CES is all about technology, and enthusiasts from across the globe converge to witness the future. While foldable displays, wearables, and fitness-oriented gadgets are found in abundance, 2020 brought along a new trend due to the pandemic — masks. And Binatone’s MaskFone is one of them.
Binatone is a British company that’s infamous for making landline telephones and other legacy telecom equipment. It’s now looking to venture out of its comfort zone and has launched a mask that also incorporates a Bluetooth headset. Called the MaskFone, it’s aimed at people who have to take calls on-the-go and are at the frontline of the pandemic.
The MaskFone has a mic in the facepiece and two earbuds hanging on wires by the earloops. The mask is made of a water-resistant, breathable, and washable material and includes a pocket for PM2.5 filters, which block particles and pollutants. Binatone’s website says the headset has background noise isolation, which should help when you’re outdoors.
The MaskFone is priced at US$ 49.99, and Binatone sells five N95 filters for US$ 19.99 or 30 PM2.5 filters for US$ 19.99.
Acer launches the AMD-powered Chromebook Spin 514
An enterprise-focused model is also coming soon
Chromebooks are increasingly becoming a major player in the laptop segment. Unlike in the past, Chromebooks of today are much more capable with manufacturers opting for more powerful processors and graphic cards. One of those Chromebooks that have capable internals inside is the AMD-powered Acer Chromebook Spin 514, which saw its debut at CES 2021.
AMD Ryzen inside
The headlining feature of Acer’s new Chromebook is the processor that powers it. Inside is a full-fledged AMD Ryzen processor which is rare for a Chromebook. The choice of processors includes the Ryzen 7 3700C for the top-end variant, a Ryzen 5 3500C variant, and an unspecified Ryzen 3 processor for the base variant. Both the Ryzen 7 and 5 variants get a graphics boost thanks to the inclusion of Radeon Vega. All variants max out at 16GB of DDR4 RAM memory and 256GB of SSD.
Acer claims that the Chromebook Spin 514 delivers up to 10 hours of battery life. The new AMD processor inside allows for a thinner and lighter profile than before, making it a good choice for students and professionals alike.
Design and display that is up to date
Speaking of design, the Chromebook comes in a sleek chassis made of anodized, sandblasted aluminum. Apparently, Acer went out of the way to make it more durable. That is, military-grade durability with Acer claiming MIL-STD 810H1 compliance. The design also incorporates a reinforced metal chassis resistant to dents and corrosion.
Those who are into the convertible form factor has a lot to love with the Chromebook Spin 514. It opens at a full 360 degrees and comes with a touchscreen display too. The display is a 14-inch full HD IPS display with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Acer states that it reinforced the display with a Corning Gorilla Glass and slimmed the bezels for a 78% screen-to-body ratio.
Plentiful ports to power peripherals and devices
Thankfully, a plethora of ports exists on the Chromebook for connecting multiple devices. It comes with two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C for transfer speeds of up to 5Gbps. That USB port also comes with support for DisplayPort and Power Delivery for charging and hooking into supported monitors. Traditional ports include two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A and a MicroSD card reader.
Select models of the new Chromebook come with an HDMI port so select that if you’re dependent on monitors that use this port.
Other connectivity features include a dual-band WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5. For staying in touch, the Chromebook has dual integrated stereo speakers and dual microphones for clearer audio and video calls. These dual microphones and stereo speakers also allow for a better experience when using Google Assistant.
Chromebooks for the enterprise
Acer is also launching an enterprise-focused model of the new Chromebook — the Chromebook Enterprise Spin 514. This model shares the same design, configuration, and ports as the regular one. The main difference lies in the software inside. It still touts Google’s ChromeOS but has added features geared solely for the enterprise sector.
Among those features are comprehensive security features integrated right into the OS. IT administrators can also take advantage of Google’s web-based management interface to control updates, configure apps, utilize extensions, and update policies. Finally, it has a zero-touch enrollment that lets employees connect to the enterprise network simply by connecting to the Internet.
Like its regular counterpart, businesses can configure this enterprise-focused Chromebook at 16GB of DDR4 memory and 256GB of NVMe SSD storage.
Price and availability
Acer hasn’t announced any dates for the availability of the new Chromebooks. However, a Google store listing is already active for pre-orders. Exact pricing for the regular and enterprise-focused model is not available at the moment, though the base variant is pegged at US$ 599.
Oblio is a 2-in-1 UV-C sanitizer and wireless charging station
Keeping it clean stylishly
Admit it or not, UV-C sterilizers and sanitizers are now revolutionizing our home and office spaces. At CES 2021, Lexon Design took cleaning accessories up a notch.
Introducing Oblio, this vase-like UV-C sanitizer helps prevent the spread of harmful bacteria found on our smartphones. It has a built-in UV-C LED, which extinguishes the DNA of microorganisms found in viruses, mold, and germs.
Oblio is capable of extensive disinfection, sanitizing your device for a 20-minute cycle. Through lab testing, it has been proven effective to kill 99.9 percent of viruses, including H1N1.
Just like Samsung’s personal sanitizer, Oblio also lets you charge your devices wirelessly. With a 10W wireless charging capability, you can fully charge a smartphone in three hours. Additionally, it comes with an LED indicator. This is so you’ll know the charging status of your device inside.
But what sets it apart from other sanitizers? Apparently, Oblio’s meaning and design. The name Oblio means “forgot” in the native language of Italian designers Manuela Simonelli and Andrea Quaglio.
Its meaning echoes the accessory’s vase shape, ingeniously designed to help people disconnect — literally forgetting their smartphones so they can be more present.
Price and availability
Oblio sanitizes and charges all Qi-enabled smartphones, regardless if it’s iPhone or Android. The 2-in-1 accessory is already available at prominent retailers worldwide such as Best Buy, Nordstrom, MoMA Design Store in the US, Fnac Darty in Europe, and more.
It retails for US$ 79.90 and is available in four colors: White, Gold, Dark Blue, and Matt Black. You can get it through its official online store at Lexon Design.
Hedgehog protects your smart home from cyber attacks
This homeware keeps people, data, and devices safe
Protecting your home is more than just smart locks, CCTVs, and firewalls for your digital premises. With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) or those appliances and devices that are becoming smarter, life has been easier. However, the price of convenience comes with the risk of a new threat: cyber attacks.
These days, both enterprises and homeowners must increase security at all levels. As such, we need an extra guardian. Meet Hedgehog, the “world’s first whole home” cybersecurity device.
Launched at CES 2021, Hedgehog was described as a home’s digital guardian, protecting the household from possible attacks that firewalls and anti-virus software can’t.
The digital guardian we need?
Unsure how you can possibly be attacked? Imagine if your smart fridge got hacked, or if your smart vacuum malfunctioned. How about if your smart locks break and make it possible for actual thieves to enter your home.
These situations aren’t far from happening in our reality. After all, cyber criminals are actively and increasingly targeting everyday people. Home networks are easy to target to access personal and corporate data, especially at an age where people are remotely working from home.
Hedgehog aims to protect the entire home and all IoT devices inside a network. From phones, fridges, PCs, speakers, webcams, tablets, and Smart TVs — basically anything that’s smart enough to use the Internet and make your life easier.
A smart, functional homeware
Despite being a digital guardian, Hedgehog doesn’t dismiss your existing firewalls and anti-virus software. Rather, it works alongside those security measures and other home security products, offering holistic protection. It simply shields all the people, devices, and networks within a home.
Even though it’s a smart piece of technology, designed to look like homeware. Its unassuming look helps it blends easily. It’s also smart enough to install itself and connect to an existing Wi-Fi connection.
And when it does, it watches the entire household, identifying anything suspicious, and alerts the home-owner via an app. It also neutralizes threats quickly and effectively, protecting both data and people.
Price and availability
The Hedgehog device and its annual subscription are available to pre-order at a discounted price of EUR 99 with no subscription fees. It’s available in two colors: Orange Belly and Midnight Blue. Get more information about the device and its offers through this link.
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