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Archive for January 8th, 2014

8
Jan
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CES 2014: Apple’s Competition in the Smart Watch Arena


CES 2014 has seen the introduction of a slew of new smart watches, spurred on by the popularity of early offerings like the Pebble and the ongoing rumors about Apple’s prospective smart watch, the iWatch.

Major companies like Qualcomm, Sony, and Samsung have developed smart watches, as have a multitude of smaller companies. In a market now flooded with smart watch offerings, every company has made an attempt to distinguish its product from the masses, with some focusing on design while others add innovative features.

Our comprehensive list of the smart watches being displayed at CES, which is available below, gives a solid overview of the current state of the smart watch market and a glimpse at the products the iWatch will need to compete with upon its release.

Intel Smart Watch – During its keynote event at CES, Intel revealed its plans to focus heavily on wearables throughout 2014. As part of the presentation, the company showed off a prototype smart watch incorporating geofencing and location-based notifications designed to alert users when a child or family member has left a specific location. The watch was not an actual product, but the company has plans to release a similar device in 2014. (Image courtesy of Engadget)

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Pebble Steel – Pebble’s second-generation smart watch, called the Pebble Steel, retains the current Pebble functionality but features a new design with a stainless steel body and a leather or steel band. It is both slimmer and lighter than the original Pebble and also includes a face covered with Corning’s scratch resistant Gorilla Glass. The Pebble Steel lasts for 5 to 7 days on a single charge, is waterproof, and will begin shipping on January 28 for $249. Pebble has also announced an app store that will be available to users in January and introduced new partnerships to bring additional functionality to the device.

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Razer Nabu – Designed by computer peripheral manufacturer Razer, the Nabu smart band is a fitness band/smart watch hybrid. The Nabu is slim like a standard fitness tracker, but it includes two small OLED screens at 32×32 and 128×32, which display information about activity levels and notifications about texts, phone calls, and other social networking alerts. It includes an accelerometer, an altimeter, and a cylindrical vibration motor and lasts up to 10 days on a single charge. Nabu, which ships in the spring, also interacts in unique ways with other Nabu bands. For example a handshake between two Nabu wearers could allow the two to automatically exchange contacts on social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn. Nabu will be available for under $100.
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8
Jan
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CES 2014: Voyce is a Health-Tracking Smart Collar for Dogs [iOS Blog]


Wearables are a major category at CES this year and while most of the available products have focused on humans, one company, i4C Innovations, is aiming its newest tracking device at a different consumer group — dogs. Voyce is a health and activity tracking collar designed to be worn by dogs.

Voyce uses a 3-axis accelerometer to track a dog’s active and resting periods and a built-in radio frequency technology measures both heart and respiratory rates.

voyce

Introducing breakthrough wearable technology that bridges the communication gap between dogs, their owners, and the people who love them. Our three-part approach of Discover, Learn, and Share gives unprecedented insight into your dog’s health and wellbeing, information and tools for you and your dog to grow together, and ways to share with your veterinarian and social networks.

The data gathered by Voyce is uploaded to and analyzed by an accompanying mobile app, which gives an detailed overview of pet health that can be shared on social networks and with veterinarians. The app tracks trends over time, allowing owners to keep an eye on vital signs and other health indicators to detect potential problems early on.


According to the company, Voyce data can be a valuable tool for pet owners. For example, the activity tracking portion of the band can let owners know if there are early warning signs of arthritis based on lower levels of movement, while the heart rate monitor can notify owners of conditions like chronic pain. The device also tracks the calories that a dog burns each day, allowing for adjustments in feeding.

Voyce accommodates neck sizes ranging from 12 to 32 inches and weighs less than six ounces. It has an estimated battery life of one week and it requires Internet access and Wi-Fi to sync with a mobile device or computer.

Voyce is expected to be released in the summer of 2014 for approximately $300.

    



8
Jan
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Live from the Engadget CES Stage: Nokia head of imaging technologies Juha Alakarhu


Given Nokia’s hardware focus in recent years, there are few folks at the Finnish company we’d rather chat with more than Juha Alakarhu, the smartphone maker’s head of imaging technologies.

January 8, 2014 2:00:00 PM EST

Follow all the latest CES 2014 news at our event hub, and check out our full stage schedule here.

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8
Jan
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Engadget Podcast 376 – CES Day One – 1.7.14


Your host Brian Heater gets the gang back together for the inaugural 2014 CES podcast direct from the Engadget stage in the Las Vegas Convention Center. The not-so-unfamiliar guests are none other than Tim Stevens and Darren Murph, but the reunion doesn’t stop there as more Engadget faces from past and present stop by for a quick chat. It’s been full day of weird wearables, delicious 3D printing and curvy 4K TVs, so join us for a quick day-one review in this first installment of the Engadget CES 2014 podcast series.

Host: Brian Heater

Guests: Tim Stevens, Darren Murph

Producer: Jon Turi

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Email us: podcast [at] engadget [dot] com

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8
Jan
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France slaps Google with $204,000 fine for violating privacy laws


Google’s run in with France’s privacy regulator has come to a rather undignified end. After months of deliberation, the National Commission on Computing and Freedom (CNIL) today hit the search giant with a €150,000 ($204,000) fine for breaking the law with its unified privacy policy. It’s significantly less than the €300,000 fine CNIL threatened in September, but the regulator will compound Google’s misery by requesting it to display a notice on its Google.fr homepage for two days explaining the decision. It’s the latest in a long line of privacy-related investigations against Google: six European countries have launched probes into its privacy policies, with Spain fining the company €900,000 ($1.2 million) just last month. Google has maintained its innocence throughout, but with penalties coming in thick and fast, it could be forced to amend its policies once more.

[Image Credit: cplapied, Flickr]

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Via: GigaOm

Source: CNIL

8
Jan
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Live from the Engadget CES Stage: Leap Motion CEO Michael Buckwald


In the short time since it was first announced, Leap Motion has caused us to rethink the way we interact with our PCs. CEO Michael Buckwald joins us to discuss the future of natural computer interfaces.

January 8, 2014 2:30:00 PM EST

Follow all the latest CES 2014 news at our event hub, and check out our full stage schedule here.

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8
Jan
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Harman adds the Infinity One to its wireless speaker fold, partners with Linkin Park to get one step closer


The hordes of wireless speakers are guaranteed to be on display at CES. Harman’s Infinity brand has its first entry in to the group with the One. Announced today, the unit claims portable hi-fi sound with the aforementioned wireless capability and rechargeable battery that touts up to 10 hours of run time before needing a power outlet. There’s no word on pricing or availability at this point, but the gadget’s press release did reveal another bit of info: The company has signed on Linkin Park as brand ambassadors for Infinity. For the next five years, the band’s involvement will extend beyond advertising to collaboration in production design. In the end, the newly formed team should have some co-branded audio wares to show as they’ve got plenty of time to crank ‘em out.

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Source: Harman

8
Jan
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The 6.8-inch Hisense X1 smartphone is basically a tablet and it’s coming to the US this summer


There’s big, there’s b-i-g and then there’s “oh my god, are you [redacted] kidding me this is [redacted] BIG!” That’s pretty much how we felt when we first laid our eyes and outstretched hand on Hisense’s X1, a 6.8-inch Android smartphone first introduced at this year’s CES. You wouldn’t be wrong for thinking it’s a tablet — it pretty much unofficially is and depending on your taste and needs, that could be a good thing. The X1, which is slated to launch in China before the US, comes outfitted with what we’d expect from a high-end smartphone: Snapdragon 800, 13-megapixel camera, 1080p IPS display, 3,900mAh battery and Android 4.4 KitKat. So the performance and shine is there, but its dimensions stop it just short of being practical in daily use.

With Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 powering the X1, the overall user experience zips along smoothly and briskly. There’s hardly any hesitation when effecting input actions, accessing the app drawer or launching applications. And viewing angles are also excellent, owing to that IPS display. As you can see from our gallery (demo video to come soon), the X1′s also running a light skin atop Android, but it’s not so cluttered as to make the phone confusing and nearly unusable a la Samsung’s TouchWiz. Though the X1 model we previewed was on running 4.3 Jelly Bean, Hisense reps assured us it will ship with KitKat onboard.

As for its materials and build, the all-plastic X1 isn’t quite a stunner nor does it aim to occupy the premium smartphone niche. Hisense is positioning this as more of a mid-range device despite its spec load and we’re told the price will reflect that strategy. That said, the X1′s matte plastic back fit snugly into the full breadth of our palm and all hardware buttons are relegated to the right side of the device so you won’t have to fuss with it much. Make no mistake, though, this is a two-hander — you won’t be able to get much done otherwise.

Hisense is currently aiming for a late Q2 launch for the US market and will release the X1 under the Sliver brand, but that’s primarily for unlocked availability. The company is apparently also in talks with two US operators, so we could eventually see a subsidized model hit the states sometime soon. The only other thing you need to know about the X1 is that it’s not LTE-capable; it’s HSPA+ only. Hisense does have an LTE-capable model for the US market, the X3, but it wasn’t shown off at the company’s booth.

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8
Jan
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Engadget HD Podcast 379 – CES Special #1 – 1.7.14


Engadget HD Podcast 378 - 12.11.13

This year’s CES show floor has been inundated with 4K sets, giving Richard, Michael and some surprise guests plenty to talk about. Content is a hot topic and there’s plenty of 4K sources being announced, but until they arrive on the market, we’re going to have to stick with Blu-rays to get the most out of all those pixels. Ultra HD is also deviating from the straight and narrow this year, with a series of curving sets, some even transitioning from flat at the touch of a button. Join us at the streaming links below as your hosts discuss the ins and outs of all this fresh tech in the first special HD Podcast of the 2014 CES.

Hosts: Richard Lawler, Michael Gorman

Guests: Tim Stevens, Darren Murph

Producer: Jon Turi

Hear the podcast:

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[RSS - MP3] Add the Engadget HD Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator.
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Connect with the hosts on Twitter: @Rjcc

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8
Jan
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Introducing the Best of CES 2014 finalists!


CES 2014 is only just officially beginning, but the show has already been an eventful one for us. To select finalists for the Best of CES Awards, Engadget’s senior editors have been pounding the pavement at the Las Vegas Convention Center to find top contenders for the 13 categories in the running, from best mobile devices to the coolest maker-friendly technology. Now, we’re happy to present our finalists. There’s some great stuff here — just head past the break to dive in. We’ll save our analysis of the biggest CES 2014 trends for another post, but suffice it to say that plenty of innovative tech is in store for us this coming year.

And we want to know your favorite new product, too. That’s why we’re opening up the People’s Choice category to our readers, giving you a chance to select your top choice from our pool of finalists. Head here to our poll; the product that receives the most votes will be honored in our winner’s ceremony tomorrow.

BEST STARTUP

FINsix

An MIT spin-off with 17 employees, FINsix has one of the smallest AC adapters on the market — we’re talking about four times smaller and six times lighter. Its 65W brick comes with a USB port in addition to a laptop plug, and a MacBook-compatible MagSafe version is in the works, too.

Airtame

This seven-person startup from Denmark is behind a wireless HDMI dongle that ports your computer screen to your TV, projector or monitor sans cables. Airtame’s raised almost 500 grand on Indiegogo, so they must be doing something right.

BEST DIGITAL HEALTH & FITNESS PRODUCT

LG Life Band Touch

We’ve seen plenty of activity trackers, yet LG’s Life Band Touch still manages to stand out for its smartwatch-style features. Its OLED display shows activity info such as calories burned, but it also pairs with your smartphone to notify you of incoming calls and texts.

Sleep Number x12 smart bed

Essentially, it’s an activity tracker in bed form, with sensors built in to monitor your heart rate and sleeping habits. Best of all: a Partner Snore feature lets you raise your significant other’s headrest to (hopefully) quiet him or her down.

Razer Nabu

Like the Life Band Touch, the Nabu combines the features of an activity tracker and a smartwatch. Unlike LG’s device, though, this guy sports two OLED screens: a small one to display notification icons and a larger one to show you texts, emails and other more in-depth personal data.

Jaybird Reign fitness wristband

Jaybird’s $199 Reign is more than just an activity tracker; it also tells you when it’s time to work out, or when your body could really use a rest. It pairs with an Android or iOS device via Bluetooth, offering up app-based checkups whenever you click.

BEST AUTOMOTIVE ELECTRONICS PRODUCT

BMW ActiveAssist

Bavarian Motor Works has taken accident-prevention to a new level. If you’re hydroplaning, for example, the system will bring the car back under control by braking individual wheels and adjusting steering — no driver input required.

Corvette Performance Data Recorder

With Chevy’s system, your route, speed and a slew of other stats are superimposed on a Bing map on the in-dash display. Oh, and audio and video recording let you evaluate your racing chops — or simply make a badass YouTube compilation.

Cobra JumPack

How lucky are we to live in a world where you can jump-start your car with a tiny (think hardcover-sized) power pack? The JumPack has enough power to give your auto a few jumps, and a USB port lets you charge up your gadgets as well. Not a bad value for $130.

Hyundai Blue Link

Hyundai’s in-car tech lets you remotely unlock your vehicle, navigate via both specific locations and general search terms and more, with Verizon providing the cell signal. One downside: it’ll cost you $100 per year for navigation services.

BEST AUDIO PRODUCT

Astell & Kern AK240

Meet the Vertu of PMPs. Sure, it’s pretty much the definition of “aspirational,” but the AK240 is the quintessential media player for the serious (and loaded) audiophile.

LG SoundPlate

It’s one of the best-looking soundbars we’ve seen to date, and it has a 3D Blu-ray player built in. Need we say more?

Samsung HW-H600

It can’t compete with LG’s option on the Blu-ray player front, but Samsung’s HW-H600 is pretty much the sleekest soundbar ever.

ClearView Clio

ClearView got literal with the Clio, creating a speaker that’s completely see-through. Its near-invisible design is classy, and the speaker’s tech allows sound waves to disperse evenly across a room.

BEST VIDEO PRODUCT

Dish Wireless Joey

It’s a smart TV app meant to replace your set-top box; provided you buy select LG smart TVs, you’ll be able to watch live TV and DVR content without any extra hardware.

Sharp Aquos Quattron +

Sharp’s new Aquos Quattron+ line includes sets from 60 to 80 inches, all of which include Active 3D tech and the company’s new Revelation technology for higher picture quality. The biggest draw: It starts at $3,000, much lower than the company’s 4K products.

LG 77-inch curved OLED

LG’s 77-inch OLED beauty morphs between flat-screen and curved modes with the press of a button. We don’t want to even guess the price, but a future filled with flexible living-room sets is certainly enticing.

Samsung 78-inch U9000

This 78-inch curved TV packs an impressive feature set: it’s UHD, outfitted with a quad-core core processor to support the hi-def visuals and it supports gesture controls for switching channels and adjusting volume.

BEST SOFTWARE

LG’s webOS for TVs

LG’s ported webOS to the big screen, and what a good idea that was. The UI puts content front and center, with discovery options and Hulu and Roku integration on board.

Sony PlayStation Now

Game-streaming services have disappointed in the past, but PlayStation Now looks to be a step in a new direction. Playing The Last of Us on the Vita ran without a hitch, and we can’t wait to try Now out on mobile devices.

BEST EMERGING TECHNOLOGY

Oculus Rift ‘Crystal Cove’ prototype

How’s this for emerging technology? Take an OLED headset, add an external camera and improved depth perception, and you have the most immersive gaming experience to date. Playing EVE Valkyrie, we could lean forward to read text on cockpit controls. VR gaming is suddenly a full-body experience.

Intel Edison Chip

Wearables are here to stay, and Intel has the guts to power them. Edison is a mini-computer with built-in WiFi and its own app store. The company even has a small collection of “Nursery 2.0″ devices on hand at CES to demonstrate the possibilities.

Avegant Glyph

Here’s another take on next-gen headsets: gear that projects images directly onto your retina. It’s less for gamers and more for movie-watching — it even has a fancy pair of headphones built in.

BEST MOBILE TECHNOLOGY

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2

Samsung’s largest Android-powered tablet to date sports productivity features to make the best of the 12.2-inch screen, including a four-window view and remote PC access. We’re also fans of the new Magazine UX, which divides your screen into three customizable panels.

Lenovo ThinkPad 8

It’s Lenovo’s second 8-inch Windows tablet, and it’s definitely a winner, thanks to a brilliant display, a well-made aluminum body and a capable quad-core processor.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

Unlike most “mini” phones, the Xperia Z1 Compact isn’t a watered-down version of a flagship handset. Like the original Z1, it offers a 20.7-megapixel camera and waterproofing. We hope other phone makers follow suit and stop killing the high-end specs on iterative products.

BEST GAMING PRODUCT

Valve Steam Machines

2014 is the year when Steam Machines go viral, at least for PC makers like Gigabyte and Origin PC. It’s a sure sign the gaming machines will take off this year.

Sony PlayStation Now

It’s a contender in software, but it’s obviously set to revolutionize gaming as well. PlayStation Now eliminates the need for a dedicated gaming console, bringing the titles you want to almost any device you have.

Oculus Rift ‘Crystal Cove’ prototype

The Oculus Rift is a completely new gaming experience, with a bevy of sensors on board to bring you into the world of the title you’re playing. It’s something you really have to try to understand — and we can’t wait until it hits the market.

Razer Project Christine

Project Christine even looks like the future; the modular-computing prototype consists of pods that can be used in several setups depending on your gaming needs. It’s customization 3.0.

BEST OFFBEAT PRODUCT

Sen.se Mother

Creepy? Yes. Useful? Yes. The Mother looks like a cross between a Russian doll and a demonic bowling pin, but it’s meant to make your life easier with associated sensors that monitor your home, your child or your pet, for example.

Parrot Jumping Sumo

It can’t fly, but it can jump more than two feet in the air, and that’s an awesome party trick if you ask us. The Sumo is controlled by your smartphone or tablet, though it currently only supports Apple devices.

TrewGrip Keyboard

Most of us can agree that on-screen keyboards will never be as good as the real thing. Dock your phone into the TrewGrip’s curved, grippable body, and you have a set of hardware keys in the familiar QWERTY layout.

BEST KID-FRIENDLY PRODUCT

Fuhu DreamTab

Fuhu partnered with DreamWorks to make an Android tablet with original art-focused apps. The included stylus works with built-in software to teach kids how to draw Kung Fu Panda and other familiar characters.

Kolibree Smart Toothbrush

The Kolibree toothbrush lets your little ones know how well they’re cleaning those pearly whites. You’ll even get stats like stroke count — and an evaluation of how well teeth have been cleaned — on your smartphone.

Mimo Baby

Intel had us at “smart baby onesie.” Intriguing idea aside, the practicality is undeniable. Parents can monitor their babies’ body position, activity level and temperature via a smartphone app.

BEST MAKER-FRIENDLY TECHNOLOGY

3D Systems ChefJet

It’s the chance to print yourself and the ones you love in edible, sugary form. Enough said!

MakerBot Replicator (2014)

The latest version of MakerBot’s desktop 3D printer is faster than ever before, and a new “Smart Extruder” alerts you when you need more material.

3D Systems iSense

The iSense is a 3D scanner that clips onto your iPad — a welcome product for DIY types who couldn’t use the Windows-only Sense.

BEST PC

Razer Project Christine

This modular setup may be a look at the future of gaming, but it’s also a beautiful piece of hardware that could find a place in next-gen customizable computing.

Samsung ATIV Book 9 (2014)

Samsung updated its already-excellent ATIV Book 9 to include lossless audio and a higher-res screen. For those reasons alone, this Ultrabook is at the top of our list.

Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon X1 (2014)

With an “adaptive” keyboard that includes context-specific controls and up to a 2,560 x 1,400 display, Lenovo’s business Ultrabook is looking better than ever.

LG Chromebase

LG brings ChromeOS to the desktop in a sleek, but simple 21.5-inch package. We imagine it finding a comfy place on your kitchen counter, for following along with recipes or streaming some Netflix while you cook.

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