The CES show floor is officially opening today, and The Verge is reporting live from Vegas. You can expect big announcements from Netflix, GM, IBM, and more. Here's a place to catch up on all the day's news.
About five years ago, Corning — the company behind the ubiquitous strengthened Gorilla Glass found in countless smartphones — made a concept video called “A Day Made of Glass” designed to show off how glass could be applied in futuristic ways to pretty much every aspect of life. This year at CES, Corning’s booth is dedicated to claiming how that vision is now feasible.Read Article >
Or at least, it’ll be feasible as far as Corning is concerned — many of these demos show impressive use of glass married to janky software that really ought to have been built by an actual software company. That’s actually part of why Corning is at CES; it hopes to meet partners that can help bring ideas like this to life.
The hoverboard was undeniably the breakout gadget of 2015. So it's only fair the self-balancing two-wheeled scooters would show up in full force here at CES 2016, and Razor's Hovertrax is among the most talked about models in the category. That's because the brand known still for its handlebar toy scooters says its the only company legally allowed to sell hoverboards in the US thanks to an exclusive licensing agreement it inked earlier this year.Read Article >
Luckily, Razor's version seems pretty good — and relatively cheap at $599.99 compared with the many $1,200 to $1,500 models out there. Also, the company wants you to know its model won't spontaneously combust under your feet.
LeTV, the Chinese media and electronics company that's backing EV startup Faraday Future, has created an infotainment concept for Aston Martin.Read Article >
The concept on display at CES is an Aston Martin Rapide S equipped with LeTV's terribly named "Internet of the Vehicle" system. Most of the center console has been replaced with a 13.3-inch touchscreen, with a 12.2-inch screen installed in place of the instrument cluster. It uses LeTV's cloud service to monitor the vehicle's health and provide other services through a Wi-Fi connection.
The next time I find myself camping in the Sahara surrounded by lions, I'm going to wish I had a FLIR Scout TK on me. It's a monocular thermal camera shaped like a cartoon bomb and easily usable in one hand; it picks up objects based on heat, so you can see animals even when obscured by foliage, or footprints normally invisible to the eye.Read Article >
Here's what this can look like:
Jan 7, 2016
Phones have largely replaced digital cameras in day-to-day use, but they still have a few major limitations, like their fixed focal length and inability to zoom. There’s a bevy of accessory lenses meant to give photographers more range with their phones, and the latest comes from a partnership between Fellowes, maker of the ExoLens, and the German lens maker Zeiss.Read Article >
ExoLens and Zeiss displayed three prototype lenses at CES: a wide-angle lens, a macro lens, and a telephoto lens. Each attaches to an aluminum mount, compatible with iPhone 6/6 Plus and 6S/6S Plus.
Jan 7, 2016
Fiera Arouser for Her, on display at CES 2016, is one of the latest in a new trend of sex toys for women called suction oral sex stimulators. It's aimed at stimulating blood flow to the genitals, to help women suffering from low libido get in the mood before having sex. And it has some research showing that it does just that.Read Article >
Fiera is small and compact, able to fit in the palm of your hand. It contains three massagers that sit behind a silicon suction cup, which is meant to be placed over the clitoris. You can then control the intensity of the massagers, as well as the patterns in which they move to help draw blood to the region thereby increasing arousal and lubrication. It’s supposed to make sex much more pleasurable following use of the device. A spokesperson for the manufacturer said women should use the device between three to 15 minutes to get the full effects.
Jan 7, 2016
Strippers, casinos, nightclubs with free limo pick-up, an evening DJ-ed by Steve Aoki — the choices presented for those searching the CES 2016 hashtag on Instagram are endless.Read Article >
It's not uncommon for "spam" to take over an Instagram hashtag. What's interesting about this particular invasion is its geographic precision — these are all real Vegas locales, as far as I can glean. You have to respect the marketing savvy. Why would you send someone to stand on the strip passing out fliers when your target audience is one of the most digitally connected in the world?
Jan 7, 2016Read Article >
Last year at CES, we mocked a company called Jide for creating a blatant Microsoft Surface clone. Well, this year they've come back with something new — and they've also returned much richer. See, between CES 2015 and today, Jide created a Kickstarter campaign for the Remix Mini, a $70 device that can run Android on any screen with an HDMI input. It took in $1.6 million.
The Jaq smartphone charger, from Swedish startup MyFC, is trying to swap lithium-ion batteries for hydrogen fuel cells. MyFC says it's the world smallest and most powerful fuel cell charger in the world, and it lets you stay charged without ever having to touch a wall outlet.Read Article >
Instead of plugging the charger into the wall and juicing up a standard battery, owners of the Jaq create a chemical reaction with a sealed card containing water and salt. You slip the card inside the charger and its 10 hydrogen fuel cells convert the resulting energy into 1,800mAhs. That's nearly a full charge for an iPhone 6S or Samsung Galaxy S6, and it's transferred to your phone via USB.
Jan 7, 2016
Netflix made the biggest announcement of CES today, rolling out its service to 130 new countries while CEO Reed Hastings was onstage delivering his keynote speech in Las Vegas. The company has been on a tear for the last year, winning a bevy of awards for its original content and adding subscribers at a pace which has sent its share price soaring.Read Article >
With today's additions Netflix suddenly has billions of potential new customers. Some of this growth will be held back by the cost, which will be roughly at parity with what it costs in the US, as well as lack of access to speedy internet in many of the new territories. But equally important will be figuring out what content works not just in New York and Mexico City, but Seoul and Nairobi.
GM CEO Mary Barra threw some shade at Elon Musk and Tesla during her CES keynote today.Read Article >
She touted GM's extensive franchised dealer network as a key advantage over Tesla's much smaller, corporate-owned network. She noted that the Chevy Bolt is the first EV to offer CarPlay and Android Auto, something that Tesla has so-far declined to implement.
What makes the Robin different? Well, it certainly looks different from the rest of the Android field, with its fresh minty color scheme and regular geometric lines. Designed by Scott Croyle, the former head of HTC's design team, the Robin represents an effort to do things a little differently. It tries to hide its technological capabilities rather than impress people with them. This is a phone that promises to be smart enough to back up disused apps and unloved photos to a cloud storage locker without driving its user insane by making undesired judgments. That's a lot of smarts, but it's all dressed up in a friendly, humane design that invites you to touch and hold it.Read Article >
Check out our interview with Croyle discussing the thinking that went into the Kickstarter-backed Robin's design. The Nextbit Robin starts shipping to early backers on February 16th and further preorders will be taken until January 15th, when the company will halt new orders while it works to fulfil the ones it already has.
Jan 7, 2016
Yesterday Sony held its annual keynote at CES, where it announced slightly fewer products than usual. There's a 4K camcorder, new 4K TVs, a new short throw projector, and even an new turntable for the suddenly-growing demographic of millennials who love vinyl. Today, Nilay Patel sat down with Sony Electronics' COO and president, Mike Fasulo, to talk about Sony's new products and where Sony is heading in 2016.Read Article >
Sony's new direction is simple: chase the high end. "We're not after marketshare," Fasulo says, "we're after delivering to the customer the best experience through audio and visual quality, and by doing so we're making money." That last note is actually super important: Sony spent time during its keynote referencing some of the financial difficulties the company has had recently — and these new premium products are a key strategy for changing that. Not all of them are going to sell in huge numbers, Fasulo said, but each of them will be about "moving back to our core capability," which for Sony is just making the best products it can.
What's better than an LG OLED TV? Two LG OLED TVs, sandwiched together. Having already wowed CES audiences with its rollable, newspaper-like OLED panel, LG Display today also gave us a look at some of its other quirky innovations. Among them is the 55-inch "dual-view" flat screen, which is actually two separate displays, spliced together so that there's no actual back — both sides display video. The whole thing is just 4.9mm thick, with scant bezels around the edges and a feeling of kickass futurism all over.Read Article >
This display is intended for use in digital signage, and it's easy to see how it can replace those two-monitor setups at airports that provide flight information. That being said, it's still fun to imagine it figuring as an eccentric piece of home decor in a particularly opulent abode. It can accept two separate sources, one for each side, and offers a double serving of 1080p OLED goodness. What's not to like?
Jan 6, 2016
Lots of people are angry about the Oculus Rift's $599 price tag. It's hundreds of dollars more than an actual gaming console, and twice as much as the original development kit. It also requires a powerful computer to run — maybe $1,000 if you build it yourself. It's a gamer's device.Read Article >
The thing is, gamers are known for being willing to spend absurd amounts of money on water-cooled PCs covered in neon tubes, keyboards with fancy mechanical switches, and $120 special edition games. It's possible to look at this and wonder why it's any surprise — to say that the Rift is self-evidently a specialty item, a "one percenter's toy." The Rift's price certainly isn't odd; Oculus is trying to set the bar for virtual reality. But asking why people with expensive computers are upset about paying a bit more misses the point: that the Oculus Rift started out as VR's great democratizer.
Jan 6, 2016
Appliance maker Sevenhugs thinks the worst part about the smart home is its reliance on apps. The company's solution is a universal remote that can communicate with a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-connected gadget, like a set of Philips Hue lights or a Sonos speaker. The device will even conform its interface to match whatever it's controlling. For Hue lights, a rainbow-colored spectrum appears on the remote's display when pointed at the Philips bulb, letting you move your thumb back and forth to alter the lights as if Sevenhugs' product were made by Philips itself.Read Article >
Of course, that's the hope. The Sevenhugs prototype I used on the CES show floor today doesn't do that quite yet. It still uses a rudimentary greyscale interface, like the one you'd find on a first-generation Pebble. However, the device does work as advertised. The remote could stop and start a nearby Sonos speaker, as well as control any Philips lightbulb in the vicinity, including one located in a room opposite us.
Jan 6, 2016
The original Technics SL-1200 turntable is legendary among DJs. They were the Wheels of Steel that were so beloved by turntablists in the early days of hip-hop, so one can just imagine how heartbroken audiophiles were when Panasonic discontinued the brand back in 2010. Well, the Technics 1200 is back, right here at CES 2016. The new SL-1200G and 1200GAE are bigger, and promise to be better than any of the turntables that came before them.Read Article >
Jan 6, 2016
As someone who keeps asking for greater battery life and durability out of his gadgets, I have a hypocritical habit of liking extra-thin things. The HTC One A9. The Samsung Galaxy Alpha. The Acer Aspire S7. We've long passed the point of diminishing returns with thinness and lightness of personal tech devices, but we can't resist pushing further. At CES this week, Samsung and HP went completely overboard with their thinness obsession, introducing laptops that are scarcely thicker than a piece of cardboard. Physically speaking, these Windows PCs are pretty much tablets with the keyboard permanently attached.Read Article >
We had a chance to drive a Bolt this week, but it was lightly camouflaged so we couldn't completely make out the finished product. Now, we can: GM CEO Mary Barra is unveiling the production version of the 2017 Bolt on stage at CES today, a compact fully electric car with a promised electric range of over 200 miles and a price after tax incentives of around $30,000. (Final numbers have yet to be released.) The car will go on sale later this year.Read Article >
So, here's a crazy thing: this time last year, no one even knew that GM was working on an affordable, high-range electric car.Read Article >
In automotive terms, going from concept to production to test drives in 12 months' time is an exceptionally tight schedule. There are regulatory hurdles and crash testing. There's the fact that engineering a good, roadworthy vehicle is fundamentally difficult and expensive. In reality, of course, development on the Bolt started long before the introduction of the concept car at NAIAS in Detroit last year, and it shows. I think this car might be ready for the real world.
Jan 6, 2016
Over the last several years, Delphi — who last year took a self-driving car cross country from San Francisco to New York — has come to CES to show off deliberate evolutions in its autonomous driving technology. This year the big focus was on "vehicle to everything" (V2E), a collection of hardware and software that allows self-driving cars to talk directly to more devices and have more situational awareness. And like most autonomous driving, when it works in every day experiences, it kind of just... works.Read Article >
Jan 6, 2016
Netflix's unprecedented international expansion is quickly taking shape as a pivotal moment in the service's history, but it's also introducing some new and imposing problems. When asked by The Verge's Ross Miller about the company's stance on altering its original content for international markets at an open Q&A this morning, CEO Reed Hastings wasn't able to commit to a specific alteration or censorship policy.Read Article >
"As to your question about... different versions like 'airplane cuts,' we'll have to see and we'll have to learn," said Hastings. "I think entertainment companies have to make compromises over time ... the thrust of what we're trying to do is have the artistic vision be consistent through the world." "Networks and studios have been navigating those waters for years," added Sarandos, "so we'll just have to do the same."
Jan 6, 2016
Honor, a Huawei subsidiary that aims to steal some of Xiaomi's thunder through low prices and online marketing, is officially launching in the US. At a CES event marked by confident proclamations about millennials and excessive hoverboard stunts, the company revealed that its 5X smartphone will be available later this month for $199.99.Read Article >
For that price, the Honor 5X — I'll call it that to avoid confusion with Google's somewhat better-known 5X — is a fairly appealing proposition. It has unusual features for the price level like a metal frame and a fingerprint sensor; the screen is 1080p at 5.5 inches; and there's a Snapdragon 615 processor alongside 2GB of RAM. The camera is 13 megapixels with an f/2.0 lens, and the battery is 3,000mAh. Overall, the Honor 5X feels a lot more solid and expensive than it really is.
Jan 6, 2016
We are really eager to get a chance to fly the Yuneec Typhoon H drone, because it looks like it might be the one to finally challenge DJI as an affordable-yet-capable option. It has six rotors, retractable landing gear, and a 4K camera that can also shoot 12-megapixel stills. Starting at $1,799, it seems custom-built to take on the Inspire 1.Read Article >
We didn't fly it, though, Intel did. That's where we first got a chance to look at the Typhoon H up close, hovering inside a mesh net. The Typhoon H was built to be modular, and that's where Intel's RealSense cameras come in. They're mounted above the 4K camera and give the drone more discrete sense-and-avoid abilities than the relatively basic technology that's already built-in. The Typhoon H uses what it calls "ultrasonic proximity detection," but Intel's cameras can see much more and give it the ability to dodge smaller objects.
Jan 6, 2016
Netflix just announced that it's launching in 130 countries around the world today — adding countries like India, Russia, and South Korea to the service footprint. That's kind of amazing; Netflix CEO Reed Hastings straight up called it the launch of "a new global internet TV network."Read Article >
And that's true, from a certain perspective: Netflix is making more and more original content than ever, so shows like Jessica Jones and Narcos will indeed be available around the world simultaneously, because Netflix owns all the rights. That's unprecedented, and pretty cool.