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Last update: 2013-01-11

Wrapping up CES 2013: Wi-Fi going strong, SSHD emerges

2013-01-11

Bye-bye, Las Vegas! See you next year!

(Credit: Dong Ngo/CNET)

LAS VEGAS--Finally, CES 2013 has come to an end.

It's pretty much impossible for one person to experience the entire show, but from the perspective of my beat, which is networking and storage, here are the highlights.

802.11ac Wi-Fi made a strong appearance
802.11ac has been on the market for just about a year, starting with CES 2012. At this year's show, virtually all networking vendors, including but not limited to Cisco, Netgear, D-Link, Trendnet, and TP-Link, presented at least one networking product that supports this new and faster standard.

Furthermore, Netgear introduced at this year's show the first 802.11ac router, the D6200, that also has a built-in ADSL modem. For the first time, DSL users can get straight to 802.11ac without having to get a separate router or modem. On the other hand, D-Link unveiled the first router, the DGL-5500 Gaming Router, to be powered by the new 802.11ac chip from Qualcomm. The DGL-5500 comes with StreamBoost technology, which promises to be, by far, the best Quality of Service (QoS) feature to date. All other 802.11ac routers currently on the market run on the first 802.11ac chip that Broadcom unveiled last year.

The first Qualcomm-based 802.11ac router, the Gaming Router DGL-5500 from D-Link.

(Credit: D-Link)

WiGig is now the new Wi-Fi
WiGig, or 802.11ad, is a wireless standard that operates on the 60GHz frequency band and offers up to 7Gbps of wireless networking speed. For years, it was a separate standard from the existing Wi-Fi protocol. But starting with CES 2013, it's now part of the Wi-Fi ecosystem.

Prior to the show, the WiGig Alliance announced that it has merged with the Wi-Fi Alliance. And at the show, Wilocity, the biggest developer of 802.11ac, demoed the first product, the Dell Latitude 6430u Ultrabook, that comes with a built-in Qualcomm-based Tri-band Wi-Fi adapter. With this adapter, the laptop is able to support 802.11ac/n/g/a/b on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, as well as 802.11ad on the 60GHz band; in fact, all existing Wi-Fi standards.

The laptop can now connect wirelessly to an 802.11ad-enabled device at multigigabit speed, such as the docking station used in the demo.

The tiny Powerline AV 500 adapter from Actiontec.

(Credit: Dong Ngo/CNET)

Powerline AV 500 adapters get significantly smaller
Power line adapters turn a home's electrical wiring into network cable, effectively increasing the distance of a CAT5e connection without cable needing to be run all over the place. The power line adapters shown at CES 2013 are much smaller than those released in the past.

Trendnet, for example, offers the first adapter, the TPL-407E, that can fit right in your palm yet provide a pass-through power socket so that you can add another device to the same wall socket that the adapter occupies. Actiontec, on the other hand, showed us the tiniest Powerline adapter kit by far.

The pricing of power line adapters has also gone down significantly. The Actiontec kit, for example, costs just about $50 for two units.

Hybrid drives are now SSHDs
In the storage department, the biggest trend is the solid-state hard drive (SSHD). This is the new name, used across the industry, for a hybrid drive that combines both solid-state and regular platter-based storage into one standard design.

The first SSHD from WD, the WD Black.

(Credit: Dong Ngo/CNET)

Prior to the show, the only mass-production hybrid drive on the market was the Seagate Momentus XT. Apple's new Fusion Drive is not a single-drive design but one that uses an SSD and a separate hard drive in tandem.

At CES 2013, however, WD showed its first SSHD, the WD Black. Seagate as well showcased the first SSHD in its line, including the first that comes in a 3.5-inch design and offers up to 4TB of storage space. Seagate also revealed that it no longer makes 7,200rpm 2.5-inch hard drives, choosing instead to focus on the SSHD as its new high-end drive for laptops.

More Thunderbolt storage devices
Similar to 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Thunderbolt storage has now matured with more vendors introducing devices of their own. The biggest Thunderbolt storage device of the show is the 5big Thunderbolt, which offers up to 20TB of storage space.

The new 5big Thunderbolt storage device from LaCie.

(Credit: LaCie)

Seagate Wireless Plus won the Best of CES for Networking and Storage
Another highlight of the show is the Seagate Wireless Plus, which won the Best of CES award for Networking and Storage. This is a mobile wireless storage device that comes with 10 hours of battery life and can support 10 Wi-Fi devices. Users now can not only stream and view content that the device stores, but also upload digital content back to it, all via a very easy-to-use mobile app.

The Wireless Plus mobile storage device from Seagate.

(Credit: Dong Ngo/CNET)

While the Wireless Plus is not the first of its type -- Seagate's Satellite was offering similar features prior to this-- it's the first that combines large storage space (1TB), long battery life, a long list of features, and ease of use in one compact design that costs just $200.

Correction, 3 p.m. PT: Updated to give the correct maximum amount of storage offered by the LaCie 5big Thunderbolt Series, which is 20TB.

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Crave Extras: Samsung Galaxy Tab eyes Apple iPad

2010-12-08

Last week I posted a video of the Samsung Galaxy Tab (Verizon Wireless) and Apple iPad running through a few quick performance tests. Some of the responses were...fevered to say the least. Just wait until my Galaxy Tab vs. iMac video drops!

In the meantime, Donald Bell and I discuss how the Galaxy Tab's efforts to take over the world are repeatedly foiled by the iPad and how Android, in its current state, may not make for the best tablet OS.

Crave Extra: Samsung Galaxy Tab eyes the Apple iPad

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Originally posted at Crave

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Crave Extras: Windows Phone 7 and the great button calamity

2010-11-17

The Internet's own Bonnie Cha stops by to discuss Windows Phone 7. You're probably asking, "Why would the classy and graceful Bonnie Cha agree to discuss anything with you?" I asked the same question, which is why I was forced to dip into my bag of dark secrets about Bonnie I've collected over the years and use it as what turned out to be very effective leverage.

Tune in to find out why the Windows 7 Phone interface intrigues me so, how Xbox Live fits into this, and why Bonnie affectionately refers to me as "Buttface." Secrets are revealed!

Crave Extra: Windows Phone 7

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Originally posted at Crave

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Crave Extras: Donald and the Archos 32

2010-10-08

A few weeks ago, I posted a couple videos of Donald Bell and I saying unspeakable (!) things about the Dell Streak and the Livescribe Echo. We tried to do it in a real off-the-cuff, informal way.

We affectionately referred to those videos as "One on One" and we received lots of positive feedback. In light of that, we're going to try to produce such videos on a regular basis, but under the moniker "Crave Extras." We start with the media player that thinks it's a tablet, the Archos 32.

Most of what will be discussed in Crave Extras will be gadget-y, Crave-y stuff. We hope you like the format, but be aware that it will continually evolve and (hopefully) get better. We welcome your feedback.

Also, we definitely went a little long with this video, but we chalk that up to the excitement we felt sitting in a dark room and discussing yet another small electronics device. That just never seems to get old.

Crave Extra: Donald talks Archos 32

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Originally posted at Crave

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Inside CNET Labs Podcast 100: Final Round, FIGHT!

2010-08-11 :: CNET.com

What awesome, AWESOME pants I'm wearing!

(Credit: Emmanuel Apilado)

This is it. This is really it. This is the final curtain call. OK?

Our final episode is ready. Instead of boring you with its contents, I just wanted to take this opportunity to quickly thank each and every listener we've ever had, whether you liked the show or not. One hundred episodes of anything is nothing to sneeze at and we couldn't have (wouldn't have) done it without the support of all of you, so thank for that.

Now, enjoy the last. We're glad to be with you all, here at the end of all things.

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Originally posted at Crave

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Inside CNET Labs Podcast 99: Penultimate

2010-07-23 :: CNET.com

What does this MEAN?!!

(Credit: Eric Franklin/CNET)

Dong returns from Vietnam--the land of $2,000 iPhone 4s--and picks up on girls in shorty shorts and sweats...a lot. We then discuss the draconian-like Facebook rules in the old country and dole out our required amount of Blizzard love.

To subscribe to this podcast, visit us at our main page and click the podcast link on the right. Don't forget to leave us voice mail at 1-800-947-6399 or e-mail us at insidecnetlabs@cnet.com.

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Inside CNET Labs 98: So much magnetism

2010-07-12 :: CNET.com

This episode we reveal that Dong and Magneto are one in the same.

We're back! Again. And this time it's personal. That's right, we're together again, for the first time. Forget it Dong, it's Chinatown.

Dong is away in Vietnam this week, yet through the miracle of technology, we're able to come together and record a podcast. What an age we live in.

Actually we recorded this episode before he left and honestly there's not much "us" in it. We spend as much time going through your e-mails and voice mails as we do being our usual narcissistic selves.

This week we're discussing cell phone radiation regulation, security software testing, and Dr. Orgy returns!

To subscribe to this podcast, visit us at our main page and click the podcast link on the right. Don't forget to leave us voice mail at 1-800-947-6399 or e-mail us at insidecnetlabs@cnet.com.

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Inside CNET Labs Podcast 97: Very, very modest

2010-06-23 :: CNET.com

Is there another type of mouse? I doubt it.

(Credit: Modest Mouse)

It's our annual E3 episode (and no, we weren't really there.) Actually, we talk about more than just E3; there's some BP oil spill stuff, a Foxconn followup, some Web-browser-war talk, and likely a Steve Jobs impression thrown in for good measure.

I know we're late in our E3 coverage, so there won't be any new, earth-shattering information revealed here, but we're both really excited about the forthcoming crop of game releases.

Well, I'm excited at least. Dong has one thing and one thing only on his mind, Starcraft II. He's been going through withdrawal ever since Blizzard ended the public beta. Listen to this episode to hear him cry like a little girl, which is not unlike most other episodes, I guess.

To subscribe to this podcast, visit us at our main page and click the podcast link on the right. Don't forget to leave us voice mail at 1-800-947-6399 or e-mail us at insidecnetlabs@cnet.com.

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Inside CNET Labs Podcast 96: The '4'

2010-06-10 :: CNET.com

Great. Hobson's Choice all over again.

(Credit: Apple)

The iPhone 4 has the potential to be great for playing games on, but I won't know for sure anytime soon since Apple's decided to stick with AT&T for at least another year. I'm starting to think my iPhone-with-Verizon pipe dreams are just that. So far, only this gadget gives me hope.

Then, the Starcraft 2 beta ends and Dong gets funny feelings about it. Finally, WD TV gets Netflix--Netflix everyone, Netflix. It's a little late for me to get too excited. I have Netflix resources coming out of my ears.

To subscribe to this podcast, visit us at our main page and click the podcast link on the right. Don't forget to leave us voice mail at 1-800-947-6399 or e-mail us at insidecnetlabs@cnet.com.

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Inside CNET Labs Podcast 95: 'Over 5000--'

2010-06-03 :: CNET.com

"Get Bill Gates in here!"

(Credit: Paramount)

We start low this week with a sad story about Foxconn and more specifically, Foxconn's employees. We achieve a disposition that's definitely humorous, but respectful. I hope.

Dong laments Apple's ascension over Microsoft to the top of the tech-company hill and Google ditches Windows. Bad week for the Redmond, Wash.-based company and lovers of it. Dong, in particular.

Keeping with the "big three" theme, Google shows some speed tests of Chrome; and Opera did a little testing of their own.

Finally, Blizzard finally introduced a mobile auction house for World of Warcraft. And we finally talk about it.

To subscribe to this podcast, visit us at our main page and click the podcast link on the right. Don't forget to leave us voice mail at 1-800-947-6399 or e-mail us at insidecnetlabs@cnet.com.

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Inside CNET Labs Podcast 94: 'I'm sorry'

2010-05-27 :: CNET.com

The tender side of a psychopathic killer.

(Credit: Fox)

The end of an era in television is here and possibly the beginning of a, likely not-as-successful movie franchise? Well, I hope not. Dong and I have bonded over "24" for the last nine years. In this episode we lament its pseudo-passing.

Then, heads are butted, faces kicked, and throats punched as we I say goodbye to "Lost." Dong says, "Good riddance" instead. Hater!

WARNING! There are spoilers for both these shows' finales and lore. You've been warned.

Also, Dong gives his advice on protecting your credit card number. Or maybe he doesn't actually give advice, but he talks about his experience not protecting his credit card number. Yes, that's what he does.

To subscribe to this podcast, visit us at our main page and click the podcast link on the right. Don't forget to leave us voice mail at 1-800-947-6399 or e-mail us at insidecnetlabs@cnet.com.

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Inside CNET Labs (MP3)

"Inside CNET Labs" has two meanings. According to one meaning, this podcast takes you behind the scenes of CNET's editorial process from a performance testing perspective. It will demystify CNET's performance testing process, allowing the listener an inside look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of performance testing. The second meaning gets equal attention--and sometimes more so--as we go inside the heads of CNET's San Francisco Labs staff, Eric Franklin and Dong Ngo, who will have opinionated discussions on subjects ranging from the insecurities of people to whether the existence of time can be proven. This is the stuff they've talked about every day for several years. Unfortunately for them (and fortunately for you, we hope), it's now being recorded. Email us at insidecnetlabs@cnet.com. Visit the blog at http://insidecnetlabs.cnet.com.

Inside CNET Labs (MP3)


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