CES 2014: Asus Announces the PadFone X (AT&T Exclusive) and PadFone mini for US

Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2014 - 08:29 PM |
Tagged: smartphone, PadFone Mini, padfone, LTE Advanced, HD Voice, CES 2014, CES, Carrier Aggregation, atom z2580, asus, Android

Asus’ PadFone is a cool idea that’s never yet made it stateside—but that’s all about to change with the advent of the PadFone X, which will be headed exclusively to AT&T at some point in the future (TBA).  The PadFone was a concept first introduced in 2011 that involves a smartphone which docks with a larger tablet for seamless transition between screen sizes.  Everything is also constantly and instantly synced between the two gadgets via independent Wi-Fi and cellular data connections without the need to manually invoke synchronization.  Any applications which are currently running on either device will automatically resize to fit the other screen when the PadFone is docked or undocked.

PadFone_X.png

It’s a really clever design that we’re happy to see is coming to the US.  Pricing and detailed specifications are still up in the air, but here’s what we do know about it:

  • 5-inch 1080p screen
  • Docks with a 9-inch 1080p companion tablet station
  • Brushed metal frame with soft-touch back cover
  • Dual front speakers

A “large” battery in the companion tablet station also allows for charging of the 5-inch PadFone when docked, providing “2 times longer” battery life.

PadFone_mini_1.jpg

The PadFone X supports a couple of new technologies on AT&T’s network as well to help improve voice quality:

  • Voice over LTE (VoLTE): This is a new technology which allows for much better quality voice transmission using a codec referred to as HD Voice (technically called Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband).
  • Carrier Aggregation: A part of LTE Advanced, this allows for the grouping of up to five separate 20 MHz bands to produce up to a maximum aggregated bandwidth of 100 MHz.  Essentially, it translates to better voice quality for the PadFone X.

More details about the PadFone X will be announced soon.

In the meantime, Asus also unveiled the PadFone mini, which is not tethered to any particular carrier.  It’s essentially a more basic version of the PadFone X, and judging by the screen resolution alone (800x480 for the phone and 1280x800 for the tablet), it’s clear that it’s intended more for the mainstream market than tech enthusiasts.

PadFone_mini_3S.jpg

The full specs are as follows:

  • CPU: Intel Atom Z2560 processor
  • RAM: 1GB LPDDR2 RAM
  • Storage: 8 GB internal w/ Micro SD slot for expansion
  • Screen:
    • Phone: 800x480 IPS
    • Station: 1280x800 IPS
  • Camera: 8 MP rear camera (f/2.0) and 2 MP front-facing camera
  • Battery:
    • Phone: 4.5Wh, 1170mAh, non-removable polymer battery
    • Station: 8.3Wh, 2100mAh, non-removable polymer battery
  • Weight/Dimensions:
    • Phone: 116g; 124.42 (L) x 61.44 (W) x 6.3-11.2 (H) mm
    • Station: 260g; 199.85 (L) x 119.43 (W) x 13.91 (H) mm
  • Five color choices: Black, White, Red, Blue, and Yellow
  • Dual-SIM support
  • New ZenUI interface layered atop Android OS, which provides new apps, visual tweaks, and some useful extras.

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more on both devices as it’s announced!

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Asus

CES 2014: ASUS ThunderboltEX II Expansion Card

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2014 - 04:01 PM |
Tagged: ThunderboltEX II, Thunderbolt 2, CES 2014, CES, asus

It has been a rocky road for the ASUS Thunderbolt EX expansion card(s). Development was not a problem. They were created but could not be released because of Intel certification woes (because those never happen). The specific reason was never identified but they did hold back releases until after Intel designed a reference add-in card (AIC) for select Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) partners.

No need to stew over my alphabet soup.

ASUS_Z87-PRO_motherboard_with_ThunderboltEX_II.jpg

ASUS has now announced the ThunderboltEX II expansion card which is the first Intel-certified AIC providing a single Thunderbolt 2 port. Despite the multitude of delays, ASUS should still be first to market albeit a market where USB 3.0 became fairly ubiquitous (a lot can happen in a one-year exclusivity). The Thunderbolt EXII is rated at 20 Gbps. The card will be compatible with certain 8-series motherboards from ASUS.

A dual-port AIC, the ThunderboltEX II/DUAL, is also announced.

Still not much on pricing or availability. All we know is that the ThunderboltEX II should be the first to market and the DUAL will come at some point after that.

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Source: ASUS

CES 2014: ASUS S1 Mobile LED Projector & SBW-S1

Subject: General Tech, Displays, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2014 - 04:00 PM |
Tagged: projector, DLP, CES 2014, CES, asus

And now, for a much different display.

This one has nothing to do with 4K or G-Sync. This is a relatively tiny DLP projector with a built-in rechargeable battery. It is designed to be portable and even connect to MHL-compliant tablets and smartphones. The enclosed battery is expected to last three hours on a single charge or, if using the phone has more need for power than the projector, it can charge your mobile device from its battery.

ASUS_S1 Mobile LED Projector_Top And Side View With Close Cap.jpg

The projector is capable of producing a 41-inch image with only 3 feet of throw distance. It also has an integrated speaker. The SBW-S1 Blu-Ray drive is a companion product to playback high-definition optical disks with the projector (and maybe other devices?). It includes a Xonar sound card and headphone amplifier although I am not sure the use case for a playing Blu-Rays on a 41-inch projector wearing headphones.

The S1 Projector has an MSRP of $319. No availability information yet. Also, no pricing or availability on the Blu-ray drive, either.

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Source: ASUS

ASUS ROG Poseidon Series Liquid Cooled Graphics Cards

Subject: Graphics Cards, Cases and Cooling | January 6, 2014 - 04:00 PM |
Tagged: water cooling, ROG, nvidia, gtx 780, gtx 770, CES 2014, CES, asus

In keeping with their tradition of pushing the innovation and performance boundaries through their ROG product line, ASUS today released NVIDIA-based 7-seried video cards featuring as part of their Poseidon series of liquid cooled products. ASUS released both a GTX 780 and GTX 770-based product with the hybrid Poseidon cooling solution.

ASUS_POSEIDON-GTX780-P-3GD5_a.jpg

Courtesy of ASUS

All Poseidon series graphics cards come with a hybrid cooling solution, using a combination of fan-based and water-based cooling to propel these cards to new performance heights. The card's GPU is cooled with the DirectCU H20 cooler with water pathed through the integrated barbs to the copper-based cooler. The water inlets are threaded, accepting G1/4" sized male fittings. The memory and VRM components are cooled by a massive dual-fan heat pipe, exhausting air through the rear panel port. Both cards feature the red and black ROG coloration with the Poseidon series name displayed prominently along the right front edge of the card.

ASUS_POSEIDON-GTX780-P-3GD5_b.jpg

Courtesy of ASUS

Both Poseidon series graphics cards, the ROG Poseidon GTX 770 and ROG Poseidon GTX 780, include ASUS' DIGI+ VRM and Super Allow Power power circuitry to ensure stability and component life under the most grueling conditions. When paired with the Poseidon cooling, the GPU ran 20% cooler and 3 times quieter than a comparable reference card with card operating temperatures 16 C lower than the same reference solution.

More after the break.

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

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Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: ASUS

ASUS ROG Front Base Dual-Bay Gaming Panel

Subject: Motherboards, Cases and Cooling | January 6, 2014 - 04:00 PM |
Tagged: ROG, front bay panel, CES 2014, CES, asus

The ASUS ROG Front Base Dual-Bay Gaming Panel is a multi-bay command center housing system ports and a 4 inch integrated display for all your gaming and system needs in an easy to access location.

ASUS_ROG_Front_Base_Dual-Bay_Gaming_Panel_3D_with_color_box.jpg

Courtesy of ASUS

As part of the ASUS ROG product line, the ROG Front Base Dual-Bay Gaming Panel integrates seamlessly with any of the ASUS Z87-based ROG Maximum VI motherboard offerings in addition to the Rampage IV Black Edition motherboard. The command panel includes support for sound configuration in conjunction with the ROG SupremeFX sound technology, as well as fan and overclocking configuration.

ASUS_ROG_Front_Base_Dual-Bay_Gaming_Panel_3D.jpg

Courtesy of ASUS

The ASUS ROG Front Base Dual-Bay Gaming Panel supports the following features:

  • Quick EQ Switch with five equalization modes
  • Integration with SupremeFX Audio board with included dual-line analog-audio front-panel cable
  • Overclocking and fan control through integrated display and control buttons
  • Temperature monitoring capabilities
  • USB fast charging with system powered off
  • Escape Mode button that automatically returns user to system desktop and mutes sound volume

More after the break.

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Source: ASUS

CES 2014: ASUS Unveils New Line of Android-Powered ZenFone Smartphones

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 6, 2014 - 03:20 PM |
Tagged: zenui, zenfone, smarphone, CES 2014, CES, atom z2580, asus, Android

ASUS has unveiled a new lineup of “ZenFone” smartphones. Available in four, five, and six-inch form factors, the smartphones run Google's Android operating system and are powered by Intel's Clover Trail+ Atom processors. The ZenFone lineup features colorful chassis options, large batteries, IPS touchscreen displays in various screen sizes, front and rear cameras with PixelMaster technology, and Android 4.3 (will receive 4.4) with ASUS' own customized user interface.

Specifically, ASUS is launching the ZenFone 4, ZenFone 5, and ZenFone 6 in four, five, and six-inch physical form factors.

ASUS ZenFone 4 Colors.jpg

The ZenFone 4 has a 4-inch 800x480 TFT touchscreen display, a VGA webcam, and a 5-megapixel rear camera. ASUS is offering the ZenFone 4 in five colors including Charcoal Black, Pearl White, Cherry Red, Sky Blue, and Solar Yellow. Note that the Solar Yellow and Sky Blue colors are exclusive to the smallest ZenFone.

Internally, the 4-inch ZenFone 4 is powered by a dual core (four threads with HyperThreading) Intel Atom Z2520 processor clocked at 1.2 GHz, 1GB RAM, up to 64GB of storage via microSD card, and a 1,170 mAh battery.

ASUS ZenFone 5 Android Smartphone.jpg

From there, the ZenFone 5 steps up the hardware specifications to a larger 5-inch IPS HD (1280x720) touchscreen, better front and rear cameras, and faster internal hardware. The ZenFone 5 comes with a 2MP front camera and a 8MP PixelMaster rear camera with image stabilization, a BSI (Backside Illumination) sensor, and a wide aperture F/2.0 lens. The touchscreen has PenTouch and GloveTouch technology, allowing users to use the touchscreen with a stylus or gloved hands. The phone comes in Charcoal Black, Pearl White, Cherry Red, and Campagne Gold.

Internally, the ZenFone 5 has a Intel Atom Z2580 clocked at 2 GHz (2 core, four thread), 1GB of RAM, up to 64GB of storage via microSD card, and a 2,050 mAh battery.

ZenFone 6_ Colors.png

Finally, the ZenFone 6 is the flagship device of the lineup. It is also the largest of the bunch, with a 6-inch 720p IPS display. It offers up a 2MP webcam, 13MP PixelMaster rear camera, and SonicMaster audio (which provides virtual surround sound over headphones). The phone is available in the same black, white, red, and gold colors as the ZenFone 5. It shares the same processor, memory, and storage of the ZenFone 5, but adds a beefier 3,230 mAh battery.

The full table of specifications is available below for further information.

  ZenFone 4 ZenFone 5 ZenFone 6
Display 4” WVGA 800 x 480-pixel TFT display
 
5” HD 1280 x 720-pixel IPS display
 
6" HD 1280 x 720-pixel IPS display
 
SoC Intel Atom Z2520 @ 1.2 GHz Intel Atom Z2580 @ 2.0 GHz Intel Atom Z2580 @ 2.0 GHz
RAM 1GB RAM 1GB RAM 1GB RAM
Storage Up to 64GB micro SD card Up to 64GB micro SD card Up to 64GB micro SD card
Radios GSM/GPRS/EDGE; WCDMA/HSPA+
DC-HSPA+ (DL/UL): 42/5.76 Mbps
Integrated 802.11b/g/n; Wi-Fi Direct
GSM/GPRS/EDGE; WCDMA/HSPA+
DC-HSPA+ (DL/UL): 42/5.76 Mbps
Integrated 802.11b/g/n; Wi-Fi Direct
GSM/GPRS/EDGE; WCDMA/HSPA+
DC-HSPA+ (DL/UL): 42/5.76 Mbps
Integrated 802.11b/g/n; Wi-Fi Direct
Battery 1170mAh 2050mAh 3230mAh
Cameras 5-megapixel rear camera
0.3-megapixel front camera
8-megapixel rear camera
2-megapixel front camera
13-megapixel rear camera
2-megapixel front camera
OS Android 4.3 (will update to Android 4.4 KitKat) Android 4.3 (will update to Android 4.4 KitKat) Android 4.3 (will update to Android 4.4 KitKat)
Dimensions 124.4 x 61.4 x 11.2-6.3mm 148.2 x 72.8 x 10.3-5.5mm 166.9 x 84.3 x 9.9-5.5mm
Weight 115g 144g 200g

Each of the phones comes with Android 4.3 and a custom ZenUI interface from ASUS. ZenUI provides visual tweaks as well as applications, including the Omlet Chat messaging application and a email app that supports threading messages. On the ZenFone 6, users can employ "Reader Mode" to reduce eye streain when purusing long documents or books.

In all, ASUS has an interesting lineup with its new ZenFone smartphones. In particular, the ASUS ZenFone 6 is neat looking phone (especially in red) with some powerful hardware. The bad news? Pricing and availability are still unknown, and as an Intel-powered smartphone it is highly unlikely to ever be offered in the US (just my luck).

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Asus

CES 2014: ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q (120+ Hz, G-Sync)

Subject: General Tech, Displays, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2014 - 03:18 PM |
Tagged: g-sync, CES 2014, CES, asus

Another G-Sync panel has been announced at CES. This one is not a standard 1080p panel, which is promising, rather a bump in resolution to WQHD 2560x1440 while still reaching "120+ Hz". It is still based on TN pixels but the resolution is different so at least that is progress. Perhaps we will see some IPS (or similar) displays later? Hopefully? I'm serious, I do not have inside information.

ASUS_ROG_SWIFT_PG278Q_LEFT.png

The SWIFT PG278Q is 27-inch with a narrow (6mm) bezel. The stand allows for tilt, swivel, height, and pivot adjustments which could be useful if you want to present portrait images or handle long documents. That said, I was really looking forward to pivot when I purchased my most recent monitor (last year) and eventually found that it was more convenient to use two documents side-by-side with Aero snap.

One feature that ASUS added to the panel was "GamePlus" which would probably not be the best to use in a LAN party. It enables custom crosshairs and timers on screen. I am sure that someone will interpret that as cheating (especially for games which disable crosshairs such as Battlefield 4 "hardcore"). They claim it is a practice tool, which I will accept, just use it in public at your own risk.

The monitor will be available in Q2 for $799 USD.

Press release after the break!

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: ASUS

Nvidia's renamed Tegra K1 SoC uses Denver and Kepler

Subject: General Tech | January 6, 2014 - 02:08 PM |
Tagged: tegra k1, tegra, SoC, nvidia, kepler, k1, cortex a15, CES, arm, A15

Project X Logan K1 is the first big news out of CES from NVIDIA and represents a bit of a change from what we were expecting.  The current belief was that the SoC would have four 28nm Cortex A15 processors but that will only be one flavour of K1, a Denver based dual core version will also be released.  Those ARMv8 64-bit processors will natively handle 64 bit applications while the A15 version that The Tech Report had taken pictures of will be limited to 32 bit applications, though that will not matter in many mobile applications.   You should also check out Ryan's deep dive into the new Denver and Kepler version here.

die.jpg

"In early 2011, during a CES press event, Nvidia revealed its Project Denver CPU initiative. On Sunday evening, at another CES press conference, the company provided a glimpse of the first Denver-based processor: the Tegra K1. This next-generation SoC features dual Denver CPU cores clocked at up to 2.5GHz. The cores were designed by Nvidia, and they're compatible with the 64-bit ARMv8 instruction set. They have a seven-way superscalar pipeline and a hefty 192KB of L1 cache."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

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Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

CES 2014: Digital Storm Bolt II SFF Steam Machine

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2014 - 12:00 PM |
Tagged: SteamOS, Digital Storm, CES 2014, CES

Another big expectation coming into CES, this year, was the announcement of Steam Machines. We have already seen a few announcements but most of those were just teasers of what is to come at the event. Unlike our fears with G-Sync, many of the products we have seen differ from one-another and attack specific niches. One attaches to the back of your TV while another is a pretty beefy system with a console price-tag.

Digital-Storm-Bolt-II.jpg

This one is another small form factor (SFF) machine that includes both SteamOS and Windows to access both libraries. The Digital Storm Bolt II goes after the high end with a factory-overclocked CPU and easily accessible (their claim, I cannot form an opinion without using it) graphics card, storage, optical drive, and cooling system. They do stress the cooling capabilities of their SFF design so it would seem that was their development priority.

I am somewhat confused about the default dual-install, however. Everything special about SteamOS will be ported to the Steam Client so the main advantage of leaving Windows would be to access Linux-exclusive games. That does not seem like much of a market at least for the moment. I expect that, unless Microsoft completely blows away their own foot, anything that comes out for SteamOS will also be released on Windows. I would expect this feature to come much further down the line. It is certainly not a bad thing, however, apart from a little recovered harddrive space.

Apparently the device will be available soon, this month, with an $1899 MSRP.

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Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

Once known as Logan, now known as K1

NVIDIA has bet big on Tegra.  Since the introduction of the SoC's first iteration, that much was clear.  With the industry push to mobile computing and the decreased importance of the classic PC design, developing and gaining traction with a mobile processor was not only an expansion of the company’s portfolio but a critical shift in the mindset of a graphics giant. 

The problem thus far is that while NVIDIA continues to enjoy success in the markets of workstation and consumer discrete graphics, the Tegra line of silicon-on-chip processors has faltered.  Design wins have been tough to come by. Other companies with feet already firmly planted on this side of the hardware fence continue to innovate and seal deals with customers.  Qualcomm is the dominant player for mobile processors with Samsung, MediaTek, and others all fighting for the same customers NVIDIA needs.  While press conferences and releases have been all smiles and sunshine since day one, the truth is that Tegra hasn’t grown at the rate NVIDIA had hoped.

Solid products based on NVIDIA Tegra processors have been released.  The first Google Nexus 7 used the Tegra 3 processor, and was considered the best Android tablet on the market by most, until it was succeeded by the 2013 iteration of the Nexus 7 this year.  Tegra 4 slipped backwards, though – the NVIDIA SHIELD mobile gaming device was the answer for a company eager to show the market they built compelling and relevant hardware.  It has only partially succeeded in that task.

denver2.jpg

With today’s announcement of the Tegra K1, previously known as Logan or Tegra 5, NVIDIA hopes to once again spark a fire under partners and developers, showing them that NVIDIA’s dominance in the graphics fields of the PC has clear benefits to the mobile segment as well.  During a meeting with NVIDIA about Tegra K1, Dan Vivoli, Senior VP of marketing and a 16 year employee, equated the release of the K1 to the original GeForce GPU.  That is a lofty ambition and puts of a lot pressure on the entire Tegra team, not to mention the K1 product itself, to live up to.

Tegra K1 Overview

What we previously knew as Logan or Tegra 5 (and actually it was called Tegra 5 until just a couple of days ago), is now being released as the Tegra K1.  The ‘K’ designation indicated the graphics architecture that powers the SoC, in this case Kepler.  Also, it’s the first one.  So, K1.

The processor of the Tegra K1 look very familiar and include four ARM Cortex-A15 “r3” cores and 2MB of L2 cache with a fifth A15 core used for lower power situations.  This 4+1 design is the same that was introduced with the Tegra 4 processor last year and allows NVIDIA to implement a style of “big.LITTLE” design that is unique.  Some slight modifications to the cores are included with Tegra K1 that improve performance and efficiency, but not by much – the main CPU is very similar to the Tegra 4.

NVIDIA also unveiled late last night that another version of the Tegra K1 that replaces the quad A15 cores with two of the company's custom designs Denver CPU cores.  Project Denver, announced in early 2011, is NVIDIA's attempt at building its own core design based on the ARMv8 64-bit ISA.  This puts this iteration of Tegra K1 on the same level as Apple's A7 and Qualcomm's Krait processors.  When these are finally available in the wild it will be incredibly intriguing to see how well NVIDIA's architects did in the first true CPU design from the GPU giant.

Continue reading about NVIDIA's new Tegra K1 SoC with Kepler-based graphics!

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