On the Road, Again

Have you heard of Longhorn?

No, it's not a cow. It's the latest (unreleased) version of Microsoft Windows.

With Longhorn, Microsoft will introduce a new file system called Windows Future Storage (WinFS), which will make finding information easier, regardless of where it is stored, or in what form. You will be asked by the system to tell it what you are looking for, and some references are provided to help with your answer. Digital images and movies can be organized by multiple criteria, including the year. Music can be organized by albums, artists, play lists and tracks. A contacts folder has also been added (called My Contacts) that could act as a database for contact information. Longhorn should be released late next year.

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has unveiled 12 notebook processors to compete with Intel's new Pentium M chip and Centrino mobile chips. The new AMD chips will be marketed under the Athlon XP-M name. These chips will be in three categories: high-performance; middle-line and low power. AMD plans to release the Athlon 64 for notebooks in September.

The 80 Gigabyte notebook hard drive has finally arrived (it's about time). Desktops have had them for more than a few years, since IBM came out with one. Fujitsu's MHT line will have from 60 to 80 Gigabyte capacity, Hitachi's Travelstar 80GN drive will have 80 Gigabyte capacity, Hewlett-Packard will also use the 80 Gigabyte Travelstar 80GN drive, Dell will have an 80 Gigabyte drive in its Inspiron 8500 notebook soon. For more information contact, Fujitsu at www.fujitsu.com, Hitachi at www.hgst.com, H-P at www.hp.com and Dell at www.dell.com.

Iomega Corporation's Mini USB drive has a capacity of 256MB and fits on a key chain. This 0.7-ounce drive plugs into the USB port and transfers data quickly. Applications can be run directly from the drive. For more info, Iomega can be reached at www.iomega.com.

The June 2003 edition of Computer Shopper has an evaluation of the Acer TravelMate 803CI notebook ($2,799), the IBM ThinkPad T40 ($3,249), the Toshiba Tecra M1 (3,404), the Dell Latitude D600 ($2,307) and the Fujitsu Lifebook S series ($1,599). Only the IBM has an 80 Gigabyte hard drive though, and only the Acer has a 15-inch screen. I wouldn't call this review a rating; it's more like a spreadsheet comparison. You can contact these companies for more information at: Acer, www.acer.com: IBM, at www.ibm.com; Toshiba at www.toshiba.com; Dell at www.dell.com; and Fujitsu at www.fujitsupc.com.

Also in the June issue of Computer Shopper are reviews of Alienware's AREA-51M notebook ($2,999), Hewlett-Packard's Compaq Presario 2100T ($1,099), Toshiba's Satellite Pro 6100 ($2,333), Dell's Inspiron 8500 Series and IBM's ThinkPad X31 ($2,369). These reviews rate the Alienware and Dell notebooks the highest. These companies can be reached at: Alienware, www.alienware.com; H-P at www.hp.com; Toshiba at www.toshiba.com; Dell at www.dell.com; and IBM at www.ibm.com.

Additional, in-depth reviews are included in this issue for the Acer TravelMate 803CI ($2,799), the Dell Inspiron 600M ($2,422), the Gateway 450X ($2,224), the Hewlett-Packard Compaq EVO N620C ($2,003) and the Toshiba Tecra M1 ($3,404). The Acer TravelMate is rated highest. You can contact these companies at: Acer, www.acer.com.us; Dell at www.dell.com; Gateway at www.gateway.com; H-P at www.hp.com; and Toshiba at www.toshiba.com.

For ruggedized notebooks check out GETAC Inc. at www.getac.com. Itronix Corporation at www.itronix.com, Kontron Mobile Computing Inc. at www.kontronmobile.com, MicroSlate Inc. at www.microslate.com, Amrel Systems LLC at www.amrel.com, Miltope Corporation at www.miltope.com and Panasonic at www.panasonic.com.toughbooks.

E Ink Corporation (Cambridge, MA) has developed an ultra-thin screen that can be bent, twisted and rolled up, and still display crisp text. The material is as thick as three human hairs and displays black text on a white-gray background, with a resolution like a notebook computer. The screen is flexible enough to be rolled into a cylinder about a half-inch wide without losing image quality. Does this give you any ideas for mobile devices? I hope so.