Tag Archives: CES

Archos Beats CES Rush and Unveils Step-Counting Fitness Tracker

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Wearable fitness trackers are sure to be a big trend at the 2014 International CES next week, and Archos is beating the rush by unveiling its candidate a few days early. The Archos Activity Tracker is a wristband that can measure your steps, view your history and let you compete with friends.

Similar to the Fitbit Force, the Archos band has a small display that can relay basic data, like the number of steps taken in a day or the amount of calories burned. A full charge of the battery is said to last an entire week, and it charges via USB, just like the Nike+ Fuelband.

Of course, the Activity Tracker pairs with a dedicated app, which gathers the data from the band wirelessly. In addition to rendering the data graphically, the app will let you compete with up to eight people, similar to “teams” and small-scale social networking favored by other fitness-tracking ecosystems, such as Jawbone’s.

In addition to the wristband, Archos is planning a whole line of connected devices for unveiling at CES, including a connected scale, a blood-pressure monitor, a home weather station and a 7-inch tablet designed specifically for “smart home” applications.

No prices or release dates have yet been announced.

The selfie stick has taken over CES 2015

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A selfie stick sighting in Las Vegas.
Image: Mashable, Tyler Tronson

If 2014 was the year of the selfie stick, then CES 2015 may be the event where the product hits peak saturation. This year’s International CES is still in its infancy, yet many people are already overwhelmed by them.

When it comes to the selfie stick, you’re either in the camp that loves them:

Or you’re in the camp that despises them, and despises the people who use them:

But no matter what you do, if you’re at CES 2015, there’s a great chance you’ll probably leave town with a selfie stick in tow:

Find Out Which Reporter Walks the Walk at CES 2014

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What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, unless you’re wearing a device that tracks your every step.

As the major players in the tech industry debuted new products at CES 2014 in Las Vegas this week, the Mashable team was there on the ground to bring you a firsthand look at the gadgets and speakers that generated buzz.

The jam-packed event tested our reporters mentally, and the spread-out venue tested their fitness levels as they briskly walked to and from the wealth of events. With so much to see and write about, they needed to cover ground faster than winter storm Hercules.

That’s why, for the second year in a row, we presented the Mashable staff with a challenge: Who could log the most activity at CES?

To most accurately measure our reporters’ speed and stamina, we provided them each with a Nike+ FuelBand SE. The activity-logging wristband tracked our reporters’ steps taken and measured their daily activity in “fuel points.”

Last year, Evan Engel finished in first place. This year, however, it was Nina Frazier-Hansen who finished with both the most steps taken (48,344) and fuelpoints (17,423), making her our clear winner of CES 2014. Congratulations, Nina!

Editor’s Note: Evan Engel was not able to log data on Sunday due to travel complications, and Samantha Murphy lost some data on Monday due to technical difficulties.

Who’s going to win the Nike+ Fuelband CES Challenge?

Image: Mashable, Jeff Petriello

Sony Debuts 4K Camcorder That Costs Just $2,000

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LAS VEGAS — If you’re looking to produce real 4K video on the cheap, look no further than Sony‘s FDR-AX100 Handycam — a consumer 4K camcorder that costs a mere $1,999. That’s less than half of Sony’s “prosumer” 4K offering, which starts at $4,499.

The new 4K Handycam is also significantly more compact than the previous model — Sony says it’s 46% smaller and 67% lighter. I got a little hands-on time with it, and it’s definitely nice and light, although it’s still a bit heavier than your typical full HD camera.

The AX100 captures 4K video (3,840 x 2,160) at 30 frames per second (fps) in the XAVC-S format, but it also can produce a second file, one that’s lower-res and more shareable, in MP4 format. It’s no slouch in full HD format either, able to capture 1,920 x 1,080 video at up to 120 frames per second for serious slow-motion footage.

Sony’s Balanced Optical SteadyShot (BOSS) system reduces hand shake, ensuring the footage you record is as steady as possible, even when you’ve got the 12x zoom maxed out.

All this and wireless, too: You can pair the camcorder with a phone or tablet, which can act as a remote control via Wi-Fi. You can also transfer files, and the pairing process is painless if your phone has NFC — just tap and you’re connected.

The large fold-out LCD screen also includes a projector (not 4K, of course) so you can show off your footage wherever you are. The projector even has automatic keystone correction so you’ll still see a nice rectangle even if it’s projecting at an angle.

Sony threw in a couple of new voice tricks, too: Premium Closer Voice will make a distant voice sound like it’s closer than it is, while My Voice Canceling gets rid of the shooter‘s voice, in case you don’t want your personal comments to show up on your daughter’s ballet recital video.

The FDR-AX100 will be available in March.

Image: Mashable

Planetary Resources 3D Print An Alien Material

3D printing is capable of some incredible things, from creating huge bridges, prosthetics for amputees, and even human hearts using biological ink. Jumping on this bandwagon, the asteroid mining company Planetary Resources hasbeen flaunting their own attempts at 3D printing at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The results are literally out-of-this-world 3D printing, with the companyshowcasing a design forged from asteroid materials.

Planetary Resources raison d’tre is to mine valuable resources from asteroids, which are demonstrably rich sources of metals and compounds including platinum, nickel, iron, and cobalt. Many contain plentiful water, which couldbe converted into rocket fuel and help prolong space missions. Their ultimate aim is to help create a space-based business economy: ambitious for sure, but its CEO, Chris Lewicki, thinks that this will be possible by 2025.

Although this process has yet to begin, Lewicki was determined to have a presence at the world-renowned technological showcase. Using a meteorite that landed in Campo Del Cielo, Argentina, a decorative object has been made out of it, essentially a 3D Planetary Resources logo. The partnership with 3D Systems has resulted in the first-ever direct metal print from asteroid-derived metals.

The 3D-printed logo, made from nickel, iron and cobalt. Credit: Planetary Resources

Explaining the motivation behind the 3D printing to Engadget, Lewicki said: Instead of manufacturing something in an Earth factory and putting it on a rocket and shipping it to space, what if we put a 3D printer into space and everything we printed with it we got from space? There are billions and billions of tons of this material in space.

Despite this world first, the technique used to print the material isnt new. Nevertheless, it does highlight the fact that 3D printing, a clearly versatile technology, can be applied to asteroid-mined materials. NASA is also aware of the possibilities: Officials have previously noted that 3D printing could assist human space exploration, with spacecraft, outposts, and supplies generated on other planets and celestial objects using this exact technique.

Photo Gallery

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/technology/literally-out-world-3d-printing-demonstrated-planetary-resources

Submit your product for Mashable’s ‘Top Picks of CES 2015’

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You never know what you’re going to see on the showroom floor of CES.
Image: Mashable, Nina Frazier Hansen

It may not seem like it, but CES 2015 is just around the corner. Once again, Mashable will publish a guide to the best products making their debut at the world’s biggest technology show, which kicks off officially January 6.

CES is an enormous tech event; it’s the place where major brands and products set trends for the entire year. Our guide to the best tech of CES 2014 picked out the diamonds in the rough — including a fun and affordable drone, one of the most stylish wearables ever made, and a TV that bends.

Like before, Mashable‘s Top Picks of CES 2015 will be an authoritative guide of the most notable and innovative products at the show. Whether your product is a do-everything wearable or a transforming television, we want to hear about it and why it should be recognized as a standout product at CES.

To be considered for the Mashable‘s Top Picks of CES 2015, the product must be:

  1. Aimed at the consumer market.

  2. Making its debut at CES 2015.

  3. Knock-your-socks-off amazing.

If your company has a product that qualifies, please submit it for consideration for Mashable‘s Top Picks of CES 2015 via the Google form below, and someone from our editorial staff will be in touch. If you have multiple products, please submit each one separately, although we encourage you to submit only the products you feel are true outliers (remember No. 3 above).

The deadline for entries is Dec. 26, but the sooner you submit, the better your chances of qualifying. Good luck!

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LG’s quantum-dot TV gets real

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Image: LG

LAS VEGAS — As promised, LG has unveiled its quantum-dot TV.

The UF9400, unveiled at CES in Las Vegas, is one of the first TVs to incorporate the tech, which is said to enhance color greatly.

The 65-inch TV is fundamentally an LCD panel, but it incorporates a layer of quantum dots, which are extremely small (as tiny as 20 atoms thick) “nanocrystals.” The size of the crystals determines the color of a pixel, and that size can be controlled precisely.

The result: extremely accurate color reproduction, potentially as much as 30% better than regular LCDs. Quantum dots are part of LG’s proprietary ColorPrime tech, which also boasts improved color at off-angle viewing — a recurring problem with many LCD sets.

And yes, the panel is 4K. The TVs Ultra HD resolution (3,840 x 2,160) has four times the pixels of a full HD panel, plus it’s equipped to handle 4K signals at 60p as well as the newer H.265 codec, letting you stream 4K video without choking your Internet connection.

LG’s webOS 2.0 smart TV interface and Harman Kardon speakers are also on board.

No price or release date yet.

Toyota releases fuel cell patents for royalty-free use to all

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Toyota senior vice president of automotive operations Bob Carter on stage at CES 2015.
Image: Mashable, Christina Ascani

LAS VEGAS — Toyota just rocked the auto industry by announcing that it is opening to the public 5,680 of its patents related to fuel cell technology for royalty-free use.

Bob Carter, the company’s senior vice-president of automotive operations, delivered the news on Monday at CES, following an elaborate presentation that touted the strengths of its fuel cell vehicle, the Toyota Mirai.

There was a collective gasp from the audience after Carter’s announcement, likely because the decision could help jumpstart this area of the automotive industry, which is exactly what Toyota is counting on.

By eliminating traditional corporate boundaries, we can speed the development of new technologies, and move into the future of mobility more quickly, effectively and economically,” Carter said.

Just before Carter made his announcement, famed theoretical physicist Michio Kaku delivered a speech about the future of technology in general, as well as the future of cars as represented by the Mirai. (For fans of Kaku, it was both a treat to see him, but also a slight letdown that one of the leading minds behind superstring theory is promoting cars — no matter how futuristic those cars may be.) All in all, Toyota’s point was clear: It is focused on future tech, and the Mirai (Japanese for “future”) is a big part of that focus.

Toyota Fuel Cell event at CES 2015

Dr. Michio Kaku on stage at CES 2015.

Image: Mashable, Christina Ascani

For many, Toyota’s patent announcement will bring to mind Tesla’s 2014 decision to make its electric-vehicle technology open to competitors. It’s unclear what this new approach to patents means for the automotive industry, but when a major company like Toyota follows Tesla into the royalty-free patent space, it suggests a clear trend toward greater openness.

“The first generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, launched between 2015 and 2020, will be critical,” Carter said. “[Their launch will require] a concerted effort and unconventional collaboration between automakers, government regulators, academia and energy providers.”

ZTE unveils Grand X Max+ smartphone and Spro 2 projector

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ZTE’s new Grand X Max+ is a smartphone with impressive specs and a $199.99 off-contract price tag.
Image: Mashable, Karissa Bell

LAS VEGAS— ZTE is betting that its next two products will help continue the Chinese company’s rapid growth in the US.

ZTE introduced a new low-cost Android smartphone, the Grand X Max+, as well as a new Android-powered smart projector, the Spro 2.

The ZTE Grand X Max+ has a 6-inch HD display, 13-megapixel camera, and 16GB of memory and 2GB of RAM. Even more impressive is its price: The smartphone will be available for $199 off-contract on Cricket Wireless when it goes on sale later this year.

The company also previewed an updated version of its Android-powered smart projector, the Spro 2. The new version doubled its battery life over last year’s model, with three hours of streaming. Spro 2 will be available in the first quarter of 2015, with carrier and pricing details to be announced at a later date.

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ZTE’s Spro 2 smart projector.

Image: Mashable, Tyler Tronson

ZTE CEO Lixin Cheng also recapped the company’s 2014 progress, saying that it shipped more than a 100 million devices in the U.S. last year. Of those, Cheng said, 48 million were smartphones. ZTE currently has 20 million active users in the U.S.

The Chinese company has ambitious plans in the U.S. — namely luring users away from Samsung, Apple, HTC and other competitors. It has done this by focusing on prepaid users; Cheng said ZTE is now no. 2 in the U.S. prepaid market.

He added that the overall focus on increasing brand awareness in the U.S. has paid off: ZTE is one of the fastest-growing brands, with awareness growing from 1% to 16% in the last year.

Sound-isolating headphones let you really hear your own voice

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Image: Mashable, Pete Pachal

LAS VEGAS — Have you ever worn noise-canceling headphones and wished they were, you know, not so noise-canceling?

That’s the idea behind OnVocal Mix360, a pair of behind-the-neck headphones that let you adjust exactly what you hear.

The headphones themselves are sound-isolating, passively blocking out most ambient noise. But the magic happens when you pair your Mix360 with the accompanying app (iOS and Android), which lets you adjust the levels of the three sounds you’re experiencing: the music you’re listening to, the ambient noise and your own voice.

OnVocal Mix360 app

The Mix360 app has sliders for adjusting exactly how much ambient noise you want to hear.

Image: Mashable, Pete Pachal

You control all three inputs with sliders on the app. When you make an adjustment, the Mix360’s three microphones go to work, bringing in the sounds you want to hear — similar to Bose’s noise-canceling earbuds.

You might want to go completely music-only for the duration of a subway ride, for example, but then turn up the ambient noise when you get to where you’re going — to avoid any unfortunate collisions.

Trying out the Mix360 at CES 2105, I came away impressed with how well it did its job. It did take a second for the adjustments to kick in — but when they did, a noise-filled ballroom went from muffled to crystal clear. There is a bit of artificiality to the sound at first, but that sensation quickly goes away.

When you turn up your own voice, you’re in for a surprise. The headphones render it in the way that others hear it, not you. “Do I really sound like that?” will likely be your first question.

The Bluetooth device is rated at 9 hours of battery life for music listening. The Mix360 will be available in May, but you might not like the sound of the price tag: $299.