Intel to shutter its app store

Intel plans to close its app store designed originally for Netbooks and later for other devices such as ultrabooks.

The Intel AppUp Center will close March 11, according to a note posted on the site.

The site provides little further clarification as to why the store is closing, beyond saying that "by closing Intel AppUp center, Intel will be able to focus more than ever on developing the next generation of platform innovation."

An FAQ states that "some applications do require communication with the AppUp client and may not work after May 15th, 2015."

An Intel … Read more

Wearables are white-hot at CES 2014. So they're doomed, right?

LAS VEGAS -- This year's Consumer Electronics Show will see dozens upon dozens of wearable technology products vie to become this year's breakout device.

And most -- if not all -- will be forgotten in the coming months.

That's because when all the booths are taken down, the convention lights are dimmed, and the last of the tech executives board their flights, we all finally escape the reality-distortion field that is Las Vegas and CES.

See also: CES 2014: What to expect

A look back at past confabs shows that the hot item at CES is a … Read more

Wispy designs from Microsoft partners breeze past Apple

commentary Psst...Microsoft laptop partners are ahead of Apple on critical design metrics like weight.

So, how will that play out in 2014? A snapshot of today's lightest, edgiest designs should give us an idea (I'll put aside a discussion of competing operating systems and pricing for this post).

Weight: Like tablets, generally the thinner and lighter the laptop, the better. That's what the popular MacBook Air is all about and the reason the ultrabook was developed -- Wintel's (Microsoft-Intel's) response to the Air.

Enter the carbon fiber-based Sony Vaio Pro 11 and 13, which … Read more

Pissed-off Dell laptop owners seek answer to cat-pee odors

You know that new-computer smell, the scent of Styrofoam packing materials, ink on instruction books, and fresh plastic. Buyers of Dell's Latitude 6430u ultrabook have been complaining for months about a more odoriferous issue with their new machines, along the lines of eau de cat piss.

The hub for complaints is a Dell tech support discussion titled "New 6430u smells awful." It contains a veritable bouquet of descriptive missives, including, "The machine is great, but it smells as if it was assembled near a tomcat's litter box."… Read more

Notebook market inches up, but still suffers long-term drop

The walking dead notebook market showed some signs of life last quarter.

Shipments of mobile PC worldwide reached 47.9 million in the third quarter, a rise of 6 percent from the second quarter, research firm IHS said on Wednesday. That percentage represented the largest sequential gain for the moribund notebook market since a 7 percent rise in the third quarter of 2011.

That's the good news. The bad? Notebook shipments continued to plummet on a year-by-year basis.

The third quarter results were down 9 percent from the same quarter last year, the fifth consecutive quarterly drop. The decline … Read more

HP's fall lineup goes to 11. Literally.

HP recently unleashed a flurry of new products with a variety of different form factors. With the holiday season right around the corner, at least one entry on its new laundry list of devices could offer the perfect present for your loved ones -- or even yourself.

The 11 new devices range from tablets, to laptops, to tablets that are also laptops, and the selections of sizes, configurations, and prices are just as varied. In addition to the products featured in this post, HP also announced the Envy 17 Leap Motion Special Edition TouchSmart laptop, HP Spectre 13 Ultrabook, and … Read more

Get a refurbished Acer S3 ultrabook for $329.99 shipped

I've made no secret of my love of ultrabooks, which borrow (read: steal) from MacBook Airs in offering ultra-thin, ultra-light designs. My Samsung Series 9, for example, is my single favorite laptop ever.

Alas, it's tough to find one of these svelte systems for under $600. But you can today, if you're willing to make a couple compromises. While supplies last, Groupon has the refurbished Acer Aspire S3-391-6046 13.3-inch ultrabook for $329.99 shipped. This model had a list price of around $650 when it debuted last November.

Let me note right up front that Acer … Read more

Windows 8 ultrabooks to go 100 percent touch, see gains

Windows 8 is all about touch, and consumers may finally be buying into that message.

At Intel's annual developers forum this week, Intel Senior President Kirk Skaugen said that 70 percent of retail ultrabooks are now touch -- "on the way to 100 percent."

Windows 8 touch-screen ultrabooks fall into three basic categories: standard clamshell laptops with touch screens, hybrid convertibles with swivel touch displays, and detachables that separate from a keyboard base to become a standalone tablet.

Though ultrabooks are still a minor share of total Windows PC sales, there has been a recent jump in … Read more

Asus Zenbook UX301 video touts high-res touch screen

A slick new video from Asus plays up the high-tech features of its upcoming Zenbook UX301 laptop.

As seen in the video posted Wednesday on YouTube, the 13.3-inch ultrabook's WQHD touch screen comes with a beefy resolution of 2,560x1,440 pixels. The display offers an "extremely accurate" multitouch capability, according to Asus. A wrap-around screen hinge raises the keyboard to the proper angle for typing.

The laptop's casing is designed to be scratch-resistant courtesy of Corning's Gorilla Glass 3. Audio is provided by Asus SonicMaster technology, which bumps up the sound quality beyond … Read more

Get an Acer Aspire S7 13.3-inch Ultrabook for $749.99

Lots of computer makers play fast and loose with the "Ultrabook" designation, but for my money, the only systems that qualify are superthin, superlight, and superfast.

Like this one: while supplies last, DealFisher has the Acer Aspire S7-391-6413 13.3-inch touch-screen ultrabook for $749.99 shipped. That's on the steep side for a laptop, yes, but consider this: it has a list price of $1,399.99 (!), and sells elsewhere (like at the Microsoft Store) for $999.

Update: Eagle-eyed reader "loose_screw" found the same model at Rakuten for $679.99 shipped! Interestingly, it's still … Read more