HP unveiled a new line of gaming PCs under its Omen brand this week, and I didn’t pay much attention because for the most part the new HP Omen family is made up of high-power desktops and big, heavy laptops and the whole point of Liliputing is to focus on Lilliputian (small) computers.
But then HP went and introduced one more thing: a VR-ready gaming PC that you can wear like a backpack.
There’s no shortage of cheap mini-desktop computers with Intel Atom x5 processors from Chinese device makers. There aren’t as many that feature the more powerful Intel Atom x7-Z8700 processor… but now there’s one more than there used to be.
Beelink has launched a mini PC called the Beelink BT7. It features one of the most powerful Atom chips to date (for what that’s worth, when talking about low-power chips), 4GB of RAM, and storage options ranging from 64GB to 320GB.
The Acer Liquid Zest Plus is a mid-range smartphone with a big battery. Like 5,000 mAh big. The company first introduced the phone in April, but now Acer has announced that it’s bringing the Zest Plus this summer.
It’s expected to be available in North and South America in July for about $199 and up. It’ll also be available in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa in July with a starting price of €199.
Acer is adding two new models to its line of low-cost, 2-in-1 tablets with 10 inch displays and detachable keyboards this summer.
The Acer Switch V 10 is the fancier of the two, with a USB Type-C port, a metal cover, and support for features like an optional 500GB hard drive in the keyboard dock. This model is expected to launch in the third quarter of 2016 for $249 and up.
Acer’s Switch One 10 is a cheaper option with a starting price of $199.
Amazon recently launched its first live video program, a fashion show called Style Code Live, which you can watch in a web browser or on an Amazon Fire TV device.
Theoretically, most online video streaming services that can begin playing content on demand when you hit a button should also be able to show live program that’s streaming to everyone at the same time. But Amazon may soon to make it easier for Fire TV users to find live shows… which suggests that the company expects there to be more live shows for Fire TV users soon.
Energous has big plans for wireless charging, including a system that could let you charge you devices from a charging station up to 15 feet away (or even use the same stations to power small gadgets that don’t even have built-in batteries).
But the company is starting a little smaller. I recently got a chance to check out a demo of the company’s Miniature WattUp transmitter, which is a wireless charging station that can transmit a signal for an inch or two.
Looking for a cheap convertible notebook and don’t mind purchasing a model from a brand you’ve never heard from? Walmart has you covered.
The retailer is selling a 13.3 inch laptop called the Ultima 13.3″ convertible for $199. It has a touchscreen display and a 360 degree hinge that lets you fold the screen back fro use in tablet mode.
Sure, the 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage might limit the utility of the laptop, but the Intel Atom x5-Z8300 Cherry Trail processor is a bit better than the Bay Trail chips you’d normally expect to find in this type of device.
Motorola’s next flagship phones are coming soon, and if leaks are to be believed, there will be at least two Moto Z models, including one with a slim design and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, and another with a bigger battery but a less powerful Snapdragon 625 chip.
Leaks also suggest another interesting feature: a connector on the back of the phone that lets you attach “MotoMods,” which are optional back covers with additional hardware.
ZTE is updating its flagship Axon line of smartphones with the ZTE Axon 7. It certainly has the kind of features you’d expect from a 2016 flagship: it has a 5.5 inch, 2560 x 1440 pixel AMOLED display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. There’s also a higher priced model with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.
The Axon 7 will initially launch in China, but it will eventually be available in the US and Europe as well.
It looks like the reports of Jolla’s demise have been somewhat exaggerated. After running into financial troubles last year and announcing it’d be unable to ship tablets to everyone who had placed orders, the company recently announced it had raised new funding for its efforts to continue developing the Sailfish operating system in hopes of licensing it to other manufacturers.
Now Jolla has introduced a new program for developers and enthusiasts called the Sailfish OS Community… along with a limited-edition Sailfish OS smartphone called the Jolla C.
MSI plans to show off a new line of portable gaming machines at the Computex trade show in Taiwan next week. The lineup includes at least three new gaming laptops, a few desktops, and one rather odd system: a VR-capable gaming PC in a backpack.
We’ll have more details soon, but here’s what we know so far.
MSI Backpack PC
Want desktop-class computing power for your virtual reality system, but don’t want to actually have to lug a desktop tower around with you?
Asus has added a new 13 inch Chromebook to its line of laptops featuring Google’s Chrome operating system.
The new Asus C301 Chromebook features 4GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a 1920 x 1080 pixel display, and an Intel Celeron N3160 quad-core processor. It’s listed on the Asus Store website as “coming soon” for $279.
Other features include 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, two USb 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, and an SD card reader.
It’s hard to make a truly compact gaming laptop, because serious gamers want speedy, energy-hungry processors and graphics cards, among other things. But over the past few years we’ve seen a few companies do their best to offer gaming notebooks with reasonably thin and light bodies.
Gigabyte’s latest is called the Aero 14, and it’s a notebook with a 14 inch high-resolution display, an Intel Skylake processor, NVIDIA graphics, support for up to 32GB of RAM, and a compact design: the laptop measures about 0.78 inches thick and weighs about 4.2 pounds.
Zotac is introducing a whole bunch of new small form-factor computers ahead of the next week’s Computex trade show in Taiwan. Most appear to be updated versions of tiny computers we first saw at CES in January, but the updates are pretty welcome.
Here’s a brief run-down of Zotac’s latest mini PCs.
Zotac P Series
While Zotac recently introduced its smallest computers to date, in the form of two new PC sticks, the company’s P Series systems are also pretty small, measuring about the size of a smartphone.
Best Buy is running a sale on HP products… and while most of the items on sale aren’t exactly cheap, they are cheaper than they would otherwise be.
For example, $1000 buys you an HP Spectre x360 13″ convertible notebook with a Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and a case that measures 0.6 inches thick and weighs 3.2 pounds. Normally it sells for $1150.
If you’re looking for something a lot cheaper, the Microsoft Store is selling a much less powerful Pavilion x360 11.6″ convertible for $249, which is about $50 off the list price.
Apple has a media streaming box called the Apple TV. Amazon has the Fire TV. Google has the Chromecast (and the Android TV platform for third-party hardware). And Microsoft? The company has the Xbox platform… which is basically an expensive video game console that costs about 10 times as much as a Chromecast.
But soon the company might have another option. Blogger and Microsoft watcher Brad Sams says the company will probably introduce at least two new “Xbox TV” media streaming devices soon.
Tablets are a thing largely because some folks want to run smartphone apps on bigger screens, but don’t want to carry around 7 inch or larger phones. One day flexible screens and modular devices may offer a solution: imaging a 4 inch phone that becomes a 7 inch tablet when unfolded or attached to a secondary display.
While Chinese smartphone Oppo isn’t quite ready to launch that kind of phone, the company has revealed a concept device with a 7 inch display that folds in half.
Smartphone maker OnePlus is preparing to launch a new flagship smartphone, but the company still has a few older phones it’d like you to buy. So OnePlus is slashing prices by $50.
Now you can pick up a OnePlus X for $199 or a Oneplus 2 for $299.
The upcoming OnePlus 3 is expected to be unveiled during a press event on June 14th… which will be held in virtual reality.
Microsoft has been making smartphone operating systems for just about as long as anyone, and the company started selling its own hardware under the Lumia brand after acquiring Nokia in 2014.
But Android and iOS continue to dominate the smartphone market and Gartner estimates that Windows had a market share of just about 1 percent last year.
So it’s not surprising that Microsoft is making changes. The company has announced it’s eliminating about 1,850 jobs in its smartphone hardware business, taking a $950 million restructuring charge, and shifting focus.
Chinese device maker Meegopad offers a range of small form-factor computers running Windows 10 software. Now the company is introducing its first PC-on-a-stick running Remix OS.
MeegoPad is taking pre-orders for the MeegoPad A02 through a crowdfunding campaign in China at JD.com, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see this system sold in other markets in the future.
The MeegoPad A02 features an Allwinner A83t ARM Cortex-A7 octa-core processor, up to 2GB of RAM, and up to 32GB of storage.