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Often, most of the interesting play at CES is done by firms that aren’t directly participating in the show. That rang true again this year when Lenovo and Nvidia broke away from their peers by aggressively moving in different directions and demonstrating a depth of products largely unmatched in their segments.

Let’s talk about how these two vendors differentiated themselves from their peers at CES last week, and we’ll close with our product of the week, a new monitor from Acer that’s suddenly on top of the products I already own. I am craving this year.

pc oem

Acer, Dell, HP, and Lenovo all came to play at CES this year, and each had some attention-grabbing prototypes on display. However, Lenovo had some of the most interesting products to hit the market, and several caught my eye as potential game-changers.

I’ll break these down by manufacturer.

acer

What was a really interesting look from Acer was its Spatial Labs TrueGame technology, which was designed to provide realistic 3D upscaling for games typically played in 2D. I tried a similar technique from Nvidia about two decades ago. While depth of field was interesting, the objects in the game remained 2D, so it was like walking through a movie set where nothing had depth, and everything was a false front.

What Acer showed was full 3D rendering where objects were 3D, as well, giving games a depth you don’t see today.

Acer also teased an Orion X desktop that looked like it could be revolutionary (they didn’t provide any details) and two large-screen laptops (16″ and 18″) with 13th-generation Intel processors and AmLED displays. With running on 240-. Hz refresh rate, potentially making them impressive gaming and productivity laptops.

Ditch

Dell’s most interesting product was also a prototype, but in this case, a prototype controller that could be used on planes to play PC games on your laptop. This has been a long term annoyance for me as I fly a lot, and I love the game as it makes hours go by like minutes, which is ideal for long trips if the tray table is big enough for a mouse, which it usually isn’t.

I’ve long felt that a game controller designed for PC games would fix this problem, but no one did. Luckily, Dell is looking to make one. Assuming the project gets the green light, it could significantly transform in-flight gaming.

The other thing Dell showed off was the Concept Luna, a significant evolution for its durable laptop. This breakthrough made it possible for a remotely located robot to reconfigure the Concept Luna device, such as in the middle of a Best Buy. Think of a giant robotic vending machine where you insert your laptop and credit card and watch as your device is optimized and upgraded with the latest graphics, processor, battery, case or screen.

This innovation will allow for indefinite upgrades of the laptop, keeping it out of landfill and ensuring that it is uniquely yours and always up-to-date, potentially avoiding premature obsolescence.

Himachal Pradesh

HP has been preloading Nvidia’s GeForce Now gaming platform on its consumer notebooks for some time (I’m noting this because I didn’t know HP was doing this), allowing laptops without discrete GPUs to run high-end games in the cloud. And allows to play PC games.

The company demonstrated prototype 3D-printed keyboard caps, which didn’t make much sense to me as the resulting keys would be awkward to use. Still, it held the promise of a possible future where this same technology could provide custom cases, laptop enhancements, and accessories limited only by your imagination.

HP also demonstrated the most aggressive use of recycled materials in its PCs and continues to lead the segment with active recycling and use of recycled materials.

It’s interesting to note that Dell’s and HP’s sustainability approaches will be interdependent and that both efforts would benefit from deeper collaboration between the two vendors. For example, HP can manufacture 3D-printed parts that Dell’s Concept Luna customization robot will use.

In the future, I expect HP’s true power to emerge once it figures out how to better integrate its 3D printing solutions that now include metal with its PC offerings. This is the first time I have seen that trend materialize.

Lenovo

Lenovo leaves me speechless with a number of products. While the most interesting showcases of its peers were prototypes where final products were not announced or may never materialize, Lenovo came into play with products that will be present in 2023.

The initial product that came across as potentially revolutionary was a laptop with twin screens. Unlike previous offerings that placed the second screen next to the first or a smaller screen next to the keyboard, this one placed the screens one on top of the other.

This design makes a lot of sense because when you’re on a plane with a laptop, you have limited width but very little limited height. By stacking the second screen on top of the first, you raise it to the perfect height for watching movies or playing games on an airplane.

Lenovo is the only PC OEM other than Apple that has a smartphone business, and it just announced a ThinkPad smartphone called the ThinkPhone that solves a problem in the industry since BlackBerry exited the phone business: Like the iPhone, the business A phone with better security, more durability and a more business-oriented appearance.

ThinkPad is as powerful a brand in the business space as Apple is in the consumer space, and I’ve been monitoring requests for phones like this from everyone from banks to governments. This year, Lenovo stepped out with a game-changer.

Finally, Lenovo announces an Android tablet. While we haven’t seen one of these in a while, Android is better positioned against iOS than Windows or Chrome OS, and the result is far more iPad-like.

chip seller

AMD and Intel stayed close to their knitting, showcasing the latest advances in CPUs and graphics. Both firms have made solid progress but are so focused on each other that they’re missing the bigger picture, which Nvidia highlighted again with its keynote on Tuesday before the show.

nvidia shine

Nvidia almost seems to be in a different class in that it demonstrated growing cradle-to-grave potential for anything built in the factories of the future that use AI.

For autonomous electric cars, Nvidia is involved in the conceptualization of vehicles, the design of factories, the design and programming of assembly robots, both the operation and entertainment components of the cars – and their ever more capable embedded brains.

In fact, and somewhat ironically, the firm is more involved in the future of the automotive market than the PC market.

Another tempting announcement was the licensing of their GeForce Now gaming platform by car makers like Polestar, who will be building it into future cars (back seat or parked only), though I wonder if anyone knows of a workaround and some How long will it take before Idiot Driver kills himself gaming instead of driving). Undoubtedly, this approach will become much safer once cars can drive themselves.

Nvidia demonstrated the gaming capabilities with its new graphics cards. What I found even more interesting, however, is how much of its GPU technology is now focused on making us better on Zoom calls, allowing us to use AI to draw like an artist, write like a seasoned writer, or virtually Can do to make the world. Tomorrow.

building the future

Nvidia has evolved from a GPU vendor to a solutions vendor. Next-generation car companies such as Foxconn (the firm that also makes most Apple products) are using Nvidia to break into the electric car market and outdo existing vendors who haven’t been aggressive with this technology.

The company’s work with Omniverse and Avatars promises to remake the TV and film industries, and its advances in robotic design, training and management will revolutionize manufacturing and automation.

In short, while its peers are building parts that fulfill others’ visions, Nvidia is increasingly building parts for the future that its CEO Jensen Huang is envisioning, potentially the company’s making it an ever more important part of our future.

wrapping up

The initial and most pre-CES announcements were huge, and as I write this, CES hasn’t even officially started. Next week I’ll be covering some of the more interesting products coming out of the show, like amazing automotive prototypes, flying cars, ever more intelligent devices, personal robots and robotic pets, 8K TVs, rollable displays, and a few things I can’t wait to see. Didn’t do it.

Until then, Lenovo and Nvidia set the bar as both companies really stepped up and got people thinking about them differently this year.

tech product of the week

Acer Predator X45 OLED Gaming Monitor

For me, monitors can never be big enough or sharp enough. My current primary display is a 49″ monster from Dell designed for stock traders. It’s awesome, but it’s not meant for gaming and lacks the resolution and color range of a gaming monitor.

The Acer Predator X45 is a 45″ curved OLED gaming monitor with .01ms response time, up to 1000 nits of brightness, which makes it effectively viewable outdoor, and an amazing 1,500,000:1 contrast ratio – the advantage of OLED.

Acer Predator X45 is a 45" Curved OLED Gaming Monitor

The Predator X45 sports a 45″ curved Ultra Wide Quad High Definition (3440×1440) OLED display. Image credit: Acer


Typically, OLEDs are not used for gaming but for creators or for simply enjoying entertainment, which means games often lack the brilliant colors that OLED can provide.

It will display 1,078 colors and has a 240Hz refresh rate, which is all lust-worthy. You can also mount it on the wall and it has two 5W speakers. Price has not been announced yet. I doubt it’ll be cheap, but if you want a monitor that will knock your socks off, the Acer Predator OLED X45 Gaming Monitor is worth your lust, so it’s my product of the week.

When I installed panels on my San Jose house in the early 2000s, I was an early adopter of the current generation of solar technology, only to see a rapid decline in yield from those panels over the next 20 years.

At our latest home, we use current generation LG panels that promise to hold over 90% of their production capacity for the same amount of time. However, not only am I unable to get the Tesla batteries I ordered last year (I’ve been told I can get them by next summer), I know I’m wasting a ton of energy because of my energy consumption. Usage is unregulated.

A truly green home isn’t just solar. It has a managed energy system so you can optimize usage. But home energy management systems that work well with solar are extremely rare, and I’ve been disappointed with everything I’ve tested.

Lunar Energy, run by former Tesla executive Kunal Girotra, appears to be one of the first next-generation solar companies to focus more on electrical efficiency than generation.

Lunar Solar is an early version of an upcoming wave of companies that will rapidly branch from solar production to energy management, providing a strong ROI for their products.

This week let’s talk about how we manage electricity, and how appliances are made by moving to solar power. Then we’ll end with our product of the week: the new Dragonfly Folio from HP.

problem with solar

Solar energy is cheap. In fact, it’s free but, sadly, the technology we need to use is next to nothing. My previous installation, which was heavily subsidized by the California and US governments, still cost me about $30,000 – even after subsidies – and my current system is closer to $100,000.

The direct benefit is that my electricity bill has gone up from $700 a month to less than $50 during the summer. But winter is a different story. You see, solar energy is powered by the sun. In winter when the sun is low on the horizon, it doesn’t power the panels as much, but you still need the energy to heat the house.

Admittedly, most of my house is now heated with gas, but I would like to go completely electric. It still cut my energy bill by about two-thirds, but the solar only works during the day and when the sun comes out. So, if you don’t want to go dark at night or on cloudy days, you need some sort of alternative power source.

If you are connected to the grid without a battery, you will still lose power if the power goes out on a hot summer day (as happened to me the other day). Batteries are not only expensive, but you must also draw enough electricity to charge them and power your home during the day, increasing the need for more solar-sourced electricity.

Now if you live on-grid, you will not have to pay this every night, but only if you discharge the battery during an outage. If you go off-grid, that means you’ll need about 30% additional capacity.

But what if you also focus on improving efficiency?

Firms like Lunar Energy promise

This is where these next generation solar companies are focused: less on generating energy and more on increasing the efficiency of energy use. While Lunar Energy is working on more efficient whole-house batteries, initially their overall effort is focused more on efficiency than production.

If you can make your home more efficient, you don’t need as much solar or as many batteries. This efficiency focus works whether you are solar powered or powered from the electric grid. You can use an energy management system no matter where you source your power.

You can also potentially do things like power down your chargers when the battery they’re charging is at full capacity and only turn them back on when those batteries are below 50%. This will help the battery last longer and potentially reduce daily energy usage.

In the past, tests of the Energy Star rating system showed huge holes in their process. This manageability will also expose devices that are idle, forcing equipment manufacturers to improve their energy efficiency, and catching people who may still be gaming the system.

next generation solar devices

There are now companies like Sundanzer that have built appliances for off-grid homes over the years, but the features and capabilities of these appliances remind me of what my grandmother had in the 1960s. Manual defrost, no cold water or ice-making capabilities, limited capacity and, for the most part, nothing you’d call attractive. But they are incredibly efficient.

What I anticipate with the next generation of devices from companies focused on solar homes blends the efficiency of off-grid offerings with the capabilities and presence of the current generation of modern appliances – so we can have the features that An off-grid product we want close to efficiency.

wrapping up

Lunar Energy is one of the first generation of solar power companies to focus more on efficient use of energy than its own generation.

I expect that by the end of the decade we will see entirely new companies in the market with increasingly efficient appliances, more advanced home energy management systems, better whole-house battery solutions, and a more comprehensive approach to green energy generation and use. Will see you come

We are just at the beginning of this solar energy wave. Over the next 20 years, kitchen and home designs will change, appliances will change, and we will use AI to ensure efficient use of every watt of energy we generate. Overall, this effort should result in a significant reduction in greenhouse gas formation and a major step towards combating global climate change.

Technical Product of the Week

HP Dragonfly Folio G3

I get to review a lot of laptops over the course of a year, and the one that has consistently been my favorite is the HP Folio. This line has gone through several iterations. It started out as a consumer-focused device, went into business with the Elite Folio, which I’m used to writing this, for the launch of its successor: the HP Dragonfly Folio G3.

The Elite Folio fixed my biggest complaint with the Folio was the contrasting colors. It came in brown and burgundy, and I’m sure the ’80s wanted their color back. But the previous generation, HP went black, used updated Qualcomm Snapdragon processors and graphics, and improved the pen dock and SIM slot. With all this, the Elite Folio becomes my favorite laptop of the year.

Well, I just recently got the HP Dragonfly Folio G3 and now my old Elite Folio is sadly out of date.

HP Dragonfly Folio G3 Notebook

HP Dragonfly Folio G3 / Image Credit: HP


HP found that IT buyers just didn’t want to risk a Qualcomm product. While that chip worked fine for me—and I really appreciated the massive battery life—other users complained about it getting worse. This is due to running an x86 emulator which pulled performance from the part that was performance-constrained.

In addition, Intel has reassured IT buyers that they need vPro, although most don’t currently use that capability (Microsoft is working to make Windows work with ARM that will eventually match performance with Snapdragon). should solve the problem).

So, the HP Dragonfly Folio G3 has improved the camera, added a privacy screen option, and while it has taken a battery life hit, it’s noticeably faster (the Snapdragon part of Qualcomm leads the industry in battery life).

In short, HP took my favorite laptop and made it better, so I’m in love again, and the HP Dragonfly Folio G 3 is my product of the week.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.