The week in gadgets


8 Feb 2010

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IBM launches the first of its beefed-up Power7-based systems today as Microsoft sits on an employee blog post that may or may not suggest a free upgrade to the forthcoming Office 2010 for late buyers of Office 2007, and Google goes Babel fish on us.

Four times faster than it predecessor, the new Power7 microprocessor from IBM gets an official launch today. Don’t expect to see it in your laptop or games console just yet: for now, these powerful chips are designed to work in new servers that are also just launching; ones that will help with number crunching while analysing vast amounts of data. It has already been tested within a cancer research project in the Texas Medical Centre in the US.

Meanwhile, excited customers waiting for the launch of Office 2010 may not have to hold out if they were waiting for this but need to buy the current 2007 version. A Microsoft employee blog post, now pulled, suggested the possibility of an upgrade program, perhaps not unlike the Windows XP/7 upgrade.

Latest research by Google

Google’s latest research goes beyond upgrade and into the future with the universal translator: this combination of Google Translate and the voice recognition software as used on the Nexus One smart phone will mean almost instantaneous translation from one language to another while chatting on the phone, the internet giant claims. I wonder if they’ll call the handset it comes on the Babel fish (although Yahoo!’s translation service may have a problem with that).

Following on from the success of the Nexus One and the Hero, handset manufacturer HTC has been having a good 2009/2010 and it looks like another shiny new smart phone is waiting in the wings.

HTC has not released any official information about the phone but leaked images of the HTC Incredible show a large touchscreen with an optical mouse pointer instead of the Hero’s rollerball, as well as a fancy curved backplate, setting it apart from its smart-phone brothers.

By Marie Boran

Photo: Google’s Nexus One smart phone