Tag Archives | Displays

Whither Mirasol?

One of my favorite tech demos back at the Consumer Electronics Show in January of 2010 was Mirasol, a new kind of display from Qualcomm that combined some of the virtues of LCDs (color, respectable refresh rates) with the single biggest virtue of E Ink (crazy long battery life).  I saw it in person, was suitably impressed, and waited for the e-reader which Qualcomm said to expect by the end of the year.

The e-reader didn’t show up, and I kind of forgot about Mirasol–until yesterday. Here at Qualcomm’s Uplinq conference, there was a press conference with Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs, and  someone asked him about Mirasol. Which I wish I’d thought to do.

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New Toshibas: A More Powerful Portégé, Sleeker Full-Sized Laptops, and a Monitor to Go

Toshiba's Portégé R830

When people ask me for recommendations about highly portable Windows notebooks, I’m quick to mention Toshiba’s Portégé R700–a reasonably-priced three-pounder that has a 13.3″ screen and even manages to pack a DVD burner into its trim, good-looking case. Today, Toshiba is announcing the R700’s successor–as well as two larger notebooks and a unique portable display. The company recently gave me a preview of its new wares.

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The iPad 2’s Display: Nice, But Not Perfect

My friend Dr. Ray Soneira of DisplayMate Technologies has reviewed the iPad 2′ screen, comparing it to the iPhone 4’s “retina” display. The news is mostly good–he likes the iPad 2’s display a lot and says that “retina” resolution isn’t all that important–but he also has some interesting technical quibbles which he says Apple could fix with a software update.

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Busting the Biggest Display Myths

My friend Dr. Raymond Soneira, founder of DisplayMate Technologies, knows as much about displays and what makes them look good–or bad–as anyone. And he’s written an eye-opener of a story for Maximum PC on the specs that display companies use to sell their products. Many of them are inflated, confusing, and/or just plain useless. Which isn’t clear to most people, since normal humans know very little about display technologies.

It’s all driven by marketing hype: Manufacturers figure you’ll buy the monitor with the most impressive-sounding sounding numbers. Tech companies have a long history of making claims about their products that devolve into deceptive gibberish, and this may be the most troubling current case. Ray proposes an Energy Star-like program for certifying displays using standards that really mean something, which is a fabulous idea.

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Everyone knows OLED screens look amazing, right? Well, everybody is wrong, or at least that’s not the whole story. My old friend Dr. Ray Soneira of DisplayMate, who’s been testing screens of all types for years, compared the OLED display of Google’s Nexus One to the iPhone 3GS’s LCD screen, and found that while the Nexus One’s icons, text, and menus looked terrific, images suffered from artifacts, banding, and inaccurate colors. (It didn’t help that the Nexus One only does 16-bit color.)

Ray’s testing is so thorough that it’s a multi-part story; even if you’re ultimately happy trusting your own eyes to judge if you’re happy with a display, his examination of the two phones makes for fascinating reading.


New MacBook Pro, MacBook, and Cinema Display…in Person

Want some beauty shots of Apple’s new products? Sorry, don’t have any–Apple’s Web site is now rife with ’em, though. What I do have are a few fuzzy photos I took at this morning’s event, plus some hands-on impressions.

One striking thing is that while the naming conventions of MacBook and MacBook Pro live on, the difference in industrial design does not. And even in terms of specs, the differentiation between the two classes of machine is blurry.

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Final Apple Notebook Scuttlebutt Before Bedtime

[SHAMELESS PLUG: Technologizer will be liveblogging the Apple notebook event on 10/14/2008 @ 10am PT. Please join us.]

his is, I’m reasonably sure, the last time I’ll write in any detail about what Apple may announce tomorrow at its notebook event. I’m about to hit the hay, and will be at the event itself not too long after I wake up. But information (some of which may turn out to be misinformation) is still hitting the blogosphere, and I thought a quick update made sense.

First of all, if you read only one more pre-event post, make it this one by Daring Fireball’s John Gruber. He’s the furthest thing from a rumormonger, and he seems quite positive about the following:

–the new MacBook Pro combines elements of the MacBook (latchless case), MacBook Air (black keyboard), and iMac (black frame around display) and indeed sports a case made out of one piece of aluminum;

–it has a glass touchpad with no button–you press the entire pad to click;

–this is a 15-inch MacBook Pro we’re talking about; there’s no new 17-inch one.

John then says “I have some educated guesses as to what else will be announced,” and I can’t quite tell if he means that everything after that sentence is less definitive. But he says that there are new MacBooks that are similar in industrial design to the new 15-inch Pro; that the MacBook Air is getting bigger hard drives; that all the systems have Nvidia’s 9400M GPU; and that the MacBook Pro also sports an Nvidia 9600M GT. (Yup, it supposedly has two GPUs.)

Oh…he also says that there is no $800 MacBook. (I’ll channel Joe Biden and say that again: There is no $800 MacBook.) But the current white MacBook will hang around at $999. And Apple will also introduce a 24-inch LED-backlit Cinema Display.

Okay, once you’ve read Daring Fireball, go to Engadget for a fuzzy photo of the new MacBook Pro. It certainly looks legit.

Actually, I think those are the only two posts you really need to read. See you at 10am tomorrow for our live coverage from Cupertino. Happy thought: By around 11:30am tomorrow, there will be absolutely no Macbook rumors to sort through. For a little while, at least…

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