While this year was predictably quiet for smartphones, we weren’t expecting it to be this quiet. Only a small sliver of companies announced new handsets at the show, and the ones we saw — with the exception of the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact — didn’t impress. Even tablets, which have had pretty healthy showings in years past, failed to make an appearance. Naturally, this left a gaping void that needed to be filled by something, and wearables were up to the task. Read on as we take a look back at just a few of this week’s mobile highlights.
Bigger phones, bigger tablets
Think phones and tablets have become too big? Don’t be so silly; they’re just getting bigger! Companies like Samsung and Hisense have sought to explore unbelievably large screen sizes on both types of devices: the former with its two 12.2-inch tablets, and the latter coming out with a 6.8-inch beaut. Samsung makes good use of the size by offering enhancements to multitasking and remote PC access, although we can’t see any functional benefit from the Hisense X1′s monstrous size aside from having as much space as you could like to have on your phone. Still, none of this should take anyone by surprise: It was only a matter of time before manufacturers started exploring these overlooked spaces.
Silicon was yet another area that didn’t make much noise at this year’s show, which means NVIDIA had the spotlight mostly to itself. The company introduced the Tegra K1, which, interestingly enough, consisted of two different chipsets. Both will offer an impressive 192 GPU cores, but the far bigger story here is that one of those two SoCs will have 64-bit support and two 2.5GHz CPU cores. On paper, this should be a rather impressive showing, but we’ll have to wait until the first models come out later this year to make an official judgment. Qualcomm also announced a couple new chips at the show, both of which cater to specific areas like connected cars (another large trend this year, by the way) and home theaters.
Wearables got a lot of attention at this year’s show, and we believe this just a small taste of what’s to come in 2014. Pebble started things off with the Steel smartwatch, a much more elegant version of the watch it introduced last year. The onslaught of watches, fitness devices and glasses quickly ensued: More well-known names like ZTE, LG, Avegant, Epson and Archos had something to show off, and we also saw a load of newcomers trying to stand out above the noise. 2014 is a critical year for wearables; their success or failure in catching on with the mainstream public will largely depend on what comes out to market this year.
Apple debuted a new television ad for the iPad during the NFL playoffs this weekend. The 90-second spot features a Robin Williams speech from the film Dead Poet’s Society overlaying the iPad being used in a variety of industries including filmmaking, hiking, SCUBA diving, music and more.
Apple has also introduced a new website called “Your Verse” to share the stories of the iPad users behind the ad.
We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering — these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love — these are what we stay alive for.
To quote from Whitman,
“O me, O life of the questions of these recurring.
Of the endless trains of the faithless. Of cities filled with the foolish. What good amid these, O me, O life?
Answer: that you are here. That life exists and identity. That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”
“That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”
What will your verse be?
Apple is using the spot, along with it’s previously existing ‘Life on iPad’ website, to show the wide variety of ways the iPad can be used in work and life.
Apple has added a number of models of the current 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro to its online store for refurbished products, marking the their first appearance in the store since their October launch. All six of the currently available configurations are listed as shipping in 1-5 business days and are available at a roughly 15% discount compared to brand-new machines. Available models include:
– 2.0 GHz quad-core Intel i7 with 8 GB RAM, 256 GB flash storage, and Intel Iris Pro Graphics: $1699 ($300 savings)
– 2.0 GHz quad-core Intel i7 with 8 GB RAM, 512 GB flash storage, and Intel Iris Pro Graphics: $1949 ($350 savings)
– 2.3 GHz quad-core Intel i7 with 16 GB RAM, 256 GB flash storage, and Intel Iris Pro Graphics: $1949 ($350 savings)
– 2.3 GHz quad-core Intel i7 with 16 GB RAM, 512 GB flash storage, and Intel Iris Pro and NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M graphics: $2199 ($400 savings)
– 2.6 GHz quad-core Intel i7 with 16 GB RAM, 512 GB flash storage, and Intel Iris Pro and NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M graphics: $2379 ($420 savings)
– 2.0 GHz quad-core Intel i7 with 16 GB RAM, 1 TB flash storage, and Intel Iris Pro Graphics: $2549 ($450 savings)
Models of the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro have yet to appear in Apple’s refurbished store.
Every manufacturer needs to test its gear throughout the product cycle, and if in-flight connectivity is what you’re peddling, frequent trials and partner demos can be tremendously costly for even the best-funded operations. For satellite internet providers, an antenna in the sky means you can accurately test performance even on the ground — when JetBlue and ViaSat teamed up to launch Fly-Fi last year, the duo ran through a variety of scenarios from an ordinary Ford passenger van.
Gogo, on the other hand, gets you online using modified cell towers, so that company needs to test its service from the air in its own private jet. Regardless, there’s no better place for any in-flight content provider to demo its product. Row 44, the satellite-based provider best known for getting Southwest’s 737s online, figured it might as well have some fun with the compulsory endeavor, so the company purchased a Grumman HU16B Albatross flying boat — it’s one insanely awesome ride. Join us aboard Albatross One.
In the five-plus years that Row 44′s been showing off its ever-evolving service on this twin-engine amphibious aircraft, Albatross One and her hotshot pilot, Dave Cummings, have logged more than 800 hours together. The plane, which has a profile similar to the Boeing 737s where you’ll find Row 44 service, is equipped with a full suite of equipment, including a large antenna and radome up top and a wireless hotspot mounted inside the relatively roomy cabin. And, in a twist unique to Row 44′s parent company Global Eagle, the current third-gen system is capable of serving up both broadband internet and live Dish TV programming using the same antenna.
After our recent JetBlue Fly-Fi test, however, the highlight of our one-hour flight on Albatross One was clearly the experience of flying on a 1950s-era seaplane. JetBlue’s Ka-band solution is leaps and bounds ahead of Row 44 when it comes to performance, and while we were able to send and receive email and load Engadget on board the Albatross, image uploads were not successful. Row 44 Chief Technical Officer John Guidon tells us that Ka-band service will arrive within the next few years, at which point you’ll be able to browse the web and stream video with vastly improved speeds.
You can experience Row 44′s affordable (albeit sluggish) satellite WiFi on board Southwest, Allegiant, Icelandair and Norwegian Air Shuttle. And on Southwest, you can also watch free (ad-supported) Dish TV. As for a ride on Albatross One? Our video tour will have to do — Global Eagle’s incredible plane is reserved for test flights and partner demos across the US.
Video edited by Edgar Alvarez.
Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week’s most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us — it’s the Week in Green.
As most of the US bundled up and tried to stay warm during last week’s unprecedented “polar vortex,” the tech world descended on Las Vegas for the annual International CES. Intel started things off by vowing to use only conflict-free minerals in its microprocessors, and Ford officially unveiled its very first solar-powered car. Manufacturers also showcased several gadgets focused on personal improvement — check out this smart bed that helps control snoring and the Lumo Lift, a gizmo that gently nags you to stand up straight. Also at CES, MPOWERD launched a colorful new inflatable solar lantern that will retail for just $25. In other green lighting news, Hulger introduced the Plumen 002, an innovative CFL that the company hopes will bring “magic and poetry back to the humble light bulb.” Technology isn’t just getting greener — it’s also changing lives. Case in point: Mick Ebeling, CEO and founder of Not Impossible Labs, recently traveled to Sudan to produce $100 3D-printed prosthetic limbs for amputees in war-torn Sudan. Apple has given its top-of-the-line workstation, the Mac Pro, a makeover that uses 74 percent less aluminum and steel than the previous generation. For backyard gardeners, Togetherfarm has produced a modular garden box system that snaps together like Lego bricks. And in other Lego news, Lego announced that a new Simpsons set would be produced this year.
American politicians have had a tough time getting high-speed rail projects off the ground, but the US could get a helping hand from Japan. Last week, the Japanese government offered to loan the US half of the $8 billion required to create a Super-Maglev route between Washington DC and Baltimore. In other green transportation news, Navia, the world’s first commercial driverless electric car hit the streets in Switzerland. With top speeds of 12.5MPH, the car won’t be breaking any speed records, but it produces zero emissions and is 100 percent autonomous. And for DIYers, OSVehicle has produced TABBY, an open-source electric car that can be assembled in less than an hour. While many cities are widening highways and trying to figure out how to accommodate more cars, the German city of Hamburg is doing just the opposite. Hamburg just unveiled a plan to phase out the need for cars within the next 20 years. A Palo Alto-based company has given the skateboard an electric upgrade with Onewheel, a self-balancing electric board that’s powered by a lithium-ion battery. Future Motion, the company behind the revolutionary skateboard, is currently raising funds on Kickstarter.
Last year was a great one for renewable energy in California: The Golden State doubled its solar capacity in 2013, adding a whopping 1,000 megawatts of solar capacity to the state’s homes. And last month, the UK broke a series of wind energy records by generating a total of 2,841,080 megawatt hours — about 10 percent of the country’s total power demand. In other energy news, a combination farm and solar park will set up shop in Japan’s Fukushima prefecture, raising questions about how safe it is to raise crops in radiation-contaminated soil. And in the ongoing Fukushima saga, scientists from the Japan Atomic Energy Agency announced plans to conduct a controlled nuclear meltdown in order to learn how to prevent another Fukushima-scale disaster from occurring.
Auto insurance quotes can be availed through online. There are a number of auto insurance carriers. When there are a large number of companies and products, it is difficult to figure out the best auto insurance plan for your needs. If you can avail the services from a reputed company which can analyze the benefits of various kinds of auto insurance products that will match your needs, you can register for such kind of service. You can get insurance quotes on your own terms when you have first hand information about various kinds of insurance plans and companies.
You can get affordable and best auto insurance quote by depending on the most trusted service providers in the market. The service provider has a great reputation as most of the insurance carriers offer a quotation through their platform. Instead of requesting an insurance quote from each and every insurance company, you can register your details on one website and you will get multiple quotations. It is possible to get up to 5 different insurance quotations. When you get sufficient quotations, you can compare the prices and you will settle for the best.
Benefits of auto insurance through a service provider
When you avail auto insurance through a service provider, you will get multiple auto insurance quotes. Auto insurance quote can be obtained from the most popular auto insurance carrier in a very quick and efficient way. The process is streamlined. You will not want to start your search for auto insurance right from the scratch. In fact, the best practices are established so that you will get an insurance plan of your choice at the earliest. There will not be any charge for getting an insurance quotation through online.
You will not want to share your personal information like the credit card until you confirm your order through online. You are not obliged to subscribe to an auto insurance plan even though you obtain a quotation from the service provider. You will get information on auto insurance variables so that you will take extreme care to take the right kind of plan at the right time as per your needs.
Insurance policy of your choice
After going through the auto insurance quote through online, you will pay the premium to the insurance carrier through online. Before confirming the plan, you will be well aware of various factors that can reduce your monthly or annual premium. You will take single or joint insurance plan so that you will get maximum financial benefit.
The insurance plan can be modified as per your expectations. Instead of going through approximations, you will get the correct information so that there will not be any confusion. There will not be any hidden charges when you subscribe the services from a reputed agency. You will go through the auto insurance quotes offered by various insurance companies and will settle for the best after going through the insurance variables. You will understand that a policy will be less expensive after reaching a certain age. The impact of your driving history and other factors that have direct influence on the auto insurance will be known to you so that you will select an insurance plan in a careful way.
If you take insurance from the same carrier, you will get a discount. You will understand ways to combine policies and the driving practices that pose risk on the premium can be assessed. In fact, your job and education will also affect the insurance premium that you will pay to the carrier. The rates will go down when you get married. When you are completely aware of various conditions that have direct impact on the auto insurance, you can certainly make the most from your investment.
Google has released its first Android device share data for 2014, and it’s now clear that many users are flocking to a newer OS version… just not the latest version. While the shiny new KitKat release did climb to 1.4 percent of active devices in January, Jelly Bean was the real winner — the older software jumped from 54.5 percent in December to 59.1 percent this month. There’s no real mystery as to what happened, though. KitKat remains limited to mostly Google hardware, whether it’s the Nexus line or Motorola phones; we haven’t quite reached that point where large numbers of third-party devices either get KitKat upgrades or ship with the revision pre-installed. That surge may come soon, however, and the team in Mountain View can at least take comfort in knowing that over 60 percent of Android’s active customer base is reasonably up to speed.
Via: Android Central
Source: Android Developers
The lights are now dimmed throughout the many halls of CES, and none are more perturbed by darkness than the folks at Oledcomm. Illumination is the company’s specialty, after all; or, more specifically, LiFi technology, which facilitates high-speed data transmission via pulsating light sources (though they appear static to the naked eye). We swung by the firm’s booth in Vegas to check out the various demos on display, including a two-way, 10 Mbps link tying a Macbook to a router. What interested us most, however, was a concept smartphone that took instructions from the many lamps scattered around the booth.
The smartphone — an unbranded Android handset — had undergone one key modification: its front-facing camera had been swapped out for a light sensor. A nondescript tablet, too, had undergone the same procedure, and a cheap, gummy bear-shaped LiFi dongle showed a way to retrofit devices via the headphone jack. After loading up an app on the smartphone, holding it within range of lamplight immediately triggered events like displaying a picture, or playing a video. Images and clips were stored on the phone, of course, but nevertheless, the demo showed the potential of one-way LiFi transmissions in mobile devices. Oledcomm, which provides other companies with LiFi infrastructure and software services, imagines implementations from precise indoor geolocation to in-store advertising. For mainstream adoption of the technology, though, the outfit first hopes smartphone manufacturers will add light sensors to their handsets as standard.
It wasn’t exactly a banner year for laptops at CES. Hell, the “Best of CES” award for PCs ended up going to a desktop, and was nearly upstaged by an all-in-one running Chrome OS. Still, that didn’t stop some companies (especially Lenovo) from trotting out some new models. From a simple Haswell refresh to a dual-OS hybrid, we’ve rounded up every laptop announced at the show. Couldn’t keep up with all the news the first time? Get ready to catch up right here.
ASUS Transformer Book Duet
ASUS only announced one laptop at this year’s CES, but it’s quite the doozy, even by itself. In brief, the Duet is a 13-inch laptop/tablet hybrid that runs both Windows and Android. Unlike ASUS’ earlier Transformer Book Trio, though, which only ran Android in tablet mode, the Duet can run either OS, regardless of whether you have it plugged into the keyboard dock. As with the Trio, however, you can expect an abundance of storage: up to 128GB in the tablet and up to 1TB in the dock portion.
Lenovo Ideapad Y40, Y50, Z40 and Z50
Don’t say we didn’t warn you about the refreshes. In addition to unveiling a new line of laptop/tablet hybrids (more on that in a moment), Lenovo also made slight tweaks to its performance Y series and its multimedia Z line. Most notably, the 15-inch Y50 now has a 3,840 x 2,160 screen configuration, along with an optional touchscreen and backlit keyboards — all things you won’t find on the smaller Y40. With the Z series, the specs are more similar between the Z40 and Z50: Either way, you get an optional NVIDIA 840M GPU, along with Haswell processors, up to 16GB of RAM and a 1,366 x 768 display (upgradeable to 1080p). Finally, wrapping up, Lenovo also refreshed its existing Flex 14 and 15 laptops with AMD processors. And… that’s it. They otherwise have the same Yoga-like design as the current models.
Lenovo Miix 2
Last year at CES, Lenovo nearly stole the show with the ThinkPad Helix, a laptop/tablet hybrid that you could use with the screen facing away from the keyboard. Fast-forward a year, and the Miix 2 series is basically the same design, except: A) it’s a consumer product; B) it doesn’t allow for pen input; and C) it’s much sleeker than the original Helix was. Available in two screen sizes, 10 and 11 inches, you get a 1080p screen on either model, though the 11-incher runs on a much more powerful chip (Core i5 versus Intel Bay Trail on the Miix 2 10). Performance aside, they’re more alike than they are different: Both offer an eight-hour battery, optional 3G, JBL speakers and a full-sized USB port on the dock itself.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
A year and a half after the original ThinkPad X1 Carbon came out, our favorite business Ultrabook is getting refreshed in a big way. In addition to the usual Haswell processors, it now has a 2,560 x 1,440 screen option and an “adaptive” keyboard with light-up controls along the top that change depending on the application you’re using. It’s also something of an engineering marvel: Even with a touchscreen, it comes in at around three pounds, making it the lightest 14-inch laptop we know of.
Lenovo Yoga 2
Remember when Lenovo’s Yoga line consisted of just two models: an 11-incher and a 13-inch model? Those were the days. After releasing the ThinkPad Yoga and high-end Yoga 2 Pro a few months earlier, Lenovo is back with the mid-range Yoga 2 series, which effectively replaces the original Yoga 11 and Yoga 13. Starting with the 13-inch model, the screen resolution is now 1,920 x 1,080, instead of 1,600 x 900, and it also steps up to a backlit keyboard and eight-hour battery. Still, the Yoga 2 Pro goes up to 3,200 x 1,800 for not much more money ($1,199 versus $999 for the Yoga 2 13). Also, the Yoga 2 Pro offers solid-state storage, whereas the Yoga 2 makes do with spinning hard drives. As for the 11-inch model, it now runs full Windows, thanks to an Intel Bay Trail processor, meaning it should be more powerful (and also more versatile) than the now-discontinued Windows RT version.
Samsung ATIV Book 9 2014 Edition
Though this technically falls into the “refresh” pile, Samsung’s ATIV Book 9 2014 Edition still made it into our Best of CES finalist round, mostly thanks to its superior sound quality. With support for lossless formats (via the headphone jack or a compatible speaker), the ATIV Book 9 brings richer, more studio-like sound — a meaningful improvement over what you’d get on most other laptops. Indeed, we hope this is a harbinger of better things to come throughout Samsung’s PC lineup, if not the rest of the industry.
Sony VAIO Flip 11A
Sony’s already been taking on Lenovo’s Yoga series with its new Flip line, but early reviews (including ours) were lukewarm, mostly because Sony’s convertibles were on the large side, making them unwieldy to use in tablet mode. Accordingly, then, Sony’s coming out with an 11-inch model, the Flip 11A, which should be easier to use as both a laptop and tablet (its cramped, netbook-like keyboard notwithstanding). Like its bigger siblings, it offers pen support, with the help of an N-trig digitizer, and also comes pre-loaded with artsy software like Artrage and Photoshop Elements. Is it revolutionary? Hardly, but with its smaller footprint, it could be easier to use. And hey, its $800 starting price is tempting, too.
It was a pretty quiet year for Toshiba. Other than a few TVs and a couple of laptop PCs, all the company had to show was a single Chromebook. Granted, this was Toshiba’s first Chromebook, which is sort of an interesting story in and of itself: It’s basically the last major PC maker to jump on board. The $279 Toshiba Chromebook, as it’s so very appropriately called, has a 13-inch screen, which, for whatever reason, has never been used on a Chrome OS device before. Under the hood, it runs off a Haswell-series Celeron 2955U CPU — a nice boost over the sort of ARM processor used in the identically priced HP Chromebook 11. Additionally, that larger footprint means the Toshiba Chromebook offers a more spacious keyboard than most, along with deeper key travel, too. It may not have been groundbreaking enough to win a Best of CES Award, but among Chromebooks, at least, it looks like it might actually be a good deal.
Toshiba 5-in-1 laptop concept
Like it did with netbooks and Android tablets, Toshiba initially sat out the convertible notebook trend, opting instead to watch its competitors very closely. Finally, though, the company is getting ready to enter the space: It spent the week showing off a 5-in-1 laptop that takes after Lenovo’s Yoga series, while avoiding some of its mistakes. In particular, this 13-inch device (name TBD) has a reversible, detachable keyboard; slip it off and you’ll be left with a small piece of metal at the top of the keyboard deck that folds back into a kickstand. From there, you can use the laptop in “tent” mode, “canvas” mode (with the screen face-up at a slight angle) and a sort of presentation mode.
When it comes to using the thing as a standalone tablet, you can reattach the keyboard with the buttons facing in, meaning you won’t have to press your fingers against loose keys, like you would on a Yoga. Additionally, the laptop has a built-in pen slot — a nice touch, considering most of its rivals don’t support pen input at all. No word on when this will go on sale, how much it will cost or what specs it might offer — all Toshiba reps are saying right now is that the company will release the device when it’s ready.
Toshiba Satellite P50t
One trend Toshiba isn’t sitting out? High-res laptop displays. After being one of the first companies to ship a notebook with a 2,560 x 1,440 screen, it’s on track to be first out of the gate with a 4K notebook. The Satellite P50t, set to come out later this year, has a 15-inch, 3,840 x 2,160 display with a pixel density of 282 ppi. As we’ve seen on every other super-high-res laptop (the Retina display MacBook Pro, the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus, et cetera), not all apps have been optimized for such a high pixel density, so you’re bound to see some awkward scaling (think: tiny playback controls in Windows Media Player). That said, the screen itself is lovely, with good viewing angles and fine color reproduction. Keep this one in mind six months from now when back-to-school season comes around; hopefully this guy will be ready by then.
Vizio 15.6-inch Thin + Light
It’s sort of insane to think that Vizio is only just getting around to releasing its first Haswell laptop, but hey, better late than never, right? Here at CES, the company announced a refreshed version of its 15.6-inch Thin + Light, which now comes standard with a quad-core Core i7 processor, Intel Iris Pro graphics and a 1080p touchscreen. Other than that, this has the same design as the laptops Vizio put out last year, which is to say it has a metal chassis with flat, close-together keys. Interestingly, though, the selection of screen sizes has dwindled since a year ago: though Vizio refreshed its 15-inch laptop, it’s apparently discontinuing the 14-inch model. Looks like Vizio decided not to compete with Ultrabooks after all.
Filed under: Laptops
Sennheiser, long a staple at CES with its stellar audio goods didn’t disappoint this year by launching a new line of DJ headsets. The HD6 MIX, HD7 DJ, and HD8 DJ sets priced from $280 for the low end, $329 for the HD7 DJ and $389 for the HD8 DJ. Sennheiser’s HD25 model has become something of a classic with disc jockeys. So, when it launched a product, presumably it thinks is superior, we get excited.
Of the three new models, the HD8 is essentially the flagship, with the HD7 being the more affordable option. Both have been designed to provide high quality audio (with an impedance of 95 Ohms), but have a little more emphasis on the mid- and low-end frequencies. Something that will help DJs as they listen out for transients (think: beats) in a club environment. The HD6 has more of a studio focus, and as such has a flatter response and higher impedance (150 Ohms).
The HD8 DJ is the set that we got to spend some time with, and the first thing you notice is the build quality. If you’ve ever used the HD25s, you know that while they’re well built, the overall finish is plastic. The HD8 DJ, however, is a medley of metal and polycarbonate. The ear cups are larger than before making these over-ears (compared to the 25′s on-ear), and the high-end, soft padded finish makes them way more comfortable — perfect for extended use. As you’d expect, the ear cups are also articulated, so you can do the ‘ole one-ear DJ thing, wear them in a number of configurations, or just fold them up neatly for convenient storage. We gave the headphones a good number of vigorous twists and bends, and came to the conclusion that these would stand up to the rigours of modern day DJing no problem. In many ways, these feel more like the Pioneer HDJ line than the HD25 they replace, but that’s hardly surprising given that the former were purpose built for DJs, the HD25 (you despite their popularity in the community) were not.
What about the sound? Well, we managed to get some extended time with them here at CES, and we’re pretty fond of them. If you’re used to the slightly more compressed sound you can get from a lot of commercial/consumer headphones, then these will come as a pleasant surprise. The dynamic range is excellent meaning you really feel the arrival of every kick and hi-hat, without it being overly loud. Mids and lows stand out particularly well thanks to that gentle boost, but even the high ends are clear and present. Other tricks include the option to have the cable on either side (there’s a straight and coiled option in the case), along with removable/swappable pads, and some raised dimples on one side of the headband so you always get them the right way around, no matter how dark your environment.
Sean Cooper contributed to this report.