Tuesday 8 january 2 08 /01 /Jan 15:51


Hands On With the Sony Xperia Z and Xperia ZL at CES 2013

LAS VEGAS—It's still early in the show, but I'd like to nominate Sony's new Xperia Z for prettiest phone at CES. Covered all in glass and available in either black or white, it brings to mind a certain phone from Apple, but it still stands out among the rest of the current Android competition.


Looks aside, the forthcoming Xperia Z, as well as the Xperia ZL, are shaping up to be two very strong new phones from Sony. I got to spend some time with them at CES and liked what I saw.


Let's start with the Xperia Z. Although Sony claims that both of these new phones are more or less equally "premium" products, special emphasis was placed on the larger, waterproof Xperia Z. That's right, waterproof. When I think waterproof, I tend to think of something bulky, rubberized, and rugged, like the Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro . But the Xperia Z meets military specifications IP55 and IP57, which means that it's dust resistant and submersible in up to three feet of water for up to 30 minutes.


Of course, you need to make sure all of its ports are closed first, but they're very discrete. The phone is made from tempered glass, which is protected by an anti-shatter film on the front and back of the phone. It's a welcome change from all the smartphones that seem to be growing more and more delicate.

CES 2013 Bug But a durable design is just one of the great features Sony has built into the Xperia Z. When you see it for the first time, you're far more likely to focus on the phone's gorgeous, 5-inch 1080p display. Next to the HTC Droid DNA and the Huawei Ascend D, this is only the third phone we've seen with such an eye-poppingly high resolution. And while the largish screen size means this phone technically falls under our definition of a phablet, the Xperia Z, like the Droid DNA, feels decidedly more like a phone, albeit a big one.



Under the hood is a 1.5GHz, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, along with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage, expandable via microSD slot. The phone also features a 13-megapixel camera with HDR video capture. I didn't get to see any photos taken with the camera, but I did get a chance to use it, and it works very well. It had no trouble getting up super close for macro shots and automatically adjusting to lower light conditions. It can also capture as many successive shots as you want in burst mode.


Sony has added a battery Stamina mode to the phone's settings, which it claims can improve standby by four times or more by automatically shutting down battery-draining apps when the screen is off and starting them up again when it comes back on. There are default modes, but you can also configure it to your liking. You also get Sony's Walkman app, while one-touch functions let you share music, photos, and video via NFC between compatible Sony devices, including televisions.


Not to be shown up, the Xperia ZL is running the same exact hardware and software as the Xperia Z. The main difference here is that the Xperia ZL trades the all-glass construction for a matte plastic material and is actually 25 percent smaller than the Xperia Z, though it manages to pack on the same 5-inch, 1080p screen. And while the Xperia ZL isn't waterproof, it does include infrared capabilities for remote control of compatible Sony devices, which the Xperia Z lacks.


After a somewhat average string of smartphones last year, including the James Bond-themed Xperia TL $449.99 at Sony, the Xperia Z and Xperia ZL phones definitely look like the strong contenders Sony needs to break through in the smartphone market. Sony hasn't announced pricing or carriers yet, but we should probably learn more in the near future.



By batteryshops.com.au - Posted in: Battery Technology
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Monday 7 january 1 07 /01 /Jan 04:23

“Smart” products are a constant presence at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), but this year, intelligence takes on a different meaning. Instead of simply connecting to the Internet, we’ll see devices that can analyze the data we give them and offer recommendations on how to save time and live smarter.


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cheap laptop batteryAt least that’s what the Consumer Electronics Association said in a pre-show press conference Sunday. The International CES show floor officially lights up Tuesday morning.


The vessel for those personalized recommendations is (you guessed it) the app that runs on your device, says Consumer Electronics Association research director Shawn DuBravac. That’s why DuBravac says 2013 is the year of the app.


For example, the show floor this year will feature apps that digitize your posture and tell you to sit up straight, and apps that sync health metrics such as blood-pressure measurements with your calendar to determine which meetings stress you out most. You’ll even find moisture sensors for your plants that text you when it’s time to water them.

In other words, our devices will digitize the data from our physical worlds, analyze it, and offer us advice on what to do. “Whether we listen to that advice is another question, but it’s meant to prompt us into action,” DuBravac said.

Big year for services

Hardware usually garners the lion’s share of CES press, but DuBravac expects more companies to show off services that take advantage of the devices we already own.


“We’re starting to enter a second digital decade,” DuBravac says. “It’s not about acquisition of digital products, it’s about taking advantage of those products.”

As we feed those Toshiba PA3356U-1BRS Battery information about our eating habits, sleeping patterns, work schedules, and social activities, companies are itching to use that information to market still more products and services to us.

“Data is the new currency,” DuBravac said.


And consumer surveys indicate that Americans own a lot of gadgets, DuBravac said. Eighty-five percent of U.S. households have computers, most of which have access to broadband Internet. Smartphones are now in 52 percent of U.S. households. In January 2012, 20 percent of U.S. households had tablets. By the end of the year, tablet penetration had grown to 40 percent, DuBravac said.

Smaller innovations this year

Few tech experts are expecting this year’s show to feature the next game-changing smartphone or newest TV technology, but DuBravac says we can expect to see smaller innovations such as 30 to 40 new laptop designs, higher-pixel density screens (including 50 new Ultra HD TV sets), better voice and gesture-recognition devices, and increased adoption of flexible screens.


Microsoft will have a large presence at CES despite withdrawing from its usual opening keynote slot and gigantic show floor booth. The company’s new Windows 8 operating system is encouraging hardware innovation, according to a report from market research firm GfKand the CEA. Numerous hardware manufacturers will have Windows 8-based tablets, laptops, and desktops on display.

By batterycompany.net.au - Posted in: Tech Info
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Sunday 6 january 7 06 /01 /Jan 13:07

With less than a week to go before this year’s International CES Show in Las Vegas commences, it’s unclear which new products will generate the most buzz among attendees of the massive trade show. However, Ultra HDTVs, Windows 8 tablets, smart appliances, and smartphone apps figure to fight for center stage.


Tech companies tend to be tight-lipped about specific product details in the run-up to the biggest tech trade show of the year, but we expect the march toward total connectivity to continue on the CES showfloor. Camera-equipped smart vacuum cleaners, Internet-connected TVs, mobile apps for controlling your home’s heat, and Wi-Fi cameras that can upload your photos to Facebook will dot the large landscape of the Las Vegas Convention Center.


Though gadgets remain the stars of CES, manufacturers are building on a foundation of hardware innovation with incremental updates, accessories, and apps that connect the gadgets. “We’re seeing not only the broad adoption of technology, but also density is increasing,” says Shawn Dubravac, research director for the Consumer Electronics Association.


Dubravac points to tablet ownership, which has increased from one in ten households less than two years ago to one in three today. Dubravac says that he expects CES 2013 to be “the largest apps show in the world,” a prediction driven by wider adoption of tablets and smartphones.

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“You’re going to see apps influence every aspect of the show,” Dubravac says.

Apple, one of the major drivers behind the growth of smartphones and tablets in recent years, has no official presence at CES; but mobile apps and accessories designed for iPhones, iPads, and Macs will have a strong presence the showfloor. Microsoft won’t be there, either, after ending its CES run last year, but the company and its products will cast a long a shadow as Redmond’s partners in hardware, accessories, and apps display their Windows 8 wares.

Windows 8 dominates

The 2013 edition of CES comes at an awkward for the PC industry. The big Microsoft news, the release of Windows 8, occurred in October. Intel’s upcoming Haswell processor is still a few months away. Graphics chipmakers AMD and Nvidia have new products impending, but are unlikely to launch them at CES.

Windows 8 laptop

The Windows 8 launch, however, positions most PC makers to roll out the bulk of their Windows 8 products at CES. Windows 8 tablets, based on Intel’s latest Atom Z2760 processor, have rarities until now, but we’ll probably see lots of them on display in Las Vegas. Additional hybrid designs are on the way, too, as are more budget-friendly clamshell laptops, with and without touch interfaces.

LG has a number of Windows 8 PCs planned for CES 2013, including its LG Tab-Book H160 hybrid notebook featuring an 11.6-inch display, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI, USB, and a MicroSD slot. At CES, LG also plans to display an Ultrabook version of the Tab-Book, another Ultrabook called the Z360, and a 23-inch touchscreen all-in-one PC, the V325. The H160 is already available in South Korea and is importable via an Amazon third-party seller for $1400. Presumably, LG will announce a U.S. ship date for the H160 during CES.


Aside from the Windows 8 tablets on display next week, we expect to see scores of cheaper, generic alternatives from Asian manufacturers, some with Android Jelly Bean operating systems. Specialized Android tablets are on the horizon, too. Already, as CES approaches, we're hearing talk of tablets aimed at kids, gamers, and seniors.

Smartphone sightings

Windows Phone 8 fans will be excited to see Samsung at Pepcom’s Digital Experience event, which coincides with CES. The electronics giant will show off its ATIV S smartphone at the Monday night showcase. Included in October’s Windows Phone 8 launch event but still awaiting its U.S. debut, the ATIV S is the only Windows 8-powered handset to feature a metallic hairline design, as opposed to the candy-colored looks we’ve seen from HTC and Nokia.

Samsung ATIV S smartphoneSamsung ATIV S

Bearing a strong resemblance to such Android handsets such as Samsung’s Galaxy S III, the ATIV S has a slim design with curved edges and is the only Windows Phone 8 handset to include a physical Home button. The ATIV S also has a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display, an 8-megapixel camera with LED flash, and near-field communication (NFC) sharing.


Speaking of NFC, the wireless connectivity technology is becoming an increasingly common—and expected—feature in smartphones. As more consumers embrace mobile payment apps on their handsets, companies are providing digital coupons or loyalty passes to encourage their use.


Screen sizes continue to get bigger, blurring the line between large smartphone and small tablet. Huawei reportedly plans to promote a super-size 6.1-inch Ascend Mate "phablet" with either 720p or 1080p resolution at this year’s CES. The smartphone was spotted in late December at a Huawei retail store in China, according to Engadget. The massive Ascend Mate will likely feature a 1.8GHz quad-core processor. Observers also expect Huawei to unveil a Windows Phone and several Android-based handsets during the show.


Chinese manufacturer ZTE plans to introduce a new flagship Android phone, the Grand S, at CES. The electronics maker claims that the Grand S will be the world’s thinnest 5-inch phone. The ceramic smartphone will reportedly offer 1080p resolution.


Still, CES may not be the year's best trade show for new smartphone sightings. We expect the lion’s share of 2013 phone announcements to happen at Mobile World Congress, which kicks off on February 25 in Barcelona, Spain.

Apps and accessories

Though Apple doesn’t participate in CES—or any trade show, for that matter—many iOS app developers do make the trek to Las Vegas, touting their latest mobile apps and services at the show. Apps for iOS devices will be everywhere at CES this year, but especially in the form of connected apps that enable iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches to control other devices remotely.


One of the biggest categories for connected apps will be mobile entertainment. The Mobile TV Tech Zone in the Central Hall will showcase a slew of entertainment apps, especially ones that let you stream live TV straight to your iOS device.


We expect Elgato, the company behind the EyeTV tuner that debuted at CES in 2012, to make a new announcement at this year's show. The EyeTV is a small tuner that connects to an iPhone or iPad and receives a TV signal through Dyle’s mobile TV network, which then allows the user to watch live TV through the EyeTV Mobile app. Similar iOS apps designed to turn devices into “second screens” for watching televised content will have a heavy presence on the show floor as well.


Innumerable accessory makers will set up shop at CES, hoping to garner some attention for the add-ons they make for Apple’s smartphone and tablet offerings. Early indications from exhibitors suggest an avalanche of cases designed to protect the high-resolution screens of the iPhone 5 and fourth-generation iPad, along with the recently unveiled iPad mini.


Accessory manufacturers have been particularly enthusiastic about fitness tech. From digital pedometers and heart monitors to scales, apps, Web services, and sport watches, fitness technology should hit its stride at this year’s show.

By batteryshops.com.au - Posted in: Tech Info
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Saturday 5 january 6 05 /01 /Jan 03:49

CES 2012 version b

For the mobile world, CES is an appetizer rather than the main course, but don't worry: There will still be many tasty hors d'oeuvres in Las Vegas next week. We're going to see advances in networks and components that might not be as exciting as the phones themselves, but will make a big difference in the type of phones we see in 2013. And sure, we'll see some cool gadgets, too. Here's what we expect to see at the show.



Phablets (phones with huge screens) are in right now, so we're going to see some monster phones at CES. The 6.1-inch Huawei Ascend Mate may be the biggest phone of the show, in more ways than one. It's already been shown off in China, and it has a quad-core processor and a very, very large screen.


As for phones you can actually fit in your hand, Huawei will be showing off two at CES: the Windows Phone 8-powered Ascend W1 and the Android-powered Ascend D2, which will have a 5-inch, 1080p screen (perhaps the same Sharp display we've seen before on the HTC Droid DNA, which we gave a nod for technical excellence in 2012.)


That 5-inch, 1080p screen will also appear on the ZTE Grand S, another high-end Android phone that's going to get a big intro at a CES press conference.


Joining the Ascend Mate in the "already shown off, but not here" department we have the Samsung Galaxy Grand, which has a much lower-density screen; it's 5 inches, but only 800-by-480 resolution, designed to be the pre-paid world's entry-level phablet.


I'm pretty convinced Sony, LG, and HTC are all holding their big announcements for Mobile World Congress in February, so we won't see a lot in terms of new phones from those companies. Don't worry, they'll have great stuff, you'll just have to wait until February to see it. And how about the Samsung Galaxy S IV? My guess is April.



AT&T and T-Mobile are throwing big events at CES. I expect T-Mobile to announce its first rollout of LTE cities, probably its first LTE phones, and give more details on its merger with MetroPCS and its new iPhone deal. There's going to be quite a lot to chew on there.


AT&T will host a press conference mostly aimed at developers, but the company will give a network update and likely announce several new phones and tablets as well. I'm looking mostly for exciting network news here, such as voice-over-LTE (VoLTE), faster LTE-Advanced, and what it plans to do with a large amount of 2.3GHz spectrum that the FCC just cleared for use.


Sprint isn't planning any events, but remember that the carrier said it would sell a Windows Phone 8 device and Toshiba pa3534u-1brs battery in early 2013. Could a low-key launch at CES be in order?


Verizon seems to be laying low.



The first round of Windows 8 slates just hit shelves, and some tablet makers (such as Asus) are holding back their next-gen Android devices for MWC in February. That said, we've heard a little bit about new tablets so far.


Velocity Micro is mostly known for PCs, but it's already sent out an invite showing a new line of Cruz Android tablets. The Cruz line is a low-cost, relatively generic Android tablet breed sold at Radio Shack and Walmart, among other places.


There's also been some buzz about a $99 Acer Android tablet which would provide similar performance to Amazon's Kindle Fire, but with a more generic build of Android. Some of those reports said the tablet was probably only for the Chinese market, but we could find out more at CES.


We've been hearing rumors about a Nokia tablet, but I don't think that's for this show. Ditto for the Samsung Galaxy Note 7; MWC was the big Galaxy Note show last year, and I think it will be this year too.



Nvidia plans a major press conference at CES. It's probably the Tegra 4 chipset, formerly known as Wayne. According to a spurious "leaked" PowerPoint slide on the Internet, Tegra 4 will drop from a 40nm to a 28nm process, upgrade its CPUs from ARM9 to ARM15 and offer six times the graphics performance of Tegra 3, along with support for 1440p displays.


That said, Nvidia typically releases new Tegras at MWC, so if the CES announcement is different - say, a low-cost chipset with an integrated modem like the already-announced "Grey" - I wouldn't be too surprised.


Samsung is putting a considerable amount of money behind a CES keynote from its chip division. While the speaker, Stephen Woo, is the head of the group that builds processors, the highest-profile discussion right now has Samsung announcing a flexible display for portable devices.


Bring On The Big Show

CES will start the ball rolling, and early 2013 will only get more exciting from there. RIM is releasing BlackBerry 10 on Jan. 30 at its own event. Then comes the world's largest mobile-phone trade show, Mobile World Congress in February, which is sure to have many major announcements.

By batteryshops.com.au - Posted in: Battery Technology
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Friday 4 january 5 04 /01 /Jan 04:43


First impressions

The Olympus Pen Mini E-PM1's cute name and rainbow of colours make it a most beginner-friendly lens-swapping snapper, but the bolt-on flash and viewfinder detract from the sleek and lightweight design.


The pen may be mightier than the sword, but this Pen is mini-er. The new Olympus Pen E-PM1, or Pen Mini, is the first of a new branch of the lens-swapping Pen range. It's one of the smallest interchangeable-lens cameras going, and one of the friendliest in a range of cheerful colours.


The 12-megapixel Pen Mini goes on sale in the autumn, with a versatile 14-42mm kit lens. Prices will be revealed nearer the time.

Mini Micro

It's based on the Micro Four Thirds format and uses Micro Four Thirds lenses, a range of standard-sized glass that gives you different effects for different situations. Panasonic also makes cameras and lenses that use the Micro Four Thirds format, so there's plenty of choice when you're swapping in lenses.


Micro Four Thirds cameras aren't as big as traditional lens-swapping dSLRs. They miss out the mirror mechanism inside, but don't give up any of the features or flexibility, so they're suited to use both as a versatile back-up Asus a32-f9 battery for seasoned photographers and a lightweight option for amateurs looking to get serious. The main drawback of Micro Four Thirds is that the sensor is smaller than in a dSLR, but it's still much larger than the sensor found in most compact cameras.

Learning curve

They're very friendly to use, designed for budding snappers who want to start off with everything in automatic mode and hopefully learn more about photography as they explore the settings and features on offer.


To help beginners achieve high-quality photos, the Pen Mini's Live Guide feature offers handy suggestions that appear on screen to explain your options. These explain different photo effects and techniques in simple terms, so you don't need to understand the complex photographic principles to still come up with professional images.

The Pen Mini comes in a range of exciting colours, including this, er, brown.

For example, when you want a pleasing blurry background to make your photo stand out, you don't need to understand aperture and depth of field, as a simple slider on the screen lets you adjust the background blur. Other options that can be adjusted quickly and easily include colour intensity, lighting mood and motion blur.


You can add special effects to your photos too, and you can see how they'll turn out before you even take the picture. Special effects include vibrant pop art, soft focus and vintage sepia tones. Effects can be added to both stills and video.

Video is 1080i high definition at 60 frames per second. There's a dedicated video button and HDMI output so you can watch your movies on your hi-def TV too.


The camera can snap up to 5 pictures per second for shooting fast-moving action. It has image stabilisation built in to cut down on blurred pictures from shaky hands.


Multi-coloured swap shop

The Pen Mini is about as small as the lens size will allow. The sleek frame comes in black, white, silver, dark brown, purple and pink. Each camera comes with a matching lens ring so you can decorate standard lenses to match your camera. That's probably the widest choice of colours for a lens-swapping snapper, which usually come in conservative black or one or two other colours.


Olympus has put style at the forefront of the Pen range with the kitsch retro styling of the Pen E-PL3 and E-P3, but the PM1 is much more modern-looking. Unfortunately, there's no grip for your right hand, which may be a problem if you've got a larger, heavier lens on the front.


At the top of the camera is a hotshoe to which you can attach a flash, viewfinder or other accessories, including a wireless unit that sends photos to a computer or the Web without needing a cable. The lack of viewfinder or flash built-in means you can only choose one or the other, although a tilting flash is included with the camera, so you don't have to fork out more money to shed more light on a subject.


The Olympus Pen Mini E-PM1's cuddly name and rainbow of colourful options make it perhaps the most beginner-friendly of the lens-swapping cameras on the market. The slimmed-down design is hobbled, however, by the fact you need to bolt on accessories such as a flash or viewfinder on the top.

By batteryshops.com.au - Posted in: Battery News
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