There's a question I get way too often from a coworker. "When are we getting Snapdragon Surface devices?" The answer continues to be "I have no idea." But today Lenovo's announced the next best thing - a detachable two-in-one Windows 10 device with Snapdragon inside.
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The world's biggest whirlwind of tech, startups and wild fever dreams is finally over, at least for this year. But before we close the book on CES 2018, we wanted to call attention to some of the coolest, most exciting things we saw at the show. That's because even in a down year that saw less new laptops, and the hottest tech trend (for the second year in a row) was companies trying to shove Alexa or Google Assistant into every single device, there's still a lot to look forward to over the next 12 months.
Dell got CES 2018 started early when it debuted its fully redesigned flagship ultraportable last week. But the XPS 13 isn't the only new premium system the company is showing off, and in some ways, it might not even be the most exciting, because now for the first time ever, there's a 2-in-1 version of the XPS 15.
This might look like a TV. It's a big 165cm display capable of HDR and putting out 1000 nits of brightness. It even uses a quantum dot film to achieve DCI-P3 colour gamut, which is nerd speak for really good colour reproduction that's usually only found super expensive TVs. But this display is one of three new Big Format Gaming Displays Nvidia announced at CES. This thing is meant to be a gaming monitor first, and yes, shockingly, that does make a difference.
I chuckled when I was first briefed about Razer's latest concept, Project Linda. It's a phone dock that turns the Razer Phone into a laptop! That concept has been done before, and it has always been deeply and profoundly stupid. But Razer's take on the dumb idea has just enough polish, even in this concept stage, to actually feel kind of cool.
It doesn't look special. At a glance, it's just a Razer gaming mouse sitting on a Razer gaming pad - which means everything is black except for some bright, colourful lights. But then you pick the mouse up and it's way too light to be wireless. After ten seconds the cursor on screen flickers and the lights on the mouse turn off. It's disconnected because this mouse, the Razer Mamba Hyperflux, powers itself entirely from the mousepad. There's no battery in the thing at all.
After the latest MacBook Pro refresh failed to deliver the kind of features buyers really wanted, Apple's competitors sensed weaknesss. Instead of an overabundance of USB-C ports and gimmicky touch screens above the keyboard, systems like the new Spectre x360 15 are hoping to entice users back to PC land by offering way better flexibility, faster performance and the ability to live life dongle-free.
So much about Henrik Fisker's EMotion concept unveiled at CES this year is both exciting and, for now at least, almost completely untested. Those eye-catching butterfly doors, for example? Fisker still has to figure out how to produce them at scale. He still, also, needs to get a factory. And then there's the battery, a version of which Fisker says will ultimately have a range of 805km or more, though we might not see that one for years.
Every major VR player has made the same promise. A VR headset that would be completely wireless. One that would let you go anywhere without tripping over cords or being tethered to a computer/phone/PS4. Google, which has spent more than a year quietly improving its VR platform, Daydream, is now the first company to cross the standalone finish line. The Daydream-powered Lenovo Mirage Solo is a beauty.
You get so much at CES these days: microchips, VR headsets, robots, gadgets for olds and desperate pleas for VC money. One thing you don't often get is realism. But at this year's tech show, auto and startup executives alike are tamping down expectations about when our autonomous, driverless robot car future will happen. No shit, guys!
After covering CES for 10 years, nothing I've seen at the show has me as excited about the future as Ossia's wireless charging technology. The company's developed a way to deliver power to your gadgets the same way internet is delivered by wi-fi, and one of the first real-world applications of the tech is a AA battery that may never need replacing.
To date, the best use of augmented reality has been running around parks trying to capture virtual Pokémon. But as that fad has (mercifully) faded away, a company called AstroReality has come up with a more compelling use of AR technology that works with an astonishingly detailed replica of the moon that's as much a work of art as it is a learning tool.
There was once a time when Sony's Xperia phones were some of the slickest, most fashionable Android phones out there, thanks to their stylish, minimalist designs and trend-setting features like water-resistance way back in 2013. Somewhere along the line, the company got stuck in a rut, and despite having phones with impressive specs, Sony's inability to fix critical mistakes caused its handsets to fall out of favour.
When the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive came out in 2016, we entered a new era of virtual reality. No longer would people think of half-assed fever dreams like Lawnmower Man, or ambitious but profound failures like Nintendo's Virtual Boy anytime VR gets mentioned. Even so, modern VR still hasn't caught on. It's awkward, it's expensive, and most of the games and apps still feel like tech demos. But earlier this week, a new piece of VR tech reminded me why the headsets are much more than gimmicks.
As the organisers of CES 2018 reminded us today, when you rely on gadgets, it's a good idea to plan ahead to ensure you always have power. There's no shortage of portable batteries being shown off on the CES show floor, but none of them compare to this monstrosity that Duracell's created.