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Stylish PCs & Wireless Power

PCs are getting more stylish

After years of taking a beating from Apple's British-born designer Jonathan Ive, it seems our desktops and laptops are finally showing signs of fashion sense. The Samsung ZX310 is the most credible MacBook Air alternative to date and while we're not fans of its rumoured £1,399 price tag it has the visual chops to attract premium buyers, especially by including Air omissions such as HDMI and Ethernet ports and a card reader.

Lenovo looks set to give the iMac a scare too with its second generation A300, a 19mm thick 21.5in all-in-one PC that - like the ZX310 - capitalises on traditional Apple shortcomings by including HDMI and a multi-format card reader. With Sandy Bridge and AMD Fusion chipsets integrating the CPU and GPU it also means PCs will receive powerful integrated graphics, saving on the cost and size requirements of using discrete cards. Let the style wars begin.

Cars are making batteries better

While most areas of technology have raced forward batteries have stood painfully still for a long time. Chip breakthroughs like the GPU integration seen in Sandy Bridge and Fusion (AMD is quoting battery life in excess of 10 hours for some Fusion laptops) have done their best to compensate for battery limitations, but now the car industry is driving change.

When Ford unveiled its first electric car at the show, the aptly named Focus Electric, it proclaimed a breakthrough in quick charging which would see a full charge achieved in just three hours. Three hours may seem a long time, but not when its capacity is 23 kWh. Meanwhile Chevy has just done a deal with Powermat to include its inductive charging system in the centre console of every Volt, a move sure to accelerate demand for native device compatibility.

Cars deserve a further pat on the boot too because they were the inspiration for eCoupled to develop its wireless power system. The company demoed a Tesla Roadster being charged simply by parking over 'PowerSpot' (video above). The tech does require a receiver to be fitted, but the proof-of-concept system also works with household devices. With Nissan also announcing a wireless power system last year that has yet to hit the market, the trickle down effect of this technology can only be a good thing for gadget lovers long term.

In summary

While most users will be preoccupied with the devices they want to buy following CES, what got us most hot under the collar was the technology behind them. Intel Sandy Bridge and AMD Fusion as game changers for computers and ARM compatibility with Windows 8 will start a new processor war. Android 3.0 will drive the first wave of credible iPad challengers and glasses free 3D TV may just save our noses. The future has never looked brighter...

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