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Acer unveils world's thinnest laptop
by Staff Writers
Las Vegas (AFP) Jan 8, 2012

Coating lets smartphones survive under water
Las Vegas (AFP) Jan 9, 2012 - As sleek new smartphones prepared to make splashes at the Consumer Electronics Show here on Tuesday, a California firm was out to prevent water from being the death of them.

Liquipel was showing off a clear coating a thousand times thinner than a human hair that shields smartphones outside and inside from damaging effects of water.

"Water will just run through the machine," Liquipel president Danny McPhail told AFP as he casually tossed an iPhone into a tub of water and watched it sink. "It actually beads right on top of the circuit board and rolls off."

He plucked the unscathed iPhone from the tub and shook the water from the gadget, which continued to work.

About six weeks ago, the Southern California company launched the first public service that let smartphone owners send gadgets in to be coated using the nano-technology.

Liquipel came to CES to close deals with major electronics makers to have protective coating pre-applied to new smartphones.

"Hopefully, the next time you purchase a phone it will already be treated," McPhail said.

"Wine spills, coffee spills, anything like that you are going to be protected," he continued. "I don't want to say a toilet, but that is where 50 percent of smartphone water deaths happen."

Liquipel charges $60 to coat a smartphone, with shipping adding to the cost.

Acer on Sunday unveiled the world's thinnest laptop computer as an array of "ultrabook" rivals prepared to debut this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The Taiwan-based computer titan will begin shipping Acer Aspire 5 models in the second quarter of this year, with prices to be disclosed in coming weeks.

"That S5 is quite significant," analyst Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies said after the Acer press event.

"It looks like the thinnest and lightest, and it sets the bar for the rest of the ultrabook vendors," he continued.

The Aspire S5 has a 34-cm (13.3-inch) screen and is 15 mm at its thickest point. The ultrabook weighs slightly less than 1.35 kg (three pounds).

"We are committed to evolving this technology," said Acer chief executive J.T. Wang. "By the second quarter of this year we will have four models of ultrabook and more to come."

Ultrabooks powered by Windows 8 will be released by Acer after Microsoft releases the new version of its computer operating system later this year, according to Wang.

He estimated that ultrabooks would make up at least 35 percent of the Acer product line by the end of this year.

Since Aspire S5 is Windows based it is not likely to be a direct challenge to MacBook Air laptops, which have been winning converts to the sleek machines powered by Apple software, according to Bajarin.

"The real battle is not with Apple, it is with all the other vendors coming out with Windows ultrabooks," Bajarin said.

"Apple will still do great with MacBook Air, but in the Windows world it is great news that five years after Apple set the tone the industry is finally getting something equal," he continued.

Acer also announced plans to launch a free service that will let users of its computers store video, photos, music, and documents in the Internet "cloud" and access files from any Windows 8 or Android software powered gadgets.

"We believe Microsoft will take care of Windows devices; Google will take care of Android devices, and Acer will take care of in between," Wang said.

"We will make Windows work very well with Android and other platforms too."

Bajarin described Aspire S5 as the first viable Windows equivalent of popular MacBook Air laptops built by California-based Apple.

Acer Cloud appeared to be a Windows version of the Apple's freshly-launched iCloud service that lets people access their content from iPads, iPhones, iPods, and Macintosh computers, according to the analyst.

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China's Huawei unveils world's slimmest smartphone
Las Vegas (AFP) Jan 9, 2012 - Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, seeking to expand its presence in the United States and Europe, unveiled the world's slimmest smartphone on Monday.

At 0.26 inches (6.68 millimeters), the Ascend P1S is thinner than the width of a pencil. Apple's latest iPhone, the 4S, by comparison, has a thickness of 0.37 inches (9.3 mm).

Huawei Device chairman Richard Yu said the Ascend P1S combines being the slimmest smartphone in the world with "high performance."

"It's very convenient, very comfortable in your hand," Yu told a press conference on the eve of the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Yu said he expected the Ascend P1S, which is powered by the latest generation of Google's Android software, to go on sale in Europe in March and the following month in the rest of the world, including the United States.

He said the company was still negotiating prices with telecom carriers but he expected the device to sell for around $400.

The Ascend P1S features front- and rear-facing still and video cameras and a 4.3-inch (10.92-centimeter) screen.

Yu acknowledged Huawai is not well known for high-end devices in the United States but he hoped the Ascend P1S would help change the image of the company.

"Our problem is our brand is not recognized by many people," Yu said. "We need to do some branding in the US market."

Huawei, founded more than 20 years ago by Ren Zhengfei, a former People's Liberation Army engineer, is at the forefront of Chinese efforts to shift from being the world's workshop to being the creators of genuine global brands.


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Ultra-thin laptops set to dazzle CES gadget fair
San Francisco (AFP) Jan 6, 2012
Ultra-thin laptops will take center-stage alongside new software and smartphones at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), a gadget extravaganza that officially opens on Tuesday in Las Vegas. The more than 2,700 exhibitors filling an excess of 1.8 million square feet - approximately 33 US football fields - will range from car, computer and chip makers to technology startups and iPhone a ... read more

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