The typical netbook is missing a lot of things -- power, optical drives, oodles of storage, more than 2GB of RAM, gaming grade graphics (Nvidia's ION platform notwithstanding) -- but one thing you will find on the netbooks of tomorrow is an HDMI port.
We're talking about HDMI on pretty much all netbooks, not just those built around Nvidia's ION platform. Slapping an HDMi port on the side is part of Intel's push to expand the functionality of this market segment, which will coincide with the Cedar Trail-M platform launch in the second half of 2011.
A good thing too, because today's standard netbooks are ill-equipped to handle HD content, which makes an HDMI port a mostly non-issue. But with Cedar Trail-M, tomorrow's netbooks will boast full HD support and be up to the task of driving content on your HD television.
The engineers over at Fujitsu say they've made significant advancements in color electronic paper that features contrast improved by threefold and re-write speeds twice as fast as previous versions.
According to Fujitsu, the newly developed e-paper boasts the world's highest-level color image quality yet. Fujitsu accomplished the feat by redesigning the panel structure and image re-write methods, the results of which are an improved contrast ratio to 7:1, and a 0.7-second image re-write speed. Compared to previous color e-paper, this will lead to smoother image transitions with higher quality images.
"Enhanced brightness and contrast offered by Fujitsu's new color e-paper allows for more attractive, readable displays, while improvements in write speed result in smoother image transitions," Fujitsu said. "These significant performance improvements in e-paper display technology have broadened its range of potential applications as a paper-like electronic media, such as applications in portable electronic media like e-book readers, public billboards and commercial advertising."
Fujitsu plans to showcase its new color e-paper at the Fujitsu Forum 2010 event in Japan on May 13 and 14.
NEC took to updating its professional display lineup on Wednesday, culminating with the MultiSync PA271W, the latest edition to the MultiSync PA series.
The PA271W sports a 27-inch widescreen panel with a 7ms response time. The maximum brightness comes rated at 300 cd/m2, while the native resolution checks in at 2,560x1,440 pixels. Since this is aimed at graphics professionals, the PA271W comes constructed with a 10-bit p-IPS panel capable of reproducing 97.1 percent of the colors in the AdobeRGB color space.
"The arrival of these new updates to our professional desktop products brings an incredible level of control to our customers," said Art Marshall, Product Manager for NEC Display Solutions. "The most recent version of SpectraView brings compatibility of our award-winning calibration software to the MultiSync PA Series, while the new MultiProfiler software provides a simple, intuitive interface to perform a variety of custom functions that will aid graphics professionals."
Rounding out the spec sheet is a 1,000:1 contrast ratio, three USB ports, and dual DVI and DisplayPort inputs. NEC says the PA271W will be available later this month for $1,400.
Here's a buzzword to remember: Autostereoscopic. What is it? Put simply, it's a type of display that allows for 3D content without having to wear any funny looking glasses, and several major manufacturers are jumping on board. Toshiba is one of the first out of the gates with an autostereoscopic high-definition display, which measures 21 inches and supports a 1280x800 pixel resolution (WXGA).
"To date most 3D products have used special glasses to separate a picture into two images: one for the left eye and the other for the right eye," Toshiba explains. "But the market has strongly desired a more versatile and glasses-free approach that could be used anywhere. This new product employs an integral imaging system (a “light field” display) to reproduce a real object as a 3D image that can be viewed without glasses over a wide range of viewing angles. Therefore, the display is suitable for 3D monitors used for advertisements and entertainment appliances."
Toshiba says its new 21-inch display adopts a lens sheet to control reduction in surface luminance intensity so that it's every bit as bright as a standard 2D display. When it will ship and for how much remains to be seen, but Toshiba isn't alone here. Both Sharp and Hitachi are working on autosterescopic 3D displays of their own, though on a smaller scale. Word on the Web is that one or both of these manufacturers will provide the 3D panel for Nintendo's upcoming 3DS handheld.
Citing unnamed sources in the component industry, DigiTimes claims Apple has already stared developing its second generation iPad. As the report goes, the Cupertino company plans to outfit the followup device with an OLED panel and is shooting for a 2011 launch.
That's probably wishful thinking, even as panel makers put more resources into OLED production. The technology's high cost has prevented it from marching into the mainstream, and even for a $500 to $900 tablet, it seems unlikely that a pricey OLED panel would be part of the package.
Nevertheless, the sources insist that OLED prices are falling and will drop significantly enough that Apple could use them on the next gen iPad. We remain highly skeptical. According to Mingchi Kuo, a senior analyst with DigiTimes Research, the current price of the 9.7-inch LCD panel for the iPad runs about $60-$70. By comparison, an OLED panel of the same size would cost about $500. It's tough envisioning that kind of price gap narrowing significantly by 2011.
BenQ this week announced the release of its GL series LED monitors, all of which feature a "truly prodigious" 12,000,000:1 contrast ratio. That number's dynamic, however, so take it with a healthy dose of salt.
The new displays include the GL930 (18.5 inches), GL931 (19 inches), GL2030 (20 inches), GL2230 (21.5 inches), and GL2231 (22 inches). BenQ says all GL models come in four different models with different connectors. These include:
GL (D-Sub; DVI-D)
GL/M (D-Sub; DVI-D; Line-In; Headphone Jack)
GL/AM (D-Sub; Line-In; Headphone Jack)
The GL/M and GL/AM models also come equipped with a pair of 1W speakers built-in, while all models sport a 5ms response time and BenQ's proprietary Senseye Human Vision Technology, which is an image enhancement engine that mimics the human eye by adjusting the color, clarity, and contrast of video, while also smoothing out quick images through motion optimization, BenQ says.
Look for these to ship next week. No word yet on pricing.
Maybe one day we'll look back and remember 3D in the homestead as just a passing fad, but in the here now, and short term future, be prepared to have 3D devices shoved down your throat. Toshiba will be among those force feeding 3D tech to households this summer when the company releases its "3D Regza" LCD TV line.
"Based on the concept of high-quality 3D images, we will release products that are different from other companies," Toshiba said.
Toshiba was referring to its "2D-3D" conversion technology. As is often the case, the hardware is preceding the content, so while you wait for more 3D programming to hit the airwaves, Toshiba's upcoming displays will be able to convert normal images into 3D.
Europe will be the first to receive these upcoming displays, though Japan looks to figure prominently in Toshiba's 3D plans. The company said it plans to increase the ratio of 3D TVs among its TVs larger than 46 inches in Japan to 20 percent by the end of the year.
Asus, perphaps best known for its line of motherboards and Eee PC family, is getting serious about its LCD business too. Already a player in the display market, Asus expects to ship between 4.5 million to 5 million LCD monitors around the globe in 2010. That's a jump of 29-43 percent from the 3.5 million displays Asus shipped in 2009.
A big part of that push will come from LED-backlit monitors with screen sizes ranging from 15.6 inches to 27 inches. By the end of the year, Asus sees LED-backlit displays accounting for 10-15 percent of its total shipments.
Many of these will also end up in Taiwan. Asus ranked as the Taiwan's top LCD vendor in 2009 with 400,000 units, enough to claim 25 percent of the market. Both Acer and Chimei were somewhat of a distant second with 250,000 units shipped each.
There have been a ton of 3D movies released to theaters in recent times, and it's pretty easy to see why. Consumers are buying into it, plain and simple. According to a study released by The International 3D Society (I3DS), 3D flicks generated 33 percent of total domestic box office revenue since the release of Avatar on December 18.
Naturally Avatar claimed the lion's share of 3D revenue, but it's not the only movie cashing in providing viewers about 2 hours of three dimensional fun. Clash of the Titans, How to Train Your Dragon, and Alice in Wonderland have all contributed to the surprising revenue numbers, and when combined with Avatar, these four flicks alone have generated $1.2 billion in US ticket sales.
"This is truly remarkable performance in that out of 127 general market films released, just four 3D movies captured 33 percent of the total dollars so far this year," said I3DS President Jim Chabin.
What's more, 3D movies have been No. 1 at the box office 10 out of 14 weeks so far in 2010, or over 70 percent of the time.
With Tiger Woods making his comeback, it would be hard for another headline to steal the thunder from this year's Master Tournament, but Comcast is trying to do just that. The cable company has begun airing portions of the tournament in 3D.
"The 3D experience gives viewers a player's perspective of Augusta National, like they're looking through a window onto one of the most beautiful and scenic venues in the world," Comcast senior VP Derek Harrar said in a press statement. "We can't imagine a better setting than the Masters Tournament to give a glimpse of the future of 3D television."
The remaining 3D schedule breaks down like this:
April 8 and 9: (4-6PM ET) - Holes 14, 16, and 18 with rotating coverage of holes 10 through 13 and 17
April 10 and 11: (5-7PM ET) - Holes 14, 16, and 18 with rotating coverage of holes 10 through 13 and 17
Viewers must own a 3D-capable television and glasses, and will need to find out if their cable provider carries a separate 3D channel. Alternately, Comcast is also making available a live stream for 3D capable computers.