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1/ Thin is in

June  started off with the good news that chip sales in March are up 6.4% from February (Up US$15.6 billion from US$14.7billion) and looks to have a bright future in the months ahead, especially with news that Intel and AMD are going head-to-head for the CULV (Consumer Ultra Low Voltage) market.

In conjunction with Computex, Intel today announced a new ultra-low-voltage (ULV) processor (given the part number SU2700), along with three new Core 2 Duo mobile processors and a new low-power mobile chipset. The SU2700 chip would enable Intel’s customers to create laptop entrants to create more thin and fashionable televisions, media players and smartphones — and cost less.  ‘Thin is in’ has finally caught up to computers,” said Uday Marty, Intel’s director of product marketing in the company’s Mobile Platforms Group, adding that “very thin, very light systems are now going to be available worldwide for consumers [at] price points for you and me and people we know.”

So buyers could expect the “full PC experience” at prices ranging from US$499 (RM1,800) to US$1,200 (RM4320) — more affordable price points than the MacBook Air’s $1,799 (RM6,500) and Dell Adamo $1,999 (RM7,200).

But wait! Hot on the heels of Intel’s announcement was AMD’s response, which didn’t come in the form of a lawsuit. The Intel rival announced that its dual-core Athlon Neo — also aimed at the CULV market — was now available in bulk. The company has yet to release the specifications of the dual-core chip, codenamed ‘Conesus’, but The Register has speculated that it would have a higher clock frequency than 1.6GHz and integrates the company’s Radeon 3200 core, which is an improvement over the Radeon 1200 graphics processing unit (GPU) incorporated in previous Neo-oriented parts.

2/ 10-22: Win7’s release day

If that wasn’t enough buoyant news for the tech sector to float on, Microsoft today announced that the much-anticipated Windows 7 would be due out on October 22 — well before its initial projected 2010 release date — in the hopes of catching the Christmas shopping wave. Seeing the pent-up demand for something better than Vista, Win7 looks to be a big hit. The OS has garnered good reviews with following the RC’s release on April 30, 2009 and it could well be Microsoft’s finest product yet. Writes MarketWatch columnist John C. Dvorak:

I believe that Windows 7 will be a blockbuster. It has all the earmarks, including excellent prerelease buzz. Vista did not have good prerelease buzz and suffered in the marketplace as a consequence.

An on-time rollout of a glitchless Windows 7 should ignite personal-computer sales at the end of the year, and boost the business deep into 2010 and beyond.

Optimistic much? Microsoft definitely is.

3/ Binging for Porn

Microsoft’s new “decision engine”, Bing, may be getting good reviews, but it’s the bad news — especially those that involves porn — that gets the publicity. Shortly after Bing’s launch, Seesmic founder Loic Le Meur discovered that the service can be used to surf for porn without visiting the site itself. As Loic describes it: “Now try sex in bing, deactivate safe search and go to video. You are now on a porn site without leaving bing. Amazing. No I won’t link or publish a screenshot, you have to try for yourselves!”

We do not recommend that you do this if you’re reading this story in the office.

4/ Fast thinking

Even though Firefox 3.5 —  “more than twice as fast as Firefox 3 and 10 times as fast as Firefox 2”, so claims Mozilla — is not even is out yet (it’s due out in mid-June, following news of the delayed release of its RC1), plans are afoot for Firefox 3.6, codenamed Namoroka. According to Slashweb, the new version would have increased performance in startup time, opening a new tabs, and responsiveness with the user inferface. It would also emphasise on more support for web-based applications, allowing users to save a page as a web app and improve the user interface for sending files to websites.

5/ Advertising is so 2008. Facebook wants to be a payment system in 2009.

Now try sex in bing, deactivate safe search and go to video. You are now on a porn site without leaving bing. Amazing. No I won’t link or publish a screenshot, you have to try for yourselves!

Forget Beacon and social marketing. According to TechCrunchFacebook, in its ambitious plan to have a year-on-year revenue increase of 70%, is aiming to become the Web’s new currency in testing out a new payment system developed by GroupCard. According to the article, spending $2.99 would get you 30 Facebook Credits, or roughly 10 credits for a dollar, which you could then use at vendors that accept Facebook Credits. This way, says FastCompany’s Chris Dannen , Facebook would act as a go-between for users and merchants, and charge a small fee for hosting the transaction.

groupcard(A screenshot of GroupCard’s interface, courtesy of TechCrunch)

However, writes Dannen, Facebook is stepping into a dangerous territory with this latest move. “With Facebook Credits having different exchange rates all over the world, users will be able to hedge currencies, gain currency advantages, and buy and sell according to the currency markets,” Dannen writes. “Should Facebook Credits gain real gravity and the marketplace expand to real goods and services, there will be money to be made. But by making itself a marketplace and an issuer of scrip, Facebook may have invited a more complex economy than it ever intended.”

He also adds that given the number of worms and phishing schemes that have proliferated on Facebook before (Koobface, for example), heavy resources need to be devoted to beefing up the security. “PayPal manages over 70 million active accounts, and safeguards the financial information for another 100+ million inactive ones. With 200 million users of its own, Facebook is going to need an internal PayPal of its own, and that’s a hard department to conjure from scratch.”

Is another flop ala Beacon brewing?


Written by John Lim

June 3, 2009 at 7:59 pm

Posted in New Media

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