LAS VEGAS--Press Day at CES saw 12 solid hours of press conferences from consumer electronics manufacturers of all stripes. Here's the news that mattered most.
TV technology is always one of the most exciting areas at CES, and so far this year is no different. And the hot TV tech of today is 4K, also known as Ultra HD. Sharp showed off two Ultra HD displays, the 60-inch Purios due this summer and the Aquos Ultra HD TV due in the second half of the year. Panasonic introduced its new line of smart TVs, including features like My Home Screen, which lets every individual in a home make his own personal home screen; Swipe and Share 2.0, which lets people share content by tapping an NFC smartphone against the TV; and Voice Interaction/Guidance, through which people can control a TV by speaking commands into a Panasonic remote or smartphone. Samsung trotted out the S9 series, including an 85-inch Ultra HD TV that comes with its own easel-like floor stand.
Not surprisingly, Sony is also focusing on 4K TVs. But unlike its competitors, it also announced plans for bringing actual 4K content to consumers, something that is virtually nonexistent right now. Sony is launching a 4K video distributing system this summer.
One of the most anticipated announcements of the day was actually old news. LG finally divulged basic pricing and availability details for its OLED TV, which was one of the stars of last year's show. The 55-inch model will cost about $12,000, according to LG's U.S. marketing chief James Fishler. An 84-inch model will cost upwards of $20,000.
Lenovo took its popular Yoga convertible and shrank it down to 11 inches. It also introduced the ThinkPad Helix (shown below) at the CES Unveiled event Sunday night. The company calls this clamshell a "rip and flip" design because the screen pops off from the keyboard base, and then can be reattached even after being rotated 180 degrees.
One hardware highlight came from Intel, which showed off an incredibly thin design concept for what it sees as the next generation of the Ultrabook. The 17-millimeter-thick concept device features a detachable touch screen that functions on its own as a standalone Windows 8 slate and, naturally, it carries Intel's upcoming Core i-series processor.
While we haven't seen much in the way of big phone announcements yet, Sony did introduce the high-end -- and waterproof -- Sony Xperia Z. The phone has a 5-inch high-def display, a 13-megapixel camera, a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and NFC.
At its press event late Sunday night, Nvidia debuted its Tegra 4 quad-core processor, which boasts dramatically improved processing speeds and new camera tricks.
Intel showed off its next generation of processors, code-named Haswell, which should allow for longer battery life and new features in mobile devices.
Qualcomm also took a turn on stage, as CEO Paul Jacobs delivered the opening keynote address of the show Monday night. Jacobs introduced the Snapdragon 600 and 800 series processors, both of which work with the 802.11ac wireless standard and are made for premium mobile and computing devices. The high-end 800 series include Qualcomm's newest 4G LTE technology that offers data speeds up to 150Mbps, nearly five times faster than the previous generation processors.
Fun and games
Nvidia got our attention early with a prototype of its very own branded portable gaming device, code-named Project Shield. The Android-based Shield looks like a larger-than-usual console controller, complete with joysticks and buttons. It can play Android, Tegra, and PC games, as well as play games streamed from the cloud. Though the demo was plagued with problems, Nvidia showed how the device can be used to stream games from any PC in your house to a big-screen TV with what appeared to be real-time gameplay. Check out our in-depth hands-on and watch video of Shield in action here.
Dish focused its press event on a new, faster version of its Hopper DVR that comes integrated with a Slingbox. Called the Hopper with Sling, the device comes with a 1,305MHz Broadcom processor, Wi-Fi, and a feature called Hopper Transfers that allows you to transfer recorded programming to your iPad for viewing on the go without an Internet connection.
And of course, since it's CES, we've seen an awful lot of gadgets. Globaltrac showed off a clever solution for lost luggage. The Sennheiser Momentum headphones are good enough that David Carnoy called them the best headphones he's seen so far at CES. Panasonic brought a pair of bone-conduction headphones that take tunes straight to your dome.