Kanex Multi-Sync Keyboard

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Todd chats with Tracy from Kanex at CES Digital Experience about their new Multi-Sync Keyboard for Apple devices.

Although touch is great way of interacting with tablets and smartphones, it really doesn’t replace a keyboard when it comes to large amounts of text entry. In response, many manufacturers have come out with add-on keyboards that typically connect to the tablet via Bluetooth. These are generally useful devices but usually it’s one keyboard-one device and often there’s already a keyboard on the desk for the PC, so the desk simply gets more cluttered.

Kanex’s solution the Multi-Sync Keyboard which allows 3 Bluetooth and 1 USB connection to be maintained at any one time – Mac, iPhone and iPad. The user can then switch between connections, entering text into just one device at a time but being able to connect to up to 4 devices. Brilliant! Currently, it’s only available for Apple devices, but future versions should support PCs.

On-sale now for US$69.95 at www.kanexlive.com.

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

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Third of Desktops Still On Windows XP

Microsoft Windows LogoThe team at Net Market Share have released their statistics for November and shockingly, over 30% of desktop Internet users are still using Windows XP. The 12-year old OS will lose all support from Microsoft in four month’s time, after which XP machines will not receive any further security updates and will become vulnerable to newly discovered exploits. XP’s market share is dropping, albeit slowly, with about 8% loss in the last year, but it’s clear that there is still going to be a large XP presence on the Internet come April 2014.

Windows 7 desktops make up the bulk of browsers with over 46% and the total for Windows 8.x clocks in at a little under 10%. Windows 8.1 only accounted for 2.6% which isn’t entirely unsurprising given that it was only released in mid-October. Here’s the top 5 desktop OS, courtesy of Net Market Share.

  1. Windows 7: 46.64%
  2. Windows XP: 31.22%
  3. Windows 8: 6.66%
  4. Windows Vista: 3.57%
  5. Windows 8.1: 2.64%

On the tablet and smartphone front, iOS and Android are pretty much the only shows in town, with 55% and 34% respectively. All the other OSes scored less then 5%, with Symbian still showing 3%. Windows Phone is at 0.67% but it is up from 0.50% in October. Blackberry continues to fall, down to 1.65% from 2.55% the previous month.

Here’s the top 5 mobile OS.

  1. iOS: 55.17%
  2. Android: 33.89%
  3. Java ME: 4.49%
  4. Symbian: 3.12%
  5. BlackBerry: 1.65%

If I read the accompanying information, these figures are gathered from approx 160 million visitors per month from Net Market Share’s network of clients and customers so it should be a fair reflection of the real world. There’s more detail here.

Apple Keyboard Overlays from KB Covers

KB Cover Keyboard OverlayKB Covers produce lightweight and flexible keyboard overlays for Apple Macs to help make people more productive with complex software applications or type in foreign languages. Andy and Scott find out what’s happening with KB Covers from Bruce Franklin.

KB Covers produces overlays for Apple Macintosh desktop and laptop computers, covering both current and older models. Generally there are three kinds of overlays: those for protection or decoration, for foreign languages and for advanced application use, where keyboard shortcuts are key to being proficient in the app. Each year, KB Covers comes out with additional overlays for extra languages and new applications, often at the suggestion of customers.

The overlays are available on-line from around $20.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and Scott Ertz of F5 Live for the TechPodcast Network.

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Roadmice Brings Cool Cars to the Desktop

Roadmice works with HP to build some very unique computer mice that will certainly make your desktop standout from everyone else’s.  They have license agreements with 12 car makers and even NASCAR to build these automobile replicas. Each mouse is wireless, operating on the 2.4 GHz frequency.  This year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas they unveiled the third-generation of their lineup.

Regardless of if you are looking for a Ford, Nissan, or even a Lamborghini, you will find it here.  The latest model utilizes the HP Comfort Mouse technology and operates on a single AA battery, with a promised 4-6 month battery life.  You can get a  little extra life if you decide not to enable the working headlights, which come on when motion is detected.

Roadmice also has matching mouse pads and USB drives available for purchase and are working on releasing keyboards as well.  Prices for the mice range from $39.99 to $49.99 depending on the car model you want.  You can find out more at Roadmice and see a demo in the video below.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine.

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Pogoplug Mobile Lets You Put Your Cloud on Your Desk

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In this day and age, we talk about Cloud like a car dealer talks cars. We put stuff in the cloud and take it down. We don’t even know where this cloud is – but a lot of us trust it for our photos, music, movies and more.

Now we can put a cloud on our desks, and share media through our mobile device. All through Pogoplug.

Pogoplug is a device you plug into your network, plug in your USB drives, then share the contents across the web. You can set access to private or public viewing on desktop, iPhone, iPad, Android or other mobile device. You can also set permissions so your workmates can collaborate on files.

Today, Pogoplug announced their newest product in the line of devices. Pogoplug mobile is a version of Pogoplug geared at taking all the media off your smartphone and keeping it on your personal cloud.

“Pogoplug Mobile is the perfect companion to your mobile phone or tablet.” says CEO Daniel Putterman. “Not only can you stream the media from your hard drives straight to your mobile device over WiFi or your cellular connection but you can also automatically back up your camera roll to your Pogoplug.That means, no matter where you are, the photos and videos you take on your mobile phone are automatically backed up to your Pogoplug.”

Pogoplug Mobile lets you attach USB drives and now SD cards into the device. You configure the drives up on my.pogoplug.com, then download an application for your PC, Mac or mobile device. When configured, you can access your mobile data through your own cloud.

Prices for Pogoplug Mobile start at $79.99 (£59.99 in the UK). For more information, go to Pogoplug Mobile site (http://www.pogoplug.com/mobile/). It is also one of the 5 Backup Cloud Solutions I reported on back on September 21st. You can also check out the video we did with Pogoplug at CES2010.

Your Free Evernote Account Just got Better

Evernote is probably the most popular online note-taking application.  With versions for computers (both Windows and Mac) and mobile versions for Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows Phone, and WebOS, the app is virtually everywhere.  There is a free version and a Premium version, but the free version previously limited users to only being able to include text, image, audio and PDF files in their notes.

Today, Evernote announced that the restriction has now been removed and free account users can include any type of file in their notes.  “The reason we lifted our file restriction is that we want to allow our users to store everything related to an experience or memory in a single, visual, searchable place.”

The other restrictions for free accounts still apply – there’s a 25 MB file size limit for notes and a 60 MB upload limit per month.  Evernote is promising that there are a lot more innovations “in the works”.  If you aren’t familiar with, or haven’t tried, the service, you can visit Evernote to check it out.

HP Pushes All-In-One Form Factor for PCs

HP thinks that the future of the desktop is in the all-in-one form factor with the announcement today of no less than seven new devices aimed at both the business and consumer markets.

According to the NPD Group (via HP press release) 34% of consumer desktops sold in July were all-in-one PCs and IDC believes that nearly 16% of commercial PC purchases are likely to be in this form factor by the end of 2012. It’s very understandable in the commodity PC market – few cables, better appearance, what’s not to like?

The new models include the Omni 120 and 220 PCs, coming with 20″ and 21.5″ screens. Both feature HP’s LinkUp, which allows the desktop and HP laptops to interact with each other. Beats Audio, along with quad core Intel processors, is available on certain Omni 220 models.

The TouchSmart range is extended to a range of four models, the HP TouchSmart 320, 420 and 520 joining the existing 610. These new models come with 20″, 21.5″ and 23″ screens respectively and Beats Audio. Of course, all of these models have touch-sensitive screens.

Moving into the business work, HP is announcing its first TouchSmart business model, the HP TouchSmart Elite 7320 All-in-One Business PC. Aimed at small businesses, it’s a 21.5″ full HD screen with second generation i3, i5 and i7 Intel processors.

Finally, the HP Pro 3420 All-in-One rounds out the business portfolio with a non-touch 20″ screen and Core i3 processors. Although aimed at the lower end of the marked, it comes equipped with a built-in webcam for web conferencing. This model complements the already announced HP 8200 Elite All-in-One business PC.

Overall, HP looks to have a great portfolio of all-in-one PCs and I can believe that it’s a market that’s going to grow. Who wants all the clutter of cables, when with a wireless connection network connection, wireless keyboards and wireless mouse, all you need is a power cable?

HP Workstation Timeline

HP has been around for quite awhile and they released a pretty interesting timeline recently. It shows off key innovations from the company, starting us off with the first documented “personal computer,” the 9100A. From there we move through the years until we reach present day and HP’s newest Z-series.

Clearly, you won’t find every PC ever put out by HP in this timeline –that would be a little too long– but, it is great look back at the history of this very successful company.

If you have fond memories of those ancient floppy discs and boring displays, or just want to see where it all began, take a few minutes and look through the timeline. As you will see, HP has come a long way over the past 40 years — thankfully.

 

HP Released Two Z210 Desktop Workstations Today!

Today HP released two new desktop workstations designed specifically with professionals in mind. The new Z210 desktop comes in two form-factors; convertible mini-tower (CMT) and highly-compact small form-factor (SFF) for those of us who simply need a more space-saving solution.

As far as specs go, it looks like both models will be able to provide customers with the same hardware. Each can be configured with the Intel Xeon E3 and second gen. Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 processors. We’ll also have a range of choices from AMD and NVIDIA for graphics capabilities. 2D and 3D options are both on the table with a 2D dual graphics card setup able to support up to 4 monitors at once for some serious screen space.

“Built for professionals, HP Z210 workstations with the new Intel Xeon processor E3 1200 family are changing the definition of the entry-level workstation,” said Anthony C. Neal-Graves, general manager, Workstation Unit, Intel Corporation. “This processor’s greatest innovation is how it integrates the CPU and graphics engines on the same die. That means visual and 3-D graphics capabilities that were once only available to entry workstation users with discrete graphics cards will now be accessible to anyone with an entry workstation powered by the Intel Xeon E3 family with Intel HD Graphics P3000.”

These new workstations are not only faster and more efficient; HP has gone to great lengths to reduce the workstations carbon footprint. In fact, users will have access to the HP Carbon Footprint Calculator which will help us reduce environmental impact and computing costs. They have also given each form-factor a tool free chassis for quick and easy maintenance.

The HP Z210’s are available right now with the CMT starting at $659 and the SFF coming in at $569 USD. If you’re interested in a more mobile solution you should check out HP’s new EliteBooks, landing next month.

HP Refreshes Business Line At CES

At CES in Las Vegas, HP today announced new desktops, thin clients and monitors to enable the business community to get great performance at a great price while reducing the effect on the environment.

In particular, HP has unveiled the HP Compaq 8200 Elite, the 6200 Pro and 4000 Pro, plus the HP 100B All-in-One business desktops.  The 8200 is intended to be HP’s premium PC with 40% better performance and 15% improvement in disk access over the previous model and there’s now an discrete graphics option which bumps the graphics performance by 70%. Under the hood, Intel’s second-generation Core vPro CPUs.  Expected early March from $679.

The 6200 Pro represents the mid-range with industry-standard features and Intel CPUs that can be configured to the requirements and price of the purchaser.  Available in small form factor and microtower chassis.  Expected late March from $619.

The 4000 Pro model is for businesses wanting to maintain legacy hardware with the inclusion of PCI expansion slots, standard serial ports and PS/2 device support in addition to the more modern I/O ports expected on PCs. Expected in February from $499.

The 100B All-in-One PC is features a dual-core AMD processor in a cool space-saving design. With a 20″ widescreen display powered by integrated HD graphics, this will be a flexible design that can be upgraded as needs change.  Expected in February from $499.

All of the new 2011 HP business desktops include highly efficient PC designs and power supplies that help lower energy use and HP also plans for the entire desktop series to be brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-free further lessening the PC‘s impact on the environment.

For organisations interested in thin clients, three new models were announced – the HP t5500, t5565 and t5570 thin clients.  All come with VIA Nano u3500 processors and VX900 integrated graphics, which provides hardware assistance for multimedia and allows the thin clients to drive dual digital monitors. Available for a range of virtualisation and cloud computing environments such as Citrix and VMware. On sale from mid-January starting at $249.

And finally, a slew of business monitors are now available with new designs and adjustable displays. The LA2006x, LA2206x and LA2306x WLED backlit LCD widescreen monitors come in 20″, 21.5″ and 23″ diagonal screen sizes with digital DVI and DisplayPort connectors along with a 2 port USB hub.  Available now from $209.

HP Compaq also announced the LE1901wl WLED backlit LCD monitor, with a 19″ diagonal screen but in a 16:10 aspect ratio and only VGA connectivity.  Available now from $157.

HP also mentioned that it sells one desktop PC every 1.2 seconds, which is pretty impressive even if they are the number one desktop PC supplier in the world.