The Mac Observer's CES 2019 coverage sponsored by:

  • TextExpander
  • Bombich Software
  • Other World Computing
  • CES

HTC Shows Eye-Tracking Tech in Vive VR Headsets

· · Link

HTC Vive VR Headset Promo Shot

HTC showed off a new eye-tracking tech in its Vive VR headset line. Vive is aimed at the VR world, rather than the AR world being targeted by Apple, but AR and VR are kissing cousins, and this is interesting. The idea is simply that the headset can track your eye movements, which can then be used to activate menu and navigation controls. I think Apple is right to focus on AR, but there is obviously a big future in VR, too, and if HTC can bring this to market, it will make them a real player in that space. TheNextWeb has a good writeup from CES on this:

The biggest splashes came in the form of the new Cosmos hardware (an Oculus Go/Quest competitor) and a new eye-tracking system to be debuted in an update to the Vive Pro called “Vive Pro Eye.” Eye-tracking is a big deal for VR. The Vive Pro Eye, according to HTC, will accurately monitor users’ eye movements inside the headset.

LG Foldable 4K TV Declared the Hit of CES 2019

· · Cool Stuff Found

LG Signature OLED TV R

LAS VEGAS – Some TV’s are just too big. They get in the way. Or the space for them is too small. So why not have a TV that rolls up and gets out of the way? Chris Welch at The Verge has the full story and thinks this is the hit product of CES 2019.

Author Welch writes: “This is a TV that’s there when you want it and disappears when you don’t. Not everyone loves having a big, black rectangle as the focal point of their living room, and plenty of people don’t own a TV at all. TV makers are starting to realize that, for some, it comes down to aesthetics, so they’re designing products that blend better into the home.” And best of all? It’s OLED!

Providers Tout 5G Claims and Names Before the Network Exists

· · Link

5G network

5G is the talk of Las Vegas at CES this week. However, there is mounting controversy about what cellular network providers are actually declaring as 5G. The superfast network will not actually be launched until 2020 or even 2021, but the cellular providers are still keen to brand things as 5G now. A piece on the Associated Press noted that “AT&T has drawn ridicule by relabeling the network used by some of its phones as ‘5G E’,” for example. This main seem a relatively superficial issue but in terms of been clear with customers, it matters.

There’s a history of carriers being murky about network claims. AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint started calling an enhanced 3G network 4G in the early 2010s. There’s more pushback this time because people are now more aware of what a next-generation network can do.

CES - Audio-Technica's New Analog and USB Connected Stereo Turntable

· · Cool Stuff Found

Following Sony’s turntable announcement at CES yesterday, Audio-Technica also unveiled a number of new models. The one that caught my is the LP60XUSB.  It is an automatic belt-drive turntable that has a USB connection, allowing users to transfer records to digital form. It also has a 3.5 mm male to dual RCA male output and a built-in switchable phono preamp. This means the turntable can be connected directly to a home stereo, powered speakers, computer and other devices. Audio-Technica also said this latest design helps to reduce tracking, resonance, and noise. The device will be available in black or gun mental in the near future, at a cost of $129.00.

CES – Audio-Technica’s New Analog and USB Connected Stereo Turntable

CES - Adero's Smart Tags and Taglets Help Make Sure You Never Leave Your Stuff Behind

· · Cool Stuff Found

Knowing where your stuff was last seen can be handy… or frustrating, depending upon where it is versus where you are. Adero takes that to the next level by making sure that you don’t forget your stuff in the first place. Shown off at the CES Pepcom event, Adero’s Bluetooth-based Smart Tags work similarly to what you’ve seen from Tile or Trackr, syncing with your phone and letting you know where your stuff is. The differentiator is Adero’s smaller Taglets which attach to the contents of your backpack or purse. Sure you know to grab your backpack, but wouldn’t it be great to know that your bag contains the key items you need, like charger, AirPods, and glasses? Simply put a taglet onto each of those three items, and the Smart Tag on your bag will tell you if anything’s missing, either via a red/green LED or via alert to your smartphone. Adero will help you find your stuff if you’ve left it behind, too,  but with their tech the idea is that you won’t leave it behind in the first place. US$119 gets you an Adero starter kit with 3 Smart Tags and 3 Taglets.

CES – Adero’s Smart Tags and Taglets Help Make Sure You Never Leave Your Stuff Behind

CES - Netgear's Nighthawk AX12 Brings Wi-Fi 6 and Enhancements to Wi-Fi 5

· · Cool Stuff Found

Netgear took the opportunity Monday at the CES Pepcom event to show off its latest dual-band router, the Nighthawk AX12. Billed as a 12-stream router, this device includes some significant Wi-Fi enhancements over its predecessors. First, of course, is support for 802.11ax, a.k.a. Wi-Fi 6. This operates over the same 5GHz band as Wi-Fi 5 (a.k.a. 802.11ac), but uses OFDMA signaling to fit more bandwidth into the spectrum. Full utilization will require Wi-Fi 6-compatible clients, and nothing from Apple currently supports that. However, this 5GHz radio also supports Wi-Fi 5, and has a couple of benefits: first, with 8 streams for that antenna your chances of getting connected to the best streams double over even the top-end routers out there. Second, the Nighthawk AX includes the very latest Wi-Fi chipset which now truly supports full, 160MHz connections, delivering real-world speed and range increases to existing Wi-Fi 5 devices. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but we expect it to be north of $400. Interested users can sign up to learn more through NETGEAR’s upcoming Premier Beta program.

CES – Netgear’s Nighthawk AX12 Brings Wi-Fi 6 and Enhancements to Wi-Fi 5

CES - Twelve South's PowerPic Hides a Wireless Charger in Plain Sight

· · Cool Stuff Found

On Monday at the CES Pepcom event, Twelve South was showing off the latest result of their creative efforts: the PowerPic. As co-founder and creative director, Andrew Green, puts it, “wireless charging is supposed to be invisible.” PowerPic achieves this mandate by hiding a charging coil inside a standard 5×7 picture frame. By day (or by night, whenever you’re not charging) the PowerPic holds a photo of your favorite memory (or person, or even pet!). When you need to charge, just place your phone inside the frame and boom, the coil fires up and your phone starts sipping juice invisibly through your family ski photo. PowerPic retails for $79.99 and delivers up to 10W of wireless power to most smartphones that feature Qi charging, including everything currently available from Apple.

CES – Twelve South’s PowerPic Hides a Wireless Charger in Plain Sight

CES Organizer Thinks Sex Toys are Immoral and Obscene

· · Link

It seems as though the CTA had a problem with a sex toy. Company Lora DiCarlo planned to present its product, but its award was revoked and the company had to remove its exhibit.

But after ranking high enough and winning the designation, Lora DiCarlo was apparently told that its product didn’t comply with the rules. The show’s and award’s organizer, the Consumer Technology Association, allegedly cited rules saying products that are “immoral, obscene, indecent, profane or not in keeping with CTA’s image will be disqualified.” It then backtracked and said the product simply didn’t fit in the robotics and drones category.

TMO CES 2019 Coverage Sponsor: TextExpander from Smile

· · Weekly Sponsorship

TextExpander Logo from Smile

Our sincere thanks to TextExpander from Smile for helping support us as a sponsor for TMO’s CES 2019 coverage. The effort, planning, and expense it takes to comb through all the noise at CES and bring you targeted, relevant coverage is quite large, and without our sponsors we wouldn’t be able to do it all for you. The good folks at Smile see the value in this and were very quick to jump on board to ensure that you would get the very best of what we have to offer this year. We’re very thankful for that, and we hope you are, too.

CES - Seedsheet Launches Garden Guru Soil Sensor

· · Cool Stuff Found

Vermont-based AgTech startup Seedsheet, today unveiled its newest product, the Garden Guru Sensor, a Bluetooth-enabled soil sensor that provides users with precise, real-time data to facilitate maximum plant growth and ensure everyone’s gardening experience reaps the benefits of homegrown food. The discreet, Bluetooth-enabled sensor tracks real-time data for soil moisture, UV light exposure and ambient temperature of the garden environment for optimal growing conditions. The sensor has a wide Bluetooth range for easy monitoring throughout the day and enough battery power to last through a full gardening season. Designed for any of Seedsheet’s garden kits or for the conventional grower, users can simply place the sensor in their garden and monitor the “dirt data” from the Garden Guru companion app. Through the app, users can receive updates from their garden in which they can track germination progress and receive automated tips and video tutorials throughout the lifecycle of the garden, prolonging the harvest and ensuring multiple meals. Geo-location feature also integrates with weather APIs for real-time weather updates for users to track in their region.

CES – Seedsheet Launches Garden Guru Soil Sensor