CES 2013 Notes #1

Updated with Velocity Micro news at end

Updated with Asus news at end

CES hasn’t even really begun as I type this yet my head is already spinning a bit from what’s already been announced.

Seven-inch Android tablets are now junk. With Alcatel and Vizio joining the seven-inch tablet market, it’s clear the age of that tablet size is coming to an end as prices plummet to eInk device levels. By the end of this year, we’ll likely see eInk devices drop to $49 fire sale prices (probably $29 for the Kobo Mini). If Google dares to release another seven-inch Nexus tablet this year, they’ll be laughed at, even if it has a Tegra 4 CPU.

This is the year of the eight-inch tablet. And even Alcatel will be releasing one with a 1024 x 768 screen. I expect everyone else will too. To compete with the iPad Mini and to make everyone forget that it was Archos who pioneered an eight-inch tablet. This also means that below ten inches, 16:9 is dead and 4:3 is the new aspect ratio. Google would win big if they released a Tegra 4-based eight-inch “Nexus 8” tablet with a Retina-class screen.

Ten-inch tablets get weird. Vizio’s new ten-inch tablet boasts an incredibly light weight according to this report. If Vizio can do that, I expect others can too. Something lighter than an iPad 4 with a Retina-class screen? Things begin to get interesting. But I wonder if the added power of that Tegra 4 is used to push pixels on the screen, without really improving PDF rendering speeds.

Lenovo gives us a peek of the iMac’s future. This bizarre twenty-seven-inch “table-let” is along the lines of what I’ve been waiting for Apple to introduce. This is the first time Windows vendors have the lead over Apple. But it probably won’t matter to the general public until Apple does it and blesses the idea. (I don’t think Apple will put a battery inside, though. Most people would be satisfied with AC. Batteries add problems at that size.)

The Tegra 4 might help Windows RT. Everyone forgets that Windows RT also uses the Tegra CPU (see Surface RT specs). I wonder what this will mean for innovation in that market? Will Microsoft release a new Surface RT tablet with higher-resolution screen or will they withdraw and let their licensees have that market? (Which brings another question: If Microsoft does stop selling a Surface RT tablet, would people perceive that as a failure of RT?)

Phablets rule. Even Reuters has picked up on the shift pioneered by the Galaxy Note phone. Let me remind you of my past post about that, so I may crow. As Samsung has discovered, a five-inch-class screen allows software to do some interesting things, such as multi-windowing apps:

What’s interesting there is that Samsung is showing Microsoft how they should handle split-screen with the Windows Metro UI. Anyway, how will Apple respond to this? What change will happen to iOS to create a five-inch iPhone? (Since an iPhone 5s is likely due in 2013, we probably won’t see a five-inch iPhone 6 until 2014, but devs will likely see hints of changes in beta releases of iOS 7.) And eight-inch tablets need that capability too — Google would rule if they added that to stock Android and released an eight-inch Nexus 8 tablet. (And yes, all of us webOS fans are gnashing our teeth.) Phablets will only grow in market share, with Alcatel introducing one for around the $400 mark.

My new personal interest is portable wireless speakers. I’ll be keeping an eye out for developments but won’t be writing about them here. Recommendations for Bluetooth and NFC speakers in Comments are welcome.

Updates:

ASUS outs VivoTab Smart Tablet with Type Cover-esque keyboard cover — a weird announcement. I fondled this back in October at the Asus event and even mentioned it in a recent post: Windows 8 Tablet Notes #1. I don’t see anything changed since October’s unveiling.

And this is even weirder: ASUS Unleashes a Flood of Windows 8 Hybrids at CES:

The most intriguing product might be the ASUS Transformer AIO, a whopping 18.4-inch hybrid that blends the line between tablets and all-in-ones, similar to the Sony VAIO Tap 20. The Transformer AIO’s LCD backlit display sports 10-point multi-touch compatibility and a 1080p resolution. When your arms get tired of lugging the beast around, it slides into a dock that transforms the device into an AIO, complete with height and tilt adjustments.

And a photo:

asus-transformerAIO

Apparently Asus didn’t show everything at that October event. And there’s a disappointment too, it seems. That twenty-seven-inch tiltable touchscreen desktop I liked seems to have been canceled, with Asus now listing just a twenty-three-inch version of it, with an i5 CPU and no option for an i7. It’s now the only tiltable touchscreen desktop Asus lists, with the rest all standing upright to induce arm fatigue and a new form of RSI.

Update: Hands-on with the Velocity Micro Edge Mini $499 mini-desktop. I really want a desktop computer like that. Something that’s easy to evacuate during a time of trouble (like Superstorm Sandy). Despite being an i3, it’s more powerful than the crap ancient Celeron I’m using. I wish it was from another company, however. Seeing their Cruz line of crap, Velocity Micro doesn’t have a good reputation. Further update: A Commenter at the above Liliputing post gave me the idea that I’d be better off DIYing one. Intel Desktop Boards – Next Unit of Computing (NUC) and, for example, How we built a tiny home theater PC with Intel’s NUC. I really like that idea and option.

2 Comments

Filed under Other Hardware, Video

2 responses to “CES 2013 Notes #1

  1. Over the holidays, a friend showed me one of those wireless resonance speakers. Not bad for portable speakers, but the sound is funky on some surfaces. I don’t remember which brand, but if you’re interested, I can ask.

  2. Pingback: Eight Is The New Seven In Tablets - The Digital Reader

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