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February 27 2014

January 29 2014

Apple TV Moves From 'Hobby' to Full-Fledged Product Line
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Following Apple CEO Tim Cook’s admission during Monday’s earnings call that the iPod line is in decline, the company's web store changed to reflect that sentiment by focusing on the Apple TV

Previously, the Apple TV was listed under the iPod section, but the new menu divides it into its own section, making the digital media player a full-fledged product line. That means it's officially not longer just a "hobby," as the late Steve Jobs called it years ago

The section features categories for Apple TV accessories, refurbished versions of the device and a question-and-answer section Read more...

More about Apple, Hardware, Apple Tv, Tech, and Gadgets

January 28 2014

Has There Ever Been A Worse Time To Be In The Enterprise Hardware Business?

Technology journalist Robert Cringley thinks IBM is doomed because it just sold its Intel server business to Lenovo. On the contrary, this may be the clearest indication that IBM may thrive. After all, given the trend toward cloud and build-your-own-datacenters, has there ever been a worse time to be selling enterprise servers?

"An Act Of Desperation For IBM"

Let's be clear. Every incumbent hardware company is under the gun as low-margin cloud businesses boom. Amazon puts every hardware company under pressure and is even causing fits for those trying to make a business of selling private cloud technology. 

Yet Robert Cringley, a longtime IBM critic, believes IBM "has sold the future to invest in the past," referring to its mainframe business, which it retains. He goes on to suggest that, "little servers are the future of big computing" and that, "IBM needs to be a major supplier and a major player in this emerging market."

Yes and no.

It seems clear that selling big hardware like mainframes is a dying business. Yes, enterprises will continue to buy it, but if the last few earnings calls from IBM, Oracle and their peers are any indication, big hardware is a difficult proposition in the age of cloud. 

Not that the big incumbents are giving up on big hardware. As reported by ReadWrite in November 2013, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison believes the future datacenter will include purpose-built, big hardware and low-end commodity servers, with the latter constituting the core of enterprise workloads. But that core will not powered by Oracle. Or IBM. Or any mega-vendor.

The problem is that these legacy server companies are not buying into that "purpose-built," insanely expensive hardware, either. Hence, while CA Technologies may like to pretend that the mainframe is an integral part of the "data center of the future," as a recent Wall Street Journal advertisement proposes, IT buyers aren't buying.

Why Not Sell "Little" Servers?

If big hardware is struggling, why shouldn't IBM, Oracle and other enterprise incumbents trade in commodity servers? In large part, they can't. Not while being profitable anyway. 

The commodity server business has been further commoditized by the rise of white box server vendors and open-source datacenter initiatives like Facebook's Open Compute project. As Accenture writes, "Facebook’s Open Compute Project is accelerating the adoption of infrastructure innovations by sharing those breakthroughs freely." For incumbent server vendors, "freely" is the last thing they want to hear.

It may be on the verge of getting even worse. According to McKinsey & Company, in 2014 enterprises need to increase their emphasis on private cloud deployments:

Many large infrastructure functions are experiencing “cloud stall.” They have built an intriguing set of technology capabilities but are using it to host only a small fraction of their workloads. It may be that they cannot make the business case work due to migration costs, or that they have doubts about the new environment’s ability to support critical workloads, or that they cannot reconcile the cloud environment with existing sourcing arrangements. Over the next year, infrastructure organizations must shift from treating the private cloud as a technology innovation to treating it as an opportunity to evolve their operating model.

If this happens, and there are good reasons to believe enterprise developers will continue to skip the private cloud in favor of public cloud options like Amazon Web Services, it won't serve enterprise hardware companies very well. With increasing interest in open datacenter designs, enterprises can  utilize private clouds with low-end, white box vendor servers rather than higher-cost, name-brand servers from the likes of IBM.

Which, presumably, is one big reason IBM sold its commodity server business.

The Future Of Hardware Is Software

Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen argues that "software is eating the world." Along the way, it's also eating hardware. At least, the fancy name-brand hardware that used to mint billions for IBM and its peers.

This is what Cringley misses. He blithely suggests of IBM that, "they are selling a lower-margin business where customer are actually buying to invest in a higher-margin business where customers aren’t buying." This is true. But it doesn't lead to his conclusion: "IBM needs to learn how to operate in a commodity market. IBM needs to become the lowest cost, highest volume producer of commodity servers."

This is like suggesting that IBM needs to slit its right wrist instead of its left wrist. In either market, IBM is going to lose. The difference is that it can milk the high-margin, fading business for years as it tries to transform itself into a commodity cloud computing business. With the acquisition of Softlayer, it is well on its way, though the journey will be brutally painful.

Which, I suppose, is how I'd describe any company trying to make a living peddling hardware. Or cloud, for that matter. The cloud is compressing margins on all hardware businesses, even as Amazon forces would-be cloud competitors into a game of low-margin commodity cloud pricing. For hardware companies, it seems to be a lose-lose proposition. But it may be the only option they have.

Tags: Hardware

January 22 2014

Animated iWatch Concept Is the Most Realistic You've Ever Seen
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Although Apple remains tight-lipped about any plans to release a wearable device, the persistent rumors and concept mock-ups continue to stir excitement among fans and industry analysts alike

The latest conceptual take on the rumored iWatch is a video animation that presents an extremely realistic look at how the device might work if it becomes a real product

Created by San Francisco-based professional interface designer Todd Hamilton, this new iWatch concept fuses the sleek design of the Nike FuelBand with the minimalist interface treatments of Apple's iOS 7 Read more...

More about Apple, Concept, Hardware, Iwatch, and Tech

January 09 2014

The 8 Best Laptops for Gaming
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Laptops can be the happy medium for PC gamers who want the comfort of playing on their couches. With the sheer power you can fit in an increasingly small computer, laptops offer gamers a chance to be mobile without sacrificing silky smooth visuals

If you’re looking to invest in a laptop for gaming, you’ll have to find your personal preference in balancing power with portability. More oomph often means less mobility, either because of weight or reduced battery life. Also, think about whether you want it to be strictly a gaming machine or if you’ll be using it for multiple activities. Your needs will influence which specs are most important Read more...

More about Gadgets, Gaming, Features, Tech, and Hardware

December 26 2013

The Beginner's Guide to Your New iPad
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There’s nothing like that first euphoric moment just after unboxing your new iPad Air or Retina iPad mini.

What usually follows is five to 10 minutes of marveling over the care and consideration Apple design chief Jony Ive put into the packaging. That includes playing with those tiny plastic doodads you’ll inevitably have to discard at some point.

But that was all just a tease leading up to the good stuff. Finally, after all the highfalutin commercial spots, media hype about supply shortages and unsuccessful attempts by competitors to sully the iPad's image, you finally have one of your very own. Now you’re just wondering how to harness all that pencil-thin tablet power sitting in your hands. Read more...

More about Software, Features, Tech, Hardware, and Ipad

December 19 2013

Unofficial Prescription Eyeglasses for Google Glass Debuts
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An optical company in the Midwest introduced a prescription glasses add-on for Google Glass on Tuesday.

"We're proud to be the first optical company in the world to unveil this new technology, and we look forward to optimizing the Google Glass experience," Indiana-based Longe Optical says on its website.

"As an optical company and eyeglass wearers ourselves, we have a pretty high level of empathy for those who need eyeglasses, and just haven't been able to utilize Glass the way it is intended," Jeff Ostermann, president of Longe Optical, told Mashable. Read more...

More about Google, Hardware, Tech, Gadgets, and Mobile

November 24 2013

Kano Computer Kit Lets Anyone Build a PC From Scratch
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If you grew up tinkering with building kits like Erector sets or Lego Mindstorms, you can probably appreciate how important such tools can be to a child’s early development

Now, a Kickstarter team has created something similar that enables kids and adults alike to learn more about computers.

Kano is a computer kit designed to help people of all ages assemble a computer from scratch, and learn basic coding skills

Powered by a Raspberry Pi computing module, the kit includes two instruction manuals, a custom case, an 8GB SD card, a keyboard, a speaker, a power plug, and HDMI and mini-USB cables Read more...

More about Software, Diy, Hardware, Programming, and Kickstarter

October 29 2013

Mac Pro Posters Show Off Apple's Design Pride
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Last week’s Apple event may have been primarily devoted to the iPad, but that doesn’t mean the Cupertino, Calif. company isn’t proud of its design-centric update to the Mac Pro. That pride shines through in a new set of posters, revealed on Monday, which feature the workstation.

Apple sent the posters to Seattle Times columnist Jeff Carlson, who quickly shared the images on Flickr. Carslon, an Apple connoisseur and the author of The iPad for Photographers, was impressed by the company's attention to detail, which is present even in its packaging

“What strikes me more than the images is the tube: It’s not some cheap mailing tube you’d get in an office supply store,” Carlson said in a post on Tidbits, an online newsletter devoted to Apple's Macintosh Read more...

More about Apple, Design, Hardware, Mac Pro, and Tech

October 26 2013

Apple's Jony Ive Designs Special Edition Red Mac Pro
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Few of us have had the chance to test the speed and performance of Apple’s new Mac Pro, but the device is already winning praise for its bold design. Now, Apple’s design chief Jony Ive has revealed a special customized version of the Mac Pro that is set to go on auction next month

Customized in collaboration with industrial designer Marc Newson, Ive will present the one-of-a-kind red Mac Pro for the pair’s Sotheby’s auction on Nov. 23. The auction, which features several items customized by Ive, drew plenty of attention last month when it was revealed that Apple's senior vice-president of design helped devise a special Leica camera for the event Read more...

More about Apple, Design, Red, Hardware, and Mac Pro

October 24 2013

Lenovo Instagram Post Hints at Ashton Kutcher Collaboration
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Tech companies are increasingly turning to celebrities to help boost brand awareness for new products and services. And judging from a post to its Instagram account, Lenovo is also jumping on this trend.

The post, below, which features Ashton Kutcher sitting outside at a table in front of a Lenovo sign, appeared on Instagram Wednesday

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The actor will join Lenovo for a special event on Oct. 29, according to a Bloomberg report published Tuesday.

While an endorsement from one of America's most recognizable faces is definitely a coup for Beijing-based Lenovo, there is some irony in the fact that Kutcher starred as Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs in the recent film Jobs. Read more...

More about Software, Hardware, Ashton Kutcher, Film, and Tv
Microsoft Exec Calls Apple Apps 'Struggling' and 'Lightweight'
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A new rivalry between Apple and Microsoft appears to be simmering now that both companies are competing for the hearts and minds of tablet consumers

A fresh volley was delivered on Wednesday when Microsoft’s corporate vice-president of communications, Frank Shaw, posted a message to the Redmond, Wash. company’s official blog

Directly referencing Apple’s announcement on Tuesday that iWork and iLife will now come free with the purchase of every new Mac or iOS device, Shaw wrote:

Since iWork has never gotten much traction, and was already priced like an afterthought, it’s hardly that surprising or significant a move. And it doesn’t change the fact that it’s much harder to get work done on a device that lacks precision input and a desktop for true side-by-side multitasking. Read more...

More about Microsoft, Software, Apple, Hardware, and Surface

October 23 2013

Apple's Backwards Business Model Upends Everything We Know
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Give away the razor handles, make money on the razor blades. That was received wisdom in business for much of the 20th century: If you hook your customers with a free or very cheap product below cost, you can charge a lot more for the necessary add-ons to that product

Videogame companies have been doing exactly that for years: sell the consoles for less than what they cost to manufacture, then offer games for $50 a pop. The whole PC ecosystem was arranged this way: laptops and desktops were as cheap as you could make them, while users spent the big bucks on their Windows, Office and other software licenses. Read more...

More about Apps, Software, Apple, Hardware, and Icloud

October 22 2013

Apple Retina iPad Mini First Look: Power and Pixels
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Following the loud and frequent requests from users and analysts alike to bump up the display quality of the iPad mini, Apple has finally introduced a Retina version of the iPad mini, and we have a hands-on video of what it looks like

Mashable’s own Lance Ulanoff takes us through a brief tour of what the new Retina version of the iPad mini has to offer in the video above

Since the new Retina iPad mini fulfills the most requested feature update, it’s likely to be an instant hit when it goes on sale. However, some may be disappointed that the iPad mini nor the iPad Air feature the fingerprint sensor already in play on the iPhone 5S. Maybe next year. Read more...

More about Apple, Hardware, Tablets, Tech, and Dev Design

September 28 2013

Linquet Ensures You'll Never Lose Your Phone or Wallet Again
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If you tend to misplace your belongings — your wallet, smartphone, laptop, or even your kid — Linquet is your new best friend

The cloud-based app is focused on preventing the loss in the first place, rather than trying to find your things once they're already missing, Linquet founder Pooya Kazerouni explained to Mashable.

After you download Linquet on your Android or iPhone, you can stick the small white tags (not much bigger than a quarter) to your computer or hook them onto a keychain. Sync the tags with your phone via Bluetooth, and you'll be able to keep tabs on any item you like. Those tags have embedded alarms that go off when you stray too far from them, and you can customize the volume and ringtone for each. An alarm will also sound on your phone, helping you locate your wallet or bag through the cloud. Read more...

More about Apps, Track, Loss, Cloud, and Hardware

September 17 2013

Control Your House From Your Smartphone With Revolv for iOS
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As futuristic as it may still sound, syncing up your home's appliances and controlling them with your mobile device is science fact, not science fiction. Several products are on the market, but a new one stands out because it not only links up your whole house, it works in unison with your existing automated systems.

In July, Revolv, a Colorado company incubated out of the startup accelerator TechStars, announced pre-sales for Smart Home Solution, which makes your entertainment system, wireless lighting, automated locks, and thermostat all accessible and controllable via your iPhone or iPad.

More about Gadgets, Home, Hardware, Internet Of Things, and Belkin

May 31 2013

U.S. Companies Can Now Sell Phones and Software to Iranians
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Many American companies have long been barred from selling a wide variety of goods and services to Iran, but communications hardware and software firms just got the go-ahead to conduct business with Iranian citizens.

Computer hardware, cellphones and chat software are all fair game under the Treasury Department's new license for American businesses issued Thursday. Everything from the Apple iPhone to WhatsApp mobile messaging software is covered by the new rules

American companies are still prohibited by the order from providing communications hardware or software to the Iranian government and from selling commercial-grade equipment to Iranians. Read more...

More about Software, Hardware, Iran, Apps Software, and Us World

May 12 2011

May 11 2011

The End Is Nigh — For Computers, at Least [INFOGRAPHIC]


When it comes to our gadgets, we live by Moore’s law, which implies that as time goes by and tech gets better, the hardware we use gets smaller and more sophisticated.

Now that we’ve whittled machines that filled whole rooms down to an MP3 player the size of a Triscuit, it’s hard to say how much smaller our devices can get — but computing is continuing to evolve.

In ten or twenty years, what we now call “computers” and how we do our computing are both guaranteed to be radically different and almost unrecognizable.

In this REM-flavored infographic (which will surely get that song solidly stuck in your head for the rest of the day) we take a look at the progression of hardware from its beginnings in research to its future in quantum theory and even our own DNA.

Click image to see full-size version.

[source: OnlineComputerScienceDegree.com

More About: computers, Hardware, infographic, moore's law

For more Tech & Gadgets coverage:


March 01 2011

Futuristic Kiosk Spits Out Cash for Recycled Electronics


Imagine stopping by your neighborhood retailer, offloading an old cell phone or laptop via an in-store kiosk and picking up cash for your device, just as you would get cash for coins through Coinstar or rent and return a RedBox DVD.

It’s a futuristic idea with tangible value that startup ecoATM is already making a reality.

ecoATM, a San Diego-based startup, has roughly 15 kiosks scattered throughout the southern California region, some at Westfield shopping malls in San Diego. These kiosks offer consumers a cash incentive to recycle their electronics.

Plop in an expired cell phone, overplayed MP3 player, no-longer-wanted video game or used-up ink cartridge, and ecoATM will determine the product, its estimated value — while factoring in damage — and make you an offer you might not be able refuse: cash in exchange for recycling your device.

It claims to offer highly competitive return rates, but its biggest value proposition may be the immediate gratification. From a consumer perspective, there’s very little reason not to use ecoATM over trying to hawk an old gadget online. The startup promises to wipe your device and spits out cash or store credit, no human contact required.

The system isn’t perfect. ecoATM eats the cost on the returned devices it can’t resell, and the process can take a few a minutes (see below) — but it is working. In one year of testing, ecoATM has recycled more than 50,000 devices, according to CMO and co-founder Mark Bowles. Bowles and team are mum on what that translates to in financial terms, nor are they willing to share how much it costs to produce each kiosk or the exact margin they make on recycled devices.

Right now, the startup is using its more than $14 million in funding to aggressively expand into more areas. Google can expect to see an ecoATM onsite in Mountain View within the next few weeks, and Microsoft’s Redmond campus already has one accepting recycled devices.

Monday, ecoATM is also upping its profile with a formal launch at DEMO’s Spring startup event in Palm Springs, California. Mashable stopped by the ecoATM station for a quick demonstration.

More About: democon, ecoATM, Hardware, Mobile 2.0, startup

For more Startups coverage:


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