Seiko is trying to bring digital watches back in style, and to help do that, the company is equipping new models with e-ink displays.
This isn't the first time Seiko has gone this route, having used e-ink in a handful of limited edition watches for the ladies a few years back. They never really took off, which Seiko hopes is only because it was an idea slightly ahead of its time.
These second-gen e-ink watches sport an active matrix display that allows the screen to "actively" refresh itself whenever needed. The battery is only used when changing the display, so in theory, these suckers should run for long, long periods of time.
It's also equipped with a solar cell, and the movement is radio controlled so that it receives its time from an atomic clock. It all looks pretty promising (and geeky), and if the recent ebook price war is any indication, these things might actually end up being affordable too.
A senior analyst at Digitimes Research says Samsung has received a shipment of IPS panels for use in its upcoming 7-inch Galaxy Tab slate. The IPS panels, which are being supplied from Hydis, "are of comparable grade as those of Apple's iPad," senior analyst Mingchi Kuo claims.
Samsung just recently went official with the Galaxy Tab, announcing that device will ship with a 1GHz Cortex A8 processor, PowerVR SGX540 GPU, and 512MB of RAM. All versions will boast both Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, as well as Samsung's TouchWiz UI on top of Android 2.2.
Already sporting a sexy feature-set, the addition of an IPS panel makes the Galaxy Tab all the more intriguing. And if the Galaxy Tab gains traction as a legitimate iPad contender, it could pave the way for IPS-based tablets to follow.
The latest word is that LG plans to show off an ultra-thin OLED display at the 2010 IFA Consumer Electronics Show in Berlin next month.
The 31-inch display is said to measure just 2.9mm thin, making it the slimmest OLED around. Jumping on the 3D bandwagon, the new display will come capable of churning out three-dimensional visuals with its 600Hz refresh rate.
Other details are pretty much non-existent at this point, including cost, but don't expect it to be cheap by any stretch of the imagination. Combining OLED with 3D is like mixing gold with platinum. For a point of reference, LG sells a 15-inch OLED 2D TV for $2,500, so it's safe to say the upcoming 31-inch set will cost at least twice as much.
There's too much at stake in the emerging 3D market to let one company steal the spotlight, and so Sony joins Toshiba in trying to be the first (and best) to deliver 3D television sets that don't require donning a pair of special glasses.
"Seeing 3D without glasses is more convenient," Sony Senior Vice President Yoshihisa Ishida said Thursday at Tokyo headquarters. "We must take account of pricing before we can think about when to start offering them."
And therein lies the biggest hurdle. 3D technology is expensive enough as it is -- Sony just launched a line of 3D Bravia HDTVs that starts out at $3,000 (46 inches) -- and when you throw glasses-free technology into the mix, well, be prepared to get kicked in the wallet.
There's also the question of how effective this first-gen technology will be. Both Sony and Toshiba are likely to implement some kind of parallax barrier technology similar to the one being used on Nintendo's upcoming 3DS console, but they'll have to figure out how to widen the viewing angle to accommodate more than one viewer who plops himself in the sweet spot.
In the market for a new LCD monitor? Count yourself among the few. Citing "market sources," Digitimes says that first tier PC brands, including Hewlett-Packard (HP), Acer, and Dell, have all pulled in the reigns on new LCD monitor orders for 2011 because of weaker-than-expected demand.
The exact reason for this has analysts stumped. Some market watchers say the weak demand might just be the result of the typical business practices for this time of year, as the peak season typically occurs in the third quarter. Because of this, vendors end up setting higher order volumes to receive more favorable pricing, and then reduce orders in the forth quarter.
But is that what's happening? It should also be noted that several LCD makers have been rocked by price fixing lawsuits in recent months, and it could be that PC vendors are waiting to see how it all plays out before fully replenishing their LCD monitor stock.
MSI's latest all-in-one PC -- the Wind Top AE2420 3D -- says it's all about the 3D, baby, and apparently this is a world's first. The AE2420 brings 24-inches of 3D imagery to a touchscreen LED panel with a 120Hz scanning frequency when paired with the bundled 3D shutter glasses that MSI claims is all that a bag of popcorn.
"The Wind Top AE2420 3D comes with MSI's exclusive 3D Infinity (Shutter Glasses) that solve the problem of blurred 3D images caused by visual angle deviation," MSI explains. "With a large 24" display, several people can view 3D images at the same time, making it even more suitable for use in family entertainment. MSI's 3D Station also integrates 2D to 3D transfer technology, addressing the current shortage of 3D movies. Even DVD rentals or home videos can be instantly transferred and viewed as 3D images."
Other hardware consists of an Intel Core i5 650 processor clocked at 3.2GHz, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5730 graphics with 1GB of dedicated memory, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, 1TB hard drive, optional Blu-ray drive, 1.3MP webcam, four USB 2.0 ports, eSATA, LAN, VGA and HDMI, 6-in-1 memory card reader, two USB 3.0 ports, TV tuner card, and MCE remote control.
Dozens of comparisons between LCD and E-ink screens are made almost every day, but this is the first time we’ve seen both at 375x magnification. It still doesn’t really settle the argument as to which is better for reading, but it’s interesting to check out for yourself either way. The two technologies pictured above are the iPad’s 1024-by-768 IPS 132 pixel per inch LCD, along with the Kindle 2’s 600-by-800 167 pixel per inch e-ink display.
It would be interesting to see how much crisper the new “pearl” e-ink screen would look by comparison, but we still have a long way to go before it reaches parity with print.
Below is also a comparison between the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 LCD. Does the retina display live up to the hype? See for yourself.
The world's baddest (and we mean that in a good way) vending machine just went up in central Tokyo this week at the East Japan Railway Co.'s Shinagawa Station. What separates this vending machine from all others -- and makes it newsworthy for a tech site -- is the ginormous 47-inch touchscreen being wielded.
That's right, this thing packs a touchscreen larger than some home TV displays, but that isn't all it has going for it. Still images and video are fed to the machine by way of WiMAX wireless broadband, which can be used to show promotional content depending on the season or time of the day. In the heat of summer, for example, you might see a bottle of ice cold water displayed across on the screen. In the future, commercials are likely to be played, too.
The smart vending machine, which was co-developed by JR East Water Business Co., Omron Corp, and Fuji Electric Retail Systems Co., uses a built-in face recognition system to figure out the customer's sex and age, and then uses that info to display items that might be of interest. And in a move that's sure to have privacy advocates up in arms, the machine also retains customer data, like previously purchased items, which will then be used for marketing purposes, Nikkei.com says.
Following an investigation into the business practices of several LCD makers, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has gone and sued a number of companies on allegations of price fixing, a charge he contends has been going on for a decade.
"Our investigation shows that an illegal cartel eliminated competition in the marketplace for LCD screens, made its own secret decisions to boost prices, and then took steps to make those high prices stick," Cuomo said. "As a result, hard-pressed New York cities, towns, schools, and hospitals spent hundreds of millions of dollars on LCD screens affected by the illegal conspiracy. My office is bringing this case to get those illegal overcharges back."
The lawsuit accuses top-level executives, including CEOs, of attending secret meetings on a quarterly, and sometimes monthly basis to set minimum prices, price targets and increases, and prices to be charged to specific manufacturers. Cuomo's lawsuit also accuses LCD makers of exchanging production information to control output, and coordinating messages to cover-up the entire scheme.
Defendants listed in the suit include AU Optronics, Chi Mei Corporation, CMO Japan, Hitachi, LG, Samsung, Sharp, and Toshiba.
NEC this week added to its MultiSync display line with a new eco-friendly monitor the company says was designed with business users in mind.
"NEC is committed to continuing its strong leadership role within the industry by contributing to a greener environment with an eco-friendly display in the quickly-growing 23-inch category," said Lynn Gu, Product Manager for NEC Display Solutions. "The MultiSync E231W uses an LED-backlit panel to increase energy savings by up to 40 percent in comparison to conventional CCFL-backlit LCD monitors. This is especially beneficial for our business customers in this economic downturn."
The 23-inch panel boasts a widescreen LED-backlit display with a 1920 x 1080 HD screen resolution. It also comes with a number of green-inspired technologies, such as a carbon footprint meter and the Intelligent Power Manager (IPM), which NEC says helps conserve energy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by switching to a lower power state or automatically powering down when you're not using the display.