Android 4.0, quaintly known as “Ice Cream Sandwich,” is dropping any day now—probably before mid-December—and both tablet and smartphone fans are salivating for it.
Ice Cream Sandwich will at last unify the heavily fragmented Android OS world—one for smartphones and one for tablets—into a single OS, much the way Apple’s iOS is managed. That means just about every new Android device should be “4.0-ready” when it ships, and many existing devices will be upgradeable to the new OS, too.
Aside from the convergence, here’s what else is new and exciting in 4.0:Read more »
If you’ve shopped for a new computer or new hard drive recently, you’re probably aware of considerable buzz about a relatively new class of storage called SSDs.
SSD stands for “solid-state drive.” In a nutshell, it’s a hard drive with no moving parts. Much like a USB thumbdrive lets you store files quickly, silently, and portably, an SSD stores data without relying on the complex trappings of the traditional, spinning-platter hard drive.
SSDs operate in essentially the same fashion as those pocket thumb drives, relying on memory chips (in recent years, chips using what’s known as NAND technology have become the standard) to store data. This is extremely efficient, and it’s what gives SSDs their biggest advantage over spinning hard disks: Because they don’t rely on mechanical components and are purely electronic in nature, they are much faster, operate without noise or significant heat, and are more reliable, since they are far less susceptible to damage from jostles and drops. Even a slight bump can cause the read/write head of a spinning hard drive to slam into the platter it’s hovering above—an occurrence that was once so common it spawned the term “crash.”Read more »
If the rumors are correct, Windows 8 will arrive in time for the holidays next year — and when it does we’ll be looking at a whole new way of working with our computers. Some are calling Windows 8 the most revolutionary PC operating system yet, and if it catches on, we’ll probably never look back.
Here are the five most interesting things you need to know about Windows 8 — so far, anyway
1. The Interface Is Everything. Microsoft has unapologetically looked to smartphones and tablets for its newest UI, and the results are at first jarring. The default interface is called “Metro,” and the row of rectangular icons in lieu of the usual menu may think you’ve stepped into your Android handset. When locked, your computer will show you how many email messages you’ve received, what calendar events are coming up, and, of course, the time and date. Don’t like Metro? The old Win7 interface is still there behind the scenes as a fallback.Read more »
Back in the old days – you know, the ’90s – you got one way to connect your computer to a monitor. It was called VGA, and you liked it. Sure, the pins would bend and break off, the little thumbscrews that kept the plug from falling out were impossible to deal with, and the quality was barely above that of your VCR. But you knew that it was going to work, since every computer and every monitor supported it.
Then came digital, and everything changed. First there was DVI (in a variety of plug designs), with its bulky and equally fragile connectors. Then the rise of HDTV brought yet another option: HDMI, and thanks in part to its slim connector and its ability to carry audio along with the video signal, it caught on fast. But a couple of years ago arose another digital connector option – DisplayPort – which also appears to have legs.
HDMI and DisplayPort: What’s the big difference? And which one are you likely to be using in 2012 and beyond?Read more »
If you’ve ever connected a media player to your laptop to sync up a few gigabytes of music and movies, only to spend the next eight hours waiting … waiting … waiting for the job to complete, you’re the number one candidate for USB 3.0.
USB 3.0, as the name implies, is the third major version of the USB standard, perhaps the most successful, universally-adopted connector format in the history of computing.
USB is beloved for its simplicity, its ability to charge battery-powered electronics connected through it, and phenomenal availability among thousands of devices – not just computer peripherals but also consumer electronics galore.Read more »