Chromebooks are best known for being simple, pared-down devices that browse the web and don’t do much else. As a result, most Chromebooks have underpowered processors when compared with more fully featured laptops. Google and Intel promised that would change to some extent earlier this year , and now Acer is launching the first Chromebooks with Intel’s more powerful Core i3 processor. The Acer C720 is now available with a 1.7GHz Core i3 processor and 2GB of RAM for $349.99 or 4GB of RAM for $379.99. Both versions have 32GB of internal storage, twice that of most Chromebooks. That’s a slight bump in price over the earlier C720 models, which featured a weaker Intel Celeron processor. Still, it’s less than most Windows laptops with Core processors sell for, and given that we’ve been impressed with the performance of Chromebooks with Celeron processors, these new models appear to be promising. Acer says that the Core i3-powered models should get about 8.5 hours of battery life, which is comparable to what the models with slower processors provide. The C720p, which features a touchscreen, was recently ranked as our pick for the best Chromebook you can buy , since it hit the right combination of performance, battery life, and price that we look for in Chromebooks. We don’t yet know if these new, more powerful models will steal its crown, but we’re eager to get our hands on them to find out. The new C720 is available for preorder from Amazon right now, though it is not clear exactly when it will begin shipping to buyers. Source Acer Acer Related Items intel core i3 chromebook processor c720 Acer Laptops
Everyone seems to be insisting on installing cameras all over their homes these days, which seems incongruous with the ongoing privacy crisis — but that’s a post for another time. Today, we’re talking about enabling those cameras to send high-definition video signals wirelessly without killing their little batteries. A new technique makes beaming video out more than 99 percent more efficient, possibly making batteries unnecessary altogether. Cameras found in smart homes or wearables need to transmit HD video, but it takes a lot of power to process that video and then transmit the encoded data over wi-fi. Small devices leave little room for batteries, and they’ll have to be recharged frequently if they’re constantly streaming. Who’s got time for that? The idea behind this new system, created by a University of Washington team led by prolific researcher Shyam Gollakota, isn’t fundamentally different from some others that are out there right now. Devices with low data rates, like a digital thermometer or motion sensor, can something called backscatter to send a low-power signal consisting of a couple bytes. Backscatter is a way of sending a signal that requires very little power, because what’s actually transmitting the power is not the device that’s transmitting the data . A signal is sent out from one source, say a router or phone, and another antenna essentially reflects that signal, but modifies it. By having it blink on and off you could indicate 1s and 0s, for instance. UW’s system attaches the camera’s output directly to the output of the antenna, so the brightness of a pixel directly correlates to the length of the signal reflected. A short pulse means a dark pixel, a longer one is lighter, and the longest length indicates white. Some clever manipulation of the video data by the team reduced the number of pulses necessary to send a full video frame, from sharing some data between pixels to using a “zigzag” scan (left to right, then right to left) scan pattern. To get color, each pixel needs to have its color channels sent in succession, but this too can be optimized.