LAS VEGAS – Computers gone wild! That was the theme at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Years of boring desktop computers and predictable laptops got the most dramatic makeover from big and small-name manufacturers. The biggest engineering change was the use of smaller processors found in smart phones. If you think Netbooks were cool in 2009, then feast upon these innovative designs:
-Lenovo turned heads with the most impressive smart design in every kind of computer. HP and Dell should pay attention to the Chinese-once-IBM computer maker which is fusing the best designer minds from North America and China. Unquestionably, the IdeaPad U1 Hybrid Notebook is unique in that it is two computers-in-one. In its clamshell mode it runs off an Intel Core2 Duo chip and Windows 7 Premium and keyboard. But when the screen is detached from its transparent outer shell, it becomes an ultra light slate running on a smaller Qualcomm ARM Snapdragon processor (used in smart phones) and switches to Lenovo’s new Skylight interface. In slate mode it runs on Linux but looks and feels like Windows. It has its own second set of batteries and can synchronize its files with the base unit when connected again. The high-resolution 11.6” LED backlight display, 16:9 widescreen with integrated wec cam is two-finger multi-touch in either mode. It 1.7kg in notebook mode and only 750 grams in slate mode. Very cool.
Lenovo’s Ultra portable Skylight smart book, is also powered by efficient cell processors most of us have never heard of. It runs on a Lenovo user interface on Linux, although you wouldn’t know it when using it. One battery charge gives you 11 hours on the go. It has WiFi and always – connected cellular 3G. It basically bridges what has been missing between smart phones and Netbooks.
The Lenovo IdeaCenter A300 desktop is the first serious contender to iMacs. It features the thinnest all-in-one desktop 21.5″ screen and the computer guts are built in the swivel base. The optimized boot and shutdown process, rich multimedia capabilities including a face tracking web cam and HDMI in and out and easy system maintenance tools. With up to Intel® Core™2 Duo processors, the A300 comes with wireless Bluetooth keyboard and as well as the Lenovo Rescue System software to quickly and easily recover data if a document is lost or becomes corrupt.
-HP’s (and Dell’s) comeback attempt to re-introduce the now eight-year old Tablet PC got a boost when shown as the only new device by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer during his keynote address at CES. Too bad it wasn’t the much awaited and rumored Microsoft Courier Tablet PC. But neither “slate” will be
around nor will pre-empt Apple’s soon-to-be anounced tablet. Industry observers called the hastily assembled Windows-based Slates an attempt to head off Apple’s expected announcement of its first tablet.If you check Apples’ screen touch patents over the past two years, which go past traditional multi-finger touch to body and hand gesturing, you can imagine how advanced their Tablet will be, likely to be announced at a media gathering called by Apple on January 27.
-The most impressive eReader comes from springdesign.com and is ahead of its time. Called the Alex, it sports a 6-inch Electronic Paper Display and a fully functional 3.5-inch 320×480 LCD touch screen which can be turned off/on separately. This means WiFi Internet connectivity, web browsing, music and video to accompany the monochrome book screen. The ingeniously designed eReader also features built-in stereo speakers and will be available in February for $350 US. It includes 2GB or external microSD memory and headphones.