Saturday, January 15, 2011

Microsoft's keynote at the 2011 International CES

We’ve already taken a look at some of the best smartphones and the best Tablets that were on display at the International CES 2011. In finishing off our reports on CES and its gadgets, we would like to take a look at several other gadgets and technology that caught our attention. For third time, we are glad that the folks at Engadget were able to cover the entire event in stupendous fashion, which makes our job a lot easier – since we didn’t go to Las Vegas ourselves.

We’ll begin by looking at a few prominent devices that are pretty high up on the list of desirables, and then look at a few device categories in which several products were displayed in each category.

1. Microsoft Touch Mouse

Microsoft Touch Mouse, front

A Microsoft Research concept that becomes a mouse? Unheard of. But that is what just happened at CES 2011 last week. Do not confuse this with Microsoft’s previously released Arc Touch Mouse – that’s completely different. Microsoft Research has been working on this concept to build a mouse that works the same way as existing mice, but then adds to the functionality.

The tiny “x” bumps that you can see atop the mouse are actually capacitive touch electrodes – these help in deciphering a variety of gestures. The mouse has been designed to specifically take advantage of Windows 7. Single finger gestures allow the user to scroll through documents, pan documents from left to right and move back/forward in a web browser. Two finger gestures can be used to manage application windows – maximise, minimise, snap and restore. Some three finger gestures are also possible, which help in stuff like “View Desktop”. The Microsoft Touch Mouse has been announced for June launch, for $80. That should translate to an August/September release in India (if Microsoft decides to launch it in India) at an MRP of around Rs. 4000/-

Microsoft Touch Mouse, back

2. Samsung 9 Series Notebook PC

There are no press release images or videos for this one, so we’re embedding Joanna Stern’s (of Engadget) hands-on preview video. The Series 9 Notebooks from Samsung are really really thin, and they look all set to take on the Macbook Airs for design and elegance. Full specs include the new Sandy Bridge-based Core i5 2537M processor, 64-bit Windows 7, 4 GB DDR3 RAM, maximum hard drive capacity option of a 128 GB SSD, an extra-bright “SuperBright Plus“ (400 nits of brightness) 13.3” 1366x768 display, Intel HD GT2 integrated graphics, 3W speakers and a 1.5W sub-woofer, a Lithium Polymer battery that’s touted to provide 6.5 hours of usage, Wi-Fi N, Bluetooth and USB 3.0. All this in a package that weighs less than 3 pounds (2.89 pounds, to be exact – or 1.31 kg) and is super-thin at 0.64 inches (or 1.62 cm).

Samsung is saying the design sense for the 9 Series is derived from nature – things such as waves, leaves, water and such stuff – and the styling of premium sports cars. Whatever the design sense is derived from, the end product is really looking good. No word on the release data or price, and definitely doubtful of it coming to India really soon. Even if it does, expect it to cost a lot.

3. Philips 3D ultrawidescreen TV

Philips 3D Cinema Widescreen TV

This 3D 21:9 aspect ratio TV from Philips is possibly one of the best displays to entertain yourself at home. In all likelihood, it is not going to make it to India, since it was released in the UK and Europe back in September 2010 for around 3,500 GBP or 4000 Euros (about 2.5 lakhs), and is only now being announced for the US. Add to that the fact that we’re yet to see any at-home 3D technology which is really worth it, and you’re left wondering whether you really want this to come to India. But it is encouraging to see that atleast one consumer electronics manufacturer is trying to keep manufacturing a good, high-end product. We like that.

4. Sony 1080p Bloggie 3D

Sony 1080p Bloggie 3D - back

Sony’s range of pocket-size video recorders, launched as Webbie, and then rebranded as Bloggie got three new additions at CES 2011. While the Bloggie MHS-FS1 and the Bloggie Duo MHS-FH2 are pretty standard upgrades and would cost $150 (about Rs.7000) and $170 (about Rs. 8000) with 4GB of built-in memory, the Bloggie 3D MHS-FS3 is the one that’s really new for this series. The Bloggie 3D shoots full 1080p video in 3D using two lenses, and has a 2.4 inch 3D display at the back, which does not require glasses. 3D video shot using the Bloggie 3D can be played back using glasses on any 3D capable TV, particularly any 3D TV from Sony. It has a stereo mic, and an Exmor CMOS sensor which can shoot detailed video even in low light. Don’t expect the built-in LED flash to do much good, though.

The most important question : is it coming to India? No idea. Till date, not a single camera in the Bloggie/Webbie line-up has been officially sold in India. Perhaps, if there is enough demand, Sony India may see it fit to launch the series (or atleast, one or two Bloggies) in India.Sony 1080p 3D Bloggie - front

Other stuff that might interest you

To keep things as short as possible (why would we want to bore you?!) we’re linking to a few items that may be of interest to you. Obviously, all the links are to Engadget articles. Read and enjoy.

Computing

Razer Switchblade preview: 3G, Intel Oak Trail, almost definitely going on sale

Samsung Sliding PC 7 Series hands-on preview (video)

ASUS tablet lineup preview: Slider, Transformer, MeMO, and Slate EP121 go wild (with video!)

Vizio details specs on Vizio Tablet and Vizio Phone, reveals VIA Plus is Google TV

Future Cars

A look at BPG Motors amazing, transforming, self-balancing Uno (video)

General Motors takes us on a crazy test ride in the EN-V electric prototype vehicle (video)

High-end stuff

Etymotic EB1 and EB15 earplugs hands-on

Bug Labs' BUGswarm and Verizon BUGbundle hands-on

It is simply beyond the scope of The Indian Geek website to report every single product that was revealed and announced at the International CES 2011 this year. We have tried to bring you the best of CES as far as smartphones, Tablets and a few other gadgets were concerned. Also, the main reason why we have not reported too much about CES is because many of the releases from CES never see the light of day in India. Now what we really would like to see is an Indian CES. Maybe then, we could gather all our gear and call each of our editors to one spot, camp out in a double-width trailer for six days, and blog our hearts out. Hats off to Engadget for their sheer dedication to the coverage of CES 2011.

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