Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Episode 27 : CES 2013

     Hi guys. It's my first post of 2013 and while I have a gospel post and an update to my Project Monkey video game planned, I thought I'd first post the announcements at this year's CES that I find the most interesting, before the news gets stale. Remember I posted on CES 2012 last year? CES stands for Consumer Electronics Show and for those of you that are into gadgets and gizmos, this is your show. In case you already read this article before I updated it with more stuff, click here. So here we go:

Kingston 1 Terabyte Flashdrive
      Kingston has unveiled a new line of flash drives called Data Traveller HyperX Predator (fancy name) which support USB 3.0 and up to 1 Gigabyte of storage. The 1G model comes out within the first quarter of this year, but if the prices I hear are true, I won't be getting any. The 512G model costs $1,750 (N280,000). Flash drives don't crash from physical impact nearly as easily as external hard drives do, but for that amount, I can buy a dozen 1 Terabyte external hard drives. I hope the price was mis-reported.
1 Terabyte Flash drive? I'd ALWAYS wear it around my neck!

NVIDIA's Project Shield
      Just like my Project Monkey, this won't be the final name. NVIDIA has created an Android gaming machine that looks like a video game controller with a flip-up screen attached to it. It has all the regular face and shoulder buttons you'd expect, two analog sticks and a 5 inch, 720p screen. Being an Android device, it also has a back button, home button and what I assume to be the menu button (it had the NVIDIA logo on it). They threw in a start button and what looks like a "mute volume" button too. It also has an SD card slot, a mini-USB port and a HDMI port so you can see your games on a bigger screen. Personally, I think I'd rather play on a typical mobile device.
        Project Shield can also play any of the games you've installed on your PC (including Steam titles) once you connect the Shield and your PC to the same Wifi network. Again, I'd rather just play on my PC using a USB game pad, but maybe some people would prefer leaving their PC where it is and playing on the portable screen. No price announced yet, but it will go on sale in the second quarter of the year.
NVIDIA's Project Shield thingy

The Razer Edge
        Now here is a better idea on how to make a tablet for hardcore gamers. Last year I posted about "Project Fiona", and now it has a final name: The Razer Edge. Razer has removed the permanent cylindrical controllers mounted on either side of the tablet, opting for a detachable controller that provides rumble feedback, a keyboard dock for MMO games and a docking station so players can prop up the tablet and connect two (yes, two) USB pads to the tablet and use it like a regular game console. It runs Windows 8 and is actually more powerful than many laptops (including my current laptop), so it can run proper PC games smoothly. It also has a HDMI port so you can play your games on a bigger screen.
          There's the Edge with Intel Core i5 processors, 4G RAM and 64G SSD and the Edge Pro with Intel Core i7 processors, 8G RAM and either a 128 or 256GB SSD. I'm surprised that a tablet with higher specs than the Microsoft Surface Pro will go on sale as early as the first quarter of this year. The cheapest model goes for $999 (N160,000). Unfortunately, while it may have 4 - 6 hours of juice when used as a regular tablet, it can only handle PC gaming for an hour before the battery is depleted. Plugging it to power while playing removes the portability.
Project Fiona as shown at CES 2012
The Razer Edge as shown at CES 2013
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga
      Also returning from last year's CES, this Windows 8 Ultrabook that can transorm in to a Windows 8 tablet was still the best Ultrabook at CES this year. The details are still the same as I posted last year, and honestly, this is the only Windows 8 device I'm considering getting over the Microsoft Surface Pro. It doesn't have a stylus and the keyboard isn't detachable like the surface pro, but it has a bigger screen, more memory, the same high specs and may end up being the cheaper option. The only thing on this list that I might actually get.
Transforming Ultrabook, but is it a Deceptacon or an Autobot?

Android Powered TV - Lenovo IdeaTV K91
      I don't know what sort of android apps will be available to this TV, as Smart TVs usually have apps from the developer only. My Samsung TV at home only has Samsung apps. Anyway, the IdeaTV has voice and face recognition thanks to a 5 megapixel camera mounted on it. 
Android Fans, are you impressed?

Samsung's UNES8000
          I wish these TV lines had names one could easily pronounce. This line of TVs range from 46 to 65 inches. They're LED 3D TVs but what's impressive is the voice control and gesture-based control incorporated. You can control the TV with your bare hands by pointing, clenching your fists and sliding. Show your friends your futuristic TV and feel like Mr. Stark, or play Angry Birds straight from your TV when ther's nothing interesting to watch.
I've seen gesture controlled TVs before, but never this large

          LG's Prototype OLED HDTV
        LG also showed off a prototype OLED HDTV. I don't know how they got a 55 inch TV to be only 4mm thick, wish I could see that myself.

        Overall, I have to admit that nothing really impressed me that much in this year's CES. Maybe it's because the thing that really got my attention was already shown at last year's show. Also, no new type of gadget or interesting, new concept like those earphones last year that reshape themselves to perfectly fit your own ear (only once. so your friend better not use it before you do after purchase). No groundbreaking smartphone either. The best on display was the Nokia Lumia 900, which is a good windows 8 phone that I already knew about. Hope you find something you like here. Or you can read my post on CES 2012. Those gadgets are still very valid.

        First of all, let me start by apologizing for the last paragraph above. I wrote this article in a hurry initially and now I realize that there were still some interesting announcements at CES 2013 that I hadn't noticed yet. So I will take my time now to continue updating this article. Keep checking back for more info. I'll explicitly state it when I stop updating this page.

         Sony Experia Z, the water-proof phone 
Sony's Experia Z can stay under 2 feet of water for 30 minutes and still work
      Sony has finally released a phone that can compete with the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3. It has all the usual high specs (Quad-core processors, 4G LTE, NFC, 32G internal memory expandable by microSD, etc), but it's biggest selling point is that the phone is totally waterproof. It can survive being dropped in a toilet, and if it gets dirty, you can simply wash it under a tap. The only trade off is that the USB and headphone ports have protective plastic covers that must be unclipped before use. It features a 5 inch screen (the only phones that have bigger screens are the Samsung Galaxy Note and Note 2) with a clearer display than even Apple's Retina display. That's 440 pixels per inch, the same as on a 55 inch HDTV.
       It's the first mobile phone to ever offer HDR mode for video (google HDR if you have to), sporting a 13mp rear camera and 2mp front facing camera. It goes on sale in the first quarter of this year, along with its little brother, the Experia ZL, which is the same phone but without the water-proof features, the glass finish at the back, the 4G LTE connectivity (it's only got 3G) and the regions it will be available in. The Experia ZL will only be sold in selected regions, Sony says, and I personally think that if I was going to get one version, I'd rather get the better, water-proof one than the hard to find regular one anyway. Oh, the ZL will have half the internal memory too, meaning it's only 16G. It's the budget version of the Experia Z.

Waterproof Walkman Headphones
          If you like the waterproof idea, you might as well buy Sony's NZW-W270 (how do you even pronounce that?), which is a basically a 4Gig MP3 player that can be worn around your head so you can listen to music while you swim or shower. The batteries last for 8 hours. In fact, a 3 minute charge of a dead battery gives you one hour of juice! Goes on sale in March for $100.
It also has bluetooth, so you don't have to depend on the internal memory
          Wireless device-to-device charging
       Fulton innovation  demonstrated its device-to-device power transfer which works simply by placing two Qi-enabled devices back-to-back. Qi is the international standard for wireless power transfer. If two devices are Qi enabled, anyone of them can cgarge the other. Can't say when this will be available because OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) will have to license it and build it into their devices. Soon, hopefully, you'll be seeing "Qi-enabled" nect to "Wifi, Bluetooth, NFC" when checking the specs of a device you want to buy.

The Charge Card
       Imagine if you could fit your phone charger into your wallet or pocket. That way, you could almost always have it on you, just like your phone. The charge card has either a micro-USB or an Apple 30-pin connector on one end, and a USB on the other end. These are embedded in a flexible rubber arm, but the arm alone would be easy to misplace if they didn't fit it in a card that's about the size of your regular ID card. You can get one for $25.
The Charge Card

The Seagate Wireless Plus (Wireless External Hard Drive)
          Seeing as my brother gave our one Terabyte hard drive to a girl (the horror!) and she damaged it, I think I'll get one of these as a replacement. Up to 10 devices can connect to the Seagate Wireless Plus by Wifi, and can either access it's data or upload data to it. There are smart phone apps to help manage the data on it. It can also share internet access to all 10 devices connected to it once you connect it to a WiFi hotspot, even if the hotspot usually requires you to sign in through a browser. It can still connect to a computer's USB port. It's got USB 3.0, meaning really fast transfer speeds if the computer also has USB 3.0.
        The battery lasts for ten hours and you can either charge it with it's own power adapter, or let it charge when it's plugged to a computer via USB. You can get one for $200 (about N32,000). Now if they could only make it waterproof and girlproof, I'd be willing to pay that amount!
Wireless 1Terabyte Hard Drive with internet sharing capabilities
          These are all the things that really caught my eye. Personally, my best were the Charge Card, The Seagate Wireless Plus and the Lenovo Idea Pad Yoga. Those are the 3 I actually see myself buying. Add in the Kingston 1TB flash drive if the real price is much lower than what I saw when I checked for the price. Seems people really like games though, most awards went to the Razer Edge (gaming tablet).  In this day and age, if you aren't at least part nerd, you're missing out on a lot of awesome stuff!

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