Switchable Laptop Graphics – What’s that all about then?
Now I have been waiting with a baited breath for my new Lenovo T400 to arrive. Why? Switchable Graphics is why. Until now I have been using a ThinkPad X300 and also a T61 for my main computing needs, the reason I have been using both is this. 90% of the time I use regular business applications on my laptop and for this the X300 is king for its small size and weight and integrated Intel Graphics. The other 10% I like to play games, nothing too fancy but Unreal 3 / Supreme Commander / C&C3. X300 is dead in the water for this as the integrated Intel chipset just is not up to the job.
So I moved over to a T61 14.1″ with NVIDIA NVS140M Discreet graphics which does a decent job on the games and is great at all the normal applications but the downside is battery life!
The T61 even with the super extended 9 cell battery which sticks out the back (A lot!) only lasts 3 hours. The default battery 4 cell last less than 1.5 hours in moderate use and caves in at under 50 minutes if you stress it.
So in an ideal world I wanted integrated low power graphics most of the time for good battery life and then full power 3D graphics for gaming…. Enter switchable graphics!
The latest Intel Chipset release formerly codenamed Montevina, Intel Centrino 2 processor technology and Intel® Centrino® 2 with vPro™ Technology brings these new features to laptops. Using Lenovo’s Power Management application I can click it from the system tray and have two options for switchable graphics.
1) Energy save
2) High Performance
Most of the time I am running energy save but a couple of clicks and a flash of the screen as it switches and I am now using the ATI Mobility Radeon 3470 Graphics with 256MB dedicated RAM. Now I can fire up Unreal 3 and the experience is very playable at reasonable resolutions. Don’t think this is a gaming monster it’s not, but it bridges a great gap in the market for the casual gamer that wants good battery life.
So how’s battery life? Well I am impressed. With a standard 6 cell battery that came with the laptop (Sticks out the back a bit) I get easy 4 hours with 75% brightness and adaptive CPU speed. That’s normal use with WIFI and Bluetooth etc. When I added a drive bay extended battery in place of the DVD drive? Wow! I was in a meeting the other day for 1.5 hours presenting and it still had over 5 hours remaining when I finished.
This is down to the new Centrino 2 chipset and the switchable graphics. Also this laptop runs very cool! I left it encoding video for 1 hour and it was only warm to the touch.
Apple has recently released its new Macbooks / Pros with the same technology but using NVIDIA as their partner. In OSX you have to log out and back to switch graphics which is odd? This may be due to a limitation in OSX or maybe NVIDIA? Using Vista on the T400 it switches on the fly.
I will post a full review of my T400 in the coming weeks for those interested.
‘Alpha’ Version of Mobile Firefox Running on Nokia Tablet – credit mobile technologies
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Fri, 10/17/2008 – 16:25 by Greg Sterling
An early version of the forthcoming Firefox mobile browser is running on the Nokia Internet Tablet today. It’s the default browser (I was unaware of this). A Windows Mobile version is next up according to screenshots and speculation.
Opera, Skyfire and an eventual Mobile IE will be its competition. However, if the user experience is any good, it should see fairly rapid adoption on Windows Mobile devices.
- Mobile Platforms
Now Come the BlackBerry Developer Challenge Finalists – credit mobile technologies
In the world of smartphones, the richness of the apps ecosystem surrounding the device will be a significant contributing factor to overall competitive success over time (this is why Sprint’s Instinct will likely fizzle).
Apple of course has the iTunes apps store with a well established and growing ecosystem. Coming up behind the iPhone is Google’s Android device, which appears to have a pretty extensive library of apps itself.
Now BlackBerry (or the BlackBerry Partners Fund [$150M] more precisely) is finalists for its own apps developer challenge:
Personal Productivity and Lifestyle
- Finalist: AP News Mobile by Associated Press and FreeRange Communications
- Finalist: PaperIQ Digital Flipchart by DevelopIQ
- Finalist: Poynt by Multiplied Media
- Finalist: Flycast Mobile Broadcast Network by Flycast
- Finalist: Nobex Radio Companion by Nobex Technologies, Inc.
- Finalist: Strands Social Player by Strands Inc.
- Finalist: Billing Revolution Merchant Account Tool by Billing Revolution
- Finalist: Gym Technik by TSR Gym Technik Ltd.
- Finalist: MLB.com Gameday by Major League Baseball Advanced Media
- Finalist: Astraware Platypus by Handmark
- Finalist: Hard Rock Casino 2 by EA Mobile
- Finalist: Nintaii by Mobigloo LLC
- Finalist: B*Nator Remote Control for BlackBerry by ISEC7 GmbH
- Finalist: Bridge for Highrise by Metova, Inc.
- Finalist: Optimii by Outerin Limited
The fund is awarding two investments of $150K in the winners. Not nearly as generous as the Google grants to Android developer winners, which awarded 10 companies $275K each, another 10 split an additional pot of money.
Here there only appears to be one location-aware application (Poynt from Multiplied Media), whereas in the Android Developer Challenge, six of the top 10 applications had location as a core or significant element.