Gadgets galore at CES
Writer: Edwin Yap
Published: Fri, 10 Feb 2012
Once again, the world was treated to the world’s largest electronic and gadget show, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), in Las Vegas, California, from Jan 10-13. Much has been reported about the show itself and no doubt, some of you dear readers would have kept up with the news at hand, so that you will know what are the many new electronic wares that are expected to come out later this year.
Nonetheless, for those who may not have done so, here’s what I thought were big trends and products announced at this year’s CES.
Nokia Windows Phone
Also known as the Nokia Lumia 900, this much talked about and anticipated phone which debuted at the CES is the latest Windows phone [the first Nokia Windows phone was the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710] that Nokia has co-developed with Microsoft since they announced early last year about their planned collaboration.
The Lumia boasts of being one of the first phones that supports Long Term Evolution (LTE), the next generation wireless broadband technology that can go up to five to 10 times faster than what is capable today.
The Lumia uses a 1.4 GHz processor and a 4.3-inch super AMOLED (active matrix organic LED) clear black display, 8 megapixel (MP) rear camera and a 1MB front camera [Carl Zeiss lens] wrapped in a polycarbonate material, which first appeared in the Lumia 800 and the Nokia N9. It comes equipped with a 1830 mAh battery, but the 16GB of internal memory is not expandable due to the lack of a memory slot.
However, this will likely be sufficient for most buyers with the included Windows SkyDrive cloud storage to which the Lumia 900 can connect . The Lumia runs Windows Phone’s latest Mango operating system and will be supported by AT&T in US initially.
One can’t know how the Lumia 900 will stack against the competition, but initial responses to the phone have been positive, as testified by Lumia 900 winning the best phone award at CES 2012 awarded by technology portal CNET. Some believe that Lumia 900 may be a success because it’s the first time Nokia and Microsoft have collaborated closely with a mobile operator, AT&T, to bring out a product that is integrated together tightly, akin to how Apple has done it over the years.
This is another very big theme that dominated CES 2012. Reports from some tech portals noted that there were as many as 20 ultrabook models announced at the event. Essentially, ultrabooks are lightweight, slim laptops backed by powerful hardware and extended battery life due to its their power-efficient chip designs and software management.
The one that caught the eye of many is the Asus’ Zenbook. The Zenbook has sleek lines that feature a concentric circle design, and boasts a thickness of just 8.9mm at the rear that tapers to 2.8mm at the front. It uses the latest Intel Core i7 processors, SATA Revision 3.0 solid state storage (SSD), Bluetooth V4.0 and USB 3.0 with USB Charge. Asus claims that its patented Super Hybrid Engine II technology intelligently conserves battery life to give the Zenbook up to 25% more battery life than other ultrabooks.
Other ultrabooks in the news were Dell’s XPS 13, the computer maker’s first ultrabook which tapers from 18 to 6mm and is made from aluminum and carbon fibre. The entry-level unit’s got a Core i5 CPU, 128GB SSD, 4GB RAM and a backlit keyboard, but it doesn’t include an SD card slot, which is pretty standard these days on ultrabooks.
HP’s Envy 14 Spectre was another ultrabook that debuted, but it’s kind of heavy at 1.7kgs and thick at 20mm. It does, however, sport a great display, near field communication in the palm rest and an Intel Wireless Display and Beats Audio.
Others that were showcased at CES were Acer’s S5 and Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga.
While tablet computers were the toast at CES 2011, excitement seemed to have dulled over these little computing machines.
That said, there were some interesting tablets on display at CES 2012, the first of which must be Asus MeMO, powered by NVidia’s Tegra3, a quad-core chip. This 7-inch, US$250 tablet comes equipped with Google’s latest Android-powered operating system, Ice Cream Sandwich, is touted to be the world’s first and most powerful 7-inch tablet. The announcement comes off the back of Asus introducing its latest 10-inch tablet, the Asus Transformer Prime 201.
Little was said about the up-and-coming Windows 8 powered tablets except to note that it is expected to debut in the second half of this year.
Other interesting gear
One gadget that certainly caught my eye was Victorinox, the maker of the Swiss Army Knife line, which announced a knife that sports a whopping 1TB USB 3.0 SSD (solid state drive). But before you drool over this fantastic accessory, try looking at the price - US$3,000!
Obviously just a marketing gimmick, Victorinox will also offer the device in 64GB, 128GB, 256GB and 512GB capacities, though the company has not yet revealed the price of these models.
Lastly, another interesting but his time affordable gadget that caught my eye was TPLink’s world’s smallest router measuring 2.5” x 2.5” x 0.7” [smaller than a credit card] that supports speeds of up to 150Mbps. The device is powered through a micro USB port by an external power adapter or USB connection to a computer.
TPLink also unveiled its portable 3G/3.75G Battery Powered Wireless N Router (TL-MR3040) which provides up to 4.5 hours of networking, wire-free on a single charge. An external power adaptor or USB connection provides more juice as required. You can plug in a 3G modem to its micro-USB port, and you can share your mobile connection at 150 Mbps to 5 devices.