Wednesday, January 08, 2014

So, This Finally Happened

Two things finally happened, actually.

I wrote years ago that I wanted a modular computer. Order a CPU upgrade, which comes in a tray, and slide the tray into your computer. Same thing for graphics cards or anything else.

What I liked most about this concept is that it was great for both the consumer and the hardware manufacturer. Plenty of people would upgrade their computers far more often if it didn't involve taking the case off their computer and poking around inside. There are just too many people who won't do that under any circumstance. So, in theory, the consumer gets the advantage of easy upgrades, while the manufacturer profits from everyone paying for those upgrades.

Well, someone's finally doing it: Razer reveals Project Christine, a modular concept PC focused on easy upgrades. I'm sure it will cost one billion dollars, but that's not the point: once someone has done it, even expensively, others will find a way to do for less.

Plus, as an aside, it's drop-dead sexy looking as well.

The second thing is that a few years ago (two, maybe?), I wrote about 3D and how there was going to be a strong barrier to consumer acceptance until it was glasses-free. That strong resistance has almost killed the market for 3D, which was booming only a little while ago, but I still think that glasses-free 3D would be mind-blowing and entirely disruptive technology.

At that time, someone came out with a glasses-free prototype that offered 4-6 different viewing zones, but it was still finicky and not very impressive. At CES this week, though, Samsung showed a glasses-free display with 35 viewing zones, and the article I read (and I can't find the link now, damn it) said that it was very impressive.

The only question is whether the market for 3D can survive long enough for companies to keep pushing the quality of glasses-free 3D forward.

I've been seeing "studies" saying that human vision couldn't distinguish 4K resolution from 1080P at less than 8' distance (which reminded me of FOX saying that 480P was just as clear as HD--remember that stupidity?).

Then I walked into a Fry's last week and saw a 4K LG display that was absolutely stunning. I'm not buying one right now (not enough 4K content, etc.), but 4K demos about a thousand times better than 3D does. No glasses to put on, the display quality was absolutely razor sharp, and the colors were spectacular.

Ideally, a 4K OLED would be the best of all worlds, and a few of those were shown at CES, but until the yield issues are resolved, OLEDs are going to be rare and ultra-expensive.

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