CES 2012: China Gets Android ICS TVs, Butterfly-Scale Displays, U.S. Gets Left Out
January 10, 2012 11:30 PM
U.S. will have to wait to receive these ARM goodies much longer than its Asian counterpart
At Qualcomm Inc.'s (
) morning press conference at the 2012 Consumer Electronic Show,
partner Lenovo Group
) showed off a slick new Ice Cream Sandwich TV. Past "smart" TVs using older versions Google Inc.'s (
) 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
suck." The set was first announced at the CES Unveiled event Sunday night and has since been making the rounds.
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 "
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.
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.
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?
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.
passed the U.S.
to become the world's largest smartphone market.
All images © of Jason Mick and DailyTech LLC.
"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch
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