This week, Avram Piltch shows off the HP Spectre x360 13" 2-in-1 notebook. This new model of the popular Spectre x360 series has some interesting new features. One of the most interesting, though seemingly simple changes, is the angled back corners. On these corners, which are cut at a 45-degree angle, house the power button and charging port. This minor change is a nice design change but also has a nice functional change. With the charging port at an angle, it makes it easy to get to without having it stick out into your desk or pushing back into the wall.
The laptop is ultra thin, but you don't have to sacrifice a standard USB-A port for the size. With more laptops coming with only USB-C, it's nice to have a laptop with both choices. The laptop comes in a couple of color schemes, including a copper-banded and a blue. There are also two choices for screen resolution, both an HD (1080) and UHD (4k). While the screen is colorful, it does suffer from a lack of brightness.
This week, Google's changing its delivery, PlayStation is changing your ID, and Yahoo is changing its settlement offer.
This week, Avram Piltch shows off the brand new Hack Computer, a laptop designed to help teach kids about computers. There are two parts to the computer: the hardware and the operating system. The hardware is a quality laptop manufactured by Asus. Featuring a 1080p screen and lightweight design, it feels at home in the $299 price point. As for the operating system, it is a Linux build with tools and features specifically for the Hack Computer.
Where the Hack Computer really shines is the learning platform. Featuring characters that give you quests, Hack uses those quests to teach kids about the computer and how to code. For example, when in a game, there is a button that allows the child to flip the game over and exposes the inner workings. From there, the child is encouraged to alter the game parameters. As they do, they are given hints on ways they might want to accomplish their goal. They are also given information about coding and the inner workings of the computer.
Some of the information that is given is helpful, while others would seem more at home in a beginning engineering course. It is a little odd to tell an 8-year-old child that Latin root of the word cursor, for example. It's almost as if the target audience of the product changed at some point, but the original content was not removed. Speaking of content, the platform is a little light right now. That is because the platform is designed to expand over time, with a monthly subscription, though you get the first year of content included.
Fortunately, the Hack Computer offers an app store of sorts, so you can install some software you might consider missing as shipped. The Hack Computer is available now for $299.
This week, Apple's lowering their price, Microsoft's raising their benefits, and Google's shrinking their offerings.
This week, Avram Piltch talks about the death of a product that never made any sense: the Intel Compute Card. This tiny computer was about the size of a credit card but required a docking station to be used. Intel believed that this platform was the future of integrated devices, like smart TVs and refrigerators, but manufacturers never agreed. "Secure computing" also didn't pan out as a business model, because of the requirement for a lot of overhead. The problem is, this concept has been around for years, and will not be going anywhere any time soon. Samsung DeX is the same concept, with all of the same limitations. Microsoft Continuum was, again, most of the same issues. So, while Compute Card is gone, the idea is not.
This week, Asus customers are under attack, Google customers are under surveillance, and Apple customers are under pressure to subscribe.
Electric vehicles are quickly becoming a popular place for companies to experiment with unique designs. While electric cars get all of the attention, there are some very interesting things happening in the space. From golf cart style neighborhood vehicles to scooters, electric is all the rage. Yamaha has long had a presence in this space, especially with motorcycles, but is testing some new ideas.
One of those experiments was on display at CES 2019. Rather than what we expect from Yamaha, a two-wheeled vehicle on which you sit, this prototype bucks both of those expectations. Rather than sitting on it like a motorcycle, this is designed to be stood on, like a skateboard or scooter. It also features 3 wheels instead of the more traditional 2 or 4, with 1 in front and 2 in back. Obviously, 3 adds stability over only 2 wheels but gives more maneuverability than 4.
The vehicle is rear wheel drive, meaning that the 2 wheels in the back actually propel the vehicle forward. The front is designed with a handlebar, similar again to a scooter. In the same style, the handlebar controls the positioning of the entire front of the vehicle, giving it the ability to turn quickly and tightly. In the booth, a representative demonstrated how easy it was to steer in a fairly confined space.
As of right now, this device is just a prototype, meaning that it might not come to market as it exists today. Like cars, a concept vehicle is simply a way for engineers to experiment with concepts. The company expects to test the vehicles in Japan this year, though they do not have a timeline for a wide release, either in Japan or overseas. To see all of the development on this and other vehicles, check out the company's website.
What many people do not know is that one of the most technology infused industries in the world is farming. Most modern farming would be completely impossible without the unbelievably large and powerful machines that reside on farms. The leader in farming machinery, as well as computing, is John Deere, a name that even non-farmers are familiar with. The company was at CES 2019 to show how technology that is just barely emerging in consumer technology has been used for farming for a while.
The best example of a technology in use for agriculture that is just making its way to the consumer market is self-driving vehicles. Farmers have been using incredibly large self-driving machinery for years to both plant and harvest fields. Using incredibly precise onboard GPS, this 20-ton machine is able to steer around a field with an accuracy of 2.5 centimeters. This level of precision is essential in agriculture, as a small variation can be the difference between harvesting and destroying a field.
Some of the more recent versions of these machines are able to learn all about a field on its own, using over 100 sensors. Connecting these sensors to the cloud, farmers are able to keep track of the job being done and the quality of the job being performed. Combined with the precise GPS driving, these machines are just shy of being able to set them in the field and walk away.
One of the most interesting advancements in agricultural machinery is the ability for them to be truly multipurpose. In fact, they are referred to as factories on wheels. After a tuning process, they can be used for an entire process, from harvesting grain to separating it with intense detail. Essentially, when the machines come back from the field, the grains can be ready to run into a silo and sold or used.
Whether or not you're a farmer, there is a lot of exciting technology to learn about at John Deere's website.
It seems that everyone is wanting to buy a robotic vacuum these days. They're great for households with pets who shed, homes with a lot of traffic in and outside, or really just about anyone. The problem with the concept is that there are always going to be places that the robot cannot reach. For example, they're not going to clean your stairs. That means that you're still going to have to keep another vacuum in the house for those harder to reach areas. The Coral One is a robot vacuum that helps to solve that issue.
Unlike other products in this category, the Coral One is actually two products in one. Obviously, it is an autonomous vacuum cleaner, but it features a handheld cleaner on the top. When you need to clean the stairs, or maybe get pet hair off of your bedspread, simply pull the handheld vacuum off of the top of the device and take care of what you need. Once you're done, return the piece to the top of the robot and you're done.
Like other robotic vacuums, the Coral One initially maps your home. However, the company takes a different approach to the process. While many other companies take the imagery and layout that they scan and upload them to remote servers, Coral does not. Focusing on privacy, the mapping process does not include any cameras but instead uses infrared and capacitive sensors, plus a collection of proprietary algorithms to determine the house's layout. Most importantly, the information stays local to the device and is never made available to Coral. This protects your privacy, as video or photography from inside your home could easily reveal your most sensitive times.
The Coral One is available now for $699. For more information on the product, check out the company's website.
When people think of consumer drones and multirotor copters, they almost certainly go directly to DJI. There is no name more synonymous with the product category, in fact, for both consumers and professionals. One of the reasons that DJI is so popular is the incredible stability of their cameras, care of a very sophisticated gyroscopic stabilizer. The stabilizer is so good at what it does, that the company has decided to bring it outside of the drone and into a new product, the Osmo Pocket.
This new product is a small, handheld video camera is able to record in full UHD 4K resolution, at 60 frames per second. It can record for 140 minutes on a charge, all in an incredibly small body. But, where DJI really sets the Osmo Pocket apart from the crowded is by bringing their 3-axis gimbal to the camera. This single feature makes the camera incredibly attractive for all sorts of video creators.
The most obvious usage is for amateur sports videography. Whether you're running up and down your kids' soccer pitch or filming your friends' newest skateboard trick, this is a great camera. It's because of the stabilization. You can literally run with the camera and the gimbal can keep the frame level and steady. All of this is made possible while still managing to pack everything into a single-handed design.
The gimbal is mechanical but digitally controlled. This gives the camera the ability to do some great capabilities that you simply cannot get with a generic gimbal. For example, ActiveTrack, a feature which allows you to tap on a subject on the screen and the camera will continue to follow the subject as it moves, as well as while the camera moves. Again, this makes following a kid's soccer game or skateboarding video far easier to film.
For new media, including podcasting and game streaming, one brand of microphones is nearly everywhere: Blue Microphones. From the Yeti to the Snowball, it seems that these microphones are everywhere. Since the company's original microphone designer, Skipper Wise left to pursue other projects, the product lineup has begun to expand quickly. At this CES, the company was showing off a few of those newer products.
In addition to the popular Yeti microphone, Blue has introduced the Yeti Nano. This product made it to market at the end of 2018 and has really begun to find its market. The Nano has a similar design to the standard Yeti, but with a smaller footprint. It offers two of the four modes on the Yeti, both cardioid and omnidirectional, but sheds the stereo and bidirectional modes. The biggest difference, though, is the color palette. While the Yeti is generally known for its subdued colors, the Yeti Nano features bright red, blue, and gold as options.
Blue might be best known in the consumer space for their USB microphones, but the company got started because Skipper disliked every studio mic he had ever used and designed exactly what he wanted. Following in that almost 25-year legacy is the new Ember. This microphone is powered over XLR, meaning that it is intended for proper studio recording. It is a features a cardioid pickup, with a front-facing condenser capsule. This mic will be perfect for a full studio build out, versus the Yeti or Yeti Nano, which are really designed to enhance an existing desk with a quick and easy setup. As with the majority of studio microphones, it ships in a single color: dark grey.
Of all of the products that we love on the CES show floor, microphones are certainly near the top of the list, for obvious reasons. So we were really excited to see the new technology at Shure's booth this year. Shure has been in the market since 1925. They specialize in wired and wireless microphones, personal monitor systems, conferencing solutions, and a host of other audiophile products. Their newest product, a part of Shure's Motive line, is the MV88 Mic. It is a stereo microphone, which you can plug into your smartphone for convenient use. The product comes with a stand and phone attachment, allowing you to take video with your phone while getting optimal quality sound from the stereo microphone. When you plug the MV 88 into your smartphone, it automatically takes over as the default mic and the installed app pops right up on the screen and you're ready to make adjustments and start recording. It will default to stereo mode but you can adjust the width of how wide or narrow you are trying to cover and change it to cardioid or bi-directional.
Shure created an app to go along with the MV 88, although you can use your default app or an app produced by another company, as well. You can record and edit your sound with the Shure Motive Audio App, making adjustments to both your sound and video quality. You can use this software to change both the sample rate of the audio and the audio file type.
When recording in stereo, the app lets you adjust your sound to your specifications. You can also set presets for your sound quality choices within the app. Making changes is as quick and easy as the touch of a button or slide of your finger across the touchscreen. It remembers all of the changes you have made and will already be set to your specifications the next time you use it. The MV88 kit sells for $249.00 and you can get yours now on Amazon Prime.
Shure also produces the microphone Daniele is using in the video. The KSM8 is a nickel-plated, dual-diaphragm microphone. It has a wide frequency, so it picks up your voice without struggling to find the perfect spot to stand or hold the microphone. This microphone sells for $499.00 and is also available on Amazon Prime.
You can find out more about these microphones and the entire Shure line by visiting their website.