Category Archives: Future Tech

Is the PC almost dead?

Microsoft and Intel are doing their best to save the PC industry. The Computex trade show in Taiwan will feature new form factors utilizing the latest releases from Intel and a the version of Microsoft’s Windows, Windows 8.1. Wintel lives on. We have seen the onslaught of Windows 8 devices that has opened the door for evolution of the existing laptop and tablet devices. There are now many new hybrid laptops, touchscreen laptops and convertible tablet devices. The netbook was short lived and now tablets are positioned to pass PC sales a few short years.

Intel’s Haswell platform is planned to be available in June or July. The next generation CPUs are aimed primarily at laptop and hybrid tablet manufacturers, offering increased battery life and performance. Desktop users can also expect a considerable boost in power. PC makers hope for a boost once Windows 8.1 aka Windows Blue is paired with the Haswell based technology. Intel claims the new chips will offer “double the graphics performance” for laptops, and triple the performance for desktop PCs. Reportedly, the Haswell chips will reduce power consumption to 7 watts; a significant leap from the 10 watt Ivy Bridge Core processors.

According to IDC, “the U.S. market came in slightly weaker than an already negative forecast, contracting 12.4% compared to a forecast of –9.5%. This reflected weaker consumer demand, including a weak back-to-school season, and an industry-wide inventory clean up.“

A Windows 8.1 refresh could be holding the supply chain back while people wait for their START button to be put back. Windows 8.1 or Win Blue is a very aggressively roll out for Microsoft. The new Win Blue is expected to resolve some of the drawbacks with Win8, bringing back the “Start” button and provide better adoption by users used to previous versions of Windows.

The demise of the PC based technology is not as close as everyone would like to theorize. At least not until tablets and hybrids evolve enough for them to handle the needs of the business users. We still love our big screens, keyboard and mice.

Devices and Apps: Working Together to Make Our Lives Easier

The world is becoming more connected. When we say this, we don’t just mean as individuals. Our devices are becoming more connected to each other as well. This makes our everyday life easier by adding seamlessness to our day that wasn’t present before. Now you can work on a document at work, send it to your smartphone and use a voice transcription app to continue working in your vehicle. This is just one example; this video is Microsoft’s vision of what connectivity will make our future look like. What types of devices, apps, or combination of the two will help produce a future like this? Here are a couple I have found, let us know of any you can think of.

iControl

iControl

iControl is a home security and energy management product that Comcast recently unveiled. With this product, people can control the thermostat in their homes, turn lights on and off, and monitor their homes with live streaming video. Various components work together to give individuals full control over their homes when away.

Air Sharing

This app for the iPad permits you to use your iPad or iPhone as an external hard drive for your computer. Being able to effortlessly access and transfer your documents allows for more mobility in your workday.

AirPlay

Wirelessly stream music, videos, and photos to Apple TV using Apple’s AirPlay. This enables you to flow easily from your walk, where you were listening to a podcast or audio book, to your home without interrupting your entertainment.

Will the future be filled with gadgets, apps, and software that synchronize all facets of your life? In this age of connectivity, we are deeply connected to our devices. Hopefully they will one day be so interconnected that they will even be a few steps ahead of us. If this requires less effort on my part, I’m for it…how about you?

Future-Tech: Is 2012 More like Back to the Future Part 1 or 2?

It’s been 25 years since Back to the Future played in movie theaters.  In the original film, Marty McFly travels back in time to 1955 Hill Valley. While there, he inadvertently disrupts the space-time continuum and his mother ends up falling for him instead of his dad.  Freudian theories aside, Marty is able to salvage his parent’s relationship and his ultimate existence.  After he’s able to return to 1985, he immediately learns that he must travel into the future to save his kids. Through his travels, we see Hill Valley as it was in 1955, 1985 and the future. If you were to step back and look at where we are in 2011, does our existence today look more like the film’s past or the second film’s vision of the future?

Certainly there would be flying cars and hover boards by 2011, wouldn’t there?  But we still have our feet firmly on the ground, riding bicycles, skateboards, scooters and driving gas-powered cars.  As we look around us, the computer is the obvious distinction between the present and the past. Yet, if we take a step back, so much of the technology we employ everyday has existed for years.  The television was invented in the 1930s, cars had air conditioning and radios by 1940, and movies were in color.  If you’ve seen The Wizard of Oz recently, the special effects are still pretty good — and they’re 80 years old.

We do, however, have technology prophesied in movies made decades ago. In Total Recall, the protagonist walks through a full-body x-ray machine to board a plane. As seen in most major airports 3D monitors and holograms are either implemented already or on the very near horizon. Virgin Atlantic has taken a page out of 2001: A Space Odyssey to make space travel practical for the common man — or at least the common man who can spend $200,000 for 5 minutes of weightlessness.

Today we can communicate with Jetson-like videophones, talk to the other side of the world on your personal computer for hours – for free. We have such science-fiction movie staples as cloning, genetic engineering, laser surgery and more. Yet are we closer to 1950’s tech or the science fiction dreams of the 2050s? In the mental picture so many of us had about the 21st century, we’re no closer to flying our car to work as Dorothy was to finding her way back to Kansas when she first landed in Oz.

Where does that put us?  The future is truly happening everywhere. Its seen in video billboards, the Internet tracking our every website click or online purchase, and 3D TVs and binoculars.  We can still go to the movies – only now it might break the bank if you have a household of four.  Still, the old axiom is true:  the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Chevrolet is still producing gas-powered convertibles, Universal is still making bad sequels, and you can still watch Back to the Future.  Only now you can watch it on your phone.

 

Some Interesting Winners at the T3 Gadget Awards

As new technology pops up around us daily, it’s human nature to want to know which is the most innovative and revolutionary in the gadget world.  Well, the T3 Gadget Awards quench that thirst.  The awards, voted on by more than 960,000 online users, were given out last week.  Because the tech community is primarily casting the votes, “obvious” winners to the masses weren’t the case.  Below we’ll show you a number of interesting and even ironic choices – and be sure to check out the full list of categories and winners.

Ironic Winners

The categories for the T3 Awards, from Best Retailer to Gadget Personality of the Year, the awards span an array of categories.  It is interesting to note the winner of the Gadget Personality of the Year Award was Mark Zuckerberg.  Of course he’s a monumental figure in the communication world, but hardly exhibits the charisma of George Clooney.  Another interesting category is Best Commuting Device, where anything that aids your travel from here to there is considered. One of the competitors was an electric bicycle; but the winner, in fact, was the Amazon Kindle. True, it makes the time pass quickly while commuting, but maybe something which actually travels might have been a clearer choice?

Influential Winners

Perhaps another surprise winner this year was found for the Digital Media Service of the Year award.  Yes, Mark Zuckerberg won Personality of the Year, but it was Twitter that walked off with the more important gong.  Twitter beat out the likes of Facebook and Google .  Certainly the heads of Apple, Google and Facebook are certainly not crying themselves to sleep over their crushing defeats. It is important to consider that these awards are voted upon by the tech community and therefore the very people who are most in tune with and most influential in this realm and should be taken seriously by the giants in the industry.

Surprising Winners

For many, the iPhone 4 would most likely be guessed as the runaway winner of the Phone of the Year award. Instead–and more importantly–because more serious tech fans cast the votes, Samsung’s Galaxy S II walked away with the award. In the Tech Brand of the Year category, Google was the big winner, beating out rivals Facebook and Apple.  Again, it’s “just the T3 Gadget Awards”, but as always, it’s better to be the winner than the runner-up.  And when millions of dollars rides on person to person advertising and brand recognition, every tiny bit helps.

Ultimately, The 2012 T3 Gadget Awards offer an interesting insight into how much and how fast technology is evolving.  If you were to go back to the first awards given in 2008, some of the heavy hitters of the time are no longer viable, while some upstarts were just getting their feet on the ground and are huge players today.  Although these awards are given annually, with the speed that many of these items are created, they may want to make it a semi-annual event.

 

Intel and Toshiba: Energy Monitoring

Becoming “greener” has been a hot topic nowadays, not only amongst the general public but also in high-tech companies. Many companies are looking into green tech as a means to save energy , save the environment, or to simply save money. One of the primary things you must know when looking into conserving energy is what uses the most energy?

At the CEATEC conference this month in Japan, Toshiba and Intel announced some of their upcoming plans to better allow companies to monitor their energy usage. In this “Green Age,” it’s no surprise to see major players in the technology world coming forward with big developments that allow more regulation and monitoring of the amount of energy being used. Here are some of the ecologically-forward changes and additions these two companies announced they will be implementing in 2012.

Intel

Intel has created an application that permits PC users to monitor the energy consumption of their PC. The application has an easy-to-read dashboard that organizes the information into graphs, charts, and statistics, which make it very user-friendly.

Toshiba

Toshiba is using it’s recent acquisition of Landish Gyr as part of its “smart home” offering. Landish Gyr specialize in smart-meters for homes. With this offering people can monitor the quantity of energy consumed throughout their homes. Also on the agenda is the development of “green cloud” technologies for a number of different industries which range from city infrastructure to healthcare.

Japanese technology companies are presently highly focused on monitoring energy consumption. That being said, it is interesting that many companies in the US are pulling away from this. Microsoft and Google are just two examples. Microsoft announced in June that they are discontinuing their energy-monitoring service called Hohm. While Google announced it is taking a break from the green game by shutting down Google Powermeter.

Will the green technology world head in the direction of energy monitoring or something else entirely? If you have any speculation or ideas on the direction this may take; please share them with us.