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Impressive Prototypes - CES 2013

As booths are taken apart and lights are taken down, the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is officially over for 2013. People from all over the world gathered from January 8th - 11th for the event that took place in Las Vegas.

To start off, let's start gaming.

If you're really into gaming, computer gaming specifically, you may have heard of the company, Valve. Valve, who is popular for the 'Steam' community, had a lot of buzz going around at this year's conference. It was announced, that could be a big threat to Nintendo, that the company will be releasing a new game box shortly, that will bring PC gaming straight to the TV, without the need of connecting to a computer. The prototype doesn't feature everything like the Xbox and Playstation do, (like multimedia and Video-on-Demand services) but still poses a threat to Nintendo, as they just launched their social features only in December. Valve is working with Xi3 Industries to produce their console.

Nvidia's 'Project Shield' (Jered Newman /
While Valve takes all the buzz for a new gaming console, Nvidia (best known for PC graphics processors and more recently, mobile chips) took center stage with their new handheld console, Project Shield. (Watch demo of the device) The device is a bit larger than the size of an Xbox gamepad, which features Nvidia’s Tegra 4 processor inside. A 5-inch, 720p touch-screen folds out from the controller, much like an older Nintendo Gameboy would.

Featuring an Android operating system, the handheld console has many different features. One feature that seemed to grab the attention of attendees of CES, was the device playing PC games over a home network. (With the requirement that the PC has a newer Nvidia graphics card.) Attendees were pleased to notice that lag was insignificant while playing games like Call of Duty: Black Ops II. The device can also play Android games.

Leaving games behind, let's talk about something that didn't catch quite as much buzz, but is still intriguing to hear about.

Courtesy of The New York Times 
This device is called ivee. Ivee is an alarm clock, but with a twist -- this clock has voice-recognition software. You say "Hello ivee," and the device responds with a "Hello." Then, you simply tell it what time to wake you up.

Not impressed yet?

Well, ivee can also connect to wi-fi connections. Connect ivee to your home network and it can serve as a voice-control central for any wi-fi capable device that may or may not already have voice-recognition software. Demonstrations included using ivee to change the temperature on a thermostat. Or using it to tell a Roomba vacuum to clean up in an area. Or use it in conjunction with a Belkin smart plug to turn on and off a lamp. The wi-fi also allows ivee to get simple information from the web, as well, such as the weather forecast for a nearby city.

As ivee is just in the beginning stages of being produced, not many companies have provided ivee with their application programming interfaces, or APIs, which still makes things a little hard. For things to really take off, the companies founder, Jonathon Nostrant, is hoping to work out some more business connections.

So as CES 2013 has closed it's doors, everybody here at VegasKidReviews has been impressed with the many impressive prototypes that may never be made for the public market. After seeing all of these new gadgets, I know that I can't wait to see what's going to be revealed at CES 2014!


Are 2 Touch Screens Better Than One?

This Sunday, April 17th, a new kind of touch-screen phone will be available for purchase through Sprint. This touch-screen phone is out of the ordinary. Not only does it have a touch-screen, it features a second touch-screen that can be used side-by-side.

The Kyocera Echo looks like a normal Android phone at first glance, although a little thicker than usual. First thoughts is that it has some kind of fancy slide-out keyboard -- but no, it doesn't! Under the first touch-screen, is another touch-screen. A special hinge design allows the top touch-screen to slide up and be positioned directly next to the lower screen for side-by-side use. Use of the two screens can be very useful and productive side-by-side. You are able to use one app on both screens, or even split the screens and have two different apps open at once for use. Turn the Echo sideways, and you are able to view the Web on a combined total of a 4.7 inch screen.

At a 6.8 ounce phone, the Kyocera Echo is noticably heavier than the other competing phones; such as the iPhone 4 at 4.8-ounces, the Blackberry Bold 9700 at 4.3-ounces, etc. From sources able to have a preview of the phone, when in a phone call, the 0.68-inch thick phone seemed bulky; although, the calls sounded fine.

At this point, users are worried about battery life with the two seperate touch-screens. Sprint estimates the total talk time to be up to 7 hours. The phone does come with a spare battery that can be swapped with the original, or even act as a power source with the right accessories.

The $200 phone (with 2-year contract) must be used with one of Sprint's Everything Data plans that start at $70 a month, plus a $10 premium data charge each month. Like other smart phones, the Echo is hot-spot enabled to host up to 5 devices for an extra $30 each month.

[original article found on The Wall Street Journal]


White iPhone 4 Confirmed by Apple!

It looks like the white iPhone that is always delayed for reasons never explained by Apple will be coming out this Spring.

Ten months after the release of the iPhone 4, Apple has confirmed the release with The Wall Street Journal that is, without a doubt, coming this Spring. Apple never specified a release date or what carrier(s) the phone will be available on.

When the iPhone 4 first unvieled, Steve Jobs held in his hand a white iPhone 4. But when pre-orders started for the device, only the black model was available for order. At that time, Apple released a statement saying that the white iPhone was "more challenging to manufacture than expected" and they would have to delay the release for that version. This hasn't been the first time this has happened though. All iPhone owners know of the continuous delays for this model with every unviel of the iPhone.

At this point, with all the rumors of the delay of the iPhone 5, many are convinced that Apple is doing this to distract attention from the delay of the 5th generation iPhone. Especially since they WWDC seems to be more of a software release than a product release, this is looking more likely to be a distraction.


Steve Jobs hid iPad Development from Google's Eric Schmidt

Courtesy of MacTrast
There is no doubt that Jobs was furious when he saw Android's "pinch to zoom" feature while on a trip to Google's headquarters. Jobs reportedly hid Apple's iPad development from Google CEO, Eric Schmidt - even though Schmidt was on the board of directors at the time.

Steve Levy recently published a book about the complex relationship between Apple and Google. It specifically describes the battles between CEO's Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt. In the book, you will be able to read about the in's and out's of Google and how they started as a company and how they started to get involved with Apple, Inc.

Now back to the original post:

Jobs was fairly upset towards Google because he felt they were "ripping off" some of the iPhone's best features and incorporating them into the Android OS. After the news of this, Jobs felt he wasn't able to trust Schmidt any longer, who, at the time, held a seat on Apple's board of directors, each of which held details of Apple's innovations in technology. Eventually, Schmidt stood down for Apple's board, and the iPad was released only 6 months later.

The book is available for order from Amazon and includes Jobs referring to Google's "Don't Be Evil" motto as "Bullshit".

Apple in the Process of an HDTV?

There has been some past talk about Apple going into the HDTV business, but nothing has made it evident that it's a possibility, until now. Brian White, an analyst with Ticonderoga Securities, was recently at a China electronics trade show. He mentioned in a not to investors that he was able to get "data points" that show the production of a "Smart TV" release by Apple, as soon as the end of the year. Here is a quote by White:
"Our research suggests this Smart TV would go well beyond the miniature $99 second-generation Apple TV that the company released last fall and provide a full-blown TV product for consumers"
He continued on to say that Apple has been suspected to enter the HDTV market by company watchers, the Mac maker now appears to be "movind down this path at a faster pace than the market expected."
"The combination of Apple's powerful ecosystem, industrial design savvy, powerful brand and ability to reinvent product categories could make Apple a powerful force in the TV world over the next few years"
Courtesy of MacTrast
One analyst of Piper Jaffray, Gene Munster, seems to continually insist that an Internet-connected HDTV from Apple is expected. He has repeatedly forecast that Apple will introduce such a product in the years to come, with a price around the $2,000 range.

A product as expected form Munster, could have a lot of possibilities, such as a subscription service to iTunes which could allow users access to content at a flat-rate price. This possibily could very well negate the need for any kind of cable box or DVR. Although, White's public not gave no indication of any of the possibilities to come along with the TV, Apple has had a great amount of experience with HD displays on it's iMac desktop, which includes their first release of their 27-inch iMac in 2009.

Earlier in this year, Apple announced that they have invested $3.9 billion of their cash reserves to secure key components for their multiple products. At the announcing of this, many assumed the money would have gone toward securing displays for their products, including the iPhone and iPad. But Munster believes that the multi-billion investment is just more evidence of an Apple HDTV release. As he said in February, he believes that Apple would be able to build a TV up to 50 inches, though he predicted that a product of such size wouldn't launch until the early calendar year of 2012, at the earliest.

A Possibly Carbon Fiber Housing For The Next iPad?

iPad Carbon Fiber Mock-up. Courtesy of Gizmodo
 Last November, news rose quickly about Apple's patent for a carbon fiber casing for the iPad. Although the carbon fiber would make the iPad a lot lighter than with the aluminum housing, the carbon fiber can crack or break if it's bent or too much pressure is put on it. Within the patent, they describe a way to create a "reinforced device housing" that will help against those problems.

Well, just recently, Apple hired Kevin Kenny, a Senior Composites Engineer. Kenny started work at Apple this month after working for fourteen years at Kestral Bicycles, where he built and designed carbon fiber bicycles. The question is now, where is he going to direct his attention, and what products is he going to be working with? Will he be working on the MacBook? the iPad? or what about the iPod? Who knows... maybe he's working with multiple iProducts!?

But I can assure you one thing! There's no way that Apple is going to be coming out with an iBike!


iPhone 5 Not Released Until Early 2012?

Everybody is used to the "norm" when it comes to Apple's releases of products. One of the most known release is the iPhone at the WWDC, which will happen June 6-10 this year, is the next-generation iPhone. Each year since the first iPhone came out, an announcement has been released at WWDC for the newest iPhone release. This year, there are more rumors than usual expecting the iPhone release to be delayed this year or maybe even into the beginning months of next year. Analysts Avian Securities are making a pretty big claim that the iPhone 5 won't be into production until September. With production not starting until September, this would probably lead into a late-2011 or early-2012 release.

This claim was brought up by a conversation that Avian Securities had with a "key component supplier". The conversation is below, in full:
Supporting out comments over the last month, conversations with yet another key component supplier indicates that production for iPhone-5 will begin in September. This is consistent with Avian findings in the supply chain in recent months and we believe the consensus view is moving towards this scenario. In addition, our conversations also indicate the existence of a lower-spec/lower-priced iPhone in Apple's roadmap.
However, while our contacts have seen the placeholder in the Apple roadmap, they do not yet have insight into specs or production timing. This leads us to believe that any launch is likely a very late 2011 or more likely a 2012 event.
As a reminder, Avian has uncovered several data-points in recent months pointing to the existence of a lower-spec/lower-price iPhone. A lower-spec/lower-price iPhone has also been speculated in the press and gadget blogs, though we do not believe consensus currently discounts the existence of such a model.
While nobody has anybody clear evidence as to why the above conversation isn't true, there is no evidence showing that this information is false. Even though Apple has had consistent summer releases of the iPhone at WWDC, when you add up all of the rumors and and current events that can harm production of certain aspects of the phone (such as the Japan earthquakes), an end of the year release seems more and more likely. I guess one positive thing mentioned in the above conversation is the lower-spec/lower-priced iPhone possibility. It will be interesting to see what Apple does to make the iPhone more affordable.