Best of Computex 2010: Android Tablets, Robotic Vacuum Cleaners, and More
Formerly the tech show of CPUs, LCD displays, and touch screens, Computex is evolving. Its becoming a more well-rounded showcase of gadgets. More and more each year, the tech makers and device designers that keep the hard drive of the industry spinning are jetting to Taipei to present devices in their completed form (Intel offered a prominent presence this year), making Computex a sort of soapbox, an opportunity for some lesser known companies to showcase their wares away from the clutter of companies with more mindshare. Those smaller companies stood up tall this year, but these are the products we feel spoke for themselves.
ASUS Eee Tablet
Plenty of eReader users kvetch about the inability to take sufficient notes on their digital readers. That complaint is what makes the ASUS Eee Tablet a clever - and unexpected - product. An eReader-cum-stylus with excellent WACOM touch input technology built into the LCD display, the Eee Pad packs in a powerful selection of features.
For instance, beneath that drab-colored display is a quick-footed ARM processor that delivered page-turning speeds unmatched by any other eReader. It also facilitated smooth text input - both by hand and stylus.
Priced at a reasonable $199, the Eee Pad will be low-hanging fruit of a delicious variety for mobile professionals and students alike. Plus a 2MP camera, sound recorder, microSD card storage, Wi-Fi radio, PC-via-USB port, and 10-hour battery make the Eee Pad a seriously compelling product.
Gigabyte M1405 with Docking Station
A 14-inch media-oriented notebook with a 1366x768 HD-ready resolution and an over-clockable, low-voltage Intel Core 2 Duo CPU is an easy sell, but pair it with a docking station that houses an Nvidia GeForce GT220 discrete graphics card, DVI and VGA support for two external monitors, and an HDMI port, and you've elevated your pitch to a new level. With the M1405, Gigabyte offers all of the above for around $1,000.
Though the docking station adds so much performance you might never want to detach the notebook, Gigabyte certainly offers incentive to do so. In addition to 320 or 500GB hard drives and 4GB of RAM, the 1405 also ships with a 10-hour 6-cell battery, a secondary battery bay in the swappable optical drive slot, and seamless docking and de-docking (normally, the notebook must be turned off before connecting and disconnecting).
Intel Canoe Lake Design
Although the prototype chassis pictured above is a reference design built to house and showcase Intel's revolutionary CPU-cooling solution called Canoe Lake, it makes us wish other OEMs would copy its paper-thin portability. With Canoe Lake technology, they should be able to do just that. The special chassis construction dissipates heat so well that it makes possible notebook designs that are 50-percent thinner than the typical Atom netbook available today.
This 10-inch machine measured in at less than one inch thick and packed the new dual-core Intel Atom CPU (single-core Atom processors can make netbooks 95-degrees or hotter). But even after playing with the system for almost an hour, it remained absolutely cool to the touch. That makes the machine's smooth black chassis with chrome trim and responsive keyboard the icing on the ice cream cake.
MSI GT660 Gaming Notebook
Overclocking your CPU is standard, but overclocking your graphics processor? Now, that's optimized performance! We shouldn't be surprised the MSI GT660 grants such power to users. Not only does the 16-inch system ship with top-notch specs like a Core i7-720QM CPU, Nvidia GeForce 285M graphics, up to 12GB of RAM, and a 2.1 sound system, it offers 3D playback with inexpensive polarized glasses. What's more, this War Machine of gaming rigs is configurable with dual hard drives paired in a RAID 0 set-up for faster performance and with a maximum combined storage space of 1.2TB.
MSI M800 Robot Vacuum
At what point does the line blur between gadget and robot? How about when your vacuum cleaner recognizes its low power levels and retreats back to the docking station for recharging. We call that near-sentience. Let's hope the MSI M800's power suction system, dirt-gathering arms, and sonic sensors (for avoiding the furniture) help keep floors so clean that everyone forgets the threat of robot apocalypse. Until it strikes!
Viliv X10 Android Tablet
This is one Android tablet we don't want to fade into obscurity. The Viliv X10 is a vibrant 10-inch slate with a 1080p-capable 1366x768 display (that's the Highest Definition, guys) that plays HD content with a slick, poppy clarity we've never seen on any tablet. The ARM CPU made accelerometer-controlled turns in the 3D racing game we played as smooth as a NASCAR lap and the inclusion of a front-facing webcam - along with HDMI out and mobile broadband options - means the X10 is close to the checkered flag in the race for hot tablet devices.
The only possible flat-tire: the device we tested featured Android 2.1. We were told that when the X10 comes to market, it'll be with Flash-capable Android 2.2 software. Here's to our dreams coming true someday.
Zalman NC2500 Plus Notebook Cooler
The market is filled with notebook coolers that promise to save your wrists, fingers, and lap from sweltering temperatures, while giving your system's fan a much-needed assist. Zalman's new NC2500 Plus cooler stands out because it serves as a full docking station with room for a 2.5-inch hard drive under the hood. While your notebook is chilling out on your desk, it can also be backing up data or playing movies that are stored on the cooler. Now what's cooler than that?