New Solar Cell Enhanced LCDs Could Improve Mobile Device Battery Life

Subject: Displays, Mobile | August 12, 2011 - 04:51 AM |
Tagged: solar cell, mobile, lcd, display

According to Ars Technica, researchers at UCLA announced on Tuesday a new LCD screen containing photovoltaic cells that promises to reduce back-light energy waste and improve battery life on mobile devices.

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My N900 eats up battery with an hour of Angry Birds, but can go for two days with the display off. Where's my happy medium? 

The researchers have placed what they are calling polarizing organic photovoltaics inside the LCDs in such a way that light that is normally filtered out and blocked in areas to create the displayed images can now be (mostly) recovered. While the process does not result in 100% reclamation of energy due to energy loss during the conversion process(es) and heat given off by the back-light, in a mobile device any amount of energy that can be recovered is desirable. Ars Technica states that up to 90% of a battery’s power is used to power the back-light of the display. Further, of that percentage, up to 75% is lost to the polarizing layers. By infusing the polarizing layer with photovoltaic cells and reclaiming as much of the otherwise wasted light as possible, battery life could be dramatically extended.

Mobile devices are getting beefier multi-core processors and graphics chips, numerous wireless radio connections (4G, WiFi, Bluetooth), and large power hungry displays; however, battery technology advancements have been rather stagnant and flat. As a result of this, having to make processors, displays, and other components as efficient as possible to make up the difference of battery technology not keeping up with other advancements, interesting tweaks like the photovoltaic infused displays become that much more important.

Whether this particular technology will catch on and work as well as they claim remains to be seen; however it is nonetheless an interesting experiment. More data on the researchers’ project will be published in the Advanced Materials journal in September 2011. What are your thoughts on the idea?

Source: Ars Technica

Just how awesome is the new Toshiba Qosmio?

Subject: Mobile | August 11, 2011 - 01:07 PM |
Tagged: toshiba, Qosmio, desktop replacement

The new Qosmio model is a serious laptop and a contender for anyone looking for a desktop replacement.  With a Core-i7-2635QM, 8GB of DDR3, a 1.5GB GTX 560M and two HDD, a 750GB 7,200 RPM for your OS and programs and a secondary 500GB 5,400 RPM for long term storage.  It also has a 1080p 17.3" 3D-ready LCD so you can watch your 3D Blu-ray copy of Avatar on the go.  You'll probably want to watch it while plugged into a wall wart, Tech Review Source found the battery pegged out at around the 2 hour mark.

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“The Toshiba Qosmio X775-3DV78 is a 17-inch laptop that has a 1080p full HD 3D display, a second-generation Intel quad-core CPU and 8GB of RAM. Along with USB 3.0, dual-hard drives and a Blu-ray player, users will find this laptop's performance to be very appealing.”

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Mobile

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Samsung

Introduction, Design and Ergonomics

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Courtesy of Samsung

Samsung's first product to make a splash into the Android tablet market was the original 7" Tab, and while its performance numbers were on par with other similar tablets produced in 2010, it left many consumers wanting more multimedia, gaming, and productivity features like what was available with Apple's iPad and iPad2. Many vendors, including Samsung, were dealing the same issues and challenges associated with the lack of tablet support in Android-based games and applications because Android's SDK only comes in one flavor for general mobile devices, not tablets with larger displays. 

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Courtesy of Samsung

After hearing feedback from consumers and hardware reviewers, Samsung completely redesigned the Tab 10.1 to accommodate users eager for enhanced video and gaming capabilities that take advantage of modern technologies like Android's latest Honeycomb OS and NVIDIA's Tegra 2 processor that support higher resolution displays beyond 1024x768 (the Tab 10.1's display runs at 1280x800). They also gave the Tab 10.1 a slimmer profile that is comparable to the iPad2. The Tab 10.1 can be purchased for around $499 for the 16GB version and $599 for the 32GB version, which is also on par with its Apple counterparts. We are reviewing the 16GB version to check out all the new features in Honeycomb and see what surprises Samsung included with the Tab 10.1 that justify the $500 price tag.

Continue reading our review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

This Two Will Passed – Episode 4 released of total 5…ish.

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | August 6, 2011 - 02:19 PM |
Tagged: tablet, sony, S2, S1

Want to rest your eyes from all of the Quakecon coverage? How about another Sony tablet ad? The first three parts of Sony’s S1 and S2 ad campaign are behind us with the conclusion of this five part series occurring in the fourth part. Frankly I do not really understand it either, but apparently the fifth ad will be a collection of the previous four making the fourth one the actual finale of a series of five. I guess that somewhat makes sense: what better way to promote the products’ collective slogan “Open Your Imagination” than blowing your mind? I say nothing.

This Two Will Passed… okay? Go play it.

The title of this video is “Together anywhere” and features an unsurprising amount of tracks for anyone who watched any or all of the preview videos. Besides metal rails, be sure to pay close attention to the setup prior to the couch station because you will drop bricks at the end of the video. This is also the first time that lyrics appear in the ads which put a very uplifting feel on the campaign. While not as metaphorical as the first two parts suggested, I believe they got their point across. Now all that is left to do is see if it will translate to sales.

Source: Sony

Intel Releases $700 Bill of Materials For Thinnest Ultrabooks

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | August 5, 2011 - 02:00 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook.asus, Intel

Digitimes reported today that Intel will be meeting with its Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) partners in Taipei next week to discuss the Bill of Materials (BOM) that outlines the components to be used in Intel's Ultrabook notebook class.  The goal of the meeting will be to tweak the Bill of Materials such that the initial selling price will be below $1,000 USD.

Intel has further broken up the Ultrabook category into two thickness classes of 18mm and 21mm.  The 18mm reference designs, of which Intel has rendered five, have thus far omitted any optical drives.  An example of the 18mm design can be seen in the upcoming Asus UX21 and UX31 ultrabooks.  The proposed Bill of Materials for the 18mm ultrabooks is between $493 and $710 USD while the 21mm ultrabooks BOM is between $475 and $650 USD. 

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Beyond the Bill of Materials, the site notes that Intel is further planning to release next generation ultrabooks based on 22nm Ivy Bridge processors in 2012 and 22nm Haswell CPUs in 2013.  These ultrabooks will come in sizes ranging from 11" to 17."  The 11" to 13" models will have a thickness of 18mm while the 14" to 17" models will be of the 21mm variety.

Apple Insider notes that the push from Intel to keep the cost of materials and initial selling price for its ultrabooks below $1,000 may be due to the $999 entry level Macbook selling so well and Intel's desire to provide a competitive product that can match the thin-ness of the Mac notebooks and is priced to sell.  Do you think Intel's ultrabooks will catch on with consumers, or will it be another niche and/or gimmick product?

Source: Digitimes

Acer Aspires for your notebook budget

Subject: Mobile | August 4, 2011 - 03:34 PM |
Tagged: Aspire TimelineX, acer

Acer's Aspire TimelineX series comes in three sizes, from a Core i3 powered 13.3" model with no optical drive to a Core i5 15.6" model which is the largest and most powerful of the three.  Hardware Secrets just reviewed the smallest member, the AS3830T-6417 which has a i3-2310M, 4GB of DDR3-1066, a 500GB HDD, HDMI out, two USB 2.0 ports and a single USB 3.0 port along with audio and card reader ports.  Apart from the annoyance of a very reflective screen, they peg this notebook as a decent investment at its MSRP of $650.

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"The TimelineX is Acer's name for ultra-thin laptops with simulated surround sound that promises over eight hours of battery life. TimelineX laptops can be found under Acer's TravelMate (TM) and Aspire (AS) series, with Core i3, Core i5 or Core i7 processors. There are two TimelineX series under the Aspire series, the "old" and the "new." The new Aspire TimelineX comes with a blue casing, instead of the gray and black casing that was used before, and second-generation Core i CPUs ("Sandy Bridge"). The AS3830T-6417 is part of this new series."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

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Qualcomm Commits To Gaming Market With Software and SoCs

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | August 3, 2011 - 01:21 PM |
Tagged: SoC, qualcomm, PC, mobile, gaming, console

Mobile gaming has seen a relatively sharp rise in popularity in recent years thanks to the rise of powerful smartphones and personal media players like the iPod Touch and its accompanying App Store.  Mobile networks, powerful System On A Chips (SoC) that are capable of 3D graphics, lighting, and physics, and a large catalog of easy to download and play games have created an environment where people actually want to play games on their mobile devices.  Many people now indulge themselves in quick Angry Birds sessions while in long lines, on work breaks, or wherever they have time when out and about.  

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One area where mobile devices have not caught on; however, is at home.  Mobile devices face stiff competition from game consoles and the PC.  That competition has not stopped numerous manufacturers from trying to implement an all-in-one mobile console that was portable and easy to plug into a larger display when at home.  Everything from cheap controllers with logic inside that allows them to play old arcade games to smart phones with HDMI outputs costing hundreds of dollars have passed through the hands of consumers; however, the mobile console has yet to overcome the sheer mind share of consumers who prefer dedicated game consoles and their PCs.

According to Anandtech, Qualcomm, a popular manufacturer of ARM SoC for smart phones has announced its plans to pursue that vision of an integrated, mobile console.  They claim that the increased power provided by next generation SoC technology will allow tablets and smartphones to deliver graphics that are better than those of current dedicated game consoles like the PS3 and Xbox 360.  Due to Sony and Microsoft wanting to extend the lives of consoles well into the future, mobile technology may well surpass it.  The company "is committed to delivering both the hardware and the software support needed to bring developers to these mobile platforms," according to Anandtech.

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Qualcomm wants to bring portable consoles to the masses powered by their SoCs and backed by their software.  The tablets and smartphones would be able to connect to displays using HDMI or wireless technology in addition to supporting controllers (or acting as a controller itself).  Further, the games library will be the culmination of software from all platforms and will rival the graphical prowess of the current consoles.  Qualcomm hopes that a large library and capable hardware will be enough to entice consumers to the idea of a portable console becoming their all-in-one gaming device.

Portable consoles are similar to tablets and 3D television in that there is a major push for it every few years, a few devices come out, and then it dies off to be reborn again a few years later.  Whether Qualcomm is able to pull off the plans for a portable console remains to be seen; however, the device is bound to catch on at some point.  At the very least, this is certainly not the last time we will hear about the portable console.  You can see more of Qualcomms plans here.

What do you believe is holding back the portable console from catching on with consumers?  Is it a good idea in the first place?

Source: Anandtech

A six pack of summer laptop suggestions

Subject: Mobile | July 29, 2011 - 11:40 AM |
Tagged: roundup

TechSpot sorted the mobile market into six seperate segments and then made suggestions as to what products are currently the best of their kind.  Each segment has several different models from which you can choose from as the mobile market is full of very close competitors and one person may favour a feature more than others.  From the gamer who is likely to be looking at Alienware to Brazos and Atom powered netbooks, the entire gamut is covered.  Even if only have $500 to spend, you are likely to find at least one model to tempt you.

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"After an initial hiccup at the beginning of the year which resulted in launch delays across the board, it's back to business as usual for Intel with another successful notebook platform powered by their second-generation Core processors. AMD responded to the threat with their first Fusion chips aimed at mainstream notebooks, the A-Series, but so far they've failed to make major inroads into the market the way they did at the entry level with the E- and C-Series APUs.

To help ease the hassle of going through countless notebook models getting released week in and week out, we've compiled a list of our favorite notebooks available right now and grouped them into six different categories: ultraportables, business & general purpose laptops, desktop replacements, gaming notebooks, budget laptops, and netbooks."

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Mobile

Source: TechSpot
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Design

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We’ve reviewed several gaming laptops here at PC Perspective, but strangely, we’ve usually reviewed systems with 15.6” displays or smaller. Although large by most any other measure, these laptops are actually small by the standards of gaming laptops. Many gamers prefer laptops with a display over 17 inches because the extra screen real estate results in a better gaming experience.

Today, however, we finally have a giant in our hands – the ASUS G74S. At first glance, this appears to be nothing more than a minor update to the original ASUS G73, adding Nvidia’s latest GTX 560M in replacement of the older GTX 460M.

Take a closer look, and it becomes apparent that laptop has been completely redesigned. While the lines of the chassis are similar, the cooling vents in the rear are larger and in different locations. A new strip of gray plastic covers the display hinge, and the optical drive has been moved further forward. All of this communicates a new internal configuration that could make or break this laptop.

Keep reading our review of the new ASUS G74 notebook!

Sony: Lighthearted and Colorful Ads for Tablets

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | July 28, 2011 - 02:12 AM |
Tagged: sony, S2, S1

So part one and part two of Sony’s “Two Will” campaign went off to advertise the upcoming launch of the S1 and S2 Honeycomb tablets over the last couple months with promise of three more on the way. Recently Sony made good on that promise and posted the third last “Two Will” video to Youtube and this one was substantially different from the ones before it. Titled “Filled with fun”, this one has much less of a dark and bleak atmosphere trading the harsh shadowing with light and color.

I don't think it's legal to romance a tablet; well, maybe in Japan.

While rails still play an important role, there is much less emphasis on impressing you with perfectly timed plungers pressing the touchscreen as it zips past. Instead, “Filled with fun” passed by various stations which symbolize the various roles of the tablet: music, movie consumption, literature consumption, and games. There is also a strong emphasis on portability and love in the themes of each of their videos.

Why do you think Sony keeps referencing love in these videos? What is the significance of the couch just before the domino “to be continued”? (Registration not required to comment.)

Source: Sony