Jenkins: Netbooks get turbo boost, become cost-effective

Jenkins: Netbooks get turbo boost, become cost-effective

January 8th, 2010 by Donnie Jenkins in Blogstechcast

Netbooks -- those small devices that are actually underpowered laptops -- make me yawn. My reasoning on this has always been that for the same money, you could buy a good used laptop with power to spare.

A recent article on zdnet.com revealed that Intel has announced a more powerful version of the Atom chip that powers so many of these units. The news is making me rethink my position.

Also the ULV or ultra-low voltage specification being announced by several netbook makers promises to beat the Atom processor in power and battery life, the missing link in netbooks and laptops alike.

It's been said many times that some announcements create more heat than light, but it looks as if the persistent rumor of an Apple Tablet PC will not go away, regardless of how premature it may be. Apparently, Apple will host a large event on Jan. 27 to make some important announcements, and dozens of online sites are convinced it will be news of the long-awaited Apple Tablet PC.

I would love to see this happen, as Apple always brings something new to the table. I am always a bit reluctant to assume anything about this company, as many reviewers have eaten crow along with their published words trying to predict what the company will do next.

If they do release such a device, at least we can stop worrying about the health of many online pundits who seem a bit overwrought on this subject.

Techcrunch.com recently reported that Google is in talks with music service provider Spotify. Extremely popular in Europe, this service provides a music streaming experience that many consider the best ever done. They have been slow to come to the United States primarily due to licensing difficulties with the music content owners here, not an unusual situation.

It's reportedly likely that Google is interested in Spotify's highly rated Android mobile phone application, among other things. Google's Android mobile-phone operating system is one of the first mobile-phone offerings that seem to offer any really promising alternative to the Apple iPhone, and it is gaining ground fast.

Pay as you go

Speaking of the Apple iPhone, one of the most promising technologies to enhance its use is mobile-payment technology. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey has introduced a service called Square that allows an iPhone to accept credit-card payments quickly and effortlessly. It is not the first such program, but it does seem to have a future. As writer Nick Bilton for The New York Times put it, processing his payment for a demo of the device was impressive, simple and fast.

A new service called Synchtube hopes to bring a bit of social-media interaction to the video experience. This service allows a user to invite three other people to a "room" where all can watch the video together at the same time, more or less. Each user has the option of chatting via texting on-screen, and the person who created the session can watch exactly what part of the video each person is seeing and move the timeline to wherever he wants the group to go.

Cnet.com reports that the service worked well at times but did have some glitches, as might be expected. One user's video in a group test stopped playing completely, and another could not reload the page after an error occurred.