Quick Look: CES Unveiled, London 2013

ces-unveiled-london

The Consumer Electronics Show every year in glamorous Las Vegas is one of the highlights of the tech calendar. We went to CES Unveiled, a preview of next year’s show at the slightly less glamorous South Bank of London to see what techs finest had to offer.

Roku 3

Roku have been locked in an arms race with the Apple TV to provide amazing puck-sized boxes that stream hi-def content to your TVs. The Roku 3 packs a lot in a little package, with Spotify, Netflix, Plex and services like iPlayer and Now5 built in. The motion-sensitive remote also works like a Wii controller so you can play Angry Birds. The remote also has a headphone jack so you can listen to TV without disturbing your flat mates. Sadly (and like all Roku boxes) there’s still no official streaming support for YouTube or Vimeo, which is a little like an Italian restaurant that has taken pizza and pasta off the menu.

Fitbug

Fitness trackers are all the rage, with great devices on offer from Fitbit and Jawbone (and potentially Apple if the 5S co-processor takes off). However, new kid on the block Fitbug were showing off their Orb activity tracker, which logs exercise,monitors sleep and doesn’t need recharging – all for the low, low price of £45. The a Orb can be worn as a watch, clipped on a belt or discretely attached to your underwear. Much like the latest Fitbits, data can be streamed wirelessly to an app. And to keep you motivated to actually use the thing, Orb comes with Kik – a digital coach.

Sunnycam

Google Glasses may have a powerful amount of mindshare, but they aren’t the only horse in the wearable camera market. Sunnycam have been producing video recording glasses for a while and their latest range both look and ‘see’ better, with improved optics recording up to 1080p and a refined design, prescription lenses and shatterproof glass. They can also ‘hear’ better with improved audio recording capabilities. All this and more can be on your face from Q1 2014.

Arcam AV950 AV Receiver

Arcam have always treated audio with gravitas and their top of the line AV950 combines reference-grade audio quality with an iPad app – so despite the extreme power at your fingertips, it remains easy to install and use. Even on a crowded conference floor the precision and power of the sound was abundantly clear.

OnBeat Solar Headphones

Want high-quality sound on the go? The over-ear headphone market is pretty crowded but OnBeat have figured out a way to stand out – helping out smartphone users’ perennial plight – running out of battery. The solar panel built into the top of the OnBeat Solar Headphones generates enough power to be able to constantly recharge smartphones and tablets whilst they are playing music. The integrated flexible solar cell has a power output of approximately 0.55W. The energy is stored in two light-weight Lithium Ion batteries held within the two ear cups for a balanced weight and fit on the head. Definitely my favourite thing.

CES 2013 Preview: It gets bigger, faster, better

It’s that time of year again. No not for endless ridiculous articles about New Year’s resolutions for the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show (CES) where all the gadget manufacturers large and small gather together and conspire to make you feel bad about all the brand new electronics you *just* got for Christmas. We thought we’d kickstart the resent with a tiny glimpse of a few of the things we’d been keeping an eye out for. However there are thousands of things going down at CES so we (well a lucky few of us) will be flying over to have a hands-on look. Check back here daily for updates.

Evolution-Kit

Samsung Evolution Kit
Of course I may have been a little cynical above but I’ve been burned oh so many times. One of the worst cases was buying a fancy new Samsung Smart TV only for a new version to drop a couple of months later. I wasn’t too fussed until I tried to install a 3D channel app and to be rudely informed that my TV was too old to be supported. That’s not a sustainable “smart” app platform and Samsung (finally) agree wit their Evolution Kit, which enables Samsung’s 7000, 8000 and 9000 2012 Smart TV models to evolve into Samsung’s new 2013 Smart TVs. By simply attaching the Evolution Kit device into the back of a Samsung Smart TV you can enjoy the latest and greatest without junking your entire set.

The Evolution Kit bumps CPU, memory and GPU up to the level of so you can enjoy faster speeds for browsing and multitasking (although I’m still waiting on “killer apps” for smart TV outside of streaming).

Powerocks

Powerocks
Smartphones need juice and there are always a number of new and fun ways to get you going when you’re on the go. The light-weight 3-inch Powerocks Magic Cube and Stone3 power banks are portable back-up power supplies and have a long cycle life so they can be used more than 500 times (others brands normally provide only 50-300 cycles). Powerocks products provide a high up to 12000 mAh (Milliamps Hour) capacity in a small package that can be charged in under 5 hours (half the time of competitors). What makes them even more appealing is that they can even charge two devices at the same time and have included cables.

Smarthub

NYNE Smart Media Centre
NYNE have taken an “all your base are belong to us” approach to the living room with their Smart Media Centre. The SMC-1000 is one of the most flexible media centres on the market including Apple Lightning dock, Apple Airplay, Bluetooth, HDMI ports, USB ports, digital inputs, NFC and more. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had SCSI inputs and SCART ports it’s that inclusive.

The console delivers a high performance audio experience with a 2.1 stereo system, all while neatly storing your external devices and wires. Looks pretty neat.

Fitbug Orb
If you want to discreetly keep track of your activity there’s the Fitbug Orb activity monitor. Like all activity monitors the Orb tracks calories burned, distance covered and walking pace, but also tracks sleep so you can monitor the quality and quantity of the Zzzs you are catching.It can be worn discreetly under clothing using the underwear clip, on the wrist or simply carried in a pocket or purse. A neck pendant, belt hook, sleep pouch and key fob attachments are also available.

RP-VITA
And obviously there will be robots including the RP-VITA – the first remote presence solution for patient care that combines the latest in telemedicine technology from InTouch Health with the latest in autonomous navigation and mobility developed for the iRobot Ava mobile robotics platform.