dell

Chris Nuttall

The MacBook Air finally has some serious competition with the first of the new Ultrabook laptops being launched here at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin.

After Toshiba unveiled what it claimed was the world’s thinnest and lightest 13.3in laptop on Thursday – the Portege Z830 - Acer followed up on Friday with the Aspire S3, which boasts 1.5 seconds start-up time from a sleep state that can last 50 days on its long-life battery. 

Facebook unveiled the design of its custom-built data centre and servers on Thursday, and promised to share the blueprints with the world, hoping its energy-efficient design would be copied by many others.

Innovations like a cooling system that uses no air conditioning and simplified servers have increased Facebook’s energy efficiency by 38 per cent, compared to conventional leased servers, and decreased costs by 24 per cent. 

Joseph Menn

An unscientific survey of employees at major US technology companies found that only 50 per cent of Yahoo workers approved of chief executive Carol Bartz’ leadership during the past year, down from 77 per cent as she got started. 

Chris Nuttall

A new Dell tablet with an innovative swivel-screen that turns it into a netbook grabbed all the attention at Intel’s developer forum on Tuesday.

But smartphones running the chipmaker’s Atom processor were notable in their absence again, suggesting Intel is making heavy weather of breaking into the key mobile handset industry. 

Joseph Menn

Dell on Tuesday began selling its first US smartphone, a model using an older version of Google’s Android operating system and seen as a lower-end entry that will be followed by more sophisticated models.

The Dell Aero joins a throng of competitors, even among Android phones, which now collectively outsell Apple’s iPhone. 

Joseph Menn

A second credible Taiwanese publication has weighed in with a report that Apple will introduce a 7″-screen iPad mini for the winter holidays.

The Chinese-language account in Economic Daily News, summarised by IDG here, follows a similar DigiTimes article and names multiple suppliers said to have won contracts, though they declined to comment themselves. 

Paul Taylor

It seems you can have it all with laptops these days – thin and light notebooks that are equally light on the wallet and offer long battery life as well.

In this week’s Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section, we look at the new, more affordable Portégé range from Toshiba and how it shapes up against offerings from Apple, Dell and Lenovo. 

As the spate of suicides continues at Foxconn, the Taiwanese company that manufactures electronics for the likes of Apple and Dell, David Pilling examines the darker crevices of China’s factory system.

Many factories treat their employees as fodder, refusing to employ people because they are too short, too ugly, too old – 30 is over-the-hill – or simply come from the “wrong” province. They rush through orders, even if that means workers are not properly trained on machines that can – and sometimes do – slice off a finger. They demand employees work long hours, though most are only too happy to do so because of the overtime pay they receive. They often keep back a month of pay, lest their workers find a boyfriend, or a better job, in another factory. 

Chris Nuttall

Touch is becoming a common feature on netbooks, with HP launching its first touch-enabled netbook  a day after Lenovo announced its own entry  at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The HP Mini 5102 has a capacitive touchscreen option , like the iPhone’s, but it may be a little used feature at first , with few applications able to take advantage of the display’s capabilities. 

Chris Nuttall

Consumer demand for portable PCs that can turn on as a fast as a phone is likely to be satisfied by the netbook and smartbook categories in 2010 , but Dell is looking out for small and medium businesses who still prefer notebooks.

Its latest Latitude models targetting this market – the E4200 and E4300 – haveLatitude ON technology,  which was first introduced in September on the higher end Latitude Z  aimed at the enterprise.