Curious about what to expect in the tech world? Here’s a quick roundup of upcoming events and launches happening next month!
Kicking off the year at CES 2019
Every January, members of the tech media fly to Las Vegas. Not to get lost in casinos, but to scout for the best consumer products brands have to offer. The Consumer Electronics Show or CES is a hotbed of new and exciting devices.
What can we expect from the upcoming CES? Rumors have it that Samsung will showcase a new transparent TV and more brands will unveil 8K televisions.
When it comes to mobile devices, Samsung’s foldable phone might make an appearance on the show floor. We’re also expecting Sony to announce their new Xperia phone.
As for laptops, AMD’s next-generation Ryzen processors are confirmed to be unveiled, while Dell is giving us a number of Windows 10 devices.
While the next CES is still cooking, check out our video where we recognize the best of CES 2018:
Honor’s new smartphone will go global
After Honor’s View 20 debut in China as the V20, the newest phone with a punch-hole display is already on its way to different parts of the world. To make it even better, Honor will introduce their flagship phone in Paris.
Mark your calendars for January 22, because the Honor View 20 will be official outside of China. The phone is essentially a high-end device with a powerful processor (same Kirin 980 of the Mate 20 Pro), a unique notch-free bezel-less display, dual rear cameras, and fast charging technology.
The international pricing is yet to be confirmed, but based on its price in China, it’ll be available starting at US$ 435.
Samsung to release new UI based on Android Pie
Samsung Galaxy phone owners are in for a New Year treat. Starting January 2019, Samsung will start rolling out their Android Pie software. The South Korean company took their time to customize the UI, but it might be worth the wait — especially for those who own large Samsung phones.
Dubbed as One UI, the custom-built Android software is designed for more natural interactions. Reachability has always been an issue (like on Galaxy Note devices) and that’s something One UI will address.
The first phones that’ll receive the update will be the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. They’ll be followed by the Galaxy Note 9 in February. Thankfully, a number of Galaxy devices are part of the list, but it’ll take some time to reach each phone, particularly the budget ones.
Fast Forward is our roundup of upcoming news, launches, and events. It’s a monthly feature to give our readers a heads-up on what is happening in the tech realm. It’s sometimes difficult to keep track of the calendar, so we do it for you.
Audi’s Holoride is a VR experience like no other
Back seat car rides will never be the same again
It had been a long day, but I could still barely contain my excitement as a fancy car whizzed me down the interstate to a race track on the outskirts of Las Vegas, one chilly evening before the start of the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show.
While the in-seat back massage made me wish the ride was longer, I also couldn’t wait to get there. Tonight would be my first time in an e-Tron, Audi’s new fully electric SUV, and my first taste of what Audi calls the future of mobility, one with entertainment content at its center.
It’s an interesting proposition, one I’m more than willing to chew on. With self-driving vehicles on the horizon, tonight, instead of getting behind the wheel, I take a back seat, put on a VR headset, and trade my current reality for one that promises to be more exhilarating.
Called “Rocket’s Rescue Run,” it’s the first title in a collaboration between Marvel and Disney and Audi’s new spin off venture Holoride, that aims to make VR entertainment a mainstay in cars of the future.
As the e-tron’s driver steps on the accelerator, in my alternate universe my ship surges through space. I’m joined by my sidekick Rocket Raccoon, and together we team up to help Iron Man take down a mob of Thanos’ space goons.
I’ve had many VR experiences before, but none like this. As soon as the SUV pulls away, the whole experience makes perfect sense. Every twist, every sharp turn, every bit of acceleration or sudden brake is matched by the same sensation in the game. For the entire 5-minute ride, my body is tricked into believing this reality. Not an easy feat for an utterly nitpicky tech journalist, I can only begin to imagine how big of a technical challenge it was to pull off.
I wield my laser gun like a pro, take down an evil mothership, and celebrate our victory with fireworks. The experience ends, and the e-tron stops. Reluctantly, I take off my headset. It feels like I’ve just been on a theme park ride, but from the privacy of my own car — well, not really, but I wish — and without standing in an hour-long line. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that during my adventure the e-tron reached speeds of up to 90mph. We’ve navigated plenty of sharp turns, too, but I don’t feel so woozy.
Supposedly matching the car’s movements to the virtual reality experience helps in mitigating nausea. As I get out, I thank my driver, but also can’t help but imagine a world that’s driver-optional.
At CES, we saw Audi’s vision of the future, a concept car called the Aicon, with an interior that resembles more of a lounge than a current automobile. As with Holoride, the development of Aicon represents a shift in the idea of mobility, one that’s ushered in by a focus on passengers instead of drivers. Together, Aicon and Holoride make perfect sense in a future world of fully autonomous vehicles. If no one is driving, what else are we to do?
Anything you want to, apparently. Cars are now seen as multi-purpose spaces, just another room that we occupy as we travel from place to place: be it a relaxation pod, a meeting room, or your own private cinema.
The team behind Holoride is most invested in the latter, creating entertainment experiences that are just long enough to fill the entire duration of your trip. They’re calling it “elastic content,” VR games and adventures that automatically adjust to congestion and shortcuts, so that you’re never left without something to occupy you.
“Together, Aicon and Holoride make perfect sense in a future world of fully autonomous vehicles.”
Soon, Holoride plans to open its technology to more car manufacturers, content creators, and game developers. The goal is for a wide range of immersive experiences, customized to events in the real world like traffic jams or stop lights, and for those experiences to be available in more car brands. Apart from games, like the one I played, the company is also planning movies, interactive features, and educational tours. Indeed, the type of content you could enjoy is limited only by the imagination.
A few minutes later, I find myself getting another back massage inside another chauffeured Audi A8, making our way back into downtown Las Vegas. These days, when I do travel by car, the experience is similar to this, albeit less fancy. I’m bored, maybe antsy or impatient, in the back seat, with only my phone and social media to distract me. I hadn’t given it much thought till today, but in a world where one constantly thirsts for something to capture one’s attention, I can certainly see how “content will be a major driving force for the mobility experience of the future.”
The day is almost over and I am exhausted. I recline my chair, close my eyes, and enjoy the back massage for a few minutes more. I dream I am back in the e-tron, and wonder when this future will arrive, what it would be like if the next Avengers movie was interactive, and most importantly, what it would be like to watch it from the back seat of a fully autonomous Audi.
Olay showcases how tech can help you get better skin
The road to a flawless face
The business of beauty is slowly but surely utilizing more tech than ever before.
Case in point: Olay, a popular beauty brand, has shown off their beauty tech at CES 2019. Here’s some tech that will get us better skin that we can definitely look forward to.
A glimpse at the smart kitchen’s wireless future
Look ma, no cords!
The kitchen of the future is smart, sleek, and apparently cordless.
At CES 2019, the Wireless Power Consortium showed us a quick glimpse of what an unattached future could be. In a pretty straightforward but very impressive demo, I was shown how a wireless kitchen would work. A counter can wirelessly power appliances placed on certain spots on the surface. Frankly, it’s pretty awesome to see the devices power up without being plugged in.
According to the Consortium, they are in talks with a number of big names in kitchen appliances to build this wireless tech into more devices. They hope to roll out this wireless power standard by as early as next year.
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