Print 15 comment(s) - last by Cheesew1z69.. on Jan 12 at 7:49 PM

U.S. will have to wait to receive these ARM goodies much longer than its Asian counterpart

At Qualcomm Inc.'s (QCOM) morning press conference at the 2012 Consumer Electronic Show, partner Lenovo Group Ltd. (HKG:0992) showed off a slick new Ice Cream Sandwich TV.  Past "smart" TVs using older versions Google Inc.'s (GOOG) popular open source Android operating system have largely been flops in terms of sales and customer experience.

Google patched up one of the biggest issues when it finally added support for its Android Market on Google TV sets in early December.  But the interface remained clunky.

I. Lenovo's Google TV  Looks Tasty

The Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) set -- powered by a fourth generation Snapdragon processor -- could perhaps be summarized as "finally, a Google TV that doesn't suck."  The set was first announced at the CES Unveiled event Sunday night and has since been  making the rounds.

Lenovo ICS TV

The set featured slick navigation and voice-powered search.  And thanks to the addition of app support, it acts like a mini-Google TV gaming console.  Lenovo demoed it running the popular Android/iOS 3D racing game "Asphalt 6".

Asphalt 6 on TV

Lenovo praised Qualcomm to help make this experience possible.  While you wouldn't think of TVs as being a power-intensive application, it turned out that the ARM chip's leaner power consumption allowed for the elimination of bulky fans and coolers, allowing for slim LED LCD TV form factors.

ICS AppsLenovo TV Apps

Comments Senior Vice President Liu Jun, "That's all running on ARM... and by the way, no fan!" (The audience chuckled.)

Excited about Lenovo's ICS TV?

Sorry we have some bad news for you.  For now it is only launching in China.  It should be available in the world's most populuous nation in only a few short months.  Meanwhile the U.S. is left out of this sweet Android TV loving.

II. From Butterfly Scales to eBook Readers

Qualcomm also showed off its progress on a low-power display technology called Mirasol.  Mirasol treads the line between displays like E INK and traditional LCD displays.

Mirasol in hand

Traditional LCD displays can display high-speed color video, but requiring backlighting for viewing in bright conditions, and are relatively power hungry.  E Ink is low power and very sharp, but has a very slow refresh time, which makes video virtually impossible.

Mirasol is somewhere in between, allowing a fast enough refresh time for basic video (think YouTube), but with some of the crisp character of E Ink.  Qualcomm says that the tehnology was developed using biomimicry -- the process of designing chemical and mechanical structures that mimics nature.  

In this case, it drew inspiration from the iridescent color wings of butterflies.  Using the reflective chemical character of the wings' color, Qualcomm cooked up Mirasol.

Don't tell PETA about how many butterflies must have died to make Qualcomm's latest display.

Qualcomm was pleased to announce its first eBook reader based on Mirasol, the C18 from Hanvon, Inc.  Interested in getting the slick power-savvy (but video-capable!) eReader?

Hanvon tablet

Oh, sorry, we forgot to mention -- it's only in China.  It will go on sale there in a month.

This appeared to be a reoccurring theme during much of Qualcomm's keynote -- it appears many of the top, most innovative products in the consumer electronics space are now deploying first to China and later to the U.S., a noticeable role reversal from the traditional U.S.-first-everybody-else-later mentality.

Invariably this has to have something to due with not only China's growing gross domestic product, but also the rising wages and buying power of the Chinese public.  Surely this trend hasn't applied to every device -- or even the majority of them at the show -- but the fact that there are these examples of top tier products landing first in China is something the U.S. consumer will just have to learn to living with, increasingly, with time.

China recently passed the U.S. to become the world's largest smartphone market.

All images © of Jason Mick and DailyTech LLC.

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By Paj on 1/11/2012 7:26:16 AM , Rating: 1
Internet TV is a great idea in principle, but the demonstrations I have seen of it haven't been convincing. I remember seeing Google's massive controller for their TV - what a joke.

Until something compelling comes along, I'll stick with hooking up my laptop through HDMI.

By drycrust3 on 1/11/2012 10:02:53 AM , Rating: 2
Internet TV is a great idea in principle, but the demonstrations I have seen of it haven't been convincing.

I think part of the problem is that when you try to sell internet TV in a market where there are lots of really good TV channels e.g. most large cities, then there is little attraction for it.
Another problem is that even in places where there aren't many local TV transmitters, there is still satellite TV (although maybe not in your own language), which also has a huge range of channels and has excellent quality.
The last major problem with it is it is subject to the whims of government. For example, in some countries one just wouldn't want to use a TV system where someone in some back office can print off how many times you've watched American Fox News (or whatever) in the last year.
The value of it is in markets where there ISN'T a range of good TV channels, where the government doesn't care what you watch, AND where there isn't a cap on your internet use.

By pugster on 1/11/2012 12:24:01 PM , Rating: 2
You obviously have never seen IPTV outside the US. It is popular in many European and Asian countries.

A correction
By Belegost on 1/11/2012 4:24:15 AM , Rating: 3
That is not the first Mirasol based e-reader, the Kobo reader in Korea was released a couple months ago using a 5 inch Mirasol display.

As for the offensive prior comment, Qualcomm shopped the Mirasol to Amazon and Barnes and others, but were turned down. The sad truth is that many American companies are increasingly lazy and short-sighted, they want the easy money and take the conservative route to play safe.

it is not GoogleTV
By Visual on 1/11/2012 5:03:32 AM , Rating: 2
The lenovo TV uses ICS with some custom Lenovo additions, not GoogleTV.

By vol7ron on 1/11/12, Rating: -1
RE: Interesting
By StevoLincolnite on 1/11/2012 8:54:43 AM , Rating: 2
I support companies that are loyal, Qualcomm seems to be lacking

This is where your problem is... Large companies don't care about loyalty, they care about taking your money in exchange for goods or services, that is it, they certainly won't send you flowers for buying their product.

Private companies usually aren't so bad as they aren't under the thumb of the shareholders and trying to maximize profits at every turn, so they generally provide a better customer experience.

RE: Interesting
By vol7ron on 1/11/2012 12:52:38 PM , Rating: 2
Many people didn't like my enthusiasm for the US, or for loyalty; or there are a lot of QC haters :)

I agree with you for the most part, but its like saying large companies aren't ethical. Sure their bottom line is their number 1 concern, at least for for most shareholders (board members); but just because that's the way it is or has been, doesn't mean I have to support it =]

It just seems like the more global the world is becoming, it seems to be giving up those wholesome qualities/values that this country used to have in the early 20th century - China is a different story. Or maybe I'm turning into an idealist in my old age, but I don't want to become another consumer that doesn't really have any convictions, that doesn't stand for anything - that's when the large corporations don't learn their lesson (that's when the gov't just doesn't get it).

RE: Interesting
By albus on 1/11/2012 9:48:55 AM , Rating: 2
This is quite usual for all companies. They launch a product in one region first (called a pilot launch), and based on the feedback, decide it to launch it for a wider market.

Lenovo is Chinese. So it's no surprise they elected China over others.

RE: Interesting
By vol7ron on 1/11/2012 1:01:37 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, but remember Lenovo is also IBM computers, despite being Chinese owned. I have to believe there are still IBM employees that have input over the IBM PC direction.

And Pilot launches aren't really as common as you'd think. Don't get me wrong, they exist, but not as much for electronics. Tradeshows are enough to determine if there is enough interest.

When it comes to electronics, you know when you've got something that will be primetime (a frontrunner), and technology moves too fast that you won't be a leader for long. Their decision to go to China isn't for a pilot launch, it's to change their world-market presence and go to China. That said, there are other things that may affect their decision (government regulation/tariffs, export costs, resource availability).

From my understanding, China has some uncommon earth (metals) that they want more $$ for, which they are raising the prices by lowering the supply. They could also have struck a deal with Lenovo - you never know.

RE: Interesting
By albus on 1/11/2012 1:15:37 PM , Rating: 2
I guess they chose China because it is largely untapped. It's all about money. That's products usually get launched in the US first. Not because of any sense of patriotism by the companies.

Most countries are used to getting their products after the initial launch in the US. Now it is the other way round:)

RE: Interesting
By vol7ron on 1/11/2012 7:52:56 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah, and like someone said, there's definitely more people in china and if their middle class grows in numbers, then it will be more profitable.

Unfortunately, China is much like every other Socialist/Communist society, there is a really small middle class, an extremely large lower class, and a few at the top with all the wealth.

RE: Interesting
By uncleray on 1/12/2012 12:58:10 PM , Rating: 2
Hmmmm. All the wealth at the top, large underclass,
sounds alot like, er, here!

RE: Interesting
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/12/2012 7:47:45 PM , Rating: 2
It's really isn't IBM anymore.

RE: Interesting
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/12/2012 7:49:43 PM , Rating: 2

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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