Casio G-Shock with iPhone Mobile Link

Casio G-Shock GB6900AAFor digital watches, there’s really only one range to look at – Casio G-Shock. From day-to-day wear to aviation and snowsports, there’s a G-Shock watch that will fulfil your needs. The GB6900AA takes this to a new level, providing incoming call and email notifications from your iPhone. Don straps it on.

The GB6900AA has all the features of a rugged digital watch, but it also has a low-power Bluetooth transceiver, allowing the watch to connect to the Apple iPhone and display or buzz on incoming phone calls and new emails. As a security feature the watch will alert the owner if they get too far, reminding them not to leave their phone behind.

The GB6900AA is currently only certified to work with the iPhone 4S and 5, and there’s Casio’s “G-SHOCK+” application to be downloaded from the App Store. However, an Android version is expected later in the year. Available now in limited numbers for $180.

Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor.

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Enforced Obsolescence

Casio TV-470As the last analogue TV signals are turned off tonight in the UK to make way for 4G and digital TV, thousands of TVs, videos and hard-disk recorders will become obsolete literally overnight. While an external decoder may prolong their life, the sheer inconvenience of multiple settings and synchronised recordings will consign many of these perfectly functional devices to the rubbish bin recycling centre. Reflecting, I suspect that this is probably the first time that enforced obsolescence has impacted on me personally.

Undoubtedly, I’ve had other gadgets that have become obsolete but they became out-of-date because I chose to make them so, usually by purchasing a newer devices. If I plugged in and turned on my first laptop, a Tandy 1400LT that ran MsDOS 3.2, I guarantee you that it would still work, albeit with somewhat crude CGA graphics accompanied by whirring floppy drives. The 1400LT became obsolete when I bought an 386SX desktop, but it still worked as designed.

But when I wake up tomorrow, my Casio TV-470 pocket TV and my Pioneer 530H hard disk recorder will be of almost no use as the analogue TV signals these devices need will no longer be broadcast. I find this enforced obsolescence somewhat disturbing as faceless government officials simply made a decision and that was that. Game over for the unfortunate gadgets.

To be fair, the analogue TV signal has had a good run for its money. The PAL system started in 1967 so it’s lasted over 40 years and my TV-470’s been around for about half of that (1991). I hope it’s happy in TV heaven.

The Casio Green Slim Projector

Casio makes a wide range of products from calculators to watches, and this year at the Consumer Electronics Show they unveiled a new line of projectors.  This slim and light, 3000 lumens mobile projector is known at the Green Slim line.  The projector uses a hybrid laser-LED light source that has a 20,000 hour life expectancy and no mercury, for those who want a green solution.  The Green Slim Projector, as Casio is calling it, is also suitable for ceiling mounting in an office meeting room and a home theater.

The projector will accept inputs from HDMI, VGA, composite video, and even a USB port.  The new line from Casio also features an app called Mobi Show which users can download an install on their mobile phone or tablet and then use to control presentations from the device. The new line starts at $999.  You can find out more by visiting Casio Projectors.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of The Geekazine Podcast.

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Casio Demos Low Power Bluetooth in Watches

Tom Newman clocks in with Mike from Casio, who were demonstrating low-power Bluetooth in a watch. As you might expect, low power drain is highly desirable in a watch as, unlike smartphones, it’s not normal to recharge them every night. Most people would expect a watch to last several years between battery changes and fortunately, Casio expects the battery in the phone to last two years before needing changed.

Low-power Bluetooth is an enhancement to the Bluetooth 4.0 core specification and it’s expected to appear in devices from 2012 onwards. The video shows a couple of different scenarios, such as the watch changing time when your change the time zone in your smartphone.

Interview by Tom Newman of The Fogview Podcast.

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Casio Hybrid GPS Camera

One thing that everybody wants when they take a picture today is to have the camera save the GPS information of where it was taken. Most new cameras have GPS tracking installed, which works great when you are outside. However once you go inside there is no way to keep track of your location by GPS. This is the problem that the Casio Hybrid-GPS Camera attempts to solve. The Casio Hybrid-GPS Camera figures out your last GPS point and then tracks how far you are from it and the direction you are going. Using this equation it can keep track of where you are even inside. It is set up to enable precise positioning with out the lag of other cameras with GPS installed. It also has a world atlas preloaded which can show you pictures of landmarks near by and how far away are they.

The Casio Hybrid GPS Camera has a 10x optical zoom with a 3.0 inch monitor. The auto mode can quickly determine whether its night or day, whether the background is a blue sky or a forest of trees. It also is aware if there are faces in the frame. It optimizes every setting need to take a great picture simultaneously. There is also a setting which allows you to capture panoramic images simply by keeping the shutter button pressed. The camera runs around $349.99 and was a CES Innovation Award Winner

Interview by Tom Newman of The Fogview Podcast.

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Casio fx-CG10 Prizm Graphing Calculator

Tom and Andy interview Mike Reiners from Casio America, who’s brought along the Casio fx-CG10 aka Prizm graphing calculator. This calculator is a long way from the 9-digit, 8-segment LCD calculators I used in my school education as the Prizm comes with a hi-res LCD color display (216 x 384 with 65k colours) making it the “first” full colour graphing calculator. There’s no touchscreen but there’s a little joypad for navigation.

You might be thinking that a colour display will munch through the batteries but Casio’s new Blanview LCD is extremely frugal and 4 alkaline AAAs will give 140 hours of typical use. Which is great because you really don’t want to run out of juice in the middle of an exam.

The video also demonstrates the use of a Flipbook, a series of photographic images which demonstrate an effect, such as acceleration or simple harmonic motion. The Prizm can then help the student understand the nature of the effect.

The Prizm won Design & Engineering Showcase Honors at CES in 2011. Congratulations, Casio.

Children today just won’t know the joy of putting in 5376606 and turning the calculator upside down.

Available now for $129.99 in Best Buy and on-line.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and Tom Newman of The Fogview Podcast.

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Gimmick Cameras of CES

Most cameras are great if you want to take a picture straight ahead, but what happens when you need to take one at angle or maybe you want to take a self portrait. What do you do then, you can hold the camera out at the angle and hope you get the picture, or you can use the Casio EXilim TRYX. The Casio Exilim TRYX is different from other cameras because of its flexibility. The camera is attached to the frame by only the lens, the rest of the body can swing out to any angle you need it too. It has a 3″ LCD screen, a ultra-wide angle 12mm lens, a 12.1 CMOS sensor. It has a Slide Panorama Mode which captures a 360-degree image. Because the camera is flexible you can turn the lens toward you and be able to see your self in the LCD scene and take a great self portrait.

The camera can also be used as a video camera. You could use the frame as a handle and hang it off a door knob and use the motion-triggered self -time. It can do slow motion video captures up to speed of 240fps.

The second camera which is more interesting for how its made rather then the actual camera is the one that was introduced by Lady Gaga and made by Polaroid. The GL20 Camera Glasses have the camera inside the glass frame. You can take a picture of what you are seeing and then show the pictures on the frame directly to those you took a picture of. There is a usb key in the glasses so you can upload the pictures to a computer and share them online. This is a great gimmick camera, but really how often would you want to use something like this unless you are Lady Gaga, not very often I suspect. Although I don’t suspect the camera itself will be very popular, for Polaroid its already a hit, after all it got people talking about a Polaroid camera for the first time in a long time.

I don’t expect either of these cameras to be bigger sellers, but you never know. That is part of what makes CES fun, sometimes the least expect gadget becomes the hit Anything is possible.

Casio Prizm Graphic Calculator

One of the biggest problems with trying to teach mathematical concepts to students is it is hard to see how those concepts relate to the real world. For many students it is easier to understand if they can relate it to something they can see and understand. This is one of the ideas behind the Casio Prizm Graphic Calculator

Casio is a winner in the Design and Engineering Award Honoree for the Casio Prizm The Prizm is a next generation graphing calculator for the classroom. Students can use mathematical equations to create their own graphs over real life scenes, in this way the student can better understand the functions from the graphs that they created. The Casio Prizm has a high-resolution Blanview LCD color display with over 65,000 color. It has a full textbook style display with high-resolution fonts up to 18×24 dots (including blank dots) because of this the equations and text look just like they would in a text-book. The Blanview LCD uses low power it requires only 4 AAA batteries to run for up to 140 hours.

It has Casio’s proprietary “Picture Plot ” technology There are more than 55 types of picture included in the calculator which allows the student to create their own graphs over pictures displayed on the color LCD. This allows students to experiment by creating their own graphs over pictures of real-life scenes, and then understand the functions from the graphs that they created on their own. You can create multiple types of graph on it, including line, bar, circle. It allows color coding of specific values which makes it easier for the student to understand what is happening. It has an intuitive keyboard similar to a smart phone, The Prizm can be attached to the Casio Green Slim Projectors to project graphs and equations on a screen to be used in a classroom. It will be available in January 2011 for a MSRP of $129.99.

Casio Laser and LED Hybrid Projector

One of the problem with todays projection technology is the trade-off between the brightness of the lamp and the use of mercury. Most projectors today use lamps that contain mercury) They produce very bright lights and are great for use in presentations, classroom uses, and home entertainment. However the trade-off is the bulb doesn’t last very long and has to replaced fairly often. There are two problems with this is first the financial cost and the second is the environment cost. Mercury if not disposed of correctly is highly toxic to both the environment and humans. Plus replacing bulbs all the time can get expensive.

Casio Laser and LED Hybrid Light engine has been created to replace the mercury lamp used in data projectors. It is rugged and bright. Previous to this there has always been a trade off between brightness and being environmentally responsible. Mercury lamps are very bright, but have to be changed out often and can damage the environment if not disposed of properly. The new Casio Laser and LED Hybrid combine the blue laser light and a flourescent element to produce a green light. These are combined along with the red light emitted by the LED, than projected thru the DLP chip and finally passed through the projection lens to form the image. This technology has a greater color spectrum then mercury lights. It will lowering the total cost of the projector over time. The estimated saving over 6,000 hours of service is $800. With 5 hours a day of service expected live span of this technology is up to 10 years.

When originally introduced at CES’s 2010 the Casio’s Laser & Light engine could produce up to 2500 lumens, after a year of improvement the new GREEN SLIM models have increased brightness up to 3,000 lumens. The GREEN SLIM line has achieved up to 50 percent increase in Color spectrum compared to mercury-lamp projectors. It also has the Instant Off capability which means no cool down time. Frank Romeo vice-president of Casio Business Projector Division stated that “This technology delivers lower cost of ownership and environmental benefit with no compromise in image quality.”

Palm, Windows, Slate and HP’s Revitalized Future in Mobile.

Toward the end week, HP made some major moves. First, they bought Palm for 1.2 Billion. HP then mentioned that the Slate tablet will be put on hiatus (first thought cancelled). Now there are reports that a “Web OS” will most likely be put on the Slate. Wait a minute – wouldn’t that be “Palm”?

Of course, earlier in the week, we heard that Palm OS was purchased by HP for 1.2 billion. While some say it cost too much, there may be some good reasons why it happened this way. One big reason: HP might have been in a bidding war. Still, Palm OS could become the mobile OS HP has been looking for and that 1.2 billion might net them 20 times that amount.

HP Owns 20th Century PDA

I know that doesn’t like much, but think of it this way – HP Jornada, Compaq iPaq, Handspring Visor, Palm OS. That is what HP owns now. The only early PDA assets HP doesn’t own is those from  Apple (Newton), Casio (Cassiopeia), Sony (Clie) or RIM (Blackberry) – Casio ended their PDA run and Sony changed focus to mobile gaming. So HP now has the majority of technology for early PDA and the patents within. While this won’t be a shield to any patent infringement lawsuit, one would definitely need a good iron clad case for legal action.

Slate

We are entering into the “Keyboardless” era – where you don’t need any peripheral attached to use a machine. iPad shows we can have a decent computing experience without keyboard or mouse. iPad also feels that you don’t need to connect USB devices, so they left all those items off their tablet.

In the meantime, what was first thought as full cancellation, turned out to be more of a “restart” for the Slate tablet. Windows is out, that is for sure. The obvious reality was that Palm OS is in. A good move for HP, but why not have 2 versions?

An engineer at HP was overheard saying Windows 7 was a powerhog. That may be true, nonetheless, are people going to see Palm OS as a good alternative OS? I suppose only time will tell.

Palm’s future: Where else will we see the OS?

With the idea that iPad runs a mobile OS, some are starting to realize the versatility. One OS for your phone, tablet, TV,  car, etc.

Last month I went out to HP to talk about Converged infrastructure. In layman’s terms: a fancy way to say “Server administration”. The idea that you can set up a server room and have anyone administer from anywhere on the planet. However, as I was interviewing presenters, one mentioned something I hadn’t thought about:

… there is no good way to administer a printer….

Most printer problems require physical attention: replace a cartridge, fix a paper jam, etc. But beyond the web page administration of a printer, there has not been much innovation to printer OS technology. What if something like Palm OS was ported to a printer?

Let’s take another approach. HP has another OS called HP-UX; It’s their Unix solution. In a “Converged Infrastructure” world, connecting to servers like the HP-UX is important. So why not have a moble OS solution that can really integrate with this idea?

Consumer Level OS

HP has really pushed their lines of consumer products in the last couple years. From netbooks to touchscreen machines, they have brought a lot of innovation to the machine. But they still rely on other Operating systems to really power the experience.

With a mobile OS solution, they can bring an experience to all these devices, some with option to have both on the computer. If you need Windows or just a device that can access the internet to make a Skype call or send an email.

So there are a lot of places Palm could become integrated. Items that HP could have implemented already with other Operating Systems, but they would still be other companies OS’s. This Palm acquisition can give the mobility HP is looking for in more than one way. That, might be worth the 1.2 billion.