More 4K: 110” Monster from Westinghouse, Astounding 30” Monitor from LG, and Handycam from Sony

Ultra HD displays are clearly the next big thing as far as display manufacturers are considered, with 3D being suddenly relegated to the status of a secondary feature. During the first two days, we saw Samsung and LG announce gorgeous 55-inch 4K OLED TVs, Panasonic showcase its massive 20-inch Windows 8 table with a 4K display targeted at designers, and LG and Sony announce affordable (comparatively) smaller 4K displays. Ultra high definition displays represent the next radical improvement in display technology, and the good news is that 2013 looking to be the year where it will finally spread its wings.

Yesterday, LG announced a 30-inch monitor with an astounding resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels. Although, we don’t know the price of this little beauty, it will surely put a dent in your pocket. LG is billing the 153 ppi display as a professional monitor aimed at designers and artists. Viewsonic also displayed a 32-inch monitor with a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 that will be shipping towards the end of this year.

LG-4K-Monitor

Sony on the other hand is displaying a curious prototype that is labelled as a 4K handycam for consumer use. It’s not even known if the prototype works since its currently securely locked in a glass cage, but as per The Verge, it records 4K videos using the XAVC open-source format. To be honest, the 4K video recorder sems to be too big and bulky for most consumers.

Sony-4K-Handycam

Last, but not least, Westinghouse stayed true to its word, and unveiled the biggest 4K TV in the world. Westinghouse’s 110-inch 4K TV is a good 25 inches bigger than its nearest competition. However, it comes at a price. The world’s biggest 4K TV will only be manufactured to order, and will cost $300,000, which is more than ten times the price of 85-inch and 84-inch 4K televisions from Sony and LG respectively.

Westinghouse-Largest-4K-TV

[ via The Verge and Engadget ]

Microsoft Gives Us a Glimpse of the Future of Gaming with Its Stunning and Uber-cool Illumiroom Project

Yesterday, during Samsung’s CES keynote, Microsoft’s Eric Rudder made a brief appearance to demonstrate Microsoft’s vision for extending computing interactions. Rudder, who is Microsoft’s Chief Technology Strategy Officer, revealed a Microsoft Research project called Illumiroom that takes advantage of surfaces around your display to augment and enhance your experience.

Illumiroom uses Kinect for Windows camera to scan your environment, and then uses a projector to project an extension of the image being displayed on the screen onto the walls and other surfaces. Illumiroom uses the appearance and the geometry of the room (captured by Kinect) to adapt the projected visuals in real-time without any need to custom pre-process the graphics. The most obvious application of this is gaming. However, this technology could find its way onto a lot of different segments. Microsoft has published a video that shows Illumiroom in action with games like Red Eclipse and Supertuxkart, and the effect is simply stunning. Illumiroom projects your gaming environment onto external surfaces in your room and provides an experience that is both immersive, engrossing, and uber-cool.

Microsoft has already patented the concept behind Illumiroom, and a is promising to publish the research paper at ACM CHI 2013.

ZTE Grand S Announced; Comes With 5 Inch 1080p Display, S4 Pro, 2 GB RAM

Last year, the images and specs of the ZTE Grand S was leaked a number of times. Recently, the Chinese mobile phone manufacturer finally launched its very own 5 inch smartphone, the ZTE Grand S at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013 in Las Vegas. This handset runs on the Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) Operating System and it packs a 5 inch 1080p display (similar to the recently launched Xperia Z), 1.7 GHz quad-core processor and 2 GB of RAM.

ZTE Grand S is currently the slimmest 5 inch smartphone with just 6.45 millimeters thickness. Sadly, this handset comes with a 1780 mAh non-removable battery. We have no idea what the manufacturer was thinking before creating this beast with such a disappointing battery.

Mr. Kan Yulun, Corporate Vice President of ZTE Corporation and CTO of the ZTE Mobile Device Division, said,
“The ZTE Grand S gives our customers the latest in technology, functionality and style. We understand that today’s consumers call for advanced features and state-of-the-art multimedia options in their handsets, and the ZTE Grand S confidently addresses those demands. It is fitting that we can announce the world debut of the ZTE Grand S at CES 2013, the world’s largest annual innovation event.”

ZTE Grand S features a 5 inch HD display, sporting a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, 1.7 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) Operating System, 13 megapixel rear camera with auto-focus and flash, full HD (1080p) video recording and playback, 2 megapixel front-facing camera for video calls and more.

Other features include a 3.5 mm headset jack, FM Radio, GPS, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, 4G LTE Connectivity, WiFi Direct, Bluetooth 2.1 + A2DP, 2 GB RAM, 16 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, Google Play Store, DLNA, NFC (Near Field Communication) and a 1780 mAh non-removable battery.

ZTE Grand S measures 142 x 69 x 6.9 mm and weighs 170 grams. This handset will go on sale in China from Q1 of 2013. The price of this device will be announced in the coming weeks.

Samsung and LG Announce World’s First Curved OLED TVs

We have been seeing lots of new and exciting televisions in this year’s CES, and the competition is extremely stiff. On Tuesday, Sony’s reveal of the world’s largest OLED 4K TV was matched by Panasonic within hours. Yesterday, we saw the same scenario playing out with Samsung and LG.

Curved-OLED-TV-Samsung

Samsung was the first off the block, with its “world’s first curved OLED TV” announcement. The massive display measures in at 55-inches, and has a curved texture that Samsung reps termed as “IMAX feel”. Being a OLED, the display is expected to offer fantastic color reproduction and crisp and vivid images.The curved OLED is scheduled to be released during the second half of the year. However, other than that, we know precious little about Samsung’s gorgeous new display.

LG-Curved-OLED-TV

Soon after Samsung’s announcement, LG announced its own 55” curved OLED TV. The LG EA9800 promises the same panoramic, immersive viewing experience as Samsung; however, it will also be capable of displaying 3D content. Once again, LG didn’t reveal any specifications or release information. However, given the epic rivalry between the two Korean giants, it’s reasonable to guess that LG’s display will hit the markets round about the same time as Samsung’s curved OLED.

More 4K TVs and a 4K Windows 8 Tablet

After dominating discussions on day 0 of CES, 4K continued to be a buzzword on day 1. Panasonic stole the show with its 56-inch 4K OLED TV, which promised rich vibrant colors that we have come to expect from OLED displays on a large form factor with an insanely high resolution. The 56-inch beauty is also stunning to look at, measuring in at less than 0.5 inch thick. Unfortunately, much like its competitor Sony’s offering, Panasonic’s 4K OLED is still in prototype stages. Panasonic refused to divulge either price or release date. However, Panasonic did reveal that, somewhat curiously, it is using 3D printing technology in the manufacture of the displays.

Panasonic-4K-OLED-TV

The other 4K entry from Panasonic was a tablet. At 20-inches, Panasonic’s tablet doesn’t quite fit within Steve Jobs post-PC vision; however, Panasonic has shown before that it is comfortable operating in niche markets that other manufacturers often ignore. The gigantic tablet is meant for artists and designers, for whom the big display with extra-high resolution will really make a difference. Once again, we don’t have a release date or price tag for the product. However, we do know that the Panasonic tablet will be powered by an Intel Core i5, run Windows 8, and ship with a stylus and some sort of a cloud based collaboration tool. The battery is expected to last about a couple of hours.

Panasonic-4K-Tablet

LG, which was among the first to introduce 4K displays, is demoing the previously announced 55-inch and 65-inch 4K televisions for the first time. Again, we don’t have any information on availability and cost. However, I would be really surprised if LG takes more than a few weeks to launch its new TVs.

[ Images via CNET ]

Tactus Touchscreen Can Morph into a Tactile Keyboard

The Consumer Electronic Show might not have the clout it used to possess a decade back, but the nearly fifty year old trade show is still capable of throwing up products and prototypes that offer a glimpse of the future. One such product on display in this year’s CES is the Tactus touchscreen.

Unlike most other touchscreen manufacturers of the day, Tactus isn’t attempting to compete on resolution, pixel density, vibrancy, etc. The distinguishing feature of the Tactus touchscreen is its ability to morph into a keyboard. Tactus’ Tactile Layer technology replaces the conventional cover glass of modern displays with a thin, flat, smooth and transparent cover layer varying in thickness from about 0.75mm to 1mm. This cover has multiple-layers. The top layer consists of an optically clear polymer, while the bottom layer consists of a number of channels filled with fluid. The fluid’s refractive index is same as the refractive index of its surrounding components, which makes it fully and evenly transparent when light from the display passes through. There are a number of micro-holes between the top layer and the bottom layer. Increasing the pressure of the fluid layer causes the fluid to push up through the holes and against the top polymer layer, making it expand in pre-defined locations. The state and shape of the buttons can be controlled by the software.

Tactus-Keyboard

Right now Tactus’ chief value proposition is being able to offer true tactile feedback on touchscreen keyboards. However, the technology can be possibly used for more demanding requirements including gaming. I don’t mind my touchscreen keyboard, since I love Swyping on my phone. However, I would love to have a tactile game controller built right into my touchscreen handset.

Huawei Announces Windows Phone 8 Powered Ascend W1 Smartphone

Along with the recently launched, Ascend Mate and Ascend D2, Huawei has also unveiled an entry-level Ascend W1 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013 in Las Vegas. Unlike the first two smartphones, this handset runs on the Windows Phone 8 Operating System. The specs of this device is somewhat similar to the previously launched Nokia Lumia 620.

Richard Yu, CEO, Huawei Consumer Business Group, said,
“Inspired and powered by people, the Ascend W1 is a combination of Huawei’s user-centric design philosophy and Windows Phone 8 software, bringing consumers a truly compelling alternative. The addition of the Ascend W1 to our smartphone portfolio gives consumers access to an even wider range of Huawei smartphones. At a price that makes sense to consumers, Ascend W1 underscores our commitment to put smartphones within reach of every consumer, no matter who you are or what you want from your phone.”

Huawei Ascend W1 features a 4 inch IPS LCD touchscreen display with OGS technology, sporting a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels, 1.2 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8230 processor, Windows Phone 8 OS, 5 megapixel rear-facing camera with LED flash and auto-focus, 0.3 megapixel front-facing camera for video calls and so on.

Other features include a 3.5 mm headset jack, 512 MB RAM, 4 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1, up to 470 hours of stand-by time, up to 630 mins of talk-time and a 1950 mAh battery.

Huawei Ascend W1 will be available in blue, red, black and white colors. This handset will go on sale in China and Russia from this month, followed by Western Europe, Middle East, USA and other selected countries in the coming weeks.

Samsung and Sony Announce New 4K TVs

CES 2013 officially kicks off today; however, some folks couldn’t just wait. Samsung, Nvidia, Sony, and many of the big names got the ball rolling yesterday itself. Judging from the day zero, if last year was the year of ultrabooks, this year can turn out to be the year of 4K television.

LG and Sony already have strong offerings in the Ultra-HD or 4K segment. Yesterday, Samsung announced its entry with a 85-inch monster. The Samsung UN85S9 takes away the crown of the world’s largest 4K television from LG and Sony by being an inch bigger. However, its reign at the top is bound to be short-lived as Westinghouse is expected to announce a 110-inch monster later on during the CES.

Samsung-4K-TV

The Samsung UN85S9 features a stunning “floating” design, which allows the display to be easily adjusted vertically. Samsung’s new UHD television is powered by a 1.35 GHz quad-core A15 processor, but unlike LG’s dual-core counterpart, it doesn’t support 3D.

The other 4K TV displayed yesterday came in a smaller package, but was equally wow-worthy. Sony showed off its 56-inch 4K OLED display. However, the display is currently in prototype stages, and no price or launch date information is available.

Sony did, however, have some good news for consumers looking to purchase 4K television. The Japanese giant will be leveraging its media portfolio to alleviate the lack of content issue. Sony will be bundling ten UHD movies sourced from Sony Pictures or its subsidiary Columbia Pictures with its 84-inch 4K TV. The selection includes the likes of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ and ‘The Karate Kid’. It is also planning to launch a download service, from where buyers of smaller 4K televisions, including the 55-inch and 65-inch 4K TVs that were announced yesterday, will be able to download 4K movies.

Huawei Ascend D2 Announced; Comes With 5 Inch 1080p Display, 13 MP Camera

Huawei was already expected to launch a phone/tablet hybrid device. Today, the Chinese mobile phone manufacturer finally unveiled the new Huawei Ascend D2 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012 in Las Vegas. This device runs on the Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) Operating System and it comes with a 5 inch 1080p Full HD IPS+ display, 1.5 GHz quad-core processor, 13 megapixel camera and so on. This handset is protected by the anti-scratch Corning Gorilla glass and the dust and water resistant IPX 5/4.

Richard Yu, CEO, Huawei Consumer Business Group, said,
“The Huawei Ascend D2 has the style, power and all-round performance capabilities you would expect from a Huawei Ascend smartphone, but with a revolutionary FHD screen, unsurpassed camera quality and power saving technology to maximize your enjoyment. We are excited to introduce the Huawei Ascend D2, the latest addition to our series of Ascend range of smartphones, as we continue to put great technology into the hands of more people around the world.”

Huawei Ascend D2 features a 5 inch FHD IPS+ Super Retina LCD display, sporting a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels, 1.5 GHz Huawei K3V2 quad-core processor, Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) OS, 13 megapixel BSI rear-facing camera with detail capturing technology, full HD (1080p) video recording and playback, 2 megapixel front-facing camera, Wi-Fi 801.11 b/g/n, 3G Connectivity, 2 GB RAM, 32 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory and a 3000 mAh battery.

Huawei’s properiatery fast battery charging technology enables the Huawei Ascend D2 to be fully charged in 30% less time than its takes other smartphones under the same electricity conditions. Huawei Ascend D2 will go on sale from this month in China, followed by Japan and other Asian markets in the coming months. The price of this device is still unknown.

Huawei Ascend Mate Unveiled; Comes With 6.1 Inch HD Display, 4050 mAh Battery

Along with the Ascend D2, the Chinese mobile phone manufacturer has introduced another new member in the Ascend family, the Huawei Ascend Mate. This device is touted to be a “smartphone with the largest screen in the world”. If you were looking for a smartphone larger than the Galaxy Note II, but smaller than the Nexus 7 tablet, then your search finally comes to an end. The Huawei Ascend Mate comes with a 6.1 inch HD display. You heard it right!

Richard Yu, CEO, Huawei Consumer Business Group, said,
“The Huawei Ascend Mate breaks barriers to deliver a supercharged entertainment, communication and creative experience for all your personal and professional needs. The Huawei Ascend Mate is an industry-leading smartphone and showcases our innovation as we continue to make great technology available to more people globally.”

Huawei Ascend Mate features a 6.1 inch HD IPS+ LCD display, sporting a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels, 1.5 GHz Huawei K3V2 quad-core processor, Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) OS, 8 megapixel rear-facing camera with LED flash, full HD (1080p) video recording and playback, 1 megapixel front-facing camera, Wi-Fi 801.11 b/g/n, 3G Connectivity, 2 GB RAM, A-GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory and a 4050 mAh battery.

This handset provides up to two days of ordinary usage on a single charge, thanks to the Huawei’s QPC and ADRX smart power-saving technology. Huawei Ascend Mate will be available in crystal black and pure white colors. This handset will go on sale from next month in China. The price of this device will be announced soon.