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EU Tightens Ecolabel PC Criteria

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PC makers wanting to prove their green credentials will need to try harder, as the European Commission (EC) tightens the criteria of the EU Ecolabel covering the production, construction and life cycle of desktop, notebook and tablet computers.

EU EcolabelFirst introduced in 1992, the Ecolabel is a voluntary certification scheme allowing businesses to prove their products or services have a low environmental impact. Following the updated criteria vendors will need to show the "energy efficiency and upgradability" of devices, as well as the ease said devices can be dismantled and recycled.

"The EU Ecolabel promotes Europe's transition to a circular economy, supporting both sustainable production and consumption," EC commissioner for the environment Karmenu Vella says. "Thanks to transparent ecological criteria, consumers can make conscious choices, without compromising on the quality of the products. Similarly, the Ecolabel rewards those manufacturers who choose to design products that are durable and repairable, promoting innovation and saving resources."

Sony to Reveal Two PlayStations on September?

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The Wall Street Journal reports Sony is to launch two PlayStation 4 models come 7 September 2016-- while the company already confirmed the "Neo" 4K/UHD-capable upgrade, it will also announce a slimmer version of original console.

PS4 SlimThe story comes after images of the slimmer PS4 (aka "PS4 Slim") appeared on UK auction site Gumtree. The auction was first discovered by a Twitter user, before a person claiming to have bought the auctioned machine posted more images of the console in various states of boxing and unboxing on gaming forum NeoGAF.

Further confirming the existence of the machine was Eurogamer's Digital Foundry, whose journalist managed to get an own photo of the PS4 Slim. Judging from the various images available so far, the console appears to be a European model with a 500GB HDD.

Microsoft and Lenovo Deepen Relationship

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Lenovo smartphoneMicrosoft announces a "deepening of strategic relationships" with Lenovo in a deal having Lenovo preload Microsoft apps on select devices, as well as a "patent cross-licensing agreement."

The Microsoft apps in question are of the productivity variety, such as Office, OneDrive and Skype. They will be found in premium Android-powered Lenovo smartphones and tablets.

“Our collaboration with Microsoft will create new opportunities for our customers to take advantage of some of Microsoft’s most popular apps,” Lenovo says. “Installing Microsoft apps and services on our devices will bring additional value to consumers around the globe.”

Netgear Promises Better Wifi With Orbi

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Netgear is the next company to follow the likes of Luma and Eero with a mesh-based home wifi system-- Orbi, a kit consisting of a router anda "satellites" the company claims cover up to 370 square metres once combined.

Netgear OrbiBoth router and satellite are suitably curvy (as the new trend in home networking hardware dictates), and offer what Netgear describes as a "tri-bend mesh system." Essentially the router sends out three channels, one to extend internet to the satellite and two others to feed the connections of other devices.

The router supports 802.11ac wifi at speeds reaching up to 3Gbps, and ships pre-paired with the satellite fore asy setup. Once the system is installed the satellite can be placed anywhere, and the result is a unified network with a single user-selectable SSID. Also included in the router are a x4 Gigabit ethernet ports and a USB 2.0 jack, while setup options include parental controls with website black/whitelists and time permissions.

Parallels Updates Desktop for Mac

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Parallels announces Parallels Desktop 12 for Mac-- an update featuring macOS Sierra support-- together with Parallels Toolbox, a standalone app allowing users to perform simple tasks not tied to virtualisation.

parallels desktopAdditions to Desktop 12 include "always on" Windows 10 in the background, instant Windows app launching, incremental backup and Windows update scheduling, improved Microsoft Edge, Outlook and Office 365 integration, the ability to assign special behaviours to Windows apps and Xbox app support. Another feature involves a partnership with Blizzard with support for the hit multiplayer shooter Overwatch.

Parallels also claims the update offers 90% faster snapshot creation, 60% faster VM suspension, 25% faster shared folder performance, 25% faster Visual Studio project compilation and up to 10% improvement in battery life for "certain environments."

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