From smart fridges to drones, Shopomo rounds-up the best of CES 2016
CES is currently underway in Las Vegas. With over 3200 vendors participating, it’s the world’s largest consumer technology event.
CES is a chance to catch a glimpse of the tech industry’s future. Right now it seems everything is becoming ‘smart’ or app-enabled, from fridges to pregnancy tests.
There’s plenty of experimental technologies on display but the biggest offerings this year at CES are 4K TVs, drones, fitness trackers and VR headsets. For the photography enthusiasts among you, there was also the unveiling of Nikon’s new flagship DSLR camera: the D5.
We bring you a round-up of the latest and greatest gadgets being unveiled on the show floor that’ll be hitting stores soon.
The future's bright, the future's 4K
Samsung, LG and Sony are all turning heads at CES, showcasing their latest batch of 4K TV sets.
Samsung announced their lineup of SUHD televisions that offer stunning, true-to-life picture quality. Also notable is the complete lack of bezels, meaning these TVs are all display.
LG also showed off a breathtaking Signature OLED TV that’s, according to an LG spokesperson, as ‘thin as four stacked credit cards’.
LG didn’t stop there. They also had on display their ridiculous 98-inch (that’s right), 8K UH9800 TV. While both are stunning TVs, the downside is that both will be ludicrously expensive.
There’s also a new line-up of Sony 4K TV sets, with the Bravia X93OD series. Boasting ‘a new backlight layout’ and ‘refined colour engines’ for true HDR picture quality, there’ll be 55-inch and 65-inch variants.
No mention of pricing yet for the X93OD, though it’s believed it’ll be shipping in early 2016.
Ultra HD Blu-ray players
Since the turn of the century, tech journalists have been proclaiming the end of physical media. Years later and it’s still going strong, with Ultra HD Blu-ray discs set to arrive soon.
If you already have a 4K TV or are considering getting one then you should also consider getting an Ultra HD Blu-ray player too. Not only does it offer an improved viewing experience with resolutions of 3840 x 2160 pixels (compared to 1920 x 1080 pixels on current Blu-ray discs), it’ll also continue to offer extra features like director’s commentaries and making of documentaries that you don’t get through streaming. A definite plus for all the film geeks out there.
Panasonic used CES to announce their DMP-UB900 Ultra HD Blu-ray player. Along with supporting 4K video at up to 60fps, it also contains support for HDR. Another neat trick is a twin HDMI set-up, which enables audio and video to have extra dedicated bandwidth.
We don’t know how much the Panasonic DMP-UB900 will cost. What we do know is that it’ll ship later this year.
While the potential of VR has been talked up for a couple of years, it’s never been accessible to everyone.
That will change in 2016, with a good number of VR headsets being slated for release later this year.
The hype surrounding the consumer version of the Oculus Rift has been growing since it first appeared on Kickstarter in 2012.
However, the price of the Oculus Rift has come under fire on social media, with many lamenting its $599 price tag. In Europe it’ll be priced at around £499 or €699.
PC gamers avidly awaiting the Oculus Rift can expect it to ship in March 2016.
There’s also the PlayStation VR headset coming in April, with Sony CEO Kaz Hirai confirming that there are currently 100+ titles in development for it.
Sony has already shifted around 36 million units of the PlayStation 4, meaning that it outnumbers VR-capable PCs by around three-to-one. That’s a huge customer base for Sony to work with developing VR’s capabilities beyond gaming.
PlayStation VR will definitely give the Oculus Rift a run for its money for VR supremacy.
Also worth mentioning is the Samsung Gear VR. While it was released last year, Samsung used CES to show off a new motion controller called Rink. It brings 360-degree hand movements and finger tracking to their VR headset.
Getting in shape for 2016
With Christmas over and many seeking ways to shift that extra holiday weight, here are some of the new fitness trackers shown off at CES to help achieve your fitness goals.
First we have the Fitbit Blaze, Fitbit’s attempt at taking on the smartwatch market. It’ll feature a colour touchscreen display and provide five days of battery life.
The Fitbit Blaze will track daily steps, sleep, calories burned, and 15 different types of exercises. There’s also a native FitStar app running on the watch that offers guided workouts.
It’ll cost $199 and Fitbit is taking advance orders now. Consumers should be able to get their hands on the Blaze starting in March.
Another device that’s caught some attention is the Go fitness tracker from French start-up Withings.
This wearable will track activities such as walking, running, swimming and will also monitor your sleep.
The Withings Go has an always-on e-ink screen, with notifications to alert users when a particular goals is reached. The Withings Go is announced with an eight-month battery life and is due out in Q1 2016 priced at $69.95 or €69.95.
New Parrot drone announced
This new drone from Parrot is unlike the usual quadcopters we expect to see from the manufacturer as it’s looks like more of a plane.
The Disco is a winged drone/plane featuring a rear propeller than get can it up to speeds of 50mph with a battery performance of 45 minutes, beating other drones on speed and airtime
The Parrot Disco will be available in 2016. An exact date and price have not been announced.
The Ehang 184 was also unveiled at CES and is making news for being the world’s first passenger drone. It can carry a single passenger and features no controls. You simply input a destination on the tablet controls and hit “Take off”.
The Ehang 184 can hit 63mph, fly up to 11,500 feet and carry up to 100kg. However, it can only travel 23 minutes at a time.
The predicted price is between $200,000 and $300,000. Better start saving up…
Smart fridges for the modern household
The ‘internet of things’ trend which sees the most humble appliances being made ‘smarter’ by being wired and connected to the internet.
The Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator is the latest example of this trend. This smart fridge features a gigantic 21.5-inch touchscreen and has cameras inside that snap pictures of what’s inside and beams them to your smartphone. Pretty useful if you’re down the supermarket but you’re not sure if you need milk.
The fridge will connect with other Samsung devices and will cost around £3410. If there’s one smart device you need in your kitchen, it’s this one.
Retro cool at CES 2016
Given how CES is a show that is meant to show what the technological future has in store for us, it’s strange seeing retro technology like vinyl being the centre of attention at the show.
Vinyl is making something of a comeback, with vinyl record sales have increased, by up to 800 percent since 2009.
Legendary brand Technics from Panasonic are releasing the SL-1200. Sony is also releasing the new PS-HX500 turntable to target true audiophiles and vinyl connoiseurs by combining hi-res audio with older technology.
The HX500 can convert analog files into either Sony’s proprietary DSD file format or 24-bit, high-resolution WAV files. It’s a gorgeous bit of kit, though it won’t be available until later this spring.
Vinyl’s not the only retro tech that’s making a comeback. Kodak announced that it’s bringing back the Super 8 camera.
Old is new again.