In addition to a legacy of adventure and entrepreneurship, Steve Fossett leaves behind a top secret project he'd been working on. He had bought a highly advanced underwater submersible he hoped would take him to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, lower than any point on Earth humans have gone. Reporter Daniel Terdiman joins today's podcast to talk about the project and where it goes from here.
TOKYO--The Ceatec 2008 circus is packing up the tent, but it won't be long until we see many of these same gadgets again. As the Japanese consumer tech showcase winds down, let's take a look at the major themes of this year's show and look forward to what will make it to the Consumer Electronics Show in January.
Although the show was a bit smaller this year, it's still the place to see highly imaginative prototypes, as well as get a glimpse of what will actually be on U.S. stores shelves in the coming year.
The most prevalent theme among the electronics giants: thin TVs. Just like at CES in Las Vegas, IFA in Berlin, and CEDIA Expo this year, they're jostling with each other in a race to see who can make the largest screen on the skinniest panel.
Sony continued to push its current 11-inch OLED TV model, the XEL-1, and showed the prototype 27-inch version. But the company also showed an even thinner prototype, whose display is a mere .3 millimeters thin.
But those are small. In larger TVs, Hitachi showed off a 15-millimeter LCD and a 35-millimeter plasma set (see picture), as did Sharp, which announced its new 23-millimeter thin Aquos XS (for "extra slim") model. Toshiba also lined up to show off a concept Regza that looks and leans like an oversize piece of mirrored glass.
Many companies also showed new types of interfaces, such as gesture-based technology. Panasonic showed its connected-home concept, which included an impressive video wall. Users could theoretically call up an exercise program onto the wall, and a video of an instructor would appear and respond to users' movements. Hitachi showed digital signage technology that used human gestures to play games and create interactive advertisements. … Read more
CHIBA, Japan--The world's electronics companies are busy here at Ceatec 2008 showing off some of the contents of their R&D labs, but meanwhile the world financial system is in chaos.
Though the general buzz inside the Makuhari Messe convention center here is generally buoyant, the people and companies here aren't immune to what's happening outside the walls.
Just today as I was reading The Daily Yomiuri on the train ride from Tokyo to the convention center where the show is being held, one of the front page stories caught my attention: "Confidence at Japanese companies falls sharply." … Read more
CHIBA, Japan--Sony has an entire wall of its 11-inch XEL-1 OLED TVs set up here at Ceatec 2008, but in contrast with past gadget shows, it's not the only company showing off OLED prototypes.
Panasonic may have said earlier this week that OLED is still far from becoming a mass-produced mainstream technology for use in big-screen TVs, but other electronics makers are plowing ahead with their own research on the organic, thin film technology: NEC, Sony, and KDDI showed off what they've been doing with OLED in their research labs.
Sony, of course, continues to press ahead its … Read more
CHIBA, Japan--If the concepts on display at Ceatec are any indication, completely deconstructing the traditional form factor of the mobile phone is one of the next major phases of design and development research.
Japan has one of the most robust mobile phone cultures anywhere, and it shows here on the second day of the show. Sharp, Fujitsu, NTT DoCoMo, and KDDI each had intriguing takes on the next form factor for devices used not just for mobile communication, but watching videos, playing games, and performing mobile navigation.
Take the necklace on the right. It alerts the wearer when there's a call or a message incoming. It's made by Fujitsu and, while it isn't an actual product, is indicative of how cell phones are thought of here: not just communication devices, but accessories made to fit neatly and inconspicuously into the daily routine.
Then there were a host of phones whose screens and keyboards pull apart to be used separately. The Fujitsu version shown below uses magnets to connect the two pieces in the desired configuration. NTT DoCoMo was demonstrating a similar concept.
But as far as futuristic, elegant design goes, KDDI was far and away the winner. The wireless company showed off beautiful designs, which are nowhere close to being reality, but show the aspirations it has for the cell phone. The Ply was part of its yearly Design Project. (Here's a picture of last year's version.)
Designed by Hideo Kambara, the Ply imagines the phone as a device with a series of layers. One layer is a pop-up projector, another is a slide-out keyboard, and another is a printer, a game controller, and so on. The ones on display here and shown further down the page are just papercraft renderings.
CHIBA, Japan--The entire Makuhari Messe convention center here in Chiba, just outside Tokyo, is packed to the gills with technology. But it's not just completed products. Though several halls are, of course, full of TVs and phones and notebooks and Blu-ray players, there are also entire halls dedicated to parts: LEDs, LCD screens, batteries, and other important building blocks of consumer electronics. Over the next few days we'll bring as much of it to you as we can. In the meantime, have a look at this gallery from day one of Ceatec 2008.
CHIBA, Japan--Toshiba hopped onto the Netbook bandwagon here at Ceatec, announcing the NB110.
Design-wise, there's nothing too remarkable about it. It resembles an Eee PC, with specs a mix between that and the HP Mini-Note: Intel Atom processor, Windows XP, 1GB RAM, 120GB hard drive, weighs 2.3 pounds, 802.11b/g wireless, Bluetooth 2.1, and 3 USB 2.0 ports.
Toshiba is actually one of the pioneers in mini-notebooks, with the Libretto that first came out in 2001, and the Tecra M4 convertible notebook. The NB110 certainly looks like it's related to those two, but unlike … Read more
CHIBA, Japan--Already skeptical about the ability of OLED to uproot the TV technology dominance of plasma and LCD in the next few years, Panasonic cast even more doubt on the opening day of Ceatec 2008.
Speaking to a group of reporters, Panasonic AVC Networks President Toshihiro Sakamoto reiterated that OLED (organic light-emitting diode) TVs will not be made in sizes of 30 inches or greater for now, and it's still not suitable for mass manufacturing. Currently, Panasonic does not have an OLED product on the market, but Sony does: it makes and 11-inch OLED TV, and is working on a 27-inch model. … Read more
CHIBA, Japan--It won't be ready for at least three or five years, but Panasonic's Total Living Space Solution is a cool, elegant combination of all your home gadgets and appliances in one.
The display is the size of an actual living room and kitchen, set down in the middle of Panasonic's booth here at Ceatec. Since Ceatec is an opportunity for companies to show off some of their more forward-looking products, Panasonic took advantage.
Crave is hopping a plane to Japan. How cool is that?
If there's a place that's more of a sensory overload than Las Vegas, it's Tokyo, which makes it a perfect place to host what many say is the best consumer electronics show in the world.
And beginning Tuesday, Crave will be combing through the halls of the Makuhari Messe exhibition center in Chiba, just outside Tokyo, to find the coolest, weirdest, and most useful stuff that the electronics giants of the world have brought to Ceatec 2008. Ceatec, by the way, stands for Combined Exhibition of … Read more