The Tech News Blog

January 11, 2012

LG’s Super Ultrabook Surprise

LG Ultrabook Z330

LAS VEGAS – LG Electronics may be better known for its smartphones and televisions, but the Korean manufacturer also has a computer division, and it has announced at CES that it is coming out with two new ultrabooks of its own, the 13-inch Z330 and the 14-inch Z430. But LG doesn't stop there. Intent on standing out among the dozen other recently announced thin laptops, LG has expanded the name to "Super Ultrabook" so named for "boasting vastly superior features above and beyond Intel's Ultrabook requirements." Just how super are these new models?

The LG Z330 Super Ultrabook is a 13-inch laptop, measuring less than 0.6-inch at the thickest point, and weighing 2.66 pounds. The metallic cover sports a "gyro-brush line" finish that appears to be similar to the radial spin finish seen on the Asus Zenbook UX31. Crammed into that 0.57 by 12.4 by 8.45 inches (HWD) chassis is a 13.3-inch display, boasting 1366-by-768 resolution. The Z330 will be offered with a selection of Intel 2nd Generation (Sandy Bridge) Core i3, i5, or i7 processors, paired with 4GB RAM and choice of 128GB or 256GB solid-state drive (SSD). LG is also including its own Speed Boot Technology, which claims boot times of 10 seconds, half that of Intel's own RapidBoot technology.

January 11, 2012

T-Mobile Announces Samsung Galaxy Blaze 4G

T-Mobile Announces Samsung Galaxy Blaze 4G

LAS VEGAS – T-Mobile and Samsung have announced at CES the Galaxy Blaze 4G, a slab smartphone with a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 processor and HSPA+ 42 data speeds.

We're big fans of HSPA+ 42; even if it's not "next-generation 4G" in a technical sense the way LTE is, real-world speeds tend to match up nicely in both cases, even if LTE is still faster in ideal conditions. Both are blazing fast as far as we're concerned.

T-Mobile is also referring to the Snapdragon S3 as "dual CPUs" now, as in a pair of CPUs. That's marketing-speak. It's a single CPU with two cores, just like you find in every other recent high-end smartphone. The S3 should prove fast, though, which is all that really matters. It's already in existing devices like the current Samsung Galaxy S II on T-Mobile, as well as the HTC Rezound on Verizon Wireless and HTC Vivid on AT&T.

January 11, 2012

Report: Dell Planning Consumer Tablet for Late 2012 Launch

dell consumer tablet 2012

Despite all the innovative products emerging from this week's tech conflab in Las Vegas, one of the biggest pieces of news may be that Dell has finally decided to toss its hat into consumer tablet ring.

Details of the upcoming product were revealed during an interview with Dell's chief commercial officer Steve Felice who said, "You will see us enter this market in a bigger way toward the end of the year."

Acknowledging the difficulty many companies have faced with regards to offering an iPad hardware competitor that can also offer a robust software and content support system, Felice said, "When you are talking about the tablet or the smartphone, people are interested in the overall environment its operating in… As we have matured in this, we are spending a lot more time in the overall ecosystem."

January 11, 2012

General Electric Launches New Cameras

General Electric X600

LAS VEGAS—General Electric has used CES as a launch pad for its newest batch of digital cameras. The company, better known for its light bulbs and washing machines, has been marketing digital cameras for the past five years. The latest batch includes a superzoom with an advanced Aptina A-Pix CMOS sensor as well as an entry-level shooter that can be yours for only $70.

The company's top end superzoom lineup, the Power Pro series, is bolstered by the addition of two new cameras. The X550, the successor to the X500, is a 16-megapixel camera with a 15x (27-405mm f/3-5.2 equivalent) zoom lens. The camera, available in black and white finishes, sports an eye-level electronic viewfinder and optical image stabilization, features that aren't often found in a camera priced at $149.99.

January 11, 2012

LTE, iPhones on T-Mobile’s Horizon?

LAS VEGAS—T-Mobile is back, and it's better than ever. The wireless carrier's "break-up fee" with AT&T will help it boost the speed and power of its network, and there might even be an iPhone on the horizon. I talked to T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray, and he was all smiles.

"We're back. We believe we can offer a combination of a great network, great devices, and great value to the U.S. consumer," he said.

T-Mobile's deal with AT&T has three benefits. There's $3 billion in cash, which Ray didn't want to talk about. There's AWS spectrum in various markets nationwide, which matches up well with T-Mobile's existing spectrum. There's also a 3G roaming agreement with AT&T, although Ray cautioned that the roaming agreement hasn't been fully hammered out and won't be nationwide. Most likely, it'll just improve T-Mobile's rural coverage somewhat.

January 11, 2012

Intel-Powered Phones to Ship from Motorola, Lenovo

Paul Otellini IDF

After promising for years that the company would enter the smartphone market, Intel has apparently done so. Chief executive Paul Otellini said at a CES keynote that Intel has signed Lenovo and Motorola to contracts to use its Atom processors in smartphones.

Intel chief executive Paul Otellini and Liu Jun, a senior vice president of Lenovo, showed off the K800, an Atom powered smartphone that will debut on China Unicom during the second quarter.

Sanjay Jha, the chief executive of Motorola, also appeared on stage to announce a multi-year, multi-device partnership for Atom-powered phones that will kick off this summer.

Intel also highlighted its latest third-party ultrabooks, which are powered by its latest processor technology.

It's part of what Otellini called "a transformation that is at the intersection of technology and consumer lifestyles," Otellini said at the Consumer Electronics Show here.

January 10, 2012

Broadcom Offers a Peek at Rip-Roaring 5G Wi-Fi Chips

Broadcom 5G Chips

If you thought the rollout of 4G networks was exciting, wait until you get a load of 5G. Broadcom and other companies are readying next-generation 802.11ac chips based on fifth-generation Wi-Fi technology and the hardware should be turning up in home networking systems this year, with 5G smartphones and tablets likely to follow in 2013.

Broadcom's private showcase at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is chock-full of cool technology, from the latest in near-field communications (NFC) to smart TVs, but perhaps the slickest of all is the company's first family of 802.11ac chips.

"The exponential growth of digital media and wirelessly connected devices requires faster and more reliable ways to connect anytime, anywhere," said Michael Hurlston, senior vice president of Broadcom's Mobile & Wireless Group. "5G WiFi solves this media explosion challenge. Broadcom's vast footprint in consumer electronics devices uniquely positions us to lead the transition to the next generation of Wi-Fi."

January 10, 2012

Dell Ultrabook Features Backlit Keyboard, Smart Connect

Dell XPS 13 open

Coming late to the ultrabook party (announcing during CES and shipping at the end of February), Dell is relying on elegant design and corporate compatibility to sell its XPS 13, which will start at $999 with an Intel Core i3 processor and 128GB solid-state drive. Core i5 and i7 and 256GB SSD configurations will be available too.

The elegance includes a CNC machined aluminum display back bonded to the 13.3-inch LCD, which in turn is bonded to an edge-to-edge Corning Gorilla Glass cover for less flex and more durability.

A carbon fiber base that's lightweight and cool to the (lap) touch is set inside the aluminum frame, while the palm rest is a magnesium alloy covered in soft-touch paint. The design makes the 3-pound ultrabook a few millimeters smaller than its rivals at 8.1 by 12.4 by 0.7 inches—Dell calls it a 13-inch display in a 12-inch form factor, with a comparable viewing area to the 13-inch Apple MacBook Air in 15 percent less volume.

January 10, 2012

Sony Unveils Crystal LED HDTVs at CES

Sony Unveils Crystal LED HDTVs at CES

Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer has used CES to push 3D HDTVs for years, but at this year's CES show, he showed off something new: Crystal LED HDTVs. The new self-emitting crystal LED technology is similar to OLED in that it doesn't require a backlight, but the technology is entirely new. The prototype on the show floor uses 6 million LEDs mounted on the front of the display, providing a wider color gamut and faster response times.

PCMag was able to view a crystal LED prototype on the show floor, albeit from a polite 7-foot distance. The screen did seem brighter and sharper than the traditional LED sets on display. Plus, Sony says its response time is more than 10 times that of traditional LCDs. We watched HD video scroll by with no tearing or distortions. Sony says the color gamut is 1.4 times wider than traditional LCDs, although this was hard to detect on the prototype.

January 10, 2012

Samsung Announces Set-Top “Boxless” Viewing in All 2012 Smart TVs

LAS VEGAS – Today at the 2012 International CES, DIRECTV and Samsung Electronics Co, Ltd. unveiled their plans to offer DIRECTV's more than 19.7 million customers the ability to watch live broadcast and stored content from a compatible DIRECTV DVR on Samsung's 2012 line of Smart TVs without the need for additional set-top boxes. This newly enabled feature will also provide the same seamless user experience and replicate the full User Interface (UI) of a DIRECTV DVR set-top box. Installers and homeowners alike will benefit from the ability to mount the TV without having to worry about locating an additional set-top box.

As founding members of the RVU Alliance, Samsung and DIRECTV are committed to providing a more seamless entertainment experience for consumers across multiple rooms and a variety of screens through the use of standardized Remote User Interface (RUI) technology. Samsung and DIRECTV previously announced the launch of the first RVU-enabled Televisions models at the 2011 CES, with DIRECTV launching its first RVU-capable DVR in late 2011.

This year, Samsung will embed the RVU protocol in its entire line of Smart TVs and underscores the company's ongoing commitment to deliver to consumers high-quality, visually enhanced and connected entertainment experiences in their home. Based on industry standards such as DLNA and UPnP, RVU allows a set-top box server to provide a complete, multi-room viewing experience that includes DVR services across all the connected TVs in the home through a single set-top box.