The Consumer Electronics Show 2016 officially starts today, but there have already been dozens of pre-show product announcements, press releases and YouTube videos to whet our appetite.
Let’s take an quick look at just a few of the early announcements so far…
On January 5, 2016, the Huawei Consumer Business Group (BG) will unveil the Huawei Mate 8, its most advanced flagship smartphone that lets the modern business person do more than ever before. The Mate 8 is the first smartphone to run on Huawei’s recently announced Kirin 950 chipset and use TSMC 16 nm FinFET plus chip technology. The leading-edge architecture features redefined properties that achieve balanced power consumption with 4 x A72 2.3 GHz processors and 4 x A53 1.8 GHz processors.
The device combines beauty and practicality with a metallic, seamless design and 6-inch FHD screen. As the latest innovation from Huawei’s Mate series, the Mate 8 features a customizable, next-generation Huawei EMUI 4.0 operating system based on Android M (6.0). Its body is made from aerospace-grade aluminum and unique 2.5D curved diamond cut glass, delivering an optimal design effect.
The Mate 8 has already been launched in China last month. Other possible devices set to be announced also include the Huawei’s Honor X3 phablet, and perhaps the Huawei Watch 2…
LG Electronics this week plans to unveil its new K Series lineup of phones (the K7 and K10 are the first two in the range), which include pretty decent specs more typical of higher-end devices. LG is making a big deal of the K Series’ design, featuring a “curved, modern finish aimed at a younger audience” and with “design cues borrowed from nature”.
LG says that the K10 and K7 look far more expensive and exclusive than they really are, which should appeal to anyone looking for an affordable but still good quality handset.
More details of the K Series models can be found in the LG newsroom.
As an owner of a DJI drone (a Phantom 2), I’m always fascinated by the latest drone tech. Every year, drones are becoming easier to fly, with better video and filming capabilities.
DJI, maker of some of the best consumer and professional drones has just updated its line – the Inspire 1 Pro is now available in a cool black colour, and a new version of the Phantom (the Phantom 3 4K) has been released with a 4K camera (though it’s differentiated from the professional version by a more limited range as it doesn’t include the company’s Lightbridge transmission system.
French drone-maker Parrot has also announced the first consumer fixed-wing, ready-to-fly drone, called the DISCO. The drone resembles a traditional remote-controlled aircraft and is billed as “a fast, smart, ultra-light drone with around 45 minutes of flight time”.
Parrot also says flying is as simple as mounting the wings to the body and throwing it in the air: no piloting skills are required. Judging by the DISCO’s YouTube video, it looks like a novel and interesting take on the traditional quadcopter design and certainly one to watch in future.
As far as automotive tech goes at CES, one of the big announcements in the days before kick-off was that Toyota has teamed up with Ford and committed to support the SmartDeviceLink (SDL) system – allowing smartphones to connect to the in-car dash. Peugeot, Honda, Subaru and Mazda are also considering support SDL.
Think of SDL as essentially similar to CarPlay or Android Auto, but has the advantage for the car manufacturer that they can control the look and feel of the user interface.
A spokesperson for Toyota said: “We may all eventually wind up [with CarPlay or Android Auto], but right now we prefer to use our in-house proprietary platforms for those kinds of functions”.
LG’s rollable OLED display
Flexible OLED displays have been showing up in one form or another at CES for a couple of years. But LG this week announced an 18-inch OLED display that can be rolled up like a newspaper. The exact specifications are as-yet uncertain, but it looks like an impressive feat of engineering. Will the technology eventually make its way into smartphones?
Griffin BreakSafe Magnetic USB-C Power Cable
Apple famously dropped its much-loved MagSafe connector when it launched the ultra-thin MacBook last year: instead, adopting USB-C. Griffin however is bringing back the functionality through a peripheral called the BreakSafe Magnetic USB-C Power Cable, set for release in April.
Judging by the popularity of MagSafe, it’s pretty certain that the BreakSafe connector will be a hit amongst MacBook users (and other laptops that use USB-C).
The magnetic connector plugs into the USB-C port and disconnects from the rest of the cable when stressed. The connector is just 12.8 mm deep, and so can stay connected to the USB-C port when not in use. The BreakSafe will retail for $39.99.