LTE-U wireless rolls out on T-Mobile, Windows 10’s Mail app gets improvements, & Apple’s spaceship campus opens in April
This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.
Recently FCC-approved LTE-U wireless rolls out on T-Mobile
The FCC has allowed several companies to activate the LTE-U wireless technology in their base stations. If all goes as planned, devices will be able to communicate cellular data over unlicensed frequencies that technically overlap with WiFi’s.
The basic idea behind LTE-U (and the related License Assisted Access and MuLTEfire techniques) is that some 5 GHz band frequencies used by WiFi routers were going unused. Carriers and device makers proposed allowing this spectrum to augment existing base stations’ signals and potentially improve short-range connection speeds.
The devices approved today are base stations from Ericsson and Nokia already in service and compatible with both LTE-U and LAA.
“These transmitters were already approved as LTE base stations previously. The grants issued today are for the ability for the devices to operate under Part 15 rules in the 5 GHz band.”
-An FCC representative
T-Mobile appears to be the first to take advantage of this, and compatible base stations should get the LTE-U boost in the spring.
Windows 10’s mail app gets Focused Inbox, calendar improvements
Microsoft is updating the Mail and Calendar apps for Windows 10 with new features ported over from its mobile apps. The biggest addition is Focused Inbox, which comes over from the Outlook apps for iOS and Android.
Focused Inbox lets you separate out an inbox into two sections that filter important emails into the Focused section, and less important emails (newsletters) into the Other section. In Windows 10, it’s available only on Outlook.com and Office 365 accounts, despite being available for Gmail and Google Apps accounts on mobile.
Mentions are also coming to the Mail app. You can simply @ and tag a name into an email message, and it’ll add a person to an email thread automatically if they weren’t already added.
On the calendar side, Microsoft is adding colored categories, interesting calendars, and travel reservation and package delivery support. Colored categories let you customize calendar events with colors to make things more readable at a glance. The interesting calendars showcase calendars for sports teams, TV shows, and more, and let you add them to your calendar.
However, the most useful feature here is the ability to display travel reservations and package delivery details. If an event is on your calendar, Mail will surface a useful summary card with all the details of your package or your flight. Improvements also include tweaking of the locations feature for calendar entries and an option to add Skype for online meetings. All of these changes are available now through an update in the Windows Store.
Apple Park ‘spaceship’ campus to open in April
Apple’s new spaceship headquarters will open in April and will feature some public areas.
The first employees will move into the 175-acre Cupertino, Calif.-campus at this point, according to the company, while building construction and landscaping continues around the site. It’ll take six months for 12,000 employees to move from the company’s current Infinite Loop headquarters and other offices scattered throughout Cupertino into the new Apple Park campus.
The campus is the last product from co-founder Steve Jobs, who died in 2011 after battling pancreatic cancer. He envisioned the space as a beacon of innovation and a place for the company’s employees to continue their efforts to release groundbreaking headquarters.
The site is centered with a ring-shaped, 2.8 million square foot glass-clad building that Jobs dubbed a “spaceship” when he proposed the development to the Cupertino City Council in 2011.
In honor of the late co-founder, the new campus will include the 1,000-seat Steve Jobs Theater. The entrance to the building will be a 20-foot-tall, 165-foot diameter glass cylinder with a “metallic carbon fiber” roof sitting atop a hill at one of the highest points on campus.
“Steve’s vision for Apple stretched far beyond his time with us. He intended Apple Park to be the home of innovation for generations to come. The workspaces and parklands are designed to inspire our team as well as benefit the environment. We’ve achieved one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world, and the campus will run entirely on renewable energy.”
-Tim Cook, Apple CEO
A 17-megawatt rooftop solar installation on site will be “one of the largest” on the planet, according to Apple. The main building will also be the “world’s largest naturally ventilated building, projected to require no heating or air conditioning nine months of the year.”
The landscaping will include 9,000 trees and two miles of paths for workers, along with an orchard, meadow, and pond. Employees can also take advantage of a 100,000 square foot gym.
“Steve invested so much of his energy creating and supporting vital, creative environments. We have approached the design, engineering, and making of this new campus with the same enthusiasm and design principles that characterize our products.”
-Jony Ive, Apple chief design officer
The public will be able to enter a café and a visitor center featuring an Apple Store on campus.
Fitbit paid $23M for Pebble
Fitbit disclosed that it paid $23 million to acquire smartwatch maker Pebble in the fourth quarter of 2016.
This accounts for both talent and intellectual property, according to Fitbit’s earnings statement.
HP earnings: 3.6 percent rise in quarterly revenue
HP Inc., which houses the hardware business of HP, reported a 3.6 percent rise in quarterly revenue in the first quarter that ended Jan. 31. That’s helped largely by a stabilizing PC market.
However, the company’s net earnings from continuing operations fell to $611 million from $650 million a year ago. Earnings per share remained flat at $0.36.
Revenue rose to $12.68 billion from $12.25 billion.
Twitter tweaks brand direct messages to make them more human
Twitter is tinkering with direct messages to let brands show customers that they’re communicating with a human, not an automated bot. With custom profiles, businesses can respond with a customer service agent’s name and photo rather than their company name to make users feel more at ease.
The first partner to use the feature is T-Mobile, which as long used the service to address customer feedback. Now when you interact with @TMobileHelp, you’ll see the real face, name, and title of the customer service agent that’s helping you.
These features aren’t being made available through the service. Instead, developers have the ability to incorporate the capabilities into their own offerings and market it to customers.
Custom profiles are available through Twitter’s Direct Message API, which remains in private beta. However, verified brands can get whitelisted by filling out this form.
This is a special edition of the TechSummit Rewind, focusing on HP at CES 2017.
Envy 34-inch all-in-one
HP has taken the wraps off the Envy all-in-one PC with a 34-inch curved display.
The desktop has an Intel 7th -Gen Core i7-7700T processor or optional Core i5 processor.
The screen is a micro-edge curved 3440×1440 WQHD display with LED backlighting, and it boasts a 178-degree viewing angle. There’s also an integrated privacy camera atop the sculpted aluminum stand and a sound bar with directional audio.
There’s 16GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, a 256GB SSD, and a AMD Radeon RX 460 graphics card with 4GB of dedicated memory.
Envy also has a HP TrueVision HD IR camera, five USB ports (including one USB Type-C), HDMI out, HDMI in, wireless networking, and Bluetooth 4.2. The company launches on HP’s website on Jan. 11 and at select retailers on Feb.26, starting at $1,730.
HP bucked the trend of slimmer at any cost (cough cough Apple) with the 15.6-inch Spectre x360, making the machine slightly thicker to add a claimed three hours of battery life.
The machine is slightly thicker (17.8mm compared to last year model’s 15.99mm) for a battery that’s 23 percent larger. The laptop is also narrower, with its body shrinking to 14 inches wide from 14.8 inches.
However, this is just an exercise in normalizing the battery life since the x360 will have a 4K display this year and will need more power.
The battery increase is pushing the machine’s battery life to 12 hours and 45 minutes from the 9.5 hours HP estimated in 2016.
The x360 is also getting a spec bump with up to a Core i7 Kaby Lake processor, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and Nvidia GeForce 940MX graphics. It’s set to launch Feb. 26 starting at $1,278.
In addition, HP is also launching an x360 version of the skinny EliteBook that launched last year at CES with a display that can flip around for use like a tablet. It’s being targeted for businesses, with options for a security card reader, and an anti-spying screen. That’ll start shipping later this month.
In addition, there’s also a new version of its Sprout Pro computer meant for 3D modeling. The Omen X 35 gaming monitor has a 35-inch curved display with a 21:9 aspect ratio, ultra-WQHD resolution, and a hook on its back for storing a pair of headphones. Finally, there’s a new version of the 34-inch Envy Curved All-in-One based on the sleeker style HP launched in October.
Amazon Web Services cuts prices, Telegram expands into long-form content, HP earnings & more
This is the TechSummit rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.
AWS cuts S3 standard storage prices
Amazon Web Services has announced changes to the pricing structure for its Glacier cold storage service, and price cuts for the widely used S3 standard cloud storage.
S3 prices are going down as much as 28.13 percent and will be as low as 2.1 cents/GB/month, effective Dec. 1. According to AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr, that price is only available when storing over 500 TB in the service’s U.S. East (Northern Virginia), U.S. East (Ohio), U.S. West (Oregon), and E.U. (Ireland) data center regions.
Glacier users will no longer be charged based on the rate they retrieve data. Instead, there are new Standard, Expedited, and Bulk tiers. Standard is what was always available from Glacier, and generally allows customers to retrieve data in 3-5 hours for one cent/GB and five cents/thousand requests. The Expedited tier, which generally provides data in up to five minutes, costs three cents/GB and one cent/request. Additionally, customers can pay $100/month for provisioned capacity in high-demand periods for at least three expedited retrievals every five minutes with throughput of no more than 150 MB/second. The Bulk tier will generally take 5-12 hours and set you back quarter of a cent/GB and 2.5 cents/thousand requests.
Telegram launches Telegraph publishing platform
Telegram is branching beyond its self-titled messaging app with Telegraph, a long-form publishing platform drawing inspiration from Medium and Quip. No account is needed, and it’ll be published to the web instantly once you hit the Publish button.
The tool that “lets you create rich posts with … all sorts of embedded stuff” can be used with little restrictions – create a title, enter in your pen name, and begin typing your piece. You can insert videos from YouTube or Vimeo, along with tweets by simply dropping the link. Images from your device can also be developed.
Since there’s no requirement to log in, you can’t catalog your past work or put them in collections natively. Each post gets a dedicated URL at “telegra.ph/[title]-[publish date]”. The only way to edit published work is through stored cookies.
HP Q4 2016 earnings: revenue of $12.51B, earnings of $492M
HP’s printer and PC business spinoff now expects an adjusted profit between 35 and 38 cents/share for the first quarter.
Revenue from the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company’s printer business fell nearly 8.2 percent in the quarter, compared to a year ago.
Overall, net earnings plunged to $492 million ($0.28/share), in the quarter that ended Oct. 31 from $1.32 billion ($0.73/share) a year ago. Excluding items, the company earned $0.36/share.
The company’s net income rose two percent to $12.51 billion.
Facebook testing feature that shows where to find free, public WiFi
Facebook has begun early testing for a feature designed to highlight places where you can find free and public WiFi near you. The feature is being rolled out now in select countries.
According to a company spokesperson, the feature will “help people stay connected to the friends and experiences they care about.”
To see if you have it, scroll through your menu options in the iOS app to find “Enable Find Wifi.” If it’s there, toggle the setting on and the app will detect nearby places with an access point. It will show the business offering the free connection, how long it’ll take to get there, and the network you can connect to.
The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company recommends giving the app permission to access your location history to let Facebook “build a history of precise locations received through your device.”
Google Sites redesign goes live
Google Sites’ redesign is now live to all users.
The drag-and-drop website builder lets you build public facing and intranet sites that’re deeply integrated with the rest of Google’s tools. Multiple users can now collaboratively edit a site (using the same technology from Google Drive).
Admins can choose whether users are able to publish to the web or only able to only able to make their pages available to users on their own domain.
With the update, any pages created in Sites will automatically scale for the device you’re using – and its preview mode gives you an idea of what to expect on a phone, tablet, and desktop. Google has also added six new themes to help you get started with customizable font and color settings.
According to a Google spokesperson, existing sites will have options to migrate to the new version in 2017.
AppNexus bars Breitbart News for hate speech
Digital advertising service AppNexus has banned Breitbart news from using its ad-serving tools after violating its policy on content that incites violence.
The scrutiny comes after former Breitbart executive chairman Steve Bannon was tapped by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump as White House chief strategist last week.
“We did a human audit of Breitbart and determined there were enough articles and headlines that cross the line, using either coded or overt language.
“We would ban this as quickly as a site that has pornography and violence.”
-Joshua Zeitz, AppNexus spokesperson
According to Breitbart CEO Larry Solov, the site “has always and continues to condemn racism and bigotry in any form.”
Stanford researchers: Young Americans have no idea what’s news
According to a Stanford University study, 82 percent of middle schoolers failed to differentiate between news stories and “sponsored content.”
The assessment of 7,804 middle school, high school, and college students had them evaluate the reliability of news shared on Twitter, identify whether a photo posted on social media was trustworthy, and compare comments on a news story to evaluate its strength. Some of the material included was biased, while others were misleading or were fancily packaged advertised.
According to the study, over two thirds of middle schoolers failed to flag as biased a post written by a bank executive arguing for young adults to pursue more financial-planning help. Likewise, 40 percent of high school students believed a photo and headline that suggested deformed daisies were evidence of toxic conditions near Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The photo had no source or location tag.
Researchers found that posts with big, flashy elements tripped students up most, as they tend to command attention more than the story’s actual source.
Doppler Labs delays launch of Here One smart earbuds to February
According to company CEO Noah Kraft, Doppler Labs’ Here One smart earbuds won’t launch until February. The company has received nearly 10,000 pre-orders for the $299 earbuds. Retail consumers will have to wait until March.
According to Kraft, the hang up is in ensuring consistent quality when manufacturing at scale, with the relationship between the wireless technologies (Bluetooth low energy and near-field magnetic induction) at the product’s heart.
Doppler has decided to do a final validation build before shifting to mass production.
A programming note…
The TechSummit Rewind will be off until Sunday, when we will have a special edition to recap news from the Thanksgiving weekend.
Editor’s Note: This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.
NHTSA investigating death of Tesla driver in crash with Autopilot active
A Tesla Model S with the Autopilot system activated was involved in a fatal crash, in the first known fatality in a Tesla where Autopilot was active. According to Tesla, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the accident, which is now investigating.
The accident occurred on a divided highway in Williston, Fla. when a tractor trailer drove across the highway perpendicular to the Model S. Neither the driver – who Tesla notes as being ultimately responsible – nor the noticed the big rig or trailer “against a brightly lit sky” and the brakes weren’t applied.
@artem_zin@theaweary Radar tunes out what looks like an overhead road sign to avoid false braking events
Because of the trailer’s high ride-height and positioning across the road, the Model S passed under the trailer and the first impact was between the windshield and the trailer. According to Tesla, if the car impacted the trailer’s front and rear, even at high speed, the car’s safety systems likely would have “prevented serious injury as it has in numerous other similar incidents.”
According to Tesla, the NHTSA investigation is a “preliminary evaluation” to see if the Autopilot system was working properly, which can eventually lead to further safety action.
“The opening of the Preliminary Evaluation should not be construed as a finding that the Office of Defects Investigation believes there is either a presence or absence of a defect in the subject vehicles.”
-NHTSA, in a statement
Spotify: Apple won’t approve new app version because it competes with Apple Music
According to Spotify, Apple is making it harder for the Stockholm-based streaming music service to compete by blocking a new version of its iOS app.
In a letter sent to Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell this week, Spotify general counsel Horacio Gutierrez claims that Apple is “causing grave harm to Spotify and its customers” by rejecting an update to the app.
According to Spotify, Apple turned down a new version of the app, citing “business model rules” and demanded that Spotify use Apple’s billing system if “Spotify wants to use the app to acquire new customers and sell subscriptions.”
“This latest episode raises serious concerns under both U.S. and EU competition law. It continues a troubling pattern of behavior by Apple to exclude and diminish the competitiveness of Spotify on iOS and as a rival to Apple Music, particularly when seen against the backdrop of Apple’s previous anticompetitive conduct aimed at Spotify. We cannot stand by as Apple uses the App Store approval process as a weapon to harm competitors.”
-Horacio Gutierrez, Spotify general counsel
Zenefits halves previous valuation to $2B to head off investor lawsuits
Zenefits is changing its ownership structure to increase the company’s overall ownership by late-state investors, revaluing the San Francisco-based company’s Series C round at $2 billion and looks to settle investor concerns over its’ regulatory investigations.
Participating investors will sign a release of claims against the company.
“Since shortly after becoming CEO, I have been in discussions with a number of our major investors about how we can reset our relationship in light of the fact that they (like I) were never informed about the Macro before investing in the company. We have been working on a new basis on which they can recommit to the company and get fully aligned with the new Zenefits.”
-David Sacks, Zenefits CEO
Investors in Zenefits’ Series C round will have their ownership stake upped from around 11 percent to 25 percent, effectively valuing the company at $2 billion in its Series C round, with earlier investors receiving small adjustments to offset the dilution.
The company’s common stock will be diluted by around 20 percent. Non-executive employees will receive a special stock grant equal to 25 percent of their current number of shares, to offset the dilution, that will be vested in 12 months and consist of restricted stock units.
“At some point, this company will want to sell its shares again, and future prospective shareholders will look closely at how we treated our current shareholders.”
This agreement doesn’t include a release of claims for the $10 million in stock sold by former Zenefits CEO Parker Conrad.
Andreessen Horowitz, Fidelity, TPG, and Insight Venture Partners all agreed to the new statement.
“I want to thank our investors for reaffirming their confidence in us. We take our commitment to you seriously to build value for all shareholders. As a result of The Offer and Investor Settlement, all of our employees and investors will be aligned, committed, and focused on what’s next, which is the launch of Z2 of October.”
Android N becomes Android Nougat
Google announced on Snapchat that Android N is now Android Nougat.
Google working on virtual reality version of Chrome for Android
The latest beta and developer versions of Chrome for Android include support for the open source WebVR standard, according to Road to VR. The dev version uses a “VR Shell” feature that will enable mobile headsets to browse any website regardless of whether it uses WebVR.
WebVR helps facilitate the creation of VR-ready websites.
The feature is not usable at the moment, but is expected to launch with Google’s Daydream VR platform.
Facebook shutting down Paper newsreading app July 29
Facebook is shutting down Paper, an iOS app that turned the Facebook experience into a newsreader of sorts with customizable sections for politics, technology, food, and other subjects. The app will no longer function on July 29.
Paper has also been removed from the App Store.
Oracle ordered to pay HP $3B in Itanium case
A California jury has ordered Oracle to pay Hewlett-Packard Enterprise $3 billion in damages in a case over HP’s Itanium servers, according to an Oracle spokesperson.
Oracle will appeal the verdict.
The company decided to stop developing software for the Itanium-based servers in 2011, saying that Intel made it clear that the chip was nearing the end of its life.
According to HP, they had an agreement with Oracle that Itanium support would continue.
“HP is gratified by the jury’s verdict, which affirms that HP has always known and the evidence overwhelmingly showed.
-John Schultz, Hewlett Packard Enterprise executive vice president & general counsel
According to Oracle general counsel Dorian Daley, the company has been providing all of its software for Itanium servers since the ruling.
Dell discontinues Venue Android tablets
Dell is discontinuing its Venue line of Android tablets, and ceasing OS updates for them.
“The slate tablet market is oversaturated and is experiencing declining demand from consumers.”
-A Dell spokesperson
According to PCWorld, the Round Rock, Texas-based company will continue to honor active warranties and service contracts.
“2-in-1s with larger screens in the 10- to 13-inch range are offering a laptop-first experience with the convenience of a tablet when needed. This is where our customers are asking us to invest and innovate.”
-Kirk Schell, Dell VP of commercial client solutions
Facebook lets you fundraise for your favorite non-profit
NBC to present 85 hours of Olympics content in virtual reality
NBC plans to broadcast 85 hours of virtual reality programming during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The content will be available exclusively through Samsung devices for subscribers of participating cable/satellite operators.
Programming will include the Opening/Closing ceremonies, men’s basketball, gymnastics, track and field, beach volleyball, diving, boxing, and fencing.
“The world’s greatest sporting event is always a showcase for cutting-edge technology, and we’re thrilled to partner with Samsung and OBS to bring our viewers even closer to compelling Olympic action with virtual reality.”
-Gary Zenkel, NBC Olympics president
Content will be presented on a one-day delay, starting Aug. 6 (the day after the Opening Ceremony) and concluding on Aug. 22 (the day after the Closing Ceremony).
Facebook has funds frozen in Brazil in WhatsApp encrypted data dispute
Around $6 million in Facebook’s Brazilian bank account has been frozen following a court order involving a dispute over encrypted data on the WhatsApp messaging app, according to Globo G1.
The dispute pertains to WhatsApp messages that Brazilian federal police want access to progress an international drugs investigation, ongoing since January, according to Reuters.
Google Maps gets multi-stop directions, vacation memories on mobile
Google is bringing multi-stop directions to mobile in its summer update, changing the order of stops as they go. Android users will be get the feature first, before iOS gets it in the near future.
In addition, the maps app’s Timeline feature is for those times that you don’t remember that thing you did last weekend to tell your friends/family. Users can drop notes into their activities. As of now, the feature is an Android-exclusive.
A programming note…
The TechSummit Rewind and the GameSentral Rewind will be off on Monday for the Fourth of July holiday (and my personal vacation). Stay tuned for further updates on our Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Editor’s Note: This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.
HP bets on gaming with new Omen laptops, desktop
HP is bringing the Omen name, first used with the HP Omen two years ago, to all of its gaming hardware — including laptops, desktops, and a 32-inch quad-HD monitor.
The laptops are going to start at $899 for the 15.6-inch model ($980 for the 17.3-incher), with its Omen desktop being VR-ready to drive the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. The cheaper laptops have plastic cases with a “black shadow mesh” design, along with only red lights on the keyboard. They can now support up to NVIDIA GTX 965M graphics and sixth-gen Intel Core i7 processors, 16GB of RAM, either a 512GB SSD or 2TB hard drive (along with some hybrid options), and is configurable with an Intel RealSense camera.
The Omen desktop looks like a traditional mid-tower desktop, with a metal façade and red lighting on the front. At the bleeding edge, you can get a Intel Core i7-6700K processor, 32GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 3TB traditional hard drive. You can also get either a NVIDIA GTX 1080 Founder Edition GPU, or AMD Radeon R9 390X. Water-cooling is also optional, which could help out a overclockable CPU.
The 32-inch quad-HD Omen monitor supports AMD’s Freesync technology, which helps smooth out performance due to framerate variability. No pricing information was announced.
The Omen laptops will be available on July 10 at Best Buy and HP’s website, while the desktop and monitor will ship in August.
Foxconn replaces 60K human workers with robots
According to reports, Foxconn has replaced around 60,000 human factory workers with machines.
The New Taipei, Taiwan-based company has confirmed to the BBC that it’s working to automate much of its manufacturing operations, but denied that it would mean fewer jobs for humans. Instead, Foxconn is using the robots to “replace repetitive tasks previously done by employees” while allowing these employees to focus on more valuable parts of manufacturing, like R&D and quality control.
“We will continue to harness automation and manpower in our manufacturing operations, and we expect to maintain our siginicant workforce in China.”
-Foxconn, to the BBC
PayPal shutting down Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Amazon apps
PayPal will drop its apps for Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Amazon’s Fire OS on June 30.
“It was a difficult decision to no longer support the PayPal app on these mobile platforms, but we believe it’s the right thing to ensure we are investing our resources in creating the very best experiences for our customers.”
-Joanna Lambert, PayPal consumer product VP
Affected users can still use PayPal’s mobile website for account management and money transactions. BlackBerry users can send peer-to-peer payments wiht PayPal through BBM, while Windows users can use the PayPal add-in on Outlook.com to send payments through the email app.
Uber taps Foursquare’s Places data
Foursquare and Uber have announced a partnership that would use Foursquare’s location data to let users type in a venue name when setting their destination.
As part of the deal, Foursquare will be the only new POI supplier for Uber for an unspecified period. Foursquare employees will also exclusively use Uber for business transportation.
According to the Foursquare blog, Foursquare will allow Uber to customize, improve, and increase the breadth of their POI location data to increase the Uber experience for riders and drivers. These modifications will also be incorporated into Foursquare’s database over time.
HTC pulls plug on Nexus 9 production
HTC has stopped production of Google’s Nexus 9 tablet, according to the company.
According to HTC, the company has completed its manufacturing run of the tablet.
Eero raises $50M, heads to Best Buy
Eero, the maker of home WiFi devices that use multiple access points to improve coverage has raised $50 million in new funding.
The San Francisco-based company has also unveiled a non-exclusive retail agreement with Best Buy, where the company’s devices will be available on Best Buy’s website next week and in store sometime this summer.
Eero plans to use some of the new funding to expand its manufacturing capacity
“We need to make sure we’re keeping up with demand. Our weeks of inventory on hand are much lower than we’d like and, once we’re in Best Buy, it’s not like putting a product online where you can just be out of stock for a day or two… We need to be able to perform.”
-Mike Weaver; Eero co-founder, CEO
Menlo Ventures led the new funding round, with partner Mark Siegel joining Eero’s board of directors. Index Ventures also participated, along with existing shareholders First Round Capital, Shasta Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, and Playground Global.
HP earnings mixed; dominated with falling PC, printing revenues
HP reported that its second-quarter adjusted earnings were $0.41/share on net revenues of $11.59 billion. According to the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company, that’s roughly an 11 percent decrease in revenue and a five percent increase in earnings per share year-over-year.
“This quarter, we delivered strong results and solid progress towards our long term strategy. We achieved our operational objectives, unleashed truly amazing innovations, and grew in strategic areas of our business, despite tough market conditions. I’m confident in our ability to execute and remain committed to our plan for growth.”
-Dion Weisier; HP president, CEO, in a news release
HP’s personal systems’ net revenue fell about 10 percent year-over-year to $6.99 billion, while its printing business saw $4.64 billion in net revenue.
“I will not be completely satisfied with the company performance until we return to sustained growth.”
Editor’s Note: This Is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily look at the day’s top technology stories.
Amazon Web Services can make predictions
Amazon has launched a machine learning feature for Web Services that lets any developer use it to make predictions.
The company claims that it will now take 20 minutes to solve a problem that previously took 45 days.
PC market shrinks as companies don’t upgrade
If you’re a PC maker that prioritizes on the enterprise, I would scroll past this story.
The PC market shrank between 5.2-6.7 percent in Q1 2015, according to both Gartner and IDC, because companies stopped upgrading from the recently discontinued Windows XP.
Many of the business that PC makers are banking on modernizing have already. IDC claims that this was the lowest volume for PC shipments since 2009, when the world was still clawing back from a recession.
Still, there are some exceptions to the rule. Lenovo is still peaking, and ASUS is resurging on its larger Windows tablets, according to Gartner.
ASUS’ VivoWatch features 10-day battery life
ASUS’ newest smartwatch, the VivoWatch, is set to offer 10 days (yes, a week and a half!) of battery life. The fitness-centric device features a stainless steel body, IP67 rating against dust and water, heart-rate monitoring and sleep tracking.
HP’s Omen Pro is a slim laptop for serious work
HP’s Omen Pro might look like an Ultrabook, but it’s a true engineering marvel to see what was jammed inside its 0.78-inch, 4.68-pound unibody aluminum frame.
The Omen Pro packs in Intel Core i7 processors, a NVIDIA Quadro K1100M graphics card and 1080p 15.6-inch screen. It doesn’t come cheap, however, the Omen Pro is available now for a whopping $2,199.
In terms of storage, you’ll receive either HP’s 256GB or 512GB Z Turbo PCIe solid-state drives. Its RAM capacity tops out at 16GB, so if you need more, you’ll have to ditch style for an HP ZBook. Lastly, the Omen Pro runs Windows 7 Professional.
Drone Wars: 3D Robotics puts the heat on DJI with Solo ‘smart drone’
3D Robotics has upped the ante on rival DJI with the “ready to fly” Solo quadcopter. You’ll still need to bring your own camera though.
The Solo features twin 1GHZ Linux computers: one in the drone and controller, which should give plenty of power for “smart” features without taxing the core flight computer. Other key features include live 720p HD streaming from a GoPro to your phone (or other HDMI-equipped display) from over half a mile away, several cinematic flight modes, autopilot features and a modular “accessory bay.”
It’ll set you back $1,000 for just the drone, and $400 more with a Solo GoPro camera stabilizer. For anyone more than casual filmmakers, this puts the Solo in the same range as the Phantom 3 Professional’s $1,260 pricetag.
“90 percent of our buyers already own GoPros. That means we can put more of the cost, and more of that technology into the Solo.”
– Colin Guinn, 3D Robotics sales & marketing SVP
Essentially, 3D Robotics focuses on the drone, leaving the camera expertise to GoPro.
Despite its name, the Solo is both a consumer-friendly product and a customizable and hackable enthusiast one. Adding new features is as easy as swapping out batteries thanks to the accessory bay. Possible add-ons include indoor-flying or infrared sensors or a ballistic parachute. You’ll also not tied to 3DR’s camera stabilizer, as that’s swappable as well. The battery bay is designed to accommodate bigger cells, and the motor pods can be replaced for four screws.
3D Robotics collaborated with GoPro to give Solo direct access to the camera settings. Stop/start recording when you want, switch from photo to video, change the video mode, or basically anything else, directly from the Solo mobile app.
The Solo’s “cable cam” and “orbit“ modes allow you to set up fancy shots on your own. For example, you can create a virtual “cable” between points, and the Solo will only fly between those points in a straight line, panning and tiling in the process. Or, you can manually pan the camera yourself and remain on the fixed cable.
The Solo launches in May at the aforementioned price points.
Sony’s Xperia Z4 has an image-stabilizing front camera for stable selfies
Sony’s unveiled its newest flagship in Japan, and it’s a lot like its predecessor. It has the Z3’s 5.2-inch screen, metal frame, Hi-Res audio support and 25mm wide-angle rear camera lens. Upgrades come in a thinner (7mm) and lighter frame, as well as a new wide-angle front camera with digital image stabilization.
Sony’s also added timer functions for improved posing and group selfies (or “groupies”, if you must). The X4 launches this summer in Japan, in four shades of metal.
Editor’s Note: This is the TechSummit Rewind, which (usually) can be seen every Saturday right here.
Lenovo gives ‘portable’ all-in-ones another shot with 27-inch Horizon 2
In addition to announcing a slew of laptops, tablets and convertibles (more on that in a moment), Lenovo also unveiled a trio of Windows 8 all-in-ones at CES 2014. Of the bunch, the most notable might be the Horizon 2, which marks Lenovo’s second attempt at a “portable” 27-inch desktop. In particular, Lenovo added both NFC and a new way to pair the PC with an Android device: you can now shake your smartphone to share its media with the Horizon 2, causing photos and other content to “fall” onto the tabletop screen. From there, you can use motion controls on the smartphone to do things like navigate the UI and sort through photos, music tracks and the like. The wireless link between the two devices also lets you instantly browse fresh photos on the Horizon 2 once they are taken with the phone, as well as letting you throw PC content onto the phone.
Additionally, Lenovo built in some more multi-user games, along with enhanced Facebook integration so that you can upload photos directly to the site after editing them. All of which sounds completely reasonable: if someone’s meant to buy a 27-inch desktop meant for digital board games, they’d better be able to get the most out of the software experience.
Getting to the hardware, this version is also more compact than last year’s model. Granted, 16.8 pounds isn’t exactly portable, but still, a 12 percent weight reduction isn’t a small feat. Other changes include that though the standard screen resolution is still 1080p, you can now opt for a 2560×1440 panel instead. also features the “latest NVIDIA graphics,” up to 8GB of RAM and up to 500GB of storage, though to be honest: you’re not buying this for the specs. You’re buying it for the suction-cup joysticks, which have stuck around (see what I did there) from the first generation.
In addition, Lenovo updated last year’s A730 with the A740. This, too, has a thin (4mm to be precise) frame, which can be pushed down so the screen lies flat. Now, though, there’s a 2560×1440 screen option, in addition to the standard 1080p (noticing a theme here?). Lenovo also stepped up to 802.11ac WiFi, with Intel Haswell processors, up to 8GB of RAM, 1TB of storage, NFC and an optional TV tuner rounding out the spec sheet.
Moving on, there’s the C560, which replaces last year’s C540. Available in black and white with a 23-inch screen, it’s clearest the low-end of the tabletop PC range, with a 1080p display, an optional touchscreen and processors that run the full range of Intel’s lives from Celeron to Pentium to Core i3, i5 and i7. Other specs include up to 8GB of RAM, up to a 2TB 7200RPM hard drive and optional NVIDIA GeForce 705A graphics with either 1GB or 2GB of VRAM. The C560 is available now for $659, while the Horizon 2 and A740 are both on sale now starting at $1,499.
A year and a half after Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook first went on sale, it still had a 1600×900 screen and a 2012-era Ivy Bridge processor. Thankfully, at CES 2014, Lenovo finally unveiled a refreshed model, and it brings about everything you’d expect from a modern machine, including a 2560×1440 screen option, Haswell processors and longer battery life (up to nine hours, according to Lenovo). If nine hours isn’t enough for you, the X1 Carbon makes use of Lenovo’s Rapid Charge tech, which promises an 80 percent charge in under a hour.
Oddly, Lenovo dared to mess with the keyboard — the main reason some folks have remained avid fans of the ThinkPad brand. Here, there’s an “adaptive” panel up top, with context-specific controls that only light up when needed. Thankfully, the layout otherwise didn’t change much, and the ubiquitous red TrackPoint is still there (so is the large buttonless trackpad, but you should be used to that by now). Aside from that top row of adaptive keys, it feels almost identical to the chiclet keyboard used on its predecessor. In fact, the redesigned keyboard looks cleaner and more modern than previous ThinkPads. The fingerprint scanner now sits flush with the keyboard lines, while the touchpad is now a flat plane, more in line with other Ultrabooks and simply more modern.
Elsewhere on the machine, Lenovo added NFC, voice commands (via pre-installed Dragon software) and gesture control, allowing you to swipe through presentation slides and the like by waving your hand.
On the performance front, this uses “IT-friendly” vPro Intel Haswell processors, going all the way up to Core i7. Other configuration options include up to 8GB of RAM, up to 512GB of solid-state storage and built-in 4G. Given that it’s a business-oriented machine, you can also expect TPM security, along with a fingerprint reader. Additionally, Lenovo says that the fan is 13 percent thinner — dust-resistant, even — though it’s unclear what impact, if any, this will have on operating noise.
As of the display, the X1 Carbon still comes standard with a 14-inch, non-touch 1600×900 screen, though there is that 2560×1440 panel, assuming you have the money to upgrade beyond the $1,299 starting price. And hey, if you choose the higher resolution, you can also upgrade to a touchscreen, with a minor drop in brightness (270 nits compared to the 300 on the non-touch model). The brighter model looks basically identical to the 2013 model. Adding a touch panel will naturally increase the weight as well. Without a touchscreen, the X1 Carbon weighs in at 2.8 pounds — similar to the last model, but still impressive for a 14-inch laptop. Go with a touch model, which will be sending the scale beyond the three-pound, but somehow, you should be able to deal. The X1 Carbon is available now.
Chevrolet debuts Corvette Performance Data Recorder to record audio, video, overlay telemetry
Chevrolet spent some time pre-CES 2014 demonstrating how it plans to offer Corvette owners a new instrument to hone their track skills: the Performance Data Recorder (PDR). The system, which was designed with British auto engineering company Cosworth, will begin shipping its 2015 Corvette Stingrays as a factory add-on. In the simplest sense, the PDR captures video with user-selectable levels of vehicle telemetry overlaid on the 720p output. In its most complex, the session data can be dissected by the included Cosworth Toolbox software on your PC.
The Performance Data Recorder consists of three main parts: audio and video recording, telemetry capture and an SD card slot in the glove compartment where the data is stored. The driver then selects one of four modes: Track, Sport, Touring or Performance and with the click of a button on the car’s eight-inch display, sets the start/finish line and begins recording the lapping session. Once started, the system starts grabbing info from a dedicated GPS receiver that captures data point five times more often than a traditional GPS, a 720p camera mounted at the top of the windshield begins recording and then hooks into the car’s Controller Area Network (CAN) for access to all the vehicle’s performance data. Track mode records the most metrics including speed, throttle position, brake force, rpm, g-force, lap time and even a location-based map. Once you come to a stop, you can quickly replay the video in-car or take it offline and examine every nuance of the drive on your desktop.
When loaded in Cosworth Toolbox, the data is superimposed on a Bing map of the track and can be compared to a reference lap in real time to help find where you’re losing precious seconds with corner traces, vehicle speed and cornering forces. Obviously, the PDR won’t sell Corvettes — they do that well by themselves– but for a novice or pro drive trying to improve their skills, it seems that Chevrolet has put together a compelling suite of tools.
LaCie Fuel brings 1TB of streaming storage to your Apple devices for $199
You’re probably quite familiar with LaCie’s reputation for stellar storage devices, and at CES 2014, the outfit expanded its territory. The company has outed Fuel: a 1TB portable repository for that media library, offering wireless streaming to your Apple arsenal. With no internet connection required, Fuel acts as a WiFi hotspot for on-the-go streaming to iPads, iPhones and Macs (up to five devices or three HD streams at a time) while claiming 10 hours of battery life on its spec sheet. The peripheral is accessed just like an external drive and — as you might expect– allows file transfers without cords with Dropbox integration in tow. For times when you absolutely, positively, must have a cable, there’s a USB 3.0 port for handling those tasks. Streaming stored media on those mobile devices is sorted via the Seagate Media app and the unit plays nice with AirPlay-compatible devices and the Apple TV. In a spot with connectivity? Fuel will allow you to share it with that handful of gadgets as well. If all of that sounds too good to pass up, you can snag one now for $200.
Pure digs deeper into multi-room audio with higher-end Jongo and Evoke systems
Pure first set foot into the multi-room audio space at 2013’s CES with its frugal Jongo line; in 2014, the company targeted slightly more affluent listeners who would otherwise buy a Sonos product. Its $299 Tongo T4 speaker is reaching the US for the first time, and carries enough oomph at 50W to fill a living room.
The $229 Evoke F4, meanwhile, is the company’s first internet-savvy radio with Jongo support built in. There’s also a pair of big software upgrades on the way, including SiriusXM streaming for their subscribers and a developer kit for third-party app support. The T4, F4 and software are all available now.
Lenovo intros ThinkPad 8, an eight-inch tablet for business users
You may have noticed, but eight-inch Android tablets are sort of becoming a thing now: Toshiba, Dell and Lenovo each have one (not including this one), and Acer is already on its second. Until now, they’ve all been aimed toward the general consumer, with low-end specs and equally low prices to match. Now, however, Lenovo is taking a different approach: The company has announced the ThinkPad 8, an eight-inch (obviously) business tablet with enough premium services that even regular shopper might be tempted. For starters, the 8.3-inch screen boasts a 1920×1200 display, whereas most of its rivals top out at 1280×800. Additionally, it sports an aluminum chassis, micro-HDMI port and optional 4G, all of which are pretty rare on eight-inch tablets (or budget tablets in general). Even the camera setup is slightly better, with eight-megapixel still shots and an accompanying flash, not that there’s ever high poes for imaging performance on tablets.
If anything, the only cost-cutting measure seems to be the omission of an active digitizer for pen support, which was included on last year’s ThinkPad Tablet 2, and is included on Dell’s less-expensive Venue 8 Pro. Otherwise, the performance should be on par with other Windows tablets: the ThinkPad 8 packs a quad-core Intel Z3770 Bay Trail processor, along with 2GB of RAM and up to 128GB of built-in storage. And with a rated battery life of eight hours, its runtime should also be similar to other eight-inch tablets. If that high-res screen does anything for you, the ThinkPad 8 is available now for $399 (without 4G of course). Here are our impressions:
Putting a 1080p display into an eight-inch tablet makes an awful lot of sense: it’s already in plenty of flagship smartphones half the size. It’s also a functional resolution, perfect for watching movies and other video content. The screen is bright with wide viewing angles, making it a clear improvement over other small Windows tablets. Those higher quality build materials also mean an all-around classier design as well: we were particularly shocked with the ThinkPad styling (including the same light-up dot on the ‘i’ in the ThinkPad logo). Sure, fingerprints were visible on the tablet’s satin finish, but Lenovo’s prior tablets weren’t nearly as slick — in fact, this feels as premium as the company’s flagship Ultrabooks.
As for performance, the Intel Bay Trail chip powering it was more than capable during our hands-on time, and it streamed video to connected monitors with no issue. It’s a tempting little Windows 8 tablet.
Lenovo unveils line of low-cost Miix 2 convertibles, refreshes its Flex, Y, Z series laptops
Well, this is confusing. After releasing the Miix 2, not the one referenced in the headline above but the eight-inch Windows tablet, Lenovo announced two more products called the Miix 2 at CES 2014, except these aren’t tablets, but rather, detachable laptops. True to their name, the Miix 2 10 and Miix 2 11 have 10.1- and 11.6-inch screens, respectively, and come with both a tablet and keyboard dock. In particular, you can insert the tablet with the screen facing either in or out — just like on last year’s ThinkPad Helix and the company’s growing Yoga line. Either way, you get a 1920×080 IPS display, an eight-hour battery, dual 5MP rear-facing/2MP front-facing cameras, optional 3G, a microSD slot, micro-HDMI port, JBL speakers and a full-sized USB port on the dock.
Aside from screen size, the biggest difference is in processing power: The 10-inch model users a low-power Intel Bay Trail processor with up to 128GB of storage, whereas the bigger guy packs a more powerful Core i5 chip. Also, that model goes up to 256 gigabytes of space, instead of 128. The Miix 2 10 is available now, starting at $499, while the 11-incher is available now for $699.
Additionally, Lenovo refreshed some of its existing laptops, including the Yoga-like “Flex” series, the powerhouse Y series and the multimedia Z line. Starting with the Flex 14D and 15D, these are basically the Flex 14 and 15, which can contort into many of the same arrangements as the Yoga, except they can’t fold all the way into tablet mode. The real difference between these and the existing models is that the 14D and 15D make use of quad-core AMD A6 chips and a 1GB AMD Radeon HD 8570 GPU — a move that allowed Lenovo to lower the starting price even further to $499. Those are shipping now.
Moving on, the IdeaPad Y40 and Y50 replace the existing Y410p and 510p, respectively. Based on the spec sheet, at least, it seems that if you can deal with slightly less portable machine, you’ll get much better specs on the 15-inch model. For example, it’s offered with a 3840×2160 display and optional touchscreen, whereas the Y40 tops out at 1920×1080 and is exclusively non-touch. Further, the Y50 has a backlit keyboard option, while the 14-inch version doesn’t. The two will also have different graphics solutions — AMD for the Y40 and NVIDIA for the Y50 –but it’s hard to tell by brand name alone whether either model has an advantage. Either way, both with up to a Core i7 Haswell processor, up to 16GB of RAM and either a 512GB SSD or up to 1TB of hard drive space. They’re both available now for $999 and up.
Finally, the Z40 and Z50 bring slightly lesser specs at a much lower price. Both come standard with a 1366×768 screen, but can be configured with a 1080p panel. Additionally, both will be offered with up to a Core i7 processor, up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB of storage space. Integrated graphics are standard, as you’d expect on a mid-range system, but you can get either machine with a NVIDIA 840M GPU if you so choose. These are available now, with prices starting at $599.
Sphero’s 2B smartphone-controlled toy is quick, easy to control, a lot of fun
The budget smartphone-controlled Sphero 2B rolled into CES Unveiled and retails for $100 — $60 less than Sphero 2.0’s current asking price. The company had a handful of models on site, and while all of them were prototypes, they worked well. It’s responsive and handles a lot better than its’ predecessor right out of the box, no doubt owing to the slightly more traditional form factor — that is, if you can use a word like “tradition” to refer to something like this.
Also, despite being a prototype, the 2B is pretty rugged. A Sphero representative said that the final version will likely have IR built-in, so multiple 2Bs can interact — and with the lower price point, it’ll be that much easier for people to pick up a couple of devices for their home. The final version will also have more lighting effects built-in. Those nub tires you see are removable, by the way, so you can customize your device. The company also showed off a 2B rocking smoother tires, which was even faster, with speeds of up to 14 feet a second. a fair bit zippier than the Sphero 2.0.
Kolibree is a smart toothbrush that shows you how clean your teeth are
One of the current technology trends is that inventors jam wireless radios in gadgets that you wouldn’t expect to find them. For instance, during CES Unveiled 2013, the HAPIfork, a smart fork that sent your eating speed to your phone in an attempt to get you to chew your food slower, became an unprecedented hit. Kolibree hopes to duplicate that with its connected toothbrush. Yes, connected toothbrush. Once you’ve cleaned your teeth like you usually do, the Kolibree pushes your stroke count to your smartphone, telling you if you did a good job and showing which parts of your gob still need some attention. Naturally, the company requested money over the summer, where you’ll be able to pick up a model priced somewhere between $100 and $200.
The device’s partners, Thomas Serval, is an ex-Googler who went back to hardware design after several years with the software giant, was inspired to build the device after getting tired of asking his children whether they’d brushed their teeth. Containing an accelerometer, magnetometer and gyroscope, the hardware builds a model of the inside of your mouth and then offers you a percentage score of how well you’ve done in keeping it clean. The model is built in two ways: firstly, when you get the device, you can calibrate the hardware by showing it around your gob, but also the company has a dentist-supplied list of measurements that help it understand the size of your mouse compared to your age and gender.
Hold the hardware in your hand thru hand and the prototype is surprisingly light, despite the built-in battery that is re-juiced on a wireless charging plate. It’ll push the data over Bluetooth to your smartphone or tablet, and you can monitor your family’s statistics with a league table that, hopefully, will encourage kids to out-do their parents. That same data can also be shared with your dentist, should you wish them to know how well (or not) you’ll doing in the oral hygiene stakes. Depending on the hardware you’re buying, an individual Kolibree will set you back between $100 and $200, but the company will offer discounts for family packs when it’s ready for public consumption.
NVIDIA announces Tegra K1 with 192 cores, Keplar architecture
In what’s becoming a yearly tradition, NVIDIA came to its CES press conference with tidings of its next-generation mobile processor which will begin gracing devices this year. The chipset maker officially announced Tegra K1, which features the first 192-core GPU based on the Kepler architecture which was originally designed for desktops and notebooks and later added to supercomputers. As you can imagine, NVIDIA is bringing its graphics chops to the new DirectX 11-powered GPU, and it packs a serious punch — so much so, in fact, that it will come with support for Unreal Engine 4 and OpenGL 4.4. In the company’s usual form, the chipmaker showed off demos of the new chip’s power compared side-by-side with a Tegra 4, and the difference is quite noticeable; the K1 offers real-time computing, global illumination, higher dynamic range and greater detail like reflective surfaces, dripping water and other realistic physically-based rendering.
Interestingly, Tegra K1 will actually come in two different versions: a 32-bit option with a 2.3GHz “4-plus-1” A15 CPU and a 64-bit unit with a 2.5GHz dual-core Denver CPU. NVIDIA representatives have said that the K1 has already been certified by AT&T and Vodafone, among other carriers, and devices with the new chipset are available now. We also learned that although LTE support doesn’t come natively on the chipset, it’ll still be available thanks to an external chip that will be part of the K1 setup. It’s hard to say whether or not this will help NVIDIA gain some lost ground on Qualcomm, but only time will tell.
Addition of Unreal Engine 4 support
The latest iteration of the Unreal Engine, Unreal Engine 4, is adding support for NVIDIA’s latest Tegra chip, the K1. Epic Games’ ubiquitous engine powered much of the last-generation’s games with Unreal Engine 3, and Epic’s promising even more with the next generation.
With Unreal Engine 3, Infinity Blade was the first mobile game running on the engine — demonstrates on-stage during an Apple keynote showcasing a new iPad. Unreal Engine 4, however, scales both up and down right out of the gate, apparently, according to Epic Games head Tim Sweeney:
“We can take absolutely anything that runs on PC or high-end consoles and run it on Tegra…I didn’t think that we’d be at this level on mobile for another three to four years.”
Chevrolet and OnStar announce in-car 4G LTE connectivity, curated AppShop
Chevrolet, AT&T and OnStar banded together at CES 2014 to offer a glimpse of the heart of the Connected by OnStar 4G LTE infotainment offering: AppShop. The new service will feature a curated collection of HTML5 apps — meaning that if you’re driving in the sticks and are out of cell range, your apps mostly won’t work — focused on music, weather, news and vehicle telematics all connected via AT&T’s LTE network. All cars that include the OnStar 4G LTE service will also feature a WiFI access point built into the car with support for up to seven devices — taking advantage of the same AT&T LTE link, though there’s no word on the data service’s pricing.
We took a peek at an AppShop-equipped Impala and were most impressed with its Vehicle Health app, which shows any issues with your car from “oil health” to tire pressures. Think of it as a usable replacement for the “Check Engine” light seen on most car’s dashboards, but rather than simply blinking orange it translates the error into something a tad more user friendly. Aside from car health and warnings the app enables the driver to schedule an appointment for service without having to pick up the phone. For example, by simply selecting your preferred dealership and then clicking on a date in the calendar-like display you’re then presented with AM or PM time slots, and available time in either. Chevrolet’s AppShop will initially be offered in its Canadian and US MyLink-equipped 2015 model-year Corvette, Impala, Equinox, Volt, Malibu, Silverado and Silverado HD.
Cobra Electronics demos power pack that can jump-start your car
Cobra Electronics is a big player in the automotive way, largely thanks to its line of radar detectors. What a lot of people don’t know, however, is that the company has also been dabbling with products that jump-start your car. At this year’s CES, Cobra introduced the JumPack, which it says is a game-changing device for jump-starting — an odd-sounding statement, but we have to agree. The 7,500-mAh portable JumPack (model number: CPP 7500) looks suspiciously like your run-of-the-mill external smartphone/tablet charger, and it’s the smallest jump-start power pack we’ve come across. It features a 200A starting current and gets up to a peak current of 400A, which is enough to give your car’s battery a few jumps — given that it only takes three to four hours to recharge, it should be more than enough to manage those unfortunate situations in a lonely parking lot. It also comes with a built-in flashlight as well as USB output (2.1A) in case you want to give your smartphone a power boost. It’s available now for $130.
Lenovo trots out a 4K Android-powered all-in-one, with a standalone monitor to match
So Lenovo announced a whole bunch of all-in-ones at CES 2014, you say? You’ll have to be a little more specific than that. In addition to unveiling a trio of Windows-based models, the company announced two more than run Android. These include the consumer-friendly N308 (pictured above) and the ThinkVision 28, a 4K machine destined for the workplace (pictured below). Starting with the consumer model (this is the Consumer Electronics Show, after all), it costs a reasonable $450 and, accordingly, comes with some fairly middling specs — notably, a 19-inch, 1600×900 display and a spinning hard drive with up to 500GB of storage. That big display aside, you’re basically looking at an oversized tablet, with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean installed and a quad-core Tegra 4 SoC running the show. Like other all-in-ones Lenovo’s released, this one’s portable with a battery rated for three hours. At 10 pounds, though, give or take, it’s actually a good deal lighter than the other portable desktop Lenovo announced that we mentioned earlier.
As for the ThinkVision model, it’s crowned by a 28-inch, 2840×2160 display, allowing you to poke 3 Jelly Bean at at a screen density of 157 pixels per inch. Note that the OS interface is actually upscaled from a 1080p resolution, but 4K content is played at its native resolution. Additionally, the machine uses NFC and a “tap to connect” feature to pair devices, though you could also hook them up using one of the four USB ports, three HDMI sockets or the micro-USB connection.
Want the same screen quality, but can do without NFC and Tegra guts? Lenovo is also selling the ThinkVision Pro2840, which has a smaller 28-inch, 3840×2160 display (and a less flexible design). As it turns out, the monitor arrived first in April for $799. The ThinkVision 28 followed in July, with prices starting at $1,199.
Lenovo’s Beacon media hub can house up to 6TB of video, photos; streams to PCs and Android devices
Lenovo makes a lot of laptops and tablets, as well as a few phones. But amid its exhaustive PC range, there’s also the eye-catching Beacon. Priced at $199, although lacking any storage out of the box, it tries to strike a balance between personal cloud storage and media server. It comes preloaded with XBMC, while dual HDD bays will support up to a hefty 6TB of storage. The Beacon, powered by an unspecified dual-core Intel Atom processor, can then stream whatever you put inside it to multiple devices at once — it managed to output to both a PC and Android device without a hiccup. You can use your handheld smart device as a remote, which makes digging through piles of photos and videos at least semi easier.
On the back, alongside HDMI, there’s Ethernet and twin USB ports, meaning it’ll be happy to link up to PCs and TVs for viewing on the big screen. Once linked to the respective app, pictures and videos captured on your phone can be automatically (or manually) uploaded. As you can see, it’s also not the typically unassuming (dull) storage hub either and is available in orange, blue, gray and black finishes for $199.
Mother is a WiFi-enabled Russian Doll that wants to replace your mother
When doom-mongers pretend that technology is destroying human relationships, plenty of them will use this as exhibit one. Mother is the brainchild of Rafi Haladjian, the mastermind behind the Nabaztag, and is a device designed to monitor the objects, creatures and people in your home. The white plastic Russian Doll connects to a series of sensors, called cookies, that measure motion and temperature, and will alert you when it notices a change. For instance, if you strapped a cookie to the door where your medications are kept, but one day forgot to open it when you were due, the device would nag you until you got annoyed to the point where you do it “just to just get it done so you can shut the d*mn thing up” or until you remembered (just like your actual, biological mother).
Of course, that’s a reasonable simple example, and the company has cooked up 14 different ways in which the cookies can be used to monitor your home. Another example is if you strapped a cookie to your door, Mother will send an alert and make a noise every time it’s opened — which is useful when you’re on vacation and are worried about unwanted intruders. Speaking of which, the cookies themselves can be used for up to a year before you have to replace them and you can connect up to 24 at a time — but be warned, buying and replacing those things is a little pricey, as it’s $99 for a set of four. The Mother hardware bares a resemblance to Eve from Disney’s Wall-E, although its facial expressions are limited to blinking to show that its connecting to WiFI. It’s available now, with one Mother and four cookies retailing for $222.
Griffin updates its PowerMate and StudioConnect hardware for 2014
If you think that the best part about making music is twiddling the knobs, than Griffin and you are on the same page, at least if their announcements at CES 2014 are any indication. The company updated both its StudioConnect portable iPad studio and the PowerMate jog dial for movie and music editors. The StudioConnect HD now features a pair of XLR inputs, USB and five-pin MIDI support, dedicated monitor controls and can handle both 30-pin and Lightning-based iPads.
The PowerMate Bluetooth, obviously given its name, breaks free from the restrictions of cables, offering iMovie and GarageBand users the chance to cycle through files without having to use a mouse. Naturally, the clickable wheel is also highly customizable, enabling you to craft a wide variety of utilities that can use the hardware. The StudioConnect HD will set you back $200, while the PowerMate is priced at $60.
Evernote CEO Libin pledges to refocus on core features; fix buggy, confusing apps
As a student and content creator, I would personally be lost without my Evernote account. It’s understandable that it’s simply painful when the service lets us (the users) down by failing to sync notes or falling prey to hackers. Jason Kincaid posted a lengthy tirade on his blog about such an instance, in which the iOS app produced corrupted audio notes that were completely unplayable. During the troubleshooting session with the company’s support, Kincaid came across a bug that captured entire notes in plain text in its log files — the very files that a support person request when trying to diagnose a problem.
That post caught the attention of Phil Libin, Evernote’s head honcho, who admitted that the company perhaps focused too much on adding features and expanding its user base while sacrificing the core experience. But Libin proclaimed those days as being over. In fact, the Evernote team quietly shifted its focus back to squashing bugs and improving stability a couple of months ago, but that there was still plenty of work to be done, according to CEO Libin. In addition to boosting performance and fixing broken features, updates rolled out that aimed to greatly improve and simplify the user experience. The company specifically would be targeting note editing, navigation, search, sync and collaboration features across all platforms.
Liquid Image brings LTE to the action camera market with its Ego LS
Snowy mountaintops and sheer dirt tracks are a couple of locations fitting for an epic action cam recording session, but they’re not exactly the first places you think of when trying to get a good WiFi connection (or one at all, for that matter.) Without putting extra hardware at a significant risk of damage or destruction, livestream just isn’t possible in many of these desirable situations. Liquid Image aims to change that with the CES 2014 unveiling of its Ego LS camera, which features LTE connectivity. It’s capable of transmitting 400×240 WQVGA video at 30fps for up to two hours, or still images over 4G. Otherwise the eight-megapixel camera has WiFi,
Bluetooth, and can partner with iOS and Android devices via the Liquid Image app like the company’s other models. A microSD slot capable with microSD cards with up to 64GB of storage keeps you recording at 1080p/30fps or 720p/60fps in those (admittedly rare) times you’re disconnected, and like other members of the Ego line, it’ll be accompanied by various mounts. Two variants of the Ego LS, both with motion detection and continuous photo modes, but one with LTE and one without, are available now for $200.
LaCie partners with Christofle on silver-plated limited-edition Sphère hard drive
At CES 2013, LaCie unveiled the Philippe Starck-designed Blade Runner to grab the attention of those who prefer their storage gadgets to be on the “holy s**t, that’s a hard drive” side of the range. This year, the outfit teamed with French silversmith Christofle on Sphère. The globe-influenced external hard drive is silver-plated (as you can probably tell by the outfit LaCie partnered with) and touts 1TB of storage. File transfers are sorted via a USB 3.0 connection that just happens to double as the device’s power supply. Just like its predecessor, the Sphère is going to be in short supply and has a price tag to match at $490, in case you want to get some heads turning at your workstation.
Despite what appears to be a weighty silver shell, the drive is quite light. The shiny exterior may double as a mirror in extreme circumstances, but it’s prone to being mucked up with fingerprints quickly (which is an absolute shame). Aside from the branding inscriptions on the front and the iconic blue light, there aren’t any other details aside for the aforementioned USB 3.0 cable slot around back on the unit’s black base. Of course, less is more here.
Dish Network pulls a Time Warner Cable with Virtual Joey streaming app for smart TVs that take the place of a set-top box
Let’s take a trip down memory lane (after all, this is a year-in-review recap). Back at CES 2012, Dish Network announced a whole-home DVR setup, including the Hopper DVR (you know with the kangaroo) and a multi-room extender, called the Joey. (Clearly there’s been some sort of kangaroo obsession at Dish Network’s headquarters). Then, at CES 2013 last year, Dish introduced a version of the Hopper with Sling built in, allowing you to send both live and recorded programming to your smartphone, tablet or laptop. That brings us to CES 2014, when Dish turned its attention back to the Joey line of boxes except, well, the hardware kinda was the victim of a disappearing act.
The pay-TV operator announced the Virtual Joey, a smart TV app that will come built into select LG televisions, and which will take the place of a physical Joey extender. To be completely clear, this isn’t a ditching of the cable/satellite box. You’ll still need a Hopper DVR to serve as the base of the whole experience, but this is one less box to deal with in your entertainment center. According to company representatives, the app will come to 2013 and 2014 LG smart TVs, though it’s working to get the app on other manufacturers’ televisions as well.
Withings’ latest health gadget wants to help you sleep
If you’re anything like me, getting up in the morning isn’t exactly the greatest experience in the world. Plenty of gadgets have promised to monitor our circadian rhythms and rouse us when our body’s biologically ready like the Zeo and most FitBits. That hasn’t deterred Withings from jumping in with the Aura, a two-part device designed to help us catch some shut-eye. The $300 device combines a movement sensor that sits beneath your mattress and an LED lamp that aims to relax you at night and gently rouse you in the morning. The unit also promises custom light and sound patterns that’ll help with power napping, getting over jet lag or chilling out with a good book. Naturally, all of this data will be fed into a mobile app, and I’m personally looking forward to seeing how this compares to the Philips Wake-up Light.
The sleep sensor is designed to sit underneath your mattress and monitor your breathing, heart rate and monitor in order to better understand the way your sleep. It’s connected via USB rather than wirelessly, with the cable draping over the side of your bed and onto the lamp, which should sit atop your bedside table. While you’d assume that the Aura was a singleton-only deal, there are three USB ports, two of which can be used for the sleep sensors, which enables couples to get the benefit. Assuming, of course, that their lifestyles are relatively similar.
In our eyes, we assumed the lamp was very much a Philips Wake Up Light clone, but unlike that hardware, this unit doesn’t even attempt to simulate daylight to help you get out of bed. Instead, when sending you to sleep, it pumps out a glowing orange — similar to a low summer sunset — designed to promote your melatonin, and a neon blue is used to banish that same chemical in the morning. Accompanied by a variety of pre-programmed sounds that are designed to aid the process, like nature sounds or classical music. In addition to replacing your bedside light and alarm clock, the lamp has designs on the rest of your normal bedside gadgets. The third USB port, for instance, can be used to charge your smartphone, the mono speaker will as a mono Bluetooth speaker, and if you’re wealthy enough to own two, you can use A2DP to get stereo sound.
The lamp’s top and sides will recognize touch inputs, with a long press activating the reading light and a stroke along the side setting the alarm — but most controls will be kept for the mobile app. If you’re already baked into the company’s ecosystem, the data will also update into the Health Mate app, although there’s no plans for unification just yet. While the $300 retail unit, will only contain one bed sensor, units for your other half are available to buy from the company’s website for $129 now.
HTC boosted by Beats Electronics sale but notches second consecutive operating loss
HTC posted another $52 million loss, but managed a small net profit of $10.3 million. Though the Taiwanese company trimmed the previous quarter’s operating loss of $101 million, total revenue actually fell slightly to $1.6 billion. That marks the ninth consecutive quarterly drop in sales, according to Bloomberg, despite the recent addition of the HTC One Max to its device lineup. Unfortunately, the company’s had to deal with a few outside setbacks, including sales bans and patent setbacks, which aren’t helping the declining interest in its handsets.
Schwinn’s CycleNav bike navigation system points cyclists in the right direction
When you’re in a car, it’s relatively easy to keep an eye on your GPS without moving your hands away from the good ol’ 10 and 2 positions, but how do you get from point A to point B when you’re on your bike? Schwinn’s CycleNav bike navigation system wants to answer that question. The $60 Bluetooth device clips onto your bike’s handlebar. The premise is simple: Download the product’s iOS or Android app, enter in where you want to go, choose the best route and then let the CycleNav point which way to go, using one of three LED arrows. After your journey comes to an end, the app records fitness stats for you to track (such as distance, calories burned and duration). Fortunately, it doubles as a headlight for your bicycle as well. The navigator is available online and at Walmart for the aforementioned price now.
Caterpillar’s bringing feature phones back with the super-rugged B100
If the first thing you said when you saw the header above was, “Seriously a feature phone! What is this, 2000?,” I think we might become good friends. But still, it’s pretty cool as far as things go. Granted, though, the Cat B100 wants you to go back to that pre-smartphone mindset (No touchscreen and a keypad? I can’t believe this!) Like its older B15 sibling, the B100 is as rugged as you’d expect for a device bearing the Caterpillar logo and its signature black-and-yellow bumblebee color scheme. The B100 feels solid thanks to its metal sides. The phone can sustain a drop up to 1.8 meters (5.9 feet), and thanks to covered ports, can survive being submerged in one meter (3.3 feet) for half an hour.
In place of the 15’s touchscreen is a large-button keyboard, which you should theoretically be able to operate while wearing work gloves on the job. On the rear is a three-megapixel camera and flash, along with a large speaker — or you can open up the headphone jack located on top of the phone. In terms of availability, we know that it’s available now in Germany and other parts of Europe, though a representative assured that there’ll be more news on that front later on in the year. We’ll have it here.
Sculpteo makes factory-like 3D printing much easier with Batch Control option
If you’re in need for more than a few 3D-printed parts for your next project or business venture, Sculpteo has a production method that’ll help you bring home the bacon. The company has just announced 3D-printing Batch Control to output as many figurines, drone parts or whatever you might need. Using Sculpteo’s software, customers can view the order inside the printer, compare pricing in real time and control both axis and orientation all while nabbing multiple units in a single batch. As far as customization goes, 11 coloirs, three finishes and two resolutions are offered for orders in an effort to cut production costs, allow for limited editions and more — like 168 pigs, for example. While the 3D-printed items displayed at CES were connected in cube form, orders don’t arrive that way by default, but it sure does make for easier transport.
Seagate’s Backup Plus line extends with Slim, Fast and desktop external drives for file storage
Seagate’s Backup Plus line has been familiar for some time now, and the company has announced three new offerings under that moniker at CES. The storage outfit has pulled the wraps off the Backup Plus Slim, Fast and desktop external hard drives, living up to each of those names with both automatic and scheduled backups. First, Fast is being touted as the first 4TB portable drive with dual 2TB drives in RAID 0. The unit is bus-powered at the hands of its USB 3.0 connection and claims speeds of 220 MB/s with a metal-topped plastic enclosure. It’s available now for $300.
Next, the Backup Plus Slim has been labeled by Seagate as the slimmest (12.1mm, to be accurate) portable drive on the market with 500GB, 1TB and 2TB versions. This options is also powered by USB 3.0 transfers and sports the same plastic shell with a solid aluminum top. If color coordination is your thing, black, silver, red and blue paint schemes is available now for prices ranging between $100 and $180, depending on the storage configuration you choose.
Last but not least, for those who don’t mind keeping their storage repositories at a workstation, the Backup Plus desktop serves up 2TB, 3TB and 4TB capacities inside a metal housing. This option is larger than the other two, as its meant to be left at home rather than stuffed in a jacket pocket. Pricing for the trio has been set at $130, $160 and $260, respectively, and is available now.
In addition to the new hardware, Seagate has also updated its Dashboard app that’s used with all of its Backup drives. The software still acts as a PC backup and allows for social sharing, but this time around, mobile device backup has been adding. Apps that take advantage of the update are available now for both iOS and Android, however the Apple supporting version will only back up the Camera Roll. The option for Google’s mobile OS protects videos, contacts, messages and your call log in addition to pictures in case of a gadget failure.
Belkin announces remote-controllable slow cooker, smart LED light bulbs
Last year, Belkin announced a partnership with Jarden (the company behind beloved brands like Mr. Coffee, Sunbeam and Crock-Pot), promising we’d eventually see kitchen appliances with Belkin’s WeMo home automation controls built in. Fast forward a year later, and Belkin has a real product to show for it: The company announced the Crock-Pot WeMo Slow Cooker (if that’s not a name, I’m not sure what is). Being a smart product and all, you can use the WeMo app for iOS or Android to remotely turn it on or off, adjust the temperature or change the time settings. You can also receive reminders so that you don’t let it sit too long. It’s available now for $100, with an air purifier, space heater and coffee maker to follow.
Additionally, Belkin introduced the WeMo Smart LED Bulb, a dimmable light that can be controlled remotely using the same WeMo app you’d use to control the aforementioned CrockPot. In particular, you can control the bulbs individually or in groups, and also set them to dim as you sleep and wake up. To get your hands on it, you’ll need to shell out $130 for the starter kit, which includes two 60W equivalent bulbs and a bridge that plugs into an outlet. Thereafter, the lights cost $40 apiece and are said to last up to 23 years. Also, the bridge can connect to up to 50 bulbs, so odds are you’ll never have to buy another. Last up, there’s the WeMo Maker kit, which lets modders manage anything with a simple DC switch — gates, garage doors, blinds, AC units, and anything else you think of. That is also available now for $79.99.
Wrapping all this together is an improved mobile app, which lets you control all your WeMo home-automated devices remotely. New in this edition is the ability to simulate occupancy, Home Alone-style, so that the lights come on at a certain time, making it seem like someone’s home. If you’re hip to the ways of If This Then That (IFTTT), you can set your lights to go on every night at sunset and turn off every day at sunrise — with that time changing as the days get shorter and longer. If you already own some WeMo gear, you’ll have to download the app update, but it’s available now for those that are new to the WeMo line.
Apple buys SnappyLabs to improve high-speed iPhone photography
The iPhone 5s can already capture photos at a brisk 10 frames per second, but that’s apparently not enough for Apple. The company has confirmed that it has acquired SnappyLabs, a one-man outfit best known for its popular iOS camera app SnappyCam. Cupertino hasn’t outlined its plans following the buyout, but the software’s party trick is its extremely high-speed photography; it takes full-resolution shots at up to 30fps, and scales up to 60fps. You don’t need an oracle-like insight to predict that insight that future Apple devices could snap pictures at a rate that would put many professional cameras to shame.
InAir Smart HDMI adapter overlays Web atop television content with custom user interface
Televisions are no longer simply screens for viewing DVDs, Blu-rays and terrestrial television: Folks want to have the internet on them, too. SeeSpace is a startup building the InAir Smart HDMI adapter that plugs in-line between your set-top box and TV to deliver web content to the big screen. The system then overlays an intelligent layer atop your video feed that analyzes what you’re watching and supplies relevant web and social content as well. InAir’s UI is controlled by a companion app for both iOS and Android that turns your phone or tablet into a trackpad that lets you navigate by swiping and scrolling on the screen. Additionally, interested developers can use an API to build new features for the platform. The InAir adapter is available now for $99.
Samsung’s SmartCam HD DIY security cameras capture 1080p video indoors or out
Just in case the NSA isn’t keeping a close enough watch over everything, you can use Samsung Teckwin’s latest SmartCams to do your own surveillance. The SmartCam separates from its competitors by recording 1080p video to an internal SD card, and has a version designed to work outside. That means that unlike Dropcam, for example, it’s not constantly uploading video to a remote server for storage and doesn’t require an add-on subscription to work. While that cuts out some of the cloud-based security Dropcam can offer, it combines with Samsung’s compression tech to enable these to use about 30 percent of the bandwidth other cameras require, and still lets owners tap in remotely for a peek whenever they like.
Both connect over WiFi, and can be configured from Android or iOS devices using the SmartCam app and WiFi Direct. Both claim excellent low-light video quality, and while the indoor version has a range of about 16 feet, the outdoor version extends to 50 feet. Beyond its extra viewing range, the outdoor version is ruggedized for the elements, and comes in two parts, keeping the power and WiFi module securely inside your home, connected to the camera outside via a network cable. The SmartCam HD and SmartCam HD Outdoor are both available now for $179 and $229, respectively.
Tao WellShell offers up isometric resistance, tracks fitness, rhymes
It’s safe to say that this is the year of the wearable. Tao Wellness’ rhyming WellShell wants to be a bit of a one-stop shop for all things portable fitness. The handheld’s primary function is isometrics– offering you resistance as you work out, while helpfully coaching ou with built-in audible encouragement. The device is built for 50 different isometric exercises, recording results by way of your Android or iOS device. It can also track your steps, caloric intake, heart rate and sleep patterns — so pretty much everything, but the cooldown massage.
It looks like a flat, symmetrical mouse — minus the cable. After giving it a squeeze (you’re supposed to), as well as testing out a pair of earlier models that avoid the screen of the functionality). Instead, these flat tokens are actually more stylish and simple, with a glowing light in the center. However, with these smaller models, all the data and exercise instruction is delivered by the app, meaning that while the new WellShell it might just lose out in the looks, the new model looks to offer a far gentler learning curve.
Wellograph activity tracker has good looks, fun graphs
One of the latest entrants to the crowded wearable market is the Wellograph activity tracker, which is one of the few trackers you might actually want to wear on a night out. The activity tracker, which features a sapphire crystal display, features a heart rate monitor and an activity tracker, in addition to being (wait for it) a standalone device, with no smartphone integration to speak of beyond syncing with Bluetooth 4.0.
The Wellograph stands out from other activity trackers by displaying information such as steps taken and heartbeats per minute in graph form (rather than simply displaying digits), according to Wellograph CEO Sarasin Art Booppanon. Another distinguishing feature is the sapphire crystal display, which is allegedly the first to appear on a consumer product at a price point that won’t absolutely obliterate your wallet. This type of screen is known for being scratch resistant, and while that’s not something that could be put to the test at CES Unveiled, it looked and felt pretty sturdy.
You’d expect a fitness-focused device to look rugged (even clunky) but the Wellograph is the exception to the rule (or expectation, in this case). It’s leather strap and stainless steel design screen dollar signs, and I’m thrilled that Wellograph took a sophisticated approach. It’s a nice change from the more utilitarian designs we’ve seen, but it’s not exactly unisex.; the timepiece looked a tad bit ridiculous on female wrists.
The Wellograph features a 168×144 e-paper LCD screen, and visibility was limited with strong overhead light by our findings. To navigate the interface, you press one of the two buttons on the device’s right side: the top one to toggle pages within a certain features (think: clock or fitness stats) and the bottom to move between the different features. It’s simple but engaging, especially because they’re more interactive that what’s been seen on other activity trackers. You can see your fitness level and your fitness age, pinpointed on a bell curve, for example. The activity tracker slides into a magnetic charging dock via a connector on the back — the rear end of the Wellograph, incidentally, is also where you’ll find the heart rate sensor.
The Wellograph is available now for about $300, according to Booppanon.
PrioVR full-body mocap suit promises accurate motion tracking in VR gaming
Sure, the last generation console motion tracking race (Xbox 360’s Kinect; Playstation 3’s Move) did a great job of bringing motion tracking closer to the mainstream, but it hasn’t exactly fulfilled the dreams of futuristic gaming that Hollywood (and our imaginations, frankly) promised. PrioVR, a motion-tracking suit meant for virtual reality games, aims to bring us to take that next big step to that point with accurate full-body motion-capture abilities without a camera array in the mix.
The demo was pretty impressive: A representative was decked out in the upper-body suit, complete with Wii nunchuks, playing a first-person shooter. Sensors on his chest, back, head arms and hands translated his movements to the screen with little latency, showing up on the display in a fraction of a second. However, there was an ever-so-slight choppiness — which could be blamed more on the game engine than the hardware — but it remains to be seen how much of an effect this has on gameplay. Though only a upper-body rig was being shown off at CES, a full-body getup promises to capture everything from walking to kicking.
YEI Technology, PrioVR’s parent company, originally launched a Kickstarter effort during late 2013, but after only raising $111,237 of its $225,000 funding goal, the firm’s giving the prototype another go, with a new campaign. The upper-body suit will go for about $300, while the full-body version will come in under $400. Obviously, this type of technology opens up a world of possibilities for developers, especially when paired with products with the likes of the Oculus Rift and other head-mounted displays.
Qualcomm shows more of the Snapdragon 805’s camera, pin tricks
Even if you couldn’t make it to CES to see the Snapdragon 805 processor flex its muscles, the chipmaker’s got you covered. Qualcomm has posted a slew of videos showing what the chip can do for photography, including automatic close-ups through OptiZoom, continuous focusing on a subject through Touch to Track and natural-looking low-light shots through Chroma Flash. The CPU can even begin recording video as soon as a subject crosses a line, such as at a race. As a bonus, the company has also showed off Ultra Sound NotePad, a refinement of an earlier technique that uses microphones to translate a pen’s ultrasonic vibrations into handwriting on screen. It could be a while before any of these features make it to a shipping device, but that’s what makes CES so exciting every year; it’s an opportunity for companies to think about the bigger picture. The clips embedded below should give you a feel for the real thing.
Parrot’s MiniDrone climbs walls, rolls around the ceiling, is really, really small
Parrot’s been offering up relatively small updates to its AR.Drone line each year at CES, and while the quadcopter is, without question, the iPad of this space, it’s about time we see a genuinely fresh take on the product. The MiniDrone delivers on that expectation — and then some. It’s exceptionally small and light, so far as consumer drones go. It’s quick, nimble and fairly user-friendly thanks to on-board autopilot and myriad built-in sensors, controlled via a smartphone or tablet via low energy Bluetooth.
Other than the size, the coolest thing about the product may be the removable wheels, which let you drive the MiniDrone across the ceiling and up walls. And if the demos we got at CES Unveiled event are any indication, the little drone’s looks are deceiving, at least on the ruggedness front. The MiniDrone is available now for $159.99.
Okidokeys smart locks let you manage your front door remotely
There are goofy product names, and then there’s Okidokeys, a moniker that might very well has been awarded the goofiest product name of CES 2014 (which is a stellar achievement, if you ask me). All jokes aside, however, the company is taking its line of smart locks seriously. Its parent company, OpenWays Group, already is looking to provide smartphone-based door lock solutions to hotels. The company’s leveraging the 256-bit AES cryptology security it’s used in those products to Okidokeys, home locks that can be controlled with an Android or iOS device via Bluetooth. There seems to be a pretty wide array of options here, letting you enable a hands-free unlock when you’re near the door or associating objects like an RFID card, in case your smartphone should run out of battery power before you get to the door. Using the company’s website, you can manage accounts, giving people limited access to the door so, for example, your babysitter can only get in during designated times, and if anyone tries to break in, you’ll get an alert on your phone. You can also unlock the door from afar, should someone forget their key. The line of locks are available now starting at $179.
LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2 wields dual 500GB SSDs, Intel’s latest port tech
When Intel officially launched Thunderbolt 2 in June 2013, it promised that we’d see devices sporting those blazing-fast speeds soon. It seems LaCie was one outfit willing to pick up the baton to embrace the tech as the storage company has announced the Little Big 2. The successor to the Little Big Disk Thunderbolt, version 2.0 touts transfer speeds of 1375 MB/s, thanks to Intel’s Thunderbolt 2 port (naturally), and a new all-black paint scheme on its aluminum shell. Inside, two 500GB PCIe Gen 2 SSDs in RAID 0 format can wrangle 4K and 3D video edits — power that should property arm creatives that demand a little bit more (just a little more) than the average consumer. That interior space has also been designed to properly handle heat distribution so that the virtually silent, thermoregulated fan needs to only kick on every now and then. The storage gadget is available now for $1299.
During our demo time with the Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2, we observed write speeds of 1200MB/s and read marks at 1300 MB/s — which translates to transferring a 300GB file in about four minutes. Thankfully, the drives were set up before the demo, and were sorting files for some time, remained at nearly room temperature. With two of the Thunderbolt 2 drives setup in RAID 0, we witnessed 2000MB/s write speeds and read numbers of 2600 MB/s. Although the front plate of the new unit is glossy, the entire enclosure is still made of metal and the black paint job looks quite nice beside a new 2013 Mac Pro.
Moneual’s RYDIS H68 Pro robot aims to replace both your Roomba and Scooba
Why would you drop the cash for both a Roomba and Scooba when you can get a device that does both? Of course, it’s still early to tell whether the RYDIS H68 Pro can match (or come anywhere close to) the efficiency of either of iRobot’s flagship lines, but Moneual certainly is winning some convenience points here. The sequel to the RYDIS H67 features a large water tank, and is capable of capturing nearly all particles that are 0.3 micron or larger. There are 42 omnidirectional sensors on board and it uses Smart Vision Mapping to determine the best routes to cover a room as it mops and vacuums at the same time. The RYDIS H68 Pro is available now.
Eton’s ruxus Xtreme is a solar-powered Bluetooth speaker that loves the great outdoors
Eton has a bit of a thing for music combined with solar power. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Its latest eco-powered music machine is the ruxus Xtreme, and blast potentially non-stop jams (as long as you have a Sun to power your jam session) to the great outdoors. The Bluetooth 4.0 device has five speakers (two main, the rest for “bass radiating”) and has a built-in 6600mAh battery that can be charged either by Mother Nature (in about five hours), or the Ol’ Reliable power outlet (in three). No matter which way the ruxus Xtreme gets its juice, you can use it for prolonged listening, or use the speaker’s battery to power up your mobile device — so it could also be called a solar charger. There’s NFC for easy pairing, and you can even link up two units for what we imagine Eton is looking to trademark as Xtreme loudness. The IPX4 water-resistance rating also makes it good for those who like to jam in the rain (or snow) is ready to soak up some Vitamin D now for $230. There’s also a rugged rukus II model for $130, if you’re willing to sacrifice some battery life (1600mAh instead).
Griffin launches iPhone 5 case for Square card reader using merchants
If you’re looking for a durable way to carry that Square card reader while you’re raking in that moolah for your small business? Griffin has you covered with a case for that. Teaming up with Square for CES 2014, the case manufacturer has announced an iPhone 5 case designed specifically for businesses making their money on the go. For the most part, the Merchant Case is little more than a standard silicone phone sleeve, but a few minor tweaks make it particularly suited to Square users. The case’s bottom edge, for instance, is designed to hold the reader in place, while also providing a credit card shaped groove to help guide your customers’ plastic into the Square. The backside of the case also has a recessed storage area that can serve as the card reader’s home when it’s not in use, making it easier to carry around. The case does look a little bulky, but it does seem to be a simple solution to a simple problem. The Griffin Merchant Case is available now for $20 on the company’s website.
Valve names company’s first 14 Steam Machines partners
Valve’s Steam Machines initiative has already been supported by a first-party box used by 300 beta users, but 2014 is all about third-party Steam Machines taking that reference box and running with it. Thus far, the only third parties we know of that are making Steam Machines are iBuyPower and Digital Storm — but today, all that changed. Alienware, Falcon Northwest, CyberPowerPC, Origin PC, Gigabyte, Material.net, Webhallen, Alternate, Next, Zotac, Scan Computers and Maingear (in addition to iBuyPower and Digital Storm) are among the first companies signed on to support Valve’s initiative.
The entire lineup was on display at CES 2014, and we’ll have more details below. Beyond the company’s 14 partners above, it’s completely possible that there are other third parties signed on for Steam Machines — we didn’t know until Valve’s press conference on the afternoon of January 6.
Valve’s Gabe Newell took to the stage at Valve’s CES 2014 event and doled out specs for gaming rigs from all of the companies I mentioned above. There are 13 machines in all, varying in price from $500 to $6000 apiece. We don’t have full hardware specifications as of now, but we’ll rundown what we know as of now.
Alienware — Price TBD
The folks at Dell (Alienware’s parent company) were kind enough to reveal their machine at Valve’s event, but didn’t clue us in on what’s inside. What we do know is that the case is a fairly basic black box, flaunting only Alienware and Steam logos for flare and offering a pair of front-facing USB ports. We don’t know what’s inside, but given the company’s tradition of configurable hardware, there will probably be multiple options.
It’s available now and Dell didn’t give any spec suggestions (except to say that it will perform on par with a gaming notebook). Even then, Dell representatives declined to make any specific comparisons with Alienware’s current notebook offerings, so you really won’t know until later if this is an equivalent to an Alienware 14 or 18. As for the price, it will be “highly competitive to the next generation of consoles,” according to Alienware business development’s Marc Diana. That translates to between $400 and $500, then? Dell is hoping it can sell more Steam Machines than the nearly countless other Steam Machines on the market, even if this is an experimental category.
“We feel we are uniquely positioned in that we can serve a lot of customers from the start.”
As seen above, Dell’s aiming for its Steam Machine to be exceptionally compact.
Greg Coomer, Valve designer:
“It’s dramatically smaller than about everything else in the lineup.”
Coomer noted that there will be at least one machine that’s smaller, but it will be far less powerful. Given that we don’t know the specs as of yet, we’d take any comments about performance with a grain of salt. That said, anyone with two eyes can see that this is indeed a compact little box, especially compared to the PS4 or Xbox One. As for the rest of the design, Dell is already taking up the cooling system, which sucks in cold air through channels on the back, and is said to run quietly. Unfortunately, we can’t vouch for that last piece, as we haven’t seen a working prototype in action.
Elsewhere on the device, you’ll find two USB ports up front, but that’s of course subject to change as the unit on display today is hardly final. Also, given that this is an Alienware machine we’re talking about, there will naturally be some colorful LED lights. The setup is (thankfully) quite modest for Dell’s standards: Right now, only the Alienware and Steam logos are expected to light up. Alienware’s rationale? The Steam Machine will likely reside in your living room — a spot where you’d probably rather it blend in than call too much attention to itself.
Alternate — $1339
This simple cube isn’t exactly going to win any beauty contests, but it has some pretty decent internals. Alternate’s Steam Machine is specced with an Intel Core i5 4570 processor, an NVIDIA GTX 760 GPU from Gigabyte, 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB of storage, via a hybrid solid state hard drive.
CyberPowerPC — $499 and up
If you’re looking for something that resembles an original Xbox-era game console, take a look at CyberpowerPC’s rig. It’s packing an AMD 3.9GHZ A6 CPU, 2GB Radeon R9 270 GPU, up to 8GB of RAM and 500GB of internal storage. If you’re not too keen to AMD, CyberPowerPC is offering an Intel based alternative with a 3.5GHz Core i3 processor and a GeForce GTX 760 GPU instead, with dozens of other configurations available at a customer’s whim. It’s available now.
Digital Storm “Bolt II” — $2584
Digital Storm’s laltest Bolt is more than the standard tower seen from the boutique PC company in the past. It’s a Steam Machine, but also a regular PC with the ability to dual-boot into both Windows and Steam OS. The biggest difference is that it ships with Valve’s Steam Controller — something you’ll need if you’re interested in playing any cursor-based games in your living room.
The Bolt II will be outfitted with an Intel Core i7 4470K processor, a GTX 7880 Ti graphics processor, up to 16GB of RAM and a traditional one-two HDD/SSD combo: one terabyte of storage on the traditional spinning disc and 120GB on the speedy solid state drive.
Oddly, its price was above the $1,500 we originally heard, but that’s apparently because of power. Digital Storm decided to offer a more powerful entry-level system, according to a company representative.
Gigabyte “Brix Pro” — Price TBD
This diminutive box appears to be a little wider than a DVD, but also seems to suffer for its size. Although its Intel Core i7-4770R CPU is fast enough, Valve’s press materials describe it as having integrated graphics — Intel Iris Pro 5200, specifically. Integrated chips have come a long way in recent years, but definitely worth noting. The box also sports 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SATA HDD.
iBuyPower — $499 and up
Like so many Steam Machine builders, iBuyPower is known for offering its customers customizable boxes, which is why the company didn’t specify any one type of processors. The company’s Steam Machine will offer GPUs from both AMD and Intel, and promises an AMD graphics card — a Radeon R9 270, to be specific. Plus, if you’ve got a thing for consoles, you’ll love it’s case, which looks like an odd mix of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The pretty little Steam Machine, dubbed “SBX,” is iBuyPower’s direct challenge to Microsoft and Sony’s game consoles: $500 gets you to the box, a Steam Controller, an HDMI cable, and all the power therein. The prototype we saw pack a modified (with “some voltage and speed tweaks”) Athlon X4 740 CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB HDD, and a Radeon R7 250 GPU (1GB GDDR5) power Steam OS — no dual booting here! iBuyPower hoped for a Radeon R7 260X (or equivalent) GPU when it shipped, but most of the other specs have stood the test of time.
This is iBuyPower’s first console, rather than a highly modified PC, according to the company’s director, Tuan Mguyen. It’s easy to see his perspective after getting to know a prototype here at CEs. Of the various Steam Machines announced during Steam’s press event, SBX is a middle of the road entry in terms of both price and specs. It’ll run today’s prettiest games on Steam without an issue, but not all of them turned all the way up. Two color variations of the box are available: glossy white and matte black. What about that color bar dividing SBX in two? An iOS and Android app named LEDControl enables a wide variety of color choices on the fly (no light at all is also an option).
Falcon Northwest “Tiki” — $1,799-$6,000
Falcon Northwest’s Tiki PC isn’t exactly a newcomer, but the Steam Machine version certainly is. It’s a direct replica of the currently available Tiki, albeit with Steam OS and a Steam Controler packed in. In terms of specs, there’s a pretty wide range: up to a GTX Titan GPU, 6TB of storage (yes, 6,000GB!), and up to 16GB of RAM. If that wasn’t enough, the outside its emblazoned with the planet on fire imagery seen in so much Steam Machine marketing.
Materiel.net — $1,098
Materiel is aiming at your game consoles with a box packing a tad more power than what Microsoft and Sony are offering. An Intel Core i5 CPU, a NVIDIA GTX 760 GPU, 8GB of RAM and 1TB of storage round out the box’s specs, and the rice is just right — a slight step above the newest game consoles and comparable boutique PCs, with a big enough power upgrade to justify the price.
Next “Spa” — Price TBD
Next’s Steam Machine is just a step above the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, offering an Intel Core i5 CPU, a NVIDIA GT 760 and 1TB storage. It looks like it’ll land just below a grand.
Origin PC “Chronos” — Price TBD
Origin’s taking a configurable approach with its Steam Machine, off an Intel Core i7 CPU, two NVIDIA GTX Titan GPUs, 32GB of RAM and 14TB of storage (with swappable drives). There’s a good reason why the price for the Chronos hasn’t been announced — because either a, your wallet is going to physically die or b, you’re going to have a heart attack when you hear how much this Lamborghini PC setup is going to cost.
Scan NC10 — $1,090
Scan’s flat, long Steam Machine is a mix of high end (NVIDIA GTX 765M GPU) and low end (Intel Core i3 CPU), and seems destined for mostly game streaming. 8GB of RAM and 500GB of HDD storage mean you’ll be able to do at least some gaming right on the NC10, but it isn’t exactly a powerhouse.
Webhallen — $1,499
Webhallen’s take on the Steam Machine concept is on the higher-end of the spectrum, with an Intel Core i7 CPU, a NVIDIA GTX 780 GPU, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSHD — clearly they’re not kidding around! Of course, great power comes with a mighty price tag (in this case, $1499). It might be double the power of new game consoles, but being more than double the price makes Webhallen’s model a bit of a hard sell.
Zotac — $599
Zotac’s got an especially small little box, with an unnamed Intel Core CPU, a NVIDIA GTX GPU (also unnamed) and unknown amounts of storage and RAM. What we do know is that the Zotac is a box on the level of a new game console, and it has a price to match.
Valve hasn’t ruled out making its own Steam Machine
The question that’s probably on your mind right now after reading through the spec rundown above (it was in my mind, at least) is that “What about Valve; where’s their Steam Machine?” Steam didn’t show one off at the Consumer Electronics Show, but that doesn’t mean that the masterminds behind the Steam game store has ruled it out.
Newell during Valve’s CES 2014 press conference, in response to a question asking whether the company would make its own Steam Machine:
“We’re gonna make that decision as we go along. We have plans to build more machines as customers ask.”
So far, only 300 beta testers have the answer to that question beyond Gabe Newell’s statement. Part of Valve’s reason for being at CES was to solicit feedback from press and consumers, according to Newell, which pretty much puts a nail in the coffin of the fantasy of a Valve-made Steam Machine box.
Road Warrior Bluetooth speaker aims to amp up your tailgating with 200 watts of power
If the average portable Bluetooth speaker doesn’t pack enough audio punch for your liking, Ion’s revealed a titan that just might meet your needs. Dubbed the Road Warrior, the firm’s 200-watt wireless stereo system packs a duo of ten-inch woofers paired with two one-inch tweeters. In addition to Bluetooth streaming capabilities, the box also boasts an AM/FM radio and an 1.8-inch jack. When it comes to power, the package can only rely on its built-in battery, a wall plug or the 12 volt outlet in your car. The kit was designed for occasions like tailgating events and cookouts, so it’s fitting that the speakers are contained in a cloth-covered box reminiscent of car audio gear. A price tag and release date are MIA, but we’ll have it here as the TechSummit Rewind continues.
HP launches a bunch of business PCs, including an Android-powered all-in-one at CES
I think that HP forgot that CES is short for the Consumer Electronics Show. Pretty much everything HP showed off in Vegas was aimed for the enterprise user — or should I say, the IT guys tasked with outfitting employees. Out of everything Hewlett-Packard announced, the most interesting thing might be the Slate 21 Pro, an Android-powered all-in-one tailored for business users. Granted this isn’t even HP’s first Android AiO (that honor goes to the original Slate 21), but it is the first Android-toting all-in-one for the corporate world. And hey, if HP isn’t going to announce any consumer products, the next best thing is products that are at least consumerfied, am I right?
At any rate, the big story here is in the software department: In addition to all of the usual Google services (Gmail, Google Plus, YouTube, Google Calendar, Google Drive), HP pre-loaded the thing with Kingsoft Office, Evernote, Skype, HP Classroom Manager, 50GB of lifetime Box storage and Citrix Receiver for remote Windows access. To be sure, one could use all these apps in the office, at least on a secondary display, but HP also imagines the Slate 21 Pro in classrooms, computer labs, public kiosks and maybe the business center at Hampton Inn. And given that it runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean (at launch), the owner can use the restricted profile feature to make it so that guests can only use certain apps (like Chrome, for example). It’s available now for $399 with a keyboard and mouse — not that you’re going to buy one for yourself.
Additionally, HP announced the Pro x2 410, an 11-inch detachable laptop, and its first hybrid for the business market (I think you can see the theme here). All told, it’s pretty much a business version of the Split x2, in that it runs either an Intel Core i3 or i5 processor and rocks a decent 1366×768 display with no pen input. That’s available now for “at or around $899,” according to a company representative.
Also, in addition to the Slate 21 Pro we just mentioned, HP unveiled two other AiOs — the ProOne 400 and the HP 205, both of which run Windows. Starting with the 400, it’s available available in two screen sizes: 21.5 inches with touch or 19.5 without. Either way, you get a choice of Intel Haswell processors, though screen resolution varies depending on the model; the touch version goes up to 1080p, while the non-touch is capped at 1600×800. Those are available now, starting at $799 with touch and $649 without. Meanwhile, the HP 205 is an 18.5-inch machine with low-end specs (1366×768 display, dual-core AMD Kabini APU) and a budget $449 and up price tag to match.
Finally, HP launched the new 300 line of laptops, which consists of 14- and 15-inch models that feature spill-resistant keyboards, anti-glare panels and fingerprint readers, but not the premium software add-ons you’d get on the existing 400 series. That’ll go starting at $399.
HP announced several new devices, which include a host of innovative form factors and OS options at Computex 2014.
Mike Nash, vice president, Product Management, Consumer Personal Systems, HP:
“Customers have made it clear that t hey need devices that better adapt to work and play the way they do. Today, we are announcing the next generation of laptops and two-in-one PCs, along with a new Chromebook that combine power, versatility and design for home and on the go.”
The HP Envy X360 is ideal for customers looking for a high-performance PC that “bridges the gap” between work and play. The Envy x360 features an Intel Core i5-4210U dual-core processor with Intel’s HD Graphics 4400 or the Core i7-4510U dual-core processor with the aforementioned graphics package, 15.6″ 1366×768 or 1920×1080 10-point touchscreen, and an HP Control Zone trackpad to transform the Windows 8.1 experience.
The Envy x360 is available now in the United States for a starting price of $679.99.
Here’s the rest of the spec sheet:
OS: Windows 8.1
Memory: 6GB/8GB RAM
Storage: 500GB traditional/hybrid hard drive, 750GB hard drive, 1TB hard drive
Up to seven hours of battery life
Ports: 2 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, 1 HDMI, 1 ethernet, 1 headphone/microphone combo, 1 SD card reader
Dimensions: 15.11 x 10.18 x 0.93 in, 5.29 pounds
The HP Pavilion x360 has a 13.3-inch touchscreen and is available in multiple colors who want “enhanced productivity and mobility at a value price.” The HP Pavilion x360 will be available in the United States with an AMD A8 processor on July 9 and with an Intel Core i3 processor on July 20 for starting prices of $629.99 and $599.99, respectively.
The HP Split x2 enables users to shift from work to play by combining tablet portability with notebook productivity in a sleek, lightweight device. Feature packed with a Intel Core processor, a 10-point touchscreen display and a fanless design, the Split x2 runs Windows 8.1. With an optional dual battery system, one in the base and one in the tablet, users can easily “from notebook to tablet and back” on this 13.3-inch convertible.
The HP Split x2 is available now in the United States for a starting price of $599.99.
The HP Chromebook features an 11.6-inch display that enables customers to quickly connect to their favorite websites, music, videos and Chrome Web Store apps. The chromebook features six hours of battery life. The HP Chromebook is expected to be available in the United States in July for $279.99.
The HP SlateBook is an Android-powered notebook that gives customers apps to the over one million Android apps in Google Play in a “more productive form factor.” Equipped with a 14-inch touchscreen, this 16mm thin notebook provides up to nine hours of battery life. An NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor, plus integrated GeForce graphics allows users to keep up with tasks at the office, home or on the go.
The HP SlateBook will be available in the United States on July 20 for $429.99.
Today, HP unveiled a plethora of business notebooks.
Let’s start with the HP Elitebook 800 series. The 800 series is up to 40 percent thinner and 28 percent lighter than previous generations. They’re designed for frequent travelers with an option for up to 33 hours of battery life. HP Sure Start automatically restores compromised system so end users can maintain productivity reducing downtime. The HP Security Smart Jacket also provides mobile authentication, ensuring secure login to corporate networks for mobile professionals. The series meets MIL-STD 810G testing for toughness and reliability, with a magnesium unibody chassis reinforced with aluminum accents and features optional back-lit keyboards and hinge Ethernet port, while HP Trust Circles ensures that only assigned contacts can access critical files.
The HP Elitebook 820 G1 is up to 35 percent thinner and 18 percent lighter than previous generations, featuring a 12-inch display and weighing less than 3 pounds.
The HP Elitebook 840 G1 fits a 14-inch display in an Ultrabook form factor with an optional touch display, plus up to 33 hours of battery life with the optional Slice Battery.
The HP Elitebook 850 G1 features a 15.6-inch display for easy viewing and an optional Ultrabook package. It is powered by the latest generation Intel processors and is protected by the full HP Client Security portfolio.
HP Sure Start detects and remedies malware and security attacks to the BIOS. It’s available on the Elitebook 800 series. Sure Start Crisis Recovery Mode detects the effects of an attack or corruption and replaces the corrupted BIOS Boot Block with a clean copy from the secure memory within 30 seconds.
The HP ProBook 600 series is tough yet stylish, delivering a broad selection of business technologies and legacy features, including HD displays and a range of connectivity options. The ProBook 600 series feature optional 4G LTE with USB 3.0 and DisplayPort 1.2 paired with new HD+ and full HD display optionso and top-mounted speakers.
The ProBook 640 G1 notebook features a 14-inch display and is powered by Intel fourth-generation Core processor.
The ProBook 650 G1 operates with DTS Sound+ and boasts a 15.6-inch HD display.
The ProBook 645 G1 runs on the latest AMD quad-core or dual-core APUs. The notebook also features a 14-inch display and multiple docking options.
The ProBook 655 G1 is 19 percent thinner than the previous generation and features a 15.6-inch display and AMD Radeon HD 8000G Series graphics.
The HP ProBook 400 series has an attractive gray chassis with a soft touch finish and an all-metal keyboard deck. The HP ProBook 400 series also has a Fusion Drive-esque option that offers the fast read speeds of an SSD and the capacity of a traditional hard drive, along with optional 4G LTE, HSPA+ WWAN and DTS Sound+.
The HP Security Jacket allows device and network access only to those with approved access through single- or multi-factor user authentication. The TAA-compliant Security Smart Jacket includes a Smart Card Reader that allows FIPS 140-2 encryption solutions and offers an optional fingerprint reader, both of which meet FIPS 201 requirements.
Additionally, the HP Security Jacket offers USB 3.0 and HDMI ports. Paired with HP’s Device Access Manager software with Just in Time authentication, the jacket’s USB port can be easily secured for limited, authorized use of removable storage devices during a brief time after authentication. The HP Security Jacket is compatible with the HP ElitePad dock.
The HP EliteBook 800 series is available now in the United States with pricing starting at $799. The HP ProBook 640, 645 and 650 are expected to be available in the US by November 18th, while the ProBook 655 is expected to be available in the United States by November 25th. Pricing for the series starts at “under $699.” The HP ProBook 400 series is now available in the US starting at $499. The HP Security Jacket for the HP ElitePad is available now starting at $249 with an integrated smart card reader and $439 with the addition of the optional fingerprint reader.