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Technology Today - February 2016 - CES Press Events
By Robert Sanborn

One of the things I like about press days at CES is to hear what the companies themselves think people are looking for and while sometimes you sit there and say well of course, there are other times you shake your head and wonder. The preview was fun to hear from the CTA (Consumer Technology Association, formerly the Consumer Electronics Association) and besides the iot or “internet of things”, what it really looks like is putting sensors, cameras, and monitors on more and more things. And I saw a lot of that on the show floor from lightbulbs with sensors to tell them when to turn off and on to all sorts of things attached to drones. The baby monitor has come a long way.  Remember how if you wanted to talk to your computer, you needed to load a piece of software like Dragon Naturally Speaking and then had to train it literally for hours before you could convert speech to text. And the word correction rate was horrible. Today, that rate is down to nearly 5% and things like Siri from Apple and Alexa from Amazon get it right nearly every time without any training at all.

While it is hard to imagine my springing what ever the money is for the new 4K televisions (and they were pretty spectacular at CES), the CTA is predicting that nearly 13 million of the sets will be purchased in 2016.  How about 2.9 million drones being purchased or 180,000 3D printers; and don’t forget about virtual reality.

Virtual Reality
LG Signature LG’s press event is always fun to go to and while the new televisions look spectacular, they are focusing quite a bit on the basic standards in the home like the washer, dryer, and refrigerator. Their focus on these units is to make them minimal yet intuitive. What was startling about the new TV was the OLED technology they are using to make it incredibly thin at only 2.57mm thick. Using 10 bit color mapping, it can support 1+ billion colors with no light bleeding. Quite impressive. Look for LG’s Signature Line.

I have already written about Huawei and their new Mate 8 smartphone but you should know that it is a very large and growing company out of China that will be sending a lot more new things this way including tablets and smart watches. See the review.

Speaking of watches, the Casio Smart Outdoor Watch was one of the coolest ones I have seen in a long time. With a dual layer display, rugged housing, multi watch faces to choose from, air pressure censor, gyrometer, compass, altitude, and more, it has everything the outdoor enthusiast can need for measuring direction and of course, it connects to your smartphone. You can also receive notification of things like sunrise and sunset and the weather. You can download apps for trekking and also have the weather radar on your wrist. And there are applications for cycling and fishing as well. See it at Casio.  Will be available in April for around $499, Casio Smartwatch

ZTE Scottie Pippen

ZTE is another of those Chinese giants sending some interesting products to our shores.  They first came to prominence 30 years ago by stringing landlines into rural China. What they are bringing to the USA are smartphones and tablets among others. You will find them supplying phones to Cricket Wireless and T-Mobile.  One thing about ZTE is that they are trying some new wrinkles in developing their phones and services. For instance, you can get unlimited repairs and replacements and upgrades with their new Axon smartphones. One thing I didn’t know is that currently, ZTE is the fourth largest smartphone supplier in the US and the second largest in the prepaid market here. so the cool dude they brought in to wow us was Scottie Pippen. With such a huge base to start with, they have launched a member led forum to spearhead what they call Project CSX to create a community sourced mobile device. Should be interesting to see what they come up with. Z-Community

More from CES later.

Robert Sanborn

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