Continuing from Part 1, we take a look at two laptops that were showcased in Las Vegas. Here they are:
Tablets/Laptops: Lenovo IdeaPad U1 Hybrid
Lenovo's sleek new notebook is reminiscent of the older clamshell iBooks, or even the Motorola PEBL - in a laptop form. The feature that defines this notebook is the ability to undock its 11.6" screen, making it a Qualcomm Snapdragon - powered tablet. When docked, contact pins at the base activate the Windows 7 OS, and when undocked, Lenovo's Skylight OS (Linux based) takes over the show. At the CES, the Lenovo reps handled the docking demo, which, raises the question on how delicate the process is...only time will tell.
The base of the IdeaPad can function alone as its own Core2 machine (independent of the tablet screen) with the connection of an external monitor, making this a true 2-device machine. Both the screen and base have their own WiFi antennas and batteries, while the tablet also packs 3G and Bluetooth antennas, as well as speakers and a webcam.
The keyboard is reported to be flat and with certain flex, far from the excellent raised keyboards Lenovo is known for. Lenovo has said that the keyboard will be updated before release.
With tablet PCs really making their way back into mainstream in 2009, the Ideapad looks to be a great move forward. If Lenovo can get this right, both in terms of pricing and performance, then the Ideapad will take the market by storm.
Gaming Laptops: Alienware M11x
Alienware laptops are beasts, in terms of power, price and size. At the CES however, Dell (Alienware's Parent company) announced the M11x. The notebook is on the borderline with larger netbooks, with a screen measuring 11.6". Other features include nVidia's new GT335M video card, and the selling price comes in at below $1000 (around R7600 or 720Eur).
According to Dell, the M11x achieve about 6hrs when using the lower-intensity graphics, and around 2hrs when it's hardcore gaming time. The laptop can connect to a range of monitors, boasting DisplayPort, HDMI and VGA ports. The M11x can connect to larger fullHD monitors, and Dell claims that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will run at more than 30fps in fullHD with settings at HIGH. With COD's intensive graphics, this really is something to be proud of.
The long battery life is achieved with Intel's Core 2 ULV - Ultra Low Voltage - processor (the U7300 to be exact). Compared with other Alienware machines, the M11x is very thin, in fact, overall dimensions aren't very far from the 12.1" EeePC.
Dell says that even though prices start at "below $1000", actual pricing will begin from as low as $799. At that price, the M11x can punch in well above its weight (no pun intended).
What do you think of the new gadgets from CES? Post a comment and let us know.
While Panasonic was wowing the crowds with their 3D screens, other brands were making scoops of their own. Here's some of them:
Home Theater: LG BD590
LG is holding its horses regarding the 3D bandwagon everyone seems to be jumping on, choosing a different route with their new Blu-ray player. The BD590 has a 250GB hard drive onto which you can store your own music collection (ripped from the drive itself or via USB) as well as photos and videos. Here are the main features:
- (the afore mentioned) 250GB Hard Drive for storing multimedia via USB and ripped music
- The ripped music is stored on the hard drive, and with built-in WiFi, all the information is taken care of by Gracenote
- Access to online streaming like Youtube and Picasa
- DLNA compliance - this allows you stream content from a connected computer.
Although the BD590 has no 3D, I feel that LG may have fallen onto something over here. If a person is going 3D, they will definitely need a new 3D-capable TV, 3D Blu-Ray Player and then the 3D movie itself! And, at least in the beginning anyway, 3D movies are going to be fairly scarce. With that in mind, the BD590 should fair reasonably well in 2010.
The People's Choice Award: Intel's Wireless Display Technology
We all know the hassle of connecting up laptops, desktops and the like to the larger plasma or LCD monitors: finding that elusive monitor cable or having to mess about with media formats if you use a media box; easy to work around when you have time, frustrating at best when you have to put something on the big screen for the whole family.
Processor manufacturer Intel aim to take care of these problems with their new Wireless Display Technology - fondly known as "WiDi". What this new technology involves is using a WiDi enabled laptop (a laptop with Intel's new 'Core' range of CPUs) and connecting wirelessly) to an adaptor box that plugs in to any display's HDMI port.
This certainly seems very promising, and, the prospect of gaming from a laptop onto a large monitor without the cable hassle is very appealing...let's just hope that Intel has taken care of potential lag issues that have plagued wireless streaming up to now.
Mobile Phones: Motorola Backflip
Motorola's new Android smartphone, the Backflip, is set to release in Q1/Q2 2010. The device will be available in Europe, Asia, North America and Latin America. (ed: hopefully the phone will be sold in Africa as well).
The phone will come with Android 1.5, which is upgradeable to 2.1 when it releases. Other features include a 5MP camera, 3.5mm (yay) headphone jack, and 2GB memory which can be expanded to 32GB, as well as a full HTML browser.
The Backflip is a quad-band GSM, with support for 850/1900/2100Mhz 3G bands (coincidentally the exact bands that AT&T use), and has WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS capabilities. At first glance, the Backflip is a revised version of the Cliq, but instead of the QWERTY keyboard sliding out, it folds out from underneath, like a book.
Another unique feature is the trackpad (Motorola calls it Backtrack), which is located on the back of the display when the phone is open. It works like a normal keypad, allowing you to work your way through pictures, home screen panes and much more. An interesting concept, but we'll have to see how well it does in the market. Oh, and by the way, the HVGA touchscreen is another way to navigate your way around the phone.
- Part 2 will be dedicated to 2 new laptops that will debut in 2010 -
What do you think of the new gadgets from CES? Post a comment and let us know.
I have just joined Bloggers Unite, an online organization that encourages bloggers to make aware world issues, and to voice our opinions on major events in the world.
Apple has finally released the much-coveted iPad (which was also, interestingly, rumoured to be called the "iSlate" - but I'll get to that in a moment), and the tech world has been buzzing with opinions and news about this latest iGadget.
Apple is hosting a media event on January 26th, with the focus being the "mobility space". And judging by the mounting rumours of a certain Apple tablet (or is it "slate"?) computer being developed by the Cuppertino powerhouse, we're expecting Mr. Jobs to take the stage on what's being dubbed "Tablet Tuesday" - 26th January 2010, when the company is expected to announce this killer device.
What's revolutionary about this Apple tablet computer is that, like the iPod before it revolutionised the way we listen to music, watch movies and play games in the last decade, we're expecting this tablet or slate computer to revolutionise the way we read magazines, books, watch DVDs and other high-definition media.
As such, Byte Lounge will be first off-the-mark to let you know what's being announced at the event. I'll also publish my opinions on whatever is released on the 26th. We're going to be one of the few (if only) tech blogs in South Africa and The Netherlands to annonuce the breaking news almost minutes after it happens - even though we're not going to physically be there in California when the Apple engineers take the stage.
You're invited to join us as we witness history in the making, and you too can take part in the conversation by commenting on the stories about the new releases here at Byte Lounge.
In future posts, as we build-up to the event, I'll let you know the international times for when to tune in to the blog - South African, European and American times, that is.
If you're not already doing so, follow the blog through Google Friend Connect by clicking "Follow" on the right. Also follow us on twitter:
Rahul Dowlath: http://twitter.com/RahulDowlath
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Witness history in the making. Be sure to stay on Byte Lounge!
Byte Lounge would like to welcome on-board Nitesh Dowlath, the newest member of the Byte Lounge blogging team!
Nitesh has previously helped me in writing a few posts by giving me a "heads-up" on some interesting topics to talk about.
He is an Android user of the touch-friendly HTC Hero, and will be addding his perspective on the Android platform in future posts.
An avid follower of all things tech, he's sure to add some of his own insights into the technology world, and he joins at a time when Byte Lounge has just shifted its focus slightly to cover a wider range of topics, from science to films - adding to the "digital lifestyle" concept that begun this blog.
An interesting note: Nitesh is from The Netherlands, and as such Byte Lounge is now updated from two places on opposite ends of the world! I write from Durban, South Africa, and Nitesh will be updating from Netherlands.
Looking forward to your insights and posts, Nitesh!
(from "Life in Pixels" by Rahul Dowlath)
The CES (Consumer Electronics Show) held recently in Las Vegas, Nevada, had one important and exciting thing coming out of it: the emergence of 3D television in the home-theatre set-up.
This means that we can watch big-budget, sheer-awesomness-exuding, and eye-watrering-it’s-so-beautifully-rendered films like James Cameron’s Avatar in all its 3D glory from the comfort of our living rooms. Sounds good, right? It sure is.
What’s even more exciting is that big-name broadcasters like ESPN and the Discovery Network are planning on broadcasting content in 3D. ESPN even went on to state that they’re planning on broadcasting the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa in 3D.
However, the slight snag with the onset of 3D technology – what some anticipate will be making its way onto store shelves by the end of this year – is that, like the introduction of Sony’s Blu-Ray HD technology, 3DTV will be lacking in the amount of 3D content available for consumption.
However, according to Nic Covey, director of cross-platform insights for The Nielsen Company, “In terms of where the consumer is, over the top is where the action is going to be in 2010,” he said. “That’s what they’re looking for.” So there is in fact consumer interest in this technology; it’s just that the creation of 3D content is expensive, and as such there is not enough available for this to be viable just yet.
ESPN, while showing interest in broadcasting in 3D, still maintains that the creation of such content for live events is going to be expensive. “We need to be able to get 2D and 3D [versions of live sporting events] produced in the same truck,” ESPN’s Chief Technology Officer Chuck Pagano said. “If we have to do side-by-side production, with two crews and two trucks, it could end up being a very long putt for us in terms of making this work economically.”
3DTV is certainly the future of home entertainment, in the same way DVD and surround sound revolutionised the home theatre. It just needs more time to develop. And when that time comes, I will certainly be in line with my 3D goggles in hand ready to get this awesome tech.