Stories by Jason Cross

Windows 8 will take laptop touchpads to the next level

If you've used a Windows 7 laptop with a "multitouch" touchpad, you've likely been a little disappointed to see that it offers only a few gestures: pinch to zoom, twist to rotate, two-finger scrolling, maybe three-finger swiping. The functionality is handy, but it's a long way from having a touchpad that behaves like a little multitouch touchscreen.

Windows 8 also has tools for power users

Microsoft has spent so much time at the BUILD conference this week talking about how Windows 8 will operate like a tablet OS that you might feel left out if you plan to continue working on a desktop or laptop. But whether you're an IT manager, PC enthusiast, or professional just trying to get some work done, Windows 8 will have enough new features to make it worth your interest.

Windows 8: What we hope to learn

We already know a lot about Windows 8. We know it’ll have a new, touch-focused interface and application framework for tablets and touchscreen PCs. We know it will still have a traditional desktop, with enhancements to Explorer (among other features). It will have versions that run natively on ARM-based CPUs in addition to the x86 architectures we’re used to. It will integrate USB 3.0 support and cloud services.

AMD CEO Dirk Meyer Resigns

Dirk Meyer, CEO and president of AMD, has resigned effectively immediately. AMD's Board of Directors has announced that Senior Vice President and CFO Thomas Seifert will replace him as interim CEO.

Samsung introduces new 9 series thin and light laptop

What's a Windows user to do if they covet Apple's super-slim new Macbook Air? You could always buy the Apple product, install Boot Camp and your own copy of Windows...or you could wait for Samsung's sleek new 9 Series ultraportable laptop.

Acer Announces Laptops With New CPUs from Intel and AMD

Coinciding with the launch of Intel's new 2nd Generation Core processors, AMD's Fusion processors, and the 2011 CES, Acer is unveiling a string of new laptops aimed at enthusiasts and gamers. The Aspire 5750, 5750G, and 7750G are available with Intel's new Core i7 2630QM mobile quad-core processor and plenty of other advanced options. The Aspire 5253, on the other hand, uses AMD's new dual-core E-350 CPU. It's not nearly as fast as Intel's new processors, but it promises longer battery life, better integrated graphics, and lower cost for the budget conscious.

Asus unveils three tablets and a slate

At CES 2011 today, Asus announced three new Android tablets and a Windows 7 based slate PC. The tablets, all Android-based, go by the moniker "Eee Pad" while the Windows 7 device is called an "Eee Slate." Each one offers some unique features, from stylus input options to sliding keyboards or docking stations. Unfortunately, we don't yet have exact shipping dates or prices for the Android tablets, and the Eee Slate looks to be fairly pricey.

AMD finally ships Fusion processors

AMD has been talking about Fusion for years now. Over time, the term has sort of morphed from referring to specific future products to a general marketing catch-all designed to help people think of the CPU and GPU (graphics processing unit) as the same thing.

Windows 7 tablets are a terrible idea

I keep hearing about Windows tablets. Steve Ballmer got up on stage with an HP slate at last year's CES, and nobody was particularly impressed. Now we're hearing rumors that he'll give it another shot this year, perhaps even revealing a bit about Windows 8 (I don't think that's likely, given that we don't expect Windows 8 to be released for almost two years). Redmond, if you're listening: stop it. Windows on tablets is a terrible, terrible idea.

Making sense of laptop specifications

If someone on your gift list wants a laptop, the first thing you need to do is figure out which category of laptop best suits the recipient's needs. Once you've done that, it's time to examine the specifications. You'll have to choose from among a host of options for the processor, RAM, graphics, display, and other features. Deciding what is necessary and what the user can live without is difficult, but it's essential to selecting a laptop your gift recipient will love at a price you can afford. If you don't understand the specs, you could save money but miss out on desired features and performance, or you could spend too much for things that the recipient doesn't really need. (And before you commit to a laptop, see our list of handy shopping tips.)

Sony’s VAIO VPCEA22FX laptop

Sony targets the everyman with its VAIO EA series of all-purpose laptops. They're affordable, medium-size, general-purpose workhorses with a variety of customization options. Available in a swath of colors and configurations, the EA series is neither slim and sexy nor bulky and heavy. It's as close to the middle of the road as you're likely to get from Sony.

Does the iPhone 4 really have a 'Retina Display'?

Dr. Raymond Soneira runs DisplayMate Technologies, which makes software to test display quality. He also knows more about digital displays than just about anyone I know - and I know some pretty tech-savvy folks.

Alienware M11x gets Core i5, i7 upgrade, Nvidia Optimus tech

Few gaming laptops have charmed us as much as the Alienware M11x. It's a bit bulky compared to other 11.6-inch ultraportable notebooks, but absolutely tiny compared to most laptops designed for gaming. It's overclocked Core 2 Duo SU7300 processor and GeForce 335M mobile graphics chip give it the muscle needed to truly play all the latest games at high settings. With most notebooks that size, you have to turn the settings down pretty far to get decent performance. The big eight-cell prismatic battery gives it over 7 hours of working time in our tests, as long as you flip the switchable graphics over to the Intel integrated GPU.

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