Author Archives: info
The chipmaking giant has taken a long time to do this. But Intel has finally (and officially) entered the smartphone market. This phone has been debuted in China.
The Intel CEO Paul Otellini revealed the smartphone powered by the Intel Medfield processor at his keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show on Tuesday. The Lenovo smartphone will be released in China in the first half of 2012.
Intel has also revealed a partnership with Motorola Mobility (MMI) for developing tablets and phones and their first smartphone will be available later this year. Paul Otellini said, "We've built an incredible platform for our partners to innovate on."
Intel's processors rule the PC market but they had yet to make their mark in the ever growing mobile phone and mobile devices' markets. It made a feeble attempt with a Linux-based mobile operating system, called Meego, but it never worked out, especially since Nokia backed out of the deal and went to Microsoft for the mobile OS collaboration.
But only last year, Intel made a few good changes in their smartphone/mobile venture. It joined forces with Google, to optimize the Google's Android platform using Intel-based mobile hardware. Intel has yet to create a niche for itself in the smartphone market and it is vital that it does so. Today, Intel does provide server processors to mobile devices' manufacturers but its processors had still not come to the mobile market, until this announcement. Regarding servers, Intel has given a figure of 600 i.e. 1 server is needed for 600 smartphones.
Intel has also started to move forward regarding ultraboks (or thin laptops). But this move is still insignificant before the vast need of making a mark on the smartphone and mobile market.
Intel has said one server is needed for every 600 smartphones in use. It's also trying to reinvigorate demand in the PC market by pushing ultrabooks or thin, instant-on laptops. But that won't be enough in a computing industry that's increasingly shifting towards mobile.
The Lenovo phone is a start, but it will only be available in China. And whether or not Intel's partnership with Motorola will yield any successful products remains to be seen. "It's the coming out party for Medfield," Mike Bell, general manager of Intel's newly formed mobile and communications group, told Fortune. "People kept asking us if Intel can play in this space and our message was yes, but until we show something it doesn't get driven home for people."
Mobile phones have evolved crazily fast over the last few years. But even though quad-core phones are now available, the games being played on them are still way behind PC games. There is still need for hardware and software support to play good games on mobile phones and tablet devices. Hence we see that serious gamers are really not into playing Bounce and Angry Birds.
To address this need, Razer has come up with a novel concept keeping tablet gaming in mind. At the CES 2012 this week, Razer unveiled a tablet which has the Intel i7 CPU as its powerhouse and is designed to play today's PC games with "an intuitive control setup for a phenomenal on-the-go gaming experience." The tablet is called 'Project Fiona' and Razer claims that due to their partnership with Intel, this project has turned out a tablet which is closer to PC gaming than other mobile devices of today.
Brad Graff, Director of Partner Marketing at Intels' Netbook & Tablet groub said, "Project Fiona’s combination of high performance Intel-based gaming hardware and innovative tablet design is specifically focused for PC gamers. It will unleash the PC gamer to play their existing and future high-end games in one of the most exciting new form factors – a tablet."
The CEO of Razer, Min-Liang Tan said, "While multi-touch screens have become the de facto user interface for tablets, they are not the right interface for serious PC gaming. The user interface we have designed for Project Fiona allows all existing PC games to be played right out of the box and also provides game developers new opportunities as they develop next-gen games on a highly-intuitive platform. Both developers and gamers are going to love the new user interface that combines the best of a gamepad, multi-touch screen and accelerometers for an all-new gaming experience on-the-go."
Google search is not the same anymore. In one of the most significant changes ever made in Google's search service, Google search will now give more personal search results. Let's hope this move won't violate the US anti-trust legislation.
The new service is called 'Titled Search plus Your World' and the concept is that one can get search results from one's social circle as well as from around the world. The service is expected to begin a few days later.
Via this service, searching for profiles will be easier too. The Google fellow Amit Singhal says on Google blog, "Now, typing just the first few letters of your friend’s name brings up a personalized profile prediction in autocomplete. It also makes it easier to find profiles in search."
He further added that, "Selecting a predicted profile takes you to a results page for your friend, which includes information from their Google+ profile and relevant web results that may be related to them."
Another new feature is the People and Pages feature. It gives an entire list of famous people who discuss a particular issue regularly on Google+. Hence, if you search for something like "Harry Potter", you might end up with the views of J.K.Rowling herself.
Having said that, some legal experts believe that this move will not be welcomed. Twitter's senior lawyer, Alex Macgillivray tweeted that this move was a "bad day for the internet".
He also added, "Having been there, I can imagine the dissension @Google to search being warped this way."
The problem in this approach is that when a search engine starts giving results from its own services, this leaves out its competitors' content from the seemingly 'free and open ground' of internet searches. Twitter says that there is no reason why the People and Pages feature is only customized for Google+ and cant' do so for Twitter or Facebook accounts.
Microsoft in its last keynote presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show described its collaboration with Sesame Street to develop interactive episodes for children. Microsoft says it is "two-way television" and uses Kinect as input device to control the action.
The presentation included a live demo in which a girl threw make-believe coconuts at a TV which had Kinect on board. The TV immediately showed coconuts on the screen which Grover (a character in Sesame Street) caught. The coconuts could be thrown higher and the girl had the choice to refuse throwing it. In the latter case, more Sesame Street characters appear and the scenario goes on.
Another feature is Elmo's World which is an interactive world of moving colors and shapes based on users' movements and gestures. The puppets talk to users based on their gestures.
Terry Fitzpatrick, Chief Content and Distribution Officer of the Sesame Workshop told the BBC, "We've had an ongoing dialogue, and when Microsoft decided with the Kinect device that they were focusing on families it was a natural conversation. For a pre-schooler having to deal with a physical controller can be very challenging. Movement is natural to them and getting up and off the couch and active is also something we are very interested in encouraging."
Microsoft is also planning to carry out the same venture with Disney and National Geographic to take interactive learning to the next level. It also announced that Kinect will be coming to Windows PC in February 2012.
This was the last keynote session from Microsoft at the Consumer Electronics Show. It announced that it will be quitting the show from next year. According to a blog entry, Microsoft also plans to end its hosting a booth at the show. The reason given was that the January dates are not feasible with Microsoft's product line.
Nokia has revealed the new Microsoft-powered Lumia 900 smartphone, creating shockwaves in the smartphone market. The new Lumia 900 is designed to compete head on with Apple's iPhone and Android-based devices. On Monday, Microsoft CEO Steven Ballmer, together with Nokia's head Stephen Elop unveiled the new handset which runs on Windows mobile software.
It has not been confirmed when the smartphone will be released and how much will it cost. But we do know that the Nokia Lumia 900 smartphone will be running on the latest 4G LTE network of AT&T.
Elop said in his presentation at the CES 2012 in Las Vegas, "We believe the industry has shifted from a battle of devices to a war of ecosystems. Clearly there are strong contenders on the field in this war of ecosystems."
Ballmer added while holding a shiny Lumia 900 smartphone in his hand, "The work Nokia is doing around Windows phone and this third ecosystem is really going to pay off. When you pick it up and love and touch and feel your Lumia - mmmmm - it really is quite fantastic."
Ballmer also had great words for Nokia because of its fast production time. Nokia has managed to take less than a year for production and got its phones to the market after confirming the deal with Microsoft for using their mobile operating system/software for the Nokia smartphones.
Nokia introduced the Lumia smartphones last October and they're described by Elop as "the first real Windows phones" which has established "beachheads" in Europe, India and Hong Kong. In the USA, the Lumis 710 model is set to be released on January 11, and is going to cost $49 with the T-mobile plan.
The Lumia 900 has two cameras - front and rear facing as well as Carl Zeiss photo technology. The display is high definition, with a size of 4.3 inches.
Samsung joined LG in unveiling their sleek and ultra thin OLED Smart TV at the CES 2012 today.
Samsung's new ES8000 55-inch "Super OLED" Smart TV is powered by a dual core processor and can perform multitasking. OLED or Organic Light Emitting Diode TVs are much lighter, use less power, give brighter outputs and are cheaper to make. Samsung aims to increase the screen size up to 75 inches.
This TV doesn't need a remote to run it from a distance. The ES8000 Smart TV can be voice operated and can recognize gestures and work on face recognition as well. Samsung Smart TV viewers can use their voice or their hands to perform various actions like switching on the TV, opening applications and searching.
This ends the monopoly of Microsoft's Kinect on gesture-based commands.
Samsung Electronic's President (in the US) Tim Baxter said that the new 3D Smart TV will consist of one 'smart hub' for content, apps and search, as well as a camera. The user will be able to configure his/her apps when the TV's connected.
Samsung's Smart TV's sales have topped 12 million around the world and this has led Samsung to believe that 3D Smart TVs are here to stay. They are in the process of developing a library of 3D content to go with the 3D Smart TVs. Baxter also claimed that nearly 20 million Samsung apps have been downloaded globally.
Samsung has included an assortment of 5000 movies and TV shows on its media hub in the USA which also include an Angry Birds on-demand channel. The ES8000 will be launched with different video-on-demand services according to local content in other parts of the world. Samsung is also planning to offer an exclusive interface for kids, fitness programs and Family Story - a program that organizes the whole familys' photos and slideshows.
Acer has revealed the world's thinnest ultrabook 'Acer Aspire S5' which is to be showcased this week at CES 2012 in Las Vegas. The models will start shipping in the second quarter of 2012. Prices have not been disclosed yet.
Analyst Tim Bajarin from Creative Strategies has said, "That S5 is quite significant. It looks like the thinnest and lightest, and it sets the bar for the rest of the ultrabook vendors."
Specifications of the Acer Aspire S5 include a 13.3-inch screen and the laptop's thickest point measures 15 mm. The S5 weighs a little less than 1.35 kg (or 3 pounds).
The Taiwan-based Acer's Chief Executive J.T.Wang said, "We are committed to evolving this technology. By the second quarter of this year we will have four models of ultrabook and more to come."
Also according to Wang, the ultrabooks will be shipped with Windows 8 OS after Microsoft releases the latest version of its Windows OS later in 2012. He estimates that ultrabooks will be at least 35 percent of the Acer product line by the end of 2012.
The Aspire is not estimated to challenge the hold MacBook Air has on the market because it will not be shipped with open source OS. Bajarin says in this regard, "The real battle is not with Apple, it is with all the other vendors coming out with Windows ultrabooks. Apple will still do great with MacBook Air, but in the Windows world it is great news that five years after Apple set the tone the industry is finally getting something equal."
Acer has also come up with plans to launch a free cloud-based service just like Apple's iCloud which lets users store music, documents, photos and videos on the internet 'cloud'. Acer users will be able to do as well, and access their content from any Windows 8 or Android OS-running device in the future.
There is no replacement to a 'page-turning' book, it is said. E-readers are still, yet another gadget. There are page turning animations on e-readers which bridge the gap somewhat, but it's still not the same thing.
Image courtesy: flickr
A new prototype device called 'Paranga' has been developed at Osaka University which enables readers to actually turn the pages physically when reading on it. Associate Professor at Osaka University and this project's manager Yuichi Itoh said, "E-books have grown in popularity, but we think they lost the physical features that real books have." This device is the result of a collaboration between Osaka University and alumni of Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
The device has two parts that face each other and looks like an open book. The action of page turning can be done from the right hand side which is designed as a rubber sheet and covered with a soft spongy cloth for comfort. Along the edge of the 'paper', there is a cylindrical roller which is connected to the device's sensors. The left hand side is an LCD monitor on which the content that is being read is displayed. The content is both textual, graphic and animated.
The user needs to move his/her thumb along the cylindrical roller and this will turn the pages on the device. There is another sensor on the device called the 'bend sensor' and this enables the user to turn pages faster in proportion to the extent of bending.
Itoh also said, "Paranga also allows users to flip pages infinitely and in order. That could be particularly helpful when someone wants to rapidly peruse a book to find a particular page." The device isn't really aimed to challenge current e-readers. This device is designed to be a more interactive reading experience especially for the children and the elderly.
One of the issues is cost, which the team is working hard to bring down. Itoh believes that using Bluetooht to connect Paranga to tablet devices can easily bring down the cost to under $100 and within reach of the masses.
Ubuntu, the open source Linux distribution has integrated TV and movie content to create Ubuntu TV, which has been made by British firm Canonical. Ubuntu TV is free and open source and Canonical hopes many manufacturers will integrate it into their upcoming TVs and smart TVs.
This announcement joins other smart TV announcements made on the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012, which kicks off Monday morning at Las Vegas. Combining the traditional functions of television with internet capabilities and functions is the new trend that has been taken by other companies too. LG, Samsung and Sony have all joined this effort and at the CES, all of them are speculated to reveal their televisions' combination with Google TV's updated version. This effort will bring internet capabilities to television such as TV on demand through YouTube or iPlayer by BBC, social networking capabilities and lots more.
Gerry Carr wrote this on the Canonical Blog, "Ubuntu TV is a vision of how TV will work in the future. With no cables, no boxes and no hassles, the goal is to uncomplicate television for the average viewer while delivering to him or her all the services and options that they are becoming used to."
Canonical has also revealed that they have integrated smartphones with Ubuntu TV. The smartphones must run on the Android OS, Ubuntu itself or Apple's iOS. One of the key buzzwords expected to be heard at the CES 2012, is 'second screen'. Canonical explains that the new service will be able to "link phones or tablets to Ubuntu TV, presenting related content to viewers while they watch. [It can] provide information on movies by the same director, for example, or the reaction on Twitter during live shows - without any distraction from the action."
The hugely popular Apple's voice recognition software Siri lead to iPhone 4S users to double the data usage as compared with the previous handset. This has lead to a great pressure on operators' ends, the network firm Arieso has said.
Arieso, an Atlanta-based company's Chief Technology Officer, Michael Flanagan has said in an interview, "Voice is the ultimate human interface. Voice recognition is prompting consumers to use their smartphones’ functions more often."
Siri is a virtual personal assistant feature on the iPhone 4S and it contains artificial intelligence algorithms which enable the users to write texts, schedule appointments and the like. The firm Arieso revealed that they determined the data usage stats within a single European network, and that it was 1 million subscribers (or more). They didn't reveal the name of the network. This doubling of data usage places additional strain on operators because faster networks have to be rolled out to cater to the huge data demand.
It is believed that regular synchronization of Apple's applications on the iPhone to the website has resulted in the massive over-usage of data. According to Flanagan, Arieso's findings indicate that a very small percentage of users have downloaded half the data. Only 1% of heavy users downloaded half of the entire data volume. This shows that "the hungry are getting hungrier."
To counter this massive data usage, mobile operators have begun to take steps to protect their networks from crashing due to heavy traffic. Notable examples include Vodafone, one of the largest mobile phone operator in the world, which has started billing its customers based on their consumption of data.
Arieso has also reported that users of BlackBerry smartphones (such as Bold Touch), download nearly 20% of the data compared to the data downloaded by an iPhone user. Possible reasons may be that RIMM compresses data, and BlackBerry users are primarily businessmen/women whose main priority on the mobile world is email.