Saturday, May 29, 2010

CeBIT Australia 2010

Team Tegatech having fun: Taking the Tablet!

CeBIT was extra special for me this year, not only was I speaking at the Webciety conference but my little business (Tegatech Australia) was exhibiting at the show too. I have presented at CeBIT for the last four years and each year is more exciting than the last. I made my way to stage and while the audience was small it was full of familiar faces.

Presenting at CeBIT Australia: Webciety Conference

Not surprisingly as I pulled out the iPad the crowd seemed to double and grow each minute I presented. Then the TEGA Tablet came out, a Tablet made by our little business. Obviously the sentence to follow will contain some amount of praise but given I’ve worked with Tablets for almost a decade I can suggest there is good reason for an iPad alternative to exist.

Crowd builds as TEGA Tablet and iPad come out

The TEGA Tablet multi-tasks, has built-in 3G and SSD options, but best of all it accepts handwritten input thanks to the inclusion of a carefully written Human Interface Device (HID) driver. With this driver users can write on the screen and have those notes transcribed into text (extra great when running Windows 7 Professional) or have those same notes left as handwritten format for reading later. Ultimately with all its ports and full Operating System I think the business community in particular will welcome the TEGA Tablet, or anyone that is above 16yrs of age and doesn’t own a pair of white earphones.

Interviewed for CeBIT TV

The show was great this year and there seemed to be a bigger push from medium sized exhibitors showing off their wears! There was a huge Korean pavilion and even one from Shenzhen China – famous for iPad clones. It was a little strange to see some of the clones on display as I am pretty sure where the iPad clones go lawsuits follow shortly after! I enjoyed myself and I thank anyone that came and spent time with us, and for those of you that missed out we/I will be back at CeBIT Australia 2011!

TEGA Tablet stand!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Viliv S10 Blade and N5 arrive on my doorstep

So sad...but I'm still like a kid when these come in!

Today was certainly an exciting day with the arrival of the the FedEX man! As per most days there is always a sense of enthusiasm when he knocks but on this day we knew it was extra special. Inside the box...Australia's first Viliv N5 and Vili S10 in the same box!!!

massive hole for battery (10hrs), and interestingly, easy access to SSD

With 10hrs battery life it was easy to see where it gets it from. When I flipped over the machine there was a massive hole looking for a chunky bit of lithium ion polymer to fill its shoes. It's the smartest battery design I've seen in an Ultra-Mobile PC design and with all 7.4V to power itself from it was no surprise why the S10 Blade does so well on the battery life stakes.

S10 Blade open...and converting

It is a convertible notebook but by its weight and design you would almost swear it's a slate. In hand it is light to hold and the swivel action is very refined and a credit to Viliv as it is their first attempt at such a device. It is so much lighter than the Fujitsu P1630, and better built than the ASUS T91 (not hard) so over all a great effort.

this is why they call it The Blade!!!

When this unit is in slate mode it becomes very obvious just how skilful it is. With the amazing ability to act wafer thin while still packing a keyboard I can see I'm starting to fall in love with the unit as a possible "preferred" device. I really didn't think I would be this enamoured but with multi-touch, an SD card slot, built-in 3G and SSD, 2x USB ports and the awesome ability to turn itself into a external storage device (thanks to mini USB port you can plug it into another machine and read data from it), I think this unit is special.

Slated for action!

I like the minimalistic design and the fact that it has a camera. It has been hard to think about the iPad movement and actually suggest there is an alternative in the PC world, but this may be it! I love the portability and the battery life, and the simple design, and nice exterior feel it means that it can sit in your hand quite nicely and perhaps be considered one of the true iPad killers on the market!

N5 has silky (sexy) matt finish

The N5 is so new what I have in my hand is a pre-pre-production model. It has the best feeling (almost felt-like) exterior which means it is a very desirability machine (almost sexy). It has been designed to give a touch experience in your pocket with all the functionality Windows provides. With built-in 3G, large keyboard and long life battery I think this will also turn heads at CeBIT Australia.

N5 open!

I like that the keyboard has left-click and right-click, all the keys needed to work "normally" including the Windows key, and that the screen is quite readable outdoors. It is a light device and will definitely find a happy home amongst consumers. Between the S10 and the N5 I favour the S10 as I like screen real-estate too much but ultimately they are both innovative enough to be called "real" Ultra-Mobile PC. They will be officially launched in Australia on Monday the 24th of May on Tegatech Australia stand (R61).

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

iPad, TEGA Tablet, Surface and Hunter Valley

iPad (pre-launch 2010 Australia) - about to begin second session

On Thursday afternoon I packed up my bags, my iPad, my TEGA Tablet and a Surface Table….yes, a Surface Table! My direction was north, and my goal was to speak at the AIS conference 2010. This is the third occasion I have been invited to present and on this occasion I had to give two sessions, for the first time, so I had twice the opportunity to make blunders, or on a positive note, had twice the opportunity to impress.

"during" my talk I let all the attendees come up
 and play with Surface

Ultimately the audience is a bunch of well-schooled, well intended, IT managers and professionals. Billed as “The primary event for ICT professionals in independent schools” the event is held in the Hunter Valley, i.e. some of Australia’s most heavenly win country. My talks were scheduled for Friday and without delay I packed, prepared and practiced all my lines. With PowerPoint on my new T900 (with multi-touch) and a plethora of cutting edge devices (totalling a street value of almost $30,000 AUD) it was always going to be entertaining at worst! LOL!

"Inspect A Gadet" LOL!!!

My talks came and went, I had countless questions about the TEGA Tablet, the iPad strengths and weaknesses and even had Microsft staff stay through my first talk and come up after and say they thoroughly enjoyed it (especially the Surface bits). Too cool. I just thought I’d share some images as it was fun to be part of. If I get invited back next year (my fourth year) I better start planning ways to beat this year’s presentations….maybe $100K worth of gadgets!

Next week I'm speaking at the Webciety Conference, CeBIT Australia 2010. Can't wait!!! Tegatech will have a stand their too.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

First look at Panasonic ToughBook CF-C1 (aka C1)

Today I was lucky enough to play with one of the World’s first Panasonic CF-C1…and loved it! While I have enough been a fan of rugged computers for mainstream (or personal) use I do fully understand the “whys” around the technology and how it came about to exist. While the CF-C1 is not a pretty Tablet, I can suggest it is a robust and well executed effort. It definitely won’t appeal to people looking to buy a Lenovo Tablet, or a toy-ish ASUS T91, it will definitely fill a gap in the market as a tough (as the name implies) and reliable business tool!

Just like the time I had world’s first look at the Fujitsu P1610, and the world’s first look at the HTC Shift, and even Raon Digital VEGA (now I'm showing my geek age!) on this occasion my time with the C1 (although not world's first) was brief and secretive. In a veil of excitement the Panasonic representative came swooping into my home, turned, flipped, held, pointed, prodded and showcases the unit to me. After nearly an hour we debated its merits and everyone walked away contented! While by no stretch of the imagination would I call this a review, I would, based on nearly a decade of playing with these toys, post some quick thoughts.

  • Felt extremely light – at 1.6kgs it’s not entirely a featherweight but the weight distribution felt great
  • The touchscreen (I believe capacitive) was very light and easy to use, while the Wacom digitizer exceptionally silky.
  • Tablet swivel hinge was extremely sturdy – like most ToughBook designs the swivel was over engineered IMHO but certainly justified on the CF-C1
  • Dual battery (hotswappable) bays are great – and at 5hrs per battery, totalling a predicted 10hrs, it certainly will turn heads 
  • Price will be sub $3k AUD (equivalent to early US$2K before taxes) is reasonably for such a device
  • Felt too light! Hard too believe I'd say this, but I mean too light when compared to the image (and impression) the ToughBook brand carries. Almost didn't feel like a ToughBook.
  • Stylus bay very weak – obviously could be a result of the preproduction unit I played with but when I took the stylus out, and packed it away, there was a real air of “cheapness” around it. I’m sure that will be fixed. 
  • As stated above, the swivel is over engineered, but I can see why it’s done that way
  • Styling leaves a lot to be desired, especially with the “orthopaedic-styled” palm rest on the underbelly of the unit, but once again “I get it”, it’s TOUGH!
Here are some pictures. Ask me anything you want. I believe it will be released officially in Australia on the first week of June with global locations following similar timelines. If you’re in business chasing a Tablet it may be worth a looks…especially if you work on a farm, drive a pickup, and chew tobacco! LOL!

Hinge: long parallel bracket with built-in stoppers
(only swivels in one direction)

Lock: to prevent from swivelling,
when Tablet is in traditional notebook stance

Screen locked in place.
(good view of hinge bracketry)

Side view: swivel locked

Front on: the mouse pad really jumped out as odd

12.1" C1 sizes up comparably (and a little unnecessarily) to my 13.3" Fujitsu T900H

C1 needs a little more tilt to swivel due to parallel bracket

Thickness similar at nearly 40mm each
(<1.5" for Fujitsu, and <1.7" for C1)

Very practical palm rest/grip:
like a good pair of Crocs I guess, i.e. very comfy but not sexy! LOL

Your pair of Crocs! LOL

Express slot, smart card, USB, VGA, air vent

Power port, Ethernet, 56k modem (WTF), air vent, 2x USB

Throwing up some good numbers!

Some switches, lights, and SD card slot (nice)

lid closed