Tag Archives: CES 2010

ARM Chip Converts SD Video to HD Video

Quartics Inc. recently showcased its VPU(video processing unit) which can convert 2D videos to 3D. The processing unit offloads the responsibility of rendering the video from the CPU, and applies real time enhancement and 3D conversion to the video being processed. This device was shown at CES and targets low-end laptops with minimal processing powers, especially the Intel Atom processor. The VPU can support upto 1080p of HD resolution encoding/decoding.

The best feature of this device is that it can transform videos from local storage, as well as a streaming source like Youtube or video-conferencing. The processor can up-sample videos in addition to converting 2D videos to 3D.

Given all that, if you think this thing will be a power hog, remember Quartics Inc.is looking at netbooks with low power requirement. It would probably respect this fact for its own good. The power consumption of the chip is assumed to be well under 10 watts.

The GPU supports only Windows XP and Windows 7 but is planning to include support for Chrome OS, given the fact that Linux based distros cover a huge netbook market.

The ARM chip QV1721 is already available for a price yet unannounced and is available only for mass buyers. The QV1721 is the heart of this VPU and has proprietary algorithms built into it for live image processing operations like noise removal, sharpening and other enhancements.

Splashtop : Version 2.0 is here

Splashtop is one of those application which makes eye-candy out of low power, low memory and small laptops, namely the netbooks. Netbooks seem to be the next big thing. We saw it with the fast paced development of netbook OS last year and now with netbooks stealing the show after smart-phones, everywhere.

splashtop

This seems to be a ripe time for the launch of Splashtop 2.0. Splashtop 2.0 will now officially feature on all major netbook releases ranging from Asus to acer and to HP, naming a few.

If you do not already know what Splashtop is,

Splashtop is a software-only solution that requires no additional hardware. A small component of Splashtop is embedded in the BIOS of the PC that’s the part that runs as soon as you press the power button.

It is basically a Linux environment which loads up when you press the power button of your laptop and takes around 10 seconds to boot up. It allows you to connect to the Internet, chat on IM, use Skype and do a lot of other things online.

The version 2.0 of Splashtop bring new features like,

  • 3G connectivity for better speed of web-surfing
  • Touch interface which has been enhanced unlike earlier
  • Faster startup time of just 10 seconds
  • Visual navigation of history
  • Customizable look and feel

Splashtop 2.0 will first appear on the Lenovo Ideapad S10-3t which is a touch enabled netbook. Splashtop has won numerous awards like:

  • PC World top 25 most innovative products(2007)
  • 100 top products of 2007 by Hardware Zone
  • AlwaysON onDC Top 100
  • Popular Science, best of whats new

With the release of version 2.0 in early 2010, Splashtop has marked just another beginning.

Update : Laptop Magazine named Splashtop 2.0 “Best of CES” in the software category. You can check this at their best of CES 2010 review.

Google To Come Up With An Enterprise Version Of Nexus One?

It seems that Google might come up with an Enterprise version of Nexus One with a physical QWERTY keyboard and a bigger battery. Google launched the Nexus One just a few days ago at the Android Press Conference. nexus-one-specs-shot

Andy Rubin, Google Engineering VP, mentioned that there might be a possibility of the enterprise version of Nexus One to have a physical keyboard and a bigger battery, while on stage during the ongoing CES (Consumer Electronic Show) 2010. The original question asked to Andy Rubin, by Walk Mossberg, was whether Google will launch more phones during this year or not. Mossberg also asked about the possibility of a smaller or mini version of Nexus One like the Nokia N97 Mini to which Rubin’s nodded his head which implied a No! Rubin also praised the guys at HTC, who will be manufacturing the Nexus One for Google.

He said We threw out crazy ideas to our partners at HTC and they were pretty good about plucking the good ones out of the air and building them into the device.

Rubin also told that Google Nexus One is the start of a new breed of Superphonein the market. He said that Google wanted to make purchasing phones for consumer more efficient and thus the idea of buying the phone directly through Google Checkout.

Nokia: 13 Nokia Devices Per Second, 1.2 Billion Nokia Phones, 220 Countries

Nokia started their keynote with slides displaying statistical analysis about mobile phones. The first couple of slides set the precedent that the talk will be all about mobile phone penetration in places like Africa & India. Quotes from the Business Week, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal followed. Some of them:

There are four times as many mobile subscribers in the world as there are installed PCs.

– Financial Times

The appearance of mobile phones in the hands of average Africans is already accelerating the growth of grassroots economics.

– Business Week

India has a billion people and is primarily a rural country if you get a dollar a month from 200 million farmers, that’s a good business.

– Fast Company

What followed these slides was a set of slides showing Nokia’s sales numbers. The numbers are staggering:

  • 13 Nokia devices made and sold per second
  • 1.2 Billion Nokia phones in use
  • 220 countries and territories covered by Nokia

And the slide that caught my attention stated that in 92 seconds during the keynote:

  • 806 Nokia devices were made and sold
  • 15,333,334 phone calls were made using Nokia phones
  • 3,373,600 text messages were sent using Nokia phones

These are phenomenal numbers. And these slides pretty much sum up what Nokia is focusing on. The slides Nokia showed were of rural India & Africa, farmers and small business owners in remote locations using Nokia’s handsets. It was as if Nokia was driving three key point:

  1. We sell a lot of phones.
  2. A huge chunk of our customers are from the rural parts of the world.
  3. These farmers and small businesses in rural areas of Africa & India are our core focus.

There were no new phones announced, no talk about their Maemo platform, absolutely no mention of their 3G notebook not even in passing. The whole talk centered around selling more phones to below-poverty line users.

A few interesting announcements that were made:

  • Nokia Growth Economy Venture Challenge a competition targeted towards emerging markets where an application that encourages upward mobility will get an investment of $1 million.
  • Sesame Street has partnered with Nokia Developer Forum’s Calling All Innovators competition that calls on developers to build locally relevant applications. More details can be found on the official website CallingAllInnovators.com
  • Nokia Money a service that will enable billions of people access to banks using their cell phones.

The essence of the keynote was that Nokia’s phones cater to the very lowest segment of the market and these customers make use of cell phones for not just making calls but for banking, getting weather information, and even learning. Despite the lack of existing technological infrastructure in markets like India and Africa that deprive users of facilities like 3G, value added services and information can be brought to people on their handsets by something as basic as SMS which is what Nokia is focusing on. Selling more cheap phones cheap phones in rural markets to retain global market share.

Skype Soon Coming to TV Sets

Skype in Internet enabled TV sets
Skype in Internet enabled TV sets

Soon you   will have something new to watch on the living room TV: your relatives and friends from around the globe.

Panasonic and LG electronics, two of the top television manufacturers, announced at Consumer Electronics Show 2010 (CES 2010), that they are integrating the free online calling service Skype into their Internet-connected high-definition televisions.

Panasonic is providing a line up of plasma televisions that revolves around the company’s 3D-compatible TC-PVT25 series,TC-PG25 series, and the TC-PG20 series. To make all the internet services easier to access, these set of TV series will have a pair of USB ports that you can connect to an optional Wi-Fi dongle or to an external keyboard. The feature to integrate a keyboard with a television is significant. Similar to any other HDTV announced at the CES 2010 show, plasma or LCD, all of the Panasonic plasmas qualify for Energy Star 4.0. This surely means less power consumption, more savings and a greener environment for the users.

The Skype service on a TV will work similarly as it does on a PC, but with some limitations posed by current technology and consumer budget. A TV program will pause playing once you make or answer a Skype call; this is because the processors integrated in television sets are not yet powerful enough to allow people to chat and watch a TV show simultaneously.

Panasonic which based in Japan, and LG, based in South Korea, will sell specially designed Web cameras for their Skype-enabled TV sets, which should cost $100 to $200. These cameras will be customized for the wide range of distances between the TV and viewers.

Until now, TVs that have the capability to connect to internet, have been able to access only a limited number of online services, for example: Yahoo widgets that offer weather and news updates, or streaming movie service from Netflix. TV makers are now trying to change the identity of the primary screen in the house, by adding more internet services and making a television set more like a personal computer.

Key Announcements From Dell Press Conference

Today, Dell Press Conference was held at CES 2010 between 8:45am to 9:15am. At the press conference, Dell has shown a sneak peak of their new and future products. Dell unveiled a full range of Inspiron notebooks powered by Intel Core i3 and Core i5 processors. They have also announced Android based mobile phone. Dell was completely focused on mobility and latest technology factors while launching their products throughout the event. Check out the key announcement from Dell Press Conference below.

dell ces

  • Dell is planning to expand their business globally.
  • Dell unveiled a full range of Inspiron notebooks based on Intel Core i3 and Core i5 processors.
  • The Inspiron 14, 15 and 17 laptops offer thinner chassis, HD displays and Intel’s Core i5 chips.
  • Two new desktops, the Inspiron 580 and 580s are offered with new Intel chips and a range of color choices.

dell ces

  • All the notebooks announced during the event comes with Consumer Ultra Low Voltage (CULV) design and great graphics with ATI.
  • Core i5 machines are now available for purchase.
  • Core i3 machines will be available within two weeks.
  • Along with notebooks, Dell announced Inspiron Mini 10 netbooks with the Broadcom Accelerator

dell ces

  • Alienware M11x gaming notebooks was also announced during the events.
  • It comes with 11.6-inch display and NVIDIA GT335M graphics.
  • Alienware M11x gaming notebooks has 6.5 hours of battery-life.
  • You can even hot switch to “gaming mode” and you can get over two hours of intense graphics and gaming.
  • The Alienware M11x also offers HD resolution display.
  • You can even use the HDMI out feature to connect your Alienware M11x gaming notebooks with your HDTV’s for amazing gaming experience.
  • This netbook will be shipped during spring.
  • Alienware M11x gaming notebook comes with a price tag of $1000.

dell ces

  • Dell has also announced Android powered mobile phones.
  • Mini 3 is the first mobile phone from Dell.
  • This device will be available with AT&T in US.
  • Dell says that Mini 3 is the Dell’s version of Google Android.
  • Dell is also planning to launch slate computers.
  • This tablet will come with run on Google Android OS
  • Dell slate will come with a big touchscreen keyboard, multi-device gaming and multi-device media sharing.

dell ces

As per the expectations, Dell unveiled a range of amazing products during the event. Please let us know your views in the comments.

Samsung Camcorders With Wifi Connectivity And Ultra High Zoom Level

Samsung today unveiled their latest S and F range of camcorders at CES 2010. The S series of Camcorders offer integrated Wi-fi connectivity and support DLNA as well. The S series of camcorder will be the first in the market to support Wi-fi and DLNA. Samsung also announced the F series of camcorders which have ultra zoom capability of up to 65x!  samsung-camcorders-thumb-400x311

The F series has 3 models namely SMX-F40, SMX-F43 and SMX-F44. All the 3 models feature Samsung’s Schneider Kreuznach lens and can record videos in 720p resolution as well. They also have 52x optical zoom level alongside the 65x digital zoom. Face detection of up to 5 faces is also present. The models of the camcorder in the new S series are HMX-S10, HMX-S15 and HMX-S16. These 3 camcorders currently represent the bestHD camcorders Samsung has to offer in the market right now. All the 3 camcorders from the S series, feature the new proprietary Victoria Engine processor from Samsung. The HMX-S15 and S16 models feature a 32GB and 64GB SSD respectively for storing the captured videos and pictures, while all other camcorders including the ones in F series, have a SD/SDHC slot.

Here are the specifications of the S series camcorders -:

  • HMX-S10
    1/2.310-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor
    Schneider Kreuznach Varioplan HD
    18x Intelli-Zoom/15x optical zoom lens
    Optical image stabilizer
    SD/SDHC memory card slot
    H.264 compression
    HD Time-lapse recording
    Victoria Engine Processor
    3D GUI
    Super Slow Motion
    Storyboard Printing
  • HMX-S15
    1/2.310-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor
    Schneider Kreuznach Varioplan HD
    18x Intelli-Zoom/15x optical zoom lens
    Optical image stabilizer
    SD/SDHC memory card slot
    32GB SSD
    Wi-Fi and DLNA connectivity
    H.264 compression
    HD Time-lapse recording
    Victoria Engine Processor
    3D GUI
    Super Slow Motion
    Storyboard Printing
  • HMX-S16
    1/2.310-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor
    Schneider Kreuznach Varioplan HD
    18x Intelli-Zoom/15x optical zoom lens
    Optical image stabilizer
    SD/SDHC memory card slot
    64GB SSD
    Wi-Fi and DLNA connectivity
    H.264 compression
    HD Time-lapse recording
    Victoria Engine Processor
    3D GUI
    Super Slow Motion
    Storyboard Printing

The specifications of the F series camcorders are as follows -:

  • SMX-F40
    Image sensor: 1/6″ 680K CCD
    Schneider Kreuznach lens
    65x Intelli-Zoom/52x optical zoom
    SD/SDHC memory card slot
    720 x 480 (60i)
    H.264 compression
    Time-lapse recording
    Smart Auto (8 scene modes)
    Face detection (up to 5 faces)
  • SMX-F43
    Image sensor: 1/6″ 680K CCD
    Schneider Kreuznach lens
    65x Intelli-Zoom/52x optical zoom
    SD/SDHC memory card slot
    8GB internal memory
    720 x 480 (60i)
    H.264 compression
    Time-lapse recording
    Smart Auto (8 scene modes)
    Face detection (up to 5 faces)
  • SMX-F44
    Image sensor: 1/6″ 680K CCD
    Schneider Kreuznach lens
    65x Intelli-Zoom/52x optical zoom
    SD/SDHC memory card slot
    16GB internal memory
    720 x 480 (60i)
    H.264 compression
    Time-lapse recording
    Smart Auto (8 scene modes)
    Face detection (up to 5 faces)

Xbox Arcade Game Room – Specifications & Prices

Among the several announcements regarding the Xbox platform made during Microsoft’s CES 2010 keynote, a feature called Game Room was introduced. Game Room is a new option available on Xbox Live & Games for Windows Live that enables you to play old arcade classics on your Windows PC or the Xbox 360. Following are the prices & in-game specifications for Game Room:

Game Room content will be available in the Xbox Live Games Marketplace for Xbox 360 users & in the Games for Windows Live desktop client for Windows users.

Pricing Details:

Once you have the Game Room client free download you can obtain the games in exchange for Microsoft Points:

  • 400 Microsoft Points: buy once and play on both   platforms – Xbox 360 and a Windows PC.
  • 240 Microsoft Points: buy to play on anyone platform either the Xbox 360 or a Windows PC.
  • 40 Microsoft Points: play a single game only once.

$1 = 80 Microsoft Points or $0.01 = 1 Microsoft Point. Points can be purchased from the Xbox or Zune Marketplace.  Microsoft also gives you the option to visit a friend’s Game Room, try out the games your friend is playing for free and then buy them if you wish to.

Gaming specifications:

  • One or two players
  • HDTV 1080p
  • In-game Dolby Digital
  • Voice chat
  • Avatar support
  • Online multiplayer (for Xbox LIVE Gold members only)
  • Cross-platform leader boards
  • Cross-platform Achievements

Xbox 360 At CES 2010 – Project Natal Coming Holiday 2010

Back in June 2009, Microsoft took the whole technology world by a storm with a flawless & unexpected demo of Project Natal at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, what was not known was the availability & price. Today at CES 2010, Microsoft’s Robbie Bach confirmed that Xbox Natal will be available starting, 2010 holiday season (end of 2010). While there was no demo or any announcement of games exclusively for Natal, there were quite a few interesting announcements regarding games for the Xbox 360. A new genre of games called Psychological Action Thrillers was mentioned with a demo of Alan Wake. Following games will be exclusively available first on the Xbox 360 platform:

  • Mass Effect 2
  • Splinter Cell Conviction
  • Content packs for Modern Warfare 2

Robbie Bach showed a Halo Reach video and announced that the multiplayer beta will begin in Spring 2010 on Xbox Live. A new segment on Xbox Live called Game Room will be introduced, Game Room will feature classic arcade games that can be bought and played on the Xbox or Windows PC. Talking of Xbox Live, some interesting numbers regarding Xbox Live that were mentioned:

  • 20 million active users on Xbox Live.
  • 2.2 million concurrent members online during Christmas and New Year.
  • Around 10 million people have used non-gaming applications like Facebook, Twitter, Last.FM & Zune.
  • 100 million songs have been downloaded.
  • 4000 songs were downloaded during the hour and a half long keynote.

Regarding Xbox 360, an estimated 39 million plus consoles and more than 500 million games have been sold so far. Microsoft is serious about the Xbox platform and the numbers are staggering. Microsoft will not be introducing a new console any time soon and Xbox 360 is now a mature gaming platform perfect time to buy it, I say. As Robbie Bach puts it:

When I said 2010 was going to be a big year for Xbox 360, I was lying. 2010 is going to be the biggest year of Xbox history.

HP PCs to Have Bing as Default Search Engine and MSN Homepage

HP Slate is a collaboration between Microsoft and HP alright for the HP Slate, albeit only for the OS and technology. However, other than that, HP will take the OS collaboration one step ahead for laptops and PCs, by setting the default search engine on browsers to Bing and the default homepage to MSN.com.

hp_logo

This would not have been possible without a solid contract between both HP and Microsoft. So starting now, every HP PC or laptop/netbook sold in 2010, and in the future (till the contract lasts) will have this as the default configuration, in 32 countries that is.

One thing is for sure, this deal will give a bigger market share and MSN.com more hits. However, this may only be true for IE8. The European union has already set a verdict on allowing choices for the browser one can install on a PC, so this applies to PCs sold by HP in the EU.

Will this create an issue with the Antitrust? Of course it may, there must be some sort of choice available to users to choose the default search engine, the home page on the other hand is fine, but yes expect some fireworks to come out of this by Google at-least.