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2009: New and Improved

2009 is bringing many technological improvements with new features and terminology. Though much of this technology has been around for many years, it is now being offered on consumer grade equipment. Unfortunately, some companies are reducing production costs by removing important, but generally unknown, features from their products. The next few articles will help you understand some of the new terminology, features for which to look, and what to avoid.

Display Types: Most computers now use LCD displays. 2009 brings three new technologies which offer nice improvements from previous LCD technology.

1)RGB-LED: While most displays have one or two lights providing illumination from the rear of the display, RGB-LED displays feature many separate red, green, and blue LED (Light Emitting Diods), that produce uniform true white across the entire display. This yields increased color gamut and provides more flexible calibration options. RGB-LED displays are ideal for those who desire the most accurate and vibrant colors. It is important to note that RGB-LED is not the same as White-LED. White-LED displays are simply the replacement for the fluorescent lamps that previously were used as backlights for laptops and entry level desktop monitors. Currently, these LED backlights are the norm. With the current introduction of RGB-LED, some companies are prominently promoting "LED Monitors", implying that their offerings are RGB-LED, which is not the case. These "LED Monitors" are not the same as RGB-LED monitors, but are just normal LCD monitors.

2)OLED: OLED (Organic LED) monitors produce images without using any backlight. Each tiny pixel in these advanced monitors is actually its own light. This technique can produce the highest contrast ratio, as the black areas are truly black, since those pixels are simply turned off. OLED can be flexible, meaning that devices can be made with curved color displays. These displays are being featured on the latest portable media players, small computers, and other devices.

3)Electrophoretic: Electrophoretic displays provide the clearest and easiest image to read. They only use power when changing what is displayed: if you are reading a document, no power is being used at all. The battery can even be removed without the display blanking. The closest comparison to these displays is a sheet of paper; the image is so clear that many people can not distinguish between an electrophoretic display and a sheet of paper. These displays are being offered on the latest document viewers, e-book readers, and other devices that benefit from ultra-clear displays.

Computer Types: There are three primary types of computers now being offered: PC, Workstation, and uPC.

1)PC: PCs are based on a simplistic, easy to manufacture platform which provides central processing for all components and functions. This central processing reduces manufacturing and development cost. However, computer performance is compromised, since one task can reduce the performance of another tasks. PCs are made by such companies as Acer, Apple, Dell, E-machines, and Gateway.

2)Workstations: Workstations utilize the latest technology and development techniques to provide the fastest, most stable, and longest lasting computer platform. Instead of the central processing of PCs, workstations process various tasks discretely, allowing you to perform many tasks without one task slowing another task. Workstations generally offer software compatibility with PCs, allowing you to run PC software and software designed specifically for workstations. Companies that offer workstations include Fujitsu, Itronix, LG, Panasonic, and Samsung.

3)uPC: The newest of all of the computer types, uPCs (sometimes called "palmtops") provide a full computer at the size of a PDA (about 5" wide). uPCs feature thumb keyboards and very clear displays, allowing you to carry a pocketable device without sacrificing access to your critical applications. Despite the diminutive size, uPCs are full computers: they can attach to projectors for presentations, run full e-mail applications, and even dock to provide desktop ergonomics, allowing you to use a full keyboard, monitor, and mouse/trackball, all connected to a little 5" device.

The next article, along with describing some other new features, will show some sneaky ways companies are trying to trick you.
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