Three months ago, ICD [Converged Devices or Intelligent Converged Devices] was a small British startup nobody heard about. Then, Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder and CEO of nVidia took a prototype of their 15.6" tablet and following the interview with a Middle-Eastern Mac fan site - a new star was born in IT space.
During CES, we met with the executive team behind ICD at a suite at Venetian and learned a great deal about this promising company and got the chance to try their products for the first time. We met with David Hayes, CEO of ICD and Rebecca Pribby, Creative Director.David Hayes, CEO of ICD and Rebecca Pribby, Creative Director showing their labor of love - a 15.6" Vega
David is an industry veteran and his main job was "making these deviceswork", while Rebecca is "spiritus citatus", designer of the not justthe hardware but also the software aspect. According to Rebecca, ICDproducts should offer a balanced experience in every aspect - hardwarelooks, build quality, stability of software as well as customizable UIto fit different screen types. For instance, Rebecca compared thestandard Android keyboard on ICD Vega and Ultra. While the defaultkeyboard worked on a 7" screen - it didn't exactly shine on a larger15.6" screen [keys were much too big for quick operation]. In order toaddress that, ICD is designing a new keyboard layout with moreshortcuts for Vega and subsequent larger models, as well as enhancingthe Ultra and all other compact models.BSN*s own Daniela checks what will be available this summer from United States to Croatia, Turkey and more.
Even though their products are not ready to roll out just yet, thecompany is working on tweaking every aspect of software and hardware inorder to be able to deliver millions of tablets onto the market. Whilewe are not in the liberty to disclose all the business deals that ICDsigned with the telecom operators and other companies, our roughestimate is that thanks to these deals, Tegra 2 will outship NV100"Fermi" GPU in 2010, regardless of how positive the yield of NV100[Tesla 20-Series, GF100] ultimately becomes. While 2009 was the year ofnetbooks, telecom operators view 2010 as the year of tablets and 2011and 2012 are years of "final convergence"
, with content following you everywhere you go - thanks to developments such as 4G LTE. ICD Ultra 7"
Ultra is based off Tegra T20 Series SOC clocked at top clock [1GHz] for each of the two ARM Cortex-A9 cores. Tablet comes with 512MB of Low-Power DDR2 memory and 512MB of NAND Flash. Additionally, ICD bundles a 4GB Internal SD card [non-removable] and can expand to 32GB Internal SD, if the company who orders an Ultra decides to do so.ICD Ultra cracked open - same motherboard is used on Vega - note the flexible design options
When it comes to communication capabilities, Ultra supports Bluetooth 2.1 EDS, 802.11 b/g 11/54Mbps Wi-Fi, FM Radio and an optional Communication PCIe module. This module can be either an already existing 2G-3.5G or an upcoming 4G LTE PCIe modules. In the case of our Tablet, you can see Motorola HTM1000, 2G [GPRS], 2.5G [EDGE], 3G [UMTS] and 3.5G [HSPA] add-in card. This can easily be replaced with Motorola or Sony Ericsson 4G LTE card. During CES 2010, nVidia and Verizon used ICD Ultra to demonstrate 4G LTE network working on the show floor.
ICD's trademark - cool-looking magnetic dock is also available with the Ultra. Due to customer demands, not all magnetic chargers are the same, as they are optional equipment. Ultra will have a different magnetic charger from Vega - in case you don't want to cash out for magnetic dock, you can charge the device using a conventional charger. David told us that when a product is being offered to different clients, they all want specific customizations that will pull their offering in front of the competitors. At the end of the day, those changes will result in a lower price for end user.
As far as our own experience goes, we were impressed with responsiveness of the Android 2.0 "Eclair" operating system, as Ultra looks to be the sweet spot for Android OS. The screen is just the right size, as 10.1" Acer One netbook looked to be a stretch, and Android is an operating system that can do so much more when is not confined to tiny screens on smartphones.
The subtle touches are Accelerometer which rotates the screen depending on the angle you take and Ambient light sensor - the screen brightness will increase or decrease depending on the amount of detected light. Skype is also a very interesting feature, given that Ultra will ship with dual digital microphones which should cancel external noise and result in clearer voice going out.
As far as the touch-screen goes, Ultra can be resistive or capacitive, single or multi-touch. It all depends on operators wishes [read: budget] so don't be too surprised if Ultra appears on the market with different types of screens.Next Page: ICD 15.6" Vega
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