Lenovo, Seagate jump gun before CES opens

The eyes of geeks around the world are starting to turn to Las Vegas for Tuesday’s official opening of the 2013 edition of the annual Consumer Electronics Show.

Spread over a convention centre complex the size of a small city, CES is expected to tout new tablets, smart phones, high definition TVs and even self-driving cars.

This will be the first year Microsoft won’t have a display at the show, having centre stage all to itself in October with the launch of Windows 8. Hewlett-Packard and Dell are also big manufacturers who won’t be there, part of a trend of vendors who want to make big announcements when the time is right for them and not tied to CES.

But some vendors aren’t waiting for the official opening. Among them is Lenovo, which pulled the cloth away from a slew of new Windows 8 computers including IdeaPad U310 and U410 Ultrabook laptops with touch-sensive screens that may appeal to mobile workers.Lenovo says they are 18mm thin and wake up from sleep in just one second with Instant Resume.
(Lenovo’s U310)
Powered by a choice of CPUs including Intel i7 processors, Lenovo says the laptops have extended battery life. They will be available in March starting at US$799.
Organizations may also be interested in the ThinkPad Edge E431 and E531 laptops, which use Lenovo’s new OneLink technology with a single cable connection to the ThinkPad OneLink Dock. The US$99 dock has dedicated HDMI and audio ports and four USB ports. More OneLink devices will be added this year. in 2013. In addition to touch functionality,the E431 and E531s have a five-button ClickPad lets users control Windows 8 features from the keyboard.

They will be available starting in May from US$539. 

Seagate Technology LLC also had a pre-show announcement that the latest version of its Wireless Plus mobile storage device includes a new option for iPHone users to upload video and stills to the drive wirelessly through a media app. The 1 TB drive with up to 10 hours batter life, priced at around US$199, also streams content to Apple iOS, Android and Kindle Fire HD devices for those on long road trips desperate for entertainment.

Meanwhile, according to ComputerWorld U.S. Toyota and Audi will show self-drive cars.

I’ve only been to CES once, and it was an exhausing and astonishing effort — it’s hard to explain how huge the show is, except to note that the Las Vegas Convention Centre is actually made up of three halls, one of which has two storeys.
How important is it? Not as much as it was seven years ago. Vendors no longer time product announcements around CES. And, arguably, the pace of innovation has slowed. Few of us need a new PC, printer or smart phone every year.
Mike Issac in All Things D has taken a jaundiced eye at the show.

As for what to look for, John Ellett spoke to an industry analyst and two editors for their perspectives. Their consensus is that Samsung, Qualcomm and Google should provide fodder for reporters.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including ITBusiness.ca and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@] soloreporter.com

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