Stories by Melissa J. Perenson

First USB 3.0 tests: Western Digital's My Book sails through

The Western Digital My Book 3.0 desktop external drive will be one of the first to market with the new SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface. Announced today, the 1TB version is available for sale today; the 2TB is due later this week. So does USB 3.0 deliver on its promises? We got the 1TB My Book 3.0 into the PC World Lab, and our early results look very promising.

Eye-Fi Pro X2 increases capacity and speed

Eye-Fi has announced a re-engineering of its Eye-Fi card wireless SD Card that should make these niche cards more appealing. When I last reviewed Eye-Fi, the experience was hampered by slow upload speeds, and minimal memory (those cards maxed out 4GB, which feels downright paltry compared with the 16GB and 32GB SD Cards now readily available. The Eye-Fi line of SD Cards allows you to use 802.11 wireless networks to transfer images stored on the cards to a nearby PC or to a photo sharing Website, eliminating the need to remove the card from the digital camera.

Buffalo ships USB 3.0 hard drive

In spite of rumors that the first USB 3.0 products wouldn't surface until the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Buffalo Technology has beaten all comers to the punch by announcing today it was shipping its new DriveStation HD-HXU3 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 drive.

Amazon Kindle DX E-Book Reader

In spite of its larger size, the Amazon Kindle DX ($US489 as of October 29, 2009) comes off as a surprisingly lean and elegant contender in the current e-book reader steeplechase. This enlarged version of the Kindle has a number of appealing features - including strong PDF support - along with a few missteps.

Windows 7 hardware: touch finally arrives

Before Windows 7's arrival, touchscreen support wasn't part of the Windows operating system itself. Instead, all-in-one PC vendors resorted to stopgaps ranging from elegant (HP's growing TouchSmart software suite) to kludgy (touchscreen apps from MSI and Asus).

SanDisk launches speedy Extreme Pro CompactFlash card

Not all flash memory cards are created alike. Nowhere is this more evident than with the new SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash Card. Available in 16GB to 64GB capacities, this card promises, and delivers, on extreme: Armed with SanDisk's rearchitected controller, this card can achieve up to 90 megabytes per second read/write performance in a digital SLR that supports UDMA (mode 6).

Toshiba announces BDX2000 blu-ray disc player

That didn't take long. Just a month-and-a-half after Toshiba announced it would be coming out with Blu-ray Disc products in 2009, Toshiba has actually released details about its first Blu-ray Disc player. Due in November, it comes out just in time for the holiday buying season. Not a bad timeline, considering how long it took for the high-definition format war to run its course.

Solid-state drives go mainstream

Just about everyone has heard the hype surrounding solid-state drives, but only now are we starting to see SSDs get a foothold as a storage alternative for everyday use. The market is flooded with options, and the performance we've seen from several of the latest drives in our tests back up some of the claims that SSD supporters have made about the technology's advantages.

LG introduces ultra-slim LCD TVs

At LG's fifth annual summer line show in New York City, the company introduced two new HDTV lines, the SL80 and SL90. Both caught my attention for their attention to design.

Barnes & Noble makes a big splash into e-books

Barnes & Noble, which calls itself the world's largest bookseller, has given hints that e-books will play an important role in the company's future strategy. Today, we get the first insights to Barnes' digital strategy with the company's two-prong announcement of the Barnes & Noble eBookstore and its e-book reader plans--including the company's partnership with Plastic Logic to produce an e-book device.

Toshiba will sell Blu-ray player this year

Exactly a year and five months after Toshiba brought an end to the high-definition disc format war, the Japanese consumer electronics company confirmed its plans to produce its own Blu-ray Disc player. Previously, rumors trickled in about Toshiba considering such a move; Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun this weekend reported that Toshiba will adopt the format it once battled against.

Blu-ray disc sales up

The Digital Entertainment Group released its midyear report today, and Blu-ray Disc is a noteworthy bright spot.

iPhone 3G S: What's missing

Now in its third generation, the iPhone handset has made improvements with each successive model. This year, though, the improvements are less about what you see and more about what's packed under the chassis--and what's available in the iPhone OS 3.0 software update (accessible to current iPhone owners and on new iPhone 3G S units).

HP's TouchSmart printers print Web content, no PC required

Hewlett-Packard unveiled a new line of printers that allow you to access and print Web content from partners Google, Nickelodeon, and USA Today without a PC. The new printer line, unveiled at an event in San Francisco today, is part of a new HP printer technology called TouchSmart Web.

Few surprises, few innovations From Apple

Apple delivered a variety of hardware and software news today at the opening keynote for its Worldwide Developers Conference, but the company took its time building up to the big news: The new iPhone 3GS will be available in stores on June 19, and the current iPhone 3G will drop in price to US$99 as of today. Unfortunately, I found the keynote offered empty calories: The lack of a significant hardware upgrade for the iPhone was especially underwhelming.