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BW Businessworld

An Array To Remember

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New TVs, new tablets, new phones, new cameras, new entertainment devices, all under one roof. A few things get the gizmo-holics in us going as much as a packed house of soon-to-be-launched gadgets, and at the Samsung South West Asia Forum 2012, we were treated to the company's 2012 portfolio of products. Read on to find out which ones tickled our fancy.

‘Smart' Smart TVs: Smart TVs circa 2011 used to be about TVs that could connect to the Internet, media players and such like. With the 2012 range, smart just got smarter, with the TVs packing in an integrated camera and microphone that will do fulfill more than just your Skype needs. These TVs recognize movement and voice and allow you to control the TV and navigate within the applications on the TV using gestures and voice commands, while offering basic face recognition features as well. Just say "Hi TV" and the voic control is activated, and you can speak the commands to change channels, increase the volume etc or simply motion to the right area on the screen with your hand gestures. In my experience of the device, the features were a bit hit-and-miss (especially with the gestures), though I expect stuff will be ironed out by the time these models hit Indian shores. What interested me more was that these TVs would ship with what Samsung calls a Smart Evolution Kit – the ability to add new hardware and sofytware features such as upgrading from dual-core to quad core processors – by simply adding a piece of hardware to the existing TV in the future! Select 2012 TVs will come equipped with a simple slot-in to the back of the TV, with prices for India expected to be Rs 80,000 onwards.

Galaxy Tab 2 310

Retro Docks: Among the audio docks on display, the decidedly retro looking DA-E750 dock caught my eye with its use of mahogany finish and vacuum tube amplifiers, both of which wouldn't look out of place in radios from half a century ago. This dock plays nice not only with Samsung's Galaxy range of devices, but also features a dock connector for Apple devices, so folks on both sides of the Android-iOS debate can consider this for their living rooms.

Beam Me Up: At first glance, the Galaxy Beam looks like one of the many Android phones on offer these days. It is powered by a 1GHz dual core processor and features a roomy 4-inch display with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. And the rest of spec sheet reads off without any surprises — Android 2.3, 5MP rear camera, 8GB internal storage with a microSD slot up to 32GB and a 2,000 mAh battery for all-day use. Of course, the real highlight of this device is a built-in 15-lumen brightness projector which lets you project images and video to upto 50-inches on the nearest wall (or ceiling, if you're feeling lazy!). You'll have to darken the room a bit for it to work, but the result is pretty fantastic — don't forget, this is a phone, after all!

Computing Part Deux: One more for the alphabet soup, I guess. But with the Galaxy Tab 2 310 (quite a mouthful, isn't it?), you get the latest version of Android — 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) — preloaded on the device. With the number of ICS devices still in the low single digits in India, an updated OS on the Tab 2 is something I'm looking forward to trying out when it launches in the next couple of months. Also seen at the show was the impossibly slim Samsung Series 9 notebook, arguably the slimmest notebook in the world — I just hope Samsung gets its pricing right when it launches in India in the next couple of months.

Rigorous Reworkings
Wow, talk of taking consumer feedback seriously. Seagate has updated the firmware on its GoFlex Satellite iPad compatible streaming hard drive to fix niggling issues I'd seen with the drive when it was launched just under six months ago. Not only does the drive see improved battery life (from five hours to seven), you can connect a lot more devices (up from 3) to the drive simultaneously. And perhaps most importantly, the update now allows you to use the drive and use the Internet at the same time — a major pain point in the first release. This drive just got itself a serious recommendation!


Slow Delivery
Know which game is played most in India? Street cricket, what else? Cashing in on the lifelong craze Indians have with just setting up a makeshift wicket (three stones, at the very least) and starting a game, Sony's launched Move Street Cricket. The idea had potential — using the Move controller to bowl or swing the bat. Unfortunately, the execution leaves much to be desired, with inaccurate handling and pretty pedestrian graphics and audio tracks. Not a game I'd recommend even for an ardent cricket fan – heck, this may well inspire you to get out and play some real street cricket!
Price: Rs 1,499



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