This year’s CES is absolutely crawling with eReaders. The first real standout in that category is a demo unit from Liquavista with a full color display. This is not a LCD, though. Rather it’s more akin to the eInk screens we’re all familiar with. It could be the sort of device many people are hoping to see come to market.
The reader’s display uses the so called LiquavistaColor technology and electrowetting. This involves modifying the behavior of liquids on a solid surface by applying voltage. The display technology is impressive, but this is still just a prototype. Liquavista has preliminary plans for a late 2010/early 2011 launch. By that point though, many consumers may have already committed to an eReader platform.
This week, we're here in Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronics Show. We'll be reporting about new PC hardware and gadgets from the show floor, various press conferences, and private meetings. As you can tell from out CES landing page, there have been plenty of product announcements before the convention floor has even opened its doors. We'll be getting our hands on these and more devices for photos and hands-on impressions. In addition to cutting edge gadgets like netbooks and mobile phones, we'll also be keeping tabs on the latest in system-building components. You can keep track of all of our CES 2010 coverage by clicking this link or the banner below.
Stay tuned for our Microsoft Keynote liveblog and more event coverage!
One of the oft-repeated complaints about 3D video technology is the requirement that people wear glasses. While Gunnar Optiks isn’t out to change that, they would like to offer you the opportunity to look good while viewing your 3D content. Gunnar’s new line of 3D glasses will include versions for all major 3D technologies, but will have an eye toward style. Let’s face it, isn’t that really what it’s all about?
The company plans to use its i-AMP lens technology to produce a higher quality set of specs. Most 3D glasses use flat plastic lenses, but the i-AMP lenses will be curved like normal lenses. Gunnar president Rob Arnes explained, “Currently most eyewear used in 3D systems is either disposable or of low-quality construction. With our expertise in optics and our commitment to the digital world, we see the opportunity as a natural fit.”
Gunnar Optiks makes the claim that the glasses help reduce eye strain, and make for a better image. Some agree with that assessment, but it’s far from a consensus. If you’re interested, the 3D shades should be out in Q2 and priced from $89 to $149.
AT&T finally seems ready to admit that this whole Android thing isn’t just a flash in the pan. The carrier that brought you the iPhone will be launching five Android phones in the first half of 2010. The announcement was a bit short on details, but there were some clues as to which handsets to expect.
AT&T plans to offer a Motorola handset with a “unique form factor”. This can only be the Moto Backflip we told you about recently. This phone is “blessed” with an awkward looking reverse clamshell design and a lack of Google apps (in the prerelease version at least). The announcement also said Dell’s first smartphone would be coming to the network. That clearly means a version of the Mini 3i with US 3G bands.
The remaining phones are to be HTC devices. No details on what these might be. Knowing HTC’s penchant for repackaging the same hardware, these phones could end up being variations of the Hero. We may see some of the phones spied in the leaked roadmap from a few weeks back. Any AT&T customers planning to buy into the Android craze?
You can only swim against the tide for so long. Sony, after 11 long years swimming against the tide, has announced that its giving in, and it too will produce a line of SD cards.
Sony says “the new cards will complement” their existing Memory Stick line of memory cards, but it concedes the Memory Stick’s unpopularity by saying it needs to “satisfy the needs of a broader range of users.” (Such as everybody else in the known universe.)
Sony’s SD/SDHC cards will be Class 4, and range in capacity from 2 GB to 32 GB. A line of microSD/microSDHC cards will also be available, with capacities from 2 GB to 8 GB. Retail prices will range from $14.99 for the 2 GB SD card to $159.99 for the 32 GB SDHC card. MicroSD cards will range in price from $14.99 to $44.99.
Don’t think Sony’s yet given up on out-lasting the tide. According to Sony, the “Memory Stick is [still] the recommended media for Sony products.”
Network attached storage (NAS) is a great idea. Once set-up the contents of the NAS are available from almost anywhere you can plug into the network. That’s theory anyway. Reality is getting into a NAS, especially from a remote location, can be a daunting task, even for the NAS-initiated. Dane-Elec has a solution, myDitto, that promises to make the task easier.
Step one, like for NAS everywhere, is set-up. Nothing different here. The myDitto has two bays for 3.5-inch SATA drives, and is RAID 0 or 1 capable. It can handle up to 4 TB of storage. It has a pair of USB 2.0 port and gigabit ethernet. And it supports DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) and iTunes media.
Step two, getting access, is a simple matter--just plug in the myDitto USB key to a computer and the data on your NAS becomes available. Dane-Elec says it doesn’t matter where that computer is, so long as it is Internet or network attached. Nothing to configure. Nothing to remember (except where you last put that lousy USB key).
This ease-of-use doesn’t come cheap. The 1 TB model, which is to be released in March, is priced at $249.
Stop us if you've heard this one before - Asus is hoping to release its Eee Keyboard...Wait! On second thought, never mind how many times you may have heard this in the past, because Asus is totally serious this time (we'll see) and promises to release its Eee Keyboard PC sometime next month for between $500 and $600.
That's about the same price we've heard every other time there's been an Eee Keyboard PC announcement, which most recently came in November, 2009, when word of a delay hit the Web. Asus said it planned on using the temporary setback to its advantage by beefing up the hardware.
According to reports, the plank-PC will come equipped with an Intel Atom N270 processor rather than the newer Atom N450, a single DIMM slot with 1GB of DDR2 memory and no way to upgrade to 2GB, a 16GB SSD with the option to upgrade to 32GB, a built-in battery that lasts up to 4 hours, and Windows XP Home.
The keyboard will also sport a 5-inch touch display off to the side, along with VGA and HDMI connections.
All told, it's a pretty nifty device, but will consumers be willing to shell out five or six Benjamins for what amounts to a last-gen netbook (hardware-wise) and very limited upgrade options? If all goes to plan, we'll find out in another month.
Sling, the makers of the Slingbox, which lets you watch your stuff--cable TV, recorded programming--anywhere you can hook up to a broadband connection, has announced a slate of new products. As cool as they are they aren’t for us, but instead are intended for “television service providers and consumer electronics manufacturers” so they may “acquire new customers and delight their current ones.”
The Slingbox 700U is an updated Slingbox, and takes on the chore of streaming media, once connected to the Internet via a USB port. The Sling Receiver 300 allows streaming to televisions through a home network. The Sling Monitor 150 is a portable flat-panel display that combines a display and a receiver. And the Sling Touch Control 100 is a “next-generation”, touch-screen remote with the SlingGuide interface.
Sling doesn’t mention cost or availability. But, then, these aren’t for us, so why should we be told?
Just when you thought that you had seen the last of the iPhone killers another one popped out from nowhere. But the threshold of banality has been reached and, thankfully, people's tolerance of prospective iPhone killers is now close to nil – the Nexus One being the only exception. The stage is now all set for a breathtaking tablet or two to take the limelight away from all other gadgets.
According to the venerable New York Times, Microsoft will try and conquer the vacant stage with a tablet of its own at the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, effectively beating Apple to the tablet-announcing punch.
It seems the world of computer hardware is becoming just a tad pervy of late. All the new hardware being released wants you to touch it. A good example is HP’s new Mini 5102 netbook, which comes with a touchscreen option.
HP’s CES announcement follows one by Leonovo for its first touchscreen, the Lenovo C310 desktop, and Dell’s Latitude 2100 netbook, introduced last May. The Mini 5102 will feature an Intel Atom N450 processor, a 10.1-inch LED display (either WSVGA or HD), a webcam, and face-recognition (let's hope the bugs on that are now worked out). Options include Broadcom HD video (allowing 720p and 1080p HD playback), and a carrying handle. Price is set at $399, and it will be available this month in black,blue or red.
The Mini 5102’s touchscreen will be capactive, same as on the iPhone and iPod Touch. But, it won’t have much to do at first, as there’s little software yet available to take advantage of touch technology. The touchscreen version will cost an additional $50.
Also in HP’s announcement, the TouchSmart tm2, and update to the tx2, a convertible notebook that doubles as a tablet. The TouchSmart will be in stores January 17, with a price of $949.