Author Archives: Joanna Stern

Joanna Stern is a freelance technology writer. Her work has appeared in LAPTOP Magazine, Gizmodo and the Huffington Post. Follow her on Twitter @joannastern. Views expressed here are her own.

Give A Little Bit… Of Tech

Give A Little Bit… Of Tech

“Wow! So you just pull two fingers apart on the screen to zoom in on the site?” This was my mother’s reaction last week to seeing the power of pinch-to-zoom on her new iPhone 3GS. Yes, just last week my mother, a successful business woman but a technophobe at heart, discovered that the iPhone has a little thing called multitouch! You know, that small feature that made Apple’s first phone go down in cellphone history.  And her amazement didn’t stop there; she was blown away by every phone feature from the Notes application’s “cute” handwriting font to the “cool” animation of the trash can that sucks down messages like a “garbage disposal.”

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Chrome OS: Waiting Is The Hardest Part…Though Necessary

Chrome OS: Waiting Is The Hardest Part…Though Necessary

Google has more than emphasized that its Chrome operating system will be super speedy; it will boot in only seven seconds and surfing the web will be just be quicker. The irony is that you will actually have to wait for Google’s OS to arrive and for a pretty long time in the technology world.  After giving a preview yesterday of what is in store from the Internet giant’s computing platform, Google’s Sundar Pichai said that they are “a year away” from releasing products with the operating system. Yep, we are going to be waiting for a solid 365 days!

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Can Anything Replace Windows XP As the Best Netbook Operating System?

Can Anything Replace Windows XP As the Best Netbook Operating System?

As someone who has been running Windows XP as a primary operating system for the past eight years and has seen more netbooks with the dated OS in the last year or so, I was probably more excited about the arrival of Windows 7 than Twilight fans are about the upcoming release of the vampire packed New Moon movie. However, the last two netbooks I have gotten my hands on run the lower-end and feature-missing Windows 7 Starter edition. Although it pains me to admit it, I miss the rolling green mountains and blue skies of Windows XP.

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Hey, Premium Notebooks or Netbooks, Get the Basics Right!

Hey, Premium Notebooks or Netbooks, Get the Basics Right!

I wrote this column on the Nokia Booklet 3G which is, in my opinion, the most luxurious looking netbook on the market. And for its $600 ($299 with a pretty expensive 2 year AT&T contract) it sure as heck should be. The aluminum unibody design feels as solid as a freshly pumped up tire, and its brushed metal palm rest isn't only minimalistic but is also smooth on the hands. The plastic coated keys are soft to the touch and the higher 1280 by 720 resolution screen is sweet on the eyes. And don't forget the built in AT&T 3G that kept me connected as I wrote in different coffee shops around New York City.

Aesthetically the Booklet has got the goods, but performance wise not so much.  While  using the Booklet for the last week or so I had to get used to the netbook taking at least a minute to boot up Windows 7 Starter (thanks to its slow 4,200 rpm hard drive), and  stalling at times when trying to open an application or simply loading a Flash video (thanks to its sluggish Atom Z530 processor). The Booklet 3G is like the stereotypical blonde -- pretty but slow.

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Don’t Do It Dell: Think Tablets, Not MIDs

Don’t Do It Dell: Think Tablets, Not MIDs

It looks like Dell is planning to release a mobile internet device, or a MID. The details are few and far between but the product—code-named Streak—looks like it packs Wi-Fi, 3G and Android 2.0 all into one. It is exactly what Intel has been calling a mobile internet device for the past few years: larger than a smartphone, primarily for accessing the Net, and featuring multimedia and even GPS functionality. The Archos 5 Internet Tablet and the leaked video of the Dell device gives us a better glimpse of what is to come and what it can do. Ironically (and you will see why later), when I watched the video I immediately thought: ah, so Dell wants to make an iPhone with a larger 5-inch screen!

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Dell Adamo XPS: Hands-On Impressions with Video Demo

Dell Adamo XPS: Hands-On Impressions with Video Demo

We've seen it teased and we've seen the first photos, but today Dell is finally giving us the skinny (pun intended) on the thinnest notebook ever – the Dell Adamo XPS. The 9.99 mm thin notebook, which will be shipping in time for the holidays, will inevitably be compared to Apple’s Macbook Air and no doubt it is thinner, but the starting $1,800 price tag won't make it cheaper.

After the cut: Dell Adamo XPS hands-on impressions, gallery, and video

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Enough Already with the Subsidized Netbooks!

Enough Already with the Subsidized Netbooks!

With the holidays fast approaching cell phone carriers are stocking up on inventory and amongst the new Motorola DROIDs, HTC Heroes, and Palm Pixies are a slightly larger, yet unfamiliar crop of devices – netbooks. AT&T is all giddy about its exclusive availability of the Nokia Booklet 3G and Sprint announced just yesterday that it will be selling the Dell Inspiron Mini 10V. Verizon already has three netbooks in its arsenal, including HP’s new powerful Mini 311. Clearly, lining up the selection isn’t a problem, but what the carriers haven’t figured out yet is that selling netbooks requires a totally different approach than selling phones. The deals and the subsidized model, in my mind, make as much sense for netbooks as building and then plowing a virtual Farmville farm!

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Not Just Another Best Buy, Microsoft’s Stores Are Long Overdue

Not Just Another Best Buy, Microsoft’s Stores Are Long Overdue

Some people go to the park or Starbucks to people watch, I prefer an outing to Best Buy. I love checking out all the newest gadgets and tech under one roof (more than I should even let on), but I often get distracted by watching people who seem totally confused about which PC to buy. More often than not, I see them peruse the notebooks and desktops on display and struggle to figure out the difference between, let’s say, a netbook and a full-size notebook. And when they approach a Blue Shirt, the answers I have heard can be quite comical. No kidding, it’s the size of the netbook that makes it different!?

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The FrankenBook: A Creation that Cannot be Killed

The FrankenBook: A Creation that Cannot be Killed

Leading computer manufacturers along with Intel and Microsoft have inadvertently created a monster. And like Frankenstein, it is a monster they’d like to destroy. Although the industry’s hot-selling brainchild is physically quite small –perhaps more analogous to a gremlin in scale— with its small 10-inch screen, underpowered Intel Atom processor, cheaper version of Windows and under $400 price, netbooks are devouring corporate profit margins.

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