The game chang­ers

The fu­ture of tele­vi­sion, pho­tog­ra­phy and tablet com­put­ing is be­com­ing clearer, writes Jen­nifer DudleyNicholson

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Gadgets -

IT’S the con­sumer elec­tron­ics show that sets the agenda for the rest of the year and, if pre­dic­tions are cor­rect, 2012 is go­ing to end in a tech­no­log­i­cal rush. In­ter­na­tional Funkausstel­lung, or IFA as it is bet­ter known, at­tracted more than 140,000 vis­i­tors to its Ber­lin halls to peek at the fu­ture of tech­nol­ogy, and man­u­fac­tur­ers were keen to im­press.

Be­yond co­conut fi­bre phone cases and new ro­bot vac­uum clean­ers lay a host of emerg­ing tech­no­log­i­cal trends.


Tele­vi­sion screens are poised to get sig­nif­i­cantly big­ger and brighter this year, with two emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies fi­nally avail­able for the lounge­room.

The next gen­er­a­tion of screen tech­nol­ogy — or­ganic light-emit­ting diode or OLED TVs — are due to arrive late this year in 55-inch screens that are brighter, faster, more en­ergy-ef­fi­cient and much slim­mer.

Not just one com­pany has made the break­through: Sam­sung and LG are al­ready fight­ing for OLED TV buy­ers with screens that both claim are ‘‘ the world’s big­gest’’.

Sam­sung Europe au­dio visual mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor Michael Zoller says OLED screens rep­re­sent an evo­lu­tion of tele­vi­sion tech­nol­ogy that users can im­me­di­ately ap­pre­ci­ate.

‘‘ OLED is not just an in­cre­men­tal im­prove­ment. It’s also a game-chang­ing ex­peri- ence,’’ Mr Zoller says. Sam­sung’s 55-inch screen, the ES9500, will be just 7mm thick, fea­ture a tiny bor­der, and will come with in­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity, a pop-up cam­era for in­ter­ac­tive use and 3D view­ing.

Sam­sung Aus­tralia au­dio visual head Paul New­ton says the com­pany is do­ing ‘‘ ev­ery­thing we can to have it on sale in Aus­tralia prior to Christ­mas’’ for a price less than $10,000.

LG’s ri­val screen, the 55EM9700, will be priced sim­i­larly when it ar­rives, though that is not likely to be un­til next year, spokesman Ken Hong says, due to world­wide de­mand.

The com­pany’s 55-inch screen is thin­ner than Sam­sung’s of­fer­ing, how­ever, at just 4mm, and is be­ing pro­moted as ‘‘ the world’s slimmest’’.

An­other big screen tech­nol­ogy from IFA, lit­er­ally, is the ul­tra-def­i­ni­tion screen that is the next step up from high­def­i­ni­tion TVs.

Boast­ing four times the res­o­lu­tion of their pre­de­ces­sor, its mak­ers say view­ers can sit twice as close to the screen, which is handy as the UD TVs are sig­nif­i­cantly larger.

Sony un­veiled its 84-inch screen be­fore the show, only to be fol­lowed by Toshiba and joined by LG. Sam­sung also qui­etly showed off a 70-inch UD TV.

Sony says its first UD TV will go on sale be­fore the end of the year, but its price is likely to be higher than $25,000.


Mi­crosoft did not at­tend IFA this year but its prod­ucts were not hard to find.

Com­puter mak­ers Dell, HP Sony, Sam­sung, Toshiba and ASUS all de­liv­ered Win­dows 8 com­put­ers, many of them hy­brid tablets that could do dou­ble-duty as lap­tops.

Two of the new of­fer­ings de­liv­ered built-in key­boards that slide out from the tablet, for ex­am­ple. Both the Toshiba Satel­lite 925t and the Sony VAIO Duo 11 also fea­ture larger and longer than usual screens at 12 and 11 inches, re­spec­tively, to make the most of Mi­crosoft’s new hor­i­zon­tal Live Tile dis­play.

HP, ASUS and Sam­sung took a dif­fer­ent route, how­ever, all re­leas­ing Win­dows 8 tablets that clip into key­board docks for flex­i­bil­ity.

The HP Envy X2, ASUS Vivo Tab and Sam­sung ATIV Smart PC pair large touch­screens with full-size key­boards and more com­put­ing grunt.

The new breed of lap­tops will be­come avail­able af­ter Mi­crosoft of­fi­cially launches Win­dows 8 on Oc­to­ber 26.


Sony and Pana­sonic both de­buted cam­eras with built-in wi-fi con­nec­tiv­ity for quick photo shar­ing, while Sam­sung took a step fur­ther and added a 4G con­nec­tion and pop­u­lar apps into its hy­brid shooter.

Sony’s new com­pact sys­tem cam­era, the NEX 5R, fea­tures a new 16-megapixel sen­sor and hy­brid aut­o­fo­cus mech­a­nism for ex­tra speed, but it also comes with built-in wi-fi and an app that lets users con­trol the cam­era from an Ap­ple or Google phone.

Sim­i­larly, Pana­sonic Lumix SZ5 can be con­nected to a phone or tablet to in­stantly see and share its 14-megapixel pho­tos on­line. Jen­nifer Dud­ley-Ni­chol­son trav­elled to Ber­lin as a guest of Sam­sung.

New OLED TV is un­veiled at the lat­est tech­nol­ogy show in Ber­lin.

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