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The best of CEATEC 2016: virtual tea, printed makeup, too many robots

Panasonic showed off a TV that hides in plain sight, there were gesture controlled origami birds, and a TARDIS-shaped machine that could 3D scan your entire body in four seconds flat. That’s the kind of show CEATEC is. There were even more robots, and while some of them might have a future, many may never be seen again. And that’s okay. Here’s everything we saw, and you can find all the best bits in the video above.


Foxconn likely to become Sharp’s new owner

Foxconn is now the clear favorite to buy Sharp after offering $5.5 billion for the moribund electronics firm. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Foxconn’s bid was so large that it’s now entering “exclusive talks” to seal the deal. Previously, the firm was running a close-second to INCJ, an investment fund backed by the Japanese government. It was hoped that INCJ would win in order to keep one of Japan’s oldest electronics firms out of the hands of foreign owners. Unfortunately, it’s believed that the fund offered around $2.5 billion for the loss-making maker of displays, home entertainment equipment and appliances.

If Bloomberg is to be believed, Foxconn chief Terry Gou is looking to become a tech CEO in his own right, rather than a behind-the-scenes player. As it stands, Foxconn is the world’s most prominent electronics manufacturer, producing devices for Apple, Microsoft, Sony and Amazon amongst others. Buying Sharp not only gives Gou a customer-facing brand, but also hands him expertise in display manufacturing that he currently doesn’t have. Given how much money and time is thrown at the mobile screen business, that could become a huge deal further down the line.

Source: Bloomberg, WSJ


Nintendo invents a gamepad built from a touchscreen

Nintendo has said precious little about its plans for the NX (other than that it won’t be like a Wii U), but it might have hinted at what’s coming through some recent paperwork. The console maker has filed for a patent on a gamepad design where a touchscreen would cover the entire front panel. You’d still have familiar elements like analog sticks (poking through the display) and shoulder buttons, but the usual front-facing buttons would be replaced by context-aware touch. The move would give you the adaptability of a smartphone interface with the primary controls you’re used to in a TV system — you could even use the controller on its side, or get visual effects when you press buttons. It wouldn’t require a gigantic body like the Wii U’s gamepad, either, and a card slot could take game data directly.

This is just an application, and there’s no certainty that Nintendo will use this design any time soon, if at all. However, as The Verge notes, the would-be patent does line up with rumors that Nintendo will use Sharp’s free-form displays in a future product. Theoretically, this could be the technology behind the NX’s standard-issue gamepad. Moreover, the Wall Street Journal has heard that the NX would include a “mobile unit” that could be used separately from the main console. Given the presence of that card slot, it’s possible that you could play titles solely on the gamepad and take it with you — who needs separate TV and handheld consoles when your NX is both at the same time? The finished machine could be far less exciting, but it’s evident that Nintendo has at least been thinking about non-traditional hardware.

Via: SlashGear, NeoGAF

Source: USPTO


Report: Sharp gearing up Super IGZO display production

Sharp 736ppi display demo

Both LG and Samsung are making preparations to ramp up OLED display production over the next couple of years and the latest industry reports suggest that Sharp is preparing to begin mass production of its rival next generation Super IGZO display panels as well.

According to the report, Sharp’s Super IGZO display boasts a boost to resolution over its current IGZO line-up. Furthermore, the display will also apparently be 10 to 20 percent more energy efficient, making them a very tempting prospect for mobile as they already consume a fraction of the power of TFT LCD displays. Mass production of this new display could begin in early 2016 at Sharp’s Kameyama Plant No. 2 in Mie Prefecture.

Sharp has announced a number of extremely pixel dense IGZO mobile displays in the past twelve months and these panels are expected to enter production in 2016. However, the company is yet to announce any customers for its growing display portfolio.

Sharp Aquos-5See also: Sharp in-cell display promises thinner smartphones9

With many other major players in the display market banking on increased demand for OLED type displays, some are expecting that this could have an impact on LCD unit sales. As a LCD manufacturer that is already struggling for cash, Sharp may also be looking to diversify risk with its IGZO manufacturing line. The company is targeting 50 billion yen (US$ 403 million) in IGZO sales by 2020.


Japan is getting another Evangelion phone to celebrate the anime’s 20th anniversary

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Caution: I’m about to reveal what a massive anime nerd I am. As it turns out, it’s been 20 years since the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion started airing, and to celebrate this fact, Sharp is making a commemorative Evangelion phone to mark the milestone. Called the SH-M02-EVA20, the phone displays the livery of Shinji’s EVA-01, right down to the gold on the power and volume buttons. Naturally you’ll need to be a fan of the series to even want the phone in the first place, but the price is sure to deter all but the most faithful – to have the honour of acquiring one of the 30,000 handsets that are going to be made, you’ll need to shell out 84,240 yen, or about $705 USD.

For your loyalty, the SH-M02-EVA20 will net you wallpapers, sound effects and a themed homescreen to suit the exterior of the phone, which actually looks pretty awesome. In terms of specs, it’s not going to be making any headlines anytime soon – the rather pedestrian specs are made up of a Snapdragon 400 clocked at 1.2GHz, 2GB RAM and 16GB storage. Of course, the device is only available in Japan (sadface) and to get your hands on one, you’ll need to apply through a 7-Eleven.

What do you think about the latest Evangelion phone? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: 7-Eleven via engadget

The post Japan is getting another Evangelion phone to celebrate the anime’s 20th anniversary appeared first on AndroidSPIN.


What do you get when you cross a robot and a smartphone? You get RoboHon

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Sharp has made some pretty unique smartphones in its time in the smartphone industry – the Aquos range and their bezel-less displays are arguably some of the most unique devices around. Their latest smartphone – if you can even call it that – is something even a little more left field than that. Meet RoboHon, or “Robot Phone”, the combination of a smartphone and a robot, and what an adorable robot at that. With RoboHon, you’ll be able to place calls like a normal phone, but thanks to features like a projector, you’ll be able to project photos and maps onto other surfaces.


Image credit: engadget

The RoboHon also has a 2-inch touchscreen on its back which lets you interact with its Android-based operating system, but Sharp says that you’ll mostly be interacting with the RoboHon via speech. Along with the more novel features, the RoboHon also has more normal features like a camera and LTE connectivity, however despite this, the RoboHon will likely never be more than a novelty product – oh, by the way, did we mention it can dance?

It’s doubtful the RoboHon will be sold outside of Japan, and no pricing has been announced, but we can’t help but feel a faint sense of disappointment. What do you think about RoboHon?

Source: engadget

The post What do you get when you cross a robot and a smartphone? You get RoboHon appeared first on AndroidSPIN.


Only in Japan: the robot that’s a smartphone that’s a robot

RoboHon (“Robot Phone“) is the cutest smartphone ever: a (familiar looking) robot frame that fits in your pocket. It can take calls, dance, project photos, display maps and more. It’s a ‘bot with a smartphone inside. Yes, some will snort at the idea of a phone with a 2-inch touchscreen, but it’s certainly an original notion — unashamedly so. That said, is it innovative? Is there a point to it all? Does it really fit in your pocket? We’ll know better when it launches here in Japan early next year. For now, here’s a closer look in person, answering at least one of those questions. Slideshow-326984

Sharp RoBoHon Hands-on

In a battle of specs, Sharp’s new phone isn’t going to win. It’s running a special kind of smartphone software build atop Android. There’s a touchscreen, camera and 4G LTE, but it’s such a curiosity as to almost belong in a separate category all its own. The touchscreen is very small and pretty basic: There’s only space for four icons on each home screen. Sharp’s spokesman tells us this is because the primary method of using RoboHon is by talking to it; the touchscreen is a secondary interface. (You’ll still need it to confirm actions, take calls and use it in noisier places.) Soft buttons are bigger and icons are huge. It could well help the RoboHon appeal to that increasingly huge subsection of Japanese smartphone shoppers: the elderly.

There’s already a range of Swarovski crystal accessories. Seriously.

Picking up the robot-phone, it feels almost like a toy, but in a good way. It made me a little bit excited to play with it. For some reason, I just plain wanted to keep it. There’s a leatherish covering on both the soles of the robot’s lil’ booties and his ears. And like many other plainer smartphones, there’s already a range of Swarovski crystal accessories. Seriously. The emblem on the front of its chest doubles as a clip, securing it as you slide it (ridiculously, adorably) into your jacket or trouser pocket.

The arms and legs are articulated to walk and even offer up a dance if you ask politely enough. You’ll also have to brush up on your polite Japanese, because that’s all it understands at the moment. It does have a pretty decent conversational grasp, accepting different wordings and directions as needed. Voice directions encompass almost everything that the robot can do: taking photos, calling people, taking memos, responding to text messages and even projecting photos and video from the tiny pico projector lodged inside its head — including token peace-sign photos of Engadget editors that should know better.

Sharp hasn’t announced a price yet, but it’s unlikely to be cheap. Then again, there’s also nothing else quite like it.


We don’t have many 4K displays, but 8K displays are on their way

8k-displayBarely anyway has a 4K display, whether that be a computer monitor, TV, tablet or phone. However, that has not stopped Japan from working on 8K displays. They also plan on bringing them to market by 2020 in time for the Olympics.

In Japan at CEATEC, NHK showed off three 8K displays. Not huge big bulky displays, but ones that could fit into a tablet or laptop. The displays are said to be available in consumer products before 2020. Perfect timing since Japan is planning on broadcasting the 2020 Olympic Games in 8K.

The three displays they brought with them were JDI’s 17.3-inch LCD, Ortus’ 9.6-inch LCD, and Sharp/SEL’s 13.3-inch OLED display. The Sharp display came out in June last year, but is said to be the best looking of the three.

NHK and the BBC actually broadcasted the world’s first experimental public viewing of the 2012 London Olympics in 8K. Did you see it? Didn’t think so.

For those of you wondering, 8K will also be referred to as Super Hi-Vision (SHV). It has a resolution of 7,680 pixels horizontally by 4,320 pixels vertically, or 16 times as many pixels as the standard high-definition displays, which have a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.

Yasushi Anzo, a journalist versed in IT and household electronics said the cost of an 8K display is also quite expensive right now, between ¥4 million and ¥5 million or roughly $700,000 US.

Anzo also said Japanese display manufactures must continue to work on 8K displays or risk falling behind. They must always be on the cutting-edge of technology.

“Even if the already-struggling TV display departments of Japanese electronics makers go even deeper into deficit by developing 8K displays, they cannot cut it off immediately”

Source: Japan Times, Engadget

Come comment on this article: We don’t have many 4K displays, but 8K displays are on their way


8K displays may reach tablets by 2020


4K displays haven’t even become prevalent in mobile devices. We can say 2015 is the year of QHD (2560×1440), but as always, the Japanese are thinking ahead and planning big things for their 2020 Olympic Games, an event that has been known to serve as a great medium to showcase technology in the past. 2020 may be the year when 8K displays are finally introduced in a grand scale.

Why do we need a 7680x4320p screen, you ask? I am questioning the very same thing. 4K screens are already amazingly sharp, but professor of broadcast technology at Ehime University Yoshihiro Fujita claims this is an important step. 8K may very well be the ultimate step in screen definition technology;  he claims 8K technology “won’t be upgraded any further even if there were such technologies as 16K or 32K”.

He (and other experts) also believe it’s the “ultimate 2D display”, and our eyes wouldn’t be able to recognize pixels at this point. But just how far are the Japanese into developing this technology? It seems they have reached the final stages, and a few manufacturers have announced panels with this high definition recently. The kicker? These are not your titanic screens that will go in the living room. We are talking mobile screens here!


JDI recently announced a 17.3-inch 8K screen. There’s also a 13.3-inch OLED display coming from Sharp. These would be great for laptops and over-sized tablets, which have started to become more popular recently. Don’t want to go that large? 10-inch devices with this resolution are also in the works, with Ortus announcing a 9.6-inch 8K panel, which would equate to a mighty 915 dpi (dots per inch)!

Surely, that would be an amazing resolution. And unless you have crazy eagle eyes, you definitely won’t be able to notice pixels at that point. I just wonder if this is really the limit for the human eye. After all, some argue 120 frames per second is close to the limit in human physiology, but many of us can tell the difference in higher rates.

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We will have to wait until we get our eyeballs all over these panels, but so far I believe 4K screens are already pushing it (at this size). Also keep in mind 8K screens will be amazingly expensive to make, at least at first. Japanese manufacturers are likely trying to target other industries, initially (including medical purposes).

The moment of truth should come before 2020. Meanwhile, we would like to read your opinion on the matter. Would you think 8K resolution would be overkill in mobile devices and portable computers? I sure do.


These 8K displays may end up on your next tablet

Most of us have barely touched 4K content, but the keen folks in Japan are already showing off some 8K displays, and we’re not just talking about those of conventional TV sizes. At CEATEC, NHK brought along three upcoming 8K panels that may end up on future tablets, laptops and monitors. These include JDI’s 17.3-inch LCD that was just announced last week, as well as Ortus’ insanely sharp 9.6-inch LCD (that’s a whopping 915 dpi!) from May, and Sharp/SEL’s 13.3-inch OLED display. Even though the OLED panel was unveiled back in June last year, it’s still by far the best 8K display out of the three; it’s as if you’re looking into another world, thanks to the combination of high contrast, strong vibrancy plus insanely sharp resolution. Alas, there’s no launch date for any of these just yet, but a spokesperson from NHK hopes to see these come out before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which will be broadcast in 8K.

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