This week in laptops

Crave presents the week's laptop news, in digest form.

Michelle Thatcher Former Senior Associate Editor, Laptops
Tech expert Michelle Thatcher grew up surrounded by gadgets and sustained by Tex-Mex cuisine. Life in two major cities--first Chicago, then San Francisco--broadened her culinary horizons beyond meat and cheese, and she's since enjoyed nearly a decade of wining, dining, and cooking up and down the California coast. Though her gadget lust remains, the practicalities of her small kitchen dictate that single-function geegaws never stay around for long.
Michelle Thatcher
2 min read
No one will notice if I take the VAIO TZ home for a little while, right? CNET Networks

Crave presents the week's laptop news, in digest form.

Intel got mobile gamers talking with the announcement of the first Extreme Edition processor for laptops. The 2.6GHz Core 2 Extreme X7800 features 4MB of L2 cache and an 800MHz front-side bus, plus the overspeed protection has been removed. And you thought the era of flaming laptops was over...

Actually, flaming laptops never left the headlines, as evidenced by reports that Toshiba is recalling 5,100 more Sony laptop batteries due to fire risk. And Mac users need not be smug: the head writer for The Late Show with David Letterman posted video to YouTube showing his PowerBook adapter shooting off sparks and smoke.

When it came to product announcements, it was all about the little guys. Little laptops, that is. Sony made a splash by bringing the 11.1-inch VAIO TZ stateside. (The laptop is such a looker that it inspired our Labs staff to take it home for overnight testing.) In addition, HP announced the new HP Compaq 2710p Tablet PC, a 12.1-inch wide-screen tablet that weighs 3.6 pounds. Both the Sony and the HP feature LED-backlit displays, which allow for thinner lids and longer battery life. We're sensing a trend. A happy, happy trend.

Of course, not everyone can drop two grand (or more) on the VAIO TZ. Those with smaller budgets should check out the $1,300 Averatec 1579, which also features an 11.1-inch display. Its previous-generation, ultralow-voltage processor won't cut the mustard for power users, but it can carry the burden of common Web surfing, office applications, and basic multitasking.

Elsewhere in the news, the federal government scrambled to come up with a procedure for protecting sensitive personal data on laptops and other computer equipment. Lucky recipients of free OLPClaptops have reportedly been using them to search for porn. And Crave found a model for a laptop with two stacked screens (if only it were portable). On CNET TV, Rich DeMuro showed us how to make our laptop into a hot spot [video link] and Veronica Belmont told new MacBook owners how to get started with a Mac [video link].

Have a great weekend!