Date: 23 January 2017
Links: CES Tech /
As always when I go to the International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) held in Las Vegas in early January, I see lots of interesting stuff I saw, and 2017 was no different. Here's my shortlist answers to "what's the coolest|most interesting|weirdest thing you saw?" -- followed by a paragraph or so, and some pix, on a few dozen of the hundreds that I saw, out of the thousands that were being shown at CES 2017... including, as always, a few of what tech veteran Jerry Pournelle calls "The Dangdest Thing I Saw." (And here's Part 2 and Part 3.)
As always when I go to the International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) held in Las Vegas in early January, I see lots of interesting stuff I saw, and 2017 was no different.
Here's my shortlist answers to "what's the coolest|most interesting|weirdest thing you saw?" -- followed by a paragraph or so, and some pix, on a few dozen of the hundreds that I saw, out of the thousands that were being shown at CES 2017... including, as always, a few of what tech veteran Jerry Pournelle calls "The Dangdest Thing I Saw."
THE DERN SHORTLIST FOR CES 2017: From Interesting to Dangdest
Products and tech that I'm strongly interested in (or at least curious enough to want to know more) include:
- Asus' ZenPhone 3 (for its photo capabilities):
- Canon's MegaTank high-capacity PIXMA G4200 All-In-One inkjet printer
- Zvox Accuvoice TV Speaker AV200
- OmniCharge 20 portable power bank (outputs regular AC as well as USB/notebook DC voltage)
- Anova's $99 sous-vide cooker
- Acronis True Image 2017 (for new security features).
And techwise, I was pleased to see lots of USB-C ports in devices, accessories, and chargers, which will hopefully reduce the variety of cable types we need to schlepp.
"Wow!" other otherwise interesting products include:
- Kingston's 2TB DataTraveler Ultimate GT flash drive
- Yolk Solar Paper mobile solar charger
- MiniBrew's home tabletop brewer.
"Dangdest" contenders include:
- Foldimate robot clothing folder
- REM-Fit's Zeeq Smart Pillow
- Spartan RF-blocking men's boxers.
There were also vacuuming shoes, but I didn't see them.
On to a longer list, with (some) details!
A FEW DOZEN PRODUCTS OF THE HUNDREDS I SAW
In my pre-show article, "Dern@CES2017: Some Things I'll Be Looking For/At This Year" I listed some of the tech and products I was looking forward to seeing at CES 2017, based on press releases and other pre-show info.
Here's brief info on several dozen of the products I saw, including most of the short-list above, including, where possible, URLs, MSRP/availability, pictures, and a terse "Dern says" thought or opinion. (With luck, I'll get assigned to go into more detail as 2017 progresses.)
Many of these vendors/products were at the Pepcom and ShowStoppers http://ShowStoppers.com evening press/analyst-only events, which each had a ballroom of 100-200 exhibitor tables (plus food and schmooze room). A few I saw during the "Press Day" that preceded the show floor Thursday Jan 5. The rest I saw by peripatating through the labyrinths of 3,800+ exhibitors filling over 2.6 million net square feet in the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Sands Exposition Center and Venetian Hotel and other venues. The Eureka Park area alone had over 600 startups, universities and other exhibitors.
One important note/disclaimer: A lot of these "products" are still in the pre-manufacture crowdfunding stage. Particular those in the Eureka Park area of the show floor (reasonably enough) but a fair number elsewhere on the show floor, and at Pepcom and ShowStoppers. So some won't be available for a while... and some may end up never being available.
On to a few dozen selected shorts (including the Spartans)!
USB-C, THE NEW PORT FOR POWER AND DATA
While more of my Windows and Androi devices have converged on microUSB, it's still a mix. My Samsung Galaxy 5S uses USB 3. My Asus X205T notebook has a proprietary power port. (One reason I'm ready to move on to newer devices.)
USB-C promises do away with lots of this. It incorporates USB Power Delivery. It's symmetric, no "wrong side up." It's now accomodating HDMI video.
At CES 217, I saw USB-C ports on many notebooks, storage and display peripherals, and power/charging products at CES 2017, along with sundry USB-C cables, adapters and other accessories.
Dern says: Here's hoping this works out.
PHONES, TABLETS, NOTEBOOKS, AND ACCESSORIES
Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom and ZenPhone AR
Asus led their press conference on Press Day with two new smartphones -- the ZenFone 3 Zoom and the ZenFone AR. The presentations didn't actually mention or show any use of these devices for voice or video calling -- although, reassuringly, one of the Zoom's web pages second-sentences with "Yes, it makes calls."
The ASUS ZenFone 3 was designed as a smartphone for photographers and other picture takers. (Hence my strong interest). Photo-oriented/optimizing features start with two back-side lenses -- 25mm main, and a 59mm zoomer (2.3x optical, up to 12x total) -- to a 12MP camera, and a 13MP wide-angle front-side frontside camera. Other features include 5.5-inch AMOLED display; internal flash storage (64MB, possibly available with 128MB; dual-SIM slots, with the second slot alternatively available for a microSD card; Hi-Res audio, and DTS for headphone support (yes, there's a headphone jack); FM radio; and USB-C for connectivity and charging (a must for any new device I get). Fingerprint sensor on the back. Android 6.0. 4G/LTE.
Available February 2017, MSRP $399+.
Dern says: As someone who takes a lot of pictures, I'm strongly interested in this for my own use, as a successor to my Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone.
Asus also talked about their new ZenPhone AR, optimized for VR/AR (Virtual and Augmented Reality), through its camera lenses, along with support for Google Tango (augmented reality) and Daydream (virtual reality).
On the bigger-than-phone side, Asus also announced the ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 (MSRP $499), and also the ASUSPRO B9440, a 14-inch, 2.31 pound business notebook (MSRP starting at $999, available May 2017) -- which does indeed look nice, although I'd want to check it out side-by-side with the new models of Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon 14" ultrabook.
Dern says: Lenovo ThinkPad X1's are always appealing. The Asus and others aren't shabby either.
Lenovo Moto Z smartphones, plus notebooks and tablets
Continuing on my "could this be my next good-for-photos smartphone" theme, Lenovo was showing its new line of Moto (as in Motorola) Z phones , (first announced at back in June 2016 at Lenovo Tech World 2016 in San Francisco) which accepts a variety of Moto Mod magnetic-clasp-on interchangeable backs, so far including a camera, a projector, speakers, and also (I think) an additional battery.
The Hasselblad True Zoom 4116 Moto Mod is the back I'm most interested in. The camera-back's features include a 10x optical (25-250mm 35mm equivalent) zoom (f/3.5-f/6.5) and 4x digital zoom, plus Xenon flash, and physical controls for zoom and shutter. This camera back will, I'm sure, out-perform any camera that has to fit within a smartphone chassis.
On the other hand, since it's a separate piece, you have to remember to have it with you, and leaving it on the phone makes the whole unit perhaps too bulky for your pocket... and to use it, you have to commit to a Moto Z smartphone. You may decide you're better off with your smartphone's regular camera... or also packing one of the smaller pocket/mirrorlens digital cameras from, say, Canon, Nikon, or Sony, in the $400-$1,000 range.
(Oh yeah, no headphone jack, the phone's too thin. Bluetooth it, or use a USB-C/audio adapter.)
Dern says: I'm intrigued and curious, but I think this whole approach may be too limiting.
(A review at Pocket-Lint is mixed at best about the camera add-on. And Ars Technica was critically mixed about the phone proper.)
MSRP for the phone starts at $624 (Verizon "Droid" edition) or $699 (other carriers, etc.), and for the Hasselblad True Zoom 4116 back, MSRP $250 (or perhaps $299). But look for deals through carriers and elsewhere.
Dern says: Pocketable mirrorless/"point-and-shoot" digital cameras, e.g. from Canon, Nikon, or Sony, may be a better, albeit more expensive, option, and give you more flexibility in your choice of smarthphone. Even so, the Moto Z with the Hasselblad camera back looks worth checking out.
NEXT: Part 2 of 3, which includes storage, desktop/notebook, headphones, cables, and even a UMPC.
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