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CES 2010 - One thing that is always interesting about CES is the way you can directly compare product offerings right on the show floor. For example, if you want to see how different manufacturers are doing with LCD TVs you can simply walk from booth to booth and compare. We had the chance to do this with a couple of wireless charging systems.
Our first "victim" was WildCharge. WildCharge has now teamed up with PUREPENERGY Solutions to create a company that not only can provide a wireless charging solution but also rechargeable batteries for your portable devices.
WildCharge has taken a universal route to wireless charging. They have created a mat that uses conductive charging technology instead of a "polar" magnetic inductive format. Instead they magnetized only the four charging points on the adapter. The practical upshot of this is that you can place your device (inside its skin) anywhere and at any angle on the charging mat and get power. This means that like other wireless charging solutions you do have to use a skin or an external adapter for most devices.
The metallic strips on the charging pad can also detect if there is a foreign object on the mat. If this happens then the charging power stops. For most portable devices a simple square mat will be enough and should allow you to charge up to three or four devices at ones (as long as they all fit on the pad). If you need more power WildCharge is making higher wattage charging pads to cover your needs.
After speaking with a representative at WildCharge we also found that they are making a few caddy style pads. These will allow for charging of multiple devices (including netbooks) and also offer a stylish way to store the accessories for your WildCharge kit. One of the nice things about these new products is their flexibility. As you can see in the prototype designs you could even configure one to charge a bank of batteries.
In the picture above you will notice that there is a Trek bicycle headlight. This was another of the concept products that we were shown. WildCharge is working with other manufacturers to place their technology directly into their products. This could eliminate the need to have a ton of adapters lying around just to make sure you can charge everything.
The WildCharge technology shows great promise and they were able to show us some very interesting technology that will fit into both the home and business environment. There were a few things that were missing though, one was a portable version of the power pad and the other was a lack of ability to sync an iPhone when using the current skin. Granted the current skin will work with all models of the iPhone, but without the ability to access the data port for sync it could find itself in the drawer more than on the phone. WildCharge did tell us that they are working on resolving that though with future versions of their product and are even working on a charging skin with an external battery.
Next up on the chopping block was Powermat. The Powermat booth was almost impossible to get into during most of the show, but we were able to stop by on the last day and take a peek inside. Once inside we discovered that like WildCharge, Powermat is serious about wireless charging.
Powermat differs from WildCharge in that they use magnetic induction to charge your devices. This technology was originally proposed by Nikola Tesla over 100 years ago (the late 1800's). But Powermat is not simply relying on a principal of Physics to charge your product. They have added in a few features to ensure the maximum efficiency. One of the first is an RIFD handshake that actually allows the charging pad to detect the device and deliver the needed power. Once the device is done charging the Powermat will shut down the charging circuit reducing power draw from the wall. Unfortunately this means that your device will need to be in a very specific place and direction on the mat to receive power. This will limit the number of devices that each pad can charge.
A typical Powermat pad can charge three devices wirelessly and one through a USB port for a total of four devices over one power connection. One nice touch that Powermat adds in is a universal adapter they call the Power Cube. This device comes with a large number of tips right out of the box to cover most portable devices.
As with WildCharge, Powermat is not lying down but busily working on new products. The representative we spoke with told us that they are planning on a slimmer version of their charging skin as well as working with phone manufacturers to actually replace the internal battery and back plate of the phone.
But that is not all, Powermat told us they are working on portable charging pads, batteries for many portable devices, single cell charging pads and even an in-car adapter.
So, which technology is better? That one is hard to say as each uses a different approach to the same problem and each does exactly what they advertise. For now we can say that Powermat seems to be the most advanced in terms of devices and direction. However, WildCharge beats them easily on price ($30 for a WildCharge iPhone Skin Vs $50 for a Powermat) which in the end could mean a faster adoption rate. Both companies are working quickly to get their technology embedded in mobile devices. WildCharge seems to be heading for the "every" device range while Powermat is heading the phone and gadget territory. We have samples of both technologies in house and will be putting them side-by-side to let you know how they work in the very near future. For now both companies bear watching as this technology matures and we see more devices moving away from their tethers to the wall.
Mobile broadband is something that people all around the world take advantage of. It doesn't matter what country you are from, we all want to connect to the internet wherever we are whenever we want. Novatel makes a number of wireless modems that are in use around the world today.
Telefonica has announced that it will be rolling out the new Ovation MC996D USB modem to its customers for euro 49. The new modem will allow for up to 21.6 Mbps download and 5.79 Mbps upload. Those speeds are three times the rate of standard HSPA modems.
The MC996D works on 900 and 2100 MHz networks. It is a global modem and will connect users virtually anywhere in the world. Telefonica will discount the monthly data plan by 50% for the first three months of service.
CES 2010 - We stopped by the CoolIT booth during CES where we got an solid introduction of all the new cooling products that the company is introducing at this time.
Geoff Lyon, CEO of CoolIT goes over the Maestro which is a wireless monitoring system that can display temperatures as well as control fan speeds and adjust LED colors and so on. CoolIT went wireless to reduce cables inside the case, hence improving air flow and performance.
Next up there is the Eco which is similar to the Domino, but does away with the LCD display and of course lowers the price down to a more affordable level. And finally we have the Vantage which is rather similar to the Domino, however it adds in Maestro support.
A rather solid presentation from the folks at CoolIT and Chad should be getting them in soon enough for review to put them through their paces to see what they can really do.
CES 2010 - During our visit to the Intel booth, clearly one of most popular demonstrations was of Intel's newly announced WiDi HD wireless display technology.
So, what the heck is WiDi? This new technology is designed for the newly released Core i3 and i5 laptop platforms along with Intel HD graphics and using wireless and a small box from Netgear and other network companies; you are able to wirelessly transmit your laptop image to a television connection with one of the WiDi boxes.
Garry from Intel was kind enough to give us a rundown of the technology in the video we recorded below.
Goodbye cables, again!
CES 2010 - We just got done covering the latest TRENDnet home router, but now we move onto the mobile side where these folks are offering up a brand new TEW-655BR3G battery-powered 3G/4G travel router.
The device is designed to accept many different USB 3G or 4G modems from various different service providers and share that mobile connection while you are on the go. What is nifty about this product is that it comes with a removable battery that provides a connection for around 1.5 hours.
In the video below, Zac from TRENDnet gives us a full-down on the device which should hit the market soon with a MSRP of $99.99 USD.
Again, Sean will be getting one in for review and he is excited to check it out.
CES 2010 - Yesterday we met with Zac from TRENDnet at their hotel suite here in Las Vegas and they were showing off a full range of their new networking goods.
One product that got our interest was the TEW-673GRU 802.11n router that adds in a color LCD network management screen, a couple of 4dbi antennas (usually 2dbi), WPS and more. This router also supports concurrent dual band wireless and has a very reasonable price tag of around $150 USD.
Watch the video below that we produced as Zac provides us with a good understanding of the product and what it can do.
Sean will be getting one in for review soon to see what it can do when he puts it to the test in his lab.
I am a big fan of wireless computer gear; I have more cables running across my desk than I want. It would be great to shed all those cables and go wireless. Iomega has announced a new external storage interface device called the iConnect that will cut some of those wires.
The device has built-in wireless connectivity and a pair of USB ports that allow the iConnect to be used as a wireless print server and a wireless network storage device, assuming you plug an external hard drive into one of the USB ports. The device supports 802.11b/g/n networks and has a wired gigabit Ethernet port as well.
The iConnect is compatible with Apple Time Machine backups and works with Windows computers as well. It supports CIFS/SMB/Rally (Microsoft), AFP/Bonjour (Apple), HTTP, HTTPS network protocols and can be configured for remote access from anywhere in the world. The device will ship in February for $99.99.
WirelessHD will be given an update in the near future and the companies backing it up have already outlined the goals for this 2.0 revision.
The WirelessHD Consortium says the next-gen WirelessHD specs bring :-
- Data transfer speeds in the range of 10 to 28 Gbps so as to provide enough bandwidth for higher resolution content
- 3D over WirelessHD
- Support for 4K resolution for digital theater-like visuals
- Support for sync'n go file transfers at 1Gbps for portable and fixed devices and for IP connectivity
- Added support for streaming and connectivity in portable devices like media players, netbooks and smartphones
- HDCP 2.0 content protection
The 2.0 standard will be backwards compatible with existing WiHD hardware, whilst as mentioned above, bandwidth increases from the previous 4GBps - theoretical 25Gbps to 10 - 28Gbps. This additional bandwidth gives the ability to handle all of the aforementioned tasks.
But while the pricing for wiHD is still up in the sky, this doesn't mean too much for most of us. Hopefully the group can bring it down to earth in reach of mainstream buyers before too long.
One of the ways that computers can get smaller and consume less power is by going to more efficient and integrated chips inside. If what takes two chips today can be pared down to a single chip tomorrow out portable computers and device can run longer on a single charge.
Ralink has unveiled the world's first single chip 450Mbps 3x3 802.11n AP and client that uses beam forming technology. The chip will be offered in two styles including the RT3883 and the RT3593. The RT3883 has three dual band 2.4/5GHz radios inside, a 500MHz MIPS74K CPU and a variety of connectivity interfaces.
The RT3593 has a 450Mbps client solution with an embedded media access controller, baseband processor, and three 2.4/5GHz radios on a single chip. Both of the devices use the IEEE optional Beam forming technology.
McDonald's in America are feeling generous for 2010 with a plan to offer free WiFi to customers beginning mid-jan next year, where currently it costs $2.95 for 2 hours of access.
In a recent interview McDonald's USA Chief Information Officer, David Grooms said 11,000 of the 14,000 domestic locations across the country will give the free WiFi lovin' after having sealed a deal with AT&T Inc. the restaurant's WiFi provider.