HP Reinventing Traditional Computers With Mini Desktop PC

mini desktop

What you know about the traditional desktop computer, at least on the surface — forget it. HP’s latest entries on the market aim to change what a desktop computer looks like. The company recently introduced the HP Pavilion Mini Desktop and the HP Stream Mini Desktop.

Both take the idea of a desktop tower and shrink it down into a mini desktop that’s small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

In a an official release announcing the new devices, Mike Nash, HP’s vice president of product management of Consumer Personal Systems, says:

“The desktop tower PC continues to be a focal point in the home for sharing, creating, and entertaining. The HP Pavilion and HP Stream Mini Desktops deliver the benefits of a traditional desktop PC in a package that looks good sitting on a desk and is small enough to fit into an entertainment center.”

First, the HP Pavilion Mini Desktop is just a little more than 2 inches tall and it weighs just 1.6 pounds. HP says that the desktop comes stocked running Windows 8.1 and supports a processor up to the Intel Core i3. It’s also available with up to 1TB of storage, so despite its diminutive size, it still is a powerful little computer.

The HP Pavilion Mini also supports the use of two monitors. And those monitors could include a television. The computer supports quad-HD quality pictures, too.

And with that small size also comes a considerably smaller drain on your electricity usage. The HP Pavilion Mini uses just 45 watts of electricity. It’s actually Energy Star certified. HP says that a traditional tower PC can use up to 250 watts to run.

There are some drawbacks as far as things you might find on a more traditional tower but that simply won’t fit on the HP Pavilion Mini. There will be no optical drive for DVDs and CDs. The computer is Bluetooth-enabled, however, so it can be connected to any other such device in your home.

HP says the Pavilion Mini Desktop will be ready for sale on its website starting Jan. 14. It will be available at some retailers on Feb. 8.

The computer comes with a keyboard and mouse. The monitor is not included. It will start at $319.99. That’s stocked with the Intel Pentium 3558U processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard disk drive.

The other device, the Stream Mini Desktop, starts at a lower price point, just $179.99. That computer is stocked with the Intel Celeron 2957U processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB SSD of storage.

It, too, will be available first on the HP website soon and in some stores starting on Feb. 8 A webpage lets interested customers inquire for further information.


Five Apps to Customise the Look of Your Windows 8 PC

With Windows 8, Microsoft removed support for Gadgets, taking away a lot of useful tools in the process. Microsoft’s stance on the matter is that gadgets – small widgets that provided useful information like weather or scores – can be exploited to harm your computer. With the Windows 8 redesign, the Start screen can show a lot of this information from apps using Live Tiles, giving you access to a lot of useful information at a glance.

However, this approach has one problem Whether you’re working in a Windows app, or working on legacy programs through the desktop mode, you can’t see the start screen, severely limiting the utility of Live Tiles-based solutions.

Luckily, workarounds are simple. Here are our favourite tools that let you add widgets and other UI customisations to Windows 8.

1. Rainmeter

We’ve loved Rainmeter for years now, and the desktop customisation program is compatible with Windows 8. Rainmeter lets you customise your experience by adding widgets (called skins) that float on the desktop. These can range from system resource monitors, to feeds from your email accounts. Weather forecasts and scratchpads are just some of the other customisations you can add, and the best thing is that users upload their own custom skins as well, so there’s a huge repository of customisations that are ready to download and use.rainmeter.jpgMaking your own skins is easy as well, and if you have the time and patience to put together your own custom skin, you can create a beautiful interface that is highly functional and still unique to you. Our favourite skin is called Omnimo, and it allows you to set up Rainmeter using a very easy to use GUI.

Even without that, you can simply download a skin themed after your favourite film, with quick access to your information and favourite programs, or use a minimalist skin that lets you work in a beautiful, abstract environment.Download Rainmeter

2. 8GadgetPack

If you don’t want to be overwhelmed with customisation options, and just want your desktop gadgets, then 8GadgetPack is the easiest option out there. It’s been highly recommended by many users, and while we prefer the customisability of Rainmeter, if you’re more interested in the functions than in a beautiful display, then 8GadgetPack is a good choice. It creates a sidebar on your Windows 8 desktop, where you can display the clock, calendar, weather and other widgets.8gadgetpack.jpgThere are widgets for Gmail, a simple currency convertor, RSS feeds and calendars. These make 8GadgetPack a useful, unobtrusive method to keep on top of things without wasting time in setting things up.

Download 8GadgetPack

3. Start Screen Unlimited

Start Screen Unlimited is a start screen replacement that allows you to add gadgets to the Windows 8 desktop. The gadgets look like Windows Live tiles, and you can create a busy tiled interface that looks like your Start Screen, or you can place only the gadgets that are relevant to you.start_screen_unlimited.jpgSo you could, for instance, create a screen with feeds for sports updates, or add the clock or a Web search widget right on the desktop. Start Screen Unlimited is free, but it also has a Deluxe version which has a few extra features and also supports commercial use. Even without paying though, you can add a number of useful gadgets, such as a stopwatch, and a easy to find power button – something that is hidden away in Windows 8.

Download Start Screen Unlimited

4. Fences

Made by Stardock, Fences is a great tool for organising your desktop and beautifying it too. The app allows you to create “fences” – essentially transparent open folders – in which your icons are organised. You can form groups that you can browse through, such as a group of programs related to work, one group for browsing, one group for games. You can set the size of each fence, and browse through it, and you can hide the contents of the fences with a single click.stardock_fences.jpgThe best thing about Fences though is that it can automatically sort your icons into the fences. It sorts them based on their name, type or other criteria. So, for example, if you tend to save a lot of image files to the desktop to use for work, Fences could save them all in one fence automatically, so your screen remains clear.

Similarly, you could create a fence for a current project on your desktop, and all files and folders created with the project name in the lead would be organised in that fence for easy access.

The only downside to Fences is that unlike the other programs we’ve mentioned, it is not free. There is a free 30 day trial, but then you have to pay $9.99 (approximately Rs. 620) to keep using Fences.

Download Fences

5. RocketDock

RocketDock is an animated quick-launch bar for Windows 8 – it allows you to take the clutter off your screen, for easy access to your favourite programs and folders.

The dock is customisable and you can download skins to – for example – make the interface of your Windows 8 PC look like a Mac. You could use retro icons or minimalist ones which are also available to download, and the advantage of doing this is that it frees up space on your desktop, allowing you to fully customise its look with added widgets and backgrounds.

Download RocketDock

There are plenty of other tools available to customise Windows 8, but we would be remiss if we did not warn about the possibility of malware. We have used the above-mentioned programs for some amount of time and experienced no problems. As a safety precaution, we’d suggest you also check the best anti-virus and anti-malware programs for Windows, to keep your computer safe.

Have you used any of these programs? Tell us about your favourite customisation tools via the comments.

Tags: 8GadgetPack, Apps, Desktop Gadgets, Fences, Rainmeter, Rocketdock, Start Screen Unlimited, Widgets, Windows

Dell India Launches ‘Aarambh’ PC for Education Initiative

Dell India Launches 'Aarambh' PC for Education Initiative

Dell India Launches ‘Aarambh’ PC for Education Initiative
Dell India on Monday announced the launch of its initiative that aims at making students aware of the importance a personal computer in education.

‘Aarambh’ – a pan India initiative aimed at spearheading the use of the personal computer (PC) for education, a company statement said.

The year-long project aims to reach 1 million students and 100,000 teachers across 5,000 schools; and 200,000 parents in 75 cities across the country, it said.

The project is founded on the understanding that exposure to interactive methods of learning in the developmental years, most easily delivered by using a PC, contributes to the well-rounded growth of a student.

It said through Aarambh, Dell will engage with three key audiences – students, teachers and parents – in a series of activities meant to build their confidence and familiarity with using the PC.
Reiterating that the current household PC penetration in India has stagnated at anywhere between 9-10 percent – a number that needs grass root attention, the company said Dell Aarambh aspires to represent the use of PC learning to unlock potential for young students.

The programme enables both parents and teachers to actively aid in the educational development of the child, while using a PC and create an encompassing ecosystem and supportive background for the child.

More importantly, it aims to establish that parents and teachers, who are key influencer’s in a child’s formative years, can aid their overall growth by participating in the adoption of PC technology for learning, it added.

Tags: Dell, Dell Aarambh, Dell PC For All, India, Internet, Laptops, PC


Lenovo Reports Strong PC Sales Amid Tepid Smartphone Demand

Lenovo Reports Strong PC Sales Amid Tepid Smartphone Demand
China’s Lenovo Group Ltd, the world’s biggest personal computer (PC) maker, said on Thursday its first-quarter net profit rose 64 percent, beating estimates as solid PC sales offset tepid smartphone demand.

Beijing-based Lenovo said in a filing that net profit grew to $173 million (roughly Rs. 1,155 crores) for the quarter ended June from $105 million (roughly Rs. 700 crores) in the same period a year earlier. That was more than the $130.1 million (roughly Rs. 868 crores) average of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters SmartEstimates.

First-quarter revenue dropped 6 percent to $10.05 billion (roughly Rs. 67,154 crores) from a year earlier, compared with an average of $9.63 billion estimated by analysts.

“The PC market performed slightly better than expected due to stronger performance in mature markets,” the company’s chairman and chief executive officer Yang Yuanqing wrote in the stock exchange statement.

“Competition in the China smartphone market remained very keen while demand remained soft due to the slow economy.”
Lenovo consolidated its hold on the slowing PC market during the quarter. PC shipments fell 2 percent year-on-year, compared with a 4 percent decline in the broader industry.

Like peer Xiaomi Inc, Lenovo has been focussing on diversifying away from intense competition in low-margin devices in China – still the world’s largest handset market but affected by the slowing Chinese economy.

Lenovo had an “urgent need to formulate a sustainable strategy in smartphones, particularly in China,” Jefferies analyst Ken Hui wrote in a note prior to the results, citing competition from domestic rivals with extensive sales networks in China such as Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.

According to researcher TrendForce, Lenovo had a 4.5 percent share of the global smartphone market in April-June, leaving it a distant seventh after top player Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s 24 percent and Apple Inc’s 15 percent.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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Tags: Lenovo, PC, Sales, Smartphone, Laptops, Tablets