CES 2015 is here. For everything you need to know, from the biggest announcements, hottest trends, conference dates and most embarrassing mishaps, you've come to the right place.
The 2015 Consumer Electronics Show officially kicked off on 6 January, but the action - as usual - got underway a little earlier.
Over the space of four frantic days (6-9 January), many of the world’s biggest tech companies will camp out in the Las Vegas heat to reveal what’s in store for the coming year. Preceding the show, 5 January acted as a press day, with the likes of Samsung, Sony and LG all holding dedicated conferences to make major announcements.
Historically a show for the TV industry to show off its coming wares, CES has expanded to be so much more than that. Fortunately, what happens in Vegas doesn't necessarily stay in Vegas. Here's what's happened at CES 2015 so far.
SonySony, it seems, tried to inflict finger cramp on us all, judging by the sheer number of announcements the company made at its conference. To kick off, it confirmed that all Sony Xperia Z devices will get Android 5.0 Lollipop starting in February, though we're not sure what sort of order we're looking at. It also launched a stainless steel version of the SmartWatch 3, which will be available to purchase from February.
It got in on the television act too, and its X90C 4K TV is absolutely stunning. In all honesty, not a lot of brand new products make our jaws drop these days but, at just 4.3mm thick, this will bring comedic double-takes out of even the most demanding of consumers. It will also run Android TV.
The Sony NWZ-ZX2 Walkman is another attention-grabber, but not for the best of reasons. It's ludicrously chunky (18.5mm thick and 235g) and costs around £900. Since most people use their significantly cheaper, better-looking and more useful smartphones as music players these days, this isn't a device with universal appeal. However, the sound quality it delivers can't be faulted
The Japanese firm also unveiled a 'symphonic light speaker' and a waterproof 4K Action Cam, and said that over 4 million PS4 consoles were snapped up by consumers over the Christmas holidays. CEO Kazuo Hirai even had time to brand the Sony Pictures hack “one of the most vicious and malicious cyber attacks we've known in recent history." Goodness.
IntelBelieve it or not, CES isn’t just about incredible TVs you’ll only be able to afford in half a decade and concept cars that’ll never hit the roads. Admittedly after a bit of a delay, Intel’s released its new fifth generation processors. The latest batch of chips are said to be smaller and more efficient than previous efforts, delivering up to 24 per cent better graphical performance, 50 per cent speedier video conversion and an extra hour and a half of battery life in some cases. It also revealed that budget tablets packing its ‘Cherry Trail’ Atom processors will hit the shelves this summer.
Every now and then you'll come across something that makes you sit back and reflect on just how far technology has come over a short amount of time. Intel's new Compute Stick is one of those things. It's a PC, running either Windows 8.1 or Ubuntu, that's the size of a dongle, and will cost $89 or $150 when it hits the shelves in March.
The chip giant also showed off Nixie, the wearable, selfie-snapping drone and Curie, the tiny computer built for wearables. That's how to do a conference.
SamsungThe South Korean firm's keynote is always one of the headline acts of CES, and this year's conference is no different. In the build-up to the show, some optimistic so-and-sos (also known as rumour-mongers) loudly speculated that the Galaxy S6 would be officially introduced to the world at the show. That obviously didn't happen, but the company did get very busy with its entertainment business.
The headline act was the unveiling of nine new 4K SUHD curved TVs, which the company claims deliver brighter, more accurate colours than rival televisions, all while keeping energy consumption down. It also outed Milk VR, its brand new virtual reality platform, which features content in 360-degree video format. Very 2015.
Read more: First impressions: Samsung JS9500/JS9000 SUHD TVs
We're pretty much in love with the Samsung Ativ Book 9, the South Korean fim's answer to the MacBook Air, because it's basically amazing in every way. Design, build, screen, keyboard and trackpad quality are all outstanding, though the lack of a full-sized SD card slot is a letdown.
NvidiaNvidia has set the tone for CES 2015 by getting off to a fast and furious start. As well as outing its newest mobile CPU, the Tegra X1, it has also announced Drive CX, which it says will serve as the digital cockpit of future cars.
The X1 itself has been hailed as the world's first "mobile super chip", capable of delivering extraordinary levels of both power and efficiency, and Nvidia doesn't want to restrict its qualities to mobile handsets. The chip will feature at the heart of the Drive CX system too, which will consist of multiple displays, cameras and driver assist tools. “We believe the future car will pack an enormous amount of compute capability,” said the company at its conference. We can't wait to see it.
Read more: Nvidia announces Tegra X1 'mobile super chip'
LGLG launched the curved G Flex 2 at its CES 2015 conference, and it's soaking up a lot of attention. It is of course the younger brother of the LG G Flex, the 6-inch monster first unveiled in 2013, but it's been changed in several ways. The Full HD OLED display on offer in the new model has been shrunk to 5.5-inches, matching that of the LG G3.
The curve isn't the only talking point, though. The smartphone boasts some impressive specs, packing Qualcomm’s latest 64-bit Snapdragon 810 processor, as well as 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage and a 13-megapixel rear camera. There's also a fast-charging 3,000mAh Lithium-Polymer battery.
Read more: First impressions: LG G Flex 2
“You may ask us, why curved again? The answer is pretty simple,” said LG's Dr Ramchan Woo, LG’s at the company's conference. “It is more natural and aesthetically more beautiful. That is the main reason of it.” How right he is remains to be seen, but we've already spent time with the device. Follow the link above for our first impressions.
The company's also confirmed that no less than seven new flexible OLED 4K TVs will be released this year. The biggest of these will be 77-inches, with the smallest measuring in at 55-inches. We got up close and personal with them, and here's what we thought.
QualcommQualcomm's press conference revolved around a smart module that will control lighting in the home. The tiny thing will be able to integrate with the AllSeen and AllJoyn platforms, meaning it will be able to connect with other smart devices in the vicinity. This isn't necessarily the first time we've come across the vision, but Qualcomm says that the first products incorporating the technology should roll out later this year.
WithingsWithings’ Activité Pop has gained a lot of admirers since it was unveiled by the French company. The attractive wearable is due to hit UK shelves for just £119.95 at the end of January. It’s almost exactly the same as its older brother, the original Activité, except that it’s made from less expensive materials, but costs £200 less.
The primary dial tells the time, while a smaller one indicates how close to achieving your goal you are – this is no half-baked, shrunken smartphone with straps. It also features an accelerometer, automatic run detection and sleep tracking and battery life of eight months, while it’s waterproof to 30m. The Health Mate app associated with it currently only works with iOS but Android support in the works.
Read more: Withings: 'Smartwatches today give wearables a bad name'
LenovoThe Chinese company has been getting busy with its Yoga line, and has officially unveiled the Yoga 3 multi-form PC. Both the 11- and 14-inch models are super-slim and light, at 15.8mm and 1.2kg, and 18.3mm and 1.6kg respectively, and twist into the four modes (laptop, stand, tent and tablet) the Windows 8.1-running Yoga range has become renowned for. For all the specs and release details, follow the link above.
We've got our hands on the ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2015, which we think is a device that will get many a ThinkPad fan's juices flowing. Quite frankly, it looks brilliant.
Read more: First impressions: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2015
Lenovo has also launched the Xtension Selfie Flash - it does exactly what it says on the tin - which should make your selfies better than ever (or slightly less bad). It's admittedly a cool little accessory but is currently only compatible with the Lenovo VIBE X2 Pro.
PanasonicPanasonic launched a glut of new camcorders, including what it claims are the first consumer models to support HDR video. The WX970 and V870 are the pick of the range, and both use BSI sensors to improve image quality in low light, as well as capturing 8-megapixel stills and 4K video at 72Mbps.
In a surprising move, the company has also announced that its 2015 range of smart TVs will run on Mozilla's Firefox OS. They're expected to hit the shelves towards the end of the year.
The new Panasonic CM1 smartphone/camera hybrid, on the other hand, will be released in the US this summer. It's a bit more pocket-friendly than the similar Samsung Galaxy K Zoom, packing a 4.7-inch Full HD display, a Snapdragon 801 processor clocked at 2.3GHz, a 20.1-megapixel, 1-inch sensor and Android 4.4 KitKat.
It built on its TV and camera releases with more fresh news, pulling the covers off its first ever 4K Blu-ray player. While there are plenty of 4K TVs around now – in fact, LG told us this week that it's "the standard of the day" - there’s not a whole lot of 4K content to watch, apart from a few shows here and there. It’s only a prototype, but we expect the finished, likely-to-be-expensive product to become available later in the year, presumably as soon as the updated 4K Blu-ray format arrives.
Read more: First impressions: Panasonic Lumix TZ70
KodakKodak, as expected, has created its first ever smartphone, called the Kodak IM5. It's a 5-inch Android number built in partnership with manufacturer Bullitt Group. The IM5 packs a 13-megapixel primary camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing snapper, and has been built with the ability to quickly capture and share pictures in mind. Under the hood are an octa-core 1.7GHz MediaTek processor, as well as 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. It's set to land in Europe towards the end of Q1 for around £170, before spreading to all corners of the globe.
DronesWhile we saw plenty of them throughout 2014, what we’re seeing at CES suggests that these mini flying machines are going to become a lot more affordable and widely available during 2015. From Zano, DJI Inspire 1 and Micro Drone 3.0, here are the coolest drones and quadcopters we’ve spotted in Vegas.
SaygusIt might not be a household name, but the US-based company’s Saygus V2 (squared) has made quite the impression. We only got the chance to play with a far-from-perfect production model but on paper, this looks like a very decent mobile. It’s waterproof and covered in Kevlar, which makes it a hardy unit, though the rear cover and 3,100mAh battery are removable. Packed inside are a quad-core 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 processor with 3GB of RAM and a pair of microSD card slots.
A fingerprint scanner on the side provides an alternative way to unlock the device, which currently runs Android 4.4 KitKat, though Saygus says that Lollipop shouldn’t be far away and Windows Phone will also be an option. The 21- and 13-megapixel cameras and 5-inch Full HD display are strong offerings and what’s more, a fractal antenna should deliver improved reception.
Alcatel OneTouchThe French company has, like many others before it, decided to jump on the smartwatch bandwagon, but unlike many of its peers, it’s actually managed to produce something quite exciting. Straight off the bat, it must be said that the Alcatel OneTouch Watch resembles the Moto 360 very, very closely indeed, apart from that its 1.22-inch display is slightly smaller.
However, it doesn’t run on Android Wear, with the watch instead opting for its own, as-yet-unnamed OS, which works in a very similar way. However, this Google snub means that the watch is compatible with both Android and iOS devices, which is sure to go down well with consumers. The USB charging port hidden in the tip of the strap and the relatively low $150 (£99) price tag also make it a very interesting prospect.
Read more: First impressions: Alcatel OneTouch Watch
NestNest has revealed that it's established new partnerships with a whole host of companies, including LG, Withings and August, which will strengthen its 'Works with Nest' platform. The IoT-obsessed company is focusing its energies on smart home integration, but what exactly does this all mean?
Simply put, it wants all home technology to be interlinked and controllable from a single mobile interface. For example, pairing the August Smark Lock with Nest would establish the act of unlocking your front door as a trigger for turning on your home heating system. Nifty.
Read more: Nest announces smart home partnerships at CES
DellThe company revealed the 2015 edition of the Dell XPS 13 in Vegas, and it’s already on sale in the US for $799 (£530), though we’re not sure when it’ll come to our shores. It’s a stunning machine, with 5.2mm bezels and Dell says it boasts the longest battery life of any 13-inch laptop out there – up to 15 hours.
It comes with an 'UltraSharp Quad HD+ Infinity display', which translates as a 3,200 x 1,800 resolution touchscreen that's also very bright, though a Full HD version will also be available for a little less money. The overall build quality and design are excellent too, though we’ve come across better keyboards in our time.
AsusAlso getting in on the camera act is Asus, but rather than experimenting with accessories and hybrids, it's gone down the Nokia Lumia 1020 route. The company has outed the ZenFone 2 and the ZenFone Zoom, a pair of smartphones that will run Google's Android 5.0 Lollipop OS. They both also carry a 5.5-inch Full HD display, as well as a quad-core 64-bit Intel Atom processor and a 3,000mAh battery. Where they differ is in terms of camera quality. The Zoom trumps its sibling by adding a 10-element lens, 3x optical zoom and optical image stabilisation to the 13-megapixel rear camera they have in common.
The company has also pulled the covers off a trio of Transformer Book Chi hybrid devices: the T300, the T100 and the T90. The former is the ruler of the roost, and has been billed as a competitor to Apple MacBook Air. It features a 12.5-inch touchscreen display, as well as a 2,560 x 1,440 pixel resolution and Intel's latest M5Y71 chip. It's surprisingly affordable, too.
Read more: First impressions: Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi
Mad CatzThe L.Y.N.X. 9 mobile controller from Mad Catz is exactly the sort of device we love to see at a show like CES. It’s absolutely ridiculous. So ridiculous, in fact, that these sentences can hardly do it justice. With an in-built keyboard, mouse control sensor and microphone, the predominantly metal piece of kit wants to make the mobile gaming experience as brilliant as possible. It also boasts an impressive 30 hours of battery life, but the £250 price tag is out of this world. Follow the link above for our first impressions.
GarminWith fitness tech all the rage right now, a lot of expectant eyes are on companies like Garmin, and the company has responded by delivering four new wearables, called the Fenix 3, the Epix, the Vivofit 2 and the Vivoactive. All of the models are built for active consumers, but pack different features to suit different types of activity. For example, while the Vivofit 2 caters for everyday users, the Epix is far more rugged and aimed more towards explorer types.
We spent some time with the Garmin Vivoactive smartwatch and what we found was a mixed bag. In one respect, it might just be the best sporty smartwatch we’ve come across, but in terms of design and screen quality, it’s a poor offering. The big square face/rubber strap combo isn’t a winning formula and the touchscreen itself lacks clarity and sharpness.
Now the good bits. The inclusion of GPS is great news, and there are four different modes for running, swimming, cycling and golf. It also monitors sleep, and can provide bog-standard stuff like notifications, music player control and vibration alerts. Battery life is also better than we expected it to be and Garmin’s own dedicated app store should hopefully come good too. It's coming in April.
HPHP is trying to simultaneously bring some spice to the desktop's life and jump on as many tech trends as possible, unleashing four brand new monitors. The Z27q is a 5K number, measuring in at 27-inches, while the 4K Z24s and Z27s come in at 23.8-inches and 27-inches, respectively. Last up is a curved, 34-inch beast, which sits just below 4K in terms of resolution. Follow the link above for all the specs, as well as pricing and release details.
HTCThe Taiwanese firm has launched the HTC Desire 320, an entry-level smartphone that follows in the footsteps of the Desire 310. As you'd expect, the specs have been bumped up slightly, with the new model running a quad-core 1.3GHz processor and Android 4.4 KitKat. Landing in white or grey colour schemes, the handset's UK availability and pricing is still to be revealed but, whether it's nasty or nice, it'll undoubtedly come in cheap.
MercedesMercedes pulled the covers off its F015 Future In Motion concept car of the future, and to say it’s flashy would be an understatement. With swivelling chairs, headlights and loudspeakers capable of communicating with pedestrians and other drivers, as well as compact electrical motors, rather than a great big engine, this is unlike anything that’s currently on the road.
However, while the car will be autonomous, the German firm reckons it’ll be a long time before we lose the urge to take manual control of our vehicles, including a good old-fashioned steering wheel along with the multitude of bells and whistles.
GigabyteShows like CES are always full of companies with bold, often completely misleading claims but Gigabyte has chosen to target a rather specific category to ensure its own stands up to the critics. It says its new P37X is the world’s lightest 17.3-inch gaming laptop, though curiously it hasn’t actually told us what it weighs. It boasts the latest Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M 8GB VRAM card, which should deliver excellent performance, as well as a 17.3-inch Full HD display and Dolby Digital Plus Home Theatre and a stereo subwoofer.
SMS AudioYou might not necessarily associate 50 Cent with Star Wars but his company, SMS Audio, has just given birth to a brand new line of Star Wars-inspired headphones. The four new models (R2-D2, Tie Fighter, Darth Vader and Chewbacca) have been collectively (and rather amusingly) labelled the ‘Star Wars Street’ range. With passive noise cancellation, enhanced bass and leather memory foam ear cushions, they're unlikely to come cheap.
SeagateIf you thought HP's curved monitor was unashamedly hot, check out Seagate's Seven portable hard drive. So-called because it's just 6.9mm thick, it weighs in at less than 100g and comes with 500GB of capacity. Storage has never been so sexy (sorry cloud).
MonsterWhat do you look for in a speaker? Clear sound quality, powerful bass, attractive design, wireless connectivity... the ability to float? With the help of basketball legend Shaquille "Shaq" O'Neal, Monster has unveiled the waterproof Superstar Backfloat, which can play music while adrift in a pool, sink or bath. "This is the first audio-file speaker that can float on its back," said Monster's Vern Smith at launch. We don't dispute that.
NetatmoLike Nest, Netatmo thundered into CES with some smart home-based news of its own, but rather than corporate updates, it came armed with an award-winning product. Welcome is its name, and it comes in the form of a security camera.
When Welcome recognises a person's face, it sends the name of that individual to a user's smartphone, indicating that they're home and well. Similarly, it flags up faces that it doesn't recognise, which will help protect against intruders. It's already bagged four gongs at the CES Innovation Awards, and is set to hit the market in Q2.