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Tools of the Trade: February 2018

By Michael Castelluccio
February 1, 2018
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All of these were featured at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2018, and two will be released later this year.

 

1. HP SPECTRE X360

 

HP announced its Spectre x360 15 convertible laptop at CES as the world’s most powerful convertible PC with sufficient power and discrete graphics to create, edit, and stream 4K and 3D content. It also has one of HP’s most stylish cases, made of machine aluminum with an angular profile tapering to 0.7″ in a dark ash silver finish with copper accents and geared steel hinges. You have a choice of either an 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor with Radeon RX Vega M graphics with up to 12 hours of battery life with fast-charge technology (50% in 30 minutes), or a quad-core 8th Generation Intel Core processor with NVIDIA GeForce MX graphics with up to 13.5 hours of battery life with fast-charge technology (90% in 90 minutes). The 15.6″ diagonal UHD WLED-backlit narrow border touchscreen is Corning Gorilla Glass 4 with 3,840 × 2,160 sharpness. Audio is produced by Bang & Olufsen top-mounted dual speakers. Windows Ink powers the digital ink interface. www.hp.com

 

2. LENOVO SMART DISPLAY

 

As part of its head-to-head competitive effort against the expanding ecosystem of Alexa-enabled smart-assistant devices, Google has teamed up with Lenovo to create the Google Assistant speaker with a digital display. There are two models, one with an 8″ (1,280 × 720) screen, and the other with a 10″ (1,920 × 1,080) screen. Both come with a white front and either a gray or bamboo back and the familiar 16:9 display ratio. A wedge-shaped back provides both with the ability to stand on their own. There’s a single power cord, and connectivity is via Wi-Fi. A Qualcomm SDA 624 SoC powers the display. By adding the visual element to Google Assistant, the Lenovo Smart Display offers video call with Google Duo and playback for the YouTube catalog. Ask for the location of the nearest theater playing a certain movie, and you’ll also get an image and links to a trailer. With Google Maps, it can even provide step-by-step directions to get you there. You also have a direct link to your Google Photos. Available early summer 2018. www.lenovo.com

 

3. OPTOMA HOME PROJECTOR

 

One of the more interesting competitors of the many large-screen HD televisions at CES was the new Optoma UHD51A 4K UHD home projector, made even smarter with the additions of Amazon’s Alexa Smart Home and Custom Skills, which will allow the projector to ­custom-adjust the speakers, the screen, and lighting using voice controls. The projector provides 2,400 lumens, 500,000:1 contrast ratio, HDR10, and a DCI-P3 color gamut. The fast 60Hz refresh rates will be appreciated by gamers, and there are the standard HDCP2.2 and two HDMI 2.0 ports for various inputs. Available in April 2018. www.optomausa.com

 

4. SOOFA BULLETIN BOARD

 

The Soofa Bulletin Board is a first step in enabling smart parks, and, eventually, smart cities. It offers a way for residents to have a digital community bulletin board for posting messages, announcements, social media feeds, and even upcoming bus arrivals. The display is an electronic paper (e-ink) that’s self-contained and powered by solar cells. The kiosks receive announcements wirelessly, and the installation consists of four stabilizing bolts sunk into any concrete surface. Pilot programs of installed Soofa signs are already up in downtown Las Vegas and Boston. To learn more, see www.soofa.co/research for the free white paper, Smart Parks. www.soofa.co/soofa-sig

 

Michael Castelluccio has been the Technology Editor for Strategic Finance for 23 years. His SF TECHNOTES blog is in its 20th year. You can contact Mike at mcastelluccio@imanet.org.


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