Xiaomi launches Mi TV 3 with a 70-inch 4K display

Xiaomi launches Mi TV 3 with a 70-inch 4K display

After launching its 60-inch Mi TV 3 back in October 2015, Xiaomi is back with an even bigger model. The Chinese smartphone maker has announced a new 70-inch version of the Xiaomi Mi TV 3 with a 4K display that goes on sale in its home market it China. The TV was surprisingly announced at a recent Mi Pop Festival and is priced 9999 Yuan (approximately Rs 101,900).

Xiaomi Mi TV 3 70 inch front

The 70-inch Mi TV 3 is currently the biggest television offering from Xiaomi. The TV  that comes with a separate sound bar sports a crisp 4K array packed into a metallic body that is12.9mm at its thinnest point and 38.6mm at its thickest. The Mi TV 3 features a high color gamut, MEMC motion compensation with a 120Hz refresh rate and a world-class independent sound system.

Xiaomi Mi TV 3 70 inch top with sound bar

Considering that this is an Mi device made by Xiaomi, we also get some details about its hardware. According to the post put out by Xiaomi, the Mi TV 3 70 inch uses Mi TV Bar to link the display. The Mi Tv Bar is a powerhouse and packs in a MStar 6A928 processor with Cortex- A17 1.4GHz CPU and Mali-760 MP4 GPU. 2GB DDR3 RAM and 8GB eMMC 5.0 as well. Connectivity options inlcude, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 LE, HDMI 2.0 (3x), Micro-USB, USB 3.0, and Ethernet port. And just in case you were wondering, the TV also supports plenty of video formats including H.265 4K at 60 or 30fps.

The older Mi TV 3 with a 60-inch display is 11.6 mm at its thinnest and 36.7mm at its thickest. The Mi TV 3 is also equipped with LG 4K display. In comparison, the 70-inch version utilizes a 4K display made by Sharp. The 60-inch Mi TV 3 is priced at CNY 4,999 (approximately Rs 51,000), which is quite the price jump for 10 inches of real estate, but the prices are still a lot lower when compared to international brands.

Jolla announces that it is unable to fulfill all Jolla tablet crowdfunding perks

Jolla announces that it is unable to fulfill all Jolla tablet crowdfunding perks

Jolla has announced that the serious financing challenge in November-December had unfortunately had a bigger impact on the Jolla tablet project, and as the financial situation is improving, the company is actively planning the best way to finalise the project and to find a solution that fits towards both – Jolla tablet contributors as well as future business plans, along with the investors.

According to the Jolla Blogpost, “We don’t have all pieces of the puzzle figured out just yet, but a few things are now certain: we are happy to say that we will be shipping an additional small batch of the Jolla Tablet to early backers during early 2016, targeting to send invitations during January. The bad news here is that we are not able to complete the production to fulfil all contributions. In other words, all of our backers will not get a Jolla Tablet. However, you can be sure you will not end up empty handed. We might even have some positive surprises in stock for you. But more on that will follow, feel free to speculate!”

Last year, Finland’s Jolla, the Nokia break-away operating system company that transformed its erstwhile MeeGo operating system into Sailfish, will also focus on India, but only on the software platform, in an attempt to expand in fast-growing markets. As part of its changed strategy, the Finnish brand will also tie up with local e-commerce and apps to provide regional content on the operating system itself.

Expect smarter and friendlier gadgets at the tech show

CES 2016: Expect smarter and friendlier gadgets at the tech show

From drones, cars and robots to jewelry, appliances and TVs, the new technology on display at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show promises to be smarter and friendlier than ever.

The annual tech extravaganza with more than 3,600 exhibitors set to formally start on Wednesday in Las Vegas is likely to see innovation across a range of sectors, from health care to autos, connected homes, virtual reality and gaming.

“There are always a couple of winners at CES, and sometimes there are the sleepers that turn out to be the cool thing,” Gartner analyst Brian Blau told AFP. But Blau said the innovations are “often evolutionary, not revolutionary.”
Televisions will play starring roles at the show as usual, with giants such as Samsung, Sony, LG and Vizio among contenders in a market rapidly shifting to ultra-high definition.

“We are in the sweetest of the sweet spot in the TV market,” NPD analyst Stephen Baker told AFP while discussing CES.

“Sales of 4K TVs are exploding right now,” he said, referring to the popular new high-definition format.

Drones are also expected to make a splash at CES, where an Unmanned Systems Marketplace has doubled in size from a year earlier to cover 25,000 square feet (2,300 square meters).

Blau expects the drones on display at the show to be more sophisticated, with easy controls and even applications that let them be operated using smartphones.
“If you want to make it popular with consumers you have to make it relatively easy to use and foolproof,” he said. “And that is what a lot of drone manufacturers have been doing.”

Apple presence felt
Electronics makers are also using building smart technology into all manner of devices, allowing them to adapt to how people use them, responding to voice or gesture, for example.

“A lot more of your devices are going to run with less direction from you but a greater sense of how to help you out,” Blau said.

The trend of once-dumb devices getting smarter will continue to include light bulbs, remote controls, thermostats and other devices in the home as well as “wearables” such as jewelry or clothing.

“We are going to see a lot of wearables, and more smart clothes than last year,” Blau said.

Apple does not officially attend CES, but smart household products tuned to the technology giant’s HomeKit and controlled by iPhones were expected to be plentiful.

Samsung and Google-owned Nest were also expected to make moves to be at the center of smart homes, where the market is vexed by the lack of a single standard or system for devices to speak with each other.

Spotlight on cars
Cars rolled out at CES may also showcase the potential for digital technologies enhancing consumer goods, according to NPD analyst Baker.

Mark Boyadjis of IHS Automotive referred to cars as a “core pillar” of the show.
Innovation in cars is changing the way people interact with vehicles, as technology handles more and more aspects of driving.

“In the long run, it means maybe delivering cars without steering wheels, or steering wheels that can be moved or put away,” Boyadjis said.

“It means physical buttons may all but be gone, being replaced by display, gesture recognition, speech recognition.”

A record 10 automakers will be showing at CES along with at least 115 automotive tech companies, according to the Consumer Technology Association, which organizes the show.

Virtual reality spreads
CES will also boast a big section devoted to virtual reality, as product makers jump into the trend ahead of the expected releases in 2016 of headsets from Oculus, Sony, and Valve.

It remained to be seen whether new contenders would step up to challenge “the big three” in VR, but CES goers would likely see uses of the technology extended beyond gaming, according to Blau.

CES will, of course, have its share of colorful creations including a Haier moving refrigerator designed to resemble the beloved R2-D2 of blockbuster “Star Wars” film fame.

“As for what sells, we won’t know that until later this year,” Baker said of the sea of offerings set to go on display.
The premier consumer electronics show set a record last year with more than 176,000 people attending.

At this year’s CES, officially open from January 6-9, organizers aim to cap attendance at that level with security ramped up in the wake of last month’s attacks in California.

“While we know of no credible threat against CES, we remain vigilant,” said Gary Shapiro, president of CTA, formerly the Consumer Electronics Association.

Virtual Reality technology could rule in 2016

Virtual Reality technology could rule in 2016

Following years of hype, 2016 looks to be the year that Virtual Reality (VR) actually becomes real as firms like HTC, Sony and Samsung propose to launch equipment this year to make this possible.

The HTC Vive, Sony’s PlayStation VR, Facebook’s Oculus “Rift” and Samsung’s “Rink” headset will be seen in the market in the next few months, BBC reported on Saturday.

Virtual reality is a computer-simulated reality (in a device) that replicates, via photos, an environment that simulates a physical presence in places in the real world or an imagined world, allowing the user to interact in that world.

Virtual reality artificially creates sensory experiences which can include sight, hearing, touch and smell.

For example, with a VR device you can climb Mount Everest making your way gingerly across a shaky bridge while trying not to look down into an icy chasm — all while sitting on a couch in your house.

The devices may be showcased at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that will be held from January 6 to 9 in Las Vegas.

The HTC Vive is seen as the device providing the best VR experience. Its launch, slated for last year, was delayed for some further tweaking.

Sony’s PlayStation VR and Facebook’s Oculus “Rift” headsets can be seen in the markets in the next few months while Samsung has big plans to unveil its “Rink” at the CES.

Apart from gaming, Virtual Reality technology may prove to be a ground-breaking technology in many areas of life, the report said.

Two psychologists from London, Ashley Conway and Vanessa Ruspoli, developed a system that uses Oculus’ Rift headset to treat patients with phobias.

Their company Virtual Exposure Therapy aims to give patients exposure in a virtual world to the thing they fear.

“It is not the real world but a very visceral experience. You get a physiological reaction. It is a really good bridge between not being able to do something and doing it in the real world,” Conway explained.

But we will have to wait a little longer for the launch, price and feedback details of the respective devices.

Qualcomm to reveal drone-specific processors; Intel acquires drone maker Ascending Technologies

CES 2016: Qualcomm to reveal drone-specific processors; Intel acquires drone maker Ascending Technologies

Looks like, drones could become one of the hottest trends of 2016 in the tech world.

Now, just ahead of CES 2016, Qualcomm has released new video revealing features of the Snapdragon Flight drone platform. It is powered by Snapdragon 801 and the board has been designed to support 4K, quick charge, capability to communicate using dual-band 2×2 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and GNSS location chips.

The drone can easily return back to its launch pad by avoiding obstacles, which means it can come back to its starting point without the need to control it. The Qualcomm Flight drone promises up to an hour of battery life on a single charge. The video shows a 4K capable camera, a down-facing tracking camera and stereo cameras for visual inertial odometry. Qualcomm will most likely reveal more about the drone at CES 2016.

Meanwhile, Intel has ensured that it isn’t late to the party. Another report highlights that the company has acquired German drone firm Ascending Technologies. According to Re/code, Intel has acquired startup Ascending Technology for an undisclosed amount. Intel is holding a keynote at CES and the company may reveal more details then.

At CES 2015, Ascending Technologies had helped Intel show off a game of ‘drone ping pong’ that was demonstrated using a hovering drone that automatically moved away from approaching people and obstacles. The flying robot AscTec Firefly was equipped with up to six of Intel’s RealSense depth cameras.

iBall Slide Cuddle 4G tablet launched

iBall Slide Cuddle 4G tablet launched at Rs 9999

iBall has announced its budget Slide Cuddle 4G tablet in India. The tablet packs in basic hardware with 4G connectivity as the highlight and is priced at Rs 9,999.

The design of the iBall Slide Cuddle 4G is fairly basic. You get a slab of glass with rounded corners on the front, with what appears to be a faux-metal frame, while the back is made of plastic with the red Slide branding.

In terms of hardware, the specs are fairly basic considering that this a tablet priced at Rs 9999 and not a smartphone. On the front we get a 6.95-inch IPS display sporting a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. Inside, we get 1GHz ARM Cortex A53 64-bit quad-core processor coupled with 2GB of RAM. The tablet packs in 16GB of internal storage and will support cards of up to 64GB in capacity via the microSD card slot.

iBall Slide Cuddle 4G Tablet Back

On the back we get an 8 MP AF camera with an LED flash, while the front-facing camera gets a 5MP sensor. Connectivity options being the highlight, the Cuddle packs in a dual SIM set up with dual standby support for 4G bands. Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and a micro-USB connector, which also supports USB OTG.

Hardware aside, the Cuddle 4G runs Android 5.1 Lollipop and also supports 21 regional languages. These include Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Manipuri, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santali, Sindhi, Tamil, and Telugu.

Lenovo launches ThinkPad X1 Yoga and ThinkPad X1 Carbon ultrabooks

CES 2016: Lenovo launches ThinkPad X1 Yoga and ThinkPad X1 Carbon ultrabooks

Lenovo has given a shot in the arm to its ThinkPad portfolio this CES. Along with the modularThinkPad X1 Tablet, Lenovo has also announced the ThinkPad X1 Yoga which also comes with OLED display and the ThinkPad X1 Carbon ultrabooks for the business professionals.

ThinkPad X1 Yoga will be available starting January from $1,449 (approx Rs 96,300). OLED models will be available from April onwards and pricing for the same will be revealed then. ThinkPad X1 Carbon will be available starting February from $1,299 (approx Rs 86,300).

yoga 1

The ThinkPad X1 Yoga, as the name implies, brings the flexibility we have seen in Yoga notebooks on the ThinkPad business line of laptops. This will also be coming with an optional Samsung OLED display variant. In terms of specifications, the X1 Yoga features a 14-inch 2560×1440 pixel display, 6th generation Intel Core i7 Pro series processor along with Intel HD 520 graphics, 16GB of RAM, 1TB of SSD storage. The X1 Yoga will also come with LTE WWAN support. There are three USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, a mini DisplayPort, finger print reader, microSD card slot and an audio jack. It also features a stylus pen which is housed within the notebook.

Carbon

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon carries on the design from the past models along with the rugged military grade testing standards. It sports a 14-inch display and measures just 16.51mm thick with a weight of 1.17kg. You can add upto 6th gen Intel Core i7 Pro processor, up to 1TB of SSD storage and has an optional LTE-A WWAN port and WiGig docking. It also comes with a finger print reader and Lenovo’s Trusted Platform Module security chip. Both the laptops come with Windows 10 Pro operating system.

Among the optional accessories you get the ThinkPad X1 Wireless Touch Mouse which can also function as a touchpad presenter will start selling from end of January at $69.99 (approx Rs 4,700). ThinkPad X1 In-Ear Headphones will be available starting January for $69.99 (approx Rs 4,700). The ThinkPad X1 Sleeve will be available starting February for $50 (approx Rs 3,400).

Asus ZenWatch 2 launched in India

Asus ZenWatch 2 launched in India; prices start at Rs 11,999

Asus has finally announced its much-awaited smartwatch in India called the ZenWatch 2. The Asus ZenWatch 2 that is powered by Android Wear is the successor to the original ZenWatch and will be available in two versions priced at Rs 11,999 and Rs 14,999 respectively.

The Asus ZenWatch 2 comes in two sizes. There is a smaller WI502Q model that comes with 1.45-inch display sporting a resolution of 280×280 pixels(273 ppi) and a bigger model (WI501Q) that sports a 1.63-inch AMOLED display with a screen resolution of 320×320 pixels (278 ppi). Both ZenWatch 2 models offer 2-finger touch support.

Coming to the internals, we get a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 SoC (similar to what we get on the 2nd generation Moto 360) with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. The ZenWatch 2 uses Bluetooth 4.1 and Wi-Fi for connectivty.

Asus ZenWatch 2 Green Front

Powering all of the above is a 300mAh battery inside the smaller WI502Q model, while the bigger WI501Q packs in a 400mAh unit. Both units charge via a magnetic charging cable and are IP67 certified. Thanks to some customisations, Asus claims that its ZenWatch 2 will deliver up to three days of battery life with a single charge. The ZenUI customisations also add a few features like finding your smartphone using the smartwatch and others like the ability to mute a call by covering the ZenWatch 2 with your hand.

The Asus ZenWatch 2 will be available with a 22mm and 18mm rubber and leather straps and will be available on Flipkart starting from 5 January. Asus also has plans to make the same available via its Asus Exclusive Store but this is planned for a later time.

Less than 1 percent of PCs will be able to support Virtual Reality (VR) headsets

Less than 1 percent of PCs will be able to support Virtual Reality (VR) headsets: Gartner

2016 is slated to be the year for Virtual Reality or VR headsets. These are those very headsets that have been in testing for a more than a year now and manufacturers like Sony, HTC and many even Facebook would like to cash in on this year.Virtual Reality headsets like HTC Vive, Sony’s PlayStation VR, Facebook’s Oculus “Rift” and Samsung’s “Rink” will soon be available for sale delivering an immersive entertainment experience that is mainly focussed on gaming.

Clearly, we can expect to get plenty of updates from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2016, which takes place this week in Las Vegas. Bloomberg claims that more than 40 exhibitors will be demonstrating VR products, which is a 77 percent increase from 2015. But as the same report points out, there is a a bit of a problem.

Virtual Reality headsets like HTC Vive, Sony’s PlayStation VR, Facebook’s Oculus “Rift” and Samsung’s “Rink” will soon be available for sale delivering an immersive entertainment experience that is mainly focussed on gaming.

Nvidia, who is the largest maker of computer graphics chips points out that while VR headsets will be out this year, the problem lies in the fact that just 13 million PCs have the power to fuel a Virtual Reality (VR) experience.

And 13 million is a small number. According to research firm Gartner, the high-end PC’s that are required to run a VR experience form just 1 percent of the 1.43 billion PCs expected to be in use globally in 2016.

What all of the above implies, is that while we all will be craving for a virtual reality experience, few of us will be able to experience because owners will need to upgrade their systems. This applies more to PC, than anything else as a system incapable of delivering the required frame-rate in a VR experience is bound to make the user suffer from motion sickness. Current PC gaming systems aim for 30 fps while some console titles gun for 60 fps VR on the other hand requires 90 fps as the minimum and that is with not one, but two screens (one for each eye).

Image: Sony

Sony PlayStation VR Image: Sony

As for Sony PlayStation VR, it will be used in conjunction with its PlayStation 4 video game console. Then again, a report from Polygon also confirms that headset will connect into a unit about the size of a Wii before being plugged into the main console unit. So while the PS4 has the chops to run the games, it will need additional hardware to interact with VR headset.

Still then, VR adoption is said to be big in 2016. IHS Research estimates that 7 million VR headsets will be in use by the end of 2016 which is a pretty big number.  Fuelling all of those VR experiences is said to be VR content which includes gaming and other entertainment content,  an area that Sony seems to have its eyes on. And producing content for a smaller VR audience is going to be tricky as CEO, Mark Zuckerberg highlighted during a recent earnings call, “There already is some very good content,” he said. “But until there are millions of units out in the market, I don’t expect that to be a big industry for folks to be investing a huge amount in 2016.”. Clearly, investing in VR content for the current year is another debatable topic altogether, so one expect a slow start.

Motorola Moto 360 (2nd Gen) Men’s Collection launched

Motorola Moto 360 (2nd Gen) Men’s Collection launched; prices start from Rs 19,999

Motorola has launched a new Moto 360 smartwatch collection based on the same Moto 360 (2nd Generation) which was launched in December last year. The new Men’s Collection now features more options such as cognac leather, black leather and black metal variants that have gone on sale via Amazon. In addition, one will also find a larger Moto 360 with the 46mm case in the cognac leather variant which is exclusive to Amazon.

The bigger cognac leather with a 46mm case is priced at Rs 20,999, while the standard version sells for Rs 19,999. The other variants include a black leather version priced at Rs 19,999 and an black metal version priced at Rs 23,999.

Motorola Moto 360 2nd Gen Mens Collection Cognac Leather

Launched on 1 December 2015, the Moto 360 (2nd Gen) packs in better internals compared to its predecessor. The device packs in a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 with a backlit LCD display that packs in a 1.2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor and 512MB of RAM. The smartwatch packs in 4GB of internal storage, runs Google’s Android Wear and is IP67 dust and water resistant.