With one day before the show floor officially opens, we've got a full day of press conferences and keynotes from the biggest names in tech — including Sony, Samsung, Intel, and literally dozens more. Here's everything from the second day of CES.
Jan 7, 2016
Today on The Vergecast, Nilay Patel and Dieter Bohn are joined by some familiar faces as Joanna Stern and Sam Sheffer return to talk about CES.Read Article >
We have a whole network of podcasts now! You can find them all in iTunes. They include the all new Ctrl Walt Delete podcast with Walt Mossberg and Nilay Patel, which dives deep into tech; Verge ESP with Emily Yoshida and Liz Lopatto, which blurs the lines between science and entertainment, and What's Tech? with Christopher Thomas Plante, which explains technology in layman's terms. You might also want to check out Re/code Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher.
When you're attending a giant electronics extravaganza like CES, it's hard to find time to get a good workout in. (Why lift weights when you could be gadget blogging or sleeping?) Bowflex's ST560 adjustable smart dumbbells gave a chance to kill two birds with one stone; I was checking out something on the show floor, sure, but I was also catching up on my bicep curls and tricep extensions.Read Article >
The ST560s aren't Bowflex's first set of adjustable dumbbells — those are the 552s — but they contain a few notable improvements over the company's old line. The dumbbells have a single point of adjustment in their grips instead of two on either end; they're square instead of round for easier floor-based exercising; they're a little smaller. Of course, the biggest difference has to do with that "smart" label: they're the world's first "smart" dumbbells. Credit the inclusion of an accelerometer in each weight that allows users to track the number of reps they've completed, the total weight they've lifted, and the caloric burn they've achieved.
Jan 6, 2016
After enough time at CES, you end up with a knee-jerk hostility towards anything that includes the word "smart." It signifies overcomplicated versions of ordinary tools and appliances — a fridge that runs Twitter, a baby bottle with an inclinometer. But we're willing to give Black and Decker's Smartech power tools a pass for now, because they're actually a decent idea.Read Article >
Instead of creating smart tools per se, Black and Decker made what is essentially a smart battery, set for release this summer. At $69, it's about $20 more than a standard 20V lithium-ion battery, and it's compatible with any existing tool that runs off one, allowing users to pair them with a smartphone app. The app can manage several different batteries at a time, and users can name them to differentiate between, say, a drill and a hedge trimmer. It displays each tool's current charge level, and it includes a location-finding feature that sets off small flashing lights and a high-pitched beeping noise.
Jan 6, 2016
Razer’s range of Blade laptops have always been designed as portable gaming machines that were thick and heavy. Razer is changing things in a big way this year, and it wants to disrupt the PC industry with its first ultrabook. The Razer Blade Stealth looks just as good as the Blade laptops we’ve seen over the years, but it’s no longer a 4-pound beast. It’s designed to be a regular ultrabook, so it’s just 0.52 inches thin and weighs 2.75 pounds. That’s a dramatic departure from the gaming laptops we’re used to seeing from Razer.Read Article >
Jan 6, 2016
The following is a collection of words penned by Casey Newton during the final moments of Intel's CES keynote, which you can experience for yourself in the video above. They will be preserved here in perpetuity.Read Article >
Performance device maker Polar is the latest company to join the party of connected scales with the new, $99 Polar Balance. At first look the Polar Balance seems to be just like the connected scales from Fitbit, Withings, and Under Armour: you weigh in and it wirelessly sends the data to a mobile app or its own trove of wearable devices. As I wrote yesterday, this basically means you can never escape your weight again, ever.Read Article >
But after quickly demoing the Polar scale today at CES, there are some differentiators. For one, at $99 it's less expensive than some of its competitors. The Withings Smart Body Analyzer costs $150, and the Under Armour scale costs a whopping $180.
Jan 6, 2016Read Article >
The Nexus 6P is a phenomenal smartphone and perhaps the best one running Android today. (I've been switching back and forth between it and a Galaxy Note 5 for over a month now and can't choose a real favorite.) Today at CES, Google and Huawei unveiled a new gold color option. It's only available in the 32GB and 64GB storage configurations right now; there's no 128GB option, which you can get in silver, white, or graphite black. The gold color avoids being gaudy — much like Apple's hue on the iPhone line. And I'm also a fan that the chamfered edges retain the same color; on the white / frost Nexus 6P, those edges are silver and create a weird contrast. Anyway, if you know about this phone, you're probably just looking for some closeup photos of Huawei's latest option. Google is already shipping the gold color.
This hasn't been the best year for Keurig, arguably the world's leading purveyor of pod-based hot beverages. An attempt at coffee cup DRM enraged the company's customers, forcing them to walk back the change as a consequence of cratering sales; the company's big leap into cold beverages, the Kold drink dispenser, was ridiculed for its bulk and high cost upon its release at the end of September.Read Article >
I had the chance to try the Kold for myself tonight at CES, and while I was pleasantly surprised by the taste of the machine's Coke-aping products, there's still a huge elephant in the room: this thing is expensive, and it stays expensive.
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There are routers, and then there's the TP-Link Talon AD7200. The device, shown off here at the Consumer Electronics Show today, is the world's first router to ship with Qualcomm's new 802.11ad technology, which taps into the unused 60GHz frequency to reach blazing speeds. The router utilizes both 802.11ad and 802.11ac technology, effectively combining the 60GHz, 2.4GHz, and 5GHz bands for a total throughput speed of 7 gigabits per second. Those speeds are outrageous, completely unnecessary, and undeniably impressive. The blending of the bands is practical, however, because the 60GHz frequency can't penetrate walls easily, so the Talon is able to switch over to 2.4 and 5GHz when necessary. TP-Link says you the router will let you download an entire feature-length 4K video in about four minutes or transfer a thousand photos to a storage device in about five seconds. It has eight antennas, and contains four gigabit ethernet ports and two USB 3.0 ports for transferring files. TP-Link isn't saying how much the Talon will cost quite yet, but it's going to be available early this year.
The activity tracker that Withings showed off at CES this week may have been a super basic tracker, but Withings also unveiled something that's not quite as recognizable: an infrared thermometer. Infrared thermometers tend to look either like ultrasound wands or some sort of staple gun, and in typical Withings fashion, the France-based company set out to make a thermometer that was sleek, white, and made people at CES ask, "What the hell is that thing?"Read Article >
I had the chance to try out the new Withings thermometer, called the Thermo, at a CES preview event. I've never used an infrared thermometer before, and I was admittedly intrigued by it. After pressing a single button on the Thermo, you're supposed to press the Thermo directly against your head — not your forehead, but around your temple, where there are arteries. The Thermos supposedly has sensors that detect the "hot spots" on your head. Moments later, it vibrates gently and shows you your temperature on the side of the Thermo, which also happens to be touch-sensitive.
Jan 6, 2016
Volkswagen is previewing the next generation of its high-end infotainment system at CES this year on a car called the e-Golf Touch. And here's the best part: the electric e-Golf is a real car, and much of what the company is showing in it will actually make it to production vehicles starting soon.Read Article >
The car is a follow-up to last CES's Golf R Touch, another production car warmed over with not-quite-production-ready tech features — it's just that they're closer to production now. This year, the e-Golf Touch features a big 9.2-inch touchscreen, gesture controls so adjust simple controls like volume with a wave of the hand, wireless phone charging in both the front and rear seats, and a USB Type-C port, which is pretty wild considering that VW didn't even offer USB ports at all until recently.
Nikon made a surprising announcement at CES today when it unveiled its first ever action camera. Even more surprising was that it will shoot 360-degree video. Even more surprising than that was that this is just the first in what will be a "family" of action cameras.Read Article >
The new camera is called the KeyMission 360, a name that is as dull as the actual product is exciting. We don't know much about it — Nikon wouldn't give us a release date, a price, or specs like battery life. But we do know that Nikon's already building out a system of accessories and mounts, and that the camera can shoot 4K UHD footage. And we do know that there's now another huge presence in both the action camera and 360-degree video markets. Talk about two birds with one stone.
Jan 6, 2016
If you took a Volkswagen bus and stuffed it full of futuristic CES buzzwords, this is basically what you'd end up with. It's called the BUDD-e Concept, and it is, according to Volkswagen, a "gateway to the future."Read Article >
It's also a bit of marketing slight of hand to take your mind off VW's "clean diesel" über-scandal, and that's fine. If Volkswagen is to survive, it needs to keep innovating. What's not fine is the silly capital letters in the name, which I will not use any more.
Jan 6, 2016Read Article >
I'm just going to go out on a limb and say that the "ground-breaking collaboration" — Intel's words — is most definitely going to be inventable despite the hype. I'm also going to guess that it won't be tied into her vampiric character from this season of American Horror Story, which is a shame because I'm already in AHS withdrawals even though the show has a couple of episodes left to go this season. Given that Gaga's creative production team, Haus of Gaga, is involved, it's very likely going to be an audio-visual performance piece with a distinct technological slant. Either way, we'll find out when the mysterious project starts rolling out in February, with everything culminating in a performance at The Grammys on February 15th.
Dell just announced a pair of wireless monitors here at CES, the company's first ever. But one of the models comes with a feature that might make it doubly worth the money: wireless phone charging. It's the same idea that we saw Samsung introduce last year, and it's one that we hope catches on.Read Article >
The Dell 23 Wireless Monitor is a 23-inch full HD display that lets you cast your screen from both Windows and Android devices (via Miracast and Bluetooth). But the base of the display has a built-in charging pad that supports both wireless charging standards (Qi and PMA).
Jan 6, 2016
Sure, you like that new hoverboard you got for Christmas, but let me ask you: can it answer your front door? No? I'm sorry, then.Read Article >
Tonight at its CES keynote, Intel has unveiled a "personal transporter" (aka hoverboard) that can also transform into a robot. Created in partnership with Xiaomi portfolio company NineBot and Segway, the robo-rideable butler can stream video, make cute expressions with its front display, and whatever else you want, really, since it'll be open platform starting second half of the year. (Hoverboard Butler uses Intel RealSense technology, which we are hearing a lot about tonight.)
Jan 6, 2016
Even though we've seen plenty of bending displays to date, LG's rollable OLED prototype is incredibly exciting. It promises the kind of future where we can roll up the screen we use everyday and stick them safely in our bags or back pockets. But though the ambition is clearly there, actually using one might be a little further off than we'd hoped.Read Article >
I got to test the new LG display here at CES. That really just amounted to testing a de-powered unit, while the real deal was kept under glass. I'll admit that using a blank screen took some of the wonder out of the experience, but not completely. The display itself is paper thin, and the OLED panel feels good to the touch. The footage on the stationary display wasn't terribly high-res at 810x1200, but seeing it on a screen that can fold like a piece of paper was enough to imagine myself in the future.
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A Miami-based startup called Smart-Rhino has discovered something very valuable: if you give someone a foldable micro-sized motor bike that travels faster than 15mph, it is impossible to have a bad time. The company brought its product, the Xcooter, to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and let us demo it in the lobby of the Mirage hotel. If that sounds unsafe, that's because it kind of was. But the Xcooter is dead simple. You unfold it from its upright carrying position, retract the kickstand, and you're off.The throttle has high sensitivity, like any full-sized scooter or motorcycle, but it takes only a few seconds to get acclimated to its speedy pickup. Falling off feels virtually impossible unless you decide to get reckless, and the maneuverability is fantastic. A no-frills circular speedometer sits on the handlebars to the right of a brake lever, a light switch, and a button that makes the scooter emit a high-pitched tone to tell people to get out of your way. It's a direct competitor to the URB-E scooter we checked out at CES 2014 and reviewed just this past month.
When we last checked in with Doppler Labs' Here Active Listening System earbuds, they were a promising prototype, one that had the potential to change the way people digest live music and the world of sound around them. The young audio company has a presence at this year's CES festivities, and it's showing off an updated (and improved) version of the earbuds and software that impressed us so much.Read Article >
The core appeal of Here hasn't changed: it's a set of in-ear processors (like a tiny computer within a wireless earbud) that can selectively transform the sound you hear in almost real time. The buds haven't physically changed much since July, either: they're a little glossier, but they're still lightweight and unobtrusive. I didn't have much of a problem achieving a decent seal, a good sign given that was one of the older version's biggest potential problems.
Jan 6, 2016
Vinyl records have been making a comeback over the past couple of years, and with them the desire for snazzy new record players has also gone up. This year's CES has already seen the debut of the throwback Technics SL-1200, and now we're also being graced by a new Sony turntable, which also has an alphanumeric jumble for a name, the PS-HX500. But Sony's approach is a little different from its range of direct competitors in this resurgent market — the Japanese company is putting the emphasis on converting your beloved vinyl albums into Hi-Res audio files, whether in Sony's own DSD format or in 24-bit WAV files.Read Article >
Sony will provide backup-creating software for both PC and Mac, and all you'll need is a simple USB cable to plug the HX500 into your nearest computer. From there, you can send the DSD copies on to your Hi-Res-playing Sony Walkman and enjoy a transition from the joys of fully-analog vinyl playback to lossless digital format without any MP3 intereference in between. Sony likes to conflate high-fidelity music with its Hi-Res branding exercise, but most people struggle to detect any benefit to going high-res (and there's good reason for that). That being said, there's a nice bit of brand synergy going on here, with Sony providing a complete solution to getting your old music onto its Hi-Res bandwagon.
Jan 6, 2016
Sony has been challenging GoPro with its Action Cam line for a couple years, and at CES tonight it's unveiling a new one that addresses one of the camera's longstanding issues: a completely indecipherable menu. The new Action Cam is pretty much identical to the old Action Cam Mini except for some rearranged buttons and this new menu. That would make for a dull upgrade if it weren't such an improvement over the old one. Rather than only showing a single option on screen at a time, the new menu displays its options in a grid, allowing you to see many options at once. That gives you a much better idea of what you can do with the camera and where to go when you want to do it. The end result should be letting people get out of the menu and start shooting much quicker.Read Article >
The new Action Cam is supposed to be available around the end of the month. It's selling for $200, but you can also buy it bundled with a new model of Sony's Live View Remote, which lets you remotely control the Action Cam and see what it's shooting. The Remote has been redesigned to make it look more like a bulky smartwatch; you can wear it, or Sony suggests that you could strap it to something like a bike's handlebars, too. Both models of the Action Cam will also be bundled with an improved underwater housing, which will lets you take the camera to nearly 200 feet underwater. None of that gives Sony an obvious edge over what GoPro is offering, but making its product easier to use could go a long way toward making the Action Cam an alternative that people will consider.
Jan 6, 2016
During its keynote address at CES 2016 tonight, Intel showed off a pair of sunglasses made by Oakley that come with a built-in running and exercise coach that talks to you as you work out via a set of attached headphones. Radar, as the system is called, also responds to voice commands, so you can ask it how far you've gone, how far you need to go, your current pace, and other data.Read Article >
The sunglasses appear to be a modified version of Oakley's Thump, which come with a built in MP3 player and earbuds that are attached to the sunglasses' frame. They have Intel's Curie module embedded in them, which enables the motion and fitness tracking.
New Balance is now a gadget company. The athletics giant has created a Digital Sport division that will focus on devices, embedded technology (e.g. sensors in New Balance shoes and apparel), and performance sport (e.g. sensors in sports equipment).Read Article >
Its first product? An Android Wear-powered smartwatch that will "track runners' routes via GPS and also enable them to run with music" without the need to bring along a smartphone. Unfortunately that's about all we know at the moment. New Balance's smartwatch launches this holiday season.
Withings is known for making pretty — but pricey — wearables and home appliances. Now the French consumer tech company is shedding more of its reputation for making only high-end gadgets with a low-cost activity tracker called the Go. At $69, the clip-on Go is a direct competitor to Fitbit's well-established $60 One, and has a similar form factor to Jawbone’s $50 Up Move. What sets the Go apart is Withings' signature sleek design and eye-popping color choices.Read Article >
The Go, like Withings $100 Pulse O2 tracker, has all the standard bases covered. It tracks how far you walk, lets you log the duration and distance of a run, and monitors your sleep patterns. It's water resistant up to five atmospheres, so you can take the Go swimming and Withings says it should recognize the activity automatically.
Jan 6, 2016
For the past three years our favorite drone has consistently been produced by one company, DJI. There have been lots of interesting challenges from other startups in the US and China, but so far no one has produced a unit that delivers the same quality, consistency, and ease of use. In our most recent round of tests, however, we praised the basic capabilities of the Typhoon 500 drone from Yuneec. And today at CES Yuneec unveiled a new unit, the Typhoon H, the promises to deliver a high-end, Hollywood-caliber drone, but at just two-thirds of the price of DJI's Inspire 1.Read Article >
The Typhoon H, like the Inspire 1, has retractable landing gear and a camera which can pan a full 360 degrees. Unlike the Inspire and the previous version of the Typhoon, the new unit has six rotors instead of four. Yuneec says this will allow the craft to remain stable and land in the event it loses one or two motors. DJI also has a six-rotor craft aimed at Hollywood professionals, the S900, which sells for $3,400 when fully equipped with a HD camera. The Typhoon H is expected to retail for $1,799, while the Inspire 1 goes for $2,600.