The Latest: Autos overshadow the small at CES tech show
The smartphones and other small machines that used to dominate the annual CES gadget show have been overshadowed in recent years by bigger mobile devices: namely, automobiles.
Major automakers like Toyota, Kia, Hyundai and Ford have a noticeable presence at this week’s tech showcase in Las Vegas, though most save more practical announcements about new cars, trucks and SUVs for the upcoming Detroit auto show.
CES has been a chance for carmakers and suppliers of automotive parts and software to display their wilder and far-out ideas. A Chinese company, Byton, has unveiled an attention-grabbing concept electric SUV with futuristic features. Nvidia announced it’s teaming up to help Uber develop self-driving taxis. Lyft is using its own self-driving fleet to transport conference attendees. Scooters and three-wheeled street cars will also be on display.
Toyota says it’s developing self-driving mini-buses that can serve as bite-sized stores.
These vehicles will drive themselves to places where potential buyers can try on clothes or shoes or pick through flea market items. They can also give employees fully functional office space on their commute.
The project, unveiled at the CES gadget show Monday, is still in the conceptual stage. A concept vehicle is still being developed and will be tested in the 2020s. A version is also expected to make an appearance at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
The Japanese automaker is partnering with Amazon, Uber, Pizza Hut, Mazda and Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi on what it is calling the e-Palette Alliance.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda told CES conference attendees: “In the future, the store will come to you.”
Toy maker VTech has agreed to pay $650,000 to settle charges it violated a law protecting children’s privacy.
The Federal Trade Commission said Monday that VTech collected personal information from children without getting parental consent and didn’t do enough to protect the data it collected. The FTC says that the VTech settlement is the first privacy and security case related to toys connected to the internet.
Such toys have become popular, and companies are expected to unveil more toys and other internet-connected gadgets at the CES tech show in Las Vegas this week.
Concern about the toys’ security has grown. That’s in part due to VTech, whose database was hacked in 2015, exposing the names and ages of more than 6 million kids who used its toys. The FBI also warned last year that connected toys could be susceptible to hackers.
Robot fails are almost a given at technology trade shows, and this year’s CES is no exception.
As LG unveiled its lineup of smart appliances, executive David VanderWaal quickly lost rapport with his on-stage partner, the cute voice-activated assistant CLOi. After an initial greeting, CLOi stopped responding while continuing to blink its digital eyes.
On stage, VanderWaal remarked, “CLOi, are you talking to me yet? What recipes should I make with chicken?”
The robot failed to come back to life during the 45-minute talk. VanderWaal shrugged it off, saying, “even robots have bad days.”
LG and other companies are giving previews ahead of Tuesday’s opening of the annual CES show in Las Vegas.
Flummoxed by the alphabet soup of features on new TVs?
TV manufacturers are showcasing new models at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas this week — all with acronyms to set their sets apart.
One feature called HDR10+ takes what’s known as high-dynamic range and adjusts settings for each frame, instead of having levels set for the entire video at once. HDR10+ is also a way to get around royalty payments for a competing technology called Dolby Vision.
Meanwhile, quantum-dot technology promises more accurate colors. Samsung calls its version QLED (pronounced q-led), which shouldn’t be confused with OLED (o-led), a display that offers darker blacks and better contrast. And don’t be fooled by LEDs (l-e-d). They are just regular screens with a certain type of lighting.
A plush, robotic duck may soon become a fixture in the world of children with cancer. The social robot can be silly, happy, angry, scared or sick just like them, and help them cope with their illness through the power of play.
Aaron Horowitz was diagnosed with a debilitating condition as a child. He and his Rhode Island-based company Sproutel developed the emotional support robot to help children manage stress and change the way they deal with their health.
The American Cancer Society says almost 11,000 U.S. children are diagnosed with cancer yearly.
The duck is modeled after the mascot for insurance company Aflac, which paid for its development. Beginning later this year, the ducks will be distributed free to kid patients.
The duck’s expected to be featured Monday at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas.