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Large(ish) Scale production of OLED imminent

Could we soon be looking at large(ish) scale, reasonably priced OLED and AMOLED displays?  Probably not, at least when it comes to the pricing part, but both LG Display and AUO have announced mass production plans for their OLED and AMOLED panels, LG expecting to kick-start production in 2011 while AUO claims to be ready to start now.

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The AUO plant will be pumping out 14-inch OLED displays, running at Full HD resolution and 157ppi density.  Each display boasts a 100,000:1 contrast ratio and 200cd/m2 brightness, and is capable of 16m colors.  They cover 72-percent of the NTSC color gamut and run at 120Hz.  No news on whether AUO are positioning the OLEDs for TV or laptop use, but we’d quite like to whip out an OLED ultraportable in our local Starbucks.

As for LG Display, they’re planning to begin AMOLED mass production at their new 5G plant in the second half of 2011.  The company will produce 30-inch and above displays in 2011, before shifting to 40-inch AMOLED production in 2012.

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Sony VAIO LV all-in-one PC review

When first announced back in September, the Sony VAIO LV-series was described as a High-Definition PC/TV.  That blurring of distinctions between computer and entertainment gives a good idea of how the company envisages their all-in-one slotting into your lifestyle; a relatively rare HMDI input, allowing external sources to use the LV as a 1080p-capable display, helps single the system out even further.  Are TV tuners, Blu-ray and Dolby Digital surround sound enough to let the VAIO LV replace your current HDTV?

 The specs set the LV off to a good start, with up to a 3.16GHz Intel Core Duo E8500 processor, 4GB of RAM and 1TB of 7,200rpm SATA storage available.  Graphics are courtesy of up to an NVIDIA GeForce 9300M GS video card with 256MB of memory, and all but the base model has a Blu-ray drive, with the top-end LV supporting both Blu-ray playback and burning.  Crowing glory, however, is the 24-inch widescreen XBRITE-HiColor display, running at 1920 x 1200 full 1080p High-Definition.

Connectivity includes gigabit Ethernet, WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth with A2DP, five USB 2.0 ports, S-Video, iLink Firewire, HMDI input, S/PDIF and headphone outputs, A/V and line/microphone

inputs.  There are also dual NTSC/ATSC TV tuners, with two RF aerial inputs.  Sony includes not only a low-profile wireless keyboard and mouse, but also a remote control.  On the LV itself there are a small number of controls: separate PC and Display on/off buttons, HDMI source selection, volume, wireless on/off, keyboard/mouse connect and webcam angle adjust control.  The webcam is mounted above the display and 1.3-megapixel resolution; it supports software face tracking and has an integrated microphone.

OS is one flavor or another of Windows Vista – Home Premium on the lower-end models, Ultimate on the higher-end – all with Media Center support.  That means pausing and recording live TV, including over-the-air HD channels, and scheduled recordings, all through a lounge-friendly GUI that also gives access to music and online content.  As well as that, Sony add their usual array of VAIO apps – here including the “Click to Disc Editor”, “Movie Story”, “MusicBox”, “Media plus streaming” and more – together with trials of Microsoft Office 2007 and OneCare.  Happily the bloatware for which the company had become known for has been dramatically reduced.

While the LV would make a perfectly pleasing desktop PC – with 24-inches of high-resolution screen ample for just about any application you could think of – it’s true home is in front of your sofa.  The integrated dual 5.5W stereo speakers do a passable job, but for best results we’d recommend hooking up a full surround system.  Do that, and the LV comes into its own: the XBRITE display is a typical Sony triumph, with deep blacks, minimal motion smear and crisp, bright colors.  Vista comes in for plenty of (often justified) criticism, but its Media Center functionality is straightforward and intuitive to use.  The Sony remote manages to be both comprehensive but not overwhelming, and the keyboard (which feels a little plasticy) has an integrated trackpad for surfing the web from your lap.

Plug another video source, such as a PS3; into the LV’s HDMI input and instead of a Vista PC you’re now looking at a high-definition display.  Copyright reasons mean Sony won’t allow you to use both the PC and the HDMI input at the same time, so you have to switch between them, but all the aspects that made the VAIO such a good PC monitor make it an equally good standalone screen.  We can’t help but be disappointed by the inability to have, say, a PS3 window onscreen at the same time as a Word document, though.

Sony has obviously used some of their HDTV knowledge with the LV’s physical design.  Unlike many all-in-one PCs, the power supply is integrated; go for wireless networking, stick with the integrated speakers and the cordless peripherals and you’ve got a one-cable system.  A standard VESA mounting plate means suspending the LV on the wall or, even, on a poseable arm is straightforward, and with the slot-load optical drive hidden on the right-hand side you could easily mistake it for a standard TV.  Overall, we’re fans both of the LV-series design and its  construction: plastics and other materials used in the main unit are of high quality.

So could you – should you – replace your HDTV with the VAIO LV?  A lot of it will come down to room size: 24-inches is big for a monitor, but small for an HDTV.  The same display that looks impressive on your desk or, even better, mounted on the wall in your study, looks overwhelmed on a TV stand in all but the smallest of rooms.  Yes, you can connect to a bigger screen, but that then leaves you with two high-definition options in close proximity, which seems a bit like overkill.

On the other hand, keeping the LV-series PC as a bedroom set – where the size might be more typical – is a tremendous waste of a very capable computer.  No, the VAIO LV makes most sense in a den or games room, serving duty both as your everyday PC and, when the workday is done, the display for some impromptu gaming.

As for the price, there’s another argument.  While the range starts at $1,699.99, that gets you a mere 320GB of storage and a DVD burner; the former will quickly fill if you use the Media Center functionality, while the latter doesn’t do justice to the LV’s screen.  Instead, you’re looking at $1,899.99 for the 500GB model with Blu-ray player or, if you’re serious about high-def media editing, $2,799.99 for the 1TB version with Blu-ray burner.  That’s a whole lot of money, and it would buy you a decent standalone PC and an HDTV certainly larger than 24-inches.

That said, we’ve still a soft spot for the Sony VAIO LV-series.  It’s undoubtedly well designed, well constructed and well specified, and if space is an issue but 1080p a must then it’s well worth considering.  Mainstream users will likely find they get more for their money – including more interconnecting cables – if they spread it out to separate components, but those who pick the LV are unlikely to be disappointed.

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Bluesocket Introducing the First Virtual WLAN

Bluesocket Incorporated has just announced today the commercial release of the industry’s next-generation wireless LAN, Virtual WLAN, namely vWLAN, that sports a design and engineering behind it that will provide customers the Bluesocket “3S” Competitive Advantage, namely Security, Scalability and Sustainability. Those are the 3S that Bluesocket ensures its clients.
“Wired and wireless infrastructure solutions are only differentiated by the communication technology at the edge of the network. As the access layer technologies continue to become confluent, enterprises only need one set of policies and tools for security, access and management regardless of the physical infrastructure,“ says Tim Zimmerman of Gartner.

vWLAN was developed as a way to deliver enhanced performance and noticeably improved scalability, while also keeping the same top-notch wireless security that made Bluesocket known. The vWLAN architecture leverages current network infrastructures to produce a fully integrated, as well as optimized wireless solution that will allow customers to seamlessly reduce the cost of deploying and operating large-scale Wi-Fi networks, while also improving performance.
“Bluesocket has a heritage of being an industry leader in secure wireless LAN. Our vWLANTM next generation architecture continues this heritage while also delivering massive scalability, edge-based switching, ease of maintenance, and a significant reduction in energy consumption supporting lower total cost of ownership,” says Mads Lillelund, CEO of Bluesocket. “We have achieved our goal of significantly improving overall performance while continuing to provide highly reliable wireless security, for which we have always been known.”

This seems to be the only option currently on the market that takes all data traffic to the limit yet maintaining centralized network control. Security and mobility functions are operated via smart 802.11n APs, which noticeably enhance support for bandwidth intensive applications. With such an innovative approach, Bluesocket will offer customers a richer set of centralized control applications. Additionally, this makes vWLAN quite the industry leader regarding scalability.

Key features of vWLAN architecture would be the state of the art controller software that ensures intelligent mobility coordination, tightly integrated security modules, seamless high availability for eliminating disruption to end users, Identity-based QoS and Fairness Algorithms and Green IT Design that reduces the carbon footprint.

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MSI Unveils… Wind Top AE2220 AIO

I sure have missed seeing one of those really good looking “kitchen computer” type All-in-Ones, haven’t you? You know, that computer that just seems to blend into your modern minimalistic designed kitchen or living room! Well, MSI seems to have heard my plea and released the Wind Top AE2220, an AIO with a lot of power and that is also quite the looker. Curious to find out more? How about we go exploring this new MSI computer?

If specifications are your thing, I have a full specs sheet that will definitely tickle your fancy in more ways than one. The device sports an Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 Processor (or a Pentium Dual Core T4300, but we all know you’ll go for the Core 2 Duo), has a 21.6-inch screen with a 16:9 display ratio and a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080. You will be quite happy to know that the panel is not only Full HD but also multitouch.

As far as the graphics are concerned, you’ll be extremely glad to know that it sports NVIDIA GeForce 9300 Integrated Graphics (aka NVIDIA ION awesomeness) with 256MB of video memory (quite enough considering what it will be used for). There is, of course, HDMI connectivity, as well as the latest e-SATA support. And just in case you’re the “I’d rather have a mechanical input slash output device” kind of guy you’re probably gonna love that fact that you also get a wireless keyboard and mouse.

The device comes with built-in wireless 802.11 b/g/n connectivity and a 1.3 mp webcam to fit all your video conferencing needs.

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Apple TV 3.0 released

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Apple Introduces Apple TV 3.0 Software With Redesigned User Interface

Enjoy iTunes Extras, iTunes LP & Genius Mixes on Your HD TV

CUPERTINO, Calif., Oct. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Apple® today introduced new Apple TV® 3.0 software featuring a redesigned main menu that makes navigating your favorite content simpler and faster, and makes enjoying the largest selection of on-demand HD movie rentals and purchases, HD TV shows, music and podcasts from the iTunes® Store even better on your TV. You can now enjoy iTunes Extras and iTunes LP in stunning fullscreen with your Apple TV, as well as listen to Genius Mixes and Internet radio through your home theater system. The new Apple TV software is available immediately free of charge to existing Apple TV owners, and Apple TV with 160GB capacity is available for just $229.

“The new software for Apple TV features a simpler and faster interface that gives you instant access to your favorite content,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of Internet Services. “HD movies and HD TV shows from iTunes have been a huge hit with Apple TV customers, and with Apple TV 3.0 they get great new features including iTunes Extras, Genius Mixes and Internet radio.”

The redesigned main menu on Apple TV gives you instant access to your favorite content. Recently rented or purchased movies, as well as other content including TV shows, music, podcasts, photos and YouTube, are accessible directly from the new main menu. The new software also allows Apple TV users to enjoy stunning fullscreen iTunes Extras and iTunes LP, including great new movie titles such as “Star Trek” or classics like “The Wizard of Oz” and albums such as Taylor Swift’s “Fearless (Platinum Edition)” and Jack Johnson’s “En Concert.” iTunes Extras gives movie fans great additional content such as deleted scenes, interviews and interactive galleries. iTunes LP is the next evolution of the music album, delivering a rich, immersive experience for select albums on the iTunes Store by combining beautiful design with expanded visual features like live performance videos, lyrics, artwork, liner notes, interviews, photos, album credits and more.

Now Apple TV users can enjoy Genius Mixes through their home theater system and listen to up to 12 endless mixes of songs that go great together, automatically generated from their iTunes library. Customers can also enjoy Internet radio, allowing them to browse and listen to thousands of Internet radio stations, as well as tag favorite stations to listen to later. Apple TV’s support of HD photos is enhanced with iPhoto Events, which simplifies finding your favorite photos on Apple TV, as well as iPhoto® Faces, which gives access to photos organized by people identified in iPhoto.

Apple TV users have direct access to a catalog of over 8,000 Hollywood films on iTunes including over 2,000 in stunning HD video available for rent or purchase. Users can also choose from a selection of 11 million songs, 10,000 music videos and over 50,000 TV episodes to purchase directly from their Apple TV or browse and enjoy the iTunes Store podcast directory of over 175,000 free video and audio podcasts. Purchases downloaded to Apple TV are automatically synced back to iTunes on the user’s computer for enjoyment on their Mac® or PC or all current generation iPods or iPhones.* iPod touch® or iPhone® users can download the free Remote app from the App Store to control their Apple TV with a simple tap or flick of the finger.

Pricing & Availability

The new Apple TV software is available as a free automatic download to all Apple TV customers. The 160GB Apple TV is available from the Apple Store® (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of $229 (US). Apple TV requires an 802.11b/g/n wireless network or 10/100 Base-T Ethernet networking, a broadband Internet connection and a high definition widescreen TV. Video availability varies by country.

Apple TV easily connects to a broad range of widescreen TVs and home theater systems and comes standard with HDMI, component video, analog and optical audio ports. Using high-speed Wi-Fi, Apple TV automatically plays your iTunes content without setup or management.

*Movie rentals work on iPod classic®, iPod nano® with video, iPod touch, iPhone, iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS.

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Lenovo ThinkCentre business-centric all-in-one leaks

We love a little mystery, especially when that mystery is fuelled by a manufacturer themselves, and Lenovo have done us proud today with a new all-in-one PC.  While the company is no stranger to all-in-ones – we reviewed their IdeaCentre C300 back in August – what makes this unnamed model different is that it’s the first in the Lenovo ThinkCentre range, an all-in-one targeted at business users.

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According to Lenovo’s Flickr account, this desktop is “Lenovo’s first business class, Think-branded all-in-one PC announcing soon at EDUCAUSE 09.”  There’s no spec sheet or name to go along with it, so all we know is that it looks to come with a wireless keyboard and mouse, have an integrated webcam, together with three USB 2.0 and audio in/out ports on the side.

Given the EDUCAUSE 09 launch, it’s also a reasonable assumption that Lenovo might be targeting this ThinkCentre machine at schools and colleges, too.  Could it have a touchscreen?  Might it use Intel’s Pine Trail processors like the KND K1850 we spotted earlier this month?  Only time will tell.

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Ericsson Spider Computer projection-packed concept

The wisdom of designing gadgets that look like spiders when so many people find the many-legged bugs creepy is arguably lacking, but that hasn’t stopped Ericsson.  The company’s latest concept is the so-called Ericsson Spider Computer, a tripod design that will incorporate a full PC, pico-projector, laser keyboard and integrated 3G, and offer the people of 2020 an easily transported computing setup.

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Video demo after the cut

 

Unfortunately that 2020 timeframe means the components of 2009 are a little too large to fit into Ericsson’s wishful-thinking mockup.  Instead the company have been demonstrating a rather more mundane (and arguably less frightening) prototype, which so far only squeezes in the projector, laser keyboard and a multiformat card reader.

Still, you can see the direction they’re going in: why make do with a tiny display and tiny keyboard (or lug around a huge display and a huge keyboard) when you can project them instead?  The track record of low-resolution pico-projectors and finger-hurting laser keyboards doesn’t exactly fill us with confidence, but perhaps the world of 2020 will only ever use soft-touch surfaces.

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GM offers Wi-Fi on select vehicle models

We are slowly getting to the point in America where we can be connected to the Internet and reams of data everywhere we go. We can stay connected on commercial air flights commonly now and internet access is coming to our cars. GM has announced that it will be offering in-vehicle WiFi on select models very soon as a dealer installed option.

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The internet access will be available using Autonet Mobile routers in select GM trucks and SUVs. Autoblog reports that GM will have the WiFi router available as an accessory this month for GMC, Chevrolet, Buick, and Cadillac vehicles. The price for the router and install is $500.

The big catch, as with most mobile broadband plans, is the price of the data service. The service isn’t that expensive at $29 per month. However, that price only gets you 1GB of service and each additional 1GB chunk costs you $29 again. The bigger issue is that the router doesn’t support encryption so anyone within 150 feet of you can log on and use your connection. Download a few HD movies and you can have a large bill.

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Samsung Digimax L85

Remember during the earlier times when your dad has a camera with black and silver trims? Now Samsung decided to restart that fad again by making it look retro. It may look like an old camera, but it has the modern features of a high tech digital camera. It has a 8.1 megapixel lens, sporting a 2.5 inch LD display with an HDMI cable interface. It has an in-built 32MB memory and 5x optical zoom..

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350 Pioneer, a New Phone in the Vertu Line

Space, the final frontier! These are the voyages of the starship Vertu. Its continuing mission to bring luxury phones to people that have too much money in their wallet and just don’t know what to do with it (unlike a person I could tell you about that ‘just can’t handle money’). Meet the 350 Pioneer, a device that is meant to signify humanity’s race to conquer the outer reaches of space. Or for starters… the outer reaches of our known solar system.

Made by Mobiado, the device’s body is built from spacecraft aluminum and was clear anodized to produce an exclusive hard surface that resembles that of a meteor. The mobile phone’s frame is inlaid with sapphire crystal (what do sapphires have to do with space?) while the infrared window has been manufactured from a solid piece of ruby crystal. You’ll be happy to know that Mobiado has paid a lot of attention to even the smallest part of the phone and even the screws are made with gold-plated stainless steel.

Onward towards describing the buttons. They are made from stainless steel and sapphire crystals. Put together, the whole ensemble will be limited to 37 units that are meant to signify the years that passed since the Pioneer 10 spacecraft has been traveling space. The phone obviously has a QWERTY keyboard but also HSDPA, Wi-Fi, GPS, a 2.36-inch screen, 3.2-megapixel camera as well as Bluetooth and microUSB connectivity options.

If you’ve read some of my previous articles regarding the “luxury lineup” subject you probably know that I am not keen on such devices; however, I have to admit the Mobiado 350 Pioneer looks so good that I would get one just for show.

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