The Google Chromebook is Almost Here

Google Chrome LogoA couple of weeks ago I posted a blurb on the LaptopMD Facebook Page sharing with you Google’s announcement of their newly announced Chromebook.  As you may remember, in February I previewed a pre-release Google laptop that I received and had an opportunity to ‘play’ with.

You can read the summary of the announcement on PCWorld but here are some important details regarding the recently announced Google Chromebook:

Availability: June 15th – You will be able to place orders through Amazon, BestBuy, and other retailers

Pricing: Google will offer two tiers of pricing.  You will be able to buy and own a Chromebook starting at $349.  However, students and educators can subscribe to the Google Chromebook (as a service) for $20 per month and businesses will be able to take advantage of a similar subscription service for $28 per month.

What You Get: Untethered online access to web applications and more including Google’s growing cadre of services including the forthcoming Google Music service.

Tech Specs: 6 to 8 hour battery life, integrated WiFi on all models with 3G connectivity available on select models (up to 100MB free with additional bandwidth available from Verizon Wireless), HD Webcam, 2 USB Ports, and more.  View additional tech specs for the Samsung and Acer models recently announced.

The Google Chromebook is an exciting realization of “living in the cloud” and cloud computing as I talked about in my earlier post.  Be sure to check the Google Chrome website, as well as this blog in the future, for more information about the Google Chromebook!

What’s your reaction to the Google Chromebook – will you be buying one?  Tell us in the comments.

iPad2: You’ll Still Buy It, You Just Won’t Know Why

The iPad2: Just like the iPad 1 only a little thinner and a little fasterIt seems fitting that on Pi day (March 14th, or 3/14: named for the irrational number π which loosely translates to 3.14159 and goes on forever from there), the geekiest unofficial holiday of the year, we are taking a look at the iPad 2, the least geeky gadget ever made. Released 3 days ago on March 11th, the iPad 2 is…well, the 2nd iteration of the iPad, and that pretty much tells you everything you need to know. I’m sure there will be people who decry this lack of enthusiasm, but and wax eloquently about how the few, subtle changes Apple made render this a new device, the deus ex machina of tablets, infinitely superior to everything that came before (See this review in the NYT for an example). These are probably the people still clutching their Newtons and praising the devices as strokes of genius ahead of their time. But enough of that, let’s see what’s in store for millions of consumers who rush to pick one of these up.

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AirPhone No 4: Counterfeit iPhone Spotted

This is not a real iPhone
This is NOT a real iPhone

It used to be fake Oakley sunglasses, or Foakleys as they were commonly called. Then came the knock-off Louis Vouiton, Prada, and Coach bags. Now, we at LaptopMD+ have captured the next level of counterfeits being peddled on Craigslist, Ebay, and in shady shops along Canal St.: The counterfeit iPhone4.

It’s not a new problem by any means. In fact since the very first iPhone came out, eBay has had their work cut out for them trying to single out and shut down counterfeit operations. Those early fakes were obvious, and anyone who received one knew right away that what they paid for was not an authentic Apple product. But the counterfeiters, many working with factories in China, many employing the same people that were former employees of the very factories that Apple itself uses to make iPhone components, have learned and improved. We recently had a counterfeit iPhone 4 cross our desks, and even our techs had difficulty telling it apart from the real thing on first sight.

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The Verizon iPhone Revisited: Survey Says…Maybe

Well, while everyone is still in a frenzy over the announcement Tuesday that Verizon is finally getting the iPhone, we thought we’d take a look at the benefits of getting one.New Verizon iPhone 4 to be released Feb 10Prompted by Gizmodo taking the lead on questioning the wisdom of running out on February 10th to snatch up one of the Verizon iPhones, we decided to look into it a little further, and here’s what we found:

The biggest two drawbacks that have been circulating and percolating on the ‘net is that the iPhone 4 is already almost a year old, and will be old and dated by the time that Apple gives their routine annual announcement of a new, improved, super-sexy and desirable iPhone in early June, only 5 months after Verizon gets iPhones into customers’ hands. The other point of contention is the choice of the CDMA chipset, infamous in phone-tech circles for not allowing data and voice packets through at the same time. Put simply, you can’t call someone and check your email simultaneously. Both of these arguments sound valid, except they aren’t. Not completely, anyway.

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iPhone 4 for Verizon Wireless is here!

After years of speculation and rumors, Verizon Wireless(VZW) COO Lowel McAdams joined his CEO Dan Mead and Apple COO Tim Cook on stage at the Lincoln Center Tuesday morning to announce that the wait is finally over. The iPhone 4 for Verizon is real, and it will be falling into customers’s hands as early as Feb. 3rd for existing VZW (Feb. 10th for the rest of us).

Verizon finally has the iPhone 4The gathered captains of industry spoke at length about Verizon’s network upgrades and planned changes, but it was obvious everyone only cared about one thing: What is the Verizon iPhone 4 going to be like?

Well, for starters, and much to the disappointment of millions, the phone is based around the CDMA chip-set. The chip, which is being phased out by Verizon for the new LTE 4G standard, is notorious for not allowing data and voice to be used simultaneously. That means if you’re using your phone as a navigation device and a call comes through, you’re temporarily out of luck and either have to wing it until your call ends or pull over lest you drive off a cliff.

On the plus side, not only is the CDMA issue scheduled to be corrected later this spring, but the Verizon iPhone has built-in mobile wi-fi capability. That means you’ll be able to use the phone as a portable hot-spot for up to 5 devices, something AT&T is doing their hardest to prevent on their devices. You also get access to Verizon’s unlimited data plan. It’s slightly pricier than AT&Ts plan, but doesn’t cap data transfer at 2 gigabytes per month.

The last major news is that Verizon is still not releasing the white iPhone 4, and remains mum on the exact date that it will be available, saying only that it will come out “later this spring”. Lucky for you, I happen to know a great place that will take your plain, boring, black iPhone4 and turn it white. So until Apple get’s moving on that, stop by and we’ll give your new Verizon iPhone4 a makeover before any of your friends get one.

‘Last Minute’ Holiday 2010 Tech Gift Ideas

Are you among the crowded field of shoppers who leave their holiday shopping to the last minute?  If you are, here are a few ideas for last minute gifts and stocking stuffers for the techie on your shopping list.  Additionally, be sure to check out the Holiday Gift Guide our tech gurus here at LaptopMD put together last month for more ideas and tips for tech related gear this holiday season.

Do these help you fill that last minute gift need?  Let us know in the comments how we can help and let us know any questions that you might have.

Samsung Galaxy S Series Smartphone
Samsung Fascinate (Galaxy S Series) by Verizon

Smartphones

Last month we gave you some good gift ideas for smartphones but we neglected to mention other popular phones.  Sprint’s EVO 4G is the first 4G android phone and is loaded with the best features including HDMI, as well as the latest Android OperatingSystem, version 2.2.  The EVO 4G is priced at $200 with a new contract form Sprint.

The Samsung Galaxy S series smartphone is considered by many to be one of the best Android phones on the market.  With its crystal clear display, this phone definitely ‘wows’ when you pick it up in your hand.  The Galaxy S series is available on all of the wireless networks, including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile in different varieties.  Pricing for the Samsung Galaxy S starts at around $200 with a new contract.

Portable/Wireless Charging Devices

Duracell myGrid Portable Electronics Charger
Duracell myGrid iPhone Charger

The latest craze in technology this holiday season appears to be devices that charge your portable electronics either wirelessly or on the go.  Duracell’s USB ‘Pocket Charger’ can charge your iPhone, iPod, smartphone or other device for around $25.  The Duracell myGrid allows you to wirelessly charge your device when you place it on the mat.  Just put your device in a sleeve and then on the mat and it will charge wirelessly without the clutter of cords. Duracell’s myGrid retails for between $60 and $70 depending on the model.  Similarly, the PowerMat, retails between $50 and $80 and allows a user to put your electronic device in a case and charge wirelessly as you need.

Mobile HotSpots

Portable Wi-Fi hotspots are all the rage with ClearWire and other internet/cable providers joining the crowded market of cell phone companies who already offer these devices.  ClearWire’s iSpot offers 4G coverage in selected metro areas across the country for only $25 per month.  Verizon’s MiFi device is currently free when you commit to a 1 or 2 year contract with plan prices beginning at $35.  Inquire with your preferred wireless carrier or internet provider for their mobile hotspot offerings.

Logitech Harmony 1100 Universal Remote

Logitech Harmony Remotes

If you’re attempting to buy for the man in your life, a Logitech Harmony Remote may be the way to go.  Logitech Harmony remotes are cool ‘toys’ that add a level of novelty and excitement to the universal remote with their interactive displays as well as other features.  These interactive remotes start at $100, available at most electronics retailers, and make great stocking stuffers.

Logitech Webcam C250

Webcams

Webcams also make great stocking stuffers with most retailing for under $60, depending on the quality of camera you are looking for.  If you’re looking for a no-frills webcam you can expect to spend around $30 to $40.  We recommend Logitech webcams, which are among the best and most reasonably priced in the industry.  You can find webcams online or at any retailer who sells electronic devices.

Holiday Gift Ideas from LaptopMD

LaptopMD Holiday Gift GuideEvery year our technician gurus here at LaptopMD like to share the knowledge and insights that they’ve gained throughout the year with our customers to help you make smarter holiday tech purchases.  Buying gifts related to technology can be intimidating especially if you’re buying for someone already savvy in technology or if you are unaware of the various options and brands available.  Use our holiday shopping ideas that we’ve put together to help you with your gift buying this season and relieve some of the holiday stress!

We provide gift ideas for every type of computer user in your house: students, professionals, and normal everyday users. Our list covers Mac and PC laptops, as well as netbooks. We look at the latest in cellphone/smartphone technology and help you determine whether or not you should buy an Android phone or an iPhone as a gift. Additionally, our guide looks at software titles suited for every type of computer user.  Let us know what you think in the comments and if you have any questions regarding your holiday tech purchases.

Laptops

The laptop market is full of options when considering which one to buy.  You may ask yourself questions like these when you go to make a purchase:

  • What’s the difference between a netbook and a laptop?
  • What features should I focus on?
  • Mac or PC, which one provides the better deal?

Use our holiday shopping guide as a tool to sort through the various options you are bound to come across.

Choose the Right One

There are many options out there and the number of choices can be daunting for anyone, including those who work with computers for a living!  To help simplify the laptop buying process, we have come to trust the guides put together PC World Magazine.  PC World’s guides provide the comprehensive help that you’re looking for.  There are several comparison guides online and we’ve included links to our favorite guides throughout this post.

When using these guides and buying a laptop, be sure to take into account the following considerations:

  • Speed
  • Battery life
  • Functionality and Features
  • Durability
  • The End User

Some laptops are good for students but not functional for professionals.  Knowing who you are buying for and what they want will help you frame your decision and make everybody happy.

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