CES 2015: Audi & LG Partner on Smartwatch Running webOS

Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2015 - 03:26 AM |
Tagged: smartwatch, LG, ces 2015, CES, audi

There is a unique smartwatch at CES this year, which unfolds to become a camera quadcopter. I guess surprisingly, for some people, a selfie stick is not offbeat enough. And that's fine, more power to them.

lg-audi-watch-webos-13m.jpg

Image Credit: Android Central

There is also a second, unique smart watch at CES this year because it does not run Android (or iOS). The unnamed device, which is a collaboration between LG and Audi, is powered by webOS. In case you missed it, LG has licensed webOS from HP for use in its smart TVs. The operating system is open source under the permissive Apache license.

When Android Central was playing around with the watch, they noticed the listing of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 SoC (MSM8626). The 8626 is a quad-core, ARM Cortex A7-based processor (up to 1.2 GHz) with a Qualcomm Adreno 305 GPU. This is a fair amount of power for a smartwatch, although core count and frequency could be reduced for battery life.

With Mobile World Congress coming up in February (update Jan 9th @ 11:30am: sorry for the mistake... it's the first week of March), we might see more details soon.

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CES 2015: MediaTek MT2601 Low-Power SoC for Wearables

Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2015 - 08:04 PM |
Tagged: smartwatch, mt2601, mediatek, ces 2015, CES

When you start getting into the wearables market, even mobile SoCs can be somewhat big and power-hungry. As such, we are seeing more innovation in processors that satisfy these lower classes (which could just be us paying more attention). The MediaTek MT2601 is one such device, which combines a pair of ARM Cortex-A7 cores (1.2 GHz) with an ARM Mali 400MP GPU (intended frequency unknown) on a package PCB that is less than 480mm2. (Edit @ 9:48PM -- they seem to mean the SoC and other chips, like the Bluetooth module)

mediatek.jpg

MediaTek's release does not list fab nodes, but PDAdb.net claims that it is designed for 28nm.

Of course, these chips are designed to be low cost, low power, and whatever performance can be squeezed out of those two requirements, so it might not be the most interesting SoC that we can talk about. Still, battery life has been a major hindrance to smart watches and other small, niche devices. It will be interesting to see new-generation devices that use these components.

Heck, if I had more time, I might even want to hack around with these directly.

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CES 2015: Dell XPS 13 Notebook is Slim, Sleek and Nearly Bezel-less

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2015 - 01:00 PM |
Tagged: XPS 13, dell, ces 2015, CES, broadwell-u, Broadwell

Honestly, it takes something pretty special to get us excited about a laptop in today's market. Sure, the MSI GT80 Titan was able to do it but it required a full-travel Cherry MX Brown keyboard to do it! The new Dell XPS 13 was able to as well, but for a very different reason.

xps13-1.jpg

This laptop takes up the physical space of a standard 11-in laptop but is able to showcase a 13-in screen with incredibly minuscule 5.7mm bezels. That screen will be available in both 3200x1800 (WQHD+) and 1920x1080 (with a matte finish) resolutions, the lower of which will have models starting at the $1299 price tag. The higher resolution screen options will reach as high as $1699 with SSD capacity of 512GB. The system is powered by Intel Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 processors using the new Broadwell-U architecture so you are absolutely not sacrificing any performance for the sake of the form factor.

I still have to get my hands on several other notebooks that have upgraded chassis designs for Broadwell-U, but for now, the Dell XPS 13 is easily the most impressive candidate at CES.

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CES 2015: Dell Venue 8 7000 8-in Atom Tablet

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2015 - 01:00 PM |
Tagged: z3580, video, venue 8 7000, Intel, dell, ces 2015, CES, atom

Dell's Venue 8 7000-series Android tablet has been previewed for some time with my first hands on coming at the Intel Developer Forum this past September. The specifications are pretty straight forward.

venue-2.jpg

  • Intel Atom Z3580 Quad-Core processor (Burst clock of 2.33 GHz)
  • 2GB of LP-DDR3
  • 16GB of on board storage (expandable to 64GB via SD)
  • 8.4-in 2560x1600 OLED screen
  • Up to 8 hours of battery life
  • Android 4.4.4
  • Intel RealSense 3D Camera

venue-1.jpg

But the appeal of the tablet is in the beauty of the design. The screen resolution makes images and text crisp and clear and the bezel is incredibly small, giving the appearance of an edge-to-edge screen design. It weighs less than 11 oz (305g) and is 6mm thick.

The Venue 8 7000 will be shipping today (and is already showing up for sale at some retailers) for $399. We are working with Dell to get a sample unit of this engineering showcase.

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CES 2015: ASUS Transformer Book Chi Series - T300, T100, and T90 2-in-1 Convertibles

Subject: Mobile | January 5, 2015 - 03:48 PM |
Tagged: windows, transformer book, T90, T300, T100, Chi, ces 2015, CES, asus, 2-in-1

ASUS has announced their new lineup of Transformer Book Chi 2-in-1 Windows notebooks, and the new flagship model will feature an Intel Core M processor and up to WQHD resolution.

ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi.jpg

The T300 Chi is a 12.5” 2-in-1 with the option of either 1920x1080 or 2560x1440 displays, and this model is powered by an Intel Core M processor.  ASUS has also moved to an all-new, all-aluminum design for these new detachable tablet/notebook computers, which allows them to be extremely thin.

ASUS Transformer Book T100 Chi_back.jpg

The T100 Chi is a smaller 10.1” design with a modest Intel Atom SoC, but it still offers a 1920x1200 (WUXGA) screen resolution. The T100 has the distinction of being “the world’s thinnest Windows tablet at an incredible 7.2mm” according to ASUS.

Rounding out the lineup we have the T90 Chi, which is an 8.9” Atom-powered 2-in-1 with a 1280x800 display.

ASUS Transformer Book T90 Chi.png

The Transformer Book Chi T300 will start at $799 for WQHD version, $699 for FHD version. The  T100 will start at $399, while the Chi T90 starts at $299. No specific word on availability yet.

Full specs from ASUS on the Transformer Book product site.

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Source: ASUS

CES 2015: ASUS Announces Flagship ZenFone 2 Smartphone with Android 5.0

Subject: Mobile | January 5, 2015 - 03:02 PM |
Tagged: ZenFone 2, zenfone, smartphone, lollipop, ces 2015, CES, asus, Android 5.0, Android

ASUS has announced the all-new ZenFone 2 (model ZE551ML, if you prefer), their 5.5-inch flagship smartphone in the ZenFone family.

ASUS ZenFone 2.png

The ZenFone 2 has a new ergonomic design that tapers to a slim 3.9mm at the edges, and the front is dominated by a 5.5-inch full HD IPS display (1080x1920) with 403-ppi pixel density and a 178-degree viewing angle. (Does this sound familiar, Apple iPhone 6 Plus?) The ZenFone 2 also features 13MP rear and 5MP front “PixelMaster” cameras, and is powered by a quad-core 64-bit Intel Atom processor with 4GB RAM, and 4G/LTE connectivity from the Intel SoC.

Brand New ZenUI.jpg

Specs are useless without an interface, and ASUS is using the latest version of Android, 5.0 “Lollipop”. This is not “stock” android, however, as ASUS is using a new version of their ZenUI, which they claim is “the world’s first fully-customizable interface”. The phone is bundled with Trend Micro security software as well (ah, bundled software) and gets its juice from a large 3000mAh battery with fast-charging technology (which I personally find indispensable with my Nexus 6).

ASUS ZenFone 2 colors.png

Available in all of these phone-tastic colors

The screen is protected by the industry-standard Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which has an anti-fingerprint coating to reduce friction. One odd design feature is the position of the volume control, which is on the middle of the phone's back (just under the rear camera).

The ZenFone 2 will start at $199 USD (I would assume this is a contract price), but no specific word on availability yet.

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Source: ASUS

CES 2015: Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga Is Broadwell Powered and Available In New Sizes

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 5, 2015 - 03:00 PM |
Tagged: CES, thinkpad yoga, Thinkpad, tablet, Lenovo, ces 2015, broadwell-u

Yesterday, Lenovo rolled out updates to its entire line of ThinkPad laptops, and today Lenovo is unveiling an update to its business-focused ThinkPad Yoga tablet. The update brings a hardware refresh to the 14-inch ThinkPad Yoga while also adding new 12-inch and 15-inch convertibles.

The new ThinkPad Yoga builds upon last year's model, maintaining the look and feel but updating the internal hardware. It now spans from a 12-inch 3.3 pound tablet to a 15-inch 5.07 pound convertible with enough space for a numerical pad. All models are less than an inch thick, with the 12" being the thinnest at 0.7".

Thinkpad YOGA 12_1.jpg

ThinkPad Yoga 12

Display resolution options are capped at 1920 x 1080 across all models, but they are IPS panels with touchscreens.

The multi-mode devices feature a backlit ThinkPad keyboard (1.8mm travel) with track point, a trackpad with physical buttons, a 720p webcam (optional 3D camera on the 15-inch model), stereo speakers (2x 1.5W JBL on 15-inch tablet), and digitizer or Active Pen support.

Port options include two USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, one HDMI, and a card reader. A Mini HDMI port is used on the smallest ThinkPad Yoga.

ThinkPad YOGA 14_4.jpg

ThinkPad Yoga 14

Lenovo has chosen Broadwell-U to power its business tablets, and you will be able to get up to a Core i7 processor. All models have access to the Intel HD Graphics, and the 14-inch and 15-inch tablets can be configured with dedicated graphics from NVIDIA. The 12-inch and 14-inch ThinkPad Yogas can be equipped with up to 8GB DDR3L while the Yoga 15 can accommodate 12GB and 16GB configurations. Storage options include mechanical, SSHD, and SSDs with storage topping out at 1TB for spinning platter and 512GB for solid state drives (not available on the Yoga 12). Other connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11 b/g/n or 802.11ac Wi-Fi (depending on the Wi-Fi+BT combo card), and a 1x NGFF slot.

The ThinkPad Yoga tablets will ship with Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 Pro with an optional Windows 7 Pro downgrade available.

ThinkPad YOGA 15_4.jpg

ThinkPad Yoga 15

The new ThinkPad Yoga will be available in February with starting prices at $999 for the Yoga 12, $1,199 for the Yoga 14 and Yoga 15.

The new Yoga 14 has a slight $50 premium over the starting price of last year's ThinkPad Yoga 14, but the new Yoga 12 comes in much cheaper and the larger Yoga 15 can be had for the same price as the new 14-inch model. Many of the popular features are staying the same, including the Lift 'n Lock keyboard, but you are also getting the latest CPU and GPU technology so in all it is likely worth it. Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more information on these machines as we get closer to the launch date.

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Source: Lenovo

CES 2015: Lenovo Launches Broadwell-Powered 11" and 14" Yoga 3 Tablets Running Windows 8.1

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 5, 2015 - 03:00 PM |
Tagged: CES, yoga 3, yoga, Windows 8.1, nvidia, core m, ces 2015, broadwell-u, Broadwell

Last year, Lenovo showed off the flagship Yoga 3 Pro with a watchband hinge. Now, Lenovo is using CES to officially launch the non pro Yoga 3. The Yoga 3 will be available in 11-inch and 14-inch models running Windows 8.1 and Intel's latest mobile processors.

The Yoga 3 11" comes in at 2.4lbs and 0.6" thick while the Yoga 3 14" weighs 3.5lbs and 0.7" thick. Both variants use the traditional dual hinge design which supports all the usual modes (laptop, tent, stand, and tablet). Notably, the watchband hinge has been reserved for the Pro variant. You will be able to pick up a Yoga 3 in either white or orange with either a 11.6" or 14" 1920 x 1080 resolution touchscreen IPS displays. Audio is handled by two 1.5W JBL speakers (Waves Audio certification) and is complemented by a 720p webcam for videoconferencing.

YOGA 3 11_2.jpg

The Lenovo Yoga 3 11-inch is a nice update over the Yoga 2.

Connectivity includes two USB 3.0 ports, one DC-in/USB 2.0 port, a SD card reader, micro-HDMI output, and an audio combo jack.

The Yoga 3 is powered by either an Intel Core M processor (11-Inch) or a 5th Generation Core i5 or i7 (Broadwell-U) processor (14-Inch) along with up to 8GB DDR3L memory, Intel HD graphics (and optional NVIDIA graphics on the 14-Inch Yoga 3), and 128GB or 256GB SSD or 500GB+8GB flash SSHD storage options. The 11-inch Yoga 3 is fitted with a 34Whr battery while the 14-inch tablet gets a larger 44Whr battery. Both models support Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

YOGA 3 14_2.jpg

The Lenovo Yoga 3 14-inch has a dedicated graphics option from NVIDIA.

Aside from the higher resolution display options, watchband hinge, and a sliver of thin-ness, you aren't missing out on much with the Yoga 3. The 11-inch and 14-inch are notable updates over the Yoga 2 line and look to be good little machines. In particular, the 14-inch Yoga 3 with NVIDIA graphics and up to a Broadwell-U Core i7 is quite the powerhouse for a convertible!

The Yoga 3 will be available in March starting at $799 for the 11-inch and $979 for the 14-inch respectively. I am looking forward to seeing the reviews on these! 

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Source: Lenovo

CES 2015: Lenovo Launches 8-Inch Yoga Tablet 2 Windows Tablet With AnyPen Technology

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 5, 2015 - 03:00 PM |
Tagged: CES, yoga tablet 2, Intel, ces 2015, atom, anypen, android 4.4.4

Back in October of last year, Lenovo launched several new eight and ten inch Android and Windows tablets under the Yoga Tablet 2 line. Today, Lenovo is adding another 8-inch tablet to that lineup with the differentiating factor being new "AnyPen" technology that allows you to use any pencil or regular pen for input, no need to use a special stylus. In fact, so long as it is conductive, you can use it as an input device!

Beyond the new touchscreen, the basic design and hardware configuration has not really changed with this new Yoga Tablet 2. You are looking at a 8.3" x 5.9" x 0.1" tablet with Lenovo's signature tubular side handle/battery holder/stand that weighs less than one pound. An 8-inch full HD display with 10-point multi-touch two speakers (Dolby Audio, Wolfson Master Hi-FI) and a 1.6MP webcam adorn the front while an 8MP rear camera (with auto-focus) sits on the underside of the device.

Internally, the Yoga Tablet 2 with AnyPen uses an Intel Atom Z3745 clocked at 1.86 GHz, 2GB RAM, and 32GB of internal storage. A large 6,400mAh battery provides ample battery life. Radios include Bluetooth 4.0, dual band 802.11n Wi-Fi, GPS, and LTE. It runs Android 4.4 KitKat.

The AnyPen technology which frees you from those moments of horror when you realize you've lost the stylus is what makes this tablet stand out. It will be available later this month for $299.

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Source: Lenovo

CES 2015: Limited Edition Vibe X2 Pro Launched Alongside Wearable Vibe Band VB10

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 5, 2015 - 03:00 PM |
Tagged: vibe x2 pro, vibe x, vibe band, smartphone, qualcomm 600, Lenovo, ces 2015, CES, android l

Alongside the onslaught of new notebooks and tablets, Lenovo is launching a limited edition Vibe X2 Pro smartphone and a new wearable accessory called the Vibe Band VB10. As an added bonus, Lenovo is also showing off a new "Selfie Flash" VIBE Xtension that will work with the Vibe X2.

The Lenovo VIBE X2 Pro is an amped up, limited edition, version of the VIBE X2 that debuted a few months ago. The X2 Pro takes the layered aesthetic further by moving to a larger (but thinner) full metal body with unique color options. It features a 5.3" 1920 x 1080 resolution display, dual 13MP cameras (with support for the Selfie Flash accessory), Android Lollipop support, and tweaked internals. The phone measures 146.3 x 71 x 6.95mm and weighs 140g. The Pro version features champagne gold, electric blue and rock pink color options compared to the white, champagne gold, and red colors of the non-pro Vibe X2.

VIBE X2 Pro 5.jpg

Internally, Lenovo has opted for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 SoC which is a 64-bit octo core processor clocked at 1.5 GHz and a Adreno 405 GPU. Qualcomm specs the CPU portion as being two ARM Cortex A53 quad cores clocked at up to 1.7 GHz and 1.0 GHz respectively. The SoC is paired with 2GB of internal memory and 32GB flash storage (no microSD expansion). The phone is powered by a embedded 2,410 mAh Li-Polymer battery. Connectivity includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 LE, LTE cellular radio, analog audio output, micro USB, and dual nano SIM slots. Sensors include A-GPS, gravitation, proximity, light, and e-compass.

The phone will run the company's VIBE UI 2.0 on top of Google's Android Lollipop operating system.

In all, the Vibe X2 Pro has a larger display, better camera, bigger battery, new colors, a metal body, and different CPU/GPU.

The limited edition VIBE X2 Pro will be available in China and Europe (specific countries will be announced at a later date) for $499 starting in April 2015. Notably, this smartphone will not be available in the US.

VB10_Family.png

The VIBE Band VB10 is a wearable watchband accessory that pairs with the Vibe X2 (and also supports iOS devices). A metal bond and rubberized strap host a curved E-Ink display (230ppi) along with a battery that can reportedly power the Bluetooth radio and constantly powered-on display for seven days. The Vibe Band can display messages and notifications, be used to accept or reject phone calls, act as a warning if go out of range of your phone, and collect data (steps, calories, distance, and sleep) for a fitness app that can graph your performance and set personalized goals.

The wearable weighs about 30 grams and runs Android 4.4. Further, the VB10 is IPX7 rated as being waterproof up to 1 meter for 30 minutes. 

The Vibe Band VB10 will be available in April (China and Europe) for $89.

Finally, Lenovo showed off a new Vibe Xtension called the Selfie Flash. The Selfie Flash plugs into the audio out of the Vibe X2 and X2 Pro to illuminate self portraits in low light environments. The circular add-on is synchronized to the Vibe X2's shutter and a ring of eight LEDs cast diffused light over a one meter distance according to Lenovo. It is rated at 100 selfies per charge.

The new selfie-enhancing Vibe Xtension will be available in April for $29 in markets where X2 and X2 Pro smartphones are sold.

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Source: Lenovo