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CES 2012. Day 1. Micrsoft and Intel: Visions of Future

The first day of the exhibition is always heralded by traffic near pavillions and enthusiasm of presenters, who are not tired yet. The amount of information on offer is unfathomable, so I concentrated on the main pavillion showcasing large multinationals and smaller companies. You will not find here a detailed description of all stands, but the summary of the most interesting and crucial announcements. New products from Motorola and Sony are highlighted in separate articles.

CES 2012: Motorola Goes Athletic

The two most advertised models this year are Samsung Galaxy Note and Nokia Lumia (albeit on a smaller scale). There is a promotion campaign in the city with artists drawing people in the street with the help of Note and immediately printing out pictures, which generates interest.

Near the entrance we have trolley full of free magazines, e.g. Wired. Everyone wants to be read and is ready to pay for it. People grab magazines instantly.

Intel: Stores of the Future, Smartphones and Funny Laptops

We will start the journey with Intel. Ultra thin laptops did not impress me much, but I was awaken from my sleep by the retail machine, which shows exactly what you buy. Lego sets were used as an example. You place the product near the screen and the camera shows you a realistic picture of the product. Alas, and you see a castle with other toys inside. There is no need to position the box in a special way as the contents are shown no matter what the angle is. I think in a toy store such a gadget will make parents vulnerable to kids' wishes. Seriously speaking, I think it is the future of retail trade and provides us with infinite capabilities. You can only look at photos, but I advise you to watch the video, which shows more clearly how the system works. I was absolutely enchanted.

Now let's move to the smartphone on x86 architecture (Intel Atom codenamed Medfield). It uses the 32 nm technology - Intel Atom Z2460 with PowerVR SGX540 graphic accelerator (an old solution similar to the original Galaxy S). Another handsets shown was Lenovo K800 with traditional design and a 4.5" (1280720) screen for 3G networks.

Frankly speaking Intel missed all key developments on the market of mobile solutions and is catching up with ARM sitting firmly at the top. Many expected Intel to wake up and strike back. Sadly, it did not happen. We only have an announcement about future plans of the giant, which were known well beforehand anyway.

It is confirmed by the fact, that the model is manufactured by Lenovo, which sells its smartphones predominantly in China. There is nothing special about them though.

The model in question does not shed any light on Intel plans. It runs on Android 2.3 (with Android 4 hopefully to come in future) and supports games for Android, which is achieved courtesy of a compiler. The efficiency of this solution is obviously lower than that of ARM. It is a serious issue for Intel as the majority of developers are working for ARM and they will be difficult to get hold of.

According to Lenovo the emulator is good enough for 90% of Android apps, but I am afraid that some issues can be with games (I tried a couple and they worked though).

The reference platform looks like an alien and unfortunately has no commercial perspectives at the moment.

I would like Intel to create a mobile platform to increase the diversity, which is beneficial for consumers, but first attempts are not impressive enough. The announcement was clumsy and we got no answers about the emulator. It looks as if there are some secrets here. I will be happy to make a mistake, but until the second part of 2013 not much will change.

In the pavillion you can see other devices. I liked an original frame like laptop with the touchscreen from Novero. It is not special by any means, but looks nice.

Intel has an educational initiative and a cheap laptop for kids to go with it.

Microsoft and Future of Technology: Virtual Fitting Room and Something Else

Traditionally Microsoft shows many products, but new WP7 phones were conspicuous by their absence, which is surprising. Several things were indeed interesting in comparison with standard solutions.

I will start with the photo of the game machine for Cut the Rope. It is only a toy and nothing more.

One of the most unusual exhibits was a printing dress with letters making up words. It is a prototype of the clothes from the future. There is no deep meaning behind.

Kinect Fusion is a whole different ball game. These are only tentative steps, but the potential of the project is staggering. I spent 30 minutes at the presentation and could not leave.

The proliferation of gaming consoles did the job and Kinect can be now associated with many features. Fusion has the following capabilities: irrespective of the sensor location it should describe the environment and understand what is situated where. In other words you can twist the sensor or put it anywhere. It should compare the 3D image in the memory with what happens during the movement. I think this function will be the base one for others.

After receiving the picture of the environment the app detects static and moving objects. Moreover, you can decide to unlock the system with a simple touch of the table in a particular spot. Another case is when you have a music controls panel on the wall and a touch starts a playback. All the job is done by the sensor, which sees what you do.

Another solution can be extremely popular. If a thing is lost you can ask your console to help. It can advise where you put it last time. There is no need for tags or special technology. Everything is easy and simple.

The list of possibilities is impressive and this new breakthrough will happen sooner rather than later. Sensors will allow the creation of cheap new apps impossible yesterday. Watch the video explaining what Fusion can already do today.

A third party created a virtual fittings room to work with Kinect. We have seen a similar idea, but the current incarnation is different in terms of cheap and easy to use sensors. Watch how you can put on a dress even if you are a man.

Sadly, I could not squeeze in all interesting events of the day in one article. My Internet connection is slow, which makes it difficult to upload photos and video clips. Our next article will deal with protected phones, light markers from Casio, Gorilla Glass 2, 3D printers, watches and new types of screens for mobile phones. Stay tuned, the best is yet to come.

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Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
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Translated by Maxim Antonenko (maxantonenko@ukr.net)

Published — 15 January 2012

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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