Panasonic Launches Ruggedized ToughPad A1 and B1 Tablets

Subject: Mobile | January 10, 2012 - 11:52 PM |
Tagged: toughpad, tablet, ruggedized, Panasonic, mobile, CES, Android

Panasonic dropped a new tablet on us at CES. Literally, they dropped the tablet on stage to show just how tough their new ruggedized ToughPad really is. The A1 and B1 ToughPad tablets are Android powered 10" and 7" tablets rated to be dust and water resistant. Both tablets are MIL-STD-810G and IP65 rated and ready to perform in very extreme work environments.

Toughpad_A1.jpg

The ToughPad A1 is Panasonic's 10" Android tablet and brings some decent hardware to bear. On the outside, the ruggedized exterior and rubberized edges absorb shock and keep dust and water out. The front of the tablet includes a 10" multi-touch display with a resolution of 1024 x 768 and 500 nit brightness. The touchscreen can be used by either finger gestures or an included digitizer. Further, the front of the tablet houses a 2 megapixel front camera as well as microphone, ambient light, accelerometer, and digital compass sensors. The tablet internals include a 1.2 GHz Marvell dual core processor, 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal memory, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR, and optional 3G or 4G modems. A lithium Ion battery rated at 7.4 volts, 4690 mAh is also nestled inside. A microSDHC card slot, micro USB 2.0, and micro-HDMI connector as well as a stylus holder are also present. The device runs Android 3.2 and supports TPM chips and hardware encryption. It weighs 2.1 pounds (the price of going rugged, I suppose) and has an MSRP of $1200 USD.

tech_7inch.png

The B1 model is the 7" version and will be available in the fall. Exact specifications on this model are not yet known; however, expect it to follow closely in line with it's bigger sibling's dual core processor, 1 GB of RAM, ruggedized exterior, and hefty price tag.

Unfortunately, all I can think about when looking at this tablet is how the heck Panasonic expects to sell this for $1200 bucks. This is definitely not a consumer tablet and moreso something businesses will invest in for workers in harsh (to electronics anyway) environments.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

CES 2012: Razer's Project Fiona -- PC Gaming tablet PC tablet

Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 10, 2012 - 08:24 PM |
Tagged: razer, CES 2012, CES

If you believe our title to be awkward, please glance downward a little at the concept image. While I do not want to lash on Razer for trying something that no-one has it must be said that aesthetically the concept must be altered. Hardcore PC Gamers are a unique breed, but I expect that even the most bold of gamers would be shy at holding this around in public. Now that we are past the design, let us look at what Razer claims in terms of expected hardware.

razer-fiona.jpg

It looks like Razer is fitting a bit into Booth Category One.

Razer is being very careful about giving out too many specific details due to the concept nature of the device, but they suggested that they aim for the following:

  • Intel Core i7
  • 10.1” 1280x800 display
  • Full Screen interface supporting multi-touch “hybrid” for PC Gaming.
  • 3-axis gyro, magnetometer, accelerometer
  • Force feedback
  • Dolby 7.1 surround sound
  • Wifi b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0

You should notice a lack of information about the expected video card but the screen resolution paired with the CPU choice should slightly indicate their intent.

What do you think? What changes, if any, would you request before you hand over your wallet?

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

Source: RazerZone

CES 2012: MSI GUS II External Thunderbolt Graphics Upgrade System

Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 10, 2012 - 07:41 PM |
Tagged: CES, thunderbolt, msi, gus ii, gus, external graphics

While wandering around the MSI suite at The Venetian today I came across a very interesting new device.  The GUS II is an external discrete graphics card dock that connects to a notebook PC (or small-form factor, etc) via a Thunderbolt connection. 

gus5.jpg

Thunderbolt is a somewhat new interface that extends the PCI Express bus outside of the machine allowing for performance as high as 10 Gb/s per channel in its full implementation.  Current Intel implementations that ship with the Macbook Air and likely included in the first batch of Thunderbolt-capable Ultrabooks are built around Eagle Ridge that offers two bi-directional channels.  Still, even with a 10 Gb/s rating, we are seeing more than enough bandwidth for a discrete graphics card.

gus1.jpg

You can see that device obviously won't fit your new Radeon HD 7970 3GB in there but the GUS II will support cards with as much as 150 watts of power consumption via the included external power brick.  75 watts of power is supplied by the internal PEG slot while the internal 6-pin ATX power connector supplies another 75 watts.

gus4.jpg

MSI was running an HD 5770 inside the GUS II on a MacBook Pro running Windows 7.  Unigine Heaven was playing on the graphics card outputs and it was definitely running at speeds and quality settings that the GPU in the Macbook would not have been able to.

gus2.jpg

MSI mentioned they were hopeful the price would be in the $150 range which is actually quite a good surprise considering they are going to be including the Thunderbolt cable in the box - an accessory that is notoriously expensive today. 

gus3.jpg

All that is holding up the GUS II from release at this point is compatibility and driver support from AMD and NVIDIA.  Because you are essentially adding in another PCI Express graphics card to system that might only have been prepared and QA'd for a single one, there are some issues to work out.  Even with the hardware in a basically complete state, there is no time table for release though hopefully we can get this pushed into the mainstream soon.

Thunderbolt might finally bring us the dockable and upgradeable graphics we have always envisioned for notebooks.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

Hands-on with Samsung's New Series 9 Ultrabook

Subject: Mobile | January 10, 2012 - 05:44 PM |
Tagged:

samsungseries9-1.jpg

Samsung is no stranger to high-end, luxurious laptops. We saw the first Samsung Series 9 at last CES, and even then it was extremely thin and light. Now the company, embracing the incoming wave of ultrabooks, has revised the Series 9 and introduced a new Series 5 ultrabook along side it.

I was not a fan of the original Series 9. Though it was very thin, light and fairly well built, it did not feel as luxurious as its high pricing suggested. This new Series 9, however, does far more to strike my fancy. Like the out-going version, this laptop makes heavy use of a brushed metallic finish to achieve an industrial, durable but still luxurious appearance. 

samsungseries9-2.jpg
 

While I still find the overall design of the laptop to be a bit cold (a surgeon’s scalpel is the first comparison that comes to mind), those who with a grudge against gloss will love what Samsung is offering.

The display offers a standard resolution of 1600x900 and appeared to be matte on all the floor models I saw. Despite this, image quality appeared good and brightness was high. There’s still not the same “pop” that you find in the very best glossy LCDs, but it’s close. Also notable is the display bezel, which is extremely thin. This reduces the overall size of the laptop.

samsungseries9-3.jpg

Speaking of size, the Series 9 will be available in both 13” and 15” models. Go for the smaller of the two and you’ll only have to carry around 2.5 pounds of weight and deal with about a half-inch of thickness. The 15” weighs 3.5 pounds. Though I did not get the chance to handle the larger model, I expect that it won’t feel much heavier because the extra weight will be spread across a larger chassis.

As for the hardware, well – it’s typical for a high-end ultrabook. You’ll find Core i5 low-voltage processors to be standard along with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB solid state drive. Pricing starts at $1399. Samsung is boasting that the SSD allows for a boot time of just under 10 seconds. I tested this using one of the floor models and found that the system booted to Windows login in 10.5 seconds. That's close enough for me - and much quicker than your average laptop.

Though I’m personally more excited about the HP Spectre, the Samsung Series 9 will no doubt prove to be a tough competitor. Since the two offer similar hardware and an identical starting price, the battle between them will all come down to design – the flash of the glass-clad Spectre against the more traditional brushed metal of the Series 9.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

Source: Samsung

ASUS Transformer Prime and its faithful companion core

Subject: Mobile | January 10, 2012 - 01:58 PM |
Tagged: eee pad, transformer prime, asus, tegra 3

The Tech Report just wrapped up a review of the ever popular EeePad Transformer Prime, the tablet with a keyboard for a dock.  This particular model is updated with the 5-core Tegra 3 processor, which means faster performance and the presence of the ultra-low power GeForce GPU that NVIDIA has been so secretive about.  There were more improvements than simple processing power, a SuperIPS+ mode which makes the screen bright enough to easily read in direct sunlight and more consistent colour reproduction.  The improvements seem to come with a cost as the battery life is less than the previous models although not prohibitively so.  Check out the good and the bad of the first Tegra 3 powered device on the market.

TR_eeemoney.jpg

"With an updated Tegra 3 processor and a sleek new design, the Transformer Prime may be the hottest tablet around. We take a closer look to see if Asus has created another compelling iPad alternative."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

Mobile

 

Video Perspective: ASUS MeMO 701 and ASUS Transformer Prime TF700T Hands on!

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 10, 2012 - 04:15 AM |
Tagged: CES, transformer prime, tf700t, memo, asus

Matt already posted up a pictorial look at the new ASUS Eee Pad MeMO 701 but I wanted to share a video demonstration we made while visiting the ASUS suite.  Enjoy!

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

HP Envy 14 Spectre Offers Glass Design, We Go Hands-on

Subject: Mobile | January 10, 2012 - 01:42 AM |
Tagged: ultrabook, hp, envy, CES

hpspectre14-2.jpg

It’s raining ultrabooks at CES. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult for any individual manufacturer to stand out from the crowd. There was one that caught our eye, however – the HP Envy 14 Spectre.

We’ll go in to the specifications in a moment because they’re not what separate the Spectre from the crowd. It’s the design that commands attention. Instead of using an aluminum lid like most competitors HP decided to use lightweight black glass. This instantly distinguishes the laptop from anything else on the market. While most ultrabooks look like MacBook Air clones, the Spectre is unique at first glance.

hpspectre14-1.jpg

UPDATE: We have a video walkthrough of the new HP Envy 14 Spectre Ultrabook for you!

You’d think scratches would be a concern, but the scratch-resistant glass used on the lid appears reasonably tough. In fact, it will likely prove more durable than plastic (which tends to scratch) or aluminum (which tends to dent). The only unavoidable issue will be smudging. The floor model had more than a few fingerprints on it. 

Once opened, the Envy 14 reveals a more conventional silver metallic (the palmrest is glass-covered, but remains a metallic silver color) interior similar to the rest of the Envy line. A Beats Audio analog volume knob (along with Beats Audio speakers) ties it in with the new Envy 15 and 17. 

hpspectre14-4.jpg

Although just 20mm (.78) thin, the Envy 14 Spectre seems to offer keyboard feel on par with its larger and thicker cousins without sacrificing the backlight. There’s also a ton of palmrest space and a large touchpad. Multi-touch gestures are among the smoothest available on a Windows laptop. Perhaps the only downside is weight. At 3.79 pounds, it is noticeably heavier than most competitors. While this contributes to the laptop’s luxurious feel it could reduce the convenience of on-the-go use.

HP plans to ship the Envy 14 with Core i5 and i7 low-voltage processors, 4GB or 8GB of RAM, and 128GB or 256GB solid state hard drives. A 1600x900 display will be standard. Also included is an NFC chip that will allow for short-range wireless sharing. It’s not a stretch to speculate it could also eventually work with the wireless payment features Intel showed during this morning’s ultrabook conference.

hpspectre14-3.jpg

Battery life is projected to be 9 hours, and while this will no doubt end up being generous, it’s far better than the 6 hour estimates given by most competitors. Battery size may be the reason for the extra weight.

The Envy 14 Spectre will be on sale in February or March at an introductory price of $1399. That’s a lot of money, but initial impressions suggest that laptop is worth the price of admission. Quality is quite possibly better than the MacBook Air. If the display and performance proves to be as good as promised this pricey laptop could be a hit.  

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

Source: HP

Fujitsu Launches New Arrows Line Of Tablets and Smartphones

Subject: Mobile | January 10, 2012 - 01:39 AM |
Tagged: tablet, smarphone, Japan, fujitsu, CES

Fujitsu showed off a new line of tablet and smartphones at this year's CES 2012. Known as the ARROWS series, the devices are thin, lightweight, run Android 2.3, and more interestingly are waterproof. Currently, the ARROWS series consists of the ES IS12F smartphone and Arrows tablet.

ES IS12F Arrows Phone.jpg

The Arrows ES IS12F smartphone is an Android 2.3 device measuring 64 x 127 x 6.7mm, and weights 105 grams. The phone features a 4 inch AMOLED touchscreen display with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels and a 1.4 GHz Qualcomm MSM8655 Snapdragon processor. Further, the smartphone includes a 5.11 megapixel camera with CMOS sensor, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. The software includes the ability to transfer data between the phone and computer using a Wi-Fi network. Corning Gorilla Glass and being water resistance are also features. The water resistance falls under the IPX5/8 designation, which means that the phone is able to function up to a depth of 1.5 meters in tap water for 30 minutes and/or sprayed with water from a nozzle "with a diameter of 6.3mm at a rate of 12.5 liters per minute from a distance of 3 meters for 3 minutes." The smartphone is currently available in Japan in glossy black or red colors. More specifically, the phones will be available in Japan starting January 7th from KDDI Corporation and Okinawa Cellular Telephone Company.

Arrows Tablet.jpg

Meanwhile, the Arrows tablet is a 10" Android machine that the company is currently selling in Japan and is "definitely working" with US suppliers to bring it to the United States. This tablet is waterproof just like their Arrows smartphone, and both Tom's Hardware and Tekzilla noted that it was fully functional after being submerged in a fish tank. Further, the Arrows tablet is powered by a 1 GHz (likely Qualcomm Snapdragon) dual core processor, 16 GB of memory, the Android 3.2 operating system, and a 10" screen with 1280 x 800 resolution. Tom's notes that, while it is not going to overthrow the iPad it is lightweight and a solid performer. Depending on price, it could sell quite well in the states. Unfortunately, there is no word yet on pricing or when it will be available in the US. Tekzilla managed to catch a video of the tablet being submerged, which you can see below.

Waterproofing is a useful feature for sure if you are prone to bad luck like me, but more importantly will be pricing. If these devices are priced right they could certainly sell well but they will need to be priced very competitively to catch on.
 

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

Source: Fujitsu

NVIDIA Shows Tegra DirectTouch and $249 ASUS Tegra 3 Tablet

Subject: Mobile | January 10, 2012 - 12:26 AM |
Tagged: tegra 3, tablet, nvidia, mobile, CES

nvidiaces1.jpg

Much of today’s NVIDIA CES conference focused on small milestones, including the implementation of apps and new app features. The company showed multiplayer LAN gaming, easy access to your PC’s desktop via an app called Splashtop, and highlighted the NVIDIA Tegra Zone curated gaming app store. All of this is interesting – but not new 

nvidiaces2.jpg

There were a couple tricks up the green team’s sleeves, however. One is a new feature for use with Tegra 3 processors called DirectTouch. This allows the fifth low-power hardware core on Tegra 3 to act as a touchscreen controller. Usually an independent piece of hardware performs this task, and it’s much slower than the low-power Tegra 3 core. As a result, touchscreen sampling speed can be increased by up to three times – allegedly resulting in a smoother touch experience. We’ve yet to see how it pans out in execution, but the idea is promising.

Another interesting piece of tech that will be made available by Tegra 3 is called PRISM. It attempts to compensate for the image fidelity reduction that occurs when a mobile device is used with its display at a low brightness setting.

Availability for both of these features is not yet clear. 

The remaining big announcements came via ASUS. First was the decision to release Ice Cream Sandwich on the Prime today, January 9th.  As of the time of this writing it should be available for download via the built-in OS update functionality of Honeycomb. 

nvidiaces3.jpg

Second was an ASUS 7” tablet featuring ICS, Tegra 3 and a low $249 price point. Oddly, the tablet was not named at the conference, but it appears to be the ASUS Eee Pad MeMO 370T. To clarify earlier information, the MeMO 171 is the version with a Qualcomm processor, stylus and cellular networking support, while the MeMO 370T offers Tegra 3.

The reasons for being excited about a $249 Tegra 3 tablet are obvious. That’s the same as a Nook Color and not much more than a Kindle Fire – both of which run far older versions of Android (Gingerbread) and use older dual-core OMAP processors.

Last, and unfortunately least, was a demonstration of Windows 8 on a Tegra 3 reference platform. While Microsoft’s new OS looks very sleek on the device, nothing new was announced, nor were new features introduced. It seems we’ll have to wait awhile longer to see products pairing Tegra 3 and Windows 8.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

Nokia Lumia 900 With LTE Modem Becomes Official At CES

Subject: Mobile | January 9, 2012 - 10:23 PM |
Tagged: WP7, windows phone 7, nokia ace, nokia, lumia n900, CES

We reported earlier on the rumored Nokia Lumia 900 (aka Nokia Ace) Windows Phone 7 smart phone. We said that it would basically be the Nokia Lumia 800 only a bit bigger and featuring a LTE modem. The Nokia Lumia 900 is now official and the speculation seems to be correct.

The new smart phone made it debut today at a Nokia CES 2012 press conference. An AT&T exclusive, the phone features a cyan blue polycarbonate shell, 4.3" AMOLED screen with 800 x 480 resolution, 1.4 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 512 MB of RAM, 8 Megapixel rear camera with Carl Zeiss optics (stated 28mm, f/2.2) and dual LED flash, front facing camera, LTE 4G modem, and a rather spacious 1840mAH battery. Sporting the Windows Phone 7 operating system, the phone has a rated seven hours of talk time and 300 hours of standby time.

nokia-lumia-900-official-109.jpg

It will be available in either cyan or black colors in the US within the next few months and bound to the AT&T network with "aggressive" pricing. Nokia stated in their conference that it has been working closely with Qualcomm to ensure solid performance on AT&T's LTE network. SIM-free and carrier unlocked phones will also be available; however, it is not clear whether users in the US will be able to purchase them (or if they would need to be imported). Ballmer stated plainly that the "Lumia 900 is a very exciting launch," and that AT&T is critical to the WP7 future.  More information on the Nokia Lumia 900 can be found here.

A sexy device it is, but personally I've been burned once by Nokia's other (N)900, so I think I'll stick with Android for the time being.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

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

Source: Engadget