Thanks in part to Intel's Atom platform, system builders are having an easier time designing fully-integrated PCs and a tapping into the increasingly popular all-in-one PC market. And that's exactly what Shuttle plans to do, if Computex is any indication.
Shuttle, most popular for its small form factor (SFF) PCs, had on display its upcoming X50 all-in-on PC. The new rig comes with a 15.6-inch 1336x768 widescreen display with touchscreen capabilities (the company was also showing smaller screen models), Intel's dual-core Atom 330 CPU and 945GC chipset combo, 1GB of DDR2 memory, a 160GB hard drive, a 1.3MP webcam, and a 4-in-1 card reader.
Fans of Shuttle's SFF rigs need not worry, however, as the company had on display several new SFF systems, including a pair that will tap into VIA's Nano processors.
Going toe to toe with Apple's crazy popular iPod Touch is no easy task, but that's exactly what Microsoft will do with its new Zune player, and it isn't shy about saying so. The software giant this week confirmed plans to release the Zune HD this fall, which will be made available only in the U.S. at launch.
"This device is created to go head to head with the iPod Touch," Chris Stephenson, general manger of global marketing for Microsoft Zune, said in a telephone interview with CNet.
Helping it do that will be an OLED touchscreen and HD Radio tuner. The Zune HD will be based on Windows CE with a version of Internet Explorer customized for its touchscreen, Microsoft said. The company also indicated that Zune owners will be able to play HD content on their televisions with a dock.
Expect to see the Zune HD become the definitive Zune product going forward," Stephenson said. "You will continue to see the hard drive product in the market. (The Zune HD) will take over from existing flash devices."
The internet has been rife with rumors of an Apple netbook. Another unconfirmed report has joined this unabated procession of rumors. According to a report on the website of Smarthouse, a prominent technology publication from down under, Apple has a functioning netbook prototype.
The magazine’s source at LG, Korea also claimed that the netbook will be produced in Taiwan and will feature a LG OLED screen. But our abstruse friends at Engadget have pointed out that the author of this particular Smarthouse report, David Richards, has a history of fanning rumors bereft of any logic. So do take this with a pinch of salt.
Shuttle recently announced the latest addition to their nettop line, the 15.6-inch X50, which features a touchscreen.
The Intel Atom 330 powered nettop will be the first of their X Vision line of computers. What exactly will keep these machines all in line with each other isn’t clear just yet. The X50 will measure in at just 1.4-inches thick, and will be powered by Intel’s GMA 950 graphics. Sadly, it’ll only come with 1GB of RAM – relatively low for a desktop.
It’s expected that this little machine will run roughly $499, but no word on when the street date will be.
Giving Amazon's Kindle and Kindle 2 some competition in the eBook market, Fujitsu has at long last released its full-color eBook reader called FLEPia. Fujitsu had first shown off the FLEPia in concept form back in 2006 and has been drumming up interest with periodic glimpses ever since.
The FLEPia comes in both black and white unit colors and features an 8-inch XGA (1024 x 768) touchscreen capable of displaying 260,000 colors. Other specs include 802.11b/g WiFi connectivity, Bluetooth capability, embedded stereo speakers and a headphone connector, and an SD card memory card slot with support for up to 4GB, enough to hold 5,000 paper-based books 300-pages each.
Measuring less than a half an inch thick, Fujitsu says its FLEPia will last up to 40 continuous hours before having to be recharged. According to Fujitsu, the device doesn't require power to maintain a screen display because the color ePaper employed displays text and images by reflecting external light. The only time the FLEPia consumes power, says Fujitsu, is during re-draw, in which power consumption would be about 1/50 that of a standard notebook.
The Japanese version ships with Windows CE 5.0, giving end-users an internet browser, email, and other software.
The FLEPia starts shipping in Japan on April 20th for 99,750 Yen, which converts to a little over $1,000 USD.
While some touchscreens seem to react when you hover your finger near it, Mitsubishi has turned this concept into something tangible with their latest tech – 3D motion tracking.
This 3D motion tracking is done with no extra cameras or sensors, and with an extremely high level of precision. So high, that it can measure your finger distance in increments of .08mm, up to a distance of 20mm, and does this action quickly enough that it can correctly guess the approach speed. It’s reported that this will most likely find its home in mobile devices, adding an extra level of interaction.
No word yet on when this will become available on a consumer level, but it has been mentioned that they’ll first use it in their own products (duh).
At CeBIT Asus showed off a new concept for a laptop that gets rid of the keyboard in favor of a second screen. The two screens are both touch, and when coupled with software allows for virtual interface devices (such as resizable keyboards and trackpads) to be implemented.
Sadly, this dual panel laptop is currently the product of a corporate-sponsored entry to a design competition, so it is entirely possible that it will never hit the market. Though, we’ll keep our fingers crossed that it will.
Amazon's second generation Kindle eBook reader has barely had a chance to roll off the assembly line, but there's already talk of a Kindle 3, and it might ship sooner than you think. Citing un-named "market sources," DigiTimes says Amazon plans to release a new generation of Kindle by the end of this year, one that is both larger than either existing Kindle and equipped with a touchscreen.
Such a quick followup to what's expected to see popular sales in the Kindle 2 seems unlikely, however this isn't the first we've heard of a proposed eBook reader from Amazon with large proportions. One early rumor had the Kindle 2 checking in shaped like a standard 8.5 x 11-inch piece of paper (Kindle 2 measures 8 x 5.3 x 0.36 inches), but to our knowledge, this is the first we've heard of any touch functions being implemented.
Stay tuned, as we have a feeling the rumors are just getting started.
The fruits of a 10-year funded agreement with the U.S. Army that began in 2004 has paid off for Arizona State University's Flexible Display Center (FDC), who has just created the first ever flexible touchscreen display. The display is based on active-matrix electrophoretic technology from E-Ink Corp out of Cambridge, MA, and will find initial application as a military device.
"Our displays have always been flexible, but so far the touchscreens have been glass, which are not rugged enough for many applications," said Sri Peruvemba, E-Ink's VP of marketing. "Now we have a partner that can build a flexible touchscreen to match our flexible display."
That partner is DuPont Teijin films, who manufacturers the plastic used in place of glass in conventional touchscreens. In this case, amorphous silicon thin-film transistors were fabricated on DuPont's flexible Teonex polyethylene napthalate substrate. The end result is a rugged, light-weight device suitable for battlefield scenarios.
Beyond military use, Peruvemba said the technology could become commercially available in as little as 18 months.
MSI plans to give HP a run in the touchscreen desktop market, as evidenced by a trio of Wind Top all-in-one PCs the company had on display during CeBIT. The models included the 19-inch AE1900, 20-inch AE2010, and 22-inch AE2200.
Specs remain pretty sparse, but it looks as though the AE2010 will come with an AMD 1.5GHz processor nestled into an AMD 780G chipset, 2GB of DDR2 RAM, a DVD burner, and a 1600 x 900 touchscreen display. Engadget said it also spied an Intel logo on the AE1900 with Windows XP on its screen, which suggests at least one of the nettops will be powered by Intel's Atom processor.
No other details, including price points or projected release date, are yet known, but you can bet we'll let you know as soon as we find out more.