MyFord/MyLincoln Touch, the successor to the very successful
SYNC, is really pushing the boundaries of in car information,
entertainment, and communication. Priced in the mid-range mass
market segment, the new system features some truly amazing features
like an applications API that can allow for smart phone-driven apps,
complete with voice commands and text-to-speech.
we'd like to see this promising feature employed:
Ford already has
the ability to download turn-by-turn directions from an attached
phone via Google Maps. Imagine if you created an iPhone (or
Blackberry) app like Urban Spoon that allowed you to select a food
type via voice. Then imagine reading the user each option,
reading them reviews/menus, if asked, and then finally allowing a
voice selection. Then imagine the app automatically grabbing
directions and directing the user to the location. All the
pieces are there -- someone just needs to put them together.
noteworthy were infotainment systems from Fiat and Hyundai Kia.
Fiat's Blue & Me has less features overall, but does pack a nice
driving analysis suite, which will likely be offered as an
interesting option when the Fiat 500 hits the U.S. shores later this
year. As for Hyundai Kia, its
system appears to be the second best solution on the market, but
it will certainly be the cheapest. It may be well behind Ford's
offerings in its current iteration, but then again it's just starting
out and if its budget price make it a strong competitor to Ford's
pricier upgrade packages. The new system, dubbed UVO, offers
the conglomerate a great way to continue to improve the quality of
its low-cost vehicles, allowing it to snatch more market share from
the stale Honda and Toyota, which are getting left behind in the
basically had the laptop discrete graphics market cornered in recent
years. That hasn't always been a good thing, given the
abundance of overheating issues in previous generations.
NVIDIA's GeForce 2xxM series of GPUs lays most of these problems to
rest, but without competition its maker seems unlikely to be inclined
to seriously push its successors' mobile GPU power.
least one DailyTech writer games primarily on his laptop, this
would be a disappointing state of affairs. Fortunately, AMD has
at last decided to translate its recent success in the desktop
graphics segment into a big
AMD is promising that we'll see many
notebooks with 5000 Mobility Radeon series GPUs in the next year.
We're adopting a wait and see strategy on this one, but even if AMD
can succeed in getting its GPUs on a wider range of notebooks, that
would be a tremendous improvement. There's a scattering of AMD
GPUs in notebooks currently offered at Fry's, Best Buy, Newegg.com,
and Amazon.com, but they remain scarce. If AMD could match
NVIDIA in terms of models offered with its mobile GPUs, that would be
a wonderful accomplishment and very good for competition.
always skeptical of big claims, so we're not sure what to make of
AMD's claims that the top of the line 5000 series mobile GPU will
best NVIDIA's top of the line GeForce GTX 280M. We like their
spirit, though, and we certainly hope that they can deliver on their
promises of some excellent drivers. We also hope they can
deliver on their promises of bringing external
GPU upgrades to the U.S. market, with the help of partners like
When it comes to mobile graphics, there's plenty to look
forward to, from the eventual launch of a mobile version of Fermi, to
AMD planning to aggressively improve its mobile performance and
availability. There's a lot of unknowns, but there's plenty of
reasons to be optimistic that we'll be gaming on the go as never
Two "Most Overblown":
3D was the buzz word on the tongues of
major LCD screen maker. Even the cabbies were talking about
it. However, this colorful fad ultimately seems like another
questionable promise from a technology that has been flirted with for
decades, but never fully embraced.
The fact of the matter is
simple. As wonderful as watching your media of choice --
sports, movies, or pornography -- in 3D might be, it still requires
you to put on goofy glasses. Outside the movie theater, this
has never caught on in the past (despite repeated attempts), and it
seems unlikely to now. Can you imagine a bunch of guys sitting
down to watch a football game, and the party host saying, "Wait!
We've all got to put on our 3D glasses!"?
Such as scene
seems pretty unlikely, so that leaves 3D gaming. Sure gamers
might be able to swallow the nerd-factor (its hard to be offended by
uncool glasses when you're logging 10 hour runs in Warcraft).
However, in more cutting edge titles many gamers will be unable to
use the tech, as it cuts frame rates by as much as 20 or 30 percent.
Final benchmarks remain to be seen, but if early estimates hold true,
it seems many gamers will be hesitant to trade their frame rates for
That leaves so-called "auto-stereoscopic"
technologies, still in their nascent stages. Such glasses-free
3D tech is certainly promising, but currently lack the pop of its
awkward glasses-driven brethren, raising questions on their price.
Many models also suffer from image distortion at certain viewing
angles. Clearly this is the more promising approach, but it has
a long way to go.
Some analysts estimate that 3D TV revenue
$22B USD by 2018. That could certainly be true if
manufacturers throw in the chip on most of their lineup.
However, that still doesn't mean that anyone will be using the
awkward TV plus glasses setup. The 3D chip (unless its of the
glasses free variety) will likely sit gathering dust. You
couldn't find a more perfect example of overblown CES 2010 hype than
Tablets, tablets, tablets!!! Okay,
we're sad to say Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer didn't cheer that at
CES, but he might as well have. His keynote address focused
heavily on tablets, including the HP
Unlike 3D TV, tablets do hold some serious promise
as a niche product, in the short term. For certain users,
particularly those who spend lots of time on-the-go, a light tablet
like the HP Slate, Microsoft Courier, or the upcoming
Apple Tablet could be a fun an useful tool. That said, the
major focus on them was a bit overblown.
It is hard to see a
tablet appealing to the majority of consumers. Touch input is
currently somewhat poor (as touch screens with smart phone-scale
touch sensitivity are rather expensive -- you can either multiply the
screen cost or scale up at a lower fidelity) on most of the devices
we played with. Even if it can be perfected, typing and input
will be slower than on a standard Notebooks/Netbooks.
may certainly conquer a niche market (perhaps surplanting E-Book
readers, like the Amazon Kindle). However, they're unlikely to
storm the business or consumer computing quite like notebooks and
netbooks have. No matter how hard top OEMs try to pitch the
devices, it seems unlikely that the majority of consumers will
CEA and Hotel Security Escort
If certain vendors' stories are to believed they
asked thoroughly when renting rooms at local hotels in Vegas about
exhibiting product and holding business meetings, and were told that
it was perfectly okay. After they reportedly had paid in full
(and extra for corporate parties), we personally witnessed at least
one hotel bowing to the CEA and kicking
these vendors out for failing to pay an exhibition fee.
hotels screwed up on the info they gave vendors, they should have
refunded them a portion of the suite rental, corresponding to the
remaining booked time. From what we've heard they've done no
such thing, and vendors were left to try to book another hotel,
farther away, to carry out the rest of their business.
to a security guard at The Venetian whom we talked to, these
"problems" were abundant, and as many as 30 vendors had
been kicked out. We heard personally from two vendors -- one
who got kicked out, and one who paid to avoid it. We also heard
of a third vendor running into trouble. Ultimately, its hard to
get a cold hard number on exactly how many vendors got the boot, but
the mess cast a dark cloud over our final day of meetings at CES.
can only hope that next year hotel management and the CEA do a better
job communicating exactly what the rules are and enforcing them from
Day 1 -- not selectively deciding to enforce them mid-show.
you at CES 2010, or following our coverage and think we missed
something? Disagree on one of our top items? Feel free to
give your picks and thoughts!