With the back-to-back news conferences, announcements and noisy buzz, it's hard to believe that CES 2016 doesn't officially kick off until Wednesday, when the schedule is even fuller.
LAS VEGAS — With all the back-to-back news conferences, announcements and noisy buzz Tuesday, it’s hard to believe that CES 2016 doesn’t officially kick off until Wednesday. The schedule, of course, is even fuller than it was Tuesday.
But before getting to Day 2, here are some of the highlights from our coverage of Day 1.
- A lot of Tuesday’s announcements involved technology platforms for the good ol’ automobile. As Matt Day wrote, “Automakers and technology companies are betting there is a lot of money to be made by making cars connect better to our smartphones and the Web.”
- The reach that Samsung’s long line of products have across the house is awesome, but what may have attracted the most attention at a news conference was its selfie-taking refrigerator.
- Matt offered some you-are-there views through his tweeting from Las Vegas. He’ll continue that today and will be joined soon by Rachel Lerman.
GM shows off the Chevy Bolt with 200-mile battery range
General Motors executives say the new Chevrolet Bolt electric car was designed so it can handle a future filled with cameras, sensors and supercomputers on the way toward autonomous driving.
“It is an upgradable platform for new technology,” CEO Mary Barra said Wednesday as she introduced the car’s production version, which boasts a 200-mile battery range, at CES.
The five-passenger Bolt, priced about $37,500 excluding a $7,500 federal tax credit, has a 10.2-inch touch screen and can be recharged to 80 percent of its battery capacity in an hour on a 240-volt charger, she said. It will go on sale late this year as a 2017 model.
The Bolt should help GM in its alliance to provide cars and eventually self-driving vehicles to ride-sharing service Lyft. The company announced a $500 million investment in Lyft on Monday.
GM says the Bolt’s higher driving range, which competes with upstart Tesla Motors at a lower price, should draw buyers even with low gas prices. Research has shown that limited range is a big barrier to many drivers, the company said. “This takes that excuse away,” said GM product development chief Mark Reuss.
— The Associated Press
Now that’s a bright TV
Sony unveiled a prototype TV capable of showing 4K programming with a brightness level it claims is four times as bright as its competitors.
Using a technology it called Backlight Master Drive, the company said its prototype TV could emit 4,000 nits of brightness, which is four times as high as the 1,000 nits boasted by competitors LG and Samsung on their liquid crystal display TVs. It’s about 10 times brighter than most sets today.
The company said the technology was unique to Sony. It also said it would launch an app called Ultra so users could buy and stream 4K movies that were also encoded for a new standard called high dynamic range (HDR). Titles to be made available include Sony Pictures films like “Elysium,” “Chappie” and “Fury.”
Sony also showed off a flagship TV it calls the X93D, which it will launch later this year to show 4K HDR movies and shows. It said it would brand all its new TVs capable of playing the new format with the “4K HDR” label, not the “Ultra HD Premium” label that is sanctioned by the UHD Alliance, a group of electronics makers and studios of which Sony is a member.
— The Associated Press
FAA has app that tells where its OK to fly drones
The Federal Aviation Administration says it has developed a smartphone app to show drone operators where it’s OK to fly and what areas are off limits.
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta also announced at a news conference at the CES 2016 that by early Wednesday, 181,061 operators had registered their drones as new rules require.
The FAA launched online registration Dec. 21. Officials say they hope registration will help them trace drones caught flying too close to manned aircraft or over crowds, and create a “culture of accountability.”
The smartphone app, B4UFLY, uses maps that identify the operator’s current location and restricted areas in a radius around the operator. It’s available now for Apple devices from the App Store and for Android devices from the Google Play Store.
— The Associated Press
Netflix streams across the world
Netflix has gone global.
The Web-streaming service is now available in an additional 130 countries, Chief Executive Reed Hastings said Wednesday at a CES 2016 keynote.
“You are witnessing the birth of a global TV network,” Hastings said in announcing Netflix’s entry into markets from India to Poland and Saudi Arabia.
“Netflix has gone live in nearly every country in the world, but China,” he said. The world’s most populous country has limited the access of American Internet giants to China’s massive consumer market.
— Matt Day
Oculus VR headset steps in view with March 28 shipping date
The new wave of virtual reality hardware is starting to roll out.
The Oculus Rift headset will start shipping to customers on March 28, just making the company’s target to ship the device during the first quarter of the year. The package will cost $599, the Facebook-owned company said Wednesday, and will be available in 20 countries.
Included are the immersive headset, a mic and sensor, a remote, and an Xbox One controller. Oculus’s own VR-specific controller won’t be ready until the second half of the year.
Also included is “Lucky’s Tale,” a Super Mario-style platform game designed for virtual reality by game studio Playful. The company says it hopes to have more than 100 games available by the end of the year.
The Oculus headset requires support from a powerful PC, though, limiting the market for the first devices to those who already own a gaming PC or are interested in buying one to try out VR. Nvidia, the graphics card maker, estimates 13 million computers worldwide this year have that graphics capabilities to run VR, Bloomberg noted.
— Matt Day
Intel CEO shows how company’s chips go well beyond PCs
If Intel has its way, its processors will power a lot more than personal computers.
Brian Krzanich, the chief executive of the Santa Clara, Calif., company rode onto stage on Tuesday night to start his keynote speech here, the symbolic kickoff of the Consumer Electronics Show, riding on a self-balancing Segway.
Things didn’t get much more tame from there, with Krzanich bringing on stunt bikers, drones, a mini-fashion show, and a futuristic safety helmet that helps factory workers understand the world around them. And the Segway Krzanich rode was later revealed to be a robot that made use of Intel’s RealSense technology to autonomously move around its environment.
Krzanich, who runs a company that primarily makes its money selling the processors that power personal computers, used the showcase to highlight the use of Intel chips in the sensor-equipped devices for homes and businesses that make up the Internet of Things, as well as drones and robots.
That focus partly reflects a stagnant PC market that has hampered Intel. But Krzanich spent more than an hour here making the case that computing was on the cusp of staking out a greater role in people’s lives.
“Computing is becoming an extension of you,” Krzanich said. “Almost every part of life that we enjoy today is powered by technology.”
Intel’s Curie, a fingernail-sized chip designed for wearable devices and other applications, will ship to customers in the first quarter of the year, and cost less than $10, Krazanich said.
Stunt bikers rode across the stage — at one point doing tricks over Krzanich’s head — to demonstrate how the chips, embedded in a bike’s handlebars and seat, could calculate height, rotation, and other data to come up with the trick the rider was doing.
A similar demonstration revealed a tie up with ESPN to put the chips to work gathering data at the upcoming X Games Aspen extreme sports competition.
— Matt Day