The Consumer Electronics Show starts this week. The biggest news is that there is no great news. So instead, the industry is turning its focus from the tablet and back to the PC, and specifically a category called the "ultrabook": super-thin, super-light notebook PCs whose only clear distinguishing characteristics seem to be that they look and weigh much the same as Apple's super-thin MacBook Air product, and cost about the same too. For PC manufacturers who saw the world market stumble in 2011, as smartphones and tablets ate into sales in the west, and the ultrabook is the best chance they have to push up margins while introducing something new-ish.
Another possible Microsoft win will be the unveiling of some of the Nokia phones running Windows Phone 7 and the new Metro tile interface. The previous Windows 7 phones released by Samsung and others have not gone well, but the Nokia phones are getting great reviews.
DISH Network has refreshed its DISH Remote Access app for iPad with on-demand access to a catalog of thousands of streaming movies and TV shows, the company has announced at CES today. The updated app requires a subscription to the Blockbuster @Home package - previously known as Blockbuster Movie Pass - or select premium movie packages, including HBO and Cinemax, but once you have that you can use your iPad to trawl through DISH's back-catalog of content. You don't even have to access the media through your dish. You can just go directly online to Dish Networks and watch as many as you like according to your Dish plan.
Israel has said it will respond to cyber-attacks in the same way it responds to violent "terrorist" acts after the credit card details of thousands of its citizens were published online. A hacker named OxOmar claiming to be Saudi said on Thursday he had leaked the private information. Credit card companies say at least 6,000 valid cards have been exposed. Reports say OxOmar may be a 19-year-old living in Mexico. Such cyber-attacks are "a breach of sovereignty comparable to a terrorist operation, and must be treated as such", Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon has said. "Israel has active capabilities for striking at those who are trying to harm it, and no agency or hacker will be immune from retaliatory action," he added, without giving further details. An aide to Mr Ayalon said Israel was aware of the report OxOmar may be in Mexico, but had not yet requested help from the Mexican authorities, Reuters news agency reports.
Motorola has upped the ante, though, saying it will ship a new version with enhanced battery life, calling it the Droid Razr Maxx. The original Droid Razr managed to squeeze in a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, gorgeous 4.3-inch Super AMOLED HD-resolution screen, plus 4G LTE radio into its svelte frame. Its one Achilles' heel, though, is the device's battery, which provided decent but not stellar run time. To shore up this weak spot, Motorola pledges that the new Droid Razr Maxx will boast a long 21-hour talk time, almost double the rated longevity of the original Droid Razr. Despite packing a beefier battery, the phone still keeps its trim 0.35-inch profile. All the other great features of the Droid Razr will be here, too, including an 8-megapixel camera and Webtop functionality.
At CES 2012, Fujitsu introduced an Android tablet that accepts hand gestures. Voice input has also gone mainstream. And now Tobii is attempting to bring eye-tracking into the fold, demonstrating its technology on laptops and arcade games. Tobii makes a device with infrared lights and sensors. The lights illuminate the user's eyes, creating a reflection on the surface and on the back of the retina, and then the sensors take rapid images of the eyes to build a 3-D model of them. Company representatives said that this process can get the eye tracking within one millimeter of precision--that is, it can pretty much track the user's eyes exactly. It's not easy to pick up all of the nuances from the demonstration in the video embedded below, but the idea is that with a combination of a laptop's touchpad and your eyes, you can point and select items in Windows 8 (when it's available), and even expand or zoom in on items--say an image on the Web.
After some success with 2011's SH100, Samsung decided to go all in, putting Wi-Fi into four new point-and-shoots: the WB850F, WB150F, ST200F, and the DualView DV300F announced last week. So, what does the wireless get you? You can wirelessly save to a computer with an Auto Backup feature; save for free to Samsung's new cloud storage site called AllShare Play or to Microsoft SkyDrive; direct upload to Facebook, YouTube, Picasa, and Photobucket or send to an e-mail address; and control the cameras remotely via a Remote Viewfinder app. And if you need to connect at a public hotspot, a built-in minibroswer allows you to connect to get on networks with terms-of-service agreements such as those at airports. Aside from wireless, all three of the newly announced models are compact megazooms; the 16-megapixel WB850F has a 21x zoom, the 14-megapixel WB150F an 18x, and a 10x on the 12-megapixel ST200F. The WB850F uses a backside-illuminated CMOS sensor, while the to other two have CCD sensors.
Demand for the iPhone 4S among U.S. consumers remains "incredibly strong," a research company said today as it cited a late December survey of smartphone buying plans. According to ChangeWave Research, 54% of the U.S. consumers who said they planned on buying a new smartphone in the next 90 days tagged Apple's iPhone 4S as their likely purchase. While that number is down from the 65% who identified the iPhone as their preference just before Apple debuted the iPhone 4S in October 2011, it's the highest ever for an Apple smartphone two months or more after its introduction, said Paul Carton, director of research at ChangeWave.
Lenovo, the world's second-largest PC maker, is rolling out a series of products at this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, including a tablet, a smartphone and a smart TV. Lenovo recently unveiled its "Personal Cloud" vision, marking the transformation of the company from a "personal computer" manufacturer to a "personal cloud solution" provider that integrates hardware, software and cloud computing.
The IdeaTab S2 tablet, S2 smartphone and K91 smart TV are available immediately in China, and Lenovo will be releasing the products worldwide at a later date, the company announced Jan. 9.
The IdeaTab S2 10-inch tablet is one-third of an inch thin and weighs in at a light 1.1 pounds. The tablet features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8960 dual core CPU and Android 4.0 operating system and is running the Lenovo Mondrian UI, which displays customized content and includes access to the Lenovo App Shop and the Android Market for thousands of apps. Its detachable design, combined with a light keyboard dock, can deliver up to 20 hours of battery life, according to a company statement.
The S2 smartphone includes the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon technology and Android 2.3 operating system. The device includes a Kernel-level security system to protect personal data, prevent phishing and control network and SMS traffic. Users can also take advantage of its 8 megapixel digital camera to capture panoramic photos. The smarthphone is also ready for the cloud, and syncs photos, music, videos and personal information with a dedicated online storage space for sharing across multiple devices.
email from listeners:
Steve from God Knows where asks "My company only allows access to our email by blackberry. I want an iPhone but I am told I can't get work email. Does my IT guy know what he is talking about. "