All posts by RichardK

Site editor and creator. Writer and advertising sales director for Icon Publications, contributor to F2. And one issue of Sound On Sound :D

Apad by any other name…

This is, first and foremost, a site for me to put the content that won’t fit in other, print media outlets. It’s full of half-written entries as work gets in the way, it’s sporadically updated. If something grabs me, then you’ll see it here eventually. Currently I’m enthralled, baffled and generally confused by the “iPad-killer” market of Shanzai tablets typified by the Eken M7001, iPed and the Apad (which has been adopted as the name for Shanzai/OEM Android MIDs, but actually refers to a 7″ Rockchip RK2808 based model commonly sold as the “iRobot”).

Amongst these, the Rockchip architecture has been out for ages – the Archos players are based on it – and MIDs have been showing up in various forms at consumer electronics shows particularly in Eastern territories for years. So why the sudden buzz?
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Upgrading the Teso J-10 or iiView M1Touch

As a pretty neat UMPC, the Teso J-10 (aka iiView M1Touch and also sold as a “Windows 7 Tablet” by Tablet Store UK currently – I’m not aware of any other UK importers) is already well equipped for most purposes. Most of the time, people want to add bluetooth, 3G and so forth; those are already present. However, it’s interesting to get a look inside and see how the J-10 is assembled.
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Tablet Store 10.1″ iPhone-styled Windows 7 3G Tablet

Shanzai gets it right sometimes, and Tablet Store UK’s Windows 7 tablet is one such case. Coming in at £449, with the 3G-equipped model tested at £499 with 160GB HD, HSUPA wireless from a Sierra Wireless 8781 and Bluetooth and WiFi via a combined module, this tablet is also known as the TESO J-10 and iiView M1Touch; it identifies itself as a THD PX1. Whilst many sites have opted to view this as an “iPad Killer”, such a concept is laughable – it’s an evolution of the Ultra-Mobile PC concept. So where has the concept been taken, and has it matured sufficiently to be worthwhile – and have the Chinese OEMs cracked something that few startup firms have managed…
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Sigma DP2s

Sigma’s camera evolution continues with the latest version of the DP series, the DP2s. Unlike the progression from DP1s to DP1x, the DP2s is essentially a refinement of the previous design, though Sigma remain coy about internal changes. Reading between the lines, the sensor may well be a new “version” of the 4.5 x 3 Mp Foveon chip first seen in the SD14, and there’s definitely some adjustment to the base firmware, but it’s less likely that the physical hardware of the camera has actually changed.
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LG 32LH2000 HD-Ready 32″ LCD TV with Freeview

TVs aren’t something I expected to look at often, but this little TV caught my eye in Sainsbury’s last month at a bargain price of £299. I’m fully aware of the limitations of the specification compared to the latest, true HD models, but having bought it with the intention of using it as a stopgap TV, it has proven to be interesting in more ways than one. In fact, LG have produced a TV which punches well above its weight for the price.
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Dell Mini 10 (Inspiron 1010) – versatile HD netbook with TV, 3G and GPS

The netbook genre has exploded during the time I’ve been hosting this site – and I’ve overlooked most models despite owning two of the most popular ones due to a lack of time to review them. However, as the market for the devices matured, the need for something that wasn’t simply “good enough”, but was actually “complete and useful” became quite pressing. Having started with the obligatory 4GB Asus Eee and moved on to the exceptionally good value Acer Aspire One A110, the time taken for these models to acquire internal 3G networking and decent storage was frustrating.
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Logitech Anywhere MX

Logitech Anywhere MX with Darkfield TechnologyIt seems like a lifetime ago that the mouse – a pointing device for computers – was a novelty, and an imperfect one at that. Square boxes with lumpy wheels, strangely shaped devices with no relationship to the shape of the human hand, tiny little round ones… all of these shipped with Apple’s hardware for years. Third-party manufacturers did their best to keep up, but kept on making models that were just too comfortable, too natural.
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Sony downgrades PS3 system – again!

Sony have consistently removed features from the PS3, and the latest update is no different; it affects different users, of course, and if you currently have a PS3 Slim you really don’t need to care about this.

I don’t. I have a 60GB PS3, the original UK model. It cost £425, a price I considered justifiable because the system included a high-definition movie player (Microsoft charged £99 at the time for the HD-DVD drive), wireless as well as wired connectivity, a decent size of HD and 4 USB ports/card reader. It also included HDMI and the ability to run Linux, making it an ideal “home computer”.

Thanks to the activities of one talented individual, Sony has elected to remove the Other OS function from machines that allowed it a mere month after stating their commitment to keeping the feature in place. Sony, which marketed the systems on this capability and made a lot of noise about the cluster systems based on the PS3.

Continue reading Sony downgrades PS3 system – again!

Panasonic – RED One for the consumer?

Panasonic’s announcement of the AG-AF100 M4:3 (Four-Thirds) camcorder cannot be underestimated – whilst the M4:3 cameras produced have been offering HD-quality video in a flexible format for a couple of years now, the launch of a dedicated “large sensor” camcorder into the prosumer market promises a real threat to the RED system from below – itself already a threat to the really high-end equipment.

Panasonic’s offering will not be “cheap”, but it will undoubtedly be affordable, and will offer access to some excellent glass via the Four-Thirds system – some of the lenses available from Olympus and Panasonic are exceptional, such as the 7-14mm F4.

RED’s trick of using essentially DSLR sensors in a dedicated system has already transformed video production. Whilst the Four-Thirds sensor is half the size of a full-frame 35mm model (a format derived from cinematography), it still offers real benefits in pixel density, resolution, sensitivity and depth of field compared to the “fractional” sizes previously employed.

Since the AG-AF100 is derived from Panasonic’s M4:3 cameras, it may offer a selection of aspect ratios as well, though it’s not mentioned in the release.

Press release follows:
Continue reading Panasonic – RED One for the consumer?