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Of Pads and Pulsed Lasers

Shiver me timbers. It appears that the recent ballyhoo over the iPhone 4's reception issues is all but forgotten. Yes, many are guilty of fawning over the arrival of the iPad as it creeps into our little island today. Take a good look around you. Long queues at electronic stores and all. Given these circumstances, I can't help but feel that some seriously believe the divine tablet has the ability to improve their cool quotient. Others probably have the notion that fiddling with apps or reading ebooks on an 9.7-inch IPS screen is the best way to go. Would you buy an iPad when you already own an iPhone? Sure, why not? I can hear the fanboys scream. Kindle fans, do a double take.

I'm not sure if this is part of Jobs' marketing agenda, but to think of anyone carrying an iPod, iPhone and iPad in unison sounds rather absurd. Each is gadget unique, but let's not forget that they own common characteristics as well. That said, why not build a device capable of all three faculties? Well, obviously product convergence isn't part of the Cupertino camp's motto. Besides, diversity also equates to more profitable dollars for Jobs' multi-billion industry. It's a simple business formula. To ring in the cash registers, it is critical for Apple to conjure a discrete number of toys to keep the fanboys happy. They'll quietly slip more greens into the Mac empire's pockets, subliminally or not. While I might not be too fond of the iPad, I do agree, however, that the first iPhone iteration was a game changer when it made its debut back in 2007. In sharp contrast against other "complicated" smartphones of its time, the iPhone's simplistic yet effective design was a winner on all fronts. For now, my Android mobile handset would suffice, thank you very much. Before I digress, let's drop the i-talk and talk about more interesting things at hand.

Now, onto the AV side of things. Is Sony working beneath the hood on another high definition video format? Details are still sketchy at this point in time, but Slashdot has published a little snippet citing that "the Japanese researchers from Sony and Tohoku University have announced the development of a blue-violet ultrafast pulsed semiconductor laser which Sony is aiming to use for optical disks." The new laser, apparently, is supposedly capable of reading a disc more than 20 times the capacity of current Blu-ray technology. Let's see. If a single layer Blu-ray disc can hold 25GB, wouldn't that amount to more than 500GB on the new fangled format? Hmm, that's more than sufficient for The Lord of the Rings and The Matrix trilogies combined, no? We can only hope that Sony turns this development work into reality soon. 

How about some new AV playthings? This might seem unlikely, but Marantz has entered the 3D fray with a refreshed suite of Blu-ray players. According to what's published over at Electronic House, the new HDMI 1.4a-based UD5005 and UD7005 models will offer 3D Blu-ray support as well as DLNA 1.5 features. The networked UD series are also known to be "future proof", based on the report, with the ability to read almost any digital video or audio format on a 120mm disc including DivX and AVCHD. Understandably, the UD5005 packs a 24-bit DAC for stereo analog outputs, while the more expensive UD7005 will cart a 32-bit variant.  Similar to its 3D perk, a firmware update to be released during the later part of the year will give users online access to YouTube as well. The US$900 UD7005 might be beyond me, but the US$500 UD5005 sure looks delicious.

Have a pleasant and pulsating weekend folks.
  

Andy Sim / Former Senior Tech Writer

Andy is a self-made geek with a penchant for good music and a hearty pint. His domain includes swanky TVs, notebooks and networking gizmos.

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