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January 10, 2018

The Morning After: CES 2018, Day 1

by John_A

Hey, good morning!

Yesterday was the first official day of CES, the world’s biggest tech show. Showfloors were open, SD cards were filled with hands-on photos and we tested plenty of things. We’re now eyeing up the shortlist candidates for our Best of CES awards, but there’s still plenty for us to unearth from deep inside the Las Vegas Convention Center. Let’s get started.

And they cost less than the competition.
Sony’s totally wireless, noise-cancelling sports earbuds are surprisingly good

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During last night’s press event, Sony revealed its latest sports earbuds with totally wireless and wireless models — two of which feature active noise cancellation. The company debuted its WF-1000X back at IFA, but the WF-SP700N that’s here at CES has the sporty treatment. This includes IPX4 rating that protects the tiny audio devices from sweat and moisture at the gym or during a run. In fact, Sony claims it’s the first to put active noise cancellation in a pair of true-wireless water-resistant sports earbuds. According to Billy Steele, the WF-SP700N had punchy highs and a solid amount of bass — something that’s often lacking with these kinds of headphones.

That’s a new one for CES.
Volocopter’s 18-rotor air taxi

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At Intel’s keynote, Volocopter showed off a drone big enough to carry people around. The German company’s vehicle relies on nine batteries to power two rotors each (located on opposite sides) during flights of up to 30 minutes. It doesn’t charge between flights either, using swappable battery packs to get units back in the air ASAP. Getting this drone past regulators will be tricky, but Volocopter hopes it will be ready to fly in five years or so.

The Big Picture
This is what a 50-qubit quantum computer looks like

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From afar, it looks like a steampunk chandelier. Or an intricate collection of tubes and wires that culminate in a small steel cylinder at the bottom. It is, in fact, one of the most sophisticated quantum computers ever built. We took a closer look.

Meanwhile, everywhere else…
Microsoft’s Meltdown updates are reportedly bricking AMD PCs

Following reports of unbootable machines, Microsoft has halted updates of its Meltdown and Spectre security patches for AMD computers. It made the move after numerous complaints from users who installed the patch and then couldn’t get past the Windows 10 splash screen.
According to reports from users, the unbootable problem appears to happen with specific AMD models. The same issue was also confirmed by other Athlon- and Sempron-equipped PC owners. Microsoft confirmed as much, blaming the issue on faulty AMD documentation. “After investigating, Microsoft has determined that some AMD chipsets do not conform to the documentation previously provided to Microsoft to develop the Windows operating system mitigations to protect against the chipset vulnerabilities known as Spectre and Meltdown,” the company said.

Plus it’ll connect to your phone, tablet or PC, for some serious VR gaming.
The Huawei VR2 is a stunningly comfortable virtual reality headset

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The Huawei VR2 headset was first announced this past October in China, but CES 2018 appears to be its American debut. Unlike the original Huawei VR, this is a unit that hopes to take on the likes of Oculus and Vive, not the Gear VR. You don’t slide a phone inside; instead you connect a phone, tablet or even a PC to it via USB-C. Then you can enjoy your virtual worlds in glorious 3K — that’s a resolution of 1,600 x 1,440 per eye. And thanks to the 90Hz refresh rate, eye strain and motion sickness should be kept to a minimum. It’s also incredibly comfortable for a VR headset.

But wait, there’s more…

  • Dell’s XPS 15 2-in-1 binds an Intel Core CPU with AMD Radeon graphics
  • Kingston’s 7-in-1 Nucleum USB-C hub
  • SanDisk made a really tiny 1TB USB-C stick
  • Meet the selfie drone that lives in your phone case
  • Matrix’s battery-free smartwatch gets some smart upgrades
  • Learning how to drive in VR traffic school
  • Project Linda is a laptop dock for the Razer Phone

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