Every year, Asia's electronics companies, big and small, converge upon Taipei in Taiwan to show off their vision of the future. In 2015, the biggest news has actually come from an American company, with Intel's embrace of USB-C signalling that the new connector standard will be the one to unite all our future cabling needs. Hardware manufacturers have gotten in line enthusiastically and have flooded the Taipei show floor with USB-C devices and peripherals.Connectivity remains a big theme, as with every recent tech exhibition, with the Internet of Things, cloud applications and services, and mobile everything providing the more theoretical talking points for Computex. As a nice contrast, the usual gaming PC hardware makers were out in force as well, bringing some weird, wild, and wonderful designs that have reinvigorated our interest in the stoic desktop tower. Browse through this stream for the biggest and most fun news out of the 2015 edition of Computex.
Jun 4, 2015
Big, curvy, and beautiful: the next generation of monitors is coming
Nvidia's tagline for the new GeForce GTX 980 Ti graphics card is "Play The Future." As far as Nvidia is concerned, the future can never get here fast enough, mostly because its demands for more pixels and graphical power are what keeps the GPU maker in business. That's why Nvidia is pushing 4K gaming as the next big thing, and that's also why the company is so excited to see a new wave of high-resolution 34-inch curved displays emerging here at Computex.Read Article >
The USB drive of the future is already here
Take a close look at this Dual USB Flash Drive from SanDisk. The company name doesn't matter so much as the shape and function of the thing: we're about to see every USB stick transform into such a dual-plug peripheral very soon indeed. USB-C, the thin connector on the right, is the hot new port standard that's taking the tech world by storm this year. The big chunky guy on the other side is the ubiquitous but rapidly depreciating USB Type-A connector that we all know (and occasionally loathe when trying to plug it in the wrong way).Read Article >
I spoke with SanDisk's Jared Peck at Computex today and he told me about the challenge faced by the peripherals industry as we all transition from A to C in our usage of USB. SanDisk is one of the many companies that's embracing USB-C as the future, but it doesn't believe the time is yet right to build and sell accessories with only a USB-C connector on them. After all, the point of external storage devices like flash drives is to maximize compatibility: you're far more likely to want and use a drive that can plug into your phone, desktop PC, and that shiny new MacBook.
Jun 3, 2015
Your next laptop might have a touch-sensitive spacebar
The spacebar might be the most used button on your keyboard, but that doesn't mean that it can't do even more. At least, that's what Synaptics thinks. The company — best known for its laptop trackpads — wants to make your spacebar touch sensitive.Read Article >
That means that you may soon have two different ways to click on your spacebar. You'll still have that satisfying, traditional physical click for typing, but if your laptop or desktop keyboard has the "SmartBar," you can set custom actions for when you merely tap on the spacebar. In fact, Synaptics says you can set five different actions for when you tap on the SmartBar, presumably depending on where you tap the bar.
The Selfie Swing is a real, terrible thing
Selfies are hard, aren't they? You have to lift up your arm, wipe the ennui off your face, and press a button to make the selfie happen. Too much work, says Asus. What you need is the help of a Selfie Swing! It's a simple swinging arm that attaches to the new ZenFone Selfie smartphone and can be flexed out to serve as a stand to hold the phone upright. To be fair, an integrated stand is not the worst idea in the world, but why Asus felt the need to tie it to self-portrait photography is beyond me.Read Article >
Dell is bringing the borderless Infinity display to its 15-inch XPS laptop
The delightfully borderless Infinity display that Dell introduced on the XPS 13 this year is moving up in size class. As part of a sneak preview of upcoming Windows 10 hardware here at Computex Taipei, Microsoft showed the new Dell XPS 15. The only things we know about this new laptop so far are that it has a razor-thin bezel, like its smaller sibling, and that it's going to be among the wave of hardware refreshes that will accompany Windows 10 in the latter half of this year.Read Article >
The 2015 XPS 13 model offers a choice of display configurations going from a basic 1080p panel to a touchscreen with a 3200 x 1800 resolution. It wouldn't be unreasonable to surmise that the XPS 15 will follow a similar path, though Dell had a rep at the show sternly forbidding anyone from touching the laptop. Which was probably a good idea, given how easily it managed to pick up smudges from the brief demo Microsoft's Nick Parker gave of it during the Windows maker's keynote. Just a sneak peek for now, but color us intrigued.
Jun 2, 2015
USB-C has already won
As it likes to do, Apple recently released a product before the world was ready. The new 12-inch MacBook has but a single port — unless you count the headphone jack — and it’s a completely new connector that almost no one has ever used before, breaking direct compatibility with millions of standard USB devices.Read Article >
But that connector, known as USB Type-C or just USB-C, is likely to become one of the most ubiquitous advances in the recent history of computing and consumer electronics. It’s the compact, reversible port that does everything, and this week’s Computex Taipei shows the first signs of it spreading to the wider world.
The hammer of Thor makes for a mighty fine PC case
Glorious Mjölnir, hammer of Thor and intimidator of evildoers across the epochs, has this week landed at Computex in Taipei. The product of a young man by the name of Suchao Prowphong, this PC case was built from scratch as an homage to the recent Thor movies and to serve as a powerful piece of art. Thermaltake is showing it off at its Computex booth as a prime example of the ingenuity and craftsmanship that PC enthusiasts pour into their machines. Suchao's story is no less inspiring, as he was previously applying his handiwork skills to the job of fishing, which is where a Thermaltake rep discovered him. Now Suchao can be found strolling the halls of Taipei 101 and undoubtedly thinking up his next custom design project. He has done some work for Gigabyte as well, which you can see on his Facebook page.Read Article >
Intel admits USB-C is the connector of the future by adopting it for Thunderbolt 3
With Apple and Google both warmly embracing the new USB-C connector in their new computers this year, the fate of the fast, but rarely used, Thunderbolt standard was coming into question. What would the future hold for Thunderbolt if most of its utility was to be replaced by a more convenient and popular USB standard? Well, Intel's solution has been to pursue the old maxim of joining the adversaries you can't defeat: the next version of Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt 3, will come with a USB Type-C connector.Read Article >
This is the sickest gaming PC case ever
There's beauty in excess. PC gamers know this better than most, because when it comes time to build their machines, they pursue excess above all else. After all, the Sisyphean task of future-proofing your gaming PC is characterized by obtaining specs that are excessive for today but just right for the future. That pursuit of extravagance oftentimes spills over into the design of said gaming rigs, as this mechanized PC case amply demonstrates.Read Article >
Putting six speakers inside a tablet cover is smarter than it sounds
Asus is a company you can depend on. Every year at this time, the Taiwanese electronics maker kicks off Computex — the foremost local showcase of future technology — with a mass of new devices that mix practicality with small flourishes of eccentricity.Read Article >
In the case of the upcoming ZenPad 8, the practical appeal is embodied by the tablet itself, which is a rather modest 8-inch Android slate with a 1280 x 800 IPS LCD, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and a 5-megapixel camera. The ZenPad 8 runs on Intel's quad-core SoFIA chip, which is intended for the low-cost smartphone market — and its eventual price is sure to be strikingly low, if Asus' history is anything to go by. But this tablet does have that extra flourish too, coming in the shape of the extra covers it can swap in and out of. Some are just for color and style, there's a big battery-boosting one, and then there's the star of the show: the 5.1 surround sound speaker cover.
Jun 1, 2015
How long until you lose the world's smallest 128GB USB drive?
How tiny is SanDisk's new 128GB flash drive? Well, to our eyes it simply looks like a USB connector with a plastic end-cap — there doesn't seem to be any storage there at all. Regardless of how it looks though, SanDisk says this upgrade to their Ultra Fit series is capable of storing up to 16 hours of full HD video in a form factor "smaller than a dime," while offering transfer speeds of up to 130MB/s.Read Article >
Although you might think this is the perfect solution for toting your files around, SanDisk says the drive's low profile is actually better suited for adding extra storage capacity to your laptops and tablets. You can simply plug the drive into your device and then forget about it (which is much better than forgetting you've got it in your bag at all). The 128GB Ultra Fit is priced at $119.99 and is available to buy now.
Asus brings a choice of sizes to Android Wear with ZenWatch 2
The only way for Computex, Asia's foremost tech exhibition, to get going is with a deluge of announcements from local powerhouse Asus, and this year's show is no different. One of the big attention grabbers from Asus today is the ZenWatch 2, its second Android Wear smartwatch.Read Article >
Jun 1, 2015
Asus' new tablet has swappable backs that add surround speakers or battery life
Asus isn't one to shy away from wild ideas (remember the dual-OS Transformer Book Trio?), and at Computex this year it looks like the company has another crazy tablet up its sleeve. The company's new ZenPad 8.0 tablet range has interchangeable back plates that don't just let you change how the tablet looks — they add features.Read Article >
One back plate that makes some sense adds an extra battery, giving you a total of 14 hours worth of juice. Another, called the Audio Cover, adds six — yes, six! — speakers to the back of your tablet. With the audio cover snapped on, you'll get DTS-HD 5.1 surround sound, supposedly.
Jun 1, 2015
Asus’ new Transformer Book comes with Windows 10, USB Type-C, and 14 hours of battery life
Among an avalanche of products revealed today at Computex Taipei, Asus has announced the Transformer Book T100HA, the follow-up to its inexpensive T100 Windows 8 2-in-1 device. The new model will come preloaded with Windows 10 and feature the smaller, reversible USB Type-C port seen in Apple’s 12-inch MacBook. The 8.45mm-thick, 580g tablet chassis is available in four colors, and the screen is 10.1 inches at 1280 x 800.Read Article >
Asus hasn't said how much the T100HA will cost, but it wouldn't be surprising to see it fall in the same range as its $349 predecessor. Its low resolution might be a deal-breaker for some, although the screen is otherwise decent, and the build is very much on the plasticky side. Still, the keyboard doesn't feel too bad to type on, and the trackpad is better than seen on many other models in this class.
May 31, 2015
Nvidia's new flagship GTX 980 Ti card is all about 4K and VR gaming
Taiwan's annual Computex convention kicks off this week, and that means that Nvidia has some new goodies to show off. Nvidia's latest flagship GPU is here, and it's called the GeForce GTX 980 Ti. As you can tell from the name, it's supposed to be a beefier version of the prior flagship, the GTX 980. But the specs suggest it might be a nice way to enjoy some of the Titan X's massive power without paying up for that monster.Read Article >
This time around, it looks like Nvidia is pumping up the 4K performance of its latest and greatest. According to the company's own benchmarks, the Maxwell-based GPU can run games like Battlefield 4 and Shadow of Mordor in 4K at max settings while keeping framerates well over 30fps. GTA V at Very High settings came in at 31.6fps, and the company says the GPU can run The Witcher 3 in 4K (at unspecified settings) at 45fps. It's likely that the GTX 980 Ti's 6GB of GDDR5 memory is helping keep 4K playable. (The Titan X, for comparison, has a 12GB frame buffer, but seriously, that's overkill.)