Tesla started it. Intel and Sony are both interested in it. And a Croatian physicist and electrical engineer will likely be the first person to commercialize it. “It” is wireless energy transfer, and I’m betting that it will be commercially deployable in limited form by 2013. This means that the days of having to plug your phone in to charge it are going, going, and almost gone.
This accomplishment will be a holy grail of sorts. Ever since Andre-Marie Ampère codified the laws of nature—dictating that an oscillating magnetic field produces an electric field and that an oscillating electric field produces a magnetic field (Ampère’s circuital law)—history has been littered with theories and attempts to enable the wireless transfer of energy for the purposes of powering lights, objects, and devices.
Amazingly enough, Tesla demonstrated wireless energy transfer almost 120 years ago at the 1893 World Fair in Chicago by providing power to a series of phosphorous light bulbs. In 1904, at the World Fair in St. Louis, a prize was offered for anyone who could successfully transmit enough energy over a distance of 100 feet to power a dirigible. In 1964, William Brown demonstrated a model helicopter that could fly by receiving power via a microwave beam over a distance of one mile.
Conventional wisdom says the future of ultra mobile computing will run an Apple iOS, Google OS or even an Intel Meego OS but QCosmos is out to prove that wrong.
The company showed off a PSP-sized device running a full version of Microsoft’s desktop Windows 7 OS. The OCS1 features a 4.8-inch display running at 1024x600, the OMOS sports a capacitive touch screen, GPS, 32GB of storage, and a full-slide out QWERTY keyboard. A USB 2.0 port is onboard as well as a 3 megapixel and front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera. For a CPU, the OCS1 uses Intel’s new Oak Trail Atom derivative chip for tablets and smart phones.
QCosmos says the device is currently limited to Wi-Fi only but there is a roadmap for a version with a cellular device.
The protype that we viewed did appear to be running to the full Windows 7 OS. Although it was not running games, QCosmos says it is capable of running many PC games including Starcraft II.
Officials say the device is aimed more at the gaming crowd and entertainment crowd so it would likely compete with Apple’s iTouch devices and Sony’s PSP. Pricing wasn’t announced. The device is expected to available for sale in 2011.
Sandy Bridge will feature an on-die, high clock speed graphics core. Will it be fast enough for most users? Maximum PC readers know we’ve never been strong fans of integrated graphics. Even when we’ve needed them – in small form factor home theater PCs, for example, we’ve tended to go for AMD or Nvidia integrated solutions. More often, though, we’ll spec out an entry level discrete graphics card for a compact HTPC.
The new Intel HD Graphics built into the Sandy Bridge CPU may shift that decision point a bit. While any gaming experience with the new graphics is still fairly entry level, it’s far less anemic than past Intel efforts. Starcraft 2, for example, runs at medium settings and keeps up pretty well with entry level discrete solutions from Nvidia. Let’s take a quick look at the internals of the latest Intel graphics core, rebuilt from the ground up for 32nm, brings to the table.
MSI today announced it is taking its Wind Top AE2420 3D stateside. According to MSI, this latest Wind Top is the world's first 3D touchscreen all-in-one (AIO) PC, which is also capable of converting 2D content into three dimensions.
"Most people don't realize that MSI has been making the guts of PCs for more than 20 years, and were the first to launch the 10-inch netbook, which is now the most popular form factor on the market," said Andy Tung, vice president of sales, MSI U.S. "By bringing the world's first 3D all-in-one PC to North America, MSI is continuing to introduce people to the future of computing."
The main attraction, of course, is the 23.6-inch LED backlit display where the 3D magic comes to life. In and around the AIO sits some fairly powerful hardware and respectable feature-set, including an Intel Core i7 860 processor clocked at 2.8GHz, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5730 graphics with 1GB of GDDR3 memory, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, 801.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, a 1TB SATA hard drive, Blu-ray/DVD burner combo, 1.3MP webcam, 6-in-1 memory card reader, a pair of USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, eSATA, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.
In addition to the 3D visuals, MSI is making noise over the AE2420's sound system. Two 5W speakers are flanked by a 10W subwoofer and include Creative's THX TruStudio Pro technology.
The Wind Top AE2420 will be available soon starting at $1,800.
Forget for a minute that OLED technology is still incredibly expensive, Mitsubishi doesn't give a hoot. What the company does care about is releasing what it claims the world's first large-scale OLED display in the 100-inch and higher range.
Mitsubishi's "Diamond Vision OLED" qualifies by a mile, checking in at 155 inches. But before you go emptying the kids' college fund and putting a lien on that property in the Hamptons, bear in mind this display isn't destined for living room use. It is, however, designed for indoor use, such as large digital signs in airports and other commercial facilities.
There's not a whole lot of details available in terms of specs. Mitsubishi says the screen offers wide horizontal and vertical viewing angles of about +/- 80 degrees along with a maximum brightness of 1,200cd/m2.
Sales will begin worldwide beginning September 21, 2010, though no word on price.
You could already pick up pre-paid cell phones at Walmart, but now the mega-chain has taken it to a new level by introducing the first cell phone plan under its own branding with billing at the end of the month.
The new service will run on T-Mobile's USA network and include unlimited calling and texting for $45 per month for the first line, and $25 for each additional line.
"What we saw as an opening in the marketplace for a really bringing family savings and a family plan and T-Mobile was a great partner there," said Greg Hall, vice president of merchandising at Walmart U.S.
There won't be any contract requirement or early termination fees attached to the service when it launches next week, though subscribers will have to pay for the phone. The cheapest available will be a Nokia cell phone for $35, with four other models to choose from, including the Motorola Cliq XT smartphone, which will sell for $249.
Early adopters of Apple's iPad knew what features they were forfeiting in order to be at the forefront of the tablet revolution, but what they might not have known is how quickly Apple would render its first-gen slate obsolete.
According to Apple news, rumors, and analysis site AppleInsider.com, Steve Jobs and his Cupertino cohorts are planning to release a second-gen iPad ahead of Apple's 12-month product refresh cycle for iOS devices. Citing "a person with proven knowledge of Apple's future product plans," Apple Insider says there's already a version of an upcoming iPad with a built-in video camera and support for FaceTime.
The source didn't say exactly when the iPad 2 would ship, but did say Apple is trying to push the device in time for this year's holiday shopping season, which is about the same time we should start seeing competing tablets from everyone else. And therein lies the reasoning behind Apple's rush to update its iPad, which has so far been selling well as the only game in town despite a spate of missing features.
Okay, come on. You knew this was going to happen. No sooner did Apple announce a new version of the iPod Nano that looks vaguely like a watch, than users started thinking about using it as a watch. Now a company called iLovehandles has released a product to fill the need. Behold the "Rock Band". While we may question the utility of the product, you can't argue with the genius of that name. Although, the Harmonix people might have a problem with it.
For a mere $19.99, you can get a watch band that has the appropriately sized divot for the Nano to fit snugly into. The iPod is obviously sold separately. The PMP has a clip on the back, and can be set to display a clock each time it is woken up. It looks a little big for a watch, but honestly, we expect to see people actually doing this. Are you cool with this, or is it just another sign that people have too much time on their hands?
A leaked T-Mobile USA document hints that the nation's smallest carrier may be about to launch a really big phone. The myTouch HD is highlighted in surprising detail, giving us a look at the impressive specs. The Android 2.2 phone will be running on T-Mobile's super-fast HSPA+ network. There will be a 5MP rear-facing camera, and a VGA front-facing cam. The screen will be 3.8-inches, but we do not know about the resolution or technology used. The real point of interest here is that the document claims the myTouch HD will pack a "1 GHz Dual Processor". We can only assume this means a dual core chip.
All phones to this point have has single core CPUs, but it is known that ARM has reference designs that could be used to construct dual core packages. Battery life may suffer, but power saving designs in the next gen chips could help matters somewhat. T-Mobile is also touting screen sharing technology that will get your smartphone content to a TV screen. This might just mean an HDMI port, but we'd astill take it.
No pricing or availability details are known, but we'll keep an eye out. Do you think a dual core CPU will be of use in a phone? Let us know in the comments.
The release of the Boxee Box finally seems at hand. Boxee and manufacturer D-Link announced today that the hardware has been finalized and should ship in early November. Of note, the box will no longer be running on Nvidia's Tegra 2 chipset. Instead, users will get a Boxee Box powered by the Intel CE4100 Atom chip.
The product was supposed to go on sale in June, but the date came and went with no firm plans. It looks like some of the delays may have been related to the effort to make the Tegra 2 work. In the end, Boxee's VP of Marketing, Andrew Kippen claims that video format support just wasn't good enough with Nvidia's solution.
The Bozee Box promises to bring consumers access to a wide range of video online via Flash and HTML5. Pre-orders are currently up at Amazon for $199. How do you think this stacks up against cheaper, but more limited, options like AppleTV and Roku?