December 2006

Fuzzy widebodies
Not only are Americans getting ever bigger and wider, our notebook screens do, too. According to the market research firm DisplaySearch, the 15.4-inch panel size with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels is currently by far the most popular in the US, grabbing 44.2% of the share. The Japanese are more modest, still favoring 15-inch displays with a measly 1024 x 768 resolution. Frankly, both puzzle us here at Pen Computing. After having worked with 12.1-inch 1400 x 1050 resolution on our Toshiba notebooks for years, giant low-res screens seem rather lame. -- Posted Wednesday, December 27, 2006 by chb

Motion signs up with ASUS
Motion Computing announced a manufacturing agreement with ASUSTeK, Inc., a leading provider of computers, communications and consumer electronics based in Taipei, Taiwan. ASUS will become an original design manufacturer of Motion tablet PCs and peripherals. New Motion products built by ASUS will be released beginning in 2007. This new agreement augments Motionís existing relationship with Compal Electronics based in Taiwan and China. Compal will continue as a strategic partner for Motion, including manufacturing of Motionís current award-winning product family as well as developing new Motion designs. Our take: Hmmm. Interesting, but a somewhat odd announcement. -- Posted Thursday, December 21, 2006 by chb

Top holiday picks in digital cameras:
Yes, we also review digital cameras! Our top picks this season, all carefully reviewed, are the Casio S600 and S770 if you want something sleek and sexy, the Fuji F650 with a nice zoom and huge LCD, the Samsung Pro815 with ist 15X zoom for those who want to get real close, the Olympus FE180 as an awesome low-cost deal, and the Olympus 720 SW for those who love the outdoors and water. -- Posted Sunday, December 10, 2006 by chb

Palm buys permanent Palm OS Garnett license
Palm has signed an agreement with ACCESS Systems Americas, Inc., formerly known as PalmSource, to license the source code for Palm OS Garnet which is used in several Treos and all Palm handhelds. Palm gets a perpetual license to use and innovate on the Palm OS Garnet code base and plans to ensure that Garnett applications will operate with little or no modification in future Palm products. Palm will pay ACCESS a lump sum of $44 million that eliminates continuing royalties over the coming years. [see full release] -- Posted Thursday, December 7, 2006 by chb

NEC readies new Tablet PC convertible, maybe
NEC certainly has a long history in pen, rugged and mobile systems, going all the way back to the beginning of pen computing where the NEC Versa pen convertible once played a not inconsiderable role. NEC also was among the first to embrace WindowsCE and was an innovator in that arena for several years. When Microsoft reinvented the Tablet PCs, NEC showed the impressive, ultra-thin Versa LitePad slate. And NEC Japan tantalized us with a few other rather impressive vertical market offerings along the way. Sadly, with the exception of the laudable Windows CE project, most of NEC's efforts quickly fizzled or never really made it over here at all. That may now change with the introduction of the latest NEC vertical machine, the ShieldPRO FC-N21S. Yes, it looks a lot like the Panasonic Toughbook CF-18 that's been around for four years or so, and at first look, the specs aren't that impressive. Core Solo chip, 10.6 x 10.1 x 1.9 inch body to accommodate a 12.1-inch screen, 5.5 pounds, IP54 rating. We'll see, but it's good to know NEC hasn't given up. -- Posted Wednesday, December 6, 2006 by chb