Stories by Melissa J. Perenson

Hands on with the Apple iPad

I had the opportunity to spend some hands-on time with the long-awaited Apple iPad tablet after today's much-hyped press event. Unfortunately, I was a bit underwhelmed: I can see a lot of really useful applications for the iPad, but the reality is that it looks and behaves like an iPhone (or iPod Touch) on steroids. And that's not exactly a good thing.

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.

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.

Dell Launches Inspiron Mini 10

Dell strives to improve on its earlier netbook offering, the <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/product/32155/review/inspiron_mini_9.html">Inspiron Mini 9</a>, with the new Dell Inspiron Mini 10. In an interesting gambit by Dell, the Inspiron Mini 10 will debut on the QVC shopping network; the unit will be available for sale at Dell.com starting on February 26.

Hands-On With the Amazon Kindle 2

Critical design changes make the Amazon Kindle 2 more appealing than the preceding model--but while Amazon has succeeded in enhancing its e-book reader, it has done little to advance the device to the next stage.

Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB WD20EADS

The Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB WD20EADS hard drive boosts the capacity game to a whole new level. This US$299 drive crams 2 terabytes into a single drive--making this drive a boon to anyone with a large data archive, multimedia library, or space-hogging video collection.

How Facebook changed gaming

Video games are more mainstream than ever, becoming a $25 billion industry that reaches into living rooms everywhere. But gaming's growth isn't just due to the Nintendo Wii's explosive popularity. Rather, it's due to the booming resurgence of casual games --games that don't require an eidetic memory for commands and a 36-hour-per-level time commitment in order to provide enjoyable experiences for audiences of any skill set.

Independent games take flight

Not all attention-drawing games are produced or distributed by the big, marquee developers. IndieCade, an organization dedicated to showcasing and promoting independent gamemakers, offers evidence with its display of independent games at the <a href=" http://www.eforallexpo.com/">E for All Expo</a> here this weekend. This event comes just one week before IndieCade's first juried games festival in Bellevue, Washington, where dozens of independents will show their stuff.

Dell Studio Hybrid PC

Dell's new Studio Hybrid makes a strong impression with its stylish design, and its price will make you take notice, too. A basic configuration starts at US$499, without monitor; our test configuration, with a 19-inch LCD monitor, cost $1064.

Polaroid PoGo Portable Photo Printer

The camera world may have gone digital, but <a href=" http://blogs.pcworld.com/techlog/archives/006464.html">the name Polaroid remains synonymous with instant photo prints</a>. So it's not surprising that Polaroid has introduced the $150 PoGo portable printer.

Samsung first to ship 500GB laptop hard drive

<a href=" http://www.pcworld.com/tags/Samsung+Corporation.html">Samsung Electronics</a> is the first hard drive manufacturer to ship a 500GB 2.5-inch drive. Samsung announced its drive was shipping in volume to OEMs and PC makers Wednesday.

End of the high-definition format war: Five pros and cons

There's no question that the next-generation DVD, high-definition format war has been a detriment to consumers. Ever since Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD movies and hardware came to market in 2006, the cloud of uncertainty has hung heavy over both formats, constraining growth as wary consumers watched from the sidelines.

HD DVD price cut shakes up format wars

Mere days after a group of Blu-ray-supporting studios orchestrated an event to show off the Blu-ray Disc format in Los Angeles, the HD DVD format achieved a dramatic resurgence with Toshiba's move to a $100 player. Never let it be said that consumers don't love a bargain--but will price alone decide this format war?