Cats, cars, computers showcased at CES

My latest Techspotting segment on KITV’s Good Morning Hawaii, where Maleko McDonnell and I discuss the top tech stories emerging from this year’s CES convention in Las Vegas.

Q: This week the geeks are swarming in Las Vegas for CES, where thousands of big and small companies come together to show off their next big thing. Anything memorable this year?

A: CES used to be the ‘Consumer Electronics Show,’ but it’s now a big circus tent that anyone can cram into. The company behind the meatless Impossible Burger unveiled its meatless pork product. Charmin showed off Rollbot, a robot that can bring you a roll of toilet paper in your time of need. There were smart litter boxes for real cats, and robotic cats for allergic people. If someone imagined it, it’s at CES.

Q: The quirky stuff is always fun, but were there any major announcements?

A: The biggest reveal at CES, figuratively and literally, is probably a concept car, by Sony. They unveiled the Vision S electric car at CES. Sony, perhaps best known now for the Playstation, makes all kinds of tech. And while it’s unlikely they’re going to actually sell the Vision S, it is a showcase of all the things related to cars that Sony does. It has a dashboard that’s all screen, it has surround sound, it has 33 sensors. The company described an electric car “platform” that other carmakers or would-be carmakers could build on.

Q: The traditional heart of CES is computers. Anything new on that front?

A: Well, following last year’s shaky introduction of the Galaxy Fold folding smartphone, lots of people were buzzing at CES about Lenovo’s new ThinkPad X1 Fold. It’s basically a laptop that’s a single folding screen, from the part that stands up to the part that lies flat that’s usually the keyboard. It can lie flat and be a 13 inch tablet, or of course sit up like a regular laptop, running full Windows 10. There’s still an actual keyboard that attaches with magnets, but the X1 is definitely a gateway between a computer and tablet. Making a folding screen is an engineering challenge, so time will tell if Lenovo finally figured it out.

Q: Anything at CES for gamers?

A: Definitely. In addition to the concept car, Sony shared more information about the upcoming PlayStation 5. Intel showed off its “Ghost Canyon” computer, a “Next Unit of Computing” or NUC that packs high-performance computing in a PC the size of a lunchbox. Razer showed off the Kishi, a gaming controller to connect to your smartphone to make mobile gaming feel more like console gaming. And Samsung showed off an even more extreme curved monitor, this one that basically wraps a full 180 around you.

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