Looks like Sony is preparing to freshen up the top end of its laptop range with a pair of new VAIO series, the SA and SB. An Intel Core i7-2620M is found populating a listing for an SA1X9E/XI model, alongside 4GB of DDR3 RAM, 128GB of SSD storage, AMD Radeon HD 6630M graphics, and a 1600 x 900 resolution squeezed into a 13.3-inch screen. All that for a measly £1,571 (nearly $2,500). What’s intriguing about that 2.7GHz dual-core CPU is that Intel lists a February 20th launch date for it, potentially giving us a hint as to when Sony will put the trigger with its refresh. The VAIO SB laptops are set to be the tamer offering, being built around the latest Core i5 chips, though we’ve yet to know for certain what any of these new machines will actually look like. So, for your speculative pleasure, we’ve embedded a video after the break with some prototypes spotted at CES that could end up slapped with the SA / SB labels.
Sony VAIO SA and SB show up at European e-tailers with 13-inch screens, Core i5 / i7 CPUs, SSD options
Three weeks into his job, Facebook Director of Gaming Partnerships Sean Ryan made bold advances to developers during the M&A panel at Inside Social Apps. When discussing what games should be built on what platforms, Ryan said, referring to Facebook, “Well if you’re building social I can’t image you not building on the world’s best social network” a statement which made some noise in the crowd.
Ryan went on to say that single player games like the immensely popular Angry Birds “wouldn’t make a lot of sense” on the social network, as building on the almost 600M strong Facebook platform isn’t just about an endless supply of users but about games that highlight interactions.
When asked to explain further about ‘Angry Birds’ versus a game like ‘CityVille,’ Ryan said,
“We don’t bring anything to the table but it’s still a great game. If you have a social game, we believe you should build it for us, that’s what we do. If you have a single player game, it’s not clear why you should build it for us, you should probably build it for other people. Folks like PopCap have been able to brilliantly take a downloadable game, which was Bejeweled and after a lot of work turned it into a social game. So you can do it, but there’s not much point.”
When asked if there was a game that wasn’t on Facebook that he thinks should be Ryan said “‘Civilization’ … it’s one of the best multiplayer games ever, and it’s not yet on Facebook. Whenever there’s a true multiplayer game that involves a lot of social interaction it arguably should be on our platform, because that’s what we do.”
When asked if Facebook would ever acquire a gaming company or go into the content business themselves Ryan said no, “That’s not our gig.”
Image: Just Push Start
A tony prep school in Knoxville, Tennessee has made it mandatory for every student between grades 4 and 12 to own an iPad. That might be a good idea, someday! But being this far ahead of the curve shortchanges students.
However magical it might be, let’s not forget the iPad is a first-generation device, with first-generation problems and limitations. It’s too expensive, there’s not enough education-focused content, it’s terrible at productivity, it’s distracting. Sure, there are certainly ways in which the iPad really can be a competent learning accessory. Fraser Speirs writes regularly and convincingly about the advantages he’s found in his school’s iPad pilot program. But the iPad’s still not ready yet for schools.
As much as school administrators want to believe that the iPad is a cure-all for expensive textbooks and burdensome backpacks, the truth is that it’s not either yet. When Webb acknowledges that not all textbooks are available on iBooks or Kindle, they really mean that most aren’t. Which means that while, yes, the iPad weighs only 1.5 pounds, it’ll still be taking its place in that Jansport along with the same old Biology and Precalculus monsters.
And even the books that are in digital form (excluding the dustier corners of English Lit that can be grabbed for free thanks to Project Guttenberg) aren’t so much cheaper than their physical counterparts that they justify the $500 investment the cheapest iPad model represents. And staring at that LCD screen all day? Uncomfortable at best. For developing eyes, maybe worse.
As for computing, you can debate all you want about whether the iPad is viable as a standalone device—if all you need to do is write emails and check your portfolio. But tablets are inherently gadgets you consume things with, not produce. You’re not going to write a term paper on your iPad, especially if you need to crank one out just a few hours before class (high school students are still lazy, right? It’s been a while). Meaning you’re still going to need a laptop or desktop at home.
Can you slap on a keyboard attachment to your tablet? Sure. But those don’t allow for true multitasking, and lugging around a spare keyboard undermines a lot of the portability argument. There are iPad cases that have keyboards built in, but they’re almost uniformly terrible.
Oh, well. If you can’t word process effectively on the iPad, at least you can play a whole lot of Angry Birds in the back of the class. Which I guess could teach you a little bit of physics, but not a lot of ornithology.
Here’s the thing, though: at some point, probably not too far into the future, many of these problems will be overcome. Textbooks are coming en masse to the iPad, even if they’re not here yet. The price of tablets will plummet in the same way laptops have, and smartphones. There will be an abundance of education apps that will unlock the iPad’s true potential as a learning device beyond just being another ebook reader. Apple may someday even adopt a Pixel Qi-type display that’s easier on the eyes, or an input method that improves on the onscreen keyboard or keyboard accessories. And when those things happen, the iPad and other tablets will be terrific schoolroom companions.
But they haven’t yet. And until they do, forcing the iPad into the hands of students—and making their parents buy or lease them—will be a disservice. Fun experiment, maybe. But the guinea pigs in the classroom should be the ones in the cage.
Post courtesy of Gizmodo