CeBIT 2013: Of Cases and Windows and Other Oddities

Despite the fact that the pacing of technological breakthroughs in the world of mobile phones has gone eastward so to speak, the Old World is still a place for technological innovation with the yearly event of CeBIT, the world's largest IT trade fair, in Hanover, Germany.

With up to 850,000 projected visitors in the 5 million square feet site at Hanover fairground and over 4,700 companies coming from 71 countries, it sure is hard to label all of the interesting stuff showcased by IT companies. We'll try then, to just list the most interesting technology here.

Oh boy, the most exciting thing that could have surfaced at CeBIT was ironically not a phone, and not even a mobile device or appliance.

It was a case. A Samsung Galaxy S IV case.

In a video, Mobile Geeks showed samples of cases made for the Galaxy S IV by Chinese makers. Sure, the imminent launch of the Galaxy S IV on March 14 energized hoaxers to try and spread wrong information about the device; however, in fairness to those cases, it is not the first time that they appeared online. MobileFun released a photo sometime last month that showed a similar design for the cases.

These cases should be taken with a grain of salt though; it is not the first time, if ever, that Chinese makers got it wrong.

Another show stopper this year was MyMultitouch's PixelSense, which is an 84-inch 4K touchscreen capable of registering up to 32 fingers. It has a steel stand that can be adjusted to your viewing angle and the multitouch is infrared-based. The resolution is a staggering 3,840 x 2,160 UHD. The best part is you could use this for your PC, provided that you can find a desk that this monster display will fit on. And, oh, it costs $43,000.

Microsoft seemed to be in full gear as it revealed more Windows 8 enterprise details, and a whole slew of gadgets powered by Windows 8 showed up at CeBIT in different booths.

For ultrabooks, MSI, a PC manufacturer, showed a mid-range device, the S30, as a successor to the S20. However, the specs seemed scaled down to accommodate the $900 price. Specs include a 13.3 inch screen, 4 GB of RAM, an i3 or i5 processor and a choice of storage options. The 1,366 x 768 display, however, does not support touch, which is baffling considering that it is a Windows 8 ultrabook.

Also shown in the MSI booth was a "gaming" all-in-one, the Wind Top AG2712. Specs are really not that much for a purported gaming AIO: A 27-inch 1080p touchscreen with the internals pretty much standard for AIOs. The processor is an i7 Ivy Bridge, though Intel's newer Haswell is hinted to be fitted in the Wind Top later on as it becomes available. The video RAM is nothing to write about, for it is only an NVIDIA 670MX, a laptop-grade GPU. Pricing is not yet available.

Fujitsu, on the other hand, launched three new Lifebook E laptops which differ in screen size. The first one, E733 features a 1,366 x 768 resolution on a 13.3-inch screen and weighs 3.7 pounds while the E743 is 4.1 pounds with 1,600 x 900 pixels on a 14-inch screen. The last of the line-up, the E753, comes with a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution on a 15.6-inch screen and weighs 4.6 pounds.

The specs are pretty much up to the user. You can max the RAM up to 8GB and have an i7 vPro CPU or you can settle for the basics of 2GB RAM and an i3 processor. Prices start at $1,625 which is pretty high considering the low-resolution display and low-end specs.

Bizarre gadgets were also in abundance this year.

Winnershine Technology, a Chinese firm, introduced a glove that can be used on a touchscreen mobile phone so your hand can still stay warm. Another gadget was a golf ball that can be controlled by a smartphone. They also introduced an array of James Bond-esque materials such as remote-controlled spy devices.

Stranger still was what seems like a normal ballpoint pen from Taiwanese PenPower Technology that can scan text from a sheet of paper and transmit it instantly to a smartphone. This polyglot device is said to be able to understand and translate 20 languages. It will cost you $169.

CeBIT's oddest and most pointless gadget came from UK-based Satzuma: A drink-chiller for geeks. The instructions are simple enough. You plug a can-sized cooler into a laptop or a desktop and then put in your beer or whatever drink will fit in that compartment to keep it cold all day. The point for producing such a gadget though is hard to determine.

While not as exciting and filled with breakthroughs in the mobile arena compared to the Mobile World Congress (MWC) and the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), CeBIT remains the paradigm of technology in the Old World. However, as more and more vendors ignore the show, we just might see CeBIT's decline in favor of single manufacturer shows like Samsung’s presentation on March 14.