GIMME: All things bright and beautiful at CES 2017
A quick roundup of some of the high-profile gadgets launched at consumer tech tradeshow CES 2017. For most, prices haven’t been released yet
Samsung QLED TVs
At a pre-CES press conference in Las Vegas last week, electronics giant Samsung revealed (among other things) its latest innovation in television screen technology, called QLED or quantum dot light-emitting diode. The series includes Q7, Q8 and Q9 models.
Samsung is calling QLED a "major paradigm shift in the visual display industry", with promises that the image produced is more "true to life", and its best-ever picture quality. The company says QLED enables 100% colour volume to better reflect the nuance within colours and contrast between them.
Another element of the QLED launch was the promise that the TVs were designed for "no gap" wall mounting. They also feature an attractive cord connector box (called One Connect) that brings together all the eyesore cables of different input sources into a single space.
Samsung’s big competition in this space is arguably LG’s organic light-emitting diode TV, which is just 2.57mm thick and can be mounted using magnets. This model, we’re told, is 25% brighter than previous versions.
The QLED range is expected to be available in SA within
Asus ZenFone AR
Not too many smartphone brands choose CES for their big new-model reveals. One that did make a splash was the Asus ZenFone AR, which nabbed TechRadar’s award for best mobile device of CES 2017.
Though I didn’t have a chance to put this device through its paces, it is exciting because it is built with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) in mind, and is compatible with Google’s Daydream platform and enabled for Tango. This makes it the first smartphone that can make a claim on both.
It’s packed with impressive specs to support this — including the Snapdragon 821 processor from Qualcomm and 8GB RAM (another first for a smartphone). If VR and AR gaming and experiences float your boat, the ZenFone AR is ahead of the game. It is also really pretty: slim, sleek and light, with a 5.7inch screen and a whopping 23MP main camera.
Cujo smart firewall
Though the proliferation of smart devices — fridges, TVs, lights and baby monitors — in our homes and workplaces will support us in many exciting ways, they can open up our private networks to attacks.
A number of tech brands and start-ups are competing to secure these devices and dominate a new market opportunity. The holy grail of these solutions would be an effective plug-and-play solution that is simple, intuitive and user-friendly enough for all home users (requiring nonexpert installation). Updates should also be automatic and seamless.
One option showing at CES was the Cujo smart firewall, an Indiegogo crowd-funded success story from 2015 that is now available for worldwide shipping and in various US retailers in 2017. Not only will it secure your smart devices (with firewall, antivirus and malware protection), but from this month the company is also enabling parental controls so you can manage the devices of children on the home network, limiting access to undesirable sites.
Norton and a few others exhibited similar interventions, so the good news is that these are likely to get better, simpler, cheaper and more efficient as the space matures.
The writer was a guest of Samsung at CES 2017