At the Consumer Electronics Show last year, products were introduced that would integrate with Apple’s smart home platform. These smart products included light bulb adapters, power outlets, door locks and more. Google announced similar innovations in smart home technology last year as well. This got consumers excited and craving for updates on this technology at this year’s electronics show. Unfortunately, there weren’t many people talking about Google’s smart home system; nicknamed Brillo and Weave. At the 2016 CES, there were some smart products from this system shown like the security camera, printer, oven, scanner, speaker, door locks and light bulbs. These products were manufactured by big named tech company partners, like Philips, LG Asus and HP.
LG is actually the biggest partner of Google’s smart home system. They had a washer and dryer, air conditioner, security camera, wireless speakers and a refrigerator on display at the CES. So what’s the problem? Well there was no mention from Google or its tech partners about when these items will be released or what the progress is on their development. During LG’s press conference, Brillo and Weave were talked about for three minutes by Google’s Vice President. But there were no specifics on the new platform.
Just so you understand, Brillo is the software that gets programmed into these smart devices. It is basically like the operating system of them which is similar to how Android is an operating system to smartphones. As for Weave, this is the special programming language that allows the various smart devices to speak to one another. What is interesting is that devices don’t need to have Brillo installed in them in order to speak Weave to each other. This makes Weave the most important programming feature of these smart devices. In fact, it can even help these devices to communicate with apps for your smartphone, whether they are iOS apps or Android apps.
Perhaps, Google is focusing on other projects at the moment and hasn’t made any new advancement with Brillo and Weave. Either that or they may be looking to create something that will blow people away. You should check back at next year’s CES to see if Google introduces updates on this awesome smart home system. Since smart technology is growing to all types of products, it is safe to say that smart devices for homes will gain more attention sooner or later as they become more developed and tested.
It’s been a few weeks now since the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show wrapped up in Las Vegas, but we’re still combing through the wide variety of new technologies on display. The show is always loaded with a lot of cutting edge innovations including health technologies, cameras, unexpected tech gadgets and more – but some of these are just extraordinary. Here are some of the strange gadgets we saw at CES 2014:
- Monster Sized Speaker – The Dalek Massive: this was interesting because the monstrous cyborg from Doctor Who series (on BBC television) visited CES 2014 to play music! The 6 foot tall replica of the Dalek is handmade and is a Bluetooth speaker system created by Massive Audio – a car audio start up. The Dalek comes with 32 woofers on its ‘skirt’ and has a subwoofer on the top of its head. Including a staggering 5,000 watts amplifiers, the “Dalek Massive” might as well be the largest Bluetooth speaker to date. It can issue commands and also obey smartphone in order to stream music through Bluetooth.
- ChefJet 3D Printer: Created by 3D Systems Corporation, the ChefJet 3 D Printer is a kitchen countertop device that can actually print tasty sugar treats in all types of 3D geometrical shapes. The candy maker will also have several other recipes and flavors like Vanilla, mint, chocolate and cherry. It will be available in the later of 2014 years and can cost up to $5000 according to the company.
- Slouch Zapper: for people who always want to stay in good postures but don’t want to carry a book on their head all the time – this new gadget could be of great help. The Lumo Life will now zap the user each time they begin to slouch. It is a small device which can be clipped underneath a shirt or collar and will detect the slouch in order to vibrate and remind the user to straighten up. The company, LumuBodyTech.com, will roll out the Slouch Zapper in late spring of 2014 at a cost ranging from $55 – $80.
- Mother: here comes a mother that can be programmed to nag you. Its eyes glow and it has a body that resembles a cross between a Russian Doll and a bowling pin. The gadget is designed to wirelessly receive data from sensors named Motion Cookies which you can place in different places to track your activity at home. You can then track your daily habits including eating, hygiene and fitness. It also includes home security and starts at a $222 price point.
- Pet Remote: Tractive’s new prototype claims to help train your dog to execute your commands from afar. It can fit on the dog’s collar because of the small size.
If you have a favorite strange gadget from CES, please let us know and we’ll cover it.
The Lenovo hybrid Windows 8 Helix tablet is up for pre-order for a not insignificant $1700.
Lenovo Helix hybrid
Buyers will be getting an Intel Core i5 CPU paired with 8GB RAM and a snappy 256GB SSD. We first saw Helix at the CESin Las Vegas and it was scheduled for March, then delayed. Lenovo is hoping to be shipping on April 31st.
Lenovo Helix hybrid ultrabook
It sports am 11.6-inch 1920 x 1080 pixel IPS touchscreen with wide viewing angles of course and 400 candelas of brightness. Moderate-use battery life should reach to five hours for the tablet alone, or ten hours with the dockable keyboard attached.
The keyboard dock is Lenovo Thinkpad style, so users get a point stick, which is far more useful on Windows 8 than it ever was in XP or Windows 7. And Lenovo’s sterling build quality should make that $1700 outlay a long-term investment rather than a fleeting extravagance. Macmall is taking preorders for Lenovo Helix starting at $1699.99
New line of Archos Titanium tablets 7-, 8-, 9.7- and 10.1-inch android tablets have passed through FCC.
We have seen Archos Titanium tablets being introduced at the CES in January as well as Archos 80 Platinum and 97 Platinum HD. Archos was one of the few exhibitors who revealed pricing on their new products.
Archos 70, 7-inch tablets features IPS display with 1024 x 768 pixel resolution and it will start from $119.
Archos 80, an 8-inch tablet with cost $169 and Archos 101 a 10.1-inch tablet will go for $199. The display specs on these have not been released yet.
Archos 70 and 80 feature 1.2GHz Allwinner A-31 ARM processors and will be available in Europe and US in February.
Archos 97 Titanium HD stands out as a very high resolution, yet very “budget” android tablet. The 9.7-inch IPS 10 finger capacitive touch-screen will feature 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution and the tablet will be in February sold for $249.
All Titanium tablets from Archos will sport Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS.
Archos 97 Titanium HD is run by 1.6GHz dual-core Cortex A9 Rockchip RK3066 cpu toppled with Mali 400 quad-core gpu and 1GB of RAM. The storage will be 8GB Flash expandable by up to 64GB via microSD card. There is a front facing 2MP camera and 5MP rear camera with auto focus. Ports included are Micro USB 2.0, USB host via OTG, Audio Jack, microSD, and HDMI out.
With Play Store full of apps and high specs under the hood these Archos tablets are to watch out for.
Archos also introduced a 13.3-inch Archos FamilyPad 2 tablet.
HP EliteBook Revolve
A convertible Ivy Bridge packed, 4G capable, touch-screen notebook; EliteBook Revolve features 11.6-inch touch-screen that rotates, but doesn’t detach. Once rotated, screen can be placed on top and used as a tablet.
Announced by HP in December, made a debut in Consumer Electronics Show CES 2013, HP EliteBook Revolve is a Windows 8 convertible notebook. Design is business like with magnesium alloy chassis and reputable military MIL-STD 810G standard, giving it a sturdy and comforting feel. Despite its solid built HP EliteBook Revolve 810 notebook weighs only 1.36kg (3lb).
Gorilla Glass protected 11.6-inch touch-screen has 1,366×768 pixel resolution. Display is touch sensitive, supporting both pen and finger. Under the hood we have choice of premium Intel Ivy Bridge Core i3, i5, or i7 chips and RAM is configurable up to 12GB. The storage is 256GB SSD. Connectivity includes 4G LTE, NFC, and TPM.
It’s main competition is Lenovo ThinkPad Twist that sells for about $830 (and up). HP EliteBook Revolve will be available in US in March. No word on pricing yet.
HP EliteBook Revolve in tablet mode
HP has also showcased their new Windows 8 Spectre XT TouchSmart ultrabook and other HP windows 8 devices.
Apple Time Capsule
Long awaited Gigabit WiFi may soon come to Time Capsule, Apple AirPort base stations, Apple TV and maybe even iPhones. Promising up to 8 antennas, up to four times the bandwidth (from 80 to 160MHz) and improved data transfers.
Reports in fall last year indicated that Apple has hired a team and is working hard to improve the speeds and stability of current Wifi offerings. The arrival of new 5G Gigabit WiFi 802.11ac at CES 2013 by Broadcom pleased many OEMs. New Broadcom 5G WiFi chips support 802.11.ac standard which promises wider bandwidth, better and faster data syncing, wider range and overall more stable transfer of data. Speeds of 5G IEEE 802.11ac are to be up to 6 times that of 802.11n.
802.11.ac standard enables more devices in the room, or outside the room for that matter and with better signal. With networking speeds of up to 6 times that of 802.11n more streaming and downloading can be managed at the same time, or in shorter time spam allowing the devices to turn into lower consumption mode faster, thus saving battery. 802.11.ac uses twice as wide a bandwidth (80 MHz channel) than that of existing 802.11n WiFi. The 5G WiFi also works more effectively as it uses better 256-QAM modulations which transfers data more efficiently.
New 802.11ac still needs to be tested and licensed. The newest Apple products like Macs feature 3 antenas reaching speeds of 450 Mbps on 5GHz networks. Broadcom’s new 5G WiFi chips will enable up to 8 antennas. Apple’s latest wireless router Airport Extreme 5G provides about 7,500 php per router with easy setup and stable quality WiFi performance.
For older apple laptop parts, new and older airport cards, airport extreme with bluetooth 2.0 edr card and many other apple parts may have been discontinued by Apple, but you can still order them in dvwarehouse.
Sony Xperia Z – Waterproof!
Waterproof smartphones aren’t a novelty; Panasonic Eluga comes to mind, but Sony Xperia Z does impress with splashy specs.
Sony Xperia Z features a beautiful scratch-resistant, capacitive, multi-touch, 5-inch display with 1080 x 1920 pixel resolution and 440ppi pixel density. It measures 139 x 71 x 7.9mm and weighs 146 grams.
2330 mAh battery offers solid 11 hours of talk time and 550 hours on sand by. 4G will no doubt suck the life out of the battery, but Sony’s Stamina mode pauses apps when screen goes black.
Sony Xperia Z is run by quad-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro Krait processor with Adreno 320 graphics and 2GB of RAM. 16GB of built in storage can be expanded by up to 32GB via microSD card. There are two cameras on Xperia Z. The front facing one is 2.2MP. The rear camera is an outstanding 13.1MP (1080p) camera with LED flash, auto focus, face detection, image stabilization, HDR and many other features.
Sony Xperia Z is capable of downloading speeds of 100 Mbit/s via 4G LTE Cat3. It has GPS, A-GPS, Glonass positioning and navigation, NFC, and HDMI connectivity. The operating system is Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
Sony introduced another Jelly Bean model at CES 2013 Sony Xperia ZL. ZL model is not waterproof or dust proof, but it is slightly smaller (131.6 x 69.3), bit thicker (9.8 mm) and heavier (151 g). The storage capacity can be expanded by up to 64GB with either microSD, microSDHC, or microSDXC cards. Other specs seem to be identical.
Two reasons were stated by Samsung’s senior vice president Mike Abary. For one, there just isn’t enough demand for Windows RT tablet. Second reason given was that Samsung wasn’t ready to do the heavy lifting required to educate people about Windows RT and it’s differences from Windows 8 OS. This is what Mr. Abary said to cnet on CES 2013.
“There wasn’t really a very clear positioning of what Windows RT meant in the marketplace, what it stood for relative to Windows 8, that was being done in an effective manner to the consumer. When we did some tests and studies on how we could go to market with a Windows RT device, we determined there was a lot of heavy lifting we still needed to do to educate the customer on what Windows RT was. And that heavy lifting was going to require pretty heavy investment. When we added those two things up, the investments necessary to educate the consumer on the difference between RT and Windows 8, plus the modest feedback that we got regarding how successful could this be at retail from our retail partners, we decided maybe we ought to wait.”
Samsung will keep making Windows 8 devices like Series 7 Ultrabook, Series 7 Chronos, or ATIV Smart PC tablet.
Microsoft does have difficulties selling their Windows RT as well as Surface tablets featuring this OS. Main reason is confusion about the user interface. Many people don’t realize that Windows RT does not run Windows desktop apps, or Windows 8 apps. It only runs Windows RT apps. Another strong reason for lame sales is Microsoft’s high profit margins. Microsoft Surface tablet is a fine tablet, but would you pay $500 (and up) for it? The tablet costs $267 to make and with drawbacks it clearly carries, Microsoft Surface tablet should not cost more than $400.
Read about How to save Windows.