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Nokia, Microsoft's new best friend, is branching out for the first time in 25 years with a Windows-based netbook called the Booklet 3G. EVP for devices Kai Oistamo called the move a "natural evolution" given the current demand for mobility and Nokia's hereditary skills. The company's keeping availability and pricing under wraps until Nokia World on September 2 but it evidently expects to push the gismo through the operator channel. Like most other netbooks the widget is built around Intel's Atom processor, and Nokia claims up to 12 hours of battery life. The thing's aluminum chassis measures slightly more than two centimeters and it weighs a little under three pounds. Features include 3G/HSPA and Wi-Fi as well as Nokia's suite of Ovi services such as access and playback of millions of tracks through Nokia's Music Store and syncing from a Nokia smartphone to Booklet a... (more)

Alfred Poor’s New Video Reviews

New Media on Ulitzer My long-time former PC Magazine colleague Al Poor has begun his own series of video reviews of consumer products on his YouTube channel here. You can find a new Epson photo printer, the Buffalo Terrastation, and other products. Like my WebInformant.tv series, they are sponsored by the vendor and are short, fact-packed five minute pieces.  ... (more)

PC Spending’s Coming Back: Goldman Sachs

PC Support Journal Goldman Sachs claims the corporate PC and PC server refresh will be one of the most important trends in technology over the next two years, positively impacting software and semiconductors as well as hardware. It’s projecting PC growth of 12% next year and 13% in 2011, when the cycle should peak. Revenue growth, however, will be limited to the low to mid-single digits because of aggressive pricing and the shift to lower-end desktops and notebooks. It figures Dell will be the biggest beneficiary because of its outsized exposure to the enterprise.   ... (more)

Microsoft Prices Office 2010

Microsoft said Tuesday that Office 2010, due out in June, will cost between $99 and $499 depending on which of the four retail versions of the stuff the consumer selects. The prices aren't all that much different than what Microsoft charged for Office 2007 - although there are no discounted upgrade prices encouraging folks to trade up from older versions, which could make it more expensive - and this time through there will be free access to Microsoft's Google-fighting Office Web Apps. Microsoft did offer 50% discounts Monday on Windows 7 and Office 2010 to users of XP and Office. The line includes a user-restricted $99 schools-only kit called Office Professional Academic legal on two PCs and a $149 Home & Student version that can be used on three computers. PCs that are bundled with Officer Starter, an ad-supported Office 2010-style version of Works with its cut-... (more)

Moto to Microsoft: Gotcha Back. Gotcha Back.

Motorola has countersued Microsoft in Florida and Wisconsin in answer to Microsoft's first suit of six weeks ago charging Moto's Android widgets with treading on nine of its patents. Upping the ante, Motorola claims that Microsoft's PC and server software, Windows mobile software and Xbox products infringe 16 of its patents relating to the Windows operating system, digital video codecs, e-mail including Exchange, Messenger and Outlook, Windows Live instant messaging, object-oriented software architecture, Bing maps, Windows Marketplace, Wi-Fi and graphical passwords. Referencing Microsoft's suit, it said, "It is unfortunate that Microsoft has chosen the litigation path rather than entering into comprehensive licensing negotiations, as Motorola has mutually beneficial licensing relationships with the great majority of technology companies industry-wide." Presumably ... (more)

Is Intel Going to Miss This Quarter?

JP Morgan analyst Christopher Danely is back again predicting, based on channel checks, that Intel is going to miss the quarter because PC chip orders didn't spike in November and December like they had to in order to make estimates. He thinks Intel's tracking toward the low end of its 11 billion-$11.8 billion guidance. He's also unimpressed with the upcoming Sandy Bridge chip with the integrated graphics that, among other things, is supposed to put Intel on the map in tablets. He figures Intel's Q1 revenue will only be worth $10.1 billion, down 8% sequentially, against a consensus number of $10.7 billion. ... (more)

IDC Cuts PC Forecast

IDC has cut its prediction of PC growth this year from 5% to 0.9% or about 367 million units. It will be the second consecutive year of growth below 2%. The researcher figures US shipments will drop 3.7%. Dell last week reported quarterly sales off 14% year-over-year, HP was down 10%. It remains to be seen if Windows 8 makes a difference. It arrives October 26 to a "more competitive environment" and consumers confused by the new products. Merchants have cut prices - well, they are trying to clear Windows 7 inventory - but IDC says the back-to-school season is pretty much a bust. Longer term it estimates worldwide shipments (think emerging markets, notebooks and Ultrabooks) will work out to about 6.5% in 2013, 7% in 2014 and 7.1% in 2015. Earlier it figured the average would be more like 8.4%. Wall Street is expecting Intel to pre-announce. ... (more)

HP Adds New Itanium Servers

Remember those HP Itanium servers that Oracle didn't want to write any more software for because Intel secretly planned to end Itanium development? Well, HP's got new ones based on a new Itanium chip, dubbed the 9500, made by Intel, which claims to be committed to the silicon and its customers past 2013. Intel's even managed to line up a new customer for Itanium, a Chinese outfit called Inspur. Itanium customers are thin on the ground. HP's the biggest - even after sales plunged something like 20% because of Oracle's pullout - and include NEC, Hitachi and Bull. Of course, HP sued Oracle and the court ordered Oracle to start writing, a decision Oracle has promised to appeal. HP in turn wants $4 billion in damages, less for its hardware losses than the juicy support and services contracts that brought in something like 15% of its profits. And since it's expecting fu... (more)

Lenovo Introduces an ‘Interpersonal Computer’

Remember Microsoft's Surface? Well, Lenovo's got this thing called the IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC that it's touting as the first "interpersonal computer." It's a Window 8 dingus with a 27-inch screen that can be laid down or stood up so four people can use it all at once as though it was a big board game, which went fitted out with paddles and joysticks appears to be its main purpose. Surface, now called PixelSense, was designed for store displays and other commercial applications. The Table PC's screen, which is the size of eight iPads sewn together, is said to respond to 10 fingers touching it at the same time. Photos and videos can be rotated. It weighs 15lbs and will cost $1,699 this summer when it goes on sale. ... (more)

Alleged Talks Between IBM & Lenovo Reportedly Break Down

The supposed talks between IBM and Lenovo over the Chinese company buying IBM's x86 server unit have reportedly broken down over price, which should come as a surprise to no one. Wong Wai Ming Lenovo's CFO and chief negotiator reportedly left Armonk, got on a plane and went back to Hong Kong. The talks of course could be rekindled after he talks to his masters. Of course the breakdown could just be Lenovo stage craft. Lenovo bought IBM's PC unit eight years ago for $1.25 billion and has done well with it. It is now the second- or third-largest PC company in the world and managed to shrug off last quarter's dire drop in PC sales. CRN, who broke the story that they were negotiating, said IBM wanted $5 billion-$6 billion. Bloomberg later reported a range between $2.5 billion and $4.5 billion. ... (more)

HP Removes Bradley as PC Chief

Todd Bradley, the former Palm CEO who's been running HP's PC unit since 2005 and added printing last year when the Printing and Personal Systems (PPS) organization was formed, has apparently been pushed aside. He is trading his job running half of HP's revenue for a newly created position as executive vice-president, strategic growth initiatives, where he's supposed to increase HP's business in China, extend its channel partner relationships worldwide and identify potential partners among early-stage start-ups. He will work directly with CEO Meg Whitman, who said in the Tuesday morning announcement that "There's nothing more important to HP than our channel partners and the future of our business in China. I've asked Todd to use his expertise to focus on these areas. I've also asked him to study the landscape of small companies and start-ups that could partner with... (more)