 workstation is expected to be available in late January, with prices starting at US$1,999.

First Look: HP Chromebook 11

Posted by Alan at 9:11 AM on October 10, 2013

Earlier this week, HP announced its latest addition to the laptop family, but this time, instead of Windows 8 or 8.1, the little  notebook is running Chrome OS.

The HP Chromebook 11 sports a Samsung Exynos 5 dual-core ARM chip, 2 GB of RAM and a 16 GB SSD. It also has a webcam, full-size keyboard, 2 USB ports, digital speakers, an 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 display, Micro-SIM slot and charges via Micro USB. The whole thing weighs in at just 2.3 pounds.

The little Chromebook retails for $279 and can be purchased now from the Google Play store. For a first look in images, scroll down to view all of the pictures.

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The Notebook that Doubles as a Tablet

Posted by JenThorpe at 4:07 PM on January 6, 2013

HP Envy X2What’s better, a tablet, or a notebook? The answer to that question often is based upon what tasks you need to preform. Typically, a notebook is better if you want to type a blog or write a paper. A tablet, with it’s touch screen, is better if you want to play certain games.

What if you want to do some work but also want to play some games? What if you are traveling and can carry a laptop or a tablet, (but don’t want to juggle both)? You are going to have to make a decision between them.

Or, you could bring the HP ENVY x2 with you. Hewlett-Packard has created a handy device that can function as both a laptop and a tablet. It’s twice the fun! Use it as a laptop, or slide the tablet off of it and take just that part with you. The price starts at $849.99.

Here’s a quick look at the specs:

* 1.80 GHz Dual Core Intel Atom Processor Z27g0
* Windows 8 Operating system
* The tablet is 8.12” in height and 11.93” in width.
* The closed notebook is 0.66 – 0.76” in depth.
* The entire device weighs 3.11 lbs
* 11.6” HD Diagonal BrightView LED-backlit IPS Display
* Up to 64 GB storage
* Beats Audio with Dual Speakers
* Front-facing HP TrueVision webcam with integrated digital microphone.
* 8.0 MP rear-facing camera
* Intel Graphics Accelerator
* Starts at 2 GB RAM
* Bluetooth
* Ports: HDMI, Audio/Microphone, and two that are USB 2.0
* Full size keyboard
* Trackpad
* HP Touch Display
* 19 hours of battery life
* Separate battery in each device

Image by Hewlett-Packard

Pogoplug Mobile Review

Posted by Andrew at 12:50 AM on October 25, 2012

Pogoplug LogoThe cloud is definitely where it’s at right now, but what if you don’t like the idea the idea of Google, Dropbox et al looking after your data? Then you might be interested in a Pogoplug, which allows you to create your own cloud storage that’s only limited by the size of the hard disk. A Pogoplug is a hardware gadget that connects USB storage devices to your local LAN and then makes the space available across the Internet, effectively creating a personal cloud. The data is stored in your control and if more storage is needed, plug-in a bigger hard drive.

On review here is the Pogoplug Mobile, the 3rd generation of Pogoplug device from Cloud Engines. It offers a single USB port plus an SD card slot along with the network port and power socket. Newer Pogoplugs come with USB3 ports, but as the maximum speed of the Pogoplug cloud is always going to be the speed of the Internet connection, the faster transfer speeds of USB3 are unlikely to be a significant benefit. For testing, I used a 64 GB memory stick, rather than a hard drive, which means that the unit will run silently with minimal power consumption.

Pogoplug Packaging

The Pogoplug website has downloads for Windows, Macs and Linux, and the relevant app stores have versions for Android, iOS, Blackberry and legendary WebOS. I was able to try the Windows, Linux, Android and WebOS versions. The Windows version connects to the Pogoplug and presents it as a drive letter, allowing most Windows applications to use the Pogoplug transparently. The Pogoplug software has additional backup functionality as well, which may be useful for some people. The Linux version is command line only but anyone familiar with Linux will have no trouble getting the Pogoplug mounted into the filesystem.

The Android app is simple and straightforward with a couple of nice tricks up its sleeve. Broadly you can browse files in a directory fashion or you can view music, photos and movies in a tag or meta-data based fashion, As expected, there are viewers and players for the media, though movies get handed over to the default app rather than playing within the Pogoplug app. The music player is basic and has one really irritating flaw; it doesn’t seem to be able to pick up the track number from the mp3 files and consequently orders tracks alphabetically when playing albums. This really needs to be fixed.

Back viewPerformance-wise, the Pogoplug is always going to be limited by the upload (rather than download) speed of the broadband connection when outside of the home. This usually meant a little bit of buffering before playing music but once the playback got underway, there was rarely any stuttering. There were occasional times when folders refused to refresh but my suspicion is that any problems were down to the local data connection on my phone rather than a problem with the Pogoplug. YMMV. Inside my home, the performance was excellent.

In common with other social and cloud apps, the Pogoplug app has automatic uploading of pictures and video from the devices camera. It’s also possible to set the folder where the uploaded images are to go. Frankly, this is brilliant as my wife is hopeless at remembering to copy photos off her smartphone so by setting up the Pogoplug app on her phone, any photos she takes get automatically transferred. On occasion, a photo would sometimes fail to completely upload; again I suspect the loss of 3G connectivity than any fundamental problem, but the error checking could be improved. It’s also possible to upload any image from within the photo Gallery app.

As with most cloud solutions, you can also share with friends and family, using either the app or the web interface. It’s straightforward – select the folder you want to share, select who you want to share with and an email is sent to them with the relevant link. It’s an easy way to share photos of Junior with grandma and grandpa.

Any downsides? Only two that i can see….first, there’s no direct integration with any other apps that I could find. Quickoffice and other office apps typically allow access straight into Google Drive or Dropbox but none seemed to work with a Pogoplug. Effectively I had to download a Word doc to the phone, do my edits in QuickOffice and then upload the doc back to the Pogoplug. Not slick.

The second is that when I was at home and on the same subnet as the Pogoplug, Internet access to Pogoplug’s servers was still needed, presumably to check authorisation privileges. Normally, it’s not going to be an issue, but it would be handy to have a way to bypass this when working locally and the connection to the Internet goes down.

Overall, the Pogoplug is a handy device that gives you control over your data rather than entrusting it to a megacorp. A few glitches spoil what is otherwise a neat little solution that potentially gives as much data storage space as you need, without paying per GB per annum. For the low cost of the Pogoplug unit (about $50 / £35), it’s a bargain.

Disclaimer – this was a personally purchased device.

HP Releases Open webOS Version 1.0

Posted by Alan at 11:26 AM on October 1, 2012

When HP purchased Palm for their webOS technology there was a lot of controversy with many people wondering what HP was thinking, while others calling it a great deal.  The former turned out to be right as HP proceeded to release a webOS-based tablet and then pull it off of the market almost immediately, even selling off the remaining devices at fire sale prices.  But now the hardware maker has unveiled a new open source version of the operating system called Open webOS.

Open webOS 1.0 comes with all of the core apps built in, and the Enyo 2.0 framework has hooks that developers can use to deploy the software on a wide variety of platforms. To illustrate this, Steve Winston, HP’s chief webOS architect, shows webOS running on an HP Touchsmart PC in a new video (posted below).

The new release still lacks support for Bluetooth, multimedia playback, and advanced network management.  That leaves it severely crippled at this point, but HP has promised that all of this will come in a future release.  If you care to try it out then I would certainly recommend only running it in an emulator at this point.

Source: Open webOS

Motorola, Where’s My Ice Cream Sandwich?

Posted by Andrew at 3:44 PM on July 7, 2012

Motorola AndroidHere’s a quick quiz for tablet fans…here in the UK I have access to three tablets: a Motorola Xoom, a Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition (Xyboard 8.2 in the US) and an HP Touchpad. Which one of these is running the Ice Cream Sandwich variant of Android?

Did you chose one of the Motorola devices? Sorry, you’re wrong. The only tablet running ICS in my house is the HP Touchpad, courtesy of the CyanogenMod team. How embarrassing is that, Motorola? Here’s all the talk about preventing Android fragmantation and a Google subsidiary can’t even get Ice Cream Sandwich onto its own tablets in a timely fashion. It’s been over six months since ICS was released.

ICS has been available on the Xoom in the USA since January but as yet it’s not made it to the UK. ICS should have been released in Q2 of 2012 according to Motorola’s own documentation but a week into July and still no sign. And before anyone starts apologising that it’s to do with the carriers, these are all pure wifi devices. Does it really take six months for language customisation?

As for the Xoom 2 (aka Xyboard), it’s frankly an embarrassment that the current product doesn’t have ICS running on it now, although it’s promised for Q3 in both US and UK. I’m delighted to hear that Google Motorola is going to deliver Jelly Bean for the Xoom in July, but why not for the newer devices? Flagship software on flagship device would seem to be the way to go.

Google Android fragmentation needs to be addressed and minimised. Latest Android versions need to be showcased. Motorola’s tablets are popular. Motorola Mobility is a Google subsidiary. Do I have to join the dots?

The HP Envy 14 Spectre

Posted by Alan at 11:46 PM on January 21, 2012

HP logoLast week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas computer maker HP unveiled the Envy 14 Spectre, a new 14 inch laptop with some fairly impressive specs behind it.  It comes with either a Core i5 or Core i7 processor, an option for a 128 GB or 256 GB SSD, 4 or 8 GB of DDR3 RAM, Mini DisplayPort, HD webcam, Gorilla Glass inside and out, and USB 3.0.  Users also get a choice of Windows 7 Home Premium, Ultimate or Professional, but you will have to go with the 64-bit version, as this new notebook doesn’t come in a 32-bit version.  HP claims a nine hour battery life, but perhaps the nicest touch is the keyboard, which has individual LED’s behind each key to make them easily visible in low, or even no, light conditions.

Although I haven’t seen the HP Envy 14 Spectre referred to as an “Ultrabook” that’s the first word that comes to mind when I see it.  The sleek, thin design and the lack of an optical drive all point to that category, which was the hot meme at CES 2012.  There is more to this notebook than just the specs I listed above, but you will need to watch the video below to get all of the details.  The Envy 14 Spectre will start at an MSRP of $1399.  You can also visit HP for more info.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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I Feel Stupid

Posted by Andrew at 7:25 AM on December 28, 2011

Windows Phone 7Over the break, there’s been a bit of discussion by some of the big names regarding the reasons why Windows Phone 7 handsets haven’t been flying off the shelves this holiday season. Charlie Kindel started the debate with “Windows Phone is Superior; Why Hasn’t It Taken Off?” and largely faults the relationship between the OEMs, Microsoft and the carriers.

MG Siegler responded with a fairly weak response largely citing the mantra of “too late and not enough apps” but as can be seen from today’s news of 50,000 apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace, the latter argument really isn’t that valid.

As usual, Robert Scoble hits the nail on the head. People buy Android or iOS because it’s a safe bet and they don’t want to look stupid or uncool by buying something else. Microsoft Windows Phone 7 and RIM’s Blackberries simply don’t have the gold-plated appeal of a sure-thing.

And he’s right. I was a big Palm fan and look how that turned out. I do feel stupid. After spending years waiting for Palm to move from PalmOS to WebOS and then HP promising to do big things. I bought in with a succession of Pre phones and pre-ordered a TouchPad. Maybe I shouldn’t be so shallow and have a less of an ego, because WebOS is a great operating system and even with the smaller app selection, it does 99% of what I need a phone to do. But when everyone else is, “Have you got this app and that app” on their Galaxy S IIs and iPhone 4Ss, you do feel a bit of a chump.

So thanks, HP. I feel stupid.

HP Gives WebOS To Open Source

Posted by Andrew at 12:33 PM on December 9, 2011

HP WebOS LogoIn a surprise move, HP has announced that it will give WebOS to the open source community while continuing to support and develop the platform. HP believes that the combination of the superb WebOS platform combined with open source innovation and corporate support from HP, will foster innovation, creating a compelling user experience.

WebOS is the only platform designed from the ground up to be mobile, cloud-connected and scalable,” said Meg Whitman, HP president and chief executive officer. “By contributing this innovation, HP unleashes the creativity of the open source community to advance a new generation of applications and devices.

HP has said that it will work with the open source community to define the charter of the open source project based on four principles.

  • The goal of the project is to accelerate the open development of the webOS platform
  • HP will be an active participant and investor in the project
  • Good, transparent and inclusive governance to avoid fragmentation
  • Software will be provided as a pure open source project

No news was provided regarding other partners, new hardware or the specific handover timescale.

Undoubtedly more news will filter out over the coming days but it’s interesting move that may work out for HP and WebOS. HP gets to retain the patents it acquired from Palm to protect itself (and presumably WebOS) from attack, while hoping that the open source community and the homebrew scene will move the platform forwards. Future devices could appear from any OEM manufacturer, not just HP, but it will be interesting to see what the next WebOS product will be. Personally, I think it will be a printer.