Las Vegas is a much better place to be in January than Boston, and I’ve typically had fun covering CES in the past. I skipped it this year, however, and after taking a look at all the “big” announcements unveiled by major tech vendors at CES 2013, all I can say is, “Thank God I’m stuck freezing in Massachusetts.” Let’s put it like this: If the most exciting announcements at your electronics trade show are a Sony (SNE) Xperia phone and a Samsung (005930) chalkboard, then you have failed horribly at convincing major tech vendors that you’re a worthy launching pad for their best new products. More →
Both Samsung and Apple may be eyeing a new waterproofing technology for the companies’ next-generation smartphones. The technology, called HzO, creates a nano-scale film barrier with a special water repelling properties that is applied to the inside of a device. Rather than having consumers use a case or sealant, the technology is applied during the manufacturing process. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, ZAGG, the company marketing the technology, applied HzO to a number of devices and repeatedly dunked them into a fish tank full of water. ZAGG is looking to sign big deals with all leading manufacturers, and according to Pocket-lint, the company is in the process of signing deals with a major smartphone partner and a headphones maker in the very near future. “We showed the Samsung Chairman the technology with a Samsung Galaxy S that we had coated with HzO and he couldn’t believe his eyes,” a company representative told Pocket-lint. “Samsung is really excited by the tech.” The company is also in the process of talking to Apple, hoping the Cupertino-based company will make future versions of its iPhone waterproof. ”We expect HzO to be in next season’s phones,” said a ZAGG representative. Videos of HzO in action follow after the break. More →
During the Consumer Electronics Show, Samsung announced that the company is working on merging its Bada mobile operating system with the open-source Tizen operating system. “We have an effort that will merge bada and Tizen,” said Tae-Jin Kan, senior vice president of Samsung’s Contents Planning Team, in an interview with Forbes. While he wasn’t aware when the work would be complete, Kang indicated that is has already begun. Read on for more. More →
At the Consumer Electronics Show on Thursday, Texas Instruments showed off the company’s OMAP 5 chipset in a reference platform running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The 28nm system on a chip (SOC) features a dual-core ARM Cortex A15 CPU, 2MB L2 cache, a PowerVR SGX 544MP2 GPU and a dual-channel LPDDR2-533 memory interface. The OMAP 5 supports 24 and 20-megapixel cameras for front and rear 3D HD video recording. It also supports up to 8GB of dual channel DDR3 memory, and includes 3 USB 2.0 ports and a SATA 2.0 controller. “This is the greatest platform on Earth right now… way ahead of Apple, and it’s the first Cortex-A15 (which runs 2x faster than the Cortex-A9) product on the market,” Texas Instruments vice president Remi El-Ouazzane told Engadget. ”When running two Cortex-A15 chips at 800MHz, it’s more or less the same performance as running two Cortex-A9s at 1.5GHz. We’re working on multiple form factors — tablets, thin-and-lights — and we think ARM is going to bring tablets to the masses.” The first devices featuring the OMAP 5 chipset aren’t expected to ship until late 2012 or early 2013. More →
The Consumer Electronics Show is one of the biggest technology trade shows in the world, and this year’s CES was as big as it has ever been. It was estimated that between 140,000 and 150,000 people attended the show in Las Vegas this week — CES’s record stands at 149,529, achieved last year — and the show was as busy as we’ve ever seen it. Hundreds of companies touted thousands of gadgets and all of the big names were there showing off their upcoming wares. As is always the case, however, a few products managed to outshine the rest. Here, we provide a quick rundown of our favorite tech from CES 2012. More →
Motorola Mobility had quite a presence at the Consumer Electronics Show this year. It launched two brand new high-end smartphones, the DROID 4 and the DROID RAZR MAXX, and Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha also announced that Motorola will become a partner with Intel for its new Medfield processors. The Motorola booth was packed with all of its new technology, as well as a number of products that launched earlier this year. There were even people riding bikes and running on treadmills to show off the company’s exercise-friendly accessories. The booth also had demo stations for testing nearly all of Motorola’s current products, from its MOTOACTV watch to its smartphone docks, tablets and more. Check out all the highlights from Motorola’s CES 2012 booth in our gallery below.
Last summer, Huawei’s MediaPad was one of the first manufactures to ship a device pre-loaded with Android 3.2 Honeycomb. The Chinese company is now attempting a similar strategy with the release of Ice Cream Sandwich. Existing models of the MediaPad will receive an Android 4.0 update by the end of the first quarter, and new MediaPads will come pre-loaded with the software beginning some time the first quarter. Additionally, the tablet will be offered in the current color scheme, and will add shadow black, classic brown, and passion pink to the mix. The MediaPad features a 7-inch 1280 x 800-pixel display that supports 1080p full HD video playback, a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor and six hours of battery life. Read on for the company’s full press release. More →
Google TV continues to make a decent impact at the Consumer Electronics Show. On Wednesday, Google and OnLive announced that the company’s streaming game service was coming to Google TV devices. OnLive delivers console-quality games that are synchronized, rendered, and stored on remote servers and then are streamed over the Internet. The service launched in 2010 and is available on Windows, OS X, Android and iOS operating systems. “With OnLive, the latest high-performance video games stream just as instantly as videos or movies,” said OnLive’s chief executive Steve Perlman. As the company does with most new platforms, the service will launch as a “Viewer” on Google TV, allowing users to watch and use OnLive social features. However, OnLive is working closely with Google to enable full gameplay with gamers from around the world. Vizio will be the first manufacturer to incorporate the service into its Google TV devices. More →
Microsoft had a massive booth at the Consumer Electronics Show this year. It was home to brand new laptops, a huge array of Windows Phone devices, demo stations for Xbox 360 and SkyDrive, and plenty more. Sadly, however, there were no Windows 8 devices on display to give show-goers a closer look at Microsoft’s next-generation operating system. We love Windows Phone in its current state and it seems like we aren’t alone; there were tons of people gathered around the phones playing with them and it looked like plenty of people were impressed, too. Whether or not this new wave of enthusiasm will translate into sales remains to be seen, of course. There were plenty of other sights to see in Microsoft’s booth, so be sure to check out our full gallery below.
On Tuesday, Intel announced that it was entering the smartphone space and that Lenovo will be the first vendor to introduce a smartphone powered by Intel’s Medfield processor. Intel also had its manufacturer reference design on display at CES however, which we had a chance to play with. The current device runs Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and felt just as fast as other high-end smartphones we’ve played with recently, such as the DROID RAZR MAXX. The device was extremely thin and is capable of taking 15 8-megapixel photos in a single second — something no other mobile processor can handle at this point. Intel explained that the reference design is used to show manufacturers what Medfield is capable of, but that manufacturers can and likely will add their own tweaks to their devices. Motorola Mobility announced on Tuesday that it has entered into a multi-year partnership with Intel, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see the first Medfield-based smartphones hit store shelves later this year. Check out our gallery below for a closer look at the reference device.
At the Consumer Electronics Show, Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt spoke about the idea of fragmentation in Android. Schmidt argued that while there is a “differentiation” between Android devices, it isn’t the same as fragmentation. “Differentiation is positive, fragmentation is negative,” said Schmidt. “Differentiation means that you have a choice and the people who are making the phones, they’re going to compete on their view of innovation, and they’re going to try and convince you that theirs is better than somebody else.” Schmidt defined fragmentation as having an app that runs on one device but not another, with Android this is not the case 99% of the time. The differentiation between devices comes from the various skins that manufactures lay over the Android operating system. ”We absolutely allow [manufacturers] to add or change the user interface as long as they don’t break the apps. We see this as a plus; [it] gives you far more choices,” said Schmidt. While everyone who buys an iPhone receive the same user experience, Schmidt doesn’t think the same is necessary with Android. ”It’s not required that everyone use the same interface,” Schmidt said. “People are free to make the necessary changes. What’s great is if you don’t like it, you can buy the phone from someone else.” Android is all about choice, not every consumer is looking for a slide-out keyboard, a 4.65-inch display, or a dual-core processor, the different manufactures allow you to find a device that is perfect for you. Though those specifications sounds pretty good to me. More →
We just met with Corning during CES in Las Vegas to check out its new Gorilla Glass 2 panels for smartphones and tablets. The new glass is 20% thinner than before, but just as strong and scratch resistant as the original Gorilla Glass. The thinner build will surely help manufacturers make smaller and lighter smartphones. We stayed to watch a pressure test, images of which are in the gallery below, and were impressed with the strength of the glass. Corning said that it’s already shipping the new panels to phone manufacturers and that we will see smartphones on the market soon with the new glass. We were also told that Gorilla Glass 2 will be used in new Windows-powered computers later this year. Be sure to check out our gallery below.
Imagination Technologies announced at the Consumer Electronics Show on Tuesday that the company’s next-generation PowerVR Series6 GPU core family will offer 20 times more performance over the current generation. Apple is a major shareholder in the company, and have used its chips in the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and the Apple TV. The PowerVR G6200 and G6400 GPU are the first in the Power VR Series6 GPU family and stand as a new benchmark for achieving high performance with low power consumption. The Series6 GPU will provide “ultra-realistic gaming” and enable more complex applications, while delivering 20 times or more of the performance of current GPU cores through an architecture that is five times more efficient than previous generations. “Based on our experience in shipping hundreds of millions of GPU cores, plus extensive market and customer feedback, we have been able to set a new standard in GPU architecture, particularly in the areas of power, bandwidth and efficiency — the key metrics by which GPUs are now judged,” said Imagination Chief Executive Hossein Yassaie. “We are confident that with the Rogue architecture we have a very clear technology advantage and an exceptional roadmap for the PowerVR Series6 family which our partners can depend on.” While there hasn’t been any indications about Apple’s next-generation mobile processor, the rumored “A6″ chip that could appear in the iPad 3 may feature Imagination’s Series6 GPUs. Apple’s next-generation iPad is rumored to be announced and ship in March. More →