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LAPTOP | November 2010
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First PCs got portable. Then they went wire-
less. And now they turn on instantly and let
you touch what you want to see, read, and
play. I believe the rise of tablets---well, the
second coming of tablets, if you count the original pen-based computers from
Microsoft---is just as important.
Devices such as the iPad have already changed the way people think about
computers, and now a swarm of other slates hope to build on its momentum.
Many of these devices run Android, and on the horizon are slates powered by
Palm's webOS (now owned by HP) and RIM's new BlackBerry Tablet OS. Starting on
p. 64, we'll explain how we got here but also where this mushrooming cat-
egory is going.
Will Microsoft be part of this revolution? Eventually, but at the moment the
company is understandably distracted with the launch of Windows Phone 7. (You
can go online now to check out our in-depth impressions of the platform.) In the
meantime, Microsoft continues to own the traditional notebook market. This year's
buying guide (starting on p. 50) has ten questions you should answer before
investing your hard-earned dollars, and it breaks down the specs and features
you need to know.
How much does Google need to know to do its job well? According to privacy
experts we spoke to for an in-depth look at the company's practices, Google is
holding onto our search results, deleted e-mails, and other personal informa-
tion for too long. Then there are the company's very public snafus, such as
inadvertently collecting user data via Wi-Fi networks while trying to improve its
Street View service. We'll examine (p. 72) how the laws in the U.S. might need
to change to keep up with Google's growing ambitions as well as the steps the
company is taking to be more transparent about what it collects.
According to a recent study conducted by computer scientists at Penn State,
Duke, and Intel Labs, 15 out of 30 popular Google Android apps sent users'
geographic information to advertisement servers. Is that a bad thing? Not
necessarily, so long as you review what information a given app can access
before you download it. Many of the shopping apps we recommend in this issue
(starting on p. 58) leverage your location to deliver the best nearby deals. Some
may find this level of personalization creepy, while others will find it helpful. I'm
cautiously optimistic that developers and consumers will strike the right balance
between convenience and privacy.
Am I equally optimistic that some tablet will knock the iPad off its pedestal?
I think it's too early to call, but that's the beauty of this new market. We're in
such early stages that there's plenty of room for more innovation from Apple
and its many eager competitors.
Editor in Chief MARK SPOONAUER
Managing Editor ANNA ATTKISSON
Reviews Editor MICHAEL A. PROSPERO
Associate Editor SARAH SILBERT
Senior Writer DANA WOLLMAN
Staff Writer SEAN LUDWIG
Editorial Interns KEVIN LEE
Online Editorial Director AVRAM PILTCH
News Editor K.T. BRADFORD
Multimedia Editor MEGHAN J. McDONOUGH
Web Content Producer KENNETH BUTLER
Art Director JEFFREY W. SASS
Print & Web DOM RINALDI
Photo Editor MATT STAUSS
Director of Production &
Creative Services MARK MORTON
IT Manager MURAT TURK
Integrated Media MATT WEINER
Regional Sales Manager ARCHER MONTAGUE
Regional Sales Manager NANCY ROSCOE
Publisher & President EDWARD D. BROWN
irector of Finance &
Business Operations LISA BRISBANE
Director of Circulation MICHAEL GERARDO
Accounting Manager JIM CRUZ
Office Manager JEANNIE MITCHELL
EDITOR IN CHIEF
Volume XXX, Issue #11, (S.C. 391) 2010 copyright.
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