Laptop and desktop computers aren't always the most high-profile of products shown at CES, but with an influx of new, thin, ultrabook laptops expected, as well as an updated CPU platform from Intel, you're sure to get a detailed view of what PCs will be on shopping lists for the rest of 2012.
Laptops get thinner We've seen a good handful of ultrabooks already, but the rumor mill says that nearly every computer manufacturer will get in on the act with at least one 13- or 14-inch entry. Remember that an ultrabook (according to Intel's official definition) can include laptops in the 15-inch range, so we may see some of those as well.… Read more
Your wireless network at home, and possibly in your car, is about to get a huge dose of networking supercharge.
In a pre-CES meeting with the press today, Broadcom, maker of chipsets that power popular networking devices, unveiled its plan for the new Wi-Fi specification, called 802.11ac, and demoed its new development in in-car Ethernet cabling technology.
The 802.11ac specification--an industry wireless networking standard confirmed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) back in January--is the upgrade to the existing 802.11n specification and is considered by Broadcom to be the standard for the "post-PC era" of data connectivity. Broadcom cited a report saying that currently 55 percent of wireless clients are non-PC, which includes game consoles, set-top boxes, and mobile devices.
Unlike 802.11n, which is available in both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, the new 802.11ac uses only the 5GHz band and incorporates many standardized techniques that help greatly increase both the data rates and wireless range. It's also backward-compatible with 802.11n clients. According to Rahul Patel, vice president of Broadcom's Mobile and Wireless Group, Broadcom's new 802.11ac chips will offer the following benefits.… Read more
Ultrabooks have arrived. Yet, for many, 2012 will be the first year they seriously consider buying one. If they're the future of laptops, then they have a long way to go before they become what people want in the present.
From one perspective, ultrabooks and the MacBook Air are the most exciting laptops to come around the pike in a long while. From another perspective, they're the sort of laptops that provide the least amount of computing value for the dollar, and are precisely the sort of fancy gadgets that cash-strapped holiday buyers will skip for better deals. After all, computers are commodity devices, right?
Well, yes and no. The iPad and the Kindle Fire have quickly shown that stylish, fun devices can quickly trump beefy specs, although in both cases they're relatively affordable buys. A friend of mine who recently e-mailed me summarizes the ultrabook situation perfectly:
"From my Luddite perspective, it's completely invigorated the laptop market for consumers just when everyone was beginning to crank out the same old 5-pound, 15.6-inch, DVD/Webcam, dual-core whatever machine."
He argued that the size and weight of these laptops are far more important than performance, gaining a family acceptance factor that trumps an ability, for instance, to play PC games with higher-end graphics.
I've had a hard time recommending ultrabooks for everyone, though. While they're getting awfully close to being the "laptop for everybody" that Apple's MacBook Air is currently gunning to be, a few key improvements still need to happen in 2012. As we look ahead to the Consumer Electronics Show, where new laptop announcements are a common occurrence (stunningly enough, CES is less than six weeks away), this is what I hope happens to make ultrabooks more relevant. … Read more
If all goes according to Wilocity's plan, the startup's dream of high-speed wireless networking will take a crucial step toward reality in January.
That's because Wilocity, which is leading the charge for next-generation technology called 802.11ad designed to reach 7 gigabits per second over short distances, plans to show off a variety of devices using its technology at the mammoth CES trade show that month.
"We'll be able to show you what your life would be like on 60GHz," said Mark Grodzinsky, Wilocity's vice president of marketing. He predicts that the first … Read more