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June 20th, 2013

Those trying to balance progress with respect for the Earth should be gratified to discover that a steadily increasing fraction of their personal carbon footprints can be eliminated by switching to alternative energy sources. While “grid parity” remains elusive, millions of homes are already powered by photovoltaic systems, and much progress has been made recently in the construction of solar panels. In fact, there have been enough advances in solar technology that millions of small devices can now be powered entirely off the grid. Let’s take a look at some of these back-to-the-future solar chargers.

fuse10w-solarThe Fuse 10W Solar Laptop Charger from Voltaic gets the prize for longest name, but also gets an “attaboy” for being a futuristic flexible panel. Spread it across a tent in camp, or wrap it around a backpack while hiking, and every hour of direct sun gets you half an hour of MacBook time. Naturally, the Fuse can keep your tablets, handheld games, and other devices charged and ready, too.

Goal Zero solar kitGoal Zero wants to be known as “the solar charger for the adventurer,” and makes a range of products to satisfy both amateurs and pros. The company donated solar chargers to victims of Hurricane Sandy who had lost power, bringing them light, heat, and outside communications (Goal Zero models resuscitate dead smartphones instantly and fully charge them in three hours). Unfold one of the durable solar panel kits to charge your rechargeable devices, or pack it all up and use the built-in LED light on most models to illuminate the dark trails back to camp after an all-day hike.

The GoMadic's Solar SystemSunVolt model comes from Gomadic, a new firm born as a Kickstarter project. The device is somewhat larger than the others in this roundup, with panels that fold-and-pack into a carrying case. With those larger panels and beefier specs, of course, you get plugged-in-the-wall charging speeds for phones, tablet PCs, laptop rentals, and cameras.

SolarMio-kindle-chargerThe nifty little SolarMio Kindle cover is one “personal solar product” that tries to do one thing and do it well. If they charge their e-readers in the daytime sun, Kindle users can read through the night. In addition to charging duties, the SolarMio offers energy storage, as well—up to 50 hours’ worth. That’s a one-trick pony with a big trick.

Joos OJoosOrange Solar Chargerrange chargers are small, 8×6-inch panels that will give you double the talk time of the charge (an hour of sun nets two hours of phone time). But you don’t have to limit your stored-up energy to phones alone, so you can keep your iPad rental, camera, and Bluetooth headpiece all charged up, too. Bonus: A free app keeps you apprised of how much power is being stored during charging, and tracks usage, too.

If you take media reporting on energy issues with a grain (or 1,000) of salt, and remain skeptical of marketing claims dressed up in scientistic verbiage, you can adjust smoothly and gradually to “emergent” technologies that promise a better future. There are occasional bolts out of the blue, this is true, but much of our tech progress comes from plodding along, step by step, and working both harder and smarter. More often than not, that’s what hastens the future, after all.

At CRE we are future-oriented, too—but our primary concern is what you need today, and how we can tend to your unique needs and challenges right now. Whether it’s render farms to push that post project to completion, or an LCD touchscreen monitor rental to entice people to your conference booth, we are ready to help. Call (877) 266-7725, send us a message, or use the Quick Rental Quote form to get what you need right away. We are here, and we’re here for you! Call now!

June 13th, 2013

NEWS FLASH: Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2013 has taken over San Francisco’s Moscone Center this week. Already we know that the product codenamed “Cabernet” is the new OS X Mavericks, and there’s a new Mac Pro, iOS 7, and other Apple-icious stuff to talk about. And we will, with 20/20 hindsight, too—check out our complete WWDC wrapup on Tuesday, June 18!

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Windows-XPSometimes it seems like tomorrow never comes. We’ve been hearing about the “expiration date” of Windows XP for a couple of years now, and it’s still another nine months or so until Microsoft officially abandons it. Come April 8, 2014, there will be no more bug fixes, patches, updates, or anything else from Microsoft related to XP. This third-generation OS (Operating System) runs on an estimated 570 million computers worldwide, the second highest installed base (38%) behind Windows 7 (45%). No one has any idea of how consumers will react, but Microsoft is sparing no effort in promoting Windows 7, its new net offering Office 365, and, in particular, Windows 8 (make that 8.1).

Among the most convincing reasons to update consistently is for the ever-improving security infrastructure in business-critical software. Nothing is 100% safe, of course, but that is no reason to forgo updates, patches, and upgrades that do offer greater security from outside (and inside, too). Running Windows 98 on a computer rental of yesteryear would be “security suicide” today, not to mention the compatibility problems that would be inherent in a world using such a sleek, slick modern OS as Windows 8 or the new OS X Mavericks (see WWDC wrap-up on Tuesday, June 18). The new Mac OS will be showing up this fall on the just-announced Mac Pro as well as all the other Mac models.

Hang on anyway?

There are more computer users working on obsolete systems (hardware and software) than you’ll ever know, and it happens with Mac users, Windows users, and Linux “lone rangers,” too. Some computer makers, most notoriously Apple, make product changes that orphan entire user populations, which contributes to Apple’s steady loss of its “coolness factor.” With XP fading away, Microsoft is more concerned about a loss of people, as the user population of Windows XP is well over half a billion. Real soon you won’t be able to rent laptops with good ol’ XP anymore, and after the official end-of-support day (4/8/2014) not only will Microsoft not support it, more and more browsers, programs, and online services won’t, either.

Where will the XP folks go? Most will end up with Windows 7 or 8; a few will opt for RT on the low-end Surface; some will bail and get an iMac or Linux box; and an unknown number of early-adopter types will go for a potent Android tablet. Another “last” for XP was the Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, which replaced MS Pen Computing in 2002. All Windows iterations since Vista have natively supported pen computing. The very latest OS, Windows 8.1, was retooled to wring the maximum efficiency out of ever-more-accurate touch screens, deploy “smart” power management tools for a dramatic increase in battery life, protect you with beefy security features, and not give you the Blue Screen of Death.

Sooner… or later?

Time waits for no one. It’s easy (make that effortless) to be a slow adopter, and perhaps not so costly in your personal life. But if your business doesn’t keep up with the Jones Corporation’s latest and greatest hardware, software, and Whatever-as-a-Service, your bottom line can suffer. In about eight months, XP slips into limbo, a gray area in which the unsupported OS could actually remain installed on many companies’ computers—and work just fine, according to some experts. So, go or no-go? You have enough time to make an unhurried, careful decision, so take a deep breath, do your homework, and get help if, when, where, and how you need it. There is life after XP. In fact, considering the Never Say Never Rule, there just might be XP after XP, too. To be continued—in other words, we’ll keep you posted!

In the meantime,  CRE will continue to serve you with everything from laptop and desktop computer rentals with Windows to the mass storage needed for post-production. Wherever you need help—on-site, on the road, or at a convention—your solutions are all right here. Call an experienced Account Executive at (877) 266-7725, send us a message, or visit our Quick Rental Quote page if you know what you need. We are always ready to help you!

April 29th, 2010

From the start, the educational potential of the Internet was a source of tremendous excitement. There is a wealth of online training available today, in every imaginable subject, with many top universities and even elite Ivy League institutions delivering courses, counseling, certificates and degrees on the Web. It’s even better for ongoing education and professional certification, as well as for people who want to learn specific skills or knowledge without a degree program.

At CRE, we support all kinds of businesses in every industry, but have a particular expertise outfitting creative people – designers, audio engineers, video pros, marketing mavens – with powerful media manipulators like our Mac Pro rentals. We know how much effort it takes staying updated on all manner of different software and hardware, with the ability to jump into one of our G5 with Kona card rentals and do your thing. Should you decide to take some online training to maintain and/or improve your professional standing and specialized skills, we would commend you for your work ethic – then share a few tips.

Always check training sources

You must always consider the source of online training because not all teachers and schools are created equal. Use your Web search skills, make some calls, ask questions, get references – anything to get some third-party insight. As you search for a source for training, you should consider the type of training that would work best in your specific situation. You can watch live online classes, or buy books and read online class notes, or use webcams to interact with others, and you can study on your own or in a group.

Rentals for in-house training

If you are looking for training for a group of people, perhaps for professional certification of some kind, you can buy the instructional materials on DVD. CRE has the projector rentals, as well as the audience response system rentals, that can make group training simple and effective. Especially in the IT and technical fields, where widely-regarded certifications are essential for a tech firm’s employees to have, using CRE laptop rentals rounds out a cost-effective training regimen. The more people you can get trained together, of course, the lower the unit cost for the preparation. Win-win.

With large enough hardware or software purchases, vendors can also customize a total solution for your firm and easily integrate online or offline training into the plan. You don’t need to tie up your workstations (which are making your company money) or budget a large hardware purchase when you use computer rentals for training. A room of iMac rentals and/or PCs, the right software, the right learning materials and the right amount of time, and you’ve got another group of experts in Excel, Exchange. Photoshop or InDesign – or Maya, C+, Logic, Pro Tools, Avid, Javascript, Ajax, Cisco, Microsoft, Novell or whatever else you can think of.

CRE has its share of experts, too. Our Account Executives know exactly what solutions will fit your particular challenge, whether it’s a post-production bottleneck, convention, presentation or training session. Call or send an e-mail, or fill out the Quick Rental Quote form, and we’ll get you that personalized training solution you need.

April 13th, 2010

As discussed in our  April 8 blog (“Computer Security, Online and Off”), it wasn’t long before the computer revolution gave rise to the kind of negative, destructive activity that infects all other human endeavors. Hackers became the new anti-heroes – they destroyed research, stole credit card account information, brought down communications infrastructure and generally made a (costly) nuisance of themselves.

To combat these so-called cybercriminals, new technologies and techniques were developed – and are continuously updated and improved – to provide security for both information and the systems that store it. As the technologies are in a state of constant improvement, Computer Security - CRE RentalsIT security professionals must be involved in ongoing education or risk catastrophic losses. The previous blog told you what expertise you needed, while this one tells you how to get it.

The SANS Institute

Founded in 1989 to undertake collaborative research and provide state of the art education, SANS (SysAdmin, Audit, Network and Security) Institute oversees programs that reach some 170,000 computer and network professionals worldwide every year. From auditors and system operators to network administrators and chief information officers (CIOs), increasing numbers of IT professionals are sharing insights, learning lessons and finding solutions to a never-ending stream of security challenges.

SANS brings together security professionals from a diverse array of global groups – including corporations, think tanks, universities, government agencies and trade associations – to benefit everyone concerned with information security. It is among the most trusted, and without question the world’s largest, independent source for IT security training and professional certification. The group is a fabulous resource for everyone, from small TV post-production firms with CRE Mac Pro rentals to financial institutions running huge databases on IBM iSeries servers.

In addition, SANS creates, maintains and distributes the most extensive set of research documents available regarding information security. Many of these valuable resources are free for the asking, including use of the Internet Storm Center (an “early warning system”), a weekly news digest called NewsBites, a weekly vulnerability report entitled @RISK and timely security alerts available by RSS  or e-mail.

Annual training conference

In San Diego, from May 7th to 15th, the group will be holding its SANS Security West 2010 training conference. To benefit fully from over 20 top-rated course offerings presented by expert instructors, make sure your show attendees pack our convenient laptop rentals to take notes, stay in touch via Wi-Fi and download course materials.

Security West 2010 is the place to be for security pros and business owners, and CRE can outfit you for attending, exhibiting or making a presentation. If you’ve reserved a spot at the Vendor Expo, we can set you up with touchscreen LCD monitor rentals, interactive kiosk rentals or anything else you need to present and promote your product or service.

Diverse and comprehensive

SANS veterans will recognize both classic, always-relevant offerings as well as exciting new courses in the comprehensive lineup. From SANS Security Essentials Bootcamp Style, Intrusion Detection In-Depth, Computer Forensic Essentials and Developing Exploits for Penetration Testers & Security Researchers to Comprehensive Packet Analysis, Security Architecture for Systems Administrators and Virtualization Security Fundamentals, the course offerings are both diverse and comprehensive.

The conference will also feature special events, a Vendor Expo/Reception and SANS@Night talks, all absolutely free to registered attendees. There are many informal yet enriching networking opportunities at SANS training events where you can forge valuable professional relationships that can last for years. That’s the kind of relationship that CRE has with many of its valued clients and customers. Whether you’re an old friend or a new one, call or send an e-mail to our experienced Account Executives (or use the Quick Rental Quote form) for all of your computer, networking, storage, presentation and event management rental needs.

February 25th, 2010

Google WaveThe easiest way to explain Google Wave is to call it an “online collaboration platform”.   Various features of chat, texting, e-mail, Wikis, photo-sharing, blogging and instant messaging are brought to bear on a “hosted conversation,” or “wave.” Created by the Google brain trust, it is an open source product that will be integrated in zillions of ways with Facebook, Twitter, other Web sites and other software services. The software is in beta testing and will be released to the public sometime in 2010.

Wave has the potential to be a great tool for conferences and events by offering a  collaborative environment.  The “waves” — discussions, pictures, drawings, audio notes — can be “threaded” separately and can help event organizers, booth staff and conference attendees manage meetings, develop agendas, share content, capture data, record audio and video, and interact with one another in both planned and improvised ways.

Using the Wave with technology rentals

Google Wave is, of course, a computer tool and users will need good internet access and the right hardware, like CRE’s  tablet PC rentals, to make the most of it. With the ability to capture handwritten notes, audio and even video with a small, USB Flip camera, tablets are perfect for staying plugged-in while strolling about a convention or meeting facility.  In a seated seminar, laptop rentals would integrate perfectly with your “mobile tablet team,” and your booth in the exhibit hall can be “command central” with a computer rental.

As Wave matures, it is likely that mobile applications will emerge to make “waving” (perhaps there’s a better verb available) possible on cell phones, PDAs and iPads (here is our take on the iPad). During this process, Google will also have to address the various criticisms of Wave, which are to be expected in any new software product. There is a fairly stiff learning curve, although there are a lot of online tutorials from Google and third parties. With the plethora of options and tools, Wave can be a bit daunting at first glance, and there is no way to master it without jumping right in and devoting the time needed.

When you have questions about new technology – especially tools that can help you work more cost-effectively – give our Account Executives a call or send an e-mail. They stay abreast of all new products and services that can help you get your jobs done better. If you know what you need, use our Quick Rental Quote form. It may take time for everyone to catch this Wave, but it looks like it promises to be quite a ride.

February 23rd, 2010

Those of you who read Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, not to mention all the specialty TV-biz newsletters, know that the last six weeks or so have seen a lot of action on the TV pilot front. ABC gave the greenlight to two dramas and a comedy in one day, with Fox, NBC and CBS spreading out their action over a bit more calendar space. Fact is, though, that the pilot season is in full swing, which means companies great and small will be doing title sequences, post-processing, digital effects and other work for the producers of the shows. CRE, of course, specializes in supporting the entertainment industry with the best computers and other high-tech equipment.

Entertainment Industry Rentals

It was not that long ago that it took a room full of computing power to produce a single four-minute cartoon. Now there are independent films being created on single Macintoshes. Even the 17-inch iMac, for example, has a Core 2 Duo processor and a gigabyte of RAM, an unthinkably powerful combination that would have seemed otherworldly in the 2001 TV season (remember The Lone Gunmen?). It is muscular enough for audio/video chores and provides a potent platform for Adobe’s Creative Suite, too.

Technology rentals for the  entertainment industry

Running hither and yon to meetings, day and night? If you take along one of the CRE laptop rentals, like the HP NX9010 with a 3GHz Pentium, you will power your way through them all. You will be in constant contact with its WiFi, and the 1GB of RAM will keep you multitasking with notes, video clips, audio addenda and everything else that is likely to come up. Staying put at your desk? Offload your extra work to your assistant or pilot-season temp, outfitted with an HP/Compaq D510, a desktop rentals star with a 2.4GHz Pentium 4. This rental package comes with a 17-inch LCD monitor, too.

CRE covers you no matter what your production needs. From 30″ Apple Cinema Display rental for a big-screen work window, to powerful video and post solutions like the PowerMac G5 with Kona card rentals, we have it all. No matter what you have to do, we have the equipment to help you get it done, and everything arrives to you tested, double-checked and ready to rock, every time. Even more, we can provide the office equipment rentals to tie everything together – whether it’s an HP 4000N B&W laser printer or an all-in-one printer/fax/scanner. CRE has got you covered.

Need some help configuring a system or figuring out a solution for your pilot season workload? Our Account Executives know what you need and have been helping entertainment industry professionals of all kinds for a long, long time. We know what you’re up against, and we know how to help. Contact us today, or fill out a Quick Rental Quote form if you already know what you need, and we will get on the job for you, right now. We do our best to help you do your best, which is the kind of win-win formula we like.

February 9th, 2010

Game Developers Conference The 2010 Game Developers Conference (GDC) is set for March 9-13 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. This conference is the largest, professionals-only, high-tech game industry event in the world, and every spring in the City by the Bay it provides a forum for sharing, learning and networking for the people who conceive, create and market computer, hand-held, mobile, console and online games.

Nothing pulls people to your booth like the impressive plasma rentals for Game Developers Conference, offering up to 65 inches of high-definition pizazz. You can use one (or more) to display promotions, animations, Flash and PowerPoint presentations, or the biggest, brightest version of your company logo. Since you can connect most any digital device to the monitor, you can show DVDs or even use the screen as a huge browser window to show off your Web site. With upwards of 17,000 attendees expected at Game Developers Conference, you can try any number of approaches to reach the widest possible audience.

Game Developers Conference is the primary annual grazing ground for artists, game designers, programmers, producers, audio/video pros, business owners and others in the game industry. If you want to capture as much contact information as possible, and multiply your effectiveness (whether you’re short-staffed or not), interactive kiosk rentals can be a great help. If you have more than a few people going, you might consider standardizing on CRE’s wireless MacBook laptop rentals to stay in touch throughout the five-day extravaganza.

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WestecWESTEC 2010 is being held from March 23-25 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Manufacturing is changing in amazing ways, with new economic forces, dramatic advances in technology, new “lean and green” ideas and evolving, emerging industries. WESTEC has been the West Coast’s premier manufacturing event for over 40 years, showcasing breakthroughs in production methods and materials, machine tools and business strategies.

Whether you’re a multinational corporation or an independent consultant, if you’re one of the 450+ exhibitors at this year’s event you need to stand out from the crowd. Holding a breakout session or tutorial? You’ll want to check out CRE’s Westec plasma rentals and Audience Response System rentals. They constitute a powerful one-two punch for showing off the goods, then getting usable feedback.

WESTEC puts you face to face and right in the midst of all the experts, vital suppliers and industry innovators. If you’re bringing a convention team, you may want to have some of your staff check out the speakers, panel participants and other exhibitors while you hold down the fort. With CRE’s digital recorder rentals and digital note-taking tablet PC rentals, they’ll get all the important info that you need.

Whether you’re planning to exhibit, attend or both, as one of the leading convention and computer rental firms CRE can help you maximize your presence while minimizing the cost and complexity. Our Account Executives are experienced professionals, and good listeners, which means you will get first-rate help, often in ways you don’t even anticipate. Let them help you make the most of your trade show time by calling, sending an e-mail or filling out a Quick Rental Quote form today.

January 26th, 2010

Surfaces Trade ShowSURFACES 2010 runs from February 1-4 at the Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas. Thousands of floor covering retailers, architects, distributors, installers, designers and builders come from all over the globe to see the latest products, attend educational seminars and workshops, network with their peers — and do a bit (or a lot) of business, too.

Exhibitors that want to present their new, innovative products — everything from carpet, tile and hardwood to rugs and laminates — in the most effective way should consider CRE plasma rentals. Connected to a laptop, DVD player or other media device, it will bring big-screen excitement to presentations, product videos and even Web site displays.

With industry experts leading more than 40 workshops and breakout sessions concerning sales, marketing, installation and design, exhibitors and attendees will be putting a lot of mileage on their soles. What better way to “virtually meet ‘n’ greet” them on their journeys than with strategically placed interactive kiosk rentals from CRE? It can be set up to present your product as well as capture new contact information from passers by.

Four on-floor “education stages” will focus on four hot topics in the floor covering industry — sustainability, design and trends, business and technology, and installation — with live demonstrations and presentations running throughout the show.

Medical Design & Manufacturing Trade ShowMD&M West 2010 — the annual Medical Design & Manufacturing Conference — takes place at the Anaheim Convention Center from February 8-11. In addition to a jam-packed Expo Hall, the event will provide medical manufacturing’s premier educational content for design, engineering, R&D and quality professionals.

For easy note-taking, reading or wireless access in the hustle and bustle of a conference, consider renting a tablet PC.  It makes taking notes, downloading files, and staying in touch, even collaborating with colleagues and others easy.

And, as a core component of the largest design and manufacturing event in the Western U.S., your MD&M West badge gets you free admission to six more industry-related shows at the same location: WestPack, Pacific Design & Manufacturing, Electronics West, PLASTEC West, Automation Technology Expo (ATX) and Green Manufacturing Expo. They account for an additional 1,500 suppliers and 200,000 sq ft more of equipment, systems and services of interest to medical manufacturers.

MacWorld plasma rentalMacworld 2010, at San Francisco’s Moscone Center from February 9-13, is a five-day event that immerses attendees in the Mac community. The conference offers access to the latest Mac products and services, and provides expert advice at the hands-on MacLabs classes. There are scores of live demonstrations as well as targeted tech topics for IT professionals.

If you don’t have a Mac laptop already, get one of CRE’s MacBook Pro rentals and show up in style. Whether you are a creative professional or a programming pro, Macworld has all the conference content, special presentations, exciting exhibits and networking opportunities you could possibly want. Whether you are an exhibitor showing off your wares on Apple Cinema display rental or plasma rental for Macworld, CRE can help you make the most of every convention you attend – and every connection you make.

The Macworld DEMO Best of Show presentation will unveil the most anticipated new products (but no Mac tablet, as Apple no longer attends the event), while musician BT will team with Berklee College of Music faculty and students to demonstrate the latest digital music-making trends. You can also test drive the newest mobile apps and talk to developers at the Mobile Applications Showcase.

Whether you’re exhibiting or organizing a conference or event, CRE can help. We are the convention experts no matter what role you and your company need to play. Call our expert Account Executives today, or fill out a Quick Rental Quote form, and get the help you need to achieve your goals.

January 15th, 2010

Technologies to Watch in 2010

Anything that affects your firm’s long-term plans and ongoing operations is called “a strategic consideration,” like the 2009 buzz phrase “going mobile.” New technologies always fit that description. No matter what industry you are in, you must start factoring new technologies into your strategic planning now. You must determine how to approach each of the top five new business technologies for 2010 that are presented here (in no particular order). We start with a “big buzz holdover” from 2009.

1. Cloud computing

Here it is again, waiting to be crowned As Important As The Wheel, which proponents insist will occur any day now. It does look promising, as cloud computing promises to deliver a huge menu of IT options to cost-conscious companies (and everyone else, eventually). Fact is, with an XServe rental from CRE you could create a cloud or two of your own, as well as educate your employees on the change that’s “right around the corner.”

2. Client computing

“Virtualization” means using computing applications in such a way that hardware and operating system (OS) considerations are not deal-killers. Companies need to look at everything from device specifications, ownership/support of hardware and software selection to management structure and security. Getting a powerful desktop rental can help you discover the difference between running your current, aging hardware and the new generations of Macintosh and PC computers, especially in terms of the new Internet standards heading your way.

3. Flash memory

Flash memory is increasingly important for storage solutions. The kind of semiconductor memory device found in USB “thumb drives” and digital camera cards, flash memory is smaller, sturdier and faster than hard drives. Flash memory will come to dominate embedded systems, personal electronics and mass storage, and laptop rentals will include units with solid-state flash memory soon after they hit the market. Flash memory provides advantages in space, heat resistance, power consumption, ruggedness and speed.

4. Advanced analytics

A variety of analytical tools help companies investigate alternative scenarios and manufacturing/marketing outcomes. Fixed rules and inflexible policies are being replaced by informed decision-making based on “the right information at the right time.” Since advanced analytics provide overlapping, real-time alternatives and predictions, not just dry data, it may take a widescreen LCD monitor rental to keep everything in front of you at once while you make some very important decisions.

5. Mobile applications

Some 1.2 billion people around the world will be using devices capable of truly interactive, mobile commerce by the end of 2010. In an environment where mobility is converging with wireless and the Web, a huge number of new applications will pop up. There are already almost 100,000 programs for the Apple iPhone and Google-ized Droid, even with the high prices and unique coding for each device. Newer software programs will operate on both mobile computers, like tablet PC rentals, as well as a range of mobile systems – netbooks, phones, PDAs and even portable media players.

Did we miss any technologies that should be watched? We’d love to hear from you.

January 12th, 2010

NetbookThe only thing constant is change, right? This past year proved that the computer industry still had product niches left to develop and exploit. The rise of the “netbook” – a low- to medium-power, small-format computer with a bright screen, built-in WiFi, and basic productivity software that will never be confused for a rootin’ tootin’ laptop, like the new MacBook rental – proves the computer companies are still thinking about their product lines (and bottom lines, of course).

The move to “pocket computers” follows the trend to smartphones, of which the iPhone and the new Google-powered Droid are prime examples. The phones are truly pocket-sized, can run tons of “apps” that are easily downloaded for low or no cost, and are great for quick messages as well as long talks. The netbooks, most with keyboards between 60-80% the size of a normal PC laptop, offer real e-mail interaction, a normal Web experience with a real browser, memory card slots, USB ports, Ethernet — wow, just like a real computer!

Critical mass for netbooks

Interestingly, it was the niche players — companies like Acer and Asus that were more business- than consumer-oriented, and also sold motherboards and other components — that drove the development of netbooks. Soon enough, major players like Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba and Hewlett-Packard which makes everything from netbooks to high-power desktops (available as a rental), were in the game.

You won’t be doing Vegas Video editing on a netbook, and forget Final Cut Pro as Apple, despite persistent rumors, has steadfastly refused to enter the fray with a “Mac netbook.” The processors, although Intel, aren’t quad-core, dual-core or even hard-core (like some tried-and-true Pentiums). More powerful CPUs will not be possible until better battery technology is available, and dissipating heat is always a problem in small spaces where fans don’t fit.

“Phone-replacement” computers?

Businesses may find a use for netbooks as smartphone replacements, but they are simply not fast enough, and the screens are too small, to be true laptop replacements. If you need a powerful HP or Mac laptop in your line of work, an Atom-powered HP Mini is just not going to cut it. In fact, if you need a few laptops for your department to stay in touch at a conference, take notes, send e-mails and browse prospects’ (or competitors’) sites, you’d be pushing a poor little netbook into a nervous breakdown.

As always,  get the right tool for the job. If you need help figuring out just what that is, call one of our expert Account Executives today. If you like, explain your situation in an e-mail or, if you know what you need, just send us a Quick Rental Quote form. We will make sure you have exactly what you need to do the job right.

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