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

Gripe and ye shall receive: Google fixes Gmail for Android

Google has come to its senses with its Gmail app for Android.

A June Gmail overhaul dropped the delete button by default from the e-mail software, a move judged to be silly by me and by 88 percent of the CNET readers who responded to our poll.

Plenty of other people didn't give a fig, the button's absence wasn't a showstopper, and it could be restored by changing the settings, but I thought it a departure for a company that today is supposed to be fanatical about crafting a great experience for users.

Well, happily, it's … Read more

Meet the Asus menagerie of Windows 8 hybrids, ultrabooks and tablets from IFA

Think you've got a handle on what Windows 8 means for laptops and tablets? Based on Asus' announcement of a bevy of new products at IFA, you're not even close.

Asus has been a champion of aggressive design ideas for years, and to the company's credit, a lot of these products seem like clever ways to explore the touch potential of Windows 8. There are no fewer than three detachable tablet-cum-hybrid laptop products, two touch-screen laptops -- one of which has a two-sided screen -- and a large, standard but very stylish ultrathin 15-incher. Let's take a walk through the magical Windows 8 zoo, shall we?… Read more

Sharp debuts custom Feel UX for Aquos line

Sharp today announced that it has partnered with design firm Frog to create a new user experience for the next wave of Aquos smartphones. Expected to arrive this summer, the Feel UX promises to have a highly customizable interface that integrates features like a personalized lock screen and widgets with real-time weather. … Read more

Ultrabook holiday pricing on the cheap

Ultrabooks are available for the first time this holiday season. That calls for a quick survey of pricing since models have debuted at unexpectedly low prices.

As a refresher, ultrabooks are skinny (typically under 0.8 inches thick), lightweight (three pounds or less) laptops that offer mainstream mobile performance.

In short, they attempt to approximate the portability of a tablet while offering more horsepower via Intel processors. And, of course, they run full-blown Windows--not a minor point.

Pricing runs the gamut but the most-recently-released ultrabooks all fall below the $1,000 mark at retailers like Best Buy. That's important … Read more

Does the Kindle Fire have serious usability issues?

A consultancy has spotlighted difficulties people have using Amazon's Kindle Fire. But the "usability sessions" can hardly be considered exhaustive testing.

A summary of Nielsen Norman Group's tests said the Kindle Fire "offers a disappointingly poor user experience," and cites the size of the screen as the main culprit.

Then the group adds this caveat: "This was a small study, with only four users, but qualitative studies often generate deeper insights than bigger, more metrics-focused quantitative studies." The link to the findings first appeared on Daring Fireball.

Highlights of Nielsen Norman Group findings:… Read more

Oracle: Reports of Itanium's life greatly exaggerated

Oracle filed court papers this week alleging that a "secret" deal between Itanium developers HP and Intel is the only reason for the continued existence of the long-troubled chip--for which the business-software giant is ending its support.

"HP has secretly contracted with Intel to keep churning out Itaniums so that HP can maintain the appearance that a dead microprocessor is still alive," reads the filing, which All Things Digital's Arik Hesseldahl describes as a routine affair about the discovery process and timing in HP's lawsuit against Oracle for dropping the chip.

HP alleges that … Read more

What needs fixing with Google Reader redesign

You know something went wrong with your Web site's redesign when two people who used to work on it publish detailed, scathing assessments.

Google Reader, revamped this week, falls into that category. Google gave the RSS site the new red-and-black look that's sprouting at Gmail and elsewhere and, deeper down, changed the mechanics of how people can share posts they're interested in.

Former Google Reader product manager Brian Shih took Google to task for a monochromatic user interface (UI) that squanders too much screen space on a header bar and for making it harder to share posts: &… Read more

Closest Windows attempt at the MacBook Air: Asus Zenbook, reviewed

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the MacBook Air should be positively blushing right around now. A sudden onslaught of Ultrabooks--the Intel-coined term for thin, MacBook Air-esque Windows laptops with fast boot times and sleek, high-end designs--has hit just in time for the holidays, and one of the most highly hyped ones we've seen is the Asus Zenbook UX.

The product doesn't shy away from an Apple-like design whatsoever, and that's not such a bad thing. Who doesn't want a thin, unibody metal lightweight laptop that starts fast and has a great battery life?

The 13-inch Asus Zenbook UX31E-DH52 has a starting price of $1,099, which includes 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD drive. That's $200 less expensive than the equivalent MacBook Air. Smartly, the Zenbook gets that part right: when competing with a product as singularly well-known and highly rated as the MacBook Air, your product has to be either better or cheaper. … Read more

Facebook finally launches iPad app

Polycom dives into videoconferencing on tablets, Asus unveils a new line of Ultrabooks, Twitter to get "tweet" trademark, and Facebook launches an iPad app -- finally.

Links from Tuesday's episode of Loaded:

Facebook for iPad Polycom adds tablet video conferencing Asus "Real Ultrabook" line BlueStacks puts Android apps on Windows Twitter to own "tweet" trademark Subscribe:  iTunes (MP3)iTunes (320x180)iTunes (HD)RSS (MP3)RSS (320x180)RSS HD