CES 2012 is crazier than ever, and we're rounding up all the biggest and best news right here. And remember, you can keep track of everything that's going on at our CES 2012 hub!P.S. A big thanks to our friends at BorrowLenses.com for hooking us up with lens rental once again this year — that's why we took so many pretty pictures.
Jan 14, 2012Read Article >
We always thought the window was pretty mature technology, but Samsung's here at CES to prove us wrong. The Smart Window, currently in prototype phase, casts a touch-controlled interface onto transparent glass with ambient light. Samsung was demonstrating a whole range of applications, from Twitter to Microsoft Office, all touch-controlled and viewable directly on the glass. Images are viewable in daylight, and there's a nighttime mode that uses side-lighting and flipped colors. You can even draw some virtual blinds to control the flow of light. It's difficult to see how Samsung might turn this into a commercial product, but it definitely looks more useful than a transparent TV.
Jan 13, 2012
AMD's next generation of Accelerated Processing Units, Trinity, was shown off to us at CES this year with an impressive multithreaded workload. One display was running Dirt 3 in DirectX 11 mode, another was on the Windows desktop with a video transcoding app in full flow, and the third — part of the laptop running the entire operation — was playing back a full HD movie. The upcoming Trinity chip was handling all three tasks simultaneously, offering compelling evidence for AMD's bold claim that Trinity will offer Llano-like performance but at half the energy consumption. The Dirt 3 instance played with perfect smoothness throughout and we saw no stutter in the HD video being played back on the laptop. We were shown a Trinity APU with a 35W TDP, but 17W models will also be made available alongside desktop parts that can go as high as 100W.Read Article >
I sat down with Vizio CTO Matt McRae yesterday to talk over the company's huge number of CES announcements, from its CinemaWide 21:9 TVs to the $99 VAP430 Google TV media streamer to its entirely new lineup of laptop and desktop PCs. We also talked a lot about smart TV and the challenges of integrating live television with internet content, and Matt said something particularly interesting — he believes that a full internet TV provider that offers 50-100 channels to consumers will launch within 12-18 months. That's a bold prediction from the CTO of the number one US TV manufacturer, but it's also exciting: Matt says internet delivery will enable all kinds of new search and discovery methods and synchronized TV / PC / tablet viewing experiences. Unfortunately he wouldn't say who would be behind this new service, but at least there's hope.Read Article >
Oh, and hey — the CTO of Vizio hates IR blasters just as much as I do.
I caught up with FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski here at CES for a quick chat — he gave a speech yesterday arguing for speeding up spectrum auctions by implementing incentive auctions. I wanted to start with something a little closer to the ground though: the general outcry over SOPA and the planned Reddit blackout on January 18th. Surprise: Genachowsi is a Reddit reader, and he says he definitely hears the frustration — and while he thinks intellectual property need protection, he doesn't want to "break the internet."Read Article >
We also spoke about LTE interoperability and what it might take to get all the carriers to work together, and we ended with a discussion about smart TV, CableCARD, and the future of content delivery. It was an interesting little chat — now we just have to figure out the Chairman's Reddit handle.
Jan 12, 2012
By my count, there have been more than 20 ultrabooks announced here at CES 2012. That's a lot of laptops, especially when you consider that most of them have the same attributes: thin cases, Core i5 processors, solid-state drives, chiclet keyboards and single-button touchpads. But one has to be the best right? One would think, but choosing just one ultrabook amongst all of them isn't really fair. Some are cheaper than others, some aren't coming until the end of the year, and some have put a strong focus on higher end features. Picking four of the best, on the other hand, is the way to go, and that's exactly what you will find below. Without further ado, the best ultrabooks of CES 2012:Read Article >
The new 13-inch Series 9 might have the same name as the original Series 9, but this is a totally different machine. Not only does it look different, but it now has a higher resolution, 1600 x 900 display and an SD card slot. I'm a big fan of the black aluminum design — it's a nice change from the rest of the ultra thin laptops trying to mimic the MacBook Air design. It's pricey, but it's also a higher-end machine than the new crop of sub-$999 ultrabooks.
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Google's Matias Duarte dropped by our trailer today to talk a little about Android, including the announcement that his team is introducing a new Android Design website and style guide.
Matias Duarte just dropped by our trailer at CES 2012 to tell us about Google's new effort for ensuring consistency in the Android user experience: a style guide. Android OEMs and app developers will be provided with a set of in-depth guidelines on how to build atop of Android. All the instructions will be made available on a new website — Android Design, a subset of the Android Developers site — which will be built out over time with ever more granular and detailed best practice advice.Read Article >
The initial version of the guide includes information like typography, color palettes, and other stylistic advice, as well as a breakdown of the components making up the Android UI. Matias stresses that what we're seeing today is a purely optional aid for Android designers, not something that Google will seek to enforce.
Jan 12, 2012
Google's director of Android user experience Matias Duarte just stopped by The Verge trailer here at CES to make a special announcement, and we've decided to try something new — we're streaming the interview live. We'll be kicking things off in just a moment, and Matias will be taking viewer questions for a while after the announcement.Read Article >
Update: We've now uploaded our recording of the live interview for you to enjoy below.
Jan 12, 2012
You know, there's a lot of action here at CES. We mean a lot. A ton.Read Article >
The entire Verge team has been set on rapid-fire trying to capture everything that seems meaningful at the show, and some of the best moments have been the videos that we've cranked out. From exclusive interviews, product demos, live events, and more — our team has been there, cameras running, getting the story.
The Verge CES 2012 SuperSession: arguing the future with Drew Bamford, Ryan Bidan, and Aaron WoodmanRead Article >
CES is a show about the future of technology, so what better way to celebrate it than with a roundtable discussion about what it may hold? Our own Joshua Topolsky and Nilay Patel were joined this week by Drew Bamford of HTC, Ryan Bidan from Samsung, and Microsoft's Aaron Woodman to thrash out what the big trends of today are and where they will lead in the future. Their CES SuperSession lived up to its name by running to a full hour, which was just long enough for us to squeeze in a quick audience Q&A session as well. See the whole thing below.
Nvidia's Jen-Hsun Huang dedicated a portion of his CES 2012 presentation this week to playing a game of Skyrim on an Eee Pad Transformer Prime. The Tegra 3-powered tablet was running a specially optimized version of Splashtop, dubbed Splashtop THD, which allows you to interact with your Windows PC on Android tablets with Tegra hardware under the hood. It's not a complicated setup, you just run the requisite apps on the PC and tablet, and it gives you access to the full breadth of Windows desktop functionality. Gaming, of course, being a core pillar of that.Read Article >
What I saw in person was far more impressive than the demo during Jen-Hsun's keynote, which was hampered by the fact the connection between the PC and Prime tablet was made over a slammed Wi-Fi connection. The demo units at Nvidia's booth communicated over a wired connection to avoid that trouble, and there was no discernible lag whatsoever. Skyrim's graphics, physics and other computation were all being handled by the the well-specced PC rig, with the Prime controlling the game via a connected USB controller. Gameplay was perfectly fluid, and Nvidia tells us Splashtop THD's latency-free operation will replicate the exact frame rate you get from your PC onto the tablet. That part was very much true, but it still remains to be seen quite how well the same setup will work without a wire helping out.
Jan 11, 2012
The Golden-i is a futuristic wearable computer that you need to see to believe. The technology behind comes from the Kopin Corporation, but Motorola Solutions — the arm that makes enterprise solutions, not consumer products — has licensed the technology and plans to bring it to market by the end of the year (though the form factor may change). The Golden-i unit is a head-mounted PC running Windows CE embedded, controlled completely by gestures and voice. An internal accelerometer controls scrolling with head motion while dual microphones cut down on ambient noise. Just below the line of sight, there's a .44-inch display that appears to be 15 inches when it's in focus.Read Article >
Specs wise, there's a TI OMAP 3730 processor clocked at 1 GHz, 512 MB of RAM, as well as 512 MB of internal flash storage. That's more than enough storage for the lightweight OS, though there is also a microSD card slot and mini-USB on-the-go slot for attaching peripherals or doing development work. It also has Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR, low-power Wi-Fi, and Verizon Wireless will offer a 4G dongle to provide connectivity everywhere.
There are ducks, and there are decorated sheds.Read Article >
Most booths at CES are decorated sheds, boxes adorned with color and light, structures with signs to entice you to look at the gadgets within. They call to you with thumping music, colored kliegs, and shouting carnival workers hawking their wares with boy-band boom mics floating an inch from their mouths like buzzing flies at the end of thin electronic wires. Sweeping yet taut reams of fabric are buttressed by steel and mesh create faux tents and false ceilings to reorient the gadgets held within. Hordes of shuffling convention goers conventionally turn their glazed gaze towards an endless kaleidoscope of logos and stock photos of smiling models without seeing any of it. Decorated sheds: forms whose function is to direct you within to the consumer electronics collected inside.
Google TV product manager Rishi Chandra: 'Android is going to be a successful operating system on TVs'Read Article >
Google's playing CES 2012 pretty low-key, even as Google TV products from major manufacturers like Sony, Vizio, LG, and Samsung have become one of the major stories of the show. We caught up with Google TV product manager Rishi Chandra to talk about what's going on with the platform, how Google's going to succeed this time around, and what he thinks of other Android-based TVs like the Lenovo K91. Oh, and buddy boxes — that's a thing now.
We just spent some time with LG's Smart TV with Google TV — it's the company's first TV running the Android-based OS, and it's added some interesting twists to the usual formula. Of particular note is the remote, which has a scroll wheel in place of the center button on the D-pad and eschews a touchpad in favor of Wii-style motion control for the mouse. The motion control works about as well as the original Wii, which is to say it's fairly imprecise. The scroll wheel / D-pad combo is genius — or it would be genius if scrolling web pages wasn't incredibly choppy and slow. We'll chalk all of these glitches up to early software and misaligned calibration after a hard day on the CES show floor for now, but things will have to get significantly smoother for this to work as an everyday navigational tool.Read Article >
Apart from that, LG's overall skinning effort is fairly nice — it's definitely much more tasteful and refined than anything we've seen the company put on its phones, and it makes things like changing inputs and tweaking settings fairly easy. LG's not saying when this thing is coming out or how much it'll cost, but we're guessing it'll be at least few months to get polish and performance up to par.
Jan 11, 2012
We're at Showstoppers at CES in Vegas, and we just got a first look at Lenovo's new K800 smartphone, the first in the world to run on Intel's Medfield chipset. We liked the design of the phone's hardware, though it's a little thick. It will run a heavily skinned version of Android 4.0 (though the model we saw ran Android 2.3.7), which looks similar to the skins on Lenovo's tablets. It's got a 1.6GHz Intel processor, a 4.5-inch 720p HD TFT display, an 8-megapixel camera, a WCDMA HSPA+ 21Mbps wireless radio, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, and GPS onboard. It's also got WiDi onboard, which Lenovo says "enables screen sync to a TV at 720p30." The phone felt pretty snappy, but we'll reserve real judgment for when we can spend more time with the device. It's going to launch in China in the first half of this year, and there's no word on when (or if) it will be available stateside.Read Article >
Thomas Ricker contributed to this report.
Jan 11, 2012
Amazon is UltraViolet's first retail partner; Samsung offering disc-to-digital on 2012 Blu-Ray players
UltraViolet announced a few big new partnerships that should give the fledgling digital distribution system a big boost. Amazon is the first official retail partner, while Samsung will offer disc-to-digital features in its 2012 Blu-Ray players. Bill Carr, executive VP of digital media at Amazon and Tae-Jin Kang, senior VP, media solution center at Samsung, were on hand as part of a roundtable discussion to make the announcements. Unfortunately, there's very little information on Amazon's role as a retail partner; we assume that Amazon will eventually begin selling UltraViolet-compatible movies without needing to buy a physical disc (as is currently the case).Read Article >
But Mark Teitell, executive director at the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, told us this deal was closed just a few days ago and that they knew nothing more than beyond that initial announcement. Bill Carr did make it very clear that Amazon has always felt strongly about consumers being able to access their purchased digital content across a variety of devices and that they want to provide the most options and choices for consumers, so they'll continue to offers discs to purchase, digital downloads to own, and video on demand / movie rentals as well.
Jan 10, 2012
We saw Razer's Core i7 winged gaming tablet under glass just over an hour ago, but here's Project Fiona in the flesh! We just got our hands on the prototype machine, and it's a pretty interesting piece of kit, to say the least. The 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 capacitive touchscreen is glossy but very crisp, and it definitely plays games: Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine looked glorious on the display. The fixed (not detachable) controls feel pretty good, with nice tension on the depressible thumbsticks, and clearly draw on the Razer Hydra's design language, but without the annoying tapering on the far end of the grips. Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan tells us it's got a third-gen Core i7 processor on board (read: Ivy Bridge), is the first tablet certified by THX, and there are front- and rear-facing cameras, an accelerometer and force feedback for PC game makers to implement in their titles. Interestingly enough, Razer's built a touchscreen UI on top of Windows 7, which has a game viewer, web browser and multimedia players as well as a screen to help you map the physical controls as you see fit.Read Article >
Fiona's pretty chubby compared to modern Android slates, but lighter than it looks, and Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan tells us the whole design is slated to be changed before the company will turn it into a product anyhow. We say "will" since he called the future version a "final product" several times, but he later clarified that a final decision is still up in the air, saying that Razer now has a tradition of bringing a far-out concept to CES every year. The Razer Switchblade would agree: in less than a year, it morphed into quite a different machine.
Jan 10, 2012
We simply can't get enough of Nokia's Lumia 900 here at CES 2012. After having a quick play with it at Digital Experience last night, we returned to Nokia's booth today for another hands-on session. Its design is unmistakably that of the N9 / Lumia 800: softly rounded sides, sternly flat top and bottom, and a single plane of glass covering the front. Nokia has moved to a 4.3-inch form factor with the Lumia 900, so it's appreciably larger than the Lumia 800, however its top and bottom bezels have been greatly reduced. That, along with the almost identical thickness to the 800, means that operation of the Lumia 900 feels natural and effortless.Read Article >
WVGA (800 x 480) resolution is a little low by modern standards in the 4-inch-plus size category, however the ClearBlack AMOLED display is attractive enough to make that a non-issue for us. We're told it's identical to the Lumia 800's in technological terms, suggesting it has a Pentile Matrix subpixel arrangement and an anti-glare polarizing filter. The device we handled was a pre-production unit and we weren't allowed to explore it too deeply, however the basic Windows Phone menu interaction was as fluid and snappy as you'll have come to expect from the OS.
Jan 10, 2012Read Article >
So iRobot dropped by the trailer today with its Ava robotics platform prototype, and I spent some quality time with the robot. After a quick mapping job of the trailer, Ava was able to navigate around our cluttered war room autonomously, while I set waypoints for it from an iPad app. Ava worked flawlessly, with zero injuries sustained by The Verge staff. In addition to the map controls, Ava can be manipulated by the bumpers on the bot itself, and the camera view lets me tap a point on the floor for Ava to go to, or use gestures to control the "head" (a mounted iPad). This is just a prototype, and iRobot hasn't really ironed out what Ava will be used for exactly — it's leaning on partnerships with developers, like some guys at Google, to really make Ava sing. Stand by for my interview with iRobot VP Mark Chiappetta, who built Ava, to explain further the strategy behind the bot.
Jan 10, 2012
The watch is preloaded with a few basic apps, all of which have been customized. There's Music, Facebook, Twitter, Weather, Stocks, Gallery, News, Calendar, an Address book, and finally a calling app. You pair the watch via Bluetooth 2.1 to any smartphone in order for it to act either as a wrist-bound "speakerphone" (though the volume is quite low) or to tether it so it can gather data for all of its apps. That's a fine solution for some, but the idea of maintaining a tethered Bluetooth connection every time we want to update our watch makes us fear for the battery of both the watch and our phones.Read Article >
It runs $349 for the basic "I'm Watch Color" version here, though visitors to CES can snag a coupon for $50 off. There are also an "I'm Tech" and "I'm Jewel" versions, which are simply better-looking and more expensive versions of the same watch. The company says the watch is "in production phase" right now and should ship soon, but didn't have an exact release date yet.