It’s column-writing on BlackBerry time again. I am on a flight back from Las Vegas and as I clatter away on the little chicklety keys, I am glad to report that CES is finally back with a bang! After three years of boring technology, this year most companies seemed to have rediscovered their lost mojo. A maturity has crept back, a better understanding of the need to mix real innovation with true utility. CES is the biggest technology show in the world – and yes, the King is back! Thus this, the first of two columns, will be about the best devices of CES 2011 – hands on!
Samsung Series 7 Tablet
A shining example of a company that understands that a Tablet must eventually be more than just a device to consume media and information. It must be able to take on more demanding work and the idea that certain tasks on a Tablet should be postponed to when you get to a ‘real computer’ is silly. Enter the Samsung 7 Tablet. You use it as a normal Tablet and as soon as the need arises, just slide out a real keyboard from underneath that props up at a perfect angle to the screen.
The world’s most powerful Smartphone is born. How powerful, you ask? Well, how about a processor that can power a Netbook! How about graphics that can run an entire home entertainment system? Yes, the Atrix can do all of that. It comes with a Netbook that has nothing inside other than a screen and battery. Slide the Atrix in and the phone takes over and gives you a Netbook that literally screams speed and power. The same can be done to attach it to a TV to run movies and media at full 1080P HD.
Sony Projector Camcorders
The idea is very compelling. You shoot a video at an event, fire up the Camcorder’s projector and everybody gets to see the movie right there on a large screen. That’s how it may eventually work. Right now the projector built into this camcorder is 10 lumens, the projection size is small and the room needs to be pitch dark. The good thing – battery life is good even with the projector running and this may be a a great precursor to how this technology may mature in the future.
Being told that this was a true workhorse at multi-tasking, I felt a need to bring it to its knees. I started an HD movie, opened five Web pages, each with Flash, opened Quake III, launched six different apps, added an Excel sheet and started the upload of a heavy email. The Playbook didn’t even blink. I could see each application running in the small preview band of windows and not a stutter. This is true multi-tasking.
This is the transformer of all cameras, a design so unique that it can reinvent itself in as many ways as your mind and fingers can mould it to. It pivots in every way and opens up multiple ways of shooting. The best part – the user interface and the features are intelligently knitted to the infinite shooting possibilities. This is an imaging contortion artist with brains.
Raw power mated with refinement. The Xoom Tablet gets most things right at the starting block itself. It’s got the innards to make it the most powerful Tablet ever and Google finally gets Android right on a Tablet. Yes, this will be the first tablet out with Android 3.0 – an OS built for Tablet devices. Great rethink on usability and good use of screen real estate.
Samsung series 9 laptop
In a sea of Tablets and Smartphones, it’s virtually impossible for a laptop to make an impression. Then again, the Series 9 is no ordinary laptop. A super thin duraluminum body, an Intel core i5 and a very fast SSD inside. So fast that it can cold boot in 15 seconds and come out of hibernation in three. The Macbook Air just got some serious competition.
LG P210 Laptop
If an award can be given for the most well-designed laptop, the P210 should get it. Wait, it actually did. This is laptop design at its best. Perfect contours, a bezel so thin it almost doesn’t exist, keyboard and trackpad that merge right in and a lustre that makes you marvel at this new world of technology.
Next week will feature more of the best plus, of course, the worst of CES. Most companies may have rediscovered their mojo – that doesn’t mean all of them did!
Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3.
From HT Brunch, January 16
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