CES 2016 January 8, 2016

casio-wsd-f10

Fossil and Tag Heuer may have been the first traditional watch companies to launch an Android Wear device, but it was never going to be long before Casio joined the game. The popular watchmaker has dabbled in the connected watch market for a few years now, and has finally unveiled its first Android Wear watch. The WSD-F10 might just be the most durable and rugged smartwatch we’ve ever seen…

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CES 2016 January 7, 2016

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At CES today, Google and Lenovo announced a partnership to bring the first consumer Project Tango device to the market. The Lenovo-made smartphone will be the first Project Tango offering that consumers will have the chance to try. Google touts that Project Tango transforms your smartphone into “a magic lens that lets you place digital information on your physical world.”

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YouTube’s chief business officer Robert Kyncl took the stage today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to discuss the future of the video platform, its growth over recent years, and much more. Kyncl has been with YouTube since 2010, previously having a seven-year stint at Netflix. The executive oversees all business functions for YouTube, including sales, marketing, content, and general operations.

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With App Runtime for Chrome (ARC), users can run Android apps on their computers. It makes for a decent experience, but ultimately it’s just portrait apps on top of the Mac and Windows interface. Announced at CES, Remix OS 2.0 is a full desktop OS that runs Android apps.

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blu-vive-5

BLU is continuing its tradition of launching affordable, but well-specced smartphones with the new range of Vivo smartphones at CES 2016. The BLU Vivo 5 and BLU Vivo XL share many of the same features and specifications, albeit in two different forms…

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blackberry-priv-official

John Chen has to be one of the most likable CEOs in the business. His honest-talking and humble character has won him many fans in the tech industry. What’s more, BlackBerry fans across the globe will credit him for saving the company at a point when it looked doomed. Or, at the very least, stopped it from going extinct. Sadly however, his latest comments might not go down so well with some of the BlackBerry-faithful…

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CES 2016 January 6, 2016

Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint will get the BlackBerry PRIV

Update: T-Mobile has made it official and is carrying the device starting January 26th.

In addition to arriving in more European countries, the BlackBerry PRIV will also be available through all four major carriers in the United States. BlackBerry CEO John Chen confirmed the news at CES today, but did not offer a timeline for when they’d be released.

chromecast_multiroom

Android’s showing at CES has diminished when compared to earlier years, but Google is making it up with many companies announcing Google Cast and Android TV devices. The former is a cheap alternative to Sonos and the latter is becoming the defacto OS for TV makers who don’t want to deal with software.

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speck-pocket-vr

Speck is one of the best-known smartphone case manufacturers. Its products normally combine practicality and durability with attractive designs in a way not many other companies manage. Its Candyshell Grip case is one of the most recognizable around, thanks to the grippy, (usually) brightly colored stripes on the outer shell. Now, the company has decided to dive in to the world of virtual reality with its latest product: Pocket VR.

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Samsung introduces new, sleek 11.6-inch Chromebook 3

Samsung has joined ASUS in offering a new ultra-portable Chromebook for the masses this year at CES 2016. While ASUS went with a ruggedized look, Samsung has gone with a more sleek appearance, while still promising a durable and long-lasting build.

The new Chromebook 3 weighs a little over 2.5 pounds and has a reinforced metal body and 180-degree hinge to ensure that it’s not easily broken. What’s more, its shape and grippy finish are designed to make it easy to carry, but difficult to drop accidentally.

“We’re seeing more and more people flocking to Chromebooks as families, students and other consumers seek out easy-to-use, highly portable and affordable laptops as resources for personal use, education and even work,” said Gary Riding, senior vice president, Mobile Computing at Samsung Electronics America. “Samsung recognized that demand when we launched the first-ever Chromebook in 2011. We’re continuing to keep up with evolving consumer needs with this new iteration, which offers even more convenient features that solve consumers’ pain points, like all day battery life and fast charging capabilities.”

Specifications are typical of the smaller, more affordable Chromebooks:

  • 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 resolution anti-glare display
  • Intel Celeron N3050 processor
  • Intel HD GPU
  • 2GB or 4GB RAM
  • 16GB storage
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi with 2x MIMO tech
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 2 x 1.5W stereo speakers
  • 720p built-in webcam
  • USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports
  • HDMI out
  • 3.5mm jack
  • MicroSD card slot
  • 11 hour battery life (33Wh)

Although exact pricing and release date details haven’t been announced, Samsung intends to launch the new Chromebook 3 at some point in the next few months. Similarly specced Chromebooks normally cost between $200-$250, anything more than that would surely make Samsung’s latest laptop unappealing.

honor-5x

Yesterday, at CES 2016,  Huawei clearly signaled its intent to build its presence in the US. It’ll do so through its own main brand and Honor, it’s more affordable sub-brand. With the Huawei Mate 8 and Honor 5X joining the Nexus 6P, the company now has a strong portfolio of devices available with premium features and build, at different price points…

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CES 2016 January 5, 2016

android-wear-new-balance

The first product out of New Balance’s Digital Sport division will be an Android Wear smartwatch. The division was announced during Intel’s CES keynote that featured smart New Balance running shoes with Intel chips.

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Sony is launching a 4K video store on its Android TVs this year

While Sony’s CES press conference was light on major news, it did announce a 4K video store for their line up of smart televisions. At last year’s CES, Sony chose Android TV as the OS for its smart TVs. As such, the ULTRA video store will be an Android app.

gear-s2-models

At its CES keynote, Samsung announced that its Gear S2 smartwatches will come in two new metal finishes and will get Samsung Pay and iOS compatibility later this year.

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Samsung Pay expanding to Australia, Singapore, and Brazil

As part of their so called “Samsung Galaxy Ecosystem,” Samsung Pay is expanding to Australia, Singapore, and Brazil over the coming year. The mobile payment service launched in the US last September to a crowded field of Apple and Android Pay.

samsung-earnings

Samsung is up next for CES press day, following a very Android- and Google-heavy Huawei event. This event isn’t expected to be nearly as exciting, however, as Samsung has a wide variety of products spanning many categories to mention. Just like last year, I wouldn’t be surprised if we heard about Samsung services, some connected home products, some televisions, and maybe a new variant of a smartwatch (the Gear S2 this time, likely)… expand full story

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Casio is widely known for making more traditional digital watches, but they’ve in fact been a long time exhibitor at CES. Last year, they announced a GPS connected watch. This year they are showing off an Android Wear smartwatch geared for outdoor usage.

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Matte Gold Nexus 6P available as Google Store and Best Buy exclusive in the US

Besides their flagship Mate 8, Huawei also announced at its CES event that the Nexus 6P’s gold variant is coming to the US. We reported last month that the 6P would be coming to Best Buy as an exclusive. The gold model was initially only available as a Japanese exclusive, before launching in India last month. 

huawei-mate-8

At their CES event today, Huawei officially launched their Mate 8 in international markets. This is a part of their larger play to expand beyond its home market of Asia into North America, Europe, and beyond. In the past few months, the company has released the well-received Nexus 6P with Google and the Huawei Watch.

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As its press event kicks off at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Huawei has announced a pair of new smartwatches that will launch in Q1 of this year. Much like we reported earlier, both of these watches are designed with the female market in mind. The two watches are called the “Elegant” and “Jewel” models and are variants of the Huawei Watch we’ve come to know.

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The Internet of Things is quickly shaping up to a big story at CES 2016. Numerous internet connected gadgets for the home will be announced over the next few days. Many of them are using the Brillo and Weave standards that Google announced last year. The former is basically a stripped down version of Android for IoT devices, while the latter is a language devices can use to talk to one another.

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huawei-mate-8

For Google fans, Hauwei’s press conference this morning is likely to be one of the most interesting of CES 2016. The company has boldly entered the United States market this year with the launch of the Huawei Watch and the Nexus 6P, and just about everyone — myself included — is excited to find out what the company has in store for 2017. From what we’ve heard, the company is planning to launch the Mate 8 for the United States, as well as introduce a new smartwatch (and some other things)…

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Fitbit’s latest Blaze activity tracker/watch has color, 5-day battery and style

Update (1/6 10:30am): Fitbit Blaze is now available for pre-order from Amazon and Best Buy.

This morning Fitbit took the stage at CES to announce its latest activity tracker. The Fitbit Blaze sits between the Charge HR and Surge trackers in the company’s current product lineup. While it may look a whole lot like many full-blown iOS/Android smartwatches, its main focus is still fitness rather than third-party app complications.

Blaze is the first Fitbit to feature a high-resolution color touchscreen LCD display. It comes with a elastomer band and stainless steel frame, but in a move reminiscent to Apple’s attention to style with its Watch, Fitbit is also offering a wide range of different bands and frames. You can even customize its look even more through a variety of clock faces.

Blaze was designed to help you get in the best shape of your life by offering valuable health data, motivational coaching, and detailed workout instructions with animated images. PurePulse delivers all-day heart rate information that can “help you maintain workout intensity and better track calories burned during each workout” and provide vital data like “resting heart rate and heart rate trends over time.” Other features like Multi-Sport and SmartTrack take the pain out of logging individual workouts. A single charge is estimated to last up to 5-days.

Aside from its fitness tracking abilities, Blaze can also relay call, text and calendar alerts, as well as adjust volume and song selection from your iPhone or Android smartphone.

Fitbit Blaze can be pre-ordered now with a black, blue, or plum band for $199.95 and is expected to be released in March. Looking for a deal on a current generation Fitbit? The Charge is on sale for $89.99 (Reg. $130) and the Charge HR is down to $109.99 (Reg. $150).

Full press releases follows:

ASUS’ new Chromebook C202 is hard to break, easy to fix

Over the past couple of years the Chromebook market has really taken off, particularly in education, where kids of all ages are being handed Chrome OS-powered laptops to complete work and research on. Part of the draw is that the platform gives users quick and painless access to commonly-used tools and programs in the cloud. The other part is that they are, mostly, very affordable.

Adding to the range of child-friendly Chromebooks already available is ASUS who, this morning, unveiled a brand new rugged notebook. The C202 has been designed specifically to withstand being dropped and to suffer the kinds of abuse kids often inflict on our gadgets. The entire device is wrapped in a durable rubber bumper, has a spill-proof keyboard and scratch-resistant shell.

As well as having an impact-resistant outer shell, the Chromebook also has a hinge which can be rotated 180-degrees. So, even if a child is a little too enthusiastic in opening it up, the C202 will survive. And if it doesn’t, it happens to be very easy to fix.

ASUS kitted out the Chromebook C202 with a modular body held together by regular screws. Its design means you’ll be able to replace parts like the battery, keyboard and power socket without having to send it to someone who has all the right proprietary screwdrivers.

Spec-wise, there’s nothing eye-watering here, it’s a pretty basic low-end Chromebook. The 11.6-inch resolution display has a resolution of 1,366 x 768 and is powered by an Intel Celeron processor paired with either 2GB or 4GB of RAM, combined with the usual 16GB storage. ASUS states it has 10 hours of battery, which normally means you can expect between 6-9 hours depending on usage. It’s also equipped with an HDMI out port, SD card reader and two USB 3.0 ports.

Pricing for the 4GB model will be between $220 and $230 USD when it launches in February.

htc-urban-armor-healthbox

In an effort to get customers entirely absorbed into their ecoystem in one fell swoop, HTC and Under Armor have today announced HealthBox. Although it may sound like the brand-name for some kind of nutritious lunch, it is in fact a system which ties together a smart scale, fitness band and heart-rate monitor with a smartphone app…

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Alcatel OneTouch unveils new Pixi 4 smartphone and tablet range

Alcatel OneTouch has built something of a name for itself at the affordable end of smartphone and tablet market. This morning at CES 2016, the company announced a brand new range of ultra low-end Pixi 4 phones and tablets, all powered by Android and a dual-core or quad-core processor, but each with a different-sized screen.

Alcatel OneTouch’s latest Pixi range will come with 3.5-inch, 4-inch, 6-inch and 7-inch models, with the last of those being far more like a small tablet than a smartphone.

Although they’re clearly entry-level products, the new Pixi range have been loaded with a number of features to make them attractive to first-time smartphone buyers, or those with lower budgets. The pre-installed Polaroid software lets users design their own collages from photos and add borders and text, while the front-facing flash on the 4-inch and 6-inch models means you can take selfies in the dark. What’s more, the Arkamys optimized speakers means audio shouldn’t be terrible.

You can find the full list of key specs for each model below. No specific release date or pricing has been mentioned for any of the devices.

Pixi 4 (3.5) Specs

  • 3.5-inch HVGA display
  • Dual-core 1.1GHz Cortex-A7 processor
  • 512MB RAM
  • 2MP rear camera
  • 0.3MP front camera
  • 4GB storage (expandable)
  • Runs Android 5.1 Lollipop

Pixi 4 (4) Specs

  • 4-inch WVGA display
  • Quad-core 1.3GHz Cortex-A7 processor
  • 512MB/1GB RAM
  • 4GB/8GB storage (expandable)
  • 2MP/5MP rear camera
  • 0.3MP/2MP front camera
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop

Pixi 4 (6) Specs

  • 6-inch 720p IPS display
  • Snapdragon 210 processor, quad-core 1.1GHz
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB storage (expandable)
  • 8MP rear camera
  • 5Mp front camera
  • LTE connectivity
  • 2,580mAh battery
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop

Pixi 4 (7) Specs

  • 7-inch 1024 x 600 resolution
  • 1.1GHz quad-core Cortex-A7 processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB storage (expandable)
  • 2,580mAh battery
  • GSM/3G networks
  • 2MP rear camera
  • 0.3MP front camera
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow

zenfone-zoom

Last year at CES, ASUS showed off a number of new competitive smartphones boasting the ZenFone brand name. Among them was the 3x optical zoom-equipped ZenFone Zoom. Since then, we’ve heard very little else about the photography-focussed Android device. Until now…

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CES 2016 January 4, 2016

AT&T and Cricket unveil pair of ruggedized Kyocera devices coming this month

AT&T and Kyocera have today taken the wraps off of two new Android devices coming to AT&T and Cricket this month. Both of the devices are built with surviving the elements in mind, while also offering specs that lead to optimal performance.

lg-k-series-2016

LG has shown its hand at Vegas this year and announced a couple of new mid-tier smartphones for the budget-conscious consumer at CES 2016. LG claims that both of the new devices have been inspired by nature, and are the first to offer the company’s ‘glossy pebble’ design language which is aimed at a younger target market. Both the K10 and K7 run Android and feel premium, according to the company’s press release…

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acer-h-series

If you have a Chromebook Pixel C and are looking for an external monitor for it, Lenovo and Acer have announced the neatest solutions yet, with a choice of 24-, 25- and 27-inch USB-C monitors.

Lenovo’s ThinkVision X24 Pro is the most basic, with a 1920×1080 resolution starting at $399, with availability in May. Acer’s H7 series monitors offer 2560×1440 resolution in 25- and 27-inch variants, and you’ll be able to get your hands on one of those next month, starting at $499.99.

Finally, Lenovo’s ThinkVision X1 is a 27-inch model offering 3840×2160 resolution, again from May, priced at $799 …

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acer-ces-2016

Today at CES 2016 in Las Vegas, Acer announced its next lineup of budget-friendly Chrome OS and Android based products. It announced a brand new Chrome desktop with Intel Core processors, a small, durable Chromebook and an affordable tablet…

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