Coming up on this week's show a ton of mobile device news, Nokia's CEO sends out a scathing memo, and we beat up a gadget.
We'll start of this week with mobile news and a lot of it. First up is HP that launched a tablet and 2 smartphones this week. All of them run the latest version of webOS acquired last year when it bought Palm.
The Touchpad has a 9.7" display and comes with e-reader software and the ability to print photos right from the tablet. It comes with 16 or 32 gigs of storage and a 1.2 ghz snapdragon processor. The Wifi versions will be available this summer in the US and select markets worldwide with the 3G and 4G versions coming later.
The Veer smartphon has a 2.6" 320x400 touchscreen display and a slide out keyboard. It'll be available in early Spring. The Pre3 has a 3.6" 480x800 pixel display and 5 megapixel camera that shoots HD video with stabilization as well as a front facing camera for video calling. All three of the devices can be wirelessly charged using the Touchstone device.
iPhone 4 came to Verizon stores this week, but there wasn't as much fanaticism as with typical Apple launches. The scene at the Apple store this morning was more or less desserted with no one waiting in line. Down the street at the Verizon store only about a dozen customers braved the below freezing temperatures. One customer had been waiting in the cold for nearly two hours.
Katie Geis, College student: "I just want to get it now. I'm going to roll back into bed until class. I just wanted to get it today and not wait until next week because they're probably going to run out today or at least I'm assuming."
Sprint launched a new smartphone that has dual 3.5-inch touchscreens and runs Google's Android. Called the Echo, and made by Kyocera the two screens can run separate applications.
Dan Hesse, CEO, Sprint Nextel: "With Echo you can do two completely different things at the same time. Or you can play your favorite game or watch your favorite video with both screens combined making this device almost like a mini tablet, but one small enough that you can put it into almost any pocket. Echo allows you to run two apps simultaneously and independently on two separate displays and you can search the web on one screen while you're checking your email on the other."
It has a 5 megapixel camera and can shoot 720p video. The phone runs Android 2.2 and is powered by a 1 Ghz snapdragon processor from Qualcomm. It will be available around April or May for 200 US dollars with a 2 year contract on Sprint's network
With still more mobile news Sony Ericsson unveiled its first Android based PlayStation phone during the Super Bowl this past Sunday. The Xperia Play has a touchscreen and slide out Playstation controls. It remains to be seen whether Sony Ericsson can find a market between regular smartphones and dedicated gaming devices and one analyst said that by combining two product categories, you usually end up compromising one side or another. More details on the phone will be coming from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week and we'll be there.
The European Commission announced its first common mobile phone charger. Europe has 500 million cell phones and old chargers generate more than 51,000 tons of waste each year. A common charger will be reusable, even when switching brands.
Bridget Cosgrave, Director-General of DigitalEurope: "The new mobile phone common charger is a major step forward in technical terms for our industry and means that consumers will be able to use their common chargers with various mobile phones and other devices compatible with micro USB specification."
The European Commission pushed companies for a single charger for years and in 2009 issued an ultimatum: voluntarily adopt a common charger or face new legislation. Fourteen major manufacturers jumped on board. They represent more than 90 percent of the phone market in Europe and include Apple, Nokia, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson. It should begin appearing later this year.
Nokia CEO and former Microsoft exec Stephen Elop sent out a memo to employees this week comparing the company's current situation to standing on a burning oil platform in the North Sea. He wrote that Nokia must decide how its going to change its beavior or perish in the flames as the platform burns. The memo doesn't explicitly say that Nokia will get rid of existing software platforms and adopt either Windows Phone 7 or Android when it announces its new strategy on Friday, but the writing is on the wall, according to analysts.
Staying in Europe Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is now in the midst of an extradition hearing in London. According to testimony on the 2nd day of the hearing text messages sent by the two women who accuse Assange of rape and assault mention revenge and econcomic gain. His legal team presents those accusations as a veiled attack related to WikiLeaks' release of secret U.S. diplomatic cables. He has not been charged in the U.S.
A few weeks ago you saw me shoot up a hard drive at CES in Las Vegas. Well this week there aren't any guns involved, but we did get to put this device through its paces. It's an Omnii XT10 from Psion and is enterprise class device designed for the supply chain and logistics market. It's tough too. It can endure multiple drops from 6 and half feet. It can withstand up to 30 minutes of direct water spray from a high pressure hose. It can operate in temperatures from -20 degrees Celsius or -4 Fahrenheit to 50 degrees Celsius or 122 Fahrenheit. We replicated those conditions by putting it in the freezer for 30 minutes and in the toaster oven for 10. After all of the tests it had no problem operating. the only damage we were able to inflict on it is a few scratches on the screen from some keys. It runs a Texas Instruments OMAP3 processor and carries an IP65 rating. It's also modular and supports up to 10,000 configurations. It costs about $2,400 and is available now.
NHK, Japan's public broadcaster gave us a preview of tech projects that might be coming to a TV near you in the future. Providing a new way to look at water sports is the Twinscam. It solves the problem that traditional cameras have because of the way light refracts differently in air and water. The Twinscam solves that with two cameras, one underwater and one above water that have their zoom and focus synchronized to produce a single realistic image. NHK hopes it will be used at next year's London Olympics. Hoping to size down the typical broadcasting truck, NHK has managed to fit most equipment into this electric car based on the Mitsubishi iMiev. It can switch up to 4 video sources and send back a live signal. The car battery provides a 100 km range and a second battery will power the equipment for up to 2 hours. We're looking into getting one...just kidding.
Well that's our show for this week. Next week I'll be coming to you from Barcelona where I'll be for Mobile World Congress and we'll also have video for you of a computer that competed on the popular US game show Jeopardy. It's a show you won't want to miss. As we head out this week we'll leave you with shots of IBM archive footage in celebration of its 100th anniversary.