The Consumer Electronics Show, better known as CES, is in full swing, and there’s a lot to know this year. Here’s what’s been announced so far, from the important to the offbeat, and what you need to know from CES 2014.
Intel Went Consumer
Intel was, for years, pretty much just satisfied to put out better and better chips and leave the form factors and other stuff to HP. Then those nerds over at NVidia and Qualcomm started moving mobile CPUs by the crate, and Intel decided, what the hell, the market’s changing, let’s go completely nuts.
The most relevant product, to the man on the street, will be Intel’s tablets; Intel has built them to dual-boot Android and Windows, and they’re aiming to make these things cheap, as in sub-$300 if at all possible. That’s got some interesting implications, especially as the dual-boot nature basically turns this thing into the computational version of a mullet. Business in the front partition, gaming in the back, bros! And considering Toshiba has a 13-inch Chromebook for just $280, this can be construed as a very bad CES for Microsoft, and the thing isn’t even over yet.
Beyond that, though, Intel got weird. There’s Jarvis, the personal assistant crammed in a Bluetooth headset, marking the one and only bit of wearable tech that you might actually use out of an entire conference with tons of the stuff. There’s a smartwatch, which you will never use because nobody buys them, but hey, Intel’s not being coy here. And then there’s Edison, a computer Intel crammed into an SD card case because they could, really.
All of this stuff, to be powered up, can be tossed in a “charging bowl.” In other words, Intel went from being an important background player to a straight-up weird consumer electronics company. Not a lot of this stuff will be successful, but it’s sure going to be interesting.
Sony Wants To Stream All The Things
Sony had the usual announcements it always has at CES: Expensive high-resolution televisions you will never buy that come in funny shapes, high-end mobile phones, blowing a raspberry at Microsoft over selling more PS4s, you know, stuff we’ve seen before. Probably the weirdest gizmo they had out was a 4K short-throw projector, part of their “Life Space UX” program, that throws both a full screen on your wall and a smaller screen on your ceiling.
But the most interesting announcements surrounded streaming. First off, the PS4 will be streaming both live TV and PS3 games, using services that will eventually broaden out to third-party hardware. Secondly, Sony brought Reed Hastings on stage to announce that 4K streaming would be coming this year from Netflix. Both are pretty ballsy moves on Sony’s part, and it seems they’re trying to position themselves as the guys to stream the content.
Also interesting is that Sony has quietly been discussing its technology for upscaling Blu-Rays to 4K. There’s still reason to doubt 4K is the future of televisions; the content will still be limited and consumers seem to have collectively taken a pass at the technology. But, hey, at least it’s going to look good.
Samsung Is Still Bein’ Samsung
Samsung had a keynote too, but it was so unimpressive, the most notable event was Michael Bay having a panic attack over a broken teleprompter. Basically, Samsung is being Samsung; they don’t really innovate, but they build a lot of stuff you want anyway. And, hey, their new “pro” tablets look pretty cool.
There’s A Bitcoin ATM
Yep, you read that right: Insert cash, get a wildly-fluctuating fad crypto-currency that we’ll all be mildly embarrassed we took seriously in the next decade. Really, the only way this could be more amusing would be if it shredded the currency you put into it.
Every Single Company In The World Is Making A Fitness Tracker
This entire post could just be links to fitness trackers, but essentially, by the end of 2014 there will be a fitness tracker in any form factor you want: Headbands, earbuds, wrists, anklets, and so on. It’s only rivaled by the sheer number of Google Glass knock-offs.
There will be more today, of course. Tune in tomorrow for your daily update.