10/23/2009

Acer goes deep with 3-D laptop for gaming, movies

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Acer Aspire 5738DG-6165 has a 15.6-inch screen that, with the help of special glasses, appears to take on depth if used with the right games or movies.

It’s not the first laptop with a 3-D screen. Sharp Corp. introduced one in 2003. It worked without glasses, but the viewer had to be somewhat careful to keep his head in the right place for the 3-D effect to work. The screen worked similarly to 3-D postcards - the kind with the ribbed plastic layer - but looked more convincing. Like Acer’s model, the 3-D effect could be turned off with a button.

Sharp’s model cost $3,300 and was aimed at engineers and other professionals who might be helped by being able to show objects in 3-D. Acer’s laptop costs just $780, barely more than a comparable, normal laptop.

Windows 7 doesn’t have special features for 3-D screens, so Acer will ship the computer with special movie player software. Finding movies to play on it won’t be easy, however - there’s no real consumer distribution system for the new 3-D movies that are shown in theaters, such as “Monsters vs Aliens.”

News Corp. exec sees Hulu charging fees for access

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Hulu, the free online video site where television shows and movies can be watched in their entirety, will start charging fees at some point, one of its owners said.

Hulu has struggled to make money despite its popularity as an ad-supported site. News Corp., which co-owns the site with NBC Universal, Walt Disney Co. and Providence Equity Partners, said it hasn’t decided what form the subscription model would take.

Chase Carey, News Corp.’s president and chief operating officer, said at a conference in New York on Wednesday that subscription fees could come as early as 2010.

Microsoft, Google seal Twitter search deals

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp and Google Inc secured separate agreements to access real-time content from Web phenomenon Twitter, intensifying their battle for a search market that Google dominates.

Google, and Microsoft’s 5-month-old Bing, each announced deals to access Twitter’s store of public data in real time on Wednesday, in the latest sign of escalating competition between the two search engines.

The long-expected deals are expected to ramp up the efficacy and lure of search results, by allowing users to scan real-time Tweets: 140-character stream-of-consciousness messages that Twitter hosts on its popular website.

The back-to-back announcements underscored how real-time data in search results is shaping up to be a pivotal battleground in the search arena.

Microsoft launches Windows 7

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp launched Windows 7 on Thursday, its most important release in more than a decade, aiming to win back customers disappointed by Vista and strengthen its grip on the PC market.

The world’s largest software company, which powers more than 90 percent of personal computers, has received good reviews for the new operating system, which it hopes will grab back the impetus in new technology from rivals Apple Inc and Google Inc.

“They met expectations but that was pretty much it,” said Michael Gartenberg, a long-time Microsoft analyst at market research firm Interpret after a launch event in New York. “They showed off some very cool things, but now they have to keep the momentum going.”

The new system — which is faster, less cluttered and has new touch-screen features — comes almost three years after the launch of Vista, whose complexity frustrated many home users and turned off business customers.

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