Archive for the ‘CES 2020’ Category

New Bluetooth standard copies best features of Apple, Qualcomm’s proprietary tech

January 9th, 2020
Promotional of Google Pixel Buds on desk.

Enlarge / Google's Pixel Buds true wireless earphones, which use Bluetooth. (credit: Google)

Bluetooth SIG, the industry group that maintains the Bluetooth wireless communications standard used in numerous devices, announced a major update to the standard called Bluetooth LE Audio this week.

Bluetooth SIG previously introduced Bluetooth LE with a focus on power efficiency, but that emphasized improvements for low-bandwidth devices. Even though audio is one of the most common uses of Bluetooth, it still faces some frustrating bottlenecks and pitfalls. Bluetooth LE Audio brings improvements specifically oriented towards audio devices.

The previous audio solution isn’t going anywhere, though; companies making Bluetooth audio devices will be able to choose between the old tech and the new based on their goals.

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Posted in bluetooth, Bluetooth LE Audio, Bluetooth SIG, CES 2020, Tech, wireless headphones | Comments (0)

Clever design, lack of Bluetooth make Razer’s new phone gamepad a winner

January 7th, 2020

What does it take for a phone-compatible gamepad to get our attention in 2020, in a world where pretty much every Bluetooth-compatible game controller can connect to your favorite iOS or Android phone? At this year's CES, Razer has the answer: a controller that may boost the cloud-streaming proposition of "triple-A gaming anytime, anywhere."

The Razer Kishi, announced Tuesday at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, arguably doesn't look special. It features the same array of joysticks, buttons, and triggers you'll find on most consumer-grade game controllers. Its trick of splitting in half and sandwiching a smartphone has been done before—with Razer already having its own Junglecat controller, which does just that.

But the Kishi adds a rare combination for this kind of gamepad: a flush fit to your smartphone of choice and a wired connection.

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Posted in CES 2020, Gaming & Culture, Razer | Comments (0)

Mercedes-Benz creates Avatar-inspired EV concept, uses no unobtainium

January 7th, 2020

Mercedes-Benz has gotten into the habit of bringing some rather forward-looking concept cars to CES. Two years ago, the company gave some of us late night rides down the Las Vegas Strip in its Smart Vision EQ concept car, even if that was actually a remote-controlled show car rather than a functional self-driving machine. I'm not on the ground at CES this year, so I didn't get to see this year's Mercedes concept in person, but it looks even more out there. It's called the Vision AVTR, and the name is a clue—it was designed together with the people responsible for the movie Avatar. Yes, really.

Like most of us who saw the 2009 sci-fi film from James Cameron, I can't remember much about it other than that it had elements of Dances with Wolves, but in space with blue giants, plus mining for "unobtanium" (which must have been discovered by the British, or it would surely have been called unobtainum). Looking at the photos Mercedes has released of the Vision AVTR aren't helping fill in those gaps, but based on the description, it too requires some unobtainium—or at least some enabling technologies that have yet to be invented.

Mercedes says that the car uses graphene-based batteries that are biodegradable and use no rare-earth elements. (Graphene batteries are a thing people are working on, but it's still the preserve of our Science section rather than anything showing up any time soon in a car you could buy or drive.)

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Posted in Avatar, cars, CES 2020, concept car, Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR | Comments (0)

Sony stuns CES with an electric show car, the Vision-S

January 7th, 2020

It seems like just yesterday I was complaining about CES turning into a car show. Someone must have heard me, because it appears the response from the tech sector was to say "hold my beer and watch this…" On Monday evening in Las Vegas, Sony used the last few minutes of its CES keynote to show off a concept electric vehicle called the Vision-S.

Yes, Sony, maker of Walkmen and Playstations and TVs and so on. And yes, an EV concept car, in this case a sedan that, if you squint, looks a bit like a cross between a Porsche Taycan and a Lucid Air. We don't believe Sony has any plans to start challenging Tesla in the marketplace or to offer a driving experience beyond hooking a steering wheel up to a PS4. Instead, the Vision-S is a showcase for all the enabling technologies that Sony does have a hand in.

There are sensors—33 of them in total, including high-resolution CMOS optical, solid state lidar, radar, and time-of-flight sensors, all of which are fused together to create an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) suite that Sony is calling a "Safety Cocoon" (pdf).

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Posted in cars, CES 2020, concept car, Sony Vision-S | Comments (0)

LG and Samsung TVs at CES: Bezel-free, smaller OLEDs, and more

January 7th, 2020
Here's a 77-inch 8K TV in a heavily photoshopped image from LG.

Enlarge / Here's a 77-inch 8K TV in a heavily photoshopped image from LG. (credit: LG)

What's going on in the world of high-end TVs? LG and Samsung's announcements at CES 2020 have already provided a clear picture of what we can expect. The latest trend is wall-mounted TVs designed to be flush with the surface they're mounted on (or close to it).

New CPUs offer machine learning-based features to improve picture quality based on the type of content viewed. Plus, LG introduced a smaller OLED model size, Samsung is pitching a TV with virtually no bezels, and new 8K models are making their way to consumers' homes.

Let's start with LG's announcements.

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Posted in CES 2020, LG, MicroLED, oled, QLED, Samsung, Tech, TV | Comments (0)

Dell’s new Concept UFO puts PC gaming on a Nintendo Switch-like device

January 6th, 2020

CES may be flooded with new tech coming out soon, but it's also a place for companies to show off new things that may (or may not) become a reality in the future. Dell's doing just that within its Alienware gaming family with a new concept device dubbed Concept UFO, a handheld gaming console that looks quite similar to the Nintendo Switch but is built for full-fledged portable PC gaming.

We should preface the rest of this article by saying that this is exactly what its name suggests: a concept. While we got a few minutes to mess around with working models of Concept UFO ahead of CES, Dell currently does not have concrete plans to bring Concept UFO to market. Most questions about specs or detailed capabilities were promptly deflected as well, so the details we know about the inner workings of the device are limited.

First impressions

However, unlike many other concepts I've tested in the past, Concept UFO was quite impressive because it actually worked. It's a rectangular handheld gaming console with an eight-inch display and removable controllers on both ends. Working models I saw all ran Windows and were able to render playable games in handheld mode; docked mode, in which the console was connected to an external display and its controllers were detached; and another portable mode in which the controllers were detached but connected by a center "bridge."

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Posted in CES 2020, Concept UFO, dell, Gaming & Culture, nintendo switch, PC gaming, Tech | Comments (0)

Lenovo’s new ThinkPad X1 foldable PC to debut this year, starting at $2,499

January 6th, 2020

Let's talk about the look and feel of the device first: final images of the ThinkPad X1 Fold look nearly identical to the prototype we saw last year. It's a 13-inch tablet with chunky black bezels that measures 7.8mm thick when laid flat and 27.8mm thick when folded. Weighing less than 2.2 pounds, it's not a particularly svelte device when compared to other flagship laptops and tablets, but it's not cumbersome, either. When opened, the prototype device I spent a few minutes with felt like a slightly thicker-than-usual tablet, and while the thick bezels are jarring to look at, they serve a purpose on a device that's meant to be moved and folded often.

The final display on the ThinkPad X1 Fold is a 13.3-inch, 2048×1536, pOLED panel with a 4×3 aspect ratio that Lenovo partnered with LG to include on the device. Since this device falls under the ThinkPad umbrella, Lenovo made a point to emphasize that the Fold has been put through the usual ThinkPad durability tests in addition to folding cycle tests. Supporting the foldable display is a multi-link torque hinge that Lenovo developed to make the opening and closing of the Fold as seamless as possible.

Lenovo is billing the ThinkPad X1 Fold as a device for those who frequently use a laptop, tablet, and smartphone and want a device that can combine some of the features of all of those devices into one. You can use the device as if it were any one of those devices—it acts as a tablet or a large smartphone when open, or as a makeshift laptop when folded in a 90-degree angle (there's an integrated kickstand on the back to better support it in this laptop-esque mode).

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Posted in 2-in-1, CES 2020, convertible, Foldables, laptop, Lenovo, Tech, thinkbook plus, thinkpad x1 fold | Comments (0)

Samsung’s $1,000 Galaxy Chromebook is the new Chrome OS standard-bearer

January 6th, 2020

Google took a step back from making premium Chromebooks when it updated the Pixelbook line with the less premium Pixelbook Go, but it looks like Samsung is picking up the "Premium Chromebook" mantle at CES 2020. Meet the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook, a $1,000 laptop that is looking like the hottest Chrome OS device on the market.

The Galaxy Chromebook is the first Chromebook with a 4K, OLED display. It's the first Chromebook with a 10th-gen Intel processor. At just 9.9mm thick, this aluminum-bodied device is the thinnest Chromebook on the market. The display hinge folds all the way around for a tablet mode, and there's pen support with a stowable pen. There's a backlit keyboard and even a fingerprint scanner, a surprising rarity for Chrome OS devices.

The display is a 13.3-inch, 3840×2160 (16:9) OLED touchscreen with just a 3.9mm bezel around the top and sides. The processor is a 10th Gen Intel Core i5 Comet Lake U-Series with integrated graphics and a fanless design. You get up to 16GB of RAM, up to 1TB of SSD storage, Wi-Fi 6 support, and a 49.2Wh battery.

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Posted in CES 2020, Tech | Comments (0)

Byton is putting a 48-inch screen in its new EV, and it has content, too

January 6th, 2020

The transformation of the annual Consumer Electronics Show into an increasingly automotive-heavy trade show continues apace, particularly with electric vehicle startups like Byton. The company made a big splash at CES in 2018 with its first battery electric concept, the M-Byte. Industry watchers took note of the vehicle's highly experienced management and engineering team, with everyone else being dazzled by the M-Byte's 48-inch (yes, forty-eight inches, or 1.2m) infotainment screen. With production starting later this year in Nanjing, China, it used this year's CES to show us what sort of user experience we can expect from all those pixels.

Earlier Byton demos of the concepts involved a lot of talk about "the Byton life" and cloud-based user profiles that will follow Byton's customers from car to car, complete with facial recognition as biometric authentication. But with Chinese deliveries happening in a few months (and US and European deliveries scheduled for the first half of 2021), the company is getting concrete about developer partnerships, including one with ViacomCBS.

"We knew from the outset that in order to deliver the industry's first Smart Device on Wheels, we would need to invite partners to create truly compelling interactions. We also believe that Byton's unique user interface offers developers a challenge and an opportunity to engage with an in-car experience like none they ever seen," said Jeff Chung, vice president of Digital Engineering at Byton.

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Posted in accuweather, battery electric vehicle, Byton, cars, CES 2020, cloudcar, infotainment, road.travel, ViacomCBS, Xperi | Comments (0)

HP updates Elite Dragonfly laptop with 10th-gen Intel processors, Tile integration

January 6th, 2020

HP's Elite Dragonfly laptop may have only come out a month or two ago, but the company is already updating it. The newest member of the Elite family received mostly an internal update ahead of CES 2020, including 10th-gen Intel processors and a new Tile integration that should make it easier for users to find their misplaced laptops.

We reviewed the Elite Dragonfly last month and were impressed at how well it combined a thin-and-light design with solid performance and good battery life. We were disappointed that the laptop didn't launch with 10th-gen Intel processors, but the wait for that is now over. Any users buying an Elite Dragonfly in 2020 will have the option to get the newest processors, as well as HP's 4th-gen SureView privacy screen technology and newly added support for 5G. The latter expands upon the Elite Dragonfly's optional LTE support and, while nice to include in a spec sheet, it does more to future-proof the device than it does to add immediate value for users.

HP also partnered with Tile to bring device-tracking features to the Elite Dragonfly. Tile makes small Bluetooth trackers that you can attach to your keys, stick in your backpack, and place with other important possessions to monitor their location using the Tile mobile app. The new Elite Dragonfly laptops will have Tile technology embedded into the chassis, allowing users to find their laptop if they lose it.

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Posted in CES 2020, elite dragonfly, envy all in one, HP, spectre x360 15, Tech | Comments (0)