Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is one of the biggest tech events of the year, similar to Mobile World Congress. CES 2017 saw a truckload of gadgets, cars, smart IoT showcased by some of the worlds most well known (and some less known) tech manufacturers, the one thing that defines CES is virtually all the world's tech manufacturers getting together to launch the next big thing in technology, kickstarting the trends for 2017 and showing off all the hot products to get excited about. Here’s my top 5 announcements from CES 2017:
1. Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Processor
Qualcomm announced another staple in the smartphone industry by introducing the all new Snapdragon 835 chip (which succeeds Snapdragon 821). It is the first Qualcomm chip that is commercially produced using 10nm FinFET process (4nm/35% smaller & consumes 25% less power then the outgoing 821 chip). The Snapdragon 835 has been build with VR in mind and full mobile computing support. The chip has 4 performance cores clocked at 2.45GHz & 4 more efficient cores clocked at 1.9GHz for less resource hungry tasks.
Key specs include:
- Adreno 540 GPU (replaces 530) which supports OpenGL ES 3.2, OpenCL 2.0, Vulkan’s API & DirectX 12. These will ensure higher-performing graphics experience for mobile gaming, VR & AR
- Supports 4K (UHD) video recording at 30fps or 60fps and 4K playback
- Google Daydream VR platform ready
- Phone makers will be able to build devices with cameras of up to 32MP resolution or dual 16MP
- Qualcomm Haven Security Platform is hardware backed biometric security (authentication via fingerprint or iris scan)
- X16 LTE modem support Cat. 16 download speeds (up to 1Gbps) & Cat. 13 upload speeds (150 Mbps)
- Bluetooth 5.0 certified with peak transfer speeds of up to 2Mbps.
- Quick Charge 4.0 will allow devices to charge 20% faster that quick charge 3.0. Quick Charge 4.0 supports USB-C
- Power delivery so you won’t need a special fast charger.
Phone makers are expected to start implementing Qualcomm’s finest Snapdragon 835 chip in their flagship devices from June/July 2017. The 835 chip brings lots of really great features and improvements to the platform and so it will be really exiting to see what phone makers build around the chip.
2. ASUS ZENFONE 3 AR
ASUS entered CES 2017 with a splash by unveiling two mobile devices (Zenfone 3 Zoom & ZenFone 3 AR). I’m interested in the ZenFone 3 AR as it has a much superior spec sheet. The ZenFone 3 AR is a high-end device that comes with Google Project Tango: https://get.google.com/tango/ cameras for augmented reality experiences. The cameras and sensors use special recognition to overlay virtual objects onto a live feed of what the camera is seeing in real-time. Some examples of useful AR include previewing how furniture will look in your home and how clothes will look on a mock-up of your body type. GAP demonstrated a virtual version of yourself, applying a physics engine to see how the clothes will fit and fall on your body.
Key specs include:
• Project Tango Augmented Reality
• Daydream Virtual Reality
• 5.7" Super AMOLED display, 515ppi
• Snapdragon 821 chipset: Octa-Core (2x2.35 GHz Kryo & 2x1.6GHz Kryo) CPU, Adreno 530 GPU
• 4/8GB RAM
• 32/64/128/256GB of built-in storage, expandable via the microSD card slot
• 23MP main camera; OIS (4-axis), depth & motion track sensors, 2160p video capture, 8MP selfie camera
• 3300mAh removable battery, QuickCharge 3.0
• Android 7.0 Nougat OS
Augmented reality isn't quite here yet, but Asus's ZenFone AR is. Someone always needs to solve the chicken-and-egg problem with new technologies, offering up the hardware for developers to start writing software for. The ZenFone AR will be available to buy from quarter 2/3 of 2017
3. Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller
Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller is a miniature wireless keyboard & trackpad rolled into one so the entire keypad is also a touch sensitive trackpad. This method should work a lot better than ball or optical trackpads of previous Lenovo controllers. Lenovo paid particular attention to ergonomics, making it comfortable to hold & use.
The controller is designed for two-thumb typing and is small enough to stash away in small compartments of your backpack if you need it for presentations. The device weighs 141g and has a range of 20m & its battery should last a good 8 months of regularly use, so it’s not another device that requires constant charging.
Key selling points include:
- Entire keypad surface is a touchpad
- Ease-of-use, comfort all-day long
- Optimised for Windows
- Weighs just 141 (with two AAA batteries)
- 80 physical keys (including 6 media function keys)
- Up to 8 months battery life
The Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller, a state-of-the-art wireless keyboard and mouse that fits in the palm of your hand will be available to buy for $55 from March 2017 (it will be available in the U.S only).
Sure, the new MacBook Pro has that fancy Touch Bar, but some Apple laptop owners long for a machine with a full touchscreen display. AirBar was announced at CES to address the lack of touch screen function offered by Apple. The devices plugs into your Mac’s USB port & a thin strip (bar) is attached by magnets on the bottom bezel of your laptop, that’s it, no software, configuration is needed as it just works. AirBar emits a light field over the display to pick up your touch navigation, pinch-to-zoom and scrolling gestures. Of course, you’ll have to remove it to completely close your laptop, but the addition of touch with a relatively painless install makes a solid case for the add-on.
Key selling points include:
- Turns any non touchscreen laptop into a touchscreen device
- Plug-and-touch (no software installation or configuration changes needed)
- Works with fingers, gives, brush or whatever
- Weights just 55g
Priced at less then £100 and initially limited to the 13-inch MacBook Air, AirBar will be available for purchase from Amazon in March. The company intends to market similar models compatible with other MacBook family products in the future, company representatives said during the announcement.
5. Intel Compute Card
Chip maker Intel unveiled the Intel Compute Card, a credit card-sized PC that takes aim at the Internet of Things (IoT). The device, which follows on from the not-quite-as-small Intek Compute Stick, has all of the components that you’d expect to find in a PC including integrated system-on-chip (SoC), RAM, storage and wireless connectivity. The device is just a little thicker than a credit card, measuring in at around 3.7in x 2.2in, and is Intel’s thinnest PC to date at just 0.2in.
The device is aimed at developers aimed at developers and businesses looking to integrate a computer with an intel processor into smart devices, such as interactive refrigerators, smart kiosks, security cameras and IoT gateway. Devices makers simply design a standard where Intel Compute Card slots into and then utilise the best Intel Compute Card for their performance and price needs.
Key specs include:
- Kaby Lake Processor (7th generation)
- Ultra Slim (measures 3.7in x 2.2in & and 0.2in thick)
- Wireless connectivity
- Storage options available
The Intel Compute Stick will be available later this year, pricing details remain under wraps. Full specifications are also yet to be confirmed, although the firm has said that it's latest 7th-generation Core 'Kaby Lake' processor will be thrown into the mix.
Nazrul Hoque - 07 January 2017