Article first published as CES 2012 Day 2 - Even More from the Highlight Reel on Blogcritics.]
Here we go folks! As promised, I’m back for another day of the sweet Las Vegas goodness that is CES 2012. Yesterday the stuff I highlighted was a block of ultrabooks and a couple of high-end televisions. Today we’ve got more of a variety of things to look at for the highlight reel. One’s a gaming laptop by the same people that brought you a gaming tablet. I’ve also got a phone, a tablet, a non-announcement, and a couple things that are just outright cool.
Razer Blade Gaming Laptop
We’ll start with Razer. One of the units I’ve been teased by for months has been their Razer Blade gaming laptop. I imagine playing World of Warcraft on it would be phenomenal. Yesterday we looked at their gaming tablet, Project Fiona, but today there’s more information about the Razer Blade, which holds a little more true to the traditional laptop form factor. A little. Instead of a funky tablet, the Razer Blade is a 17” gaming laptop with a ton of enhancements over just having a screen, keyboard and trackpad. The unit has a mini web browser and what they call the Switchblade UI, which has 10 programmable macro keys above an LCD that has 2 modes – ultra-sensitive touchpad or an additional screen that shows game info. It’s a great little tool if you need to see a minimap playing an RTS, or picking off enemies with headshots in your favorite FPS. And at 0.88” thin, gives you some portability too. Unfortunately it’ll set you back a pretty penny, at $2,799, but come on look at the damn thing! It may be a little high for the dual core Intel i7 and nVidia GeForce GT 555M, so ask yourself if the SwitchBlade UI is worth the extra bucks before you go after this one.
Lumus See-Through Wearable Display
Reason #2376 I wish I was at CES is the Lumus see-through wearable display. It’s the type of thing where I would have someone take a video of me getting a hands on tryout, and post it to YouTube regardless of how ridiculous I look. Using a Light-guide Optical Element, a micro display pod and an Optical Engine for projection, this wearable display shines imagery at your eyes using a series of reflectors in the lenses. All these things together make up 720p, 3D-capable eyewear that weighs just a shade less than 1 ounce. Engadget has a good hands-on video that you can take a look at. The best part of the system is that you can still see what’s in front of you while you’re watching your movies – that way you can watch your cat videos on YouTube without running into a wall. There’s also a lighter monocle version that can be fit over one eye. Maybe for safety during movement? Maybe to be lightweight? Please, let’s be real, after seeing the monocle all you’re really thinking about is Vegeta’s “Over 9000!!!!!??” from DragonBall Z and planning your next cosplay idea. Damn you, Kakorot!
Intel + Android + Lenovo = the K800 Phone
Intel announced that phones were going to start packing their “Medfield” Atom chip, and more specifically in the near future, partnering with Lenovo with the K800 – the first announced phone that brings Intel and Android together. Of course, this won’t be in the United States, but still, Intel is finally getting into the phone game and going up against ARM architecture processor. The phone itself has what I’d call decent features – it has all the basics like WiFi, Bluetooth and 1GB of memory. The weird part is that the internal storage space is limited to 500MB. But the 4.5” 720p multitouch TFT might be enough to get over that. The Medfield inside runs at 1.6GHz, giving us (well, giving China) an Android-powered device that will eventually be running Ice Cream Sandwich (currently their LenovoMagic UI) on an x86 architecture. That’s pretty significant, especially when you think of the ramifications. By having this particular Intel x86 architecture, WiDi is also a feature on this device. WiDi, as in Wireless Display, is a feature available on laptops running Intel’s i-series of processors, which allows you to throw whatever image is on your laptop onto a HDTV through a HDMI-connected wireless receiver. Maybe it’s more of a novelty on a phone for now, but I can see some uses for it, like sharing pictures at home or presentations at the office. At any rate, Intel + Android in handheld feels like it was a long time coming, especially when ChromeBooks run Atom processors.
5.1"? 21:9 Aspect Ratio? Is this a Tablet?
Next, the useless. We’ve seen tablets and laptop-tablet convertibles at 7, 10, and 13 inches. But if you’re looking for a smaller tablet you can look at Toshiba’s new prototype. A 5.1 inch screen and a 21:9 aspect ratio. I mean I guess it’s kind of the same concept as the iPod Touch, but much like that device I find it more or less useless. Personally I have an Android smartphone, what the hell would I need a 5.1” Android tablet for that has an awkward aspect ratio? And with smartphones, Android or Apple, being damn near everywhere, I don’t see this prototype going very far.
OLPC's XO 3
Just because we’re looking at a show that’s chock full of digital toys, that doesn’t mean that there can’t be any kind of devices there made in the name of altruism. This one was brought to us by OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) in the form of the XO 3 in conjunction with semiconductor Marvell. OLPC is an organization that works to provide low-cost, low power, connected laptops. Enter their XO 3, which has a hand crank as well as a solar charging lid, and allows children to be able to play and learn on a rugged rubberized unit. The tablet itself runs on SugarOS but can run Android. Thinking about the design it’s more cost effective to produce, since there’s no keyboard localization needed. One-model production can let the XO 3 be sent to more locations, with just a few software update pushes for localization.
Seriously people, NO PS4 THIS YEAR!!
Sometimes what isn’t there is as important as what is there at one of these shows. And what wasn’t there (and what won’t be) is game consoles. For a while now, there has been speculation that 2012 was going to be the year for Microsoft and Sony to announce their next consoles, the Xbox 720 (I guess?) and the PlayStation 4. I’m really not sure why. Why would there be an announcement on these products when both MS and Sony are making huge efforts and inking deals to add more functionality to the Xbox360 and the PlayStation 3? Well, it turns out my skepticism was right. When asked today, Sony’s Kaz Hirai confirmed that NO, there will be no PlayStation 4 reveal at CES 2012, and not to expect anything for this year’s E3 either. This was the same sentiment as Andy House, the head of Sony’s video game division. “I’ve always said a 10-year life cycle for PS3, and there is no reason to go away from that.”
That wraps it up for me for highlighting everything I second-hand saw for CES Day 2. The show continues tomorrow, and I’ll be back again to show you even more shinies.