At the Consumer Electronics Show in 2010, Darren and Shannon bring you their first impressions of the hottest gadgets to tickle their technolust. Stay tuned for gaming netbooks, open source set-top boxes, low-end and high-end ebook readers, hybrid gaming controllers / musical instruments and Linux lovin’ smartphones.
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Alienware M11x – Full FPS at 11 inches

Sporting a Core2Duo SU7300 and hybrid GMA & nVidia g335m graphics in a 11″ 4lbs package, the Alienware M11x has us squirming in our seats. Just in time for Darren’s birthday too *hint* *hint* this sub-$1000 rig will be available in mid-February. With 6.5 hours of battery life (3 hours gaming), a 720p display and custom lighting it’s no wonder Shannon wants one in pink.

The Boxee box, remote, beta and more

We catch up with Boxee, our favorite homebrew media center gone Internet sensation, to find out the latest. Reinforcing their previously announced Boxee Box from D-Link we check out the Boxee Remote. Designed by the same studio that brought us the xbox 360, this little couch companion feels fantastic in hand. Boxee is also excited to announce their bookmarklet and beta. And most exciting to us is the pledge to homebrew and hacking. Rock on Boxee.

The Pla$tic Logic Que

Plastic Logic announced their ebook reader, the Que. Aimed at industry, this 10″ touch sensitive eink tablet sports 4GB storage and WiFi connectivity on the base model, or 8GB storage added AT&T 3G on the pricier edition. Clearly aimed at the business professional the Que supports Microsoft office file formats and syncing with Outlook. They’ve partnered with Barnes and Noble so you can get DRM infested paid content, if you have any moola left over after plunking down $650 or $800 in mid-April. Thankfully the 3G is rolled into the price of the content downloads.

Hybrid MIDI / Gaming guitar

We got a chance to play with some prototypes of the Gambridge Z-1. These MIDI guitars gone game controllers sport individual fret buttons and strings for a more realistic playing experience. They’re working on emulating cords to match up with the falling notes found in Rock Band or Guitar Hero, but no word yet on custom integration. With the look and feel of a real instrument and full MIDI functionality we can invision gamers going rock star with this little device. No word on price but we’re told it’ll be hitting the market in time for the holidays.

jetBook-Lite, the double-A driven $150 ebook reader

No lie we love inexpensive gadgets. Even better when they do one thing and do it well. That’s exactly what we found when we picked up Ectaco’s jetBook-Lite. Supporting ePub, Mobi, PDF, the DRM-laden PDB from Barnes & Noble and more this 5″ ebook reader sports some unique features.

First of all it doesn’t use eink. Remember TFT displays? With the jetBook they’re making a come back, which means instant page-turns. It’s got your standard SD card slot for expension and portrait & landscape modes with 23 hours of battery life on, get this, standard AA batteries. So when it dies in the airport you’ll be back up and running with four fresh cells. The battery compartment on the back has a nice grip to it, perfectly balancing the reader in your hand.

Seeing as Ectaco is an electronic dictionary company it also features multi-language dictionaries and comes pre-loaded with the CIA World Factbook and a plethora of free books.

We’re told it runs Linux. Hopefully we’ll get one in soon for some happy hacking.

Nokia’s n900 — the “N” stands for nerdphone

While it’s been on the market since November, it was good to finally get the Nokia N900 in my hands. The specs are what you’d expect from the company that creams everything but the kitchen sink into their products. 600 MHz ARM, 800×480 3.5″ touchscreen, 5 MPX camera, etc, etc. This of course gives the nerdphone some girth, weighing in at nearly a half-pound and 0.7 inches thick. Still, if you’re looking for a true Linux phone this featureful fatty delivers. Maemo 5 Linux is based on Debian. That means apt-get install prboom will result in some open source Doom action. The best news we gleaned from their booth was their commitment to the platform. We had heard some rumors of the N900 being the last Maemo based device, but we’re assured the platform will continue to grow. We’re looking forward to their Ovi app store to launch but until then there are plenty of apps and SDK options in the Maemo community. Pony tail and neckbeard optional.

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