CES 2013: latest news from the tech show

CES 2013 has kicked off in Las Vegas, with laptops, tablets, and smartphones dominating the news.

This year’s show will have a different feel, with Microsoft stepping away from its long-running keynote and Samsung and Qualcomm stepping in to fill the gap.

Here, we’ll be sharing updates through-out the week from CES 2013, with all of the announcements from the show floor as well as the interesting innovations from up-and-coming tech firms, and other bits and pieces from this key tech event.

PC Pro’s Greatest Hits of CES 2013

11 January 2013 – It’s been a busy week in Vegas. Near the end of it, we put out seven nominations for Best innovation of the show, and let you vote for your favourite. Now it’s time to reveal the winner, along with prizes for Best laptop, Best smartphone and Best tablet of CES 2013. Here are our Greatest Hits of CES 2013.

3D printing: what’s out there and how much does it cost

11 January 2013 – 3D printing is something we’ve been seeing for several years, and gradually getting more excited by – but it’s always been out of financial reach. That looks to be changing, with this year’s show boasting four big brands hoping to bring 3D printing to the masses.

The best and worst robots of CES 2013

11 January 2013 – Let’s be honest, this is what we’re all here for. A giant, driveable spider robot.

Robot Spider

That’s not the only robot at CES. The best and worst robots of CES 2013 shows off some of the former, from automated doctors and cleaners to a giant robot snake; and the latter – yes, we’re talking about Justin Bieber.

Control a helicopter with your mind

10 January 2013 – NeuroSky’s funky cat ears are an optional part of a system that measures EEG brainwaves in real-time via sensors on the forehead and the ear. The readings are 97% medically accurate, the company claimed. The ears will respond to mood. Nicole is happy.

Nicole ears

Another firm, PuzzleBox Orbit, makes use of the brainwave reading hardware to fly a helicopter, which is always going to get attention.

Vote for your favourite product of CES 2013

10 January 2013 – The show’s into its final stages now, which means we can get to work on deciding what’s excited us most – and you can get involved too. Just visit our Greatest Hits of CES 2013 page and cast your vote before 6pm today. The vote is now closed.

Microsoft’s best use for Kinect yet

10 January 2013 – Microsoft Research gatecrashed Samsung’s keynote to show a wonderful demo of its IllumiRoom technology. It’s still in development, but it will hopefully one day extend our gaming environments beyond the boundaries of the TV screen and onto the surrounding walls.

Check out the demo, which Microsoft claims was recorded live with no post-processing or effects.

Hands-on with 3M’s 84in multitouch display

10 January 2013 – The centre-piece of 3M’s stand at CES is “a massive 84in, 1080p multitouch display, set up as a table larger than most people eat dinner on”.

3M 84in multitouch table

This monster has 60-point multitouch and uses palm recognition, and the software is up to the user – slap Windows 8 on it if you like, or go for OS X or Linux if you don’t. Apparently most customers put their own app over the top with maps or shopping guides. It’s almost as if this thing isn’t really meant for home users. Shame.

Hands-on with the Samsung Series 7 Chronos

10 January 2013 – Tim got a good look at Samsung’s new Series 7 Chronos laptop, which boasts 11.5hr battery life, a 15.6in 1080p display and some hefty internals: think Core i7 and top-end AMD graphics.

Samsung Series 7 Chronos

It comes in two flavours though, and while he was impressed by the Chronos H (for High-end), the Chronos M (for Medium – spotted the pattern yet?) has a mediocre screen and less stellar components. We know which one we want to get into the Labs.

Pebble smart watch arrives end of January

9 January 2013 – The Pebble smart watch, which raised more than $10m on Kickstarter, is set to ship 23 January after three months of delays.

The $150 smart watch features an e-paper LCD display, which shows different watch faces as well as notifications pushed from a Bluetooth-connected smartphone. Those can include emails, texts, calls and messages from web services.

HP Envy 27in is world’s first Beats Audio monitor

9 January 2013 – HP has put out a nice-looking 27in monitor with two things going for it. First, the HP Envy 27in uses a high-quality IPS panel, and second, it’s claimed to be the world’s first monitor with Beats Audio technology built-in.

HP Envy 27in with Beats Audio

Created in collaboration with Beats by Dre, the monitor boasts “studio quality” sound, as well it should given that it costs £350. No word yet on the screen resolution, which you’d think would be the first thing on the press release.

Hands-on with three very different products

9 January 2013 – The keynotes are more or less over, so the team has been roaming the show floor for the chance to play with the latest kit.

First up, Panasonic’s 20in tablet with a 4K screen. It’s just a prototype for now, but it’s certainly impressive. If only you had a 4K screen at home so you could properly appreciate the device’s 4K screen in this video…

The Samsung Series 7 Ultra is a premium (complete with sticker saying so) Ultrabook with a touchscreen. Packing a Core i5 or i7 and dedicated AMD graphics, it should hit the high end of the performance scale when we get one in for testing. It looks gorgeous too.

Samsung Series 7 Ultra

Lenovo seems keen on strange hybrid designs – the TV ads for the IdeaPad Yoga 13 demonstrate that – and here’s another one: the ThinkPad Helix.

Lenovo ThinkPad Twist

It’s a keyboard base and a detachable tablet, and the gimmick is that the tablet can be slotted back in backwards if you want to stand it up to watch the screen. Tim rather liked it.

MakerBot puts out 3D printing API

9 January 2013 – MakerBot, which sells 3D printers for “prosumers” for a few grand a pop, has put out a new API for its Thingiverse website that allows digital objects to be uploaded for others to configure.

For example, MakerBot has released an iPhone case app, so anyone with a Replicator can customise their own and print it without having to work out the correct dimensions.

Makerbot Replicator 2

The company also announced the new MakerBot Replicator 2X, which works with ABS rather than PLA, allowing two colours to be used in the printing process.

Nectar charger offers two weeks of mobile power

9 January 2013 – Take the 235g Nectar Mobile Power system, insert a Nectar pod – a butane-based cartridge – into its side slot, and it converts the fuel into energy to charge any USB device you connect.

Each pod has enough fuel for 55,000 mW-hours, which the company claims will give ten full recharges of a smartphone or two weeks of power. The device will cost $300, while each pod is $10, and cartridges are recyclable.

Smart bike automatically changes gears via app

8 January 2013 – So far at CES 2013, we’ve had smart fridges, smart homes and smart healthcare, and now one firm has a smart bike.

Cambridge Consultant’s smart bike system isn’t a mere cycling computer, it allows you to automate electronic gear changers via a smartphone app, making it easier to keep cadence or speed the same for training.

The system uses Bluetooth and sensors to keep track of your pedaling, feeding it back into the app’s algorithm to monitor progress and make decisions about when to change gears.

Is this Valve’s Steam Box?

8 January 2013 – We know Valve is working on a little gaming PC to take on the consoles, we know it will be based around Steam’s Big Picture mode to make it as living room-friendly as possible, and we know Valve has given funding to US startup Xi3.

Put all that together, and it looks like the Xi3 Piston is the early prototype of the anticipated Steam Box. We say early prototype because we don’t know what’s in it or what OS it’s running, and Xi3 is stressing the fact that it’s an early prototype.

Xi3 Piston

We’d take a punt on it being an AMD APU and Linux, but we’ll have to wait and see like everyone else.

Samsung T9000: the Android fridge that runs Evernote

8 January 2013 – Yes, here’s the obligatory internet-connected fridge, brought to you by a hopeful CES every year since 1983. This time it’s made by Samsung, and it runs Evernote.

Asus gives Windows 8 the vote of no confidence

8 January 2013 – What better way to make a convertible PC and tablet more usable, than by stripping out Windows 8 from the tablet part and replacing it with Android. That’s how Asus has approached the problem with its massive 18.4in Transformer AiO.

When it’s docked in its all-in-one basestation it’s a Windows 8 PC running on a Core i3 processor and Nvidia GT 730M graphics. Pull it out and it leaves those parts behind, along with most of its storage, and switches to Android 4.1 on an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor.

This crazy hybrid is yours for a mere $1,500.

AMD unveils Richland, Temash and Kabini processors

8 January 2013 – AMD may have fallen behind Intel in recent years, but it’s still pushing out the processors – the company unveiled three new families at CES 2013.

The top-of-the-line Richland A8 and A10 APUs will give laptops and desktop a claimed performance boost of up to 40% over existing AMD A-Series APUs.

Temash is designed to run Windows 8 on “true performance” tablets and hybrids. It will double the graphical performance of its predecessor, Hondo.

Kabini is for ultrathin notebooks and boosts performance by 50% over its predecessor Brazos 2, and is claimed to be the industry’s first quad-core x86 SoC.

All electric gadgets “should have net connection”

8 January 2013 – Netgear’s company mission for the next decade was spelled out in its keynote: “Everything in the house that is powered by electricity should be connected to the internet.”

They’re not talking consoles and TVs, but all those other devices in the home – and monitoring is key. “Our commitment is to make monitoring systems available and make them installable by people themselves,” said chairman and founder Patrick Lo. As an example, Lo unveiled the VueZone Add-On Night Vision Camera.

Qualcomm unveils next-gen Snapdragons

7 January 2013 – In the opening keynote for CES 2013, Qualcomm CEO Dr. Paul Jacobs unveiled two new series of the company’s Snapdragon chips.

The 800 series is the new flagship Snapdragon, he said, calling it “the most advanced wireless processor ever built”. Designed for smartphones, tablets and laptops, the quadcore CPU offers 75% faster performance than previous Snapdragon lines, and offers support for LTE Advanced for up to 100Mbit/sec connections.

Dr. Jacobs also unveiled the 600 series, which is 40% faster than current Snapdragon chips, and less expensive than the 800.

He said products featuring the chips would be in users’ hands by the second half of the year for the 800 Series, and the second quarter for the 600 series, with over 50 design wins already chalked up.

Steve Ballmer shows up at CES keynote

7 January 2013 – Steve Ballmer made a surprise visit to CES, making an appearance in a speech from Qualcomm’s CEO Dr. Paul Jacobs – continuing a streak of having a Microsoft CEO in the opening keynote for the history of the tech show.

Last year, CES-organiser the Consumer Electronics Association was forced to admit Microsoft had pulled out of the annual tech show, which has opened with a keynote from Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer for more than 20 years.

During Dr. Jacob’s keynote, Ballmer walked on stage to talk about Microsoft’s efforts to shift to mobile, with ARM support, Windows’ shift to touch, and Windows Phone’s arrival.

The appearance will raise questions of whether Microsoft will return to the show with either a keynote speech or stand next year. Ballmer was only the first of a star-studded line-up, including band Maroon 5, a Nascar driver, director Guillermo del Toro, actress Alice Eve from the new Star Trek film, and Big Bird from Sesame Street.

Ballmer at CES

Intel: Ultrabooks now require touchscreens, wireless displays

7 January 2013 – Intel announced that Ultrabooks will now be required to include touchscreens as well as its own Wi-Di wireless display system. At CES 2013, the chip maker also revealed it was moving power reductions from its 4th generation chips into its current line-up, offering processors as low as 7 watts rather than 15.

Intel said its next-gen line-up, Haswell, remained on track to arrive this year, and would bring the biggest battery life gain in the company’s history. Bay Trail-based tablet devices are also due before the end of the year.

The company also unveiled a new reference design for smartphones, running its new low-power Atom platform, code-named Lexington. Handset makers including Acer have already signed up, the company said. Intel showed off an Ultrabook reference design code-named North Cape, which features a detachable tablet with battery life of up to 10 hours, and 13 hours when docked.

Intel also showed off its work on input methods, including voice, gestures and facial recognition.

Lenovo unveils “rip and flip” ThinkPad Helix, IdeaPad Yoga 11S

7 January 2013 – Lenovo has unveiled more laptop designs at CES 2013 – the “rip and flip” ThinkPad Helix and a “mini Ultrabook” called the IdeaPad Yoga 11S.

The Helix is an Ultrabook that converts into a tablet by detaching the display from the base, which can also be used as a stand for watching movies or making presentations.

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix

The 11.6in device weighs 835g with the keyboard detached, and Lenovo promises ten hours of battery life in laptop mode and five for the tablet alone. It features a full-size keyboard, stylus and over-sized clickpad, as well as a 1080p IPS display, and support for LTE and NFC.

The IdeaPad Yoga 11S is a convertible laptop-hybrid. This version is smaller than the previous Yoga 13, with an 11.6in multitouch IPS display. Like the Yoga 13, it comes with gesture controls, and runs Windows 8 with up to an Intel Core i5 processor.

The Helix will be available in February, while the Yoga 11S will hit shelves in June. Pricing wasn’t revealed.

Panasonic targets internet services with new TVs

7 January 2013 – The line between where the internet stops and the TV starts became even more blurred thanks to a series of announcements during Panasonic’s CES press conference.

We saw our first brief demonstration of YouTube on TV, which no longer needs a Google TV or any extra hardware to work, followed by a demonstration of home shopping complete with mini videos of the products being demoed.

The home-shopping service is US only, and the YouTube service will only be in new Smart TVs shipping from the spring, but it’s a clear sign of what’s to come.

Acer unveils €119 7in Iconia B1-A71 tablet

7 January 2013 – Acer has announced a €119 7in tablet, the Iconia B1-A71. It weighs in at a light 320g, and runs Android Jelly Bean on a 1.2GHz dual-core processor. The Iconia B1-A71 features a 1,024 x 600 WSVGA display and 8GB of storage, which can be expanded by 32GB with a microSD card.

The specs aren’t top-notch, but Acer said it was targeting the 7in tablet as a low-cost option for those looking to get into tablets, or as a second device for families for their children. It will be available from mid-January in Europe, Acer said.

Plastic Logic unveils flexible tablet computing with PaperTab

7 January 2013 – English company Plastic Logic – in association with Intel Labs and Queen’s University in Canada – will unveil its flexible, Core i5 tablet computers at CES tomorrow, but released details and photographs today.

The PaperTab offers 10.7in greyscale touchscreen, and is designed to be used in groups, with different units aware of the presence and activity of other PaperTabs, leading the designers to ponder a future in which the humble stack of paper can a raft of new responsibilities.

Toshiba updates high-end laptops with hybrid hard disks

7 January 2013 – Toshiba has added hybrid hard disk technology to its high-end Qosmio X875. The new drives now offer 1TB of standard mechanical storage, plus 8GB of NAND flash memory which Toshiba claims will boost read/write speeds by up to three times. We’ll hold judgement until we’ve seen one, but the rest of the specs – a Core i7 processor and up to 32GB of RAM – should all-but guarantee excellent performance.

One Laptop Per Child hybrid tablet previewed

7 January 2013 – The latest version of OLPC’s hybrid laptop, the XO-4 Touch, has been previewed, as the company makes another attempt to inject low-cost computing into emerging economies.

The device, which weighs under 2kg, works as both a standard laptop and as a tablet PC, with its 7.5in colour LCD supporting up to two touch inputs at once.

Nvidia announces Tegra 4 and Android gaming console

7 January 2013 – Nvidia has taken the wraps of its next-generation Tegra 4 mobile chip, complete with 72 graphics cores and a quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 processor. It’s said to be 45% more power-efficient than Tegra 3.

And what better way to show it off than inside your own gaming device? The Nvidia Project Shield handheld has a 5in 720p touchscreen and plays Android games – but can also stream PC games wirelessly from any desktop system with a good enough Nvidia graphics card.

Lenovo embraces touchscreens, unveils “table PC”

7 January 2013 – Lenovo has revealed a new line-up of Windows 8, touchscreen devices. It unveiled two new Ultrabooks, the IdeaPad U310 and U410, and updated its laptop range with the IdeaPad Z400 and IdeaPad Z500, and its all-in-ones with the 27in IdeaCentre A730 and 23in IdeaPad C540. All feature ten-finger multitouch support.

The company also unveiled a new monitor, the ThinkVision LT1423p Mobile Monitor Touch, and showed off a table PC – and that’s not a typo for “tablet”. The 27in IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC is designed to lay flat on a table top, making it an ideal computer for playing games such as Monopoly, the company said. Lenovo is also working on a 39in version.

Smartphones not for making calls

7 January 2013 – Calling and texting are no longer the main focus of smartphones, according to an analyst presentation ahead of CES 2013.

Shawn DuBravac, an analyst for CEA – the organisation that runs CES – said 65% of time spent on smartphones is on “non communication” tasks, suggesting a move to a “post smartphone era”. He said that trend will continue as apps add more capabilities to smartphones and tablets, notably with in-car systems and health-care services.

Ubuntu for smartphones

3 January 2013 – CES visitors will be among the first to get their hands on a new version of Ubuntu being tailored specifically for smartphones. PC Pro was given a hands-on demonstration of Ubuntu on smartphones at a preview event in London.

The OS shares many of the components found in the desktop version of Ubuntu, including commonly used apps running down the left-hand side of the screen, the Head-Up Display that allows you to speak menu commands into the phone, and a cross-device search engine.

PC Pro unveils Greatest Hits of CES 2013

20 December 2012PC Pro will be picking the ten best products at CES 2013 – and wants your help to do it. There will be four specific categories – tablet, laptop, phone and innovation – and six general awards.

Keep an eye on the show news here, and drop a comment on the Greatest Hits of CES 2013 blog post to let us know which gadget you think should win.

Samsung expected to reveal flexible OLED displays

20 December 2012 – Reports suggest Samsung will be unveiling OLED displays at CES that are flexible, according to Know Your Mobile. The rumours say the 5.5in screen was being developed for smartphones and its Galaxy Note tablets, sporting a 1,280 x 720 resolution.

The displays are expected to actually show up in products in the first half of 2013.

Polaroid planning an Android compact camera?

19 December 2012 – Polaroid could be looking to follow Samsung’s lead with an Android camera of its own, according to leaked photos. The interchangeable lens camera is expected to be unveiled at CES, marking a comeback for the firm that stopped production of its instant print cameras in 2007.

Samsung promises “something new”

10 December 2012 – Samsung has kicked off the build-up to CES with a short – very short – teaser video promising “something new”.

Despite not showing or mentioning a single product, the Samsung video has kicked off speculation that the firm is set to reveal the Galaxy S 4 handset, but that rumour had been circling long before the video arrived.


Intel releasing mystery device at CES

3 December 2012 – Mooly Eden, president of Intel Israel, revealed the chip giant is planning to release a hardware device at CES 2013 – but wouldn’t share any details beyond the fact that it was consumer focused.

According to the report from ZDNet, the SDK that goes along with it is already in the hands of a limited number of developers.

CEA: we want Microsoft back

16 November 2012 – Microsoft last year announced it wouldn’t be headlining CES with the leading keynote in 2013, with its long-running spot going to Qualcomm instead.

While Microsoft isn’t giving a speech or buying floor space for a stand, Gary Shapiro, CEO of the CEA, noted the company was still sponsoring the event. He added the CEA would “like to have them back”, but noted that floor space was fully sold out for this year.

He also added that Microsoft isn’t the first company to step away from CES, with RIM also not buying a stand this year. “Companies come and go, that’s a fact,” he said.

Tablet sales set to double over Christmas

16 November 2012 – Christmas sales of tablets will double last year’s tally, according to research from the Consumer Electronics Association, the body that runs CES.

Analysts for the CEA said at a London event that tablets sales will be up 110%, with 32m sold ahead of Christmas.

“Tablets and smartphones will dominate the holiday season in the US, UK and the rest of the world,” said CEA analyst Shawn DuBravac, noting the devices top wishlists of surveyed users – coming above even money and, rather selfishly, world peace.

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