SD Marks the Hotspot: Toshiba FlashAir
You’re probably familiar with Eye-Fi cards – SD style flash memory that have Wi-Fi capabilities to transfer pictures or files to a computer from a camera. This year’s CES brings us a bit of an upgrade with Toshiba’s FlashAir card. Not only does it have the capability to join a wireless network like the last iteration, but it can broadcast its own 802.11 b/g/n hotspot. But that’s not all – the card is pre-programmed with webserver software, meaning that anything stored on it can be accessed from the web using any internet connected device. And with more and more devices being equipped with wireless capability, you can get any of your photos or video from a camera or a netbook or tablet to a web enabled HDTV. Seems like it would definitely be good for media streaming, assuming the power drain isn’t too severe and the range is better than its Eye-Fi predecessor.
No PS4, no X720, but there is the Nintendo Wii U
While yesterday we heard from Sony officially say that they’re sticking with a 10-year lifecycle for the PlayStation 3, and not to expect any PlayStation 4 announcement anytime this year, including later this year at E3. So while Sony and Microsoft are pumping their efforts into current-gen hardware, Nintendo’s taking the dead air on console announcements as an opportunity to officially show off their new Wii U console. There was a lot of speculation and mystery surrounding the console, starting back from their first announcement back in April. Back then all we knew about it was a strange touchscreen type of control scheme which seemed weird at the time, but since seeing Razer’s Fiona and other similar products at this year’s show, it seems almost par for the course now. The tab-style controller has analog sticks and control buttons in the upper corners. There are regular controllers too, but the touchscreen controller has an interesting bonus. For example, in the “Chase Mii” game, players with regular controllers can see themselves on the big screen, but the holder of the touchscreen controller gets a overhead view of where everyone is and where they’re going. It also allows transferring what’s on the touchscreen to the big screen and vice versa, adding a different spin to multiplayer. They didn’t have single player ability set up at the show, but did have some Zelda video rolling. Nintendo’s still being pretty tight lipped about titles under development and other functionality for the touchscreen controller, but I’m sure we’ll see some more from them at E3. Sony will be shilling games, Microsoft will be pushing their ecosystem and other folks are going to be pushing digital game delivery like Steam and OnLive, probably leaving Nintendo the whole stage for physical console news.