CeBIT in Hannover is among the world's biggest IT and electronics conventions and we're on the ground scouring the floor for new bits and pieces that didn't already debut at CES and MWC. Join us on our hunt for these unheralded newbies of the tech world.
Mar 9, 2012
After announcing his company's new Power-Grid app for iOS earlier this week, Roccat CEO Rene Korte spent some time with us showing off its capabilities. Power-Grid will offer extended gaming controls alongside your traditional keyboard and mouse setup. The free app consists of three pre-installed control grids: Incoming Center, Stats Control, and Sound Control. The Incoming Center pulls in voice and text from TeamSpeak, Skype, Twitter, and more, and displays all the text from the services in a scrolling feed. It's pretty flexible, and you're free to remove anything from the app on the fly. The Stats Control brings up your system information including CPU stats, RAM usage, network traffic, and hard drive space. The final pre-installed grid is Sound Control, which mirrors Windows audio mixer giving you full control over the volume of individual apps on your PC, as well as providing a basic media player remote. While the three options are pretty interesting by themselves, the feature most likely to attract attention however is the fourth: user-customizable grids.Read Article >
The grids can be built using free software on your PC and are completely versatile. On display were timers, macros (specifically for Skyrim in this case), and app and web shortcuts, but the possibilities are virtually endless. While the first custom grid is free, additional grids will cost 99 cents (although you will be able to change your free grid as much as you like without paying). The app connects to your PC via Wi-Fi and response was completely lag free to the naked eye. This really looks to be a great expansion option for PC gamers on a budget. The app is going into public beta in the next few weeks and should be available at some point in the second half of the year alongside an Android version. Roccat is open to the idea of developing an app for Windows Phone, but only if Microsoft manages to achieve "sufficient market penetration."
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Caterpillar has announced the CAT B10, a new IP67-certified rugged Android smartphone that it hopes will contend with the likes of the Motorola Defy+ and the Samsung Rugby Smart. We spent some time with the B10 at CeBIT and attempted to put its ruggedness to the test. Caterpillar is better known for its construction equipment than for making phones, but we weren't able to find out who actually makes the device. The phone will certainly look the part next to a bulldozer: it's around an inch thick and covered in rubber apart from its 3.2-inch display, which has Asahi (a competitor to Corning) strengthened glass. The device was on display under a stream of water, so it's certainly water-resistant, but we weren't allowed check on Caterpillar's claims that the device can be fully submerged up to one meter deep for half an hour. One thing we did test, quite by accident, was the B10's shock resistance.
Viota? We've never heard of the company either. It's been at CeBIT showing off its M970 tablet to retail buyers and journalists alike, and we decided to take a closer look at this mysterious device. The M970 we saw has a 9.7-inch LCD display with 786 x 1024 resolution, a uni-core 1.5GHz Cortex A8 processor, 512MB RAM, 4GB of storage and a 6000mAh battery. There's also a five-megapixel rear camera and two-megapixel front-facing unit. While the specifications are a little uninspiring, the tablet runs Android 4.0, has a Mali 400 graphics chip, and in this configuration has an MSRP of $120. Viota tells us that production models will have up to 1GB of RAM, a microSD slot, and optional 3G connectivity accessible by a (at the moment empty) plastic flap on the unit's side.Read Article >
As the spec sheet indicated, the M970 isn't the speediest device out there, but we found it more than capable of multitasking, and navigation around the OS was painless. Unfortunately a broken .apk meant we weren't able to test out the device's gaming performance, but the Mali 400 is a decent enough chip that should be able to handle everything but the most demanding of Android titles. If anything will hold the device back it looks to be its aging Cortex A8 processor (the same architecture as found in the original iPad).
Ultrabooks are Intel's strategy for building a new ecosystem of software, services and ultraportable hardware around its chips. They are the physical embodiment of an effort to bring "more emotional content" to the idea of mobile computing. They're slim and they're sexy. The one thing they're not, however, is cheap.Read Article >
Acer has been trying hard to change that by selling its entry-level S3 ultrabook at cost and making it publicly known that it's targeting a sub-$500 price point for 2013. Such actions might appear to be the harbinger of a new race to the bottom of the pricing scale, but Intel thinks differently. Today I spoke with Dave Rogers, Intel's marketing manager for Europe, who told me that "how little it will cost is not really the question."
We've found our highlight of CeBIT 2012: it's Intel's 13.3-inch ultrabook with a capacitive touchscreen. Just one prototype laptop is making its way through the vast dungeons of Hannover this week, but we tracked it down (thanks, Chippy!) and it's an absolute delight to use. Intended to show how OEMs can enhance their ultrabooks with touch, this machine is running Windows 7 and doing a splendid job of navigating through the Zinio digital magazine app. The experience of using it is identical to what you'll already be used to with your smartphone or tablet — it's just that capacitive screens have up until now tended to be limited to form factors of 10 inches and below.Read Article >
MSI has introduced a pair of new gaming laptops at CeBIT this week and we're here to test them out for ourselves. The GT60 and GT70 both include Full HD displays, with the 60's measuring 15.6 inches and the 70's 17.3. The matte screens have great viewing angles and the sort of rich colors usually reserved for glossy models. Inside, a quad-core Core i7 Ivy Bridge processor will be joined by up to 32GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce 600 series discrete graphics card. Also included is support for MSI's "SuperRAID" technology, which pairs two SSDs in RAID 0 and adds an HDD for storage.Read Article >
The company has collaborated with PC peripheral maker Steelseries for the laptops' keyboards, which in typical gaming laptop fashion light up in a wide array of gaudy colors. There're a heap of ports on tap, with both machines offering three USB 3.0 ports, an SDHC reader, Ethernet, eSata, and HDMI. The only difference in connectivity between the two is USB 2.0 ports: the GT70 has two whereas the GT60 has only one. Both will come with a choice of optical drives and four-port audio (line-in, line-out, microphone, headphones).
The current costs of sourcing the necessary components and then manufacturing ultrabooks, said Cristoph, are prohibitive for any price point approaching €499, never mind $499. He does leave open the possibility that efficiencies in production and cheaper components could drag the price down, but he was generally dubious on the idea of a sub-$500 ultrabook.Read Article >
Which is not to say that it won't happen.
Mar 6, 2012
Fujitsu's not content with just one ultrabook for this summer, it'll bring a 14-inch premium-tier laptop into the category as well. The prototype it's showing off at CeBIT isn't a functional unit, but it is physically identical to the final product that should be with us in July. That includes the 1.5kg weight, which is well distributed across the magnesium frame. A matte red paintjob covers the metal casing on the top and bottom of the laptop with a delightfully soft, fingerprint-proof finish. Also matte is the 14-inch display, which has an edge-to-edge front and amazingly deep black levels (owing to this being a dummy unit with no display actually inside it).Read Article >
Though it's yet to receive an official product name, the Premium Ultrabook will ship with either 3G or 4G LTE connectivity along with the usual Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. USB 3.0 and HDMI ports make up your frugal set of options for physical connectivity and an Ethernet dongle will be provided. Fujitsu's already planning a dock that will greatly expand the number and types of peripherals you can jack into its ultrabook. A fingerprint reader is embedded in the lower right corner of the palm rest and the laptop will come with a Trusted Platform Module built in as well.
Acer launched the V3 and V5 series of laptops at CeBIT in Hannover today and we got to look at all of them in person. The V5 series are ultrathin laptops that will come with either 11.6-, 14-, or 15.6-inch displays. We loved the netbook-style 11.6-inch model, which will offer either Core i3 or Core i5 Ivy Bridge processors in a chassis less than 15mm thick. Despite its petite frame, it has two USB 2.0 ports, plus one each of USB 3.0, HDMI, and Ethernet, and should offer all the performance of a full-sized machine. The 14- and 15.6-inch models will similarly have Core i3 or i5 processors but will add optical drives and Nvidia GeForce discrete graphics, while also bumping up the thickness to 21mm and 23mm, respectively. Unfortunately, all of the V5 series on display were dummy devices, so we weren't able to test out much more than their looks, but Acer say they'll go on sale around June this year with prices starting at €499 in Europe.Read Article >
Slightly less exciting than the V5 series are the V3 series. They're a set of entry-level 14-, 15.6- and 17.3-inch laptops, featuring Ivy Bridge processors ranging from Core i3 up to Core i7, optical drives, and discrete graphics. Starting at under €500 in Europe for the Core i3 model, the V3 series will start shipping in the second quarter of this year.
Intel is pushing ultrabooks hard at CeBIT this year, and Fujitsu is one of the companies showing off the diminutive laptops for the first time. The Fujitsu Lifebook UH572 is set for release this summer, and will come with a choice of low-voltage Ivy Bridge processors from Core i3 up to Core i7. The model we tested had 4GB of RAM installed, but Fujitsu wouldn't let us know what the standard amount is likely to be. It's quite a handsome machine and stands out against the hoards of black-on-silver ultrabooks out there.Read Article >
Mar 6, 2012
Back at CES we got our first glimpse of the Acer Iconia Tab A700 and A510, and in the true spirit of shameless cash-ins Acer has announced that it's releasing Olympic Games special editions to tie in with London 2012. Hardware-wise nothing has changed, and the only difference between the tablets is the display resolution — the A700 has a 10-inch 1920 x 1200 display while the A510 has a 1280x800 panel. Both run Android 4.0 powered by a quad-core 1.3GHz Tegra 3 processor, with 15-hour 9800mAh battery, but Acer has added a screen-printed Olympic logo on the back of the tablets. In terms of software Acer hasn't mentioned any customizations, suggesting that the A700 and A510 should offer the almost-Vanilla Android experience we saw at CES.Read Article >
These are the first in a range of Acer products launched in time for the Olympics, which the company says have been "designed specially for the Olympic Games in London." The tablets will be available in both black and silver. Pricing for the special edition has yet to be announced, but we're told that they will go on sale sometime this month, fitting in with the March availability we heard in late January.
It's day one of CeBIT 2012 and we've gotten to grips with a pair of new ultrabooks from Gigabyte, the U2442V and U2442N. Both come with Intel Ivy Bridge processors, a choice of HDD or SSD, and a switchable Nvidia GeForce GT640M graphics card with 2GB of dedicated memory. Both sides of the ultrabooks are littered with ports, including two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, HDMI, and a single Thunderbolt port. The N model comes with a standard voltage processor, whereas the V model will be low-voltage.Read Article >
Mar 6, 2012
On the eve of this year's CeBIT computer expo, manufacturer Gigabyte has announced the U2442 line of ultrabooks as well as the new P2542G gaming laptop. The U2442V ultrabook comes equipped with an Intel Core i5 or i7 ULV processor, while the U2442N squeezes in the standard-voltage variants of the same chips. Both models feature a 14-inch 1600 x 900 backlit LED display driven by a discrete Nvidia GeForce GT 640M GPU with 2GB of VRAM, all housed in a slim package that tapers to just 0.73 inches in thickness. Both models can be ordered with either an SSD or traditional hard drive, and include a backlit keyboard.Read Article >
For more demanding users, the P2542G offer a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, a Nvidia GeForce GTX 660M with 2GB of VRAM, and a 1920 x 1080 15.6-inch display. Blu-ray is also onboard along with four dual-channel stereo speakers and two woofers, as well as a unique cooling design that provides both the processor and the GPU with their own dedicated cooling vents. No pricing or availability has yet been announced as of yet, but the machines will be on the floor at CeBIT, and we'll have more information for you then.