Smartphones and tablets top galaxy of gizmos

SMARTPHONES and tablets dominated the start of the Consumer Electronics Show in Los Angeles, with traditional PC companies and rising smartphone powers showing off some of their best ideas for the first half of 2012.

The Windows Phone crowd probably stole the show with Nokia’s Lumia 900 and HTC’s Titan II, but Android vendors were out in force on a big day for mobile announcements. Here are a few highlights:

* Nokia: An early candidate for the most prominent phone introduced at CES, Nokia’s Lumia 900 smartphone, a Windows Phone with LTE (long-term evolution technology) support.

* HTC: The struggling Android vendor introduced the Titan II, a Windows Phone device for AT&T’s LTE network that also comes with a 16-megapixel camera.

* Samsung: The Galaxy Nexus LTE phone will be joined by the Galaxy Note this year, when the company will find out if people really want a device that’s not quite a smartphone and not quite a tablet. It runs on fast fourth-generation (4G) networks, is touted by some followers as a “phablet” as its 5.3-inch display and powerful dual- core processor makes it work as both a tablet computer and smartphone. And Samsung remains committed to the Galaxy Tab, launching a 7.7-inch version of the Android tablet for Verizon’s LTE network.

* LG: The LG (SEO: 066570) Viper is a phone which is apparently “eco-friendly” because it uses an extremely efficient charger and is made from 35% recycled plastics. They also announced a variety of LED-based TVs with bezels (rim casing) under 5mm in width for a nearly all-picture look, as well as a 55-inch OLED TV.

* Huawei: It launched what the company called “the thinnest smartphone”. It’s an Android 4.0 device that measures just under 7mm thick.

* Apple: There were no iPhones announced at CES.

* OLPC: Announced the XO 3.0 tablet, a tablet for the world’s poorest children.

* SolarFocus: Kindle ereader case provides 50 hours of onboard reading light, powered by a solar panel on the front of the case.

* 3M Touch Systems: A multi-user, widescreen touch table, allows for an impressive maximum 60 touch points and up to four split screens.

Some of the many Android-focused devices making waves at CES 2012 were:

* Lenovo TV: The Lenovo connected TV has attracted a lot of publicity. This 55-inch behemoth is an Android-powered smart television from a company perhaps not usually associated with Android so much. The K91 smart TV will run Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0), features an in-built camera for face recognition. As well as regular TV programming, this device promises voice command, cloud access and, of course, plenty of Google TV apps. More than just TV, Lenovo is also dropping a slim, modular 10-inch dual-core tablet and a hardcore NVIDIA Tegra 3-equipped device, perfect for gaming.

* Fujitsu: Its Arrows tablet doesn’t really look like anything too special at first glance, with its moderate specs and performance. But it does boast one major advantage over its fellow tabs: it can be dunked under water.

* Toshiba: Toshiba’s second Android tablet, the 10.1-inch Toshiba Excite X10 is a sleek Android slate with enough ports to please anyone, and is currently the thinnest tablet in town.

The ultra-slim 3-inch tablet has created a very favourable impression, both compared to its predecessor and as a device all its own.

* Excite X10: The Excite X10 packs a micro-SD, micro USB, and micro HDMI port, unlike the relatively portless iPad.

The tablet runs Android Honeycomb now, but has an upgrade to the slick new Android 4.0 in the cards for some time by the end of Q1, following its release. The X10 also features dual cameras: a 5MP back-facing camera, and a 2MP cam up front for video chat and self portraits.

Eye-catching technology gets closer

SWEDISH firm Tobii Technology showed new eye-tracking technology that allows users to scroll, play and navigate using their eyes and without touching a mouse.

As you sit in front of the laptop, a row of two synced infrared sensors located under the screen scan your eyes at about 30 to 40 times per second, examining the size and angle of your pupil, the glint in each eye and the distance between you and the laptop. Together, the sensors create a stereoscopic 3D image of your eye for the computer to examine. Tobii’s technology calculates precisely which part of the screen you are looking at. It can even tell when you look away or close your eyes.

When you look at an item, it highlights itself and comes to the forefront. With a map, it can tell exactly which area you are looking at.

TV viewers to live in a cloud where minds channel hop

HAIER’S ‘Cloud Living’ points to the future of the home.

The world’s leading white goods manufacturer offers an impressive TV range featuring innovations to radically improve consumers’ visual experience.

For many years, the role of the TV has evolved, with it moving from being an entertainment terminal to a connected platform that delivers a wide range of services. The latest Haier TVs take that progress a step further, delivering a ‘cloud living’ TV that acts as a hub, receiving and transmitting information directly to and from other terminals such as mobile phones and computers. Furthermore, TVs equipped with cloud technology will be able to act as a remote to control washing machines, PCs, and other household appliances.

Another innovation on display at CES 2012 is Haier’s no frame TV which enhances the user’s visual enjoyment by taking the picture beyond the frame to deliver an impressive TV experience for both 2D and 3D viewing.

Haier’s glass-free 3D TV removes the need for wearing 3D glasses, and in a further development, Haier is showcasing its newly upgraded mind wave technology.

This revolutionises the interaction between viewer and TV by giving users the power to control the TV — from changing channels to volume level — with their mind.

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