CES 2012: Beyond the TV Screen
January 26, 2012
TV technology was the dominant presence at this year’s CES, but there were plenty of other devices and platforms on display. Here are a couple of the most interesting:
The Ultrabook, a Tablet/Laptop Hybrid: Intel had a big display highlighting a new category of laptops called Ultrabooks. These are high-end computers, replacing the previous emphasis on low-cost netbooks. Ultrabooks are small, with Intel requiring that they weigh no more than 3.1 pounds, are no more than 0.8 inches thick & with 5-8 hours of battery life. They’re designed to compete against the increasing popularity of tablets, especially Apple’s iPad & MacBook Air, by offering a product appealing to corporate IT departments since they can easily run all existing PC software. The units, manufactured by Dell, Lenovo, Acer, Asus & Toshiba, will all feature flash hard drives & be easier to integrate into existing IT management & security setups than Apple products. The Toshiba Protégé Z835 was particularly attractive, with a combination of light weight (2.5 pounds), thinness (0.62”) & lengthy battery life (8 hours).
Radio in Mobile Phones: On the radio side, RIM made an interesting announcement that it will activate the FM radio circuitry that is already built-in to the BlackBerry Curve 9360 & 9380 smartphones, so new buyers will be able to listen to broadcast FM stations without running up their data usage. The audio quality was quite good through headphones & existing owners can get the new FM players by simply upgrading to 7.1 software.
Portable Projector: In the most-bang-for-your-buck department, Optima’s new PK320 DLP projector gets high praise. It’s amazingly small (only 41/2 inches wide & weighing less than 9 ounces), but still capable of displaying a decent widescreen image up to 150 inches in size with a WXGA display using LED illumination. Operating on either AC power or a rechargeable battery (at reduced brightness), it could make a nice travelling companion for a small laptop & is priced at $449.