Toshiba over the past few days has been busy launching a bunch of notebooks in the Taiwan market, including the 10-inch NB250 netbook, 13-inch to 15-inch Satellite L series notebooks for mainstream folks, high-end Satellite A series, and a pair of ultra-thin Portege models, one built around Intel's Pentium U5400 processor and the other sporting a Core i3 330UM chip. All of these are expected to ship stateside starting later this month.
Amid all the new notebook launches, there's chatter that Toshiba is readying a dual-screen something-or-other by the end of the June. Reports appear mixed on whether this will be a notebook, tablet, or hybrid. Whatever it ends up being, the Guidebook, as the codename goes, will feature two 7-inch displays, says DigiTimes.
Earlier leaks and rumors also have the Guidebook pegged with some sort of Windows OS on the software side and Nvidia's Tegra platform for the hardware. It was originally rumored that the Guidebook would be developed by Compal, but new reports suggest Toshiba is working on this one in-house.
Boutique system vendor Origin PC introduces what the company claims is the world's first customizable 3D gaming laptop, the EON15-3D. Sure, there are other 3D laptops to choose from, but according to Origin, none that can be fully custom tailored to Joe Sixpack's liking.
Starting out at $1,950, the 15-inch EON15-3D features Core i5 and i7 processors, Nvidia's GeForce GTX 285M GPUs, Blu-ray burners, up to 8GB of DDR3-1333 memory, up to 750GB of hard drive space, SSD options, programmable gaming buttons, touch sensitive access buttons, HDMI out, and Windows 7software.
Like it or not, 3D gaming (and movie watching) still requires wearing a pair of dorky glasses, at least as far as the mainstream is concerned, and the EON15-3D is no exception. Accompanying the 3D-capable display is a pair of wireless Nvidia 3D Vision active-shutter glasses.
AUO, a leading TFT-LCD panel maker following the mergers of Acer Display Technology and Unipac Optoelectronics Corporation in 2001, and with Quanta Display Inc. in 2006, is gearing up for the Display Taiwan 2010 convention with some nifty screen technologies, not the least of which is the largest projected capacitive multi-touch LCD anywhere in the Milky Way.
Measuring 32 inches, AUO says its relatively ginormous multi-touch panel will come capable of recognizing ten touch points simultaneously. AUO also claims that so-called "ghost points" -- areas that are falsely registered during the detection process -- won't be an issue.
Keeping with the world's largest theme, AUO will also be showing off the largest commercialized 3D TV panel measuring 65 inches. Viewing 3D content on the 65-inch display will require wearing polarized 3D glasses, though AUO also plans to showcase other 3D display technologies in smaller form factors, including glasses-free barrier and lenticular lens types.
An all-in-one PC for around $1,000? From Sony? And carrying the Vaio brand? As unlikely as all that sounds (collectively, anyway), Sony's Vaio J Touch All-in-One PC brings multi-touch to the masses for a lot less than what you might expect..
Sony's press release says pricing starts out at about $900 for the Vaio J series, though the pre-order product page shows the base model checking in at $1,100. That nets you a 21.5-inch full HD multi-touch screen display, Intel Core i3 350M (2.26GHz) processor, 4GB of DDR3-1066 memory, 500GB hard drive, Blu-ray drive, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, a memory card reader, and other odds and ends.
Starting at $1,550, Sony will bump you up to an Intel Core i7 620M processor (2.66GHz), 6GB of memory, and Nvidia GeForce 310M graphics with 512MB of dedicated video RAM.
Both models are expected to ship on or about June 25, 2010.
Multi-display setups are typically pretty awesome, but also a little bit flawed when attempting to use more than one screen as a single display. It's because of the bezel, and the thicker it is, the more distracting it can be when plopping multiple TVs or monitors next to, and on top of each other.
That isn't the case with Sharp's new multi-screen display system. With bezels measuring just 6.5mm, Sharp says it achieved the thinnest System Frame Width in the known galaxy, and judging from the pictures, we won't argue with that.
The multi-display screen system is built around the new PN-V601 60-inch professional monitor. The PN-V601 sports a full-array LED backlight with LED elements arranged in an evenly spaced array to improve the uniformity of brightness. There's an enlarge zoom function to supersize images up to 25 monitors (in a 5 x 5 configuration), and when combined with the optional PN-ZR01 Control Kit, users can control all displays using a single remote.
Sharp has yet to set a price for its new display, but says it plans to start shipping the PN-V601 in Japan at the tail end of August.
Yet another reason why you just can't have enough USB ports, Samsung has developed a USB-powered LCD PC display that requires no AC/DC power source.
The display, which was being shown off at the SID 2010 conference in Seattle, measures 18.5 inches and consumes as little as 6.3W. Plug it into a USB port and you're good to go.
"We are planning to start volume production of the LCD display for desktop PCs in 2011," Samsung said.
In order to ditch the traditional power cord, Samsung had to figure out a way to reduce power consumption. The company did this by improving the transmittance of the panel and luminance efficiency of the backlight. According to Samsung, the transmittance of the panel is at about 7 percent, but the company declined to elaborate on what technologies it used to achieve this.
What we do know is that it comes with an edge-lit type backlight that taps into LEDs for its light source. Samsung's LEDs boast a higher efficiency than traditional LEDs used in LCD monitors, but at a rated lifetime of 30,000 hours, they also offer about 20,000 hours less.
Touchy feely types rejoice, Gateway has gone and updated its all-in-one touchscreen ZX series of PCs, spreading the love to both Intel and AMD. What's more, Gateway says both PCs easily double as a TV, which we can see being particularly attractive to the college-bound crowd.
Pricing starts out at $750 and gets you the Gateway One ZX4300-01e. This one comes equipped with an AMD Athlon X2 235e (2.7Ghz, 2MB L2 cache), integrated ATI Radeon HD 4270 graphics, 4GB of DDR3-1333 memory, 640GB hard drive, 8X DVD burner, multi-card reader, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, six USB 2.0 ports, 2.1 channel audio, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. All this drives the 20-inch touchscreen display with a 1600x900 resolution.
For a little more jingle, the Intel-based Gateway One ZX6900-01e will set you back $1,020 and comes built around Intel's core i3 530 processor (2.93GHz, 4MB cache). Other upgrades include a larger display (23 inches, 1920x1080), 4X Blu-ray reader, and eSATA and HDMI ports. This one also swaps the Radeon chip for Intel GMA graphics.
Come June, Gateway said it will add a third model with an Intel Core i5 650 processor and TV tuner.
Total touch screen shipments increases 29 percents year-over-year in 2009 to settle in at 606 million units, according to market research firm DisplaySearch, which just released its Touch Panel Market Analysis report.
"Touch screen penetration has been rapidly increasing in mobile phone, PMP/MP3, portable navigation, and other applications. Over the next several years, touch screens will undergo strong growth in large-size applications such as all-in-one PCs, Mini-note/slate PCs, and education/training,” noted Jennifer Colegrove, PhD, Director of Display Technologies at DisplaySearch.
Apple's iPhone and iPod touch played a big role in popularizing capacitive touch technology, and with the iPad joining the fray, DisplaySearch projects that capacitive touch screens will for the first time pass resistive touch technology to become the leading touch technology in 2010, as measured in revenues.
The emerging tablet market looks to play a big role in pushing touch screen technology, but in the meantime, mobile phones still lead the charge. According to DisplaySearch, mobile phones are the biggest application for touch screens in terms of unit shipments and now account for over a quarter of the overall market penetration.
In the market for a new TV? If so, you may want to consider sitting tight to see how the market shakes out in the next month or so. Citing un-named market sources, DigiTimes says LCD TV vendors in China are planning to aggressively slash prices in order to boost demand in the second half of 2010.
It's not entirely clear if this pricing strategy will spill over into the United States, but in China, some vendors have already begun dropping price tags to new lows. Both Sharp and Samsung, for example, reduced their LCD TV prices by 15-20 percent during the Labor Day holiday in May, prompting local competitors to follow suit with 20 percent price cuts of their own.
There is more than one reason why this is happening. With the proliferation of LED-backlit LCD TVs, consumers aren't willing to pay as much for CCFL models. TV makers noted worse-than-expected sales in the first half of 2010, and the only way to reach their shipment goals for the year is to come down in price. And while it wasn't mentioned, one has to believe that the push for 3D models is also playing a part in non-3D TV sets holding less value (and interest) than before.
LCD TVs with LED backlighting are relatively new, so we fully expect to pay a pricing premium over those which use fluorescent lighting from tubes. But if history tells us anything, it's that prices tend to creep downwards over time. That isn't necessarily the case here. Citing sources from packaging houses, DigiTimes reports that LED backlight products may see price hikes to the tune of 5-10 percent.
Ironically enough, it's the strong market demand that's driving prices in the wrong direction. LED chip makers have said that they raise prices for rush orders, sometimes by as much as 10 percent. Genesis Photonics, for example, has already hiked up the prices for its green LED epitaxy wafers, while Huga Optotech, Tekcore, and possibly Formosa Epitaxy all plan to do the same.
What impact this will have on the LED TV market remains to be seen. Some vendors are expecting LED-backlit LCD TVs to see a 20-25 percent total market penetration in 2010, but not everyone agrees. Market observers are a little more conservative in their estimates, predicting 15 penetration for LED-backlit models. In addition, there's the possibility of oversupply of LEDs as chip makers increase new capacities in the third quarter, observers warn.