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Posts Tagged ‘CES 2009’

USB 3.0 will crush eSATA, FireWire

Posted by comtech3 on January 14, 2009

January 13, 2009 11:21 AM PST
Posted by Alex Serpo
Intel demonstrated a working version of USB 3.0 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. Here’s why it will make eSATA and FireWire obsolete.

When USB 3.0 is expected to hit the market in early 2010, it will have been 10 years since the now ubiquitous USB 2.0 was introduced (April 2000). The current USB 2.0 specification runs at a theoretical maximum speed of 480Mbps, and can supply power (for those looking for the hard details, you can find the USB 2.0 specification here (zip file).

According to the USB Implementers Forum, there were 2 billion USB 2.0 devices shipped in 2006 (one for every three people in the world), and the install base was 6 billion (almost one for every person in the world). In November 2007, the USB Implementers forum announced the USB 3.0 specifications, and Intel officially demonstrated the technology at CES 2009.

Now, the juice: USB 3.0 promises a theoretical maximum rate of 5Gbps, meaning it’s 10 times faster than USB 2.0. USB 3.0 is also full duplex, meaning it can upload and download simultaneously (it’s bi-directional); USB 2.0 is only half duplex.

Put side by side with eSATA and FireWire 800, USB 3.0 is far superior. eSATA, an external connection that runs at the same speed as the internal SATA 1.0 bus, has a maximum theoretical of 3Gbps. This makes USB 3.0 faster than eSATA and about six times faster than FireWire 800 (full duplex at 800Mbps).

USB 3.0 also provides another advantage; while eSATA is faster than FireWire 800, unlike FireWire it cannot supply power. USB 3.0 has the advantage of being faster than both, even while supplying power.

Finally, USB 3.0 has improved power management, meaning that devices can move into idle, suspend, and sleep states. This potentially means more battery life out of laptops and other battery-based USB-supporting devices like cameras and mobile phones.

Of course, there are other factors to consider; the FireWire 3200 standard is also in the works and promises to allow 3.2GHz speeds on existing FireWire 800 hardware. USB 2.0 generally doesn’t meet its theoretical maximum throughput, due to its dependence on hardware and software configuration, where FireWire gets much closer.

It’s hard to say whether USB 3.0’s updated architecture will still use more CPU time than FireWire does.

But in the age of powerful hardware (can anyone say “3.2GHz, quad-core CPUs”?), all of this means that FireWire is still not going to match USB 3.0’s theoretical maximum of 5Gbps.

The ultimate signal that this war has already been won is Apple’s recent decision to ditch FireWire from its consumer line in favor of USB. Previously, Cupertino had been one of FireWire’s greatest advocates. And surely the company will be one of the first to adopt USB 3.0.

All in all, we can’t wait for motherboard manufacturers like Gigabyte and Asus to start supporting the technology and mainstream PC builders like Dell to start integrating it into their products. Bring on the speed.


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T-Mobile Shadow makes official appearance

Posted by comtech3 on January 9, 2009

January 8, 2009 7:38 AM PST

Posted by Bonnie Cha

T-Mobile Shadow II

We’ve been hearing rumors about it for a couple of months now, but the T-Mobile Shadow (yep, just the Shadow, not Shadow II) had its officially coming out party on Tuesday night at CES 2009.

Taking over for the original T-Mobile Shadow, the updated version, which was manufactured by HTC, sports a fresh look with curved edges, a shinier face, and comes in two new color combinations: black with burgundy and white with mint. The other major additions are a faster processor (260MHz) and UMA support, so you can now make calls over Wi-Fi using T-Mobile’s HotSpot service.

Aside from those differences, the T-Mobile Shadow is very much like its predecessor. The smartphone features a QVGA non-touch display and a slider design with a SureType-like keypad. Under the hood, it runs Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard Edition and features integrated Bluetooth (stereo Bluetooth supported), Wi-Fi, a 2-megapixel camera, and a microSD expansion slot that supports up to 8GB cards.

Though T-Mobile did not announce an official availability date or pricing, the carrier did say it would be released in the coming weeks and we’re guessing the pricing will be around the $149.99 range. In addition to the Shadow, T-Mobile also added the RIM BlackBerry Curve 8900 to its lineup earlier this week. Good to see some new smartphones at T-Mobile finally.

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Palm calls it a comeback with the Palm Pre

Posted by comtech3 on January 9, 2009

January 8, 2009 12:50 PM PST

Posted by Tom Krazit

Palm’s new Pre, running its WebOS mobile operating system.

(Credit: Corrine Schulze/CNET)

Palm took one giant step toward regaining its position as a relevant mobile computing company with the introduction of the Palm Pre on Thursday.

If you missed out on Ina Fried’s live coverage of Palm’s press conference in Las Vegas at CES, here are a few basic details about the Pre (rhymes with glee). It’s a touch-screen phone with a slide-out keyboard than runs WebOS, Palm’s long-awaited new operating system formerly code-named Nova.

Sprint will be the exclusive launch carrier for the Pre, which comes with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a 3.1-inch display, GPS, and 8GBs of storage, among other things. Palm did not announce a price for the Pre, but said it should be available some time in the first half of 2009.

Like the Apple’s iPhone, Palm’s Pre has a single button when the slide-out keyboard is shut. Everything on the screen can be controlled by gestures similar to the ones used on the iPhone, and the homescreen has four icons at the bottom for the most frequently used tasks, such as the phone, e-mail, and calendar.

Unlike the iPhone, it has the aforementioned hardware keyboard, and what appears to be a background notification system for applications. Apple has promised to roll out some sort of background notification system that lets applications send notifications to the user when they are running a different application, but they are well past their deadline of September 2008 for doing so.

We’re awaiting many more details on the Pre, such as what it will cost, how application distribution will work, battery life, and multimedia support. Stay tuned for those.

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Sony teases with mystery laptop

Posted by comtech3 on December 23, 2008

December 22, 2008 11:54 AM PST

Posted by Erica Ogg

Sony Vaio CES laptop

CES 2009 is fast approaching, and rumors of new laptops are everywhere. This week though, the focus is on Sony.

Though enterprising news outlets have dug up hints at new products from the likes of Dell and Lenovo weeks before the big gadget exhibition, Sony is outing itself as having a new portable PC that will “change the way you think about laptops.” A clock counting down the days and hours until January 9, when the new product is scheduled to appear, popped up on Sony’s New Zealand site, as pointed out over the weekend by Engadget.

Putting the teaser in context of the photo of the oddly-shaped Sony device that popped up on the FCC’s Web site two weeks ago, it certainly seems likely that this will be a notebook unlike what others are offering.

But the question is, will it be a Netbook? Sony has been conspicuously absent from the Netbook market among its Windows-wielding brethren. (Apple has held out too, but it’s not price-matching with other PC makers.)

Netbooks have taken off in the past 12 months, moving from a quirky offering from Asus to the form factor that’s giving the PC industry a whiff of hope. All the major manufacturers are on board, and it’s paying off now since the price tags are cheaper than standard notebooks. However, how it will hurt them in the long run (dragging down average prices of notebooks, cannibalizing lower-end laptop models) is still to be determined.

The argument for Sony keeping out of the low-end fray is certainly there. Sony–like Apple–fancies itself a maker of luxury devices and is loath to get into price wars with the likes of Dell and HP. (Of course, it didn’t want to wrestle with the lower-tier Vizio and Westinghouse in LCD TVs either, but the reality of the HDTV market forced Sony’s hand.)

The electronics giant has also objected to the Netbook concept several times publicly. In February, Sony’s head of its Vaio group in the U.S. called the Netbook movement “a race to the bottom,” though by July Sony Electronics President Stan Glasgow refused to confirm or deny plans for such a product.

Most recently, though, a Sony exec in the UK told ZDNet UK that Sony is “not in for the moment” when it comes to Netbooks, clearly not ruling it out completely. Netbooks, are they are now, “are not properly designed for consumer needs,” Nicolas Barendson told ZDNet.

Does that mean that they have an entirely new design that will meet the needs of people looking for a Netbook-like device? Perhaps. But the key will be the price, and low-cost laptops are not Sony’s cup of tea. So if they do edge into Netbook-like territory, expect them to market it like something other than a laptop, and more like another kind of portable consumer device.

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Palm to preview Nova OS and first device at CES

Posted by comtech3 on December 16, 2008

December 15, 2008 9:54 AM PST
Posted by Bonnie Cha

It’s been a while since Palm has caused a stir, but the company certainly has people talking with its planned January 8 CES event. As CNET News reporter Tom Krazit reported last week, it’s expected that Palm will preview its new operating system, codenamed Nova, at CES 2009, and the rumors look to be true based on new information from a Business Week article.

According to Peter Burrows at Business Week, Palm will unveil Nova and the first of a family of products in Vegas, but it’s not looking to go after the iPhone or BlackBerry. Instead, Palm Executive Chairman Jon Rubenstein said the goal behind Nova is to create a flexible platform that supports a number of customer needs and to create products that bridge the gap between work-oriented BlackBerrys and the fun-oriented iPhone. Before joining Palm, Rubenstein was the senior vice president for hardware engineering at Apple.

Rubenstein and Palm executives wouldn’t get much more specific about product details, other than that the team hopes to create phones that “make smarter use of data about you.” The company also hopes to release products by mid-2009. I’ll be at the January 8 event, so check back then for the full report and my first impressions

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Ballmer to talk Windows 7, not ZunePhone, at CES

Posted by comtech3 on December 11, 2008

December 10, 2008 12:49 PM PST

Posted by Ina Fried

Microsoft will have a bunch of stuff to show at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, but a rumored ZunePhone won’t be one of them, according to sources familiar with the company’s plans.

Instead, much of CEO Steve Ballmer’s focus will be on talking about Windows 7 from a consumer perspective. Microsoft is pushing to have Windows 7 done in time for the holiday 2009 shopping season, so that means this CES is Ballmer’s best stage to tout its benefits.

While the desktop operating system will be front and center, sources say to expect Ballmer to talk about how Windows is moving beyond the PC and into a world of PC, Web, and phone, a refrain we also heard a lot from Ray Ozzie at November’s Professional Developers Conference, where the world also got its first good look at Windows 7.

On the phone front, Microsoft may not have a ZunePhone, but it is going ahead with several other strategies–pushing phone makers to develop phones based on Windows Mobile, developing Windows Live services for phones running a variety of operating systems as well as a number of new “premium mobile services” based on its Danger acquisition.

The company has also talked about extending its Zune service beyond the company’s own dedicated player and mentioned the phone as a logical place to access the service. We may hear more about timing of this at CES, I’m told. In an October interview with CIO UK, Ballmer mentioned the possibility of accessing the Zune service on Windows Mobile phones.

The Xbox will certainly get its due as well during Ballmer’s keynote speech and, as is typically the case, expect Microsoft to announce some new partnerships at the show. A funny video and celebrity guest are usually safe bets as well.

So that’s what I’ve heard, but if tipsters know any more, I’m all ears.

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