Jim Hillibish GHNS
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Jim Hillibish

It appeared the PC industry was folding its tents on the consumer market this past summer, ceding victory in the war with tablets. Consumer PC sales continued to plummet. Tablets are beating PC for sales this year. The only hope is a 3 percent uptick in PC commercial sales.

Then Intel launched its fight-back campaign last month. They're rolling out a series of smaller operating chips offering faster computing at less power use, driving up the battery time in laptops. But that wasn't the most important advance.

The new chips break the price strangle of the old. They will enable an era of $250 to $299 fully equipped laptops with large touch screens, more useful than $500 tablets. Those are list prices. Discounts will drive them down, perhaps into the unheard of $200 range. At that rate, you could buy six PCs for one Apple laptop.

This would not eclipse the tablet surge, but it would create heavy price pressure, especially among those such as students who need a computer to do real work beyond games and text messaging.

The world's biggest chipmaker has released its next generation of communications chips for phones, tablets and PCs. The chip supports 15 LTE networks, meaning you could find coverage in most places. If an LTE network is not available, the chip can switch to older networks such as 2G. It offers this at a 30 percent gain in battery life.

Consumer Reports 2013 reliability ratings are based on its reader's 1.1 million vehicles and found a major downfall in quality. Ford and Toyota were especially hard hit. The big problem rests in the computer controlled functions, accessed on dashboard LED screens. 

These are computer systems operating at high and low temperatures and constant vibration, conditions that would kill a normal system. Some aren't making it, necessitating expensive replacements. 

PC Magazine constantly monitors its readers' pet peeves, or we should say baby peeves. Readers love the photos of pets on Facebook and Instagram. They are weary of scrolling through the logjam of submitted baby photos.

The banner ad is dead on websites. Click throughs have dropped dramatically, making the ads a waste of money for many businesses. Video ads are taking their place, but with another Internet annoyance: They auto play when you access the page, cannot be turned off and some keep playing even when you exit the site.


Reach Jim at 330-580-8324. On Twitter: @jhillibishREP