What to expect at #CES2014: 4K streaming, wearables, connected home and more!

#CES2014CES  has grown into a beast of an event, but the increase in participation has also made it extremely noisy. The show offers a comprehensive preview of the year’s consumer technology trends, but this year is shaping up to be more about taking existing trends, such as the connected home and wearables, and iterating them into the mainstream.

You can also expect to see the usual batch of improvements to TVs and PCs/laptops. TV makers will be pushing their 4K sets hard this year. Prices are finally approaching reasonable and 4K content is starting to arrive, but the next-gen resolution will still be inaccessible to most. On the PC side, we’re curious to see whether Intel pursues a rumored strategy  of combining Windows and Android. On paper, the idea sounds ill-fated, but we’ll have to wait and see how it turns out.

4K video streaming

Toward the end of 2013, Netflix teased that it is currently testing 4K video streaming, with an estimated launch window of some time this coming spring. We expect the company to announce Netflix 4K-ready Ultra HD televisions at CES which will come with the app pre-installed. House of Cards is currently the only confirmed show to be available in 4K in the lineup.

YouTube, on the other hand, will also reportedly show off its 4K streaming tech via Google’s VP9 video codec. The codec helps HD videos stream at a faster rate while reducing the bandwidth necessary, although we expect the demo to apply mostly to computers and smartphones first before making its way to televisions.

While we’re on the topic, other companies pushing 4K TVs include Polaroid and LG. $1,000 for an Ultra HD TV? So. Many. Pixels.

Home automation

As the ‘Internet of Things’ trend continue to rise, this year’s take on home automation focuses on security. Crowdfunded products will finally make their physical debut at CES for us to test in person.

20130731145324 canary with fruit and phone 220x163 What to expect at CES 2014: 4K streaming, wearables, connected home Of the many smart security systems that launched on Kickstarter and Indiegogo last year, we’re keeping our eyes on the Canary and Piper.

Both are webcam-based monitoring tools that allow users to check in on their homes straight from their smartphone. The devices can also detect unusual activities, such as an open door inside an empty home or fire, and send you push notifications.

mother 4cookies.19 610x610 220x220 What to expect at CES 2014: 4K streaming, wearables, connected home Similar devices that will also hone in on home surveillance management are Lowe’s Iris system and Sen.se’s Mother , a super creepy Barbapapa -shaped smiley thing that lives with you and tells you how much water to drink, monitors if you’re sleeping long enough, or if an intruder appears… in case you wanted another mom living in your home. At least she’s always smiling!

All these devices range from quirky to modern to straightforward, so it will be interesting to see how they stack against one another.

Smart sport accessories

1383611534000 94F PR img8 220x165 What to expect at CES 2014: 4K streaming, wearables, connected home 2013 may have been the year for wearable technology, but 2014 seems to have quite a bit of sports-themed accessories in store. Instead of making appointments with your personal coach, athletes can check out the 94fifty Smart Sensor Basketball  or the Babolat Play Drive Tennis Racket  to track their performance over time.

As sport and fitness accessories attempt to become even more invisible (or at least quasi-natural to your current daily life), we’re also seeing new form factors for fitness trackers.

The Qardio Core , for example, doesn’t even strap against your wrist or ankle – it’s going straight for the chest to monitor body temperature and heart rate, among other Quantified Self data. We’ll keep you posted whether this is comfortable enough to wear while giving your nieces and nephews a good bear hug.


Wearables are coming off of a good year thanks to fitness bracelets and Google Glass, but the category is only just getting started. At CES this year, expect to see new types of devices that can accommodate highly specific use cases like drowning alerts and sunburn detection.

Robert Brunner, the founder of design studio Ammunition  and a former Director of Industrial Design at Apple, said in an interview that he expects to see tons of wearables at the show as companies pile on the few successful devices from last year.

“What I’m interested in seeing is how tech companies start to respond to the idea that, with the notion of anything wearable, there’s a huge psychological fashion component,” Brunner added.

While it’s nice to see makers coming up with unique ideas for wearables, the fact remains that it takes a lot of convincing for us to actually wear them. From what we’ve seen so far, this is the year that companies decided to start just throwing wearables against the wall to see what sticks. Odds are most of these devices will be duds, but we should also see some winners. We’ll let you know if we spot any.

In the long-term, it’s hardly realistic for us to wear a bunch of single-purpose devices around, but we can expect to see successful feature experiments consolidated into multi-use wearables as the market matures.

Vidphones F 1m 220x192 What to expect at CES 2014: 4K streaming, wearables, connected home As subsets of the wearable category, smartwatches and smart eyewear will also abound at CES this year. Companies have had plenty of time to ready their own devices while Glass explorers got us used to the sight of face computers out in public.

Virtual and augmented reality will also be a common theme as startups try to get ahead of Google, which has been relatively conservative about using Glass for immersive AR/VR purposes.

Screen Shot 2013 08 15 at 17.08.26 220x142 What to expect at CES 2014: 4K streaming, wearables, connected home Pebble  revitalized the smartwatch form factor when it began shipping early last year, and Samsung upped the stakes with its Galaxy Gearaccessory. Wrist computing is still up for grabs, and lots of companies think their time has come.

Frankly, most of the smartwatches we’ve seen previewed ahead of CES have been unappealing. Manufacturers are still figuring out how to get a handle on the form factor, but smartwatches should see improvement throughout 2014 as makers continue to refine their designs from CES.


Robots are getting cheaper this year. Robotics companies can now make their devices affordable by leaning on the processors and sensors of your existing smartphones and tablets. That’s great for us consumers, though it might also hasten the robot uprising. In the meantime, we can at least amuse ourselves with toys like Sphero , Ozobot  and Anki Drive .

Screen Shot 2014 01 03 at 2.57.58 PM 730x131 What to expect at CES 2014: 4K streaming, wearables, connected home

Beyond just toys, you’ll also see an abundance of robotic accessories, such as Jigabot’s  AIMe auto-framing attachment. We’re not expecting any particularly groundbreaking robots to come out of CES, but this is the beginning of an automated hardware revolution. Let’s just hope it’s a peaceful one.


CES comes so early in the year that it feels more like a collection of teaser trailers than a feature-length show. Most of the products you see won’t be shipping for a few months – if at all. Even so, we do love a good trailer.

Source: TNW

CES 2013: Samsung Unveils Feature-Packed 60″+ TV Series and a redesigned Smart Hub

2012 Consumer Electronics Show Showcases Latest Technology Innovations

Today during its event at CES 2013, Samsung announced a new series of large 60+ inch HD TVs, featuring personalized content recommendations via its S-Recommendation technology, improved voice and gesture control and a redesigned Smart Hub. These new features will be available across a variety of display types, including LED, OLED, Ultra High Definition (UHD) and Plasma

 Samsung unveils 60+ TV series with recommendations, improved voice/gesture control and Smart Hub

Samsung also announced the redesign of its new Smart Hub TV center that it says will help make the television watching experience more intuitive and easier to navigate. Prior to the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show, the electronics manufacturer had teased that it was updating its HDTV-based service.

Screen Shot 2013-01-07 at 5.02.53 PM

Complete with five panels, the Smart Hub will act almost like a very dynamic TV guide in that it will offer up a personalized experience not only for TV shows, but also for movies. It also includes a panel that allows viewers to sort through photos, videos, and music that are stored on the device or elsewhere, in addition to pulling in media from social networks. Because the newer televisions have a built-in camera and microphone, Smart Hub is integrated with Skype, making video conferencing easier. Lastly, a panel in the Smart Hub has been specifically sectioned off for Samsung Smart TV apps.

Improved gesturing has also been included with this redesign. Last year, the company launched the industry’s first television with voice and gesture controls. Now, the company hopes that it’s the process has become more intuitive and instinctive in how people navigate and control their TVs.

8308302453 0c25156a87 b 730x521 Samsung unveils redesigned Smart Hub, featuring dynamic panels, improved gesturing and recommendations

A new feature for the service is the introduction of ‘t-commerce’. Viewers who watch a particular show and are interested in a product featured in an episode can use Smart Hub to query what it is and even purchase it from their television. For example, if you watch “New Girl” on FOX and see a dress that an actor or actress is wearing, Smart Hub will enable you to find out who designed that article of clothing and even buy it.

While newer televisions come equipped with the Smart Hub, Samsung said that it didn’t want customers to go out and buy a new television just to get this new feature. It has created a device called the Samsung 2013 EvolutionKit that acts like a brain transplant for its televisions. This small device attaches itself to the back to the TV and instantly gives it the ability to access the Smart Hub.

Click here for more of our CES 2013 coverage

CES 2013: A ‘Smart’ fork arrives! but will it help you eat less?

Hapilabs Haifork (image 001)

We already have smart TVs (Samsung leads the charge), as well as smart ovens, smart laundry and smart vacuum (all coming from LG in 2013). Heck, we’re increasingly wearing app-enabled smart watches around our wrist (we’re looking at you, Apple). It really is no surprise then that gadget makers now expect we’ll monitor our eating habits using a ‘smart’ fork?

Enter the Hapifork from Hapilabs, an unusual app-enabled accessory coming this Spring to“greatly improve your digestion”, up to the point where “you’ll likely start losing weight”. I’m not entirely convinced science exists to back that claim…

Okay, so it has in-built sensors that monitor the fork’s movement from plate to mouth to measure how long it took to eat your meal, the amount of so-called ‘fork servings’ taken per minute and intervals between fork servings.

The pitch basically comes down to this: should you eat your lunch too fast, the gadget will vibrate.

But what’s too fast, you ask?

According to the company, if there are fewer than ten seconds between forkfuls, the Hapifork kicks into action.

Hapifork (colors)
Of course Hapiforks come in happy colors, did you think otherwise?

Now, you’ll be initially required to manually download your dining data to a computer after each meal, but a Bluetooth version is in the works, a spokesperson has confirmed.

Your data also gets uploaded to an online dashboard and there’s a coaching program designed to help you change your eating behavior.

Hapifork (dashboard)

Eating too fast is a leading cause of weight gain, says Hapilabs and points out that an accompanying iOS and Android app should help develop healthier eating habits over time.

The ultimate gadget for the ultimate epicurean geek retails for a rather pricey hundred bucks and is available in the USB and Bluetooth flavor, the former shipping during Q2 and the latter arriving some time in Q3 2013.

According to a 2011 study in The Journal of Nutrition, no definite proof exists that people who eat their dinner more slowly also reduce their habit of grabbing a snack shortly after the meal.

Click here for more of our CES 2013 coverage

CES 2013: What to expect from Samsung, Sony, LG, Asus, Acer and more!

In just a couple of days, geeks from all over the world will pack their bags and head on a trip to Las Vegas. And no, it won’t be because of Sin City’s cabarets, casinos, and drive-through chapels (although these are a pretty solid reason to go there too). It’s all about the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, where all of the world’s major tech companies will show off their latest products and innovations. In other words, it’s like nerd heaven on Earth!

But what products are we talking about exactly? Well, that’s a pretty good question because a great deal of the gadgets that are to be exhibited have not even been announced officially. Thankfully, the rumor mill knows no rest. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been hearing a lot about upcoming devices from Samsung, Sony, HTC, Asus, and the rest of the gang, so we decided to put all that we know so far together in one place. Let us begin with…


CES 2013: what to expectWe know that Samsung has quite an announcement to make at CES 2013, but that probably won’t have much to do with the rumored Galaxy S IV, whether we like it or not. Instead, what we’re expecting to see is a thorough brand overhaul: word on the street has it that Samsung is now ready to alter its identity in order to be perceived as a global company, rather than a Korean one. A new logo is also to be introduced.

Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that no gadgets will be present on stage, but we have little clues as to what they might be. Our guess is that Samsung won’t miss the chance to show off its bendy AMOLED screens, among which this time may be a 5.5-inch panel with 1280 by 720 pixels of resolution. And speaking of smartphone screens, it is rumored that a non-bendy, Super AMOLED display with Full HD resolution may make an appearance. That’s 1920 by 1080 pixels across 5-inches of screen real estate for you! And that’s a pretty big deal because until recently, AMOLED technology didn’t allow such high pixel densities, but it seems like Samsung has already figured out how to pack the dots closer together. If the rumors are to be trusted, this panel is going to land on the Samsung Galaxy S IV, which is likely to be announced in Q2 of 2013.

Now would also be a good time to mention that Samsung might be working on a couple of new tablets as well, although the evidence behind this claim isn’t very solid yet. The first one of these rumored devices issaid to be a 13.3-inch slate designed to mimic the functionality of an Asus Transformer. In other words, it will come with a physical keyboard dock. The second tablet is believed to be a Samsung Galaxy Note 7(or something like that) with a model name GT-N5100. The Android device was spotted on GLBenchmark, so we know that its screen has a resolution of 1280 by 800 pixels and that it comes with a 1.6GHz Exynos 4412 chip. If any of these two tablets is meant to ever hit the market, CES 2013 seems like a great time for an official announcement.

UPDATE: The Samsung Galaxy S IV might be at CES 2013, but only the company’s executives will be allowed to see it. There’s also the chance to hear something about the upcoming Tizen smartphones by Samsung. Could that be the huge surprise the Korean maker has for us?


CES 2013: what to expectThat Sony is working on several new Android smartphones is anything but a secret. What we don’t yet know, however, is whether the Japanese company will make them official during CES 2013, or will bring them forth a month later at MWC. Either way, what’s in stock, according to leaks and speculations, is the5-inch monsterphone known as the “Yuga”, alongside the equally potent “Odin”and the mid-range “HuaShan” Android smartphones. The first two handsets supposedly come with 1080p screens and Exmor RS cameras, while the specs of the latter are expected to be significantly inferior, although no exact details about it have been revealed yet.

UPDATE: Further details about the Sony C530X HuaShan have leaked. The smartphone will be available in multiple variants, depending on which market it is being sold in.


CES 2013: what to expectThe quad-core Tegra 4 chip by NVIDIA is expected to launch commercially in Q1 of 2013, so an announcement during CES in January seems highly plausible. With its four Cortex-A15 cores and 72 GPU cores, the new SoC should be several times more powerful than its predecessor without taking a toll on battery life. The question is, however, what device the potent piece of silicon will debut in.

Sources from the far East claim that HTC will be the first manufacturer with Tegra 4 hardware on the market, but whether that will be a tablet or a smartphone remains unclear. We’ve been hearing rumors about a phone called the HTC M7, which is supposed to be the maker’s flagship for Q1 of 2013 with its 1080p screen and all, but that device is said to be powered by a Qualcomm S4 Pro chip. That’s why seeing the Tegra 4 inside of an HTC tablet isn’t out of the question, even though the company’s previous offerings didn’t do very well on the market. And speaking of tablets, HTC is said to be preparing two of them – a 7-inch and a 12-inch slates running Windows RT. But who knows, and Android tablet may be in HTC’s plans as well, although that could only be wishful thinking. Hopefully, we’ll get to learn more about these smartphones and tablets at CES 2013


CES 2013: what to expectRecent leaks indicate that LG has a new high-end Android device in the making, packed with a 1080p display measuring 5 inches and powered by a Snapdragon S4 Pro chip. Judging by what we know about the device so far, it will most likely be offered through AT&T in the U.S. Its release date isn’t known yet, but an announcement during CES 2013 isn’t out of the question. Could that be the rumored LG Optimus G2?

What we’re also hoping to hear more about during the event is the new lineup of SoCs that LG will soon bring to the market. The chips, based on Cortex-A15 processors paired with Mali-T604 graphics, will be used to power not only mobile devices, but also smart TVs and presumably other gadgets.

Huawei & ZTE

CES 2013: what to expectDon’t underestimate any of these two Chinese companies because they will be bringing the big guns at CES 2013. At least a trio of Huawei handsets will be shown off, the most peculiar of them being the Huawei Ascend Mate. The gigantic handset is made to compete with the Samsung Galaxy Note II and the likes, which is why it comes with a massive 6.1-inch screen packing 1920 by 1080 pixels of resolution. At the same time, it will likely retail for a very reasonable $500.

Next up we have the Huawei Ascend D2, which is another flagship handset. It comes with a 5-inch Full HD screen, quad-core processor, 13-megapixel camera, and a 3,000mAh battery, which seems quite promising, doesn’t it? The third smartphone we expect to see during the show is the Huawei Ascend W1 – a very aggressively priced Windows Phone 8 device. It offers a 4.3-inch WVGA screen and a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, which isn’t too shabby for something that should cost about $240.

From the folks at ZTE we expect to see the Grand S Android smartphone, which definitely doesn’t lag behind in terms of specifications. It also has a 5-inch 1080p display to offer, and according to its maker, it will be the slimmest Full HD smartphone to date with a thickness of only 7.6 millimeters. Further specs of the ZTE Grand S have not been revealed yet, but we might see a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro under its hood and a 13MP camera on its back.


CES 2013: what to expectIf rumors are to be trusted, Asus will bring a couple of 7-inch tablets to CES 2013, alongside the rest of its flashy gadgets. One of them – the Asus ME172V, is expected to be an extremely affordable Android slate with pretty modest hardware specs, such as a 7-inch 1024 by 600 pixel display and a low-end processor made by VIA. Sure, it doesn’t sound too impressive, but what is expected to make the ME172V grab consumers’ attention is its price tag of about $130 or so.

The rumored Asus ME371MG might also make an appearance at CES 2013, and what makes it special is that it has an Atom processor running inside it. Its 7-inch IPS display has a resolution of 1280 by 800 pixels, and a 3-megapixel camera is said to be also on board. It is believed that the device might go on sale for under $250.

UPDATE: The Asus ME301T MemoPad 10 – a 10-inch, Tegra 3 Android tablet, is also expected to be on display.


CES 2013: what to expectWe have plenty of evidence to believe that Acer has a new, low-end tablet in stock. The Acer Iconia B1, as it is called, is a 7-inch slate sporting a modest 1.2GHz processor and a 1024 by 600 pixel screen. Yeah, its specs sheet won’t make any jaws drop, but the price will surely draw in some customers. Rumor has it that the Acer Iconia B1 will be sold for as little as $99, which is a killer price no matter how you look at it.

But in addition to that, Acer might also bring a couple of smartphones to CES 2013. These are the Acer V350 and V360, both running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The former is clearly more capable than the latter as it is equipped with a dual-core Snapdragon S4 chip and a 720p screen. The Acer V360, on the other hand, has to offer a 4.5-inch qHD display, dual-core 1GHz processor, and a 5-megapixel main camera.

UPDATE: More photos and details about the Acer Iconia B1 have leaked.

What not to expect at CES 2013

CES 2013: what to expectWe already mentioned that the Samsung Galaxy S IV is extremely unlikely to appear at CES 2013, but that isn’t the only device that its too early to get excited about. For example, you might have heard the reports claiming that Google is working with Motorola on a so-called “X Phone” and a tablet of some kind. Even though both of them are said to be scheduled for release in 2013, they will most likely be made official at Google’s I/O conference in May.

We can also add Nokia on the list of companies that aren’t going to steal the show at CES. In fact, the Finns might have decided to skip the event and focus on MWC instead, according to rumors. That’s why we aren’t expecting to see any new Nokia handsets or a Windows RT tablet next month. And speaking of Windows, Microsoft won’t be present either. 2012’s CES was the company’s last appearance in Vegas, so announcements revolving around Windows or Windows Phone will be scarce.

Sony’s website leaks photos of Sony Xperia Z and Sony Xperia ZL

You might recall that Sony was readying a couple of high-end Android models called Yuga and Odin. Just the other day, it turned out that the Yuga was purportedly renamed the Sony Xperia Z. And Sony’s own website not only has a press shot of the Sony Xperia Z, but also shows off the Odin, which also has been renamed, to the Sony Xperia ZL. The speculation is that the Sony Xperia Z will be made available in the Japanese market while the slightly sleeker Sony Xperia ZL will be available in the rest of the world. Besides being a little more slender, the Xperia ZL also has its front facing camera at the bottom right of the device instead of on the top as with the other model.

The Sony Xperia Z (L) and Sony Xperia ZL (R); note the different front camera placement - Sony's website leaks photos of Sony Xperia Z and Sony Xperia ZL

Sony has yet to announce the specs, but the word is that both models will offer a 5 inch LCD display with 1080p, 441ppi pixel density, with a quad-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor driving the phone. We’d bet it is the APQ8064 doing the heavy lifting, with the Adreno 320 handling the graphics. Did we mention the 2GB of RAM? No? Ok, both models are rumored to have 2GB of RAM and a 13MP Exmor RS camera sensor on back. Android 4.1.2 is pre-installed and LTE connectivity is expected.

One recent report had Sony introducing the Sony Xperia Z at CES 2013 in Las Vegas on January 8th and then launching itexactly one week later on January 15th. Perhaps as we get closer to CES, Sony will reveal some more official word about the their two new flagship handsets.