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Saturday, January 14, 2012, 09:04 pm PT (12:04 am ET)

Reacting to Apple at CES 2012, part three: Sony, Motorola, RIM, Nokia


The hall of Apple litigants: Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia, Kodak

The last corner of Apple-related exhibitors all fell under the (admittedly long) list of companies that are or have sued the company, starting with Alcatel-Lucent.

The company had on display what appeared to be a war-on-drugs-mobile. Visible behind it were Nokia and Kodak, a veritable dark alley for Apple's lawyers.





Nokia's CES booth was nearly all devoted to Windows Phone 7, touting the new line of recently released Lumia smartphones. The company depicted the Carl Zeiss lens of the Lumia 800 and 900 models next to an actual Carl Zeiss movie camera.



It also demonstrated some "harsh interrogation" devices Nokia uses to torture prototypes until they reveal their weaknesses, including a body flex test and an automated button poking machine.



Nokia also had on hand a clever wireless speaker accessory that receives smartphone audio via Bluetooth after first configuring with the phone via an NFC tap of the device on the top of the speaker. Unfortunately, the device was apparently developed before the company realized that Windows Phone wouldn't support NFC, so it doesn't work with any of the devices Nokia was showing off.



Successive versions of Windows Phone plan to add support for NFC hardware (along with features such as front facing cameras), and Nokia is hoping to add increasing amounts of its own differentiating feature to its Windows Phone models. So far, Nokia has largely been limited to replacing Microsoft's weaker implementation of Bing Maps with its own mapping technology, as well as adding a City Lens app for local search via augmented reality, and a Transport app for walking and transit directions.

After nearly falling asleep in the Kodak booth, it made sense to head over to Occupy CES.



One More Thing

There was one more thing that was pretty cool at CES: a process for laying down a nano coating of liquid resistant polymer by P2i. The process, branded Aridion, pulses an ionized gas plasma into a vacuum chamber containing the products to be treated, resulting in an ultra-thin coating deposited on all surfaces inside and outside of the product.

The coating is so thin that it is both invisible and impossible to feel, but reduces the surface energy to the point where water or oil beads up and runs off like a Teflon pan. The company demonstrated the coating using paper facial tissues; treated paper would bead up water dropped on it just like mercury, and when submerged into water, the tissue remained dry (as shown below, after both received a thorough dunking).



By treating electronics, such as a smartphone, the devices can be protected from liquid or humidity damage, preventing corrosion from developing circuit failures. Moisture damage has been a very significant problem for Apple from the iPod to the iPhone, and the company has reacted by installing liquid sensors that signal when users have exposed their devices to excessive moisture or humidity, something that can invalidate their warranty.

Interestingly, P2i states that Motorola has already begun coating the Droid RAZR phone and XYBOARD tablet with its technology, something that Motorola refers to as "splash guard."

iOS users will have to wait for Apple to adopt the technology, because P2i doesn't offer the process to consumers. Be sure to check out our Weekend Tech Review for footage of Aridion's magic in action, as well as recap of the rest of the week's top news stories.

Reacting to Apple at CES 2012, part one: Intel's Ultrabooks
Reacting to Apple at CES 2012, part two: Samsung's Galaxy Note
Reacting to Apple at CES 2012, part three: Sony, Motorola, RIM, Nokia