Thursday, 09 January 2014 15:19

CES – News snippets from day 2


A flurry of announcements on day one – more chaff than wheat with little to stir the imagination, still there are some diamonds in the rough to be found.


Vizio (not sold in Australia) announced its 50” flat screen 4K TV at around US$1000. 4K is still mostly vapourware and hype. Where is the content? Where are the carrier networks that will allow fast, cheap, downloads? Where is the 100GB Blu-ray player? At least you will be able to get a lower cost 4K screen and play HD.

I was gobsmacked when Panasonic - long-time advocate of plasma as the best TVs - claimed its new ‘Life Screen’ LED TVs were as good as plasma. Vale plasma - the fact it no longer makes plasma may have something to do with that statement.


Valve confirmed that it had 13 Steam OS game machine partners. Steam is a Linux variant and designed to take on the Xbox and PS4 console market – have they left it too late? The 13 boxes ranged from US$499 to $6000 and most use AMD/Radeon or Intel Core x86/NVidia CPU/GPUs. I am not a gamer so will stand corrected but these all seem capable of running Windows as well. Is there room for another living room/TV/gaming OS? More on Steam at Wikipedia.

Steam OS will run on many Windows PCs including Razers concept modular PC launched at CES yesterday. It has also mentioned it was considering a subscription model for this PC.

Sony released information on its PlayStation Now cloud gaming streaming based on Gaikai technology for PS3/4/Vita, TVs, and Tablets etc. At present this is a US based service but could well come down under. It brings PS3 games to PS4. Apparently, shares in games retailer GameStop plummeted on this news.

Razer showed off the Edge - a Windows 8 tablet with the specs of a gaming PC - 10-inch, 1366x768-pixel display, Core i5 chip, 4GB of RAM, 64GB SSD from US$999. Options include Core i7, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB or 256GB SSD. Accessories include a dock and controllers.

LG gets the PR spin award

After years of research, ergonomists have drawn inspiration from the human eye and have started building TV screens that follow the natural curve of the eye. The panel’s curved structure mimics a human being’s normal line of vision known as the ‘horopter line’, which makes it ‘eye-friendly’ and allows viewers to feel less fatigue even when watching the screen for long periods of time.

According to DisplayMate [video display and calibration software], curved displays are better than traditional flat screens due to the drastically different reflectance, with flat screens emitting a large amount of reflection, which can be very distracting. Curved screens produce a wider field of view and reflect far less non-direct light.

Yes, we acknowledge that LG narrowly beat sibling Samsung to release a curved screen – a world’s first – the screen that is.

LED is passé –Wi-Fi and Bluetooth blubs are in

AwoX announced two new products - the StriimLight WiFi and the StriimLight B-10. The B-10 includes a Bluetooth speaker and the Wi-Fi model features a Wi-Fi speaker. Pricing information is not yet available. Another smartphone app to replace a simple switch!

Belkin has done a lot with WeMo and deserves an in-depth look later. One new product was the WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set - includes two WeMo Smart LED Bulbs, and the WeMo Link plug-in hub to control them for US$129.







Aussie Dog and Bone cases unveiled a world-first, military spec, Qi wireless charging case for the iPhone 5/s with a hot swap battery as well.




Morphie showed of the Space Pack for iPhone 5/s that can recharge the phone and add an additional 16 or 32GB Of storage at the same time. It has a 1700 mAh battery for an extra 8 hours talk time, and an app to help you use the additional flash memory storage. Approx. price 16/32GB US$150/180.

Smart watches and wearables – everywhere

Check out an infographic from Mashable on wearable tech.

Toshiba has an OLED smart watch for iOS and Android, It displays incoming calls, text messages and emails. It has a GPS. An ECG sensor in the back of the case monitors the users pulse and heartbeat.

There are beta products using E ink paper mono and colour screens.

LG showed a LIfeband Touch – more health and fitness monitoring.

Fitbit showed off a range of fitness monitors all with its now unmistakable flex style. These offer more features than earlier models – distance walked, active time and sleep time and a silent alarm.

Actor Christopher Lloyd a.k.a. Doc Brown replete with the Delorean car and Google Glass made an entrance that was hard to miss.

French Kolibree showed on the internet-connected toothbrush. “We want to reinvent oral care” co-founder Loic Cessot said. A smartphone app monitors brushing quality and shows if teeth have been missed - especially useful for errant children. It has been ‘Kickstarted’ (crowd funded), will sell for US$100-200, and be launched mid-2014.




Another French company has developed a Russian nesting doll-shaped robot to "transform any object in everyday life into a connected device.” It plugs into the home network and monitor up to 24 objects via cookie shaped 'magical sensors' that detect movement, temperature, patterns, and more that are attached to the devices the user wants to monitor. It can detect unexpected activity at the front door, keep track of watering of plants, and even ensure family members take their medicine or put out the bins on time.



The superbly named Oculus Rift ‘Crystal Cove’ VR headset and camera is a show stealer covered by iTWire here.


 Hisense, an Asian manufacturer known for its reasonably priced TVs announced an update to the update to its Sero 7 Pro and a new 8-inch Android tablets. Also shown – but probably not coming to Australia either – was the 6.8-inch X1 Android smartphone, Snapdragon 2.3GHz processor, 13-megapixel camera and a 3900 mAh battery.

Haier, an Asian manufacturer that is actually the world’s largest domestic appliance manufacturer both announced Windows devices and the potential for these to be sold in Australia. It currently has a 10.1” Windows transformer - very much like the Asus T100.

Seagate were chuffed that Haier chose its super slim 500GB drive for Haier’s new 13.3” Sailing P13A tablet. It features an Intel Core 4th generation i7 and is based on the Intel Ultrabook reference design.

A tsunami of Windows hybrid/transformers is on the way.


BlackBerry CEO John Chen say that it will produce a US$<200 touchscreen phone assembled by Foxconn - that also assemble the iPhone 5/s/c. "We're not retreating from the consumer business," he said.

However, BlackBerry will focus on enterprise for the next 18 months or so. In addition to devices, Chen told CNET's Nic Healy that he wants to shore up the enterprise service and mobile device management business, build upon the momentum of the BlackBerry Messenger service, and better utilize its QNX platform.


 Bluetooth everywhere but I think the best overall new product is the LG LAB540W SoundPlate that sits under a TV and adds 4.1, 320w, sound bar quality, an external wireless sub-woofer, and a 3D Blu-ray player as well as connectivity for other devices. It turns any dumb TV into a smart one and adds Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Samsung had a range of sound bars, wireless and Bluetooth speakers and more but the LG SoundPlate eclipsed these.



Yesterday I mentioned 70 exhibitors – this was in reference to the CES Unveiled – a special preview event.

CES 2014 has set a new record with 3,200 exhibitors across more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space (186,000 m2) — the size of 37 of Sydney Convention centre exhibition halls - up from 3,000 exhibitors and 1.92 million square feet last year.

By noon Thursday 9 January some 354 million articles had been written about CES - thank goodness we are paperless!

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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