SlashGear Week in Review – August 3rd

Chris Davies - Aug 3, 2008, 1:26pm CDT

Week in Review time, and it seems like there’s plenty to look back on over the past seven days.  Continuing our fresh tradition, in the fast-moving netbook segment we’ve seen confirmation of ASUS’ Eee PC plans – 23 models in all, the next of which being the 701SD, together with dual-core and bigger SSD versions – as well as Sylvania’s new G Netbook MESO, the target $299 tag of which got plenty of people hot under the collar.  Price is a sore subject over at MSI, who saw their Wind netbook rise in cost uncontrollably, while E-Lead are likely celebrating their Noahpad – with its distinctive dual-touchpad keyboard – finally reaching customers.

There’s plenty to look forward to, as well, with Intel confirming a refresh of their Classmate PC, a video showing Fujitsu’s upcoming Amilo Mini playing with interchangeable casings, and Lenovo tipped for a new netbook to be released in September.  If you can afford a bit more, and can’t wait until September, Lenovo’s ThinkPad X200 is a proper, grown-up ultraportable set to launch imminently; going by the first hands-on reports it looks to be a winner, with battery life getting particular credit.

Too bad the same can’t be said for the Willcom D4 UMPC, however, which has been impressing reviewers with its 5-inch rendition of Windows Vista before frustrating the heck out of them with a mere 1.5hrs battery life.  It just underscores the fact that fancy processors, clever graphics chips and ever-smaller solid-state drives aren’t much use if battery technology doesn’t keep up.

Apple was the subject of its fair share of rumors this week, with the ripples started during the last financial conference call still prompting speculation about what’s next from up the Cupertino sleeve.  Supposedly credible tips pointed to the upcoming MacBook and MacBook Pro refresh introducing glass multitouch trackpads and one-piece aluminium casings, while Apple themselves hinted at an imminent announcement by warning retailers to prepare for stock shortages.  New columnist Brenda joined me for the inaugural “He Said, She Said” editorial, where we argued the pros and cons of a MacBook tablet versus an Apple UMPC.

Elsewhere, Dell finally confirmed their Studio Hybrid desktop PC, complete with curvy casing and media-friendly connectivity, while ASUS’ Eee Box was unboxed.  I doubt I’m alone in looking forward to seeing those two go head-to-head.  Sanyo, meanwhile, rolled out their latest Xacti solid-state camcorder, the HD800, capable of shooting 720p footage with video quality apparently much improved over predecessors.  Perfect, you might say, to be showcased on LG’s new 47-inch 1080p HDTV, which uses its local-dimming LED backlight to muster a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio.

Gaming was really all about Nintendo this week, as the company released its financial performance and sales stats for the past quarter.  Needless to say, with $3.92bn in sales (and rising) Nintendo has plenty to be pleased about; what surprised many, though, was the part that the Game Boy Advance, still on sale in Japan, had in raising that figure.  190,000 units sold in a single three-month period isn’t half bad, especially when you consider that its successor, the DS, is already topic of some replacement rumors.

Last week we gave Yahoo! Music the chumps of the week award for their about-turn attitude to their own DRM.  Responding to a huge volume of criticism, the company has now announced plans to give compensation vouchers to those music downloaders facing stranded tracks.  Yahoo! Music even managed to get a sly dig in at Microsoft, who kept their DRM servers running even after shutting down the MSN Music service: the Yahoo! spokesperson told reporters they were pulling all the plugs so as not to “prolong the inevitable”.

You may have noticed that we’ve added more editorial and opinion columns to our regular tech news and reviews coverage on SlashGear this week.  We enjoy hearing your thoughts and comments, so please do wade in whether you agree or not!  You can keep track of opinion pieces using the editorials tag.

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