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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:16 AM   #1
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CES 2013: Lenovo 27" Tablet and Nectar Fuel Cell iPhone Charger




The Consumer Electronics Show can get a bad rap from bloggers and journalists who have become jaded by seeing the same products over and over. So, it can be particularly satisfying to see new classes of products that haven't quite hit the mainstream, even if there may be some practical limitations to their ultimate success.

Two of those type of products that I saw at this year's CES include Lenovo's 27" table-top tablet and Nectar Power's fuel cell charger.

Lenovo 27" Table PC

It seems absurd when you first hear about it -- a 27" Table PC from Lenovo -- essentially a 27" tablet that you place on your tabletop. It runs Windows 8 and can also stand up to be used as a more traditional computer.

It doesn't sound particularly practical, but standing in front of it at CES, I was intrigued. When we saw Jeff Han's first multi-touch demos in 2006 or Microsoft's Surface Table for $10,000, our first reaction was that these multi-touch tables were the future, and we wanted one for our house. Now, you will be able to get one for approximately $1699 this summer.

There are some practical issues with a device of this type. Lenovo had to add their own custom interface layer on top of Windows 8 to accommodate the flat-table multi-touch action. They've also partnered with a number of companies such as EA to provide table-top multi-touch versions of their games, so software selection to start will be limited.

Given the relatively high costs of ownership, it's hard to imagine that this will grow beyond a niche product. As a result, it's also hard to believe that Apple would be ever interested in pursuing this market themselves.

Still, I'm glad this product exist and will be curious to see how it evolves over time.

Nectar Power Fuel Cell Charger

It feels like fuel cell technology has been on the cusp for the past decade. We even reported back in 2003 that Apple was actively pursuing the technology for future PowerBook designs. Nine years later, and we haven't seen much in the way of practical fuel cell usage in our consumer electronics. Fuel cells promise a high density of energy using some form of replenishable fuel supply.

Lilliputian Systems is a 12 year old company that has been working on commercializing its fuel cell system. The company has raised over $100 million dollars over that time from investors. At CES, it has launched its first product called Nectar Power, which is available for pre-order at Brookstone.

Nectar Power is a fuel cell charger for your iPhone or any other USB-powered device. It comes in two parts: the charger itself and the disposable fuel pods filled with butane. Each pod provides your iPhone with 10 full recharges (55,000mW), which the company estimates could last you two weeks.

The initial cost for the charger itself is $299 and comes with an initial fuel pod. Replacement fuel pods cost $9.99 each.

That's where the numbers could get tricky. Despite the high energy density, the recurring cost of pod-replacements will make it hard to adopt it as your standard charging solution, while the high initial cost for the system will make it hard to buy to keep around just as a backup charging system. One notable advantage of the system, however, is that the Nectar Power system is said to retain its power far more effectively than a battery. An unattended Nectar would only be expected to lose about 10% of its charging ability over the course of year.

Overall, the product is fascinating and a taste of what's to come down the line as the product gets smaller/cheaper and expands into other devices.

Article Link: CES 2013: Lenovo 27" Tablet and Nectar Fuel Cell iPhone Charger
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:19 AM   #2
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Anyone see a mention of the resolution? Bet it is 1080p. Meh...

Dat fuel cell thingy though...
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:19 AM   #3
Radio
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"Absurd" ?!

Seriously it's not your job to make such comments

You bring us the news

We make the judgements
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:20 AM   #4
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Butane charger would be good to keep around in case of major power outages or remote travel.

But a very niche market to say the least.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:20 AM   #5
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Great, I can't wait to get on plane full of explosive iPhone chargers ...
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:21 AM   #6
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Pictures like this are now justified.

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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:22 AM   #7
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Two highlights from CES:

Quote:
Given the relatively high costs of ownership, it's hard to imagine that this will grow beyond a niche product.
Quote:
Despite the high energy density, the recurring cost of pod-replacements will make it hard to adopt it as your standard charging solution, while the high initial cost for the system will make it hard to buy to keep around just as a backup charging system.
One deemed "niche", one pretty much can be summed up to be "useless" as a product in its current form. No wonder tech journalists are disillusioned.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:22 AM   #8
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Here's my prototype iPhone charger with a replenishable fuel supply:

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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:23 AM   #9
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Y'all be trippin'.


I can't wait till my coffee table's a touchscreen.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:25 AM   #10
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That table-let is huge.

Not sure there would be any practical reason to have one in your home.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:25 AM   #11
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The 27 inch tablet would be fun as group gaming device. Playing "air" hockey or monopoly would be awesome on it -- but I can't see much beyond that. The fuel cell is interesting, but only for those travelling to parts of the world without reliable power.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:28 AM   #12
All Taken
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio View Post
"Absurd" ?!

Seriously it's not your job to make such comments

You bring us the news

We make the judgements
Frankly i'd rather see more of the journalists 'touch' around Macrumors, not to the point of a Gizmodo article but the articles of late here seem written by a robot.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:28 AM   #13
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Whats the point of the nectar fuel thing if it costs $9.99 per 10 charges?
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:28 AM   #14
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I think we can safely say, while maybe Apple doesn't try hard enough with it's product revs, Samsung (did you see their new fugly and unfunctional TV shape?) and Lenovo try too hard. Ultimately, its still the "a piece is missing" Apple device we all still want because it's designed for the way conventional people live.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:29 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D.T. View Post
Great, I can't wait to get on plane full of explosive iPhone chargers ...
My first thought was, trying to get one past airport security. This looks great for blackouts, not so much for travel.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:30 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio View Post
"Absurd" ?!

Seriously it's not your job to make such comments

You bring us the news

We make the judgements
I'd give Arn a little slack. He's done quite well for the community over the years.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:30 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barkomatic View Post
The 27 inch tablet would be fun as group gaming device. Playing "air" hockey or monopoly would be awesome on it -- but I can't see much beyond that. The fuel cell is interesting, but only for those travelling to parts of the world without reliable power.
and not travelling by plane..
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:31 AM   #18
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Giant tablet seems really future like. Would probably take a while before a lot of developers got on board, but that would have a ton of potential as a coffee table replacement
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:32 AM   #19
arn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nick_elt View Post
and not travelling by plane..
It can carry on a plane. From http://www.nectarpower.com

Quote:
Approved for carry-on and use on board domestic and international flights under UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), International Air Transport Association (IATA) and U.S. Department of Transportation regulations
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:33 AM   #20
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In the future we are all going to need more hand sanitizer. Or they are going to have to develop antibacterial germ free surfaces for these screens that everyone will be sharing.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:34 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chupa Chupa View Post
I think we can safely say, while maybe Apple doesn't try hard enough with it's product revs, Samsung (did you see their new fugly and unfunctional TV shape?) and Lenovo try too hard. Ultimately, its still the "a piece is missing" Apple device we all still want because it's designed for the way conventional people live.
I was at a conference last year where Malcom Gladwell spoke. The subject of his keynote was "practical innovation" and he used Apple as an example, saying they weren't first and sometimes not even second but it didn't matter because at the end of the day they produced a product people wanted to buy. I have no problem with Apple being more conservative and not just throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:34 AM   #22
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The table top tablet reminds me of those tables with built in space-invader games we used to see in pubs in the 80s. Would have been more impressive if the fuel cell charger used hydrogen instead of butane.
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:34 AM   #23
Allenbf
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My 5 year old thinks the coffee table is a playground as it is. No thanks on a $1699 jungle gym.

"Hey brat! Did you seriously just play with play-dough on my table-let?!"
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:34 AM   #24
shortcrust
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRumors View Post
An unattended Nectar would only be expected to lose about 10% of its charging ability over the course of year.
Anyone know why it would lose even 10%? If it's a gas canister then surely it shouldn't lose anything over the course of a year.

Apologies if I'm being thick!
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Old Jan 8, 2013, 11:36 AM   #25
Allenbf
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"Hey can I borrow your cigarette lighter?"

"I don't smoke man, but here's my butane iPhone charger"

;-)
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