TechRap: 4K, Wearables, High tech cars rule CES 2014
LAS VEGAS, USA – TechRap was at the largest tech event of the year - Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. There was a lot to cover but on this week's show we'll zoom out a bit and focus on 3 of the biggest trends at CES - 4K, wearable computers, and high tech cars.
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4K ACQUISITION, DELIVERY, CONSUMPTION
What's 4K? 4K is 4x Full HD, or another way of calling Ultra High Definition content. At the show we saw different vendors talking about 4K video acquisition, delivery and consumption.
CES hadn’t even officially kicked off and Korean-rivals Samsung and LG had showed off impressive 4K televisions. Curved was the new trend at CES. Both companies unveiled 105-inch curved Ultra High Def TVs - and both claimed they were the first in the world with the technology.
Both companies also showed off prototypes of bendable UHD televisions that went from flat screen to curved display. You can’t get those now. But soon you’ll be able to get the top of the line curved UHDs starting at 50-inches.
Speaking of TVs LG showed off new Smart TVs running Web OS.
The reincarnated version of the former mobile operating system got a lot of buzz. We liked its easy to use interface but weren’t blown away.
We saw 4K TV’s from Sony and Panasonic too Sony showed off wedged shaped 4K TVs that fit in extra speakers while Panasonic had an S-shaped display that featured 6 curved displays curving in different directions - 3 outward and 3 inward.
Panasonic also showed off a 4K projector prototype and announced plans to launch a 20-inch 4K tablet. While LG showed off a 4K computer monitor.
But what good are 4K screens if you don’t have 4K content?
Back in September the Acer Liquid S2 became the first smartphone to shoot 4K video.
Then in October the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 followed suit.
At CES we saw more smartphones that could shoot 4K video including the nubia 5S from Chinese manufacturer ZTE.
But what really impressed me was Sony’s 4K Handycam. The camera comes with an impressive 1-inch sensor and should be available for just under $2000 in the first quarter of 2014.
The next big trend is in the wearable space. While we did see some wearable goggles in the arena of entertainment from the likes of Occulus and Sony.
Most of the wearables shown off at CES 2014 are worn on the wrist.
Leaked a few days before CES, LG’s Lifeband Touch made an appearance at the show.The device was clunky and uncomfortable to wear on the wrist but it merged fitness-tracker features with smart watch features - allowing you to get notifications for new calls or text messages. But it was more cumbersome than useful.
Kickstarter project Pebble didn’t have a booth but sought out journalists to show off the new Pebble Steel. The device looks very much like your favorite stainless steel watch - which we thought was an important step in the right direction - to have wearables that are not only functional but look like a real accessory.
Garmin - known for its fitness & GPS watches also released a fitness band. The Vivo Fit has a battery that will last for about a year. But it doesn’t come with a back lit display so it will be a challenge to use it in the dark.
Then we was the JayBird reign that is smarter than the usual fitness band. The band knows when you are swimming, walking, running or even cycling. It also knows when you are sleeping without you telling it so.
But our favorite of the bunch was Sony’s new Core based Smartband. The core is a removable tracking chip that can be worn in a variety of ways. Sony’s Smartband - which arrives in March is soft, comfortable to wear and waterproof.
HIGH TECH CARS
What's a high tech car? Maybe something with smartphone integration, or maybe one of those self driving ones by Google? Well at CES we saw some pretty tricked out vehicles.
Toyota showed off a couple of fancy concept cars at CES.
The FV2 looks like a motorcycle from the future with a digital exoskeleton. The Tron-like vehicle doesn’t have a steering wheel, gas pedal and brake.
The iRoad is an three-wheel ultra-compact car with zero emission. We saw the car in action and it looks like a perfect vehicle to navigate Metro Manila’s busy streets. The car uses Active Lean technology where you shift your body weight to either side of the vehicle to move in that particular direction.
The FCV Concept Car is a four-seat sedan that runs on hydrogen fuel cells. The hydrogen powered car performs as good as the Tesla electric car but takes only minutes to re-charge.
Audi demoed a self-driving car to a select group of journalists. But while the car is smart enough to drive without your help, it will try and wake you up if you fall asleep. If you don’t in 10 seconds, it will automatically park the car, put on your hazard lights, and call 911.
We spotted BMW’s first electric car the i3 all over Vegas. Samsung also had one at its booth that showed off Galaxy Gear integration. For now the smart watch can access the car’s battery level and control things like locking the doors and honking the horn. For an additional $1000 dollars - you get the car’s self parking features where no human input necessary. - Rappler.com