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A Walk around CES – Part 2

14th February 2012

More “goodies” at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show

This article is a followup to Part 1 in which I describe a few of the photographic items that attracted my attention as I was scouring the venues of the Consumer Electronics Show. In this Part 2 article, I’ll show you some of the other items that I found interesting at this year’s record breaking CES.

I’m a geek at heart. And since I like touching, feeling and learning about devices and gadgets that perform some kind of magic, the miles of aisles taking up some 1.8 million square feet of exhibit space -are a playground for me. Apparently there are a few others that feel the same way; attendance at the show was north of 150,000.

My reporting covers both technology and photography. This year the Photographic Marketing Association chose to co-locate their annual convention at the Consumer Electronics Show. Since most of the major photo equipment manufacturers already exhibit at CES, it makes sense for the PMA to join forces. Having CES and PMA exhibitors at a single event makes it very convenient for reporters such as myself.

The CES management makes it easy for its exhibitors to get global press coverage by inviting hundreds of media reps to the show. As you can see here, the Press Room was teeming with throngs of reporters filing their articles.

 

OK, here goes Part 2 of the time spent at the Consumer Electronics Show.


Intel, the premier maker of microprocessors, is revving up the market for its ultrabook push. Intel supplies the chips that many computer manufacturers use to build their hardware.

When asked to define an ultrabook, one of the Intel reps described one as a thin and lightweight notebook with a long battery life which starts up (boots) very quickly. To save weight and conserve battery life, most of the ultrabooks have smaller screens (13″ to 15″) and use solid state had drives but without an optical (CD, DVD or BlueRay) drive. All of the new ultrabooks use Intel 2nd generation “Sandy Bridge” core processors.


a new Samsung ultrabook


a Toshiba ultrabook

To those of you familiar with Apple’s offering, the ultrabook most likely took its cue from the MacBook Air. In all, there were eight different manufacturers showing their own variations of the ultrabook at CES. Go here to find more information about Intel-based ultrabooks.

Another feature that will soon start appearing is dubbed WiDi – for wireless display. This new technology couples a computer to a monitor through a high speed wireless connection. At the Intel stand, a notebook computer was sending its display to a huge 52″ Samsung HD television with builit-in WiDi with no apparent delay. I found this to be pretty slick.


I was really intrigued by the Replicator. It sounds like it might be a creature from a monster movie, but it is in fact a 3D printer. A what? What’s a 3D printer?


The Replicator is a printer that spits out a plastic substance according to a pattern to create 3D objects.


Here’s a model car made by the Replicator. Note the intricate detail.


Michael Curry is holding one of the spools of plastic which are fed into the Replicator.


Here’s another very sophisticated model that was manufactured by the Replicator.

MakerBot Industries makes the Replicator. They have hundreds of free templates for making all sorts of models. Price is about $1800. O’Reilly Media features the MakerBot in a recent issue of Make Magazine in which it shows you how to make your own MakerBot.

For more information contact MakerBot Industries.


The AR.Drone 2.0 is another neat gizmo. Designed in France by Parrot, it’s a high tech hovering aircraft.


AR.Drone 2.0 is a slick remote controlled, battery powered helicopter-like aircraft. You control the AR.Drone with an iPhone. What’s unique about this craft is that it can take 720 HD, gyroscopically-damped videos. BTW, it’s fully repairable – parts are available online.


Here, representtive Vanessa Loury is showing me a video taken above Paris with the AR.Drone 2.0. The price about $300.

To see some of the sample videos and more information, go to ardrone.com.


One of our companies has been involved with flight simulation for many years, so I made it over to Microsoft to see a demo of their soon to be released Flight product.


Flight starts you on the Big Island of Hawaii flying the Stearman biplane and ICON 5 sportplane. Here’s a virtual pilot approaching the airport for a landing.


The starter set will be free. Shortly, thereafter Microsoft will release reasonably priced aircraft, scenery and adventures to make Flight even more challenging.
Microsoft Flight will be available February 29 at Microsoft Games.

Another phrase that we’ve been hearing a lot about is “the cloud“. Basically, the cloud is a generic name for a secure, remote storage and data backup facility that gives you access to any of the data using various devices (e.g. computer, cell phone, tablet, etc.).

Microsoft’s entry for the cloud is called SkyDrive. Sign up for SkyDrive and you’ll receive FREE, a generous 25GB of storage.

You can backup or store files, documents and photos on SkyDrive. You can choose to share these items with others or keep them private.

Microsoft Office users can work collaboratively with SkyDrive. OneNote users can access files remotely with various mobile and desktop devices.

One limitation is that any file must be less than 100MB in size which rules out many videos.

To sign up for a free SkyDrive account from Microsoft, please go to SkyDrive.


As you can tell from both Part 1 and Part 2 of my walk around CES, I enjoyed peeking at a bunch of the new electronic gadgets that are lining up to meet the marketplace.

As far as the CES in concerned these many years, I’ve adhered to the James Taylor song “Never grow old and never die young”. I hope to report on it again in 2013.

 

Written by Arnie Lee

 


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