Tag: device

Toshiba planning 40-inch glasses-free 3D TV

Toshiba has barely launched its glasses-free 3D TVs, the first on the market, but the company is already planning to release a larger model globally in its fiscal 2011.

In October Toshiba vowed to deliver a glasses-free 3D TV by the end of 2010, despite rivals saying the technology won’t be ready for years. This week Toshiba delivers on its promise with product launches in Japan.

The problem with those models is that while while they technically deliver on the promise, they come in significantly smaller sizes than the norm. A 12-inch model has just gone on sale, while a 20-inch model will hit the stores on Saturday.

Most people who fork out several hundred or thousand dollars for a TV set opt for something in the 30 to 50-inch bracket, which could make the current models unattractive for some. 

Toshiba’s listening. It will offer a glasses-free set over 40-inches in size, according to the Wall Street Journal

Toshiba is also selling standard 3D tellies that require glasses, but it’s pushing for glasses-free technology to regain market share lost to South Korean rivals like LG and Samsung, the latter of which said that it would take between five and ten years before glasses-free 3D TV would become available.

The larger TV will be formally unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January and is expected to go on sale some time in Toshiba’s fiscal year 2011, which begins in April. It’s likely that the company will be aiming for a holiday season release in late November or December of 2011.

Apple Europe stores down, possible new product on the way

Europe could be set to get a new Apple product, with all European Apple stores down with the familiar “We’ll be back soon” note, which is usually a sign of an incoming addition.

Apple is clearly adding something new to its webstores, rather than simple maintenance, which would not be going on simultaneously throughout Europe. However, the US and other world stores are still operating as normal, suggesting that this may be an exclusively European release.

But what could Apple be planning? It could have a new size for the MacBook Air, which is currently available in 11-inch and 13-inch versions. It’s unlikely to be an entirely new device, which would see a launch to much fanfare to an Apple event, but the company has often released new sizes or versions of current products on its websites after some downtime.

It may not even be hardware at all, but a new software addition, such as iLife 11, iMovie 11, and an update to GarageBand, all of which were promised at the Back to the Mac event only a few weeks ago.

The iOS4.2 update is also on the cards, with expectations of a release within the next few days or weeks, possibly to coincide with and compete against Google’s impending Android 3.0 release. However, it’s unlikely that the store would be taken offline for a software update that doesn’t actually require a purchase, so our bet is a new device or software package.

According to some reports, the US Store was taken down on the Halloween weekend, only to be put back online with no noticeable changes. Should the same occur in Europe, which seems unlikely, could this be the end of the traditional pre-new product downtime?

Nintendo delays 3DS launch until Q1 2011

Nintendo  announced that it will be delaying the launch of the 3DS, its 3D-capable portable gaming device, aiming now for a first quarter 2011 release in Japan, with European and US dates yet to be decided.

It was expected that the device would be released in time for Christmas, particularly with rivals Sony and Microsoft releasing their Move and Kinect motion sensor systems, late-coming competition to Nintendo’s highly-successful Wii, in the run up to the holiday season. The news today, however, reveals that Nintendo was unable to get the 3DS ready in time.

Nintendo announced a date of February 26 of next year for the 3DS’ release in Japan, with a suggested retail price of 25,000 Yen (around $300). Global release dates and prices were not revealed, but we can probably expect it in the US and Europe some time in March.

The 3DS is the successor to the Nintendo DS, another of the company’s extremely successful gaming devices. Various incarnations of the DS have arrived over the years, such as the smaller DS Lite and the camera featuring DSi, but the 3DS will add a whole new dimension to gaming, quite literally, with its Sharp-licensed autostereoscopic display allowing 3D images at the flick of a switch without the need for glasses. 

Nintendo also issued a profit warning, revising its forecasts downwards to account for poorer performance and the delay with the 3DS release. While it was keen to downplay the delay, it is now looking at significantly less shipments of its products over the April 2010 to March 2011 period. 

Previously it estimated 30 million shipments of the DS, but that is now revised downwards to 23.5 million. Of those, four million are expected to be the 3D units. The Wii is also performing badly, but not quite as bad, with a revised figure of 17.5 million shipments compared to the previous forecast of 18 million.

Major vulnerability discovered in credit card and passport chips

Secure microchips in credit cards, passports and a number of other devices may not be as secure as once thought, after a professor and his student in the Tel Aviv University discovered a way to extract information from the chips.

Professor Avishai Wool and PhD student Yossi Oren of the School of Electrical Engineering in the Tel Aviv University developed a way to break the security defences of microchips by combining modern cryptology methods with constraint programming, a programming method for solving complex equations.

A vulnerability was discovered in the chip’s power supply which fluctuates based on the type of information on it. The duo found that these minute fluctuations could be measured with an onscilloscope and the resulting data could be analysed to unlock the otherwise secure information.

Wool admitted that this method of attack is difficult, but he also revealed that they have developed a way to block out “noise” which previously made analysing the data tougher. With the noise blocked it becomes easier to extract sensitive data from a chip as the fluctuations become more consistent and accurate.

The research was presented at the 12th Workshop on Cryptographic Hardware and Embedded Systems in Santa Barbara, California, where Wool said: “We need to think like the attackers in order to raise the bar against them.” 

He added that companies needed to know how their chips could be cracked to truly know how secure they are and what kinds of threats microchips face from determined hackers.

Lenovo says slate devices aren't any cop

Hardware manufacturer Lenovo has rejected outright the concept of a tablet device such as the iPad, saying that customers just don’t want that kind of thing. People want, want, want keyboards.

Lenovo’s worldwide product manager, Mika Majapuro, told Cnet that customers wanted keyboards and not devices without them.

He said that he was surprised at customers’ reactions to a slate only device – based on their need for a real keyboard that you can tap away on.

Even children like the idea of a keyboard, he told Cnet. Although Lenovo had experimented by producing mockups of machines without keyboards, it has now decided to abandon the idea and stick to its last by producing tablet machines that did have keyboards.

Basically, a lot of people like pressing buttons, we guess, rather than waving their hands over devices to no great purpose.

The Cnet interview is here.