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IKEA builds amazing home entertainment system: the UPPLEVA Smart TV line

In Steve Job’s authorized biography, we read that he had finally nailed the future of television. Before he passed on to the next life, he had already laid groundwork for the development of some sort of home entertainment system. I’m reminded of that tidbit today, as IKEA unveils their new line of furniture: an all-in-one home entertainment system sans the ugly wiring.

The IKEA UPPLEVA (which means “Experiencing” in Swedish) is a mesh between furniture and electronics. Here are the specs:

Full HD 1080p SMART LED TV (supplier brand not mentioned but it’s most probably a Samsung!)
Blu-ray Player
2.1 Speaker System where the .1 subwoofer is wireless

For those unfamiliar, since the centerpiece is a SMART TV which means that it is fully upgradable as the years progress. You will be able to remove and replace the processor as well as other components, taking the lead with what Samsung is doing to their line of televisions which seems to be the industry baseline.

Available in 2013.

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Samsung announces Viki Premiere: All-Asian Telenovelas Download Service

I read an article yesterday about how the Philippines (as well as other countries in Asia) are pushing for an All-Asean VISA pass for foreigners. It’s similar to a Schengen VISA, but applied to Asia so that it unites then entire Asia in terms of tourism. After reading this, I hopped on to another announcement that’s in a different field altogether but still relevant by principle.

Last week at the Samsung SEA Forum, our very own Ariel Arias announced a new line of SMART TV’s (and I really feel bad because it renders my two 40″ Samsung SMART TV’s obsolescent!) but alongside this he also announced a new service called Viki Premiere which will debut in South East Asia. Essentially, Viki premiere is a subscription-based service exclusive to Samsung allowing all Asean neighbors to download and watch each other’s popular “Jewel in the Palace” tele-novelas (Korean, Filipino, Chinese, etc) and they will have respective subtitles and / or dubbing in each country’s language.

Why is this epic?

  • It is a powerful statement to go for digital downloads. The Philippines (and the rest of Asia) absolutely needs its own digital distribution system for music, movies and other forms of entertainment. We can’t default to iTunes because they have Western-focused content. What about Asia?
  • It is contextually brilliant as it brings together the rich pop culture of all the nations in South East Asia, pushing them to compare, improve and discuss their shows in a one stop digital platform.
  • Because digital distribution is sexy

Although they didn’t go into detail about how this will work, it appears that the service will be tied into their new line of SMART TV’s (I’m not sure if the previous models will be able to avail of the upgrade but theoretically, they should). In addition, Samsung has revamped its AllShare platform turning it into its own Cloud-based sync platform. This allows you to sync content between your SMART TV, Galaxy phones and tablets.

Parting shot: World Domination.

Mostly Everything

Thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy Beam: Android Phone with Built-in Projector

Samsung Galaxy Beam Bangkok

I really want this phone to fly. Well, if not the phone, then at least the concept of adding a 15-lumen projector to a smartphone, in the same way that cameras and GPS are now built into your mobile, it doesn’t get highlighted as a main selling point, but as a staple in handheld devices. Imagine the following scenarios:

  • an artist (in this case an independent film maker) wants to show off his new movie via an impromptu screening in a public area. All you need is a wall and the requirement that the movie be no longer than 2 hours (that’s the battery life of the phone when you turn on the projector)
  • Protest rallies .. you can easily set up a multimedia hub
  • Impromptu statements, which, although highly controversial can really serve its purpose: “Eat here!” or “Don’t eat here — service really bad!”

Marketers have been consistently trying to find more ways to bring together the Internet and real-world behavior. With “social” and “sharing” becoming the buzz of the industry the past few years, how would retailers feel if you could literally write something on their store wall, and not just on Facebook?

Samsung Beam Demo

The Samsung Galaxy Beam boasts a decent spec sheet for a modern-day smartphone: ships with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, 4″ WVGA display, and runs on a 1GHz dual-core processor. The Beam is their first projector-enabled smartphone (640 x 360 at 50 inches maximum size) at 15 lumens. It doesn’t perform very well during daylight but at night, it can definitely grab your attention.

Samsung Beam

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Samsung congratulates SMART for LTE Networks at Mobile World Congress 2012 ;)

Straight from the camera of Jim Ayson, here’s a rather interesting video he took of a Samsung ad on the bridgeway of the convention center for Mobile World Congress 2012. It’s been a year since I was last in Barcelona for the Netphone launch and seeing these photos and videos brings about a tech nostalgia that only a geek can get lucid on.

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If I were to choose ONE product to take home from CES it would be the Samsung Smart Window

Samsung’s Smart Window marries the utility of a window and their Internet-capable Smart TV. I had been chatting with some folks from Samsung Philippines and they hinted about something really exciting for 2012, apart from more apps and video streaming to support their line of Smart TV’s. Looks like this is an upgrade. Touch screen too (though I don’t know how they’re going to solve smudging). The best piece of news is that this isn’t a prototype and it will ship this year. The Smart Window is one-way which means that the people behind won’t be able to see what you’re watching.

Do you want it? I sure as hell would. Because it brings us closer to the concept of a truly digital home without having to look geeky.