Jan 5, 2015

A Few CES 2015 Technology Highlights

CES goes on from January 6th to the 9th.  However, many companies have begun releasing information on their new products and projects already.  While there is plenty of exciting devices... the majority of them are not that exciting.  So, below is a compilation of devices and technologies that did attract my attention.  Each day I'll update the page with new material.  Enjoy!

[JAN 7, 2015]

  • Mad Catz L.Y.N.X 9 Modular Controller for Android and Windows devices.
    • Many gaming controllers are restricted to a single form factor.  This means that you are technically limited.  The LYNX 9 is a modular gaming controller that can change it's form to meet your needs.  This means that you can use it on a phone, a tablet, or in a more traditional manner.
    • The price is $300 and the orders begin shipping in March.  It's definitely an expensive controller, and one can only hope that it's sturdy and comfortable to hold.
    • For other game controllers check Game Controllers label.

[JAN 6, 2015]

  • Wacom Cintiq Companion 2
    • This is likely the best device regarding pen input available (2040 pressure levels with ProPen).  The device offers a 13 inch screen at 2560x1440 resolution.  There are ExpressKeys on the side, and it's also friendly for left-handed fellows.
    • Like the previous generation, there is a version that connects to an existing computer, and then there is a stand alone version that has Windows 8.1.
    • The device has 4GB to 16GB RAM configurations.  The storage is SSD and goes from 64GB to 512GB.
    • CPU wise it should be using Intel Core i3 at 1.70GHz (Intel HD 4400 graphics), or Intel Core i7 at 3.1 GHz (Intel Iris 6100 graphics).
    • It weighs in at 3.75 lbs.
    • Useful links: CNET, Engadget.

[JAN 5, 2015]

Video is faulty... but we get to see some bits of it

  • Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 15
    • If you have felt the 12.5 inch version is a bit limited then this 15.6 inch screen should give you more room to play with.  The resolution may seem a bit odd because it's only 1920x1080--the trend of many new tablets is of higher resolutions.
    • This is the first ThinkPad convertible that has discrete graphics.  It features a Nvidia GeForce 840M (1, 2).  This card is not a gaming powerhouse, yet it's better than the majority of integrated options (the ThinkPad Yoga also has Intel HD 5500).  You can check several videos on YouTube demonstrating what the graphics card can achieve.
    • The last similar device, meaning having graphics card and having this screen size, was the Sony VAIO Fit 15A Flip PC, which was a bit of a disaster based on technical issues (google the reviews).  Hopefully Lenovo does not do what Sony did.
    • Other bits include Intel Broadwell CPU, 16GB RAM, tons of drive storage, mil-spec tested, and the Intel RealSense 3D Camera technology, JBL speakers with Dolby Advanced Audio.
    • On the sides
      • Right side: HDMI port (full sized), 2xUSB 3.0 ports, screen lock, volume buttons, power button.
      • Left side: SD card slot, combo headphone/mic jack, 1xUSB port (video says 3.0 but product page says 2.0), power/OneLink dock port (which works with the ThinkPadOneLink Pro Dock)
    • This convertible has active digitizer support.  I don't know if the pen is Wacom or N-Trig, or other, but Lenovo has stuck with Wacom for a long time and I doubt they changed it on the Yoga 15.  I'll confirm this later.  By the way, the 14 inch ThinkPad Yoga does not support digitizer.
    • It weighs in at about 5.1 lbs, is 0.8 inches thin, and has a battery life of about 8 hours.
    • The release of this product is in February 2015.  The price will depend on the configuration, but we are looking at over $1000.
    • If my X230T breaks soon this is one of the candidates for a replacement.  The only other competitor that I foresee being better would be a Wacom Companion 2nd generation.

  • The Toshiba Encore 2 Write comes in 8 and 10 inch sizes (at 1280x800 resolution), and the price ranges from $350 to $400.  The two Windows 8 tablets also come with a Wacom digitizer, which supports 2,048 levels of pressure.  It's an Atom powered device so don't expect great processing power, however for writing this should be sufficient.

  • Toshiba Portege Z20T is a 12.5 inch (at 1920x1080 resolution) tablet that directly competes with the MS Surface Pro 3 (resolution of 2160x1440).   The Surface Pro 3 had N-Trig, which is not favored by digitizer community, but the Portege has a 2,048 levels of pressure support due to Wacom's technology.  This tablet does have a attachable/detachable base keyboard/dock.  At $1,899 the device is not cheap.

  • Lenovo's AnyPen technology turns any conductive object that is 1mm and thicker into a pen.  The technology can be seen in the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga Tablet 2.  This is not a new technology, it has been used by Sony before, but nonetheless is interesting.

  • A long time ago Tesla would make light bulbs shine wirelessly.  However, the system was not as efficient.  Today Energous' WattUp uses RF, Bluetooth, and magic technology, to wirelessly charge devices.  The range is about 20 feet, and the efficiency is up to 70%.  Checkout the videos: one, two, three.

  • Lenovo's WRITEit is software that allows you to write more intuitively on your tablet.  The TabTip/OSK that Microsoft provides in Windows 8.1 takes too much screen space and limits what you can see.  WRITEit should improve this situation by allowing you to write in any input box.  You can sign up for the beta now, but the software is scheduled for a Spring 2015 release.

  • Lenovo ThinkPad Stack is a collection of devices that can be connected together in a modular fashion.  You can connect a PowerBank, Bluetooth Speaker, USB 3.0 hard drive, and an Access Point (for 4G phone connection).  In a way it reminds me of RazerZone's Project Christine (a modular computer).

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