The inescapable truth is that you can not escape talk of tablets and 3D these days. Not with the consumer electronics industry adamant that both of them will soon become de rigueur, if not the desiderata of everyday life. The ongoing IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin offers the blasé tech buff no respite either, with tablets and 3D dominating the event. That said, the Aiptek i2 (video) is probably a product that you might not want to overlook.
Currently being showcased at IFA 2010, the i2 is a pocket-sized 3D camcorder capable of capturing 3D video and stills. If you don't have a 3D TV at home, it is still possible to view the recorded video in 3D on a standard display using bundled software to re-encode it. Of course, you will still need red and blue 3D glasses for it to work.
The i2 features a 2.4-inch 3D display on the back and supports up to 32 GB of expandable storage. It doesn't cost an arm and a leg, but on the contrary, it is quite affordable - unless of course you treat the Indian government's $35 tablet as a benchmark for affordability and yourself as the personification of parsimony. You can make the i2 all yours for $200.
Market research firm iSuppli expects declining NAND flash memory prices to fall to $1 per gigabyte at the end of 2010. This is significant as the $1 per gigabyte level is deemed critical to the success of SSDs. Interestingly, the last time the price was below the $1 threshold the year on the Gregorian calendar was 2008; MLC pricing averaged 90 cents per gigabyte in the fourth quarter of 2008.
iSuppli anticipates 3-bit per cell (TLC) NAND flash memory to average $1.20 per gigabyte during the fourth quarter of 2010 before ending the year at around $1.00. The research firm feels this would be a “precipitous drop from the first quarter of 2010, when pricing for TLC averaged $1.80 per gigabyte and 2-bit per cell (MLC) flash was at $2.05.”
Even though plummeting prices are expected to breathe new life into the SSD market, NAND flash memory prices will have to decline even further for SSD adoption to reach critical mass. According to Michael Yang, senior analyst for memory and storage at iSuppli, NAND flash memory prices will have to plummet to 40 cents by 2012 to pose a threat to HDDs.
“With NAND pricing having returned to per-gigabyte pricing levels not seen in two years, there’s likely to be a lot of new buzz created for the solid state storage market at the end of 2010,” Yang said. “However, traditional HDDs gained a lot of additional ground during the past few years in terms of rising capacity and falling prices. In fact, HDDs have gained so much ground that SSDs now are in danger of never regaining their competitive footing.”
If Microsoft’s been your main Kool Aid supplier for the past few months, then the Kinect-centric future of gaming is looking bright indeed. Your piggy bank’s future, however, might not be all sunny skies and rainbows, seeing as Microsoft’s oddly named motion control camera’s sporting a price tag that may just send it squealing for the hills in terror.
For $150, you’ll nab Kinect and a copy of Kinect Adventures, a minigame collection ostensibly created to give you a quick taste of what Kinect can really do. Obviously, that price alone -- while a tad steep – isn’t anything that can’t be surmounted by a few skipped meals and some serious sofa-spelunking. However, you can pick up a Wii bundled with two games and Wii Motion Plus for only $200 – which even puts the now-confirmed 4GB Xbox Arcade/Kinect bundle’s $300 price tag to shame.
Sony’s Move motion controller, meanwhile, tipped the scales at $100, making Microsoft’s motion offering the most expensive of the three. Granted, accuracy, sensitivity, games, and time will tell who really reigns supreme, but we’re not entirely sure if we’re willing to spend $150 on a controller – even if it will let us fiddle around in menus like Tom Cruise in Minority Report. For now, consider us skeptics – although a certain upcoming lightsaber game might be able to Jedi mind trick us into playing an incredibly one-sided match of a game we like to call “Hammers” with our piggy bank.
Vegas odds has this one as most likely a pricing error, but what I stumbled upon yesterday -- and apparently I wasn't the only one -- was a PlayStation 3 console listed as "starting at $199.99" on Sony's 3D portal. Could it really be so?
Not likely, though not completely out of the question either. Clicking through revealed no such console priced for just two Benjamins, and when I woke up this morning, I found that Sony had gone back and changed the price to $299.99, seemingly closing the case on this one.
It's worth noting, however, that E3 kicks off next week, and if Sony were to introduce a 'budget' PS3 console, that would be the time to do it. Admittedly unlikely, it's at least conceivable that someone on Sony's Web team inadvertently jumped the gun, much like Microsoft recently did with the Zune HD 64GB.
As it stands, Sony's PS3 is available in only two main storage flavors, 120GB for $300 and 250GB for $350. Sony also just recently pushed out a 3D firmware update applicable to all PS3 consoles, so while it has a feature advantage over both the Wii and Xbox 360, both units can be had for as low as $200.
Alright, smart shoppers. Start your engines, grab your plastic cards, and let's get shopping. But not just yet. You'll want to grab this week's Firefox Extension of the Week, The Camelizer, if you want any shot at making informed purchasing decisions. And by that, I mean waiting until the time is just right to pick up whatever it is you're hunting after from one of the major retailers of your choice.
Click the jump and get ready to do some hardcore shopping... Firefox-style!
With that much storage on offer, it just sounds like the cloud storage solution that NASA has been waiting for to store its satellite imagery. “While the cost of hard drive storage has continued to drop in these two years, we've also been working hard to improve our infrastructure to reduce your costs even further. Today we're dramatically lowering our prices to make extra storage even more affordable,” Google engineer Elvin Lee wrote in a post on the official Google Photos Blog.
In what turned out to be a heated code-battle right up until the end, Netflix on Monday awarded a seven-person team of statisticians, machine-learning experts, and computer engineers from the U.S., Austria, Canada, and Israel its $1 million prize. All the multinational team -- called BelKor Pragmatic Chaos -- had to do was put their programming mettle to the test and improve the online movie rental service's movie recommendation algorithm by 10 percent, then fend off the competition for 30 days during which time a last call was issued for other teams to submit their work.
Sounds like an easy way to earn a million smackers, right? Mabye not, but if you think you have what it takes to out-program number crunchers from all around the world, only you missed out the first time around, Netflix is again giving out some serious cash in a follow-up contest.
This time around, the award is cut in half from $1 million to $500,000, but there will be no specific accuracy target as there was before. Instead, contestants will be presented with demographic and behavioral data, and then expected to model indviduals' "taste profiles," Netflix said. The data set of more than 100 million entries will provide the renters' age, gender, ZIP codes, genre ratings, and previously chosen movies.
Although HP and Dell are planning to introduce new ultra-thin notebook models, based on Intel’s Consumer Ultra Low-Voltage (CULV) platform, in the fourth quarter, Digitimes Research has forecast a rough road ahead for the segment. According to Digitimes’ research wing, global ultra-thin notebook shipments are expected to account for 4% of all notebook shipments in 2009. It anticipates that 6 million ultra-thin notebooks will be shipped this year. It blamed their high prices for their low desirability with respect to netbooks. “In terms of the price/performance ratio, the ultra-thin notebooks' components carry higher prices than most of the standard parts, but their working performance is only slightly better than netbooks,” said Joanne Chien, senior analyst at Digitimes.
Apart from the eight uncanny people who bought the $999.99 “I Am Rich” app – an underwhelming screensaver - from the iTunes App Store last year, a vast majority happily devours the free and 99-cent apps. But the preponderance of 99-cent apps has made the App Store a cluttered warehouse, banished many quality apps to oblivion, and increased redundancy. Furthermore, many top-notch developers are finding it difficult to set an honest price on premium apps, for they fear their honesty might render these apps unattractive.