Lenovo lightens up

The X300 represents a milestone in the ThinkPad series. A departure from its staid-looking brethren, Lenovo's latest ThinkPad crams all the regular features of a full- featured laptop into a form factor so thin it could fit into a Manila envelope.

Yes, that's a feature much touted by Apple's MacBook Air, too.

Although both notebooks flaunt ultraportability as a wow factor, each resides on the opposite side of the spectrum when it comes to features and style.

For starters, the X300 doesn't sacrifice function in the name of thinness. It has a webcam, full-sized keyboard, built-in DVD burner, Gigabit Ethernet port, graphics and audio ports and three USB ports. Connectivity options include Bluetooth, WiFi, and the new wireless USB standard.

Unfortunately, Lenovo has chosen to exclude 3G, GPS and WiMax in the X300 configuration sold here.

There's an extra set of mouse buttons to cater to those who prefer to use the TrackPoint instead of the touchpad and a fingerprint reader.

This machine sports an Intel Core 2 Duo processor running at a steady 1.20GHz. It won't break any speed records but it provides ample performance for run-of-the mill office, Internet and multimedia applications.

One of the key features of the X300 is the use of a solid-state disk for storage. Compared to a conventional hard disk, a flash disk is more rugged because there are no moving parts. It also supposedly consumes less power and increases performance.

As a demonstration of this, the ThinkPad takes a zippy 35 seconds to boot up on average. It manages 3.6 hours under regular use with a three-cell battery. You can choose to fit it with an extended battery and replace the DVD drive with another battery to extend battery life to a maximum of seven-and-a-half hours.

The ThinkPad's screen performance suffers when used outdoors. Although it employs the same LED-based technology as the MacBook Air, its matte screen seems dimmer than the Air's glossy screen, even when brightness settings are at maximum.

The X300's stereo speakers deserve a mention. For a laptop so thin, it churns out loud audio from movie DVDs or music.

In terms of style, the MacBook Air wins. For example, the X300 illuminates its keyboard with a manual switch that turns on a light from the top of the screen — very much like your standard desk lamp.

The MacBook Air senses ambient lighting in your surroundings and its backlit keyboard glows automatically when it's dark.

Now, which one would you prefer?


My main bugbear with the X300 is the premium ($4,799) you have to pay for the flash-based drive because Lenovo doesn’t offer an alternative configuration with a conventional drive. Its processor could use a bit more muscle, too.

The MacBook Air’s lack of features might put a blip on your radar but its desirability, which goes beyond its svelte and clean aesthetics, is undeniable. Both are worthy contenders, but corporate drones might prefer the full-featured X300.

Beyonce, Jay-Z ready to wed

Pop star Beyonce and her long-time companion, rap mogul Shawn Carter, alias Jay-Z, are eyeing a trip down the aisle, People magazine reports on its website.

The pop culture weekly quoted an unidentified source as saying the couple had taken out a marriage license in New York state which gives them 60 days to tie the knot.

Beyonce, 26, found mega success young with the group Destiny's Child before embarking on a solo music career in 2003 with her CD "Dangerously in Love."

Her second CD "B'day" was released in September 2006. Also an actress, Beyonce has starred in films such as the latest "The Pink Panther" instalment and "Dreamgirls."

Jay-Z, 38, is a former head of Def Jam records and has sold more than 35 million albums as a rapper since 1996. He also helped launch the pop career of Barbadian star Rihanna whose 2007 song "Umbrella" was a worldwide hit.
Source: People

Yahoo adds voice search to mobile Internet service

ahoo on Wednesday unveiled enhanced oneSearch software that lets people surf the Internet by speaking into their mobile telephones.

Along with letting people make online queries by saying what they are looking for, the application features an "assistant" for written searches that deduces what people want from the first few letters typed.

"With Yahoo oneSearch 2.0, we are fundamentally changing the way consumers use the Internet on their mobile phones," said Yahoo's Connected Life division vice president Marco Boerries.

Yahoo has partnered with 29 mobile telephone service carriers, representing 600 million customers, since the first version of oneSearch launched in early 2007, according to Boerries.

The second-generation oneSearch software is free for download and installation to mobile telephones linked to the Internet.

Yahoo rivals Google and Microsoft, along with US telecom giants AT&T and Verizon, offer toll-free numbers that US mobile telephone users can call to get business contact information gleaned from the Internet.

Google's ad-supported service at 1.800.GOOG.411 offers to connect callers free to businesses and even email them directions.

Source: AFP