BMW, Mobileye, Intel will test 40 self-driving cars on public roads this year

The three companies revealed that BMW 7 vehicles will “employ cutting-edge Intel and Mobileye technologies” as part of the trials

BMW is planning to put 40 autonomous test cars on public roads in the second half of 2017, as the self-driving car race intensifies.

The German luxury car maker teamed up with Intel and Mobileye in July when they first announced plans to put self-driving cars into full production by 2021.

Speaking at a joint press conference at CES, the three companies revealed that BMW 7 vehicles will “employ cutting-edge Intel and Mobileye technologies” as part of the trials that’ll happen in the US and Europe. The companies have also developed a “scalable architecture” that can be used by other carmakers.

“This partnership has all of the skills and talent necessary to overcome the enormous technological challenges ahead and commercialize self-driving vehicles. Therefore, we are already thinking in terms of scalability and welcome other companies to participate and contribute to our autonomous platform. This year our fleet of vehicles will already test this joint technology globally under real traffic conditions.”

-Klaus Frohlich, BMW AG for Development management board member

“From an industry perspective, we are already seeing savings and speed in development by sharing development costs and in pooling resources to develop a complete autonomous platform. The car to cloud system will perform with consistent, predictable behavior and is validated to the highest level of safety. That’s why this partnership is breaking new ground. We have established a dedicated team with clear, shared goals and a culture of innovation and agility and accountability.”

-Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO

Source: Venturebeat

Asus takes on the MacBook Pro with ZenBook 3 Deluxe

It’ll be available in May starting at $1,699

Asus has launched a larger sibling to the ZenBook 3 unveiled back at Computex. The new ZenBook 3 Deluxe features a 14-inch 1920×1080 display in a 13-inch chassis thanks to thin bezels. There’s three USB-C ports inside (two of which have Thunderbolt 3 support), as well as Intel Core i7 Kaby Lake processors, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to a 1TB SSD.

The keyboard has also been tweaked with 1.2mm of key travel, and the same precision trackpad from its predecessor is present with a fingerprint reader on the top right corner. The ZenBook 3 Deluxe will be available in May starting at $1,699.

Source: The Verge

TechSummit Rewind 141: Samsung at CES 2017

Samsung’s announcements at CES 2017

This is a special edition of the TechSummit Rewind, focusing on Samsung at CES 2017.

Notebook Odyssey

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The Notebook Odyssey is Samsung’s first dedicated gaming laptop – available in both 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch models.

The frame is black with red trim, with a matching backlit keyboard. You’ll find the usual ports here, including a single USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0, HDMI and Ethernet. It’s a surprisingly portable 5.5 pounds.

The Odyssey runs Intel’s 7th generation Core i7 processor that can squeeze in up to 32GB of RAM and a multiple storage options – one machine can take up to a 256GB SSD and up to 1TB hard drives at the same time. It ships with one of NVIDIA’s full-power GTX1050 GPUs.

The 17.3-inch model will come with a multi-color backlit keyboard and a bright 300nit display. It’ll support up to 64GB of RAM and SSDs up to 512GB (along with the 1TB hard drive limitation).

The smaller Odyssey will be available for $1199 in February.

Chromebook

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Samsung and Google have announced the Chromebook Plus and Chromebook Pro, a pair of laptops that strive to present the best Chrome OS experience a user can have.

The cheaper Chromebook Plus uses an ARM processor, while the Chromebook Pro features an Intel Core M3 processor. Everything else is the same here, including a 12.3-inch 2400×1600 touch display scaled down to 1200×800. Four gigs of RAM and 32GB of internal storage round out the spec sheet, with eight hours of battery life.

These are the first Chromebooks to have Google Play pre-installed. The Chromebook Plus will launch in February with a beta version of the store. However, when the Pro launches later this spring, it’ll be out of beta with full Android Nougat support.

These are also the first Chromebooks to have support for a stylus. It’s tucked in a slot on the side of the display, and is basically akin to what you’d see in a Galaxy Note.

For note-taking and doodling, both devices can flip their screens all the way around and work as a tablet. At 2.38 pounds, it probably won’t be ideal for holding it up, but it should be fine for putting it down on the desk.

Once you get set for notes or doodling, Google Keep’s redesign shines. The app has been redesigned with handwriting in mind. Using the company’s vast amount of machine learning data, it can analyze your notes and make them searchable, so your handwritten notes are just as easy to find as things you type up. Those notes sync back to the cloud and are available and searachable in the Keep mobile apps for iOS and Android as well.

Machine learning is also helping improve handwriting recognition and latency when writing notes. By analyzing a huge sample of handwritten notes, the Keep app can predict what you’re most likely to be writing based on the first few letters you start drawing. Google claims that this will give these Chromebooks less latency than the Surface Pro when writing words.

As for ports, these go all in on USB-C for both charging and connectivity. There are only two on board, but that’s pretty standard for most Chromebooks. There’s also a microSD card slot and a headphone jack.

Lastly, they won’t come cheap. The Plus starts at $449, and we don’t know about the Pro at this point.

TVs

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Samsung has also revealed its 2017 lineup of QLED televisions, which the company claims has the “best picture quality – ever.” An “invisible connection” cable has also been added with functionality similar to something like a Chromecast, letting you display content from your phone, tablet, and other “peripheral” devices on the big screen.

“2017 will mark a major paradigm shift in the visual display industry, ushering in the era of QLED. We have been successful in solving for past inconsistencies in the viewing experience and consumer pain points, while redefining the fundamental value of TV.”

-Hyun Suk Kim, Samsung visual display business president

The quantum dot technology was announced at last year’s CES, and Samsung claims that they reproduce “100 percent color volume.”

Anyone with access to Samsung’s Smart Hub and the Smart View app can now begin watching live TV shows or videos on-demand from over-the-top services on a phone or tablet and then beam the content to their television to continue watching it on a big screen. The updated Smart View app will display notifications about when your favorite shows are airing and where you can watch them.

The new QLED TVs also support the updated “TV plus” service that has added streaming content from Fandango, along with personalized sports and music sections for viewers.

Sevenhugs unveils a truly universal remote

Sevenhugs has unveiled its Smart Remote, which controls your TV, Nest thermostat, Philips HUE lights, Sonos speakers, and nearly 25,000 connected devices.

Sevenhugs has unveiled its Smart Remote, which controls your TV, Nest thermostat, Philips HUE lights, Sonos speakers, and nearly 25,000 connected devices. Thanks to infrared, internal position sensors and an open API, you can even hail an Uber by pointing at your front door.

Its 3.53-inch display adapts to whatever device you’re pointing at whether it’s showing a channel guide on your Samsung Smart TV or letting you adjust your Hue lights.

The remote uses WiFi, Bluetooth, and Infrared to connect to these gadgets, but the real magic here is in the motion tracking and indoor position sensors that you place throughout your home. These sensors get mapped to specific functions in the Sevenhugs app, and pointing the remote at them trigger those actions.

You can also create custom scenes and control different devices at the same time. For example, a “date night” scene could dim the lights and turn on Netflix. If you lose the remote, there’s also a Lost & Found function that lets you retrieve it.

The Smart Remote is available for pre-order now for $229, but will be $300 when it comes to retail later this year. Orders come with a Smart Remote, charging base (that you’ll need to use every few days/weeks depending on use), a case, and three room sensors.

Source: Engadget

Garmin unveils smaller Fenix 5 smartwatches

At 1.6 to 2 inches in face diameter, they’re up to a half inch smaller than its previous Fenix3 line.

Garmin has unveiled three new smaller form-factor iterations to its Fenix smartwatch line called the Fenix5. At 1.6 to 2 inches in face diameter, they’re up to a half inch smaller than its previous Fenix3 line.

All three Fenixes – the 5, 5X, and the 5S — are designed to be worn continually. They last between eight days and two weeks on a charge in smartwatch mode, dropping to between 13 and 24 hours if GPS is on continuously. They’re also water resistant up to 100 meters and offer the same daily activity tracking toolkit as Garmin’s other wearables. As you might expect, they’re compatible with the company’s Connect IQ app platform as well.

The Fenix line is specifically designed to be lighter and smaller than Garmin’s previous smartwatches. The Fenix 5 is only 47mm in diameter while incorporating the same degree of heart rate and activity tracking as the older Fenix 3HR. It also offers a range of swappable leather, metal, or silicone watchbands, which are sold separately. The Fenix 5S is even smaller at 42mm and built specifically for “petite wrists”. Users can choose between a standard mineral glass lens or upgrade to a scratch-resistant “sapphire” version.

The Fenix 5X is the largest of the three, measuring at 51mm, and includes additional mapping features that the others don’t. It comes preloaded with TOPO US mapping, which enables the watch to suggest routes based on how long the user wants to run or ride. Additionally, they can use an Around Me map that notes points of interest in the immediate area. The 5X comes with the scratch-resistant sapphire lens as a standard option.

All three watches will be available later this quarter. The 5 and regular 5s will retail for $600, while the 5 sapphire, 5S sapphire, and 5x will set you back $700.

Source: Engadget

Asus unveils ZenFone AR

The first phone to support both the Tango augmented reality platform and the Daydream VR platform

Asus has officially launched the ZenFone AR, putting both virtual and augmented reality at the forefront. It’s the first phone to support both the Tango augmented reality platform and the Daydream VR platform.

The ZenFone AR uses a Snapgragon 821 processor that’s been optimized for Tango and 6GB of RAM. It runs Android 7.0 Nougat on a 5.7-inch 2560×1440 Super AMOLED display, and supports Tango’s AR capabilities with a 23-megapixel main camera, a motion tracking camera, and a depth sensing camera, all arranged on the back of the phone. It’ll be released in the second quarter of 2017.

Source: The Verge

Dish gives Hopper DVRs Alexa, multi-room audio

Customers will soon be able to change channels by speaking to Alexa

Dish customers will soon be able to pair their Hopper DVR with the Amazon Echo or Echo Dot in order to change channels just by speaking.

The company’s confident that it’ll arrive in the first half of the year. As long as Hopper is connected to the internet, you can use natural voice commands to go to individual channels or bring up movies on-demand by saying “go to AMC” or “Find The Walking Dead”. You can also search for content via genre or by star, simply by bellowing Matt Damon’s name.

At the same time, Dish is revealing Dish Music for playing music from various streaming services via the Hopper. If you have multiple DVRs in different rooms of your home hooked up to audio equipment (or your TV), then you can use them as a multi-room audio setup. The product’s compatible with audio services like iHeartRadio, Tidal, and Amazon Music. In addition, if your home theater speakers are DTS Play-Fi enabled, then they’re instantly compatible with the new offering. If you own a Hopper 2 or Hopper 3 DVR, then you’ll be able to access the new feature at some point next month.

Source: Engadget

LG’s latest Gram 14 claims 21 hours of battery life

In a 2.16-pound frame

LG has refreshed its Gram 14 laptop to feature 21 hours of battery life in the same 2.16-pound frame.

There’s still no touchscreen here, but the body’s now made out a nano carbon magnesium alloy. There’s also a new display technology behind the screen bezel that allows the IPS to achieve its brightness and resolution benchmarks while cutting down on component weight. Both of which allow LG to squeeze a little extra battery into the Gram 14.

Source: The Verge

Acer’s latest Chromebook touts military-grade durability

The Chromebook 11 N7 is geared for schools and will cost $229.99

Acer has revealed the Chromebook 11 N7 at CES, which is geared for schools and totes a $229.99 price tag.

It features a drop tolerant design, spill-resistant keyboard, and a reinforced case and hinges. Acer claims that it can withstand falls from up to four feet and downward pressure of 132 pounds on its top cover, meeting the U.S.’ MIL-STD-810 military-grade standard.

With 12 hours of battery life, the N7 should last long enough for the average school day. It weighs 2.98 pounds and is 0.87 inches thin, and will receive support for Android apps.

In terms of specs, there’s an Intel Celeron dual-core processor, 4GB of RAM, and either 16GB or 32GB of internal storage. Two different models are available, one with a 11.6-inch touchscreen and another with a non-touch display.

The device will start selling later this month in North America, and next month in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

Source: The Verge

Acer unveils new lineup of gaming laptops

Pricing ranges from $799 to $8,999

Acer has unveiled its Predator 21 X gaming laptop at CES 2017, the first in its class with a curved display (21-inch with a resolution of 2560×1080). The package will set you back $8,999, and will be available starting in February.

The laptop screams gaming with rough, protruding black and silver edges and a customizable graphic slapped above the keyboard in a 17.6-pound package.

The components are up for anything, with dual GeForce GTX 1080 X graphics cards linked with Nvidia’s SLI tech, a seventh-generation Intel Core i7 processor, four DDR4 slots that support up to 64GB of RAM, and up to four 512GB SSDs. The standard hard drive configuration will be 2TB.

Sweetening the pot are add-ons like Tobii eye-tracking built in, a mechanical keyboard with customizable backlighting, and the numeric keypad flips over to transform it into the touchpad. There are also four speakers and two subwoofers for outside sound performance and five cooling fans.

Each one of these will be made to order starting next month, with the first 300 customers getting a limited edition series number engraved into the graphics panel.

On the more practical side of things, the Predator 17X starts at $2,599 and trades out some of the 21 X’s perks. You’ll still get an Intel Kaby Lake i7 processor, as well as up to 64GB of RAM. However, there’s only one GTX 1080 X GPU and limited SSD configurations. The screen is bumped down to a 17.3-inch G Sync display as well.

Lastly, the Aspire line got some upgrades for those unwilling to spend more than two grand. The V 15 and V 17 Nitro notebooks are also getting Kaby Lake processors for a price tag of $1,199 and $1,299 respectively starting in February. Meanwhile, the Aspire VX15 gaming laptop will ship later this month with a $799 price tag, Intel Kaby Lake processor and less powerful Nvidia graphics. All three of these come with 15.6-inch displays.

Source: The Verge