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CES 2018 Day 2: a big day for laptop news

We’ve been in the desert for days and at long last, the show floor is finally opening, rain or shine (spoiler alert: it is most definitely raining here in Las Vegas.) But that’s not going to stop us from tracking down the biggest news in laptops, cars, giant screens, and larger than life tech. Follow along today for all the latest from CES 2018.

  • Jan 16, 2018

    Dani Deahl

    This wireless MIDI ring allows you to perform musical effects with hand gestures

    French company Enhancia has been working on the concept for its MIDI ring for over a year, and it’s finally coming to Kickstarter in March. The tiny accessory, worn on the index finger of your right hand, allows a user to trigger musical effects like pitch bends or vibrato by making specific movements while playing a keyboard.

    The ring, which is lightweight and made out of a soft plastic with a metal accent, communicates with a hub that is connected to your computer. The hub both charges the ring and also tells the ring which effects are mapped to which movements. There’s also a standalone piece of software and a plugin, which can be used with a Digital Audio Workstation, like Ableton or Logic.

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  • Jan 10, 2018

    Angela Chen

    Tech for the elderly is a growing area, but founders should think more about whether their gadget will be used

    $800 Hip’Air airbag belt for fall prevention
    $800 Hip’Air airbag belt for fall prevention
    Photo: Hip’Air

    Health gadgets aren’t just for the young. The elderly population is a growing business opportunity, and the category of “aging tech” now includes everything from smart hearing aids to connected toolkits for relatives with dementia. It’s an important area with plenty of problems to solve, but some of the biggest problems with caretaking are social, and the highest-tech gadget won’t do a thing if your grandmother refuses to use it.

    Everyone grows old, but Americans are growing older more quickly. The number of Americans over 65 will double by 2060, according to a 2016 report by the Population Research Bureau, and the elderly are living longer, too. According to the Society of Actuaries, if a woman on a pension plan lives past 65, she will, on average, live to be 87.6 years; for men, that number is 85.6 years. “There are already risk managers and insurance people telling people out there to plan to live to 95,” says Laurie Orlov, the founder of Aging in Place Technology Watch. There is a place for technology here, though perhaps some of these companies haven’t thought through their concepts quite enough.

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  • Shannon Liao

    Jan 10, 2018

    Shannon Liao

    Huawei releases a mesh Wi-Fi system it claims has ultrafast connection speeds

    Huawei’s three-pack.
    Huawei’s three-pack.

    Huawei doesn’t just make smartphones and laptops; it’s also getting into mesh Wi-Fi. Yesterday at CES, the China-based company announced a hybrid whole-home Wi-Fi system.

    Like other mesh Wi-Fi systems, Huawei’s Wi-Fi Q2 system aims to send a stable signal through a large home or an estate. There are two options: a base and two satellites, which would rely on G.hn PLC technology to deliver gigabit data over electrical, telephone, and coaxial wiring, or a hybrid three-pack, which relies on both wired and wireless connections.

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  • Thuy Ong

    Jan 10, 2018

    Thuy Ong

    SteelSeries’ new Rival 600 gaming mouse tracks your movements in mid-air

    Photo: SteelSeries

    SteelSeries’ new mouse, the Rival 600, is designed to eliminate an obvious problem for gamers: keeping track of the cursor in mid-air. Sometimes, when a player lifts their mouse off the mat and places it back down, the cursor can jump and skitter across the screen. The Rival 600 compensates for this with a dual-sensor system and 1-to-1 tracking that keeps tabs on how high the mouse is lifted, making sure the cursor stays in the same place when it’s put back down.

    This isn’t a new feature for gaming mice, but it is a nice addition for the Rival range. As well as this tracking system (which SteelSeries has branded “TrueMove 3+”), the Rival 600 also has customizable interior weights, which users can add or remove to get the desired heaviness they’re most comfortable with. There are eight 4g weights inside, so the mouse can be changed to weigh between 96 grams and 128 grams.

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  • James Vincent

    Jan 10, 2018

    James Vincent

    Samsung will unveil the Galaxy S9 next month

    Samsung’s Galaxy S8. Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

    Samsung will unveil its next flagship handset, the Galaxy S9, next month at Mobile World Congress (MWC). The company’s smartphone chief, DJ Koh, confirmed the launch to ZDNet at CES yesterday. Koh didn’t offer a specific date, but MWC will run from February 26th to March 1st this year, so expect the unveiling to fall somewhere in that time frame.

    The S9 (and, presumably, an S9 Plus) will be the successors to the S8 and S8 Plus, which launched at a Samsung event in New York last March before going on sale in April. The S8 and its bigger brother were a hit with critics, who praised the phones’ gorgeous design and brilliant cameras. The phones were even good enough to make consumers forget about the disaster of the Galaxy Note 7 and its exploding batteries.

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  • Ashley Carman

    Jan 10, 2018

    Ashley Carman

    This Wi-Fi speaker uses Amiibo-like figures to play music

    Photo by Ashley Carman / The Verge

    I don't think of kids when I think of RFID tags, but congrats to MuuseLabs for making the connection for me. Jooki is a Wi-Fi speaker for kids. It ships with five figurines, each of which has an RFID tag embedded inside. Kids can place their toy on the speaker to cue it to play different playlists that their parents have set up. The idea is to offer kids a way to interact with physical media, since they don't buy CDs anymore, and help parents keep them away from screens.

    I checked Jooki out today at CES and found it charming. The figurines are adorable, and I love the idea of delaying kids' screen time while still enabling them make their own decisions and interact with their own devices. The speaker pairs with a companion web app or iOS / Android app, where the playlists are defined. Parents can include songs from internet radio stations or local files. They can also record their own voice and use it to read a book to their kids or say goodnight. The company tells me it's working on a partnership with bigger streaming platforms, which seems essential for its success.

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  • Chaim Gartenberg

    Jan 10, 2018

    Chaim Gartenberg

    Matias is building the wired Mac keyboards that Apple won’t

    Apple discontinued its wired Mac keyboard back in June when it introduced a new version of its wireless Magic Keyboard with a number pad, but a company called Matias is trying to keep the wired version alive with its own replica versions. And this year at CES 2018, the company is looking to one-up Apple’s now discontinued version with a new model that features RGB backlighting.

    Matias’ keyboards look and feel almost exactly like Apple’s versions — the keys, design, and materials are all near-replicas of the original models. The only real addition is a slider on the back that allows users to rotate through a variety of colors, and a function key that lets you adjust brightness by holding it down and pressing a number on the keypad. (For example, to adjust to 20 percent, hold the function key and press “2.”)

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  • Nick Statt

    Jan 10, 2018

    Nick Statt

    Realmax’s prototype AR goggles fix one of the HoloLens’ biggest issues

    Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

    Hong Kong-based Realmax is an augmented reality startup, one of many trying to crack the highly sought-after smart glasses market that’s taken CES by storm this year. The company’s prototype product, which it’s brought to the show floor in Las Vegas this week, is very much a work in progress, but it does have one promising step up over the competition: the product has the widest field of view (FOV) of any AR device I’ve ever personally tried, including the HoloLens.

    I didn’t get to spend an extensive amount of time with the Realmax headset, but I did try two different demos, the first of which filled my field of vision with a mermaid and a school of ocean-dwelling fish. The second floated virtual satellites around a 3D map of the Earth floating in front of my face. They were super rudimentary demos, and it’s clear the prototype is many months away from resembling anything close to a finished product. Aesthetically, RealMax’s prototype headset looks like it was cobbled together by a handful of off-the-shelf parts.

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  • Sam Byford

    Jan 10, 2018

    Sam Byford

    This phone case is a drone

    aee selfly

    AEE Aviation Technology's Selfly is a phone case that turns into a drone. Your first question is probably “does it fly with the phone in the case?” The answer is no. Which is undoubtedly for the best, since I don't think it would do a very good job of protecting your phone when its battery runs out after four minutes. Even though it is a case.

    Anyway, by no means is this a practical product, but it is a great example of how drone technology — 1080p video cameras and all — is trickling down to entirely unrelated, inexpensive gadgets. Maybe one day everything will have retractable propellers. The Selfly will be available sometime this quarter for $130; that price includes two batteries.

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  • Jan 10, 2018

    Angela Chen

    This weight-loss headset is more likely to give you a headache than budge the scale

    Photo: Modius Health

    Modius Health wants you to believe that weight loss is more in the brain than in the body — and that wearing its headset can help you lose weight without extra effort. Most likely, it’s too good to be true. Plus, the headset gives you a headache.

    The headset is made of white plastic and has two bits that hang behind your ears. You attach little sticky electrode pads on the back of your ears and use them to hook in the little bits. Then, you turn the gadget on and it starts sending electrical signals to your brain. There are 10 settings. At settings one and two, I didn’t feel anything. At setting three, I immediately felt a tingling in the electrode pad and started to feel a little disoriented and nauseated, like I was swaying. It was unpleasant.

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  • Jan 10, 2018

    Vlad Savov

    Huawei’s CEO going off-script to rage at US carriers was the best speech of CES

    At its worst, CES is an insufferable barrage of cliches, buzzwords, and other rehearsed insincerities, but today I saw a little glimpse of the big technology show at its best, and I really enjoyed it.

    Richard Yu, the CEO of Huawei’s consumer products division, just spent a solid hour mumbling his way through an awkwardly scripted presentation of the Mate 10 Pro for the US market. He stammered, he hesitated, and he was obviously uncomfortable on stage. Part of his discomfort could probably be explained by AT&T’s last-minute decision to pull out of a deal to sell Huawei’s phones in the US. This was supposed to be Huawei’s big moment in the American spotlight, and AT&T pulled the rug out from under the Chinese company.

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  • Chaim Gartenberg

    Jan 10, 2018

    Chaim Gartenberg

    The Blocks modular smartwatch is finally available to buy after years of delays

    Image: Blocks

    It’s been a long road to market for Blocks, a modular smartwatch that was first announced back in 2015, but at CES 2018 the company has said that it’s finally selling watches to the general public (via TechCrunch).

    To recap, Blocks was first announced three years ago at CES 2015, as a very early prototype that first floated the idea of a modular smartwatch. Blocks hit Kickstarter in October 2015, promising to ship by May 2016 to backers. It didn’t ship then, but the company opened up preorders to new customers anyway in June 2016 with shipments meant to arrive later that year in October. Blocks missed that window, too, only starting to ship the first batches of finalized devices to Kickstarter backers in September 2017. But now, it seems like Blocks has finally figured it all out, and is putting the device up for anyone to order.

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  • Sam Byford

    Jan 9, 2018

    Sam Byford

    Huawei will sell Mate 10 Pro in the US online after AT&T calls off deal

    huawei richard yu mate 10 pro

    Huawei was widely expected to announce its first flagship smartphone partnership with a major US carrier at CES this week, but AT&T pulled out of the deal — possibly for political reasons — at the eleventh hour. If you live in America and do really want the Mate 10 Pro, though, you will at least be able to buy it online this spring through Amazon, Best Buy, and other retailers. 

    Huawei is pricing the unlocked device at $799, which gets you a 6-inch 18:9 OLED screen, the AI-infused Kirin 970 processor, Android Oreo, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a Leica-branded 12-megapixel dual camera setup. It’s a capable phone, to be sure — just not one that’s going to be able to compete on level terms in the US market without any presence in carrier stores.

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  • Sean O'Kane

    Jan 9, 2018

    Sean O'Kane

    Riding in Byton’s far-out concept SUV is like being in first class

    The driver’s airbag is located just below the 8-inch screen at the center of the steering wheel.

    There were many questions I had before, during, and after the unveiling of Chinese car company Byton’s concept EV earlier this week at CES. It’s a tease of what’s to come from the production model, which will arrive in late 2019 and start at $45,000. After seeing it up close, getting a short ride in it, and speaking to a few of the folks who work for the company, many of those questions remain unanswered.

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  • Shannon Liao

    Jan 9, 2018

    Shannon Liao

    Philips releases a headband that plays white noise to help you sleep

    Image: Philips

    Philips just came out with a new headband that plays white noise to help your brain get to sleep.

    Although Philips’ headband looks like an ill-formed diaper, its weird design attaches built-in sensors to your forehead in order to detect brain activity. Then it shares that data with a connected mobile app. When deep sleep is detected, the headband’s speakers will start playing white noise in a slowly repeating pattern, which Philips claims will reinforce a good night’s sleep.

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  • Tom Warren

    Jan 9, 2018

    Tom Warren

    A closer look at the beautiful Cortana-powered thermostat

    Johnson Controls invented the first thermostat 135 years ago, and it’s now taking its first step into smart thermostats with the GLAS. It’s a truly unique thermostat that’s powered by Windows 10 IoT Core and Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant. It also has a 5.9-inch translucent OLED Samsung display that’s the centerpiece for such an unusual device.

    I got a chance to take a closer look at the GLAS during CES this week, and it’s as impressive in person as it is in pictures. The striking translucent display means the thermostat will fit into many different rooms, and Johnson Controls is targeting this at consumers. The thermostat is powered by Cortana, so you can use digital assistant with voice controls to do all of the things Cortana is capable of and also control the thermostat itself.

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  • Sony’s marble-topped projector will look incredible in your penthouse apartment

    The image you get from Sony’s newly unveiled $30,000 4K projector isn’t as good as the image you’ll get from one of the company’s many pricey but still far-less-expensive OLED TVs. But the presentation you get from having this incredible projector in your room instead of a dull black TV is unquestionably worth the trade-off. That is, as long as you’re spectacularly rich and highly focused on the interior design of your hip and modern new apartment.

    I don’t know who, if anyone, will actually buy this thing — known as the 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector. Sony suggests it’s meant more for businesses that want an impressive piece for their lobby, since it also includes built-in speakers. There are a lot of better ways businesses could spend their money, but this option definitely works if showing off is their objective.

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  • Can ‘bicycle-to-vehicle’ communication help make cycling safer?

    Holiday Season in New York City
    Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

    Cyclist deaths are at a historic high: 840 bicyclists were killed by automobiles in 2016, the highest number since 1991. In an effort to prevent further mayhem on the roads, Trek Bicycle is working with Ford Motor Company and Tome Software to create a “bicycle-to-vehicle” communication system, the companies announced at CES today.

    We hear a lot about “vehicle-to-vehicle” (V2V) communication and “vehicle-to-everything” (V2X) communication. Cars with the right software can use cellular technology or a high-speed, low-latency medium called dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) to communicate with each other. This effort to connect our cars to each other and the world around them is part of a broader initiative to pave the way for the mass deployment of autonomous vehicles. But what about vulnerable groups like pedestrians and bicyclists?

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  • Jan 9, 2018

    Dani Deahl

    AKG’s new $1,000 in-ear headphones promise studio-quality and have interchangeable sound filters

    AKG N5005 in-ear headphones
    Image: AKG

    AKG has announced its new N5005 in-ear headphones at CES, clocking in at just under $1,000. The headphones expand on AKG’s Studio on-the-go Series, offering a variety of cables, ear tips, and filters to suit the preferences of audiophiles and musicians.

    The N5005 is beautifully sleek, coming in a scratch-resistant, high-gloss black. Each one comes with a unique serial number, engraved on a tiny puck inside the box. High-res audio support means it can deliver higher than CD quality resolution, and a hybrid of AKG’s One Dynamic and Quad BA drivers give it a five-way design promising “ultra-low distortion, accurate mids and crystal-clear highs.”

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  • Sennheiser’s first soundbar has 13 speakers and sounds amazing

    Sennheiser is one of the best known companies in the audio world, and yet it’s never made a consumer speaker. This year, that’s supposed to change. At CES today, Sennheiser began showing a prototype soundbar that it intends to launch by the end of 2018.

    The prototype’s body is unfinished, but the speakers are working. I got to hear them inside a small, square room, as a Sennheiser representative switched between nature sounds, musical performances, and movie action sequences, including the snowstorm and the beginning of Fury Road. But I didn’t need to hear half of that to realize Sennheiser’s first soundbar sounded way better than any soundbar ought to.

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  • Chaim Gartenberg

    Jan 9, 2018

    Chaim Gartenberg

    The full keyboard Moto Mod is a real product that you’ll be able to buy this year for $99

    Photo: Tom Warren / The Verge

    Back in April, we were forced to acknowledge that the Indiegogo crowdfunded Keyboard Moto Mod was actually a real physical device. This year at CES 2018, Motorola has announced that you’ll actually be able to buy one soon for $99.

    The Slider Keyboard Moto Mod, developed by a third-party company called Livermorium, was the winner of Motorola and Indiegogo’s Transform the Smartphone Challenge, after which it was put through Motorola’s Accelerator Program where the cellphone company worked on the device alongside Livermorium. And now, a finished version of the mod is set to be released sometime in the next month or two.

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  • Zac Estrada

    Jan 9, 2018

    Zac Estrada

    Toyota and Lexus vehicles will add Amazon Alexa this year

    Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

    Toyota is the latest automaker to adopt Amazon’s Alexa in its vehicles, announcing a partnership at CES that enables the assistant to work with its newest infotainment platforms.

    On Tuesday, Toyota said vehicles with the Entune 3.0 infotainment system, and Lexus models with the Enform 2.0 system, would start to get Alexa capabilities this year. The automaker did not announce in its release which specific models would get it, but Entune 3.0 debuted last year on the 2018 Toyota Camry. The automaker said more models would be compatible with Alexa in 2019.

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  • Paul Miller

    Jan 9, 2018

    Paul Miller

    Ubtech Walker is a biped butler robot with no arms but a lot of charm

    Humanoids are the hardest. Atlas is the state of the art, and you might think that because Atlas has solved backflips, building a full-sized biped robot that can just walk around should be easy by now. But it’s very much not easy, especially in the home.

    For starters, there’s the noise. Many of the best and strongest humanoids use hydraulics for strength. Even electronic servo-based robots can be loud. But more importantly, bipeds are expensive, fragile, and fall over a lot. Why would you want that in your home?

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  • Shannon Liao

    Jan 9, 2018

    Shannon Liao

    JVC releases more wireless headphones for different occasions

    Image: JVC

    Like many other headphone makers at CES this year, Japanese electronics company JVC released several wireless headphones, bringing us ever closer to a wireless future where we’re all juggling a dozen chargers in our bags.

    JVC is launching the new HA-ET90BT wireless sport headphones aimed at athletes. JVC claims its headphones have a water resistance rating of IPX5. The headphones are supposed to stay in place during a workout thanks to a rubber fin at the top of each earpiece that adjusts to a user’s ear shape. Users can choose from three different sizes and either a conventional earpiece style or an “open” ear style that lets runners hear nearby noises in their surroundings. The left earpiece has a built-in microphone and a button that controls music playback.

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  • Nick Statt

    Jan 9, 2018

    Nick Statt

    Vuzix Blade AR glasses are the next-gen Google Glass we’ve all been waiting for

    Vuzix, a Rochester, New York-based display provider, has been trying to resurrect the promise of Google Glass for years now, but this year’s iteration finally feels ready. The company’s new product, called the Vuzix Blade, was unveiled at CES this week in Las Vegas. It’s a pair of augmented reality smart glasses that float a screen in the upper right corner of your vision. But unlike previous iterations, in which the technology protruded in ugly and apparent fashion, the Blade is the first device Vuzix has developed that contains nearly every aspect of the display and its power source within the eyewear frames.

    The company has partnered with Amazon to bring Alexa integration to the device, making the Blade the first pair of AR glasses to make use of Amazon’s voice-based digital assistant. And the glasses are not just a prototype. Vuzix plans to deliver a developer version of the product in the next few months, with a consumer version coming in the second quarter of this year. The price right now is $1,000, but Vuzix hopes to bring it down to less than $500 with future generations.

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