Porn for Noids…

Porn for Noids…

Fear and Noiding in Las Vegas
CES gives us a glimpse of what drool worthy gadgets are coming up and the general direction of consumer electronics technology. The toys we’ll be paying good coin for in a couple of years are tucked away in quiet rooms. With every major electronics manufacturer under the one roof displaying their wares this is the place to be for Noids.
 
Tablets tablets and more tablets, they are all over the show like a rash. Everyone’s making them and all the journalists are writing about them. The only question is do people want to buy them. The iPad has given the manufacturers the confidence to produce them but is an iPad just the sum of its parts, can it be reproduced ? I think of all the tablets Motorola have it right. All of the Motorola gadgets were leading edge but the stand out for me is the Xoom tablet with the latest Tegra chipset. The Xoom has all the right boxes ticked, latest Android OS, latest Tegra dual core chipset, excellent high res screen and sleek. Lets hope its as good to use as the specs sound. A number of phones also showed up running the Tegra chipset. This is some serious hardware and will have a big impact during the year.
 
Angry birds board game looks like hours of fun, so wrong it has to be right. As a table top game it looks hilarious.
 
 
The coolest gadget award has to got to the Razor Switchblade gaming laptop with an LCD on top of each key. The display on each key can change depending on the situation. This probably should also get the award for most likely vapour ware of the show. The manufacturers seem convinced it will make it to market but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
 
Is the CPU world about to heat up or is Nvidia trying to take over the world. ‘Nvidia building its own cpu isn’t a headline maker on its own, this is the sleeper story of the show. When you consider that Microsoft simultaneously announced that a version of Windows 8 will be compatible with ARM cpu’s and therefore will be compatible with the Nvidia cpu, a headline begins to build. Strangely enough though it almost seems like both announcements were from opposite sides of the convention, in isolation of each other. There are also a couple of other pieces to this puzzle, early January a rumour circulated that Windows 8 was weeks away from being passing milestone 2 and being compiled meaning its well underway and about to go into testing. Some fortunate people have seen Windows 8 being demonstrated in darkened rooms at the convention but all reports say it has a tile like interface, like the windows phone 7 OS which just happens to run on the ARM cpu. So I would say the rumours last month were unknowingly talking about an ARM compatible operating system being readied for the convention. The other parts of the puzzle revolve around Nvidia and their desire to enter the cpu market. A number of years ago Nvidia did try to break into the x86 cpu market, this was blocked by Intel, in fact it wasn’t really blocked but shot down in flames and urinated on, then set on fire again just to pee on it some more. Nvidia’s solution was to begin work on an ARM cpu. This decision it turns out could have been the best thing to happen to Nvidia, even though they sulked after being hammered by Intel. Since they started developing they’re little cpu a few years ago the ARM cpu has taken off, just think Apple and Google. Most of their hardware sales are for equipment with ARM cpu’s, phones, tablets, media players, basically everything that’s not a PC has an ARM cpu in it. But the final twist in Nvidia’s story is held in the hidden fruits of their labour, Project Denver. Unlike the Tegra 2 Arm processor which is being used in phones and tablets,  Project Denver is a desktop and server processor. This processor bucks the trend of trying to cut power and do more with less, instead it just tries to do more, much more. So very shortly you will see desktops and servers with an Nvidia cpu at its heart running a mix of operating systems, Windows, Android, iOS and Chrome. Chrome is an interesting subject in itself, I would put money on a Google Chrome PC being one of the first with ‘NvidiaCPU Inside’ stickers on it. Is the Intel castle showing cracks, can Nvidia scale the walls and will they ever make another good batman film. Stay tuned for more.
 
In the last 5 years a large proportion of the gadgets at CES have been interface devices. Interface technology has advanced so much recently that interfaces are now more about how we interact with the machine.  The keyboard and mouse will always be around but the new category of interactive hardware is everywhere. Rather than making the users jump through hoops to work the user interface, the new technologies are based on our natural ways of interacting. Talking, touching, moving are all things we do naturally, even cavemen did them and now computers are understanding these forms of interaction. Interface is now being replaced with interaction. My favourite demonstration of this at the show are the Microsoft Surface, imagine a 6 foot wide tablet running windows 7, my coffee table computer is no longer a dream people. I think Steve Jobs and Apple have played a big role in this evolution. Jobs’ piece of brilliance was asking why don’t PC interfaces work in human compatible ways, instead of people working in computer compatible ways. Touch screen PDAs had been around for years but most people found it painful to use, plastic pens that don’t have any ink, only the nerdiest amongst us were willing to put up with it. The combination of touch with  an ordinary every day finger and gesture motions was a game changer. Even Microsoft’s Kinect is just an advanced gesture reading camera. The tablets makers have to realize this, a tablet is nothing but a way of interacting.
 
And the Biggest Loser of the show is 3D display technology, low sales, premature and dangerous. The warnings coming with all 3d devices are a little concerning.
 
And the worst headline of CES goes to the website International Business Times with ‘Its raining tablets at CES Las Vegas: Take your bet?’
 
Photos from Gizmag, Microsoft and VentureBeat
 
Buddhas Brother out…

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