Sure, you could plug into every feed The Verge offers to keep tabs on CES 2014, but the flood of news can get overwhelming. Cut through the clutter with this Best of CES StoryStream, which documents the can't miss news, products, stories, and reporting coming.
Jan 6, 2014
Last night's announcement of the Open Automotive Alliance — a new industry group helmed by Google and top-tier automakers like Audi, GM, and Honda — served as the loudest call yet of CES's rapid transformation over the past couple years into a car show. Yes, not just a car-friendly show, an actual car show: automakers from BMW to Volvo have announcements lined up for this week. More than ever, keynote addresses and press conferences from auto industry executives now stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their counterparts from Sony and Samsung.Read Article >
CES — and the futurism that is inexorably linked to it — have long been at loggerheads with cars, polluting relics of the twentieth century with no place in our high-tech tomorrow (or so the logic went). But with smartphones plateauing and Tesla invigorating Silicon Valley in a way that Detroit never could, there's a feeling in the air that cars are the next Wild West in consumer electronics: an exciting place of trial and error where engineers and designers are trying to figure out what works and what doesn't while billions of dollars lie on the table in wait.
CES 2013 was the big coming-out party for the original Pebble smartwatch and now, a year later, CES 2014 is hosting the launch of the startup's second device, the Pebble Steel. It costs $100 more than the original — which will continue to be available as the entry-level Pebble — and adds a touch of classic watch design, underpinned by the use of higher-end materials.Read Article >
Sprouting as a Kickstarter success from the remains of the unfruitful inPulse smartwatch project, Pebble is a company familiar with both the ups and downs of the tech industry. It’s now riding the crest of a great wave of popularity that’s only been gaining momentum through the last year. What does 2014 hold for the small team from Silicon Valley?
It's rare, if ever, for TV software to be the most anticipated debut at a big CES press event, but that's exactly what LG's webOS interface achieved ahead of the company's presser today. Alas, we weren't allowed to touch LG's Magic Remote, which will work in concert with the webOS UI, and really get to grips with it; but in terms of its look and feel, it really does convey a sense of much smoother and less cluttered interaction between user and TV. It's still somewhat odd to need to direct a cursor across the screen, but there's no denying that the slices representing each app and the general interface that we were shown had the right idea overall. Everything is large, easily readable, and uncomplicated — all important considerations when building a usable television interface.Read Article >
LG promises that over half of its 2014 TVs will run the new webOS UI, and there should be greater opportunity to sample it at the company's booth later on in the week. For now, webOS looks as promising as we thought it would be. It certainly has Netflix CEO Reed Hastings geeked, as he was around after the event to talk up the new LG software.
One of the best traditions of CES is getting to see the jaw-dropping brilliance of large-screened OLED TVs, primarily from the two Korean giants LG and Samsung. This year has been no different, though LG has cranked things up a couple of notches by curving its 77-inch OLED panel. The new TV, though it's taking a secondary position behind the new webOS software and the 105-inch curved IPS LCD, is my personal favorite from LG's debuts at CES 2014, with its stupendously thin bezels and engrossing picture quality. It has to also be said the curve on the display works much better on such a large scale than it does on the peculiar 6-inch G Flex handset.Read Article >
This new TV also represents a melding of the two major TV innovations of last year's CES: 4K resolution and OLED were the big headliners of the 2013 show and today we get to see them in one panel. A curved one, at that! What's remarkable about this set is that its curvature can be controlled by the user. Using the TV's remote, one can alter the curve to their own preference.
Jan 6, 2014
Things never went very well for webOS. Between its blockbuster launch at CES in 2009 and its relaunch on LG's smart TVs today lies a history of failed ambitions and a lost history of never-released products. When LG acquired parts of webOS in February of last year, we had two questions: what exactly did LG plan to do, and why did it need webOS to do it? We finally have answers to both of those questions, and they're unsurprisingly simple and straightforward. webOS turned out to be a flexible platform that could be repurposed for the TV and — more importantly — the team behind it had a vision for how a smart TV should work.Read Article >
On the eve of LG's launch, I sat down with webOS’s head of product management and design, Itai Vonshak, as well as Colin Zhao, director of product management for LG's Silicon Valley Lab. As they demoed LG's new interface to me, I was by turns intrigued, bemused, and doubtful that it was up to the task of convincing people that it would be worth buying a new TV for. Most of all, I was impressed by the clarity of vision behind the new interface. For better or worse, webOS has an opinion about how smart TVs should treat their users, and by all appearances that opinion is executed very, very well. LG is better known for pretty schizophrenic Android skins on its smartphones, so to see the company produce something this coherent was a shock.
Jan 6, 2014
First introduced at last year's Geneva Auto Show, Toyota's bizarre i-Road doesn't seem like the kind of car that could ever make the leap from a rotating platform on a well-lit stage to the street. In fact, calling it a "car" seems like a stretch: it's more like a transportation pod beamed straight from the future, a narrow, electric, three-wheeled hauler that automatically leans itself sharply into turns. It seats just one — two, if you're working with particularly diminutive humans — and tops out at around 28 miles per hour. It does just 30 miles on a single charge.Read Article >
And yet Toyota announced later in 2013 that it would be putting the i-Road into car-sharing trials in Japan and France. What's the appeal?
Jan 6, 2014
MetaWatch, the smartwatch company born from ex-Fossil engineers, is launching a new brand of devices called Meta. Meta watches differ from the company's earlier efforts in that they have as much of a focus on design and aesthetics as they do on functionality.Read Article >
One of the biggest criticisms leveraged against smartwatches is that they are just ugly and not something that most people care to wear on their wrists. MetaWatch's earlier models, the Strata and Frame, were more about utility than aesthetics, and aren't designs that appeal to fashion-conscious consumers (though the Frame is arguably still one of the better-looking smartwatches on the market). The Pebble has long been criticized for being too plasticky and cheap feeling, and while traditional watchmakers such as Citizen have entered the smartwatch market, they have yet to make much of a dent. For the most part, smartwatches are devices built by nerds for nerds, but not something the average watch buyer wants.
Jan 6, 2014
When it emerged in 2010, Microsoft Kinect promised to turn your body into the video game controller. But while the technology brought new attention to the idea of gesture-based gameplay, Kinect often failed to capture your movements with true fidelity. And while Kinect 2 greatly improved on its predecessors, at least one company at CES thinks there's still plenty of room for improvement.Read Article >
PrioVR came to CES to show off their full- and half-body game controller suits, which use motion-capture technology to render your gameplay with great accuracy. On February 14th the company will launch a Kickstarter to begin selling its devices to customers, in both half- and full-body versions. The half suit, which covers the upper body, will sell for around $270; the full-body suit will sell for "less than $400," the company says.
Jan 6, 2014
There’s always been little doubt that drones make great toys — the problem is that they’re far from cheap. Now the makers of the AR.Drone are revealing two new toys built from their technology that are small, easy to use, and — if the time we’ve spent with them here at CES is any indication — a great deal of fun.Read Article >
The first is called the MiniDrone, and just as the name suggests, it really is a smaller quadrocopter cut from the same cloth as the AR.Drone. You can hold it in the palm of your hand but it actually has quite a bit of power. We used it inside and it zipped across a room very quickly. Its four rotors spin with ferocity and sound like a swarm of bees attacking, but the MiniDrone keeps its balance and it surprisingly easy to control.
Jan 5, 2014
You've heard of the quantified self, but what about the quantified car?Read Article >
Chevrolet brought journalists to Spring Mountain Raceway this weekend — some 60 miles beyond the glitz of CES and the Vegas Strip — to demonstrate the 2015 Corvette's Performance Data Recorder, a GoPro-on-steroids that's integrated directly into the car. The system includes a high-resolution GPS receiver that's five times more sensitive than the Corvette's standard navigation system, a mic recording the cabin, and a forward-facing 720p camera embedded behind the windshield that combine to output a stream of data to an SD card in the glove box.