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Weekly Recap: Acer’s Predator, Project Valerie, Polaroid Pop, Amazon Montreal and fishing drone

Acer’s Predator

Acer’s Predator.

At CES 2017, Acer launched what was unanimously voted as the decade’s most hideous laptop. The Predator features a curved 21-inch screen, two GeForce GTX 1080 X graphics card, an Intel Core i7 processor and a mechanical keyboard. It can take up to 64GB of RAM and four 512GB SSD drives. All this at 8Kg and US$8,999 (CA$11,893). Available as of February. The only question is: are gamers the worst fashion victims of the technology world?

The Verge, “Acer’s monstrous Predator 21 X gaming laptop will cost $8,999.”


Project Valerie

Razer’s Project Valerie.

Also at CES 2017, Razer unveiled Project Valerie, a prototype laptop with three deployable 4K-screens (watch for glare from your seatmates on the plane). Of course, the trade-off is thickness (3.8cm), heft (5.5Kg) and probably price (not announced). Spiria is enthusiastic: “That’s so cool!”, “I want one!”, “That should be our default laptop!”. The head of the IT purchasing department was more, shall we say, circumspect.

Ars Technica, “Razer demos a sorta cool, sorta ridiculous triple-monitor laptop concept.”


Polaroid Pop

Polaroid Pop.

Still at CES 2017, on its 80th anniversary year, Polaroid introduced a new camera able to print images on paper, just like the good old days. But Polaroid Pop is different from its previous incarnations in that it’s a perfectly decent digital camera (20 megapixels, 10-cm touchscreen LCD, 1080p video, microSD, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth) while producing pictures of the same size as Polaroids of yesteryear (3 by 4 inches, or 76 by 102mm). Printing is inkless, using heat to burst colour pigments embedded in the paper (“Zink” technology). Available by the end of 2017.

Engadget, “Polaroid Pop is a modern take on the company’s iconic camera.”


Amazon Montreal

Amazon Web Services Montreal.

This isn’t news, but the original announcement was lost in the Holiday din: Amazon has chosen the Montreal region as the site of its new data centres. Amazon Web Services cited Quebec’s low cost of electricity, which is sourced from renewable hydro power. Amazon joins OVH, IBM, Bell Canada, Cogeco Data Services and several other major corporations that recently opened data centres in the province. In Quebec, the industrial price of electricity is 5.17 cents per kWh, compared to 13 cents in Ontario. Quebec is becoming the Eldorado of the North-American cloud.

National Post, “Amazon chooses Montreal for its Canadian data centre operations due to cheaper hydro costs than Ontario.”



PowerRay drone.

Angling is an exercise in patience that isn’t always rewarded. No longer. Behold the PowerRay submersible drone, with sonar able to detect fish up to 40 meters away, a 4K camera and LED lures. The robot brings the lured hook to the fish and holds it under its nose; all that’s left to do is to reel him in… Available by the end of February. Price not disclosed.

Circuit Breaker, “This submersible drone uses sonar and LED lures to hunt down fish for you.”


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