Thursday, January 19, 2012

“Miracles” In the Sin City (Part III)

Gary Shapiro, Chairman of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) aptly described it “the glorious apex of innovation.”

Yes, the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) indeed, “is more than a business event. It is source for inspiration, hope, optimism that innovation will improve the human condition,” Shapiro continued.

Seated at the front row as a credentialed member of the Press, I was lucky to watch and listen to the head of the association who has led, year after year, the effective and efficient management of a show that became “the cause of innovation”.

It is a cause closely linked to the health and growth of the global economy that has been pummeled by crisis after crisis, both natural and manmade.

It is innovation that promoted and accelerated the cause of democracy in many countries such as those in the Middle East and Africa where dictators reigned for decades. It is innovation that saved lives in times of natural disasters such as the tsunamis, earthquakes, typhoons and the like.

Innovation creates jobs, adds earnings, informs and educates people, entertains and makes them healthier and allows them to enjoy the conveniences brought about by new electronic products.

At the show, I met a lot of bloggers, electronics engineers, and IT Professionals; buyers and resellers; software, Apps and content developers; and of course, small and big companies unveiling and exhibiting their new gadgets, mobile apps and other inventions.

The International CES has always been a showcase of Android-based and Windows-based products and technologies as supported by Intel, Qualcomm, NVDIA; Manufacturers and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) such as Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Fugitsu and Nokia; networks such as AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile for the United States, and those of other countries.

Apple will have its MACWORLD/IWORLD in San Francisco next week. I am attending it also as a credentialed member of the Press. I intend to write about the products to be launched and exhibited there.

Smartphones and Tablets continue to be the dominant interests of the consumers.  I noticed that the new smartphones were somehow designed and engineered to competitively replicate the design, functionality and utility of the MAC iPhones, the latest being the iPhone 4s.  

The new smartphones exhibited at the CES were actually quite as attractive, useful and as ‘cool’ as evaluated by some geeks. Examples: Motorola’s Droid Razr-Maxx; Windows Phone HTC Radar; Windows Phone Nokia’s Lumia 800; Lenovo’s Android phone; Samsung’s Galaxy; Casio’s GZ One Ravine; and Casio’s Go Commando.  Windows 8 phones Nokia Lumia 900 and HTC versions were announced but would not be available until next month.

The above-mentioned smartphones proved to have sleeker designs, to be more durable, 3D capable and for some, capable of operating even underwater.

I have an iPhone and an Android phone. I do not have a Windows phone yet. I am waiting for the Windows 8 model.

The Tablets displayed had a likewise similar goal – to compete against the very popular iPad.  I visited the booths displaying the different tablets manufactured by different companies.

As to design, none of them could compete with the iPad. But, as to functionality, there are some things in the new Tablets that trump the iPad.

Last year as in previous years, I went around the booths exhibiting smartphones and Tablets including Google’s Android, asking the question, “does your device have an offline search engine a la Google Desktop or the Windows search function?”

The reason why this issue is important to me is because of my interest in the creation of electronic libraries. When my company was licensed to manufacture and exclusively distribute in the Philippines Franklin’s eBookMan that later became Amazon’s Kindle, we also got involved in creating contents which we termed “Library in Your Pocket”. One important feature was not just to store eBooks and/or eLibraries including audio and video files in large volumes in pocketable or portable devices but, more importantly, to be able to search and retrieve speedily any of the contents offline.  It is your personal or professional private and secure library accessible and available only to you and in your device without having to go to the Internet or the Cloud.  

The answer in previous years was a resounding NO. Even Google’s Android did not have the feature. Neither did the Windows Mobile phones. In a meeting that included MAC experts, enthusiasts and “geniuses”, the latter’s answer to the same question was NO. I was not really surprised because I use and could not leave home without my iPad. I was just wondering if they knew of any application that could do it. Still negative.

This year, it is different.  The Windows 7 and, of course, the Windows 8 Tablets tell me a great story. The powerful Windows 7/8 embedded in Windows Tablets would allow the downloading of ALL Windows applications so useful to the Enterprise, the Professional and to every Tom, Ben, Juan and Maria. Obviously, this includes the Google Desktop offline search engine added to built-in Windows offline search function and Bing.

Ironically, Google’s Android Tablet still does not allow the downloading of the Google Desktop search engine.

Another functionality of the Windows 7/8 Tablets which trumps the iPad is the expansion of memory size by connecting USB and SD cards as well as external hard drives.  Windows is able to index all of them and, therefore, allows the user to search whatever contents he stored for retrieval.

Do you know what this means? When we convert text files or documents into the eBook format, we are able to put about 1000 pages per megabyte (MB) or 1 million pages per gigabyte (GB).  Suppose we have 1 terabyte (TB) or more storage/memory capacity? Compute!

We can virtually install the entire National Library of the Philippines, the University of the Philippines Library, San Beda’s and all those of other universities combined given the expanded memory size in a Windows Tablet. Access and search any of them anywhere, anytime! Isn’t that a little “miracle”?

At the show were devices capable of interconnecting and interfacing that affect all facets of life. I will describe them in my next article.

Because all these devices are digital, their contents, be they documents, voice/audio, video and other formats are now made accessible to you anywhere, anytime, openly, privately, securely, online or offline.

As I described in my previous column, if you want to install contents or institute changes to such contents, you can either TYPE it, MOUSE it, TOUCH it, SAY it, and get this, GESTURE or SIGNAL it.

How? You have to wait for my next article or, like any other Digital Native or Immigrant, just Google or Bing it! J

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