In Pictures: Best of CeBIT 2010

Technology and things that might just make your life easier

  • Nokia’s socially aware C5 phone: The first of Nokia's Cseries handset comes with integrated support for Facebook in the address book, and support for email from Ovi Mail, Microsoft's Windows Live Hotmail and Google's Gmail services, as well as instant messaging. The Symbian-based smartphone will start shipping in Q2 and is a candybar-shaped device with a numerical keypad. Users can share location with the latest version of Ovi Maps, and surf the Web using HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access), take pictures using a 3.2-megapixel camera, and store content on an included 2GB microSD card. There is support for cards that can store up to 16GB.
  • Intel shows 48-core processor PC: Intel has demonstrated a PC with a 48-core processor at the CeBIT tradeshow. The system is described as a single-chip cloud computer by Intel, which is showing off the 48-core chip as a proof of concept: It won't be available to buy anytime soon, and it doesn't yet even run Windows, although it could run up to 48 different operating systems simultaneously, according to the vendor. The 48-core Intel PC was first announced in December last year, and is built into a standard - if rather gaudy - PC case. The manufacturer claims the 48-core processor consumes "only as much electricity as two standard household light bulbs", and in the live test it was drawing around 75W. All 48 cores are IA (Intel Architecture) enabled, which means that right now they can run standard x86 software. But Intel told us that in the future it intends to use the capabilities of the 48-core chip to push the creation of "new software applications" and "human-machine interfaces", where users utilise gestures and face movement to control the system, which can in turn 'see' them.
  • IBM previews new server architecture: IBM announced new System x and BladeCenter servers, which are based on a new server design that the company claims will boost application performance while reducing energy costs in datacentres. The EX5 servers take a step away from traditional x86 server architecture in which processors and memory are locked together. The new server architecture decouples memory from the processors into separate units, according to IBM. That could help the memory and processor scale separately for faster application performance, while slashing down on storage and energy costs, the company said. The servers, targeted at enterprises for use in datacentres, will be released later this year,. IBM will introduce three new EX5 systems including four-socket and two-socket rackmount servers and a blade server. The servers will use Intel's upcoming eight-core Nehalem-EX processor. The company declined to comment on server pricing. In the new architecture, the memory is stored in a slim, 1U "drawer," that packs 600 per cent more memory than available today on standard servers. IBM has developed a separate X-Architecture chip to reduce latency between memory and processor.
  • LG’s fresh Cookie: The LG GS290 Cookie Fresh isn't yet available on planet Earth, but you could find it and similarly featured LG GS500 Cookie Plus on Planet Reseller, the part of the CeBIT trade show reserved for distributors and resellers. The handsets will go on sale in the second quarter, a company spokesman said, but he would not say at what price. The plus, or the fresh new feature, of each compared to the original Cookie phone, the LG KP500, is social networking. The phones contain client software for Facebook and Twitter. Both phones have a 3-inch, 400x240-pixel touchscreen display and a MicroSD Card slot that accepts cards up to 16GB in capacity. Each has a built-in FM radio, a digital music player, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Bluetooth interface that can connect to stereo Bluetooth headphones. The Cookie Plus, will work on UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) 3G networks, downloading data at up to 3.6Mbps over HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access). The Cookie Fresh has a 2-megapixel camera, while the one in the Cookie Plus is 3 megapixels, like the original Cookie.
  • Intel Convertible Classmate netbook: Intel’s new Convertible Classmate netbook design includes slate-like features for users to read electronic books, surf the Web or take notes. The chipmaker has added more functionality so users can take advantage of a larger 10.1-inch touchscreen, which swivels around and folds over the keyboard, transforming the device into a slate. It also has on-screen keyboards. This isn't the first swivel screen on a Classmate PC for Intel – in 2008, the company put a swivel screen design on the product. The difference this time is the added emphasis on the e-reader and other functions. The new Convertible Classmate includes an e-reader application for e-book reading. Users can place a finger on the screen to switch pages, or press buttons next to the screen to move pages. Users will also be able to use a stylus to highlight notes on e-book pages. The e-book reader will support e-book file formats like PDF and ePub, she added. The device is targeted at students in developing countries, and as a reference design for PC makers to make low-cost laptops. The device also features a new Atom N450 running at 1.66GHz and weighs 1.36kg.
  • Vimov iSimulate for iPad apps: Vimov is offering developers writing for the Apple iPad a head-start in testing their apps, using an iPhone as a multitouch controller for Apple's iPad simulator. The tool is designed to help developers who otherwise face problems testing some hardware-dependent features of their apps until they can get their hands on a real iPad. Apple provides the iPad simulator as part of the software development kit (SDK), but the desktop machines on which the SDK runs don't have GPS receivers, an electronic compass or screens with multitouch input, so apps relying on these cannot be tested fully. Vimov sells a small iPhone app, iSimulate, which streams video to the phone from the iPad or iPhone simulators in Apple's SDKs, and sends back information from the iPhone's multitouch screen, GPS receiver, accelerometer and electronic compass to the simulator. Version 1.5 of iSimulate costs $US16. Developers need the appropriate iPhone or iPad SDK to use it, and will also need to download code libraries from Vimov for iPhone or iPad and incorporate them in their project to enable communication with the iSimulate client. At CeBIT, Vimov demonstrated iSimulate playing the classic first-person shooter game Hexen II, which Vimov is in the process of porting to the iPhone.
  • Asus joins the E-Reader party: Asus’ first e-reader features a 9-inch touchscreen display, lightweight design and wireless connectivity. The vendor claims the DR-900 will compete with the Amazon Kindle DX, but promises more features. The Asus display, while using electrophoretic technology that appears in most current e-book readers, is made by SiPix, a competitor to E-Ink, which up to now has dominated the e-paper market. The DR-900 is about a third of an inch thick (roughly the same as the DX) but, at 13 ounces is considerably lighter in weight. It also has a thinner bezel than the Kindle DX. It can get content wirelessly, but base models use 802.11g Wi-Fi, which tends to consume more power than the 3G cellular technology in Kindles. Asus says the DR-900 will run up to four days with Wi-Fi enabled, or two weeks with Wi-Fi turned off. (The company indicates that 3G cellular connectivity will be available as an extra-cost option.) The device has 4GB of built-in storage and a built-in Web browser and can access RSS feeds – but so far it appears to only support DRM-free formats, including unprotected e-PubPDF, TXT, Audible, MP3, HTML, JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP.
  • Researchers chase 3D without the glasses: At CeBIT 2010, engineers are showing a new breed of screen that projects a 3D image towards the viewer's eyes so glasses aren't required. Glasses are traditionally used to select which of two images each eye sees, allowing the right eye to see one and the left eye the other using either colour filters or shutters synchronised with the screen. In the new displays, the separation is done by a panel consisting of tiny lenses that sits in front of the screen. Sunny Ocean Studios has developed a panel that can be fitted to a standard display, sending out a stereoscopic image to 64 positions around the screen. A similar panel has been developed by Germany's SeeFront, but it projects an image to a single point. Perhaps the most impressive system was a screen from Germany's Fraunhofer Institute (pictured). It has a panel of narrow, cylindrical lenses in front of the screen, which divide the two images that are reproduced and direct one to each eye. Additionally, infrared cameras above the screen watch out for hand gestures. Users can manipulate objects on screen and control software without actually touching the screen.
  • Cisco develops VPN client for PCs, smartphones: Cisco's AnyConnect Secure Mobility Solution was announced at the CeBIT trade show and is part of Cisco's "borderless networks" initiative, which aims to provide better performance and security to travelling corporate workers. AnyConnect will automatically detect where a user is and can enforce certain policies determined by an administrator for that type of connection. Administrators will also have granular control over applications. For example, users may be allowed to send attachments over instant message programs if they are located in certain places but barred from sending attachments in other locales. Cisco contends the system also allows for greater control over software-as-a-service applications such as Access to Salesforce is managed via Cisco's secure gateway, so employees don't have a direct login to the Web application. AnyConnect will work on major mobile platforms including Windows, Blackberry, Palm, Symbian and the iPhone by the end of the year, Zambrano said. AnyConnect will be available for PCs running Linux, Windows and Mac OSes, he said.
  • Vizioncore’s vFoglight: Vizioncore's management tool, vFoglight, will work with Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualisation platform by the middle of the year and with Xen from Citrix by the end of the year. VFoglight is used for performance monitoring, capacity planning and asset and configuration tracking. But Vizioncore wasn’t the only company at CeBIT to focus on virtualisation management tools. ScriptLogic also plans to add Hyper-V and Xen to its Desktop Authority, which is used to configure virtual desktops, including application settings, patch management and power management. The company is not yet ready to say when Desktop Authority will cover Hyper-V and Xen.Vizioncore and ScriptLogic are both owned by Quest Software.
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