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December 17th, 2013

Technology advances, sometimes gradually, sometimes spectacularly. We keep tabs as best we can on this never-ending parade of progress, especially progress on the tools that we provide tech, web, media, and entertainment firms—the Mac Pro rental, mass storage, servers, post-production tech. We also bring you information about all the overlapping technologies people use in both their business and personal lives (smartphones, TVs, media players) and keep you up on tech news. There are a number of ongoing technology battles that should resolve, one way or the other, in 2014. technology battlefield

Here are four technologies that will definitely make the headlines.

A Mobile OS Free-for-All

Joining iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry 10 in 2014 are three more mobile OS packages. Firefox OS, Tizen, and Ubuntu Phone will all debut with great fanfare to compete in a volatile international market. Even with “jailbroken” phones you cannot install the OS you want unless both the hardware and the carrier support it. Samsung is leaning toward Tizen, while carriers ZTE and Alcatel have previewed working Firefox phones. No encouraging news as yet for Ubuntu Phone, despite a clean interface and the ability to run desktop apps. Advantage: Android.

Mobile Processing Power vs. Battery Power

Many tech sites and magazines have withheld a buy recommendation from Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet. With a powerful Core i5 processor, it is a real Windows 8.1 tablet, not “fake Windows” (RT), and runs both desktop software and Windows Store apps. Still, it earned “don’t buy” ratings for dismal battery life: 4 hours, 37 minutes. An iPad rental, with its mobile (not desktop) OS, is not a direct competitor—but the battery lasts almost 12.5 hours. Competition will focus more on battery efficiency, with the entire world awaiting the long-promised battery breakthrough.

Google vs. High-End Laptops

As a category, Chromebooks are doing well. Samsung has Amazon’s best-selling laptop at under $250, offering the battery life and low price that define the niche. But a Chromebook’s operational limitations cannot be overcome by adding a thousand dollars of admittedly great cosmetic components. The Chromebook Pixel from Google impresses with a gorgeous touch screen, first-rate keyboard, and superb quality. Problem: It’s a Chromebook that runs apps, not business-grade software. And it’s overpriced by, oh, just about a thousand dollars. Google will pull Pixel’s plug by the end of the year.

Google vs. Low-End Laptops

At $300 or so, Chromebooks from Acer, Asus, HP, and others look good to first-time buyers. Strengths: Chromebooks are generally safe from malware, get great battery life, are often lighter than Air, and won’t break the bank if lost or broken. Weaknesses: Chromebooks can’t handle real-world business. A Chrome browser with a desktop theme limits you to apps, but some apps will not run since you can’t install required plugins. You can rent laptops right now that are many times more cost-effective and powerful. If you need laptop for real work, there are scores of low-cost Windows laptops that are ready for prime time. Chrome is not. Windows will win by a KO.

No matter what battles are taking place in the technology world, CRE Rentals continues to offer the latest technology rental for entertainment production company starting up to organizations setting up in-house training. If you know what you need, complete the Express Quote form online. Not sure? Give us a call at (877) 266-7725 to speak to one of our experienced Account Executives.

December 12th, 2013

Tech observers have commented for years now about how Apple CEO Tim Cook is “no Steve Jobs.” But to judge by late October’s conference call to discuss Apple’s fourth-quarter results, it seems Cook is being converted by his exposure to the company DNA. Pressed by analysts about plans for new products, Cook repeated a statement from earlier this year that the firm will debut “exciting new products”—even entirely new categories of products—during the remainder of 2013 and throughout 2014.

Taking a cue from Jobs’ iMac strategy, Cook called Apple’s development plans “a long road map” but mentioned only the company’s greatest hits and most recent additions—the models in our iPad rental inventory, the 64-bit iPhone 5S, the fingerprint sensor—and completely avoided details. Asked in the conference call about specifics, Cook would only say that Apple would build “other great products that are in categories that represent areas that we do not participate [in] today.”

Apple LogoWhat new products are in the Apple pipeline?

Touch ID technology has not made it to the iPad line yet, an obvious future move, but in a maturing category.

Smart Watch: Pundits with decent track records—David Pogue, John Dvorak, and others—are feeling confident about Apple’s interest in several new product areas: Smart watch. Apple obviously has the tech (and the money) to debut an iWatch in 2014, and the potential is just short of infinite. With Bluetooth everywhere and iCloud in place, an Apple iWatch wouldn’t need the storage of a MacBook Pro rental to be a very powerful device. Details? None at present.

Wearable computing: Our recent blog explored the many ways that sensors, cameras, LEDs, and other devices can be integrated into clothing. Apple has no presence in the clothing market, into which the wearable tech extends—but they could buy their way in.

Pod people: Apple last upgraded the iPod Touch and iPod Nano in 2012, and still has the aging Shuffle in the line. The iPod Touch could use some new life—and the Touch ID?—and would benefit from an improved camera, faster CPU, better screen, and some general TLC.

HDTV: An Apple HDTV has been talked up for years. Steve Jobs talked about “taking over the living room” and Cook later fanned the flames with some cryptic comments, but there is nothing confirmed about the TV either—except that, as of November 11, it was unofficially delayed again, after a wave of it’s-coming-soon stories.

Big-screen iPhone: A big-screen iPhone has been yakked about for a while, too, but both new iPhone 5 models sported the same 4-inch screen as the older ones. Compared to the 4.7- and 5-inch (and bigger) screens on Android and Windows models, Apple is slipping here.

Gaming console: This has been more of a “wish list” item, but there have been rumors about an Apple game console, too. Could work, right?

No one can keep up with all the new products being developed. But, when you need the right technology rental, right now for an upcoming corporate event, conference – even setting up a production office, CRE Rentals is ready. Our warehouse is stocked with the latest inventory available to meet your needs. To learn more about our rental products and services, contact one of our knowledgeable Account Executives at  (877) 266-7725.

November 19th, 2013

Among the challenges for product designers today is keeping keyboards efficient and user-friendly as they are grafted onto smaller and smaller devices. Another consideration is the number of uniquely different key types that must be used for certain devices, but which are ineffective with others. For instance, no matter how whiz-bang wonderful the new projected keyboards are, they are entirely inappropriate for use with smartphones. On the other hand, a gadget that projects a full-size, fully functional keyboard on any flat surface would be a fabulous addition to an iPad rental. Similarly, a smartphone’s virtual keyboard is pointless on a laptop, even an ultrabook touchscreen, since there is plenty of room for a conventional one.

Tactus Technology Touchscreen Keyboard

There are many ways to “input” data into your devices from voice to handwriting recognition, and an ever-expanding array of inventive keyboards. In 2011, Tactus Technology in Fremont, Calif., announced it was developing an entirely new and special kind of keyboard, based on “microfluidics.” Among the layers of a touch screen is a layout of tiny channels, shaped like buttons (or “chiclet“ keys) that fill with non-toxic gel to create a tactile response. So what? So how about doubling typing speed? With points of reference now available by touch, experienced typists, whether using fingers or thumbs or both, can increase productivity immensely.

Dynamic surface keyboards in the near future?

The idea was not just to make “a keyboard or a button technology, but really to make a fully dynamic surface,” says Micah Yairi, Tactus co-founder. This means that there would be a standard QWERTY layout when writing an email, a numeric pad for dialing numbers or using a calculator app, and even app-specific “tiles” for invoking multi-app, multi-step processes (remember “macros”?). Tactus—the winner of the Innovation Zone Best Prototype award from the Society for Information Display—insists it will be in production by the start of 2014. However, executives were mum for most of 2013 about what partnerships had been inked.

The company has posted no news since July 2013, although there were press releases in August, September, and October. In the most recent, Tactus proudly touts its success in securing additional international patents, but doesn’t say when the product might appear in a working product. The tireless geeks at Engadget got their hands on a Tactus-equipped tablet prototype and gave it a thumbs up. That was in January. In February, at the MIT Technology Review website, David Zax granted that Tactus keyboards could help the visually impaired, but still concluded “that the mass market has largely made its peace with virtual keyboards.” All we can do now is wait and see.

One thing you don’t have to wait for is getting expert help with your technology and production needs. One call to (877) 266-7725  or a visit to our Quick Rental Quote page will get you the best technology rental gear.

October 29th, 2013

With so many recent product announcements, upgrades, and rollouts, there is a lot of ground to cover. We’ll be discussing some of these things for weeks (or longer), so today’s post will be a “grand overview” of what Apple, Nokia, and Microsoft brought to market on Tuesday, October 22 aka the “Big Tech Day.”

A bushel of Apple stuff

Apple iPad AirAt its October 22 event, Apple announced the iPad Air, a 9.7-inch device that’s 20% slimmer (at .3 inches) than previous iPads and weighs 1 pound. “The lightest tablet on the market,” according to Apple, it uses the same A7 chip in the new iPhone 5S. The iPad Mini finally got its Retina display, while the existing lower-res Mini becomes Apple’s entry point. The MacBook Pro line got a refresh rather than full upgrade, although weight and battery power are nicely optimized. Apple also announced pricing of its futuristic new Mac Pro which will be available “before the end of the year.”

Introducing a new software policy that makes the new version of Mac OS X Mavericks available free to anyone now using OS X 10.6, 10.7, and 10.8. The productivity apps, iLife and iWork, will be bundled free on new iOS and OS X devices, with upgrades freely available, too.

Major takeaway: Free upgrades forever? Free software that’s actually good? Apple is right: This will throw the industry into a tizzy.

Nokia & Microsoft: Wedding bell blues?

Nokia, which Microsoft (MS) will finish absorbing in early 2014, showed two phablets  - Lumia 1320 and 1520 with 6-inch screens, which could draw business users. CRE’s long experience with mobile devices—from original tablet PC to current iPad rental—illustrates the growth of mobile computing, and Nokia wants in.  On the admin side, Nokia’s former chief, Stephen Elop, rejoins MS to lead the handsets division, which could be anchored by Nokia’s low-end Asha line for emerging markets and budget buyers. Since they use Nokia’s proprietary Series 40 OS, they could serve as stepping stones into higher-priced Windows Phone products.

Major takeaway: Nokia’s low-end lines may give budget buyers a path into the higher-cost MS models, but some analysts fear possible “sales cannibalization.”

Microsoft

Microsoft (MS) launched its new Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablets at midnight Tuesday, October 22. CNET reported that the event was “loud and colorful and full of enthusiasm” and that the “only thing … missing is people that want to buy its new device.”  The Surface 2 runs RT and has 32GB and 64GB storage options. The Surface Pro 2 with Windows 8 has two models: one with 4GB RAM offering 64GB or 128GB of storage, the other with 8GB RAM plus 256GB or 512GB. One leading tech site ran a long, positive review but concluded that “recommending the Surface becomes harder when there are other Windows tablets that cost less and run full Windows.” In fact, most reviewers ended up asking what no manufacturer wants to hear: Who will buy these products?

Major takeaway: MS seems to be flailing about. The Nokia buy could be a good thing, but could just as easily go sour. 

Whether you need the best trade show convention rentals for an upcoming conference, or the latest in high-powered post-production gear, we can help! Call us at (877) 266-7725 or visit the Quick Rental Quote page and tell us what you need.

October 24th, 2013

EventTech

EVENTtech-logoThe people behind the Event Marketing Summit are now three years into EventTech (Las Vegas, Nov. 4-6), “the world’s only conference and exposition focused on using social media and technology to optimize events and trade shows.” Blending today’s technology, some design sense, and a little expert assistance, companies can turn live events into “digital+live” presentations, while social media can amplify their voices and extend the reach of the events. This is the place to learn all of this!

More than 650 marketing professionals—from the Fortune 1000, top marketing agencies, business schools—will gather to

  • learn the latest trends in “digital+live” connections;
  • consider new ideas on integrating social media with event promotion and management;
  • attend 100+ classes on managing events and trade shows; and
  • discuss new products, R&D, best practices, and compelling new ideas.

EventTech has a unique content format, “fast forward,” that offers deep but succinct overviews of the latest practices, useful gadgets, and new contributions to “digital+live” best practices. Proving that “less is more” with TED-style modules of varying length, a centralized system delivers all content via the custom “learning environment” dubbed The Campus. Whether attending or presenting, get your conference team the iPad rental so everyone can get all the content, then search for the specialized training you need—from “gamification” to advanced streaming, whatever you need to stay current in this fast-moving field.

Customer Engagement Technology World (CETW)

As opposed to some conferences that try to be all things to all people, the Customer Engagement Technology World (CETW)—in New York City on Nov. 6 and 7—is specifically focused on technology that will empower, enrich, and engage customers and employees. Experts in marketing, management, technology, and customer service lead a first-rate educational program that will heighten “the impact of your customer engagement campaigns across all channels.” CETW sessions impart the branding strategies and actionable tactics that make up CETW’s “integrated technology approach to customer engagement.”

Customer Engagment Technology World

Your customers may be medical patients, students and faculty, diners, shoppers, travelers, or some other slice or swath of the general public. No matter who your customers are, CETW’s comprehensive approach guarantees new insights—and, better yet, action items proceeding from them. Solutions may involve mobile networks, tablet PCs, smartphones, and social media. For the ever-increasing number of “multi-screen initiatives” companies now undertake, the folks in your firm that plan, budget, implement, operate, maintain, and measure them absolutely need the future-proofing assistance at this year’s CETW.

2013 LDInnovation & Technology Conference

LDI-ConferenceThe LDInnovation & Technology Conference offers tech, media, and entertainment professionals three-days of state-of-the-art sessions, Nov. 21 through Nov. 23 in Las Vegas. The latest information, designs, technological breakthroughs, and products for lighting design for live events and media will be displayed and discussed. Choose courses that suit your professional needs, as many of them earn ETCP renewal credits. Computing technologies—like Xserve RAID systems, routers, AV interfaces, etc.—are seriously embedded where TV, film, music, theater, and studio professionals work, and no one advances without true expertise in one or more areas.

To that end LDInnovation features high-end learning, from “The Art of Programming” and “TV & Motion Picture Lighting” to “Production Techniques” and the “Sixth Annual LDI Ethernet Exchange.” There are many technical details in this kind of work, so many that ongoing education and study is essential to maintaining expertise. Your LDI badge grants free Exhibit Hall access for all three days, giving you a chance to engage 350+ top industry firms for one-on-one product demos, face time with manufacturers, free seminars, and the ETCP Info Session.

Call (877) 266-7725, send a message, or use the Quick Rental Quote to get what you need even faster! We’re always ready!

October 17th, 2013

Women in TechnologyGraduation rates for women in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, math) still lag behind men’s, but less all the time. In fact, qualified women are available in much greater numbers than popularly known, while the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) reports that women made up about 42 percent of its 2010 graduating class in engineering. So what happens after graduation?

Most of those grads went to work somewhere, many developing great expertise—using render farms in post-production work, joining NASA, doing R&D in medicine. Historically, however, women were long denied any opportunity for leadership, as inflexible corporate schedules took women off the “career track” for having children. Developing women’s leadership skills is, therefore, a retention tool, one that will also feed the pipeline with future leaders.

There is a vast untapped reservoir of tech-savvy women—teaching, updating Apple’s Xserve RAID designs, inventing new products. But they’re not all corporate employees, managers, and executives. They’re also entrepreneurs, business builders, and consumers. Here are three groups with markedly different approaches to supporting the advancement of high-tech women.

BlogHer, Inc.

BlogHer logoCOO Elisa Page says, “Women are the most powerful consumers of the world and companies are still not reaching the core customer.” With some 4,250 bloggers writing on such topics as cooking, new marketing methods, women in tech, and career advice, the site reaches some 92 million women in the U.S. monthly. BlogHer compensates women for their writing while helping them grow their businesses—whether that business is blogging, retail sales, or technology services.

A compensation formula considers such variables as number of blogs and readers, feedback, and influence, leading to over $24 million in payouts since 2010. Beth Blecherman, a California BlogHer member, writes the Tech Mamas blog and advises startups that are creating products and services for families. Blecherman deftly combines the two worlds: the one of women creators, and the one of consumers. With BlogHer, women can be both.

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT)

NCWIT - national center for women & information technologyThis nonprofit comprises more than 350 other American nonprofits, colleges, corporations, startups, government agencies, and community orgànizations. NCWIT’s aim is to boost women’s participation in computing and technology, through a wide range of community-based “alliances” that work at every level of the challenge, from training to placement assistance.

These alliances—academic, workforce, entrepreneurial, K-12, affinity groups—empower community members to leverage “an infrastructure of best practices, free resources, and an amplified voice for the issues surrounding diversity and technology,” as NCWIT materials state. NCWIT works directly with companies, agencies, and organizations to help them locate, recruit, train, retain, and advance tech-savvy women.

The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology

Anita Borg Institute for Women Transforming TechnologyThe Institute has a single goal—connecting women and technology—but travels a two-way street: one lane toward increasing the impact of women on technology, the other toward increasing the impact of technology on women. Institute CEO Telle Whitney knows “that innovative organizations must attract and retain the best technical minds, both women and men, to grow and succeed in today’s global economy.”

The pool of high-tech talent will continue to grow, requiring ongoing solutions for recruiting, retaining, and promoting women. The Anita Borg Institute, NCWIT, and BlogHer will encourage MIT and schools across America to keep teaching science, technology, engineering, and math to ever-increasing numbers of women, free at last from the tyranny of low expectations. And patriarchs beware: There is no going back.

Call (877) 266-7725 or send a message to get the swift, expert assistance of our Account Executives. Use the Quick Rental Quote form if you know what you need. Either way, you get the right tech, at the right price, right now. It doesn’t get any better than that!

October 10th, 2013

Tobii-EyeMobileTobii Technology is among the early global leaders in the final-frontier field of “eye tracking,” “gaze interaction,” and “vision-based control.” On Sept. 19 of this year they debuted the Tobii EyeMobile, “a lightweight, highly portable peripheral that brings true eye-control capabilities to popular Windows 8 tablets…for assistive purposes.” The EyeMobile offers people with limited mobility full, unfettered use of modern digital technologies. To get control of off-the-shelf Windows 8 devices and tablet PCs—and everything else, too, before long—will take only simple, unforced, utterly natural eye movements.

And that’s just the beginning. “Eye control” is now a fully funded R&D activity for many companies, large and small. Have we reached a “perfect storm” point where all the pieces are available but lack a proper arrangement? Eye Tribe TrackerThe folks at The Eye Tribe seem to think so: They are selling a tracking device for $99 to early adopters and developers. It comes with an SDK (Software Development Kit) so geeky users can code their own apps to accept tracker input (or finish that new eye-controlled game). Even basic research is getting done, ranging from the nexus of human behavior and anatomy (how do people move when using an iPad rental?) to color perception.

Eye tracking, one step at a time

We sense a critical mass building in the field, so let’s take a quick, necessarily simplified look at what eye tracking involves. Eye trackers use optical sensors and projection patterns to determine, with greater and greater accuracy, the direction of eye movements. Most of the current products employ the principle of corneal-reflection tracking, one of the reflected-light methods. The process relies on five essential steps:

  1. Eye trackers bring signal sensors, image processors, and near-infrared microprojectors together in a precise, particular way;
  2. microprojectors are used to send reflection patterns to the user’s eyes;
  3. image sensors capture the user’s image, eyes, and projection/reflection patterns in real time;
  4. image processors identify features of the user, user’s eyes, and projection/reflection patterns; and
  5. mathematical models continuously crunch the unending stream of numbers representing the eyes’ positions and the user’s “gaze point.”

Humans use “eyecasting” and “eye gazing” as a most efficient means of indicating direction—pointing without fingers. People do this all the time, and not just with other humans. After 50,000 years of co-evolution and two-way domestication, dogs are born hardwired to look into humans’ eyes. With eye-tracking technology we can use our natural gaze to communicate with animals, humans, computers, and other devices. One day, an eye tracker will be as common on a basic computer rental as a webcam is now. Fast, natural, and intuitive, it’s a potent tool just waiting for a few more thoughtful applications—which we will tell you about in coming blogs!

At CRE, we pay close attention to all the tech trends that you need to know about, always working to anticipate your rental needs. With great service to complement the expertise of our Account Executives, calling (877) 266-7725 or sending a message will get you the right answers, right away. If you know what you need, of course, using our Quick Rental Quote gets you in and out and on your way, fast! Call or click now!

October 8th, 2013

Patent DefinedYouTube entrepreneurs and podcast producers sued; international tech titans battling in court; developers targeted for creating mobile apps; offices around the country threatened for being in possession of ordinary scanners. Innovators of all kinds, the very creators of the future, are falling victim to “patent trolls.” Trolls can be individual lawyers, legal firms, or some other type of company, but they all operate the same way, buying up patents and making sweeping claims of infringement.

With no “loser pays” system in the U.S., it is cheaper for firms to settle than fight—but for years there was no reason to do either. There was no patent protection afforded software even as Silicon Valley took over the world. It was the mid-1990s before a federal court determined that an “algorithm…in a general-purpose computer” could be “patentable.” The U.S. went from zero software patents about 20 years ago to around 100 per day now, a deluge that has overwhelmed patent examiners and allowed vague, overly-broad claims that do not “delineate the boundaries of the invention.” In the hands of skilled patent attorneys, unbounded claims can be applied in a sweeping fashion.

The trolls take a toll

There were 5,000 patent lawsuits in 2012. For the first time, more than half were initiated by trolls. One good thing: Patent trolls often own weak software patents that are often successfully challenged. Between 1995 and 2011, of cases that proceeded to a judgement, patent trolls only won one of four. Notoriously obnoxious trolls fared even worse, with the most frequent litigators winning a mere tenth of their cases. Another positive development is the recent, well publicized pushback against patent trolls by Newegg, Twitter, and others. Still, even the smallest companies taking a patent case all the way can spend $1 to $2 million or more. This is an impossible sum for many.

The actions of patent trolls essentially constitute a fee on innovation, once that’s increasing annually. American firms made almost $30 billion in direct payments to patent trolls in 2011, while the overall economic cost is likely much higher. Plus there are other problems besides trolls, like “patent wars” where firms fight it out in court instead of the marketplace. Had Steve Jobs been fighting with Samsung (and others) in the late 1990s instead of a decade later, he might not have had time to birth the iMac and change history. And yet, both Apple and Google spent more money in 2011 on buying and litigating patents than on R&D.

A bit of progress

Don't get Martha madJust last week, major troll Lodsys dropped its case against Kaspersky Labs. Until recently, Lodsys had been doing well—the firm went after Apple once or twice, tweaked a few other tech firms’ noses, but recently skedaddled out of several courtrooms with the corporate tail between their legs. And, while gradually fading out on the Kaspersky case, Lodsys tried sticking up Martha Stewart for $5,000. Now, that’s not a lot to Martha, but the Lodsys brain trust should have, at the very least, read a few Cosmo or Elle columns about the lady—or a few tabloids, what the heck? So now, on top of everything else, they’ve gone and upset Martha Stewart? Game over. Those guys are so doomed. And amidst new patent reforms, more and more companies are starting to fight back.

From intense post-production tasks with an AJA Io HD to conference breakout sessions with our first-rate trade show convention rentals, our expert Account Executives will meet your precise needs. Call 877-266-7725, send a message, or speed things along even faster with our Quick Rental Quote form. When you’re ready, we’ll be here to help—any time, in any way, whatever you need! Call now!

September 26th, 2013

SMARTphones-2After the usual dramatic buildup and better-than-average media circus, Apple debuted its new iPhone 5 models (the colorful C and superior S). The firm went on to sell nine million over the first weekend. It was yet another great product debut from the Cupertino techmeisters, but already the buzz is building for iPhone 6, rumored to have a larger screen and new alloy body. One question lingers, however: Were there really nine million people left who didn’t already have a smartphone, either iPhone or Android? (BlackBerry? What’s that?) How many of those buyers were iPhone users already? How many will always be? That question is for another day, as now we consider a bigger picture.

Only six years? Really?

Seriously, now, since the original smartphone was the 2007 iPhone, we now have some six years of experience with these devices. We know what they can do, and what they can’t, as some 90 percent or more of smartphone innovation, say the know-it-alls, has happened already. As we know from the iMac example, Apple and other smartphone makers will do a lot of revising and tweaking, particularly to improve interoperability with consumer electronics, vending machines, point-of-sale (POS) systems, etc. But the smartphone is a mature category with an established form factor. If “design creep” sets in, and makers keep stuffing in keyboards and enlarging displays, it’s time for another form factor. Say hello to phablets.

Fact is, smartphones are reaching saturation point in many regions, according to Glen Yeung of Citi Research. Writing at the Wall Street Journal‘s MarketWatch website, Yeung says, “Developed markets are approaching full saturation, suggesting that smartphones are nearing replacement-only mode.” Other analysts counter that no such saturation exists, and also point to the 3G/4G capabilities of devices from digital cameras and desktop computers to iPad rentals. As smartphones took 51.8 percent of all mobile phone sales in Q2 of 2013, topping feature phone sales for the first time, end-user mobile phone sales totaled 435 million globally, up 3.6 percent since Q2 2012. What saturation, many ask?

Accelerating tech adoption

It’s all about momentum and maturation, Yeung explains. Smartphones have been adopted faster than PCs—a mini-PC that phones home is pretty handy—so the market peaked early. It took the desktop PC market a dozen years to mature (saturation 2008), laptops 10 (saturation 2012). Smartphones and tablets, Yeung continues, “are expected to mature in 2015, giving smartphones a product life cycle of seven years and tablets one of five years.” All of today’s technologies—including all the mundane (and vital) things in CRE’s office equipment rentals inventory: printers, copiers, scanners—are being adopted, revised, and reborn in accelerated fashion. Like kids today, they’re growing up fast.

If smartphone sales do hit a ceiling, there will still be tech companies entering the market from every direction. Remember, though, that the devices—from tablet PCs or phablets to wearable phones—are perhaps even more valuable for the enormous opportunities to heap all kinds of software and services on top of them. Nothing in the smartphone market will be revolutionary at this point, but that’s fine. Since we move ahead through constant change and adaptation, we need to put our trust in good old evolution.

CRE Rentals can help you with the finest convention rentals for your next conference, or equip a branch office with everything from PCs to Xserve RAID backup and storage. Call 877-266-7725 or send a message to connect with an experienced Account Executive, or tell us what you need with the Quick Rental Quote form.

September 19th, 2013

GHTC-IEEEIEEE is bringing its third annual Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC) to San Jose’s Airport Garden Hotel from October 20-23. The GHTC calls itself a “voice amplifier” for the needs of underserved populations. You’ll see a new iMac, a futuristic battery, or the latest smartphone at many conferences, but they’re mentioned at GHTC in the context of empowering communities and individuals. Engineers, academics, NGOs, micro-loan firms, charities, and others are seeking to develop technological solutions for the challenges facing all humans—and the world we live in.

GHTC’s goals are to foster the exchange of information, promote networking, and enable cooperation among humanitarian organizations and technology firms. The excitement of scientific progress is amplified when it is applied meaningfully in the lives of billions of disadvantaged people. A middle-class American might see tablet PC rentals as cool, but people in underdeveloped nations see them as life-changing, as a way to create new, localized solutions for their specific challenges. This is a conference to excite both mind and heart.

· · ·

CEWIT_LOGOCEWIT 2013—the 10th International Conference & Expo on Emerging Technologies for a Smarter World, at the Melville Marriott Long Island in Melville, NY, on October 21 and 22—is one of the leading conferences on emerging technologies, combining academic research and industry R&D in a single forum. (The acronym is the organizer’s, the New York State Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology, CEWIT, at Stony Brook University in Long Island, NY.) CEWIT 2013 features presentations on original research, new ideas on small-scale energy production, as well as discussions of how emerging technologies are changing health care, infrastructure, and energy usage—three crucial challenges in the quest for a “smarter” global environment.

The two-day summit will feature a wide range of technical sessions on smart infrastructure; cloud, mobile, and visual computing; “big data” and analytics; intelligent power grids; smart medicine; and, very importantly, a re-imagined energy paradigm. The power management system in a modern computer rental fairly sips power, and reduced power demand means “more for everybody.” As we’ve said here a few times, the times they are a-changin’—and it’s people at these kinds of conferences that are doing much of that changing.

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AES_LOGOThe 135th Audio Engineering Society (AES) Convention takes over the Javits Center in New York City from October 17-20, 2013. As always, the AES conference will focus on today’s key frontiers in professional audio, broadcasting, recording, and media production. The AES is many things—networking, presentations, workshops, and fun—but it’s all about the educational sessions, and this year’s premier offerings take a close look at the new technologies affecting broadcast and streaming audio, like “Audio for 4K TV.” Addressing the public service aspect of broadcasting, the “Broadcasting During Disasters” session will examine how 2012’s Hurricane Sandy affected broadcast operations.

As a get-together of top audio pros, the AES also debates standards. One session that promises some real debate is entitled, “Is It Time To Retire the MP3 Protocol for Streaming?” This now-aging format has allowed music to proliferate on devices from computers to our iPad rental, but it may be that its continued wide use delays the introduction of superior audio codecs. Perhaps after AES is over we will be informed of something that will replace it. Or maybe that will be at the 136th meeting. There is a lot to do, after all!

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