Here’s a brief look at some of the major announcements made at the ongoing Consumer Electronic Show (CES) at Las Vegas, USA:
Open Automotive Alliance
Google is collaborating with several automotive and technology companies like Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai and Nvidia to bring the Android platform to cars through a global alliance called Open Automotive Alliance (OAA). Google says it is working with these OAA partners to adapt Android for the car and introduce new forms of integration with Android devices. So essentially, one could expect to see Android-based dashboards and car-based Android apps in the future.
The first cars with Android integration are expected to available by the end of this year. This seems to be in response to Apple’s iOS in the Car initiative which was introduced last June and was expected to allow users to access iOS features like Maps, messages, phone calls and music through Siri integration.
Other In-Car Partnerships: Meanwhile, Samsung has collaborated with BMW to allow Galaxy Gear users control various aspects of BMW’s i3 electric car through the smart watch. [Video Demo]
Popular Android keyboard app (and probably one of the best ones out there) SwiftKey has also partnered Clarion to integrate its predictive keyboard into Clarion’s Android-based in-car entertainment system AX1. The system is currently available in India, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia with planned rollouts for South Africa, the Middle East, the rest of South East Asia and the Russian Commonwealth, The Next Web reports.
Micromax Canvas Laptab
Micromax has announced a dual-boot tablet called Canvas LapTab which runs on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and Windows 8.1 operating system. It will feature a 10.1″ display, 1.46GHz Intel Celeron processor, 2GB RAM, 2MP front camera, 7400 mAh battery, 32GB internal storage expandable up to 64GB, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi and others.
The tablet is expected to be officially launched across Indian e-commerce portals and retail stores starting early next month, although there is no word on the pricing yet.
XOLO has announced its first Windows 8 tablet, XOLO Win. The tablet is expected to be available later this month and will feature a 10.1″ touchscreen display, 1GHz AMD A4 Elite Mobility processor, 2GB RAM, 2MP rear camera, 32GB Internal memory, 3,550mAh battery and others. There is no word on the pricing yet.
It has also inked a three year marketing and content deal with Liverpool Football Club, following which XOLO will offer exclusive merchandise and content tailored by Liverpool FC on their mobile handsets (Read more).
Dragon Mobile Assistant and Swype keyboard For Smartwatches
Nuance Communications has unveiled new Dragon Mobile Assistant and Swype keyboard for smart watches. Dragon Mobile assistant has been integrated to Omate’s TrueSmart Android smartwatch and allows users to make calls, send emails, text messages or social updates, set reminders, manage their calendar and search the Web through voice.
It announced the next-generation Dragon Assistant for devices based on Intel RealSense technology. It is currently available on Acer, Dell, HP and Lenovo tablets, Ultrabooks, notebook, and AIO devices and will be included in devices from Asus and Toshiba in early 2014.
It also unveiled Nuance Cloud Services which converts devices, consumer electronics, services and mobile apps into intelligent personal assistants; updated its Dragon TV platform to includes voice biometrics for TVs, set-top boxes and second screen apps and showcased its Dragon Drive in-car software.
While there were several smartwatches announced at CES 2014, the one which has really stood out is Pebble Steel from the smartwatch maker Pebble. In fact, I feel its possibly one of the few smartwatches which actually looks good compared to its other competitors, although its worth noting that the smartwatch space is still extremely nascent right now.
Pebble Steel features a stainless steel body with Corning Gorilla Glass and comes with metal & steel straps, ePaper display. It runs on Pebble OS v2.0 and Pebble mentions this watch will be fully compatible with all Pebble apps . It will be available in two variants - Brushed Stainless and Black Matte and is priced at $249, which includes free worldwide shipping for early orders. The smartwatch is currently up for pre-order on Pebble website and will start shipping on January 28.
New Samsung Tablets & Smart Home Service
Samsung announced new Android-based Galaxy TabPro and NotePro tablets. TabPro will be available in three different variants (8.4-inch, 10.1-inch and 12.2-inch) while NotePRO will be available only in 12.2″ variant. All four tablets run on Android 4.4 KitKat with Magazine UX on top and has features like 8MP rear cameras, 2MP front cameras, Wi-Fi and up to 64GB of internal storage. The NotePro and the 12.2-inch TabPro also comes with preloaded Cisco WebEx Meetings solution.
It introduced a new Smart Home service which acts a central controlling system enabling users to control their home devices like washing machines, lights, air conditioners and others from an app on a Smart TV, digital camera, smartphone or Galaxy Gear.
It also announced its first commercial Curved Ultra High Definition (UHD) TVs which includes a 105-inch Curved UHD TV, a successor to Galaxy Camera called Galaxy Camera 2, a NX30 camera with a new “S” Series premium lens, new 2014 editions of ATIV Book 9 and the ATIV One 7 and a new range of washing machines and washer dryers.
Playstation Now & New Sony Products
Sony mentioned that it has sold 4.2 million Playstation 4 units globally as of December 28, 2013. The company started retailing the console in India earlier this week. It announced a Gaikai-based streaming game service for its TVs, consoles and mobile phones called Playstation Now. It will initially roll out PS4 and PS3 consoles followed by PS Vita and eventually other Internet-connected devices from Sony. The service will be available through a beta program in the US by the end of this month with a full roll-out in the US this summer. There is currently no word on its global rollout.
Besides this, Sony announced slew of electronic products including a new range of Bravia LED HD television, Blue-ray disc players, camcorders, cameras, VAIO laptops (You can read the full list here). It also introduced a new Fitbit-like fitness tracker caller Core.
WebOS Smart TV Platform & LG Wearables
LG unveiled its new webOS based Smart TV platform, after acquiring the operating system from Hewlett-Packard last February. The company says that this platform will be deployed in more than 70% of LG’s 2014 smart TV lineup. The platform includes a new launcher which allows users to switch between broadcast TV, smart TV content and media stored on external devices, a built-in web browser and a TV app store among others.
It also introduced two wearable products - LG Lifeband Touch and LG Heart Rate Earphones. Lifeband Touch is an activity tracker while Heart Rate Earphones allows users users to measure their heart rate while exercising. This data can then be transmitted to LG Fitness app, or other third party apps such as MyFitnessPal, Runkeeper or MapMyFitness.
Intel Edison & New Intel Security brand
Intel announced Edison, a Quark technology-based computer with a size of an SD card for wearable computing devices.It will feature built-in wireless capabilities and support for multiple operating systems. It also announced a Bluetooth headset reference design Jarvis which has the ability to remotely interact with the phone for various activities like looking up restaurants, getting directions and others.
It unveiled a new Intel Security brand for its security products and services, which will be replacing the McAfee brand name. Following this, Intel plans to offer elements of McAfee’s mobile security solutions for free. There are also plans to launch Intel Device Protection technology for Intel-based Android mobile devices.
Intel is collaborating with other companies to develop hardware and software products based on a new technology called Intel RealSense which will apparently bring human-like senses to Intel-based devices like tablet, Ultrabook, notebook, all-in-one and other mobile devices.
The first product of this collaboration is RealSense 3D camera which is a integrated 3D depth and 2D camera module. The company claims this module has the ability to detect finger level movements for highly accurate gesture recognition and detect facial features for understanding movement and emotions. This camera will be included in devices from Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo and NEC from Q2 2014. Intel has also partnered with third-party companies like Tencent, Microsoft Skype and Lync, 3D Systems, Autodesk, DreamWorks, Metaio, and Scholastic for this initiative.
Intel is also collaborating with Barneys New York, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and Opening Ceremony to develop smart wearable devices. It is collaborating with Opening Ceremony to design a smart bracelet concept based on Intel technology.
Intel also confirmed that it will be collaborating with its OEM partners to release dual-OS computers that run both Android and Windows 8.1 at the same time. Interestingly, Intel’s competitor AMD has also partnered BlueStacks to bring “full Android OS experience” to Windows-based computers.
New Lenovo Laptops & Multi-touch displays
Lenovo announced four new products to its multi-mode device lineup – a detachable three-mode laptop MIIX 2 (available in 10-inch and 11-inch variants), a four-mode convertible laptop YOGA 2, and dual-mode affordable convertible laptops Flex 14D and 15D. All the laptops run on Windows 8.1
It also announced a 14-inch ultrabook ThinkPad X1 Carbon, a 8.3-inch ThinkPad 8 tablet with 128GB of storage, four new laptops across Y & Z Series laptops, two ThinkPad Edge laptops and an all-in-one (AIO) desktop. All of them run on Windows 8.1 operating system.
It unveiled four new smartphones – its first LTE smartphone Vibe Z, a 6-inch S930, a 4.7-inch S650 and a 5-inch A859. Vibe Z runs on Android 4.3 while other devices run on Android 4.2. There is no word on India availability for Vibe Z but other devices should be available shortly.