Wednesday, January 27, 2010

iPod + rolling pin = iPad

The iPad is cool and I would love to own one. But have to tell Mr Steve Jobs that I would have liked a surprise element in the product. After all the speculation it has ended up as a sum of all speculations. Except for the Apple chip there is hardly anything which had not been predicted.
Some experts say this is just version 1 and the innovations will start soon. Lets hope this is true.
But must thank Mr Jobs for coming out with a price that will put the iPad in the you-can-buy-it league for most geeks. Now, lets wait to see what the iPad sells for in India.

Adding another dimension

The zombies slowly marched towards me, walking out of the screen, over the keyboard… No, this is no horror flick, but a snapshot of the new Acer Aspire 5738D notebook; arguably India’s first laptop with three-dimensional capabilities.

There was a nagging question though; is a 3D laptop anything more than a gimmick? I was skeptical at first. But as soon as I wore the polarising glasses and switched on content that comes bundled with Acer Tri-Def Software on the laptop, I started having second thoughts. The 3D effects in the short films were a
s good as any I had seen in IMAX theatres. In fact, the 3D stills were even better.

But, how good is the 3D on other content. I pushed in an old Merchant-Ivory DVD and tried to watch it using the Tri-Def software. The conversion was decent, considering Shakespeare Wallah wasn’t made for three-dimension. The software even allows you to increase depth of the 3D effect, though this did produce some jarring images at the extremes.

An old Quake III CD too brought out a bit of the 3D fantasy. But I would not recommend the laptop for people wearing spectacles like me—perching the polarising glasses on top of you specs can be a bit tricky. The Tri-Def software can also be used to convert 2D images into 3D.

So how does the technology work? “The 3D effect is created by simulating depth by separating a certain image/video into left and right (much like audio left and right). This works on a three pillar system of 3D film coating on the screen, bespoke software and polarizing glasses,” explains Acer India’s Chief Marketing Officer S Rajendran.

The great visuals is also due to the 15” 16:9 Acer CineCrystal™ (HD 1366x768) LED display, which works like a regular screen when the 3D is not activated. This is also what makes 5738D a pretty neat, though a bit bulky, laptop. Forget the 3D and it has all features of a good laptop—the option to choose Pentium dual core or Core2Duo platforms, Windows 7, up to 4 GB of DDR3 1066 MHz memory upgradeable to 8 GB, and 160 to 640 GB of space - for prices starting at a very competitive Rs 43,500. However, all this adds up to around 2.8 kg, and I suggest you think of this as a desktop replacement which also plays content in 3D.

But who would actually want a 3D laptop? Rajendran thinks the laptop will be a hit among the entertainment oriented consumers who would love watch their movies in 3D as well as the hardcore gamers. At the price it is selling in India, it seems Acer 3d venture is sure to run into some fans.