The year 2020 saw us all spending an extended amount of time at home due to the pandemic. While there’s hope in the form of clinically tested vaccines, we’re still far from being back to how things used to be. This is why Samsung at CES 2021 showcased plenty of things that will elevate the home experience.
Samsung’s continued investments in innovations that adapt to evolving lifestyles enable the company to keep pace with rapid changes. Key innovations unveiled include:
Samsung Bespoke 4-Door Flex
The latest version of the Bespoke refrigerator features changeable panels. They come with a choice of colors and materials that made the original a success, allowing consumers to adjust their fridge for form and function.
The new 4-Door model, available in North America this spring, also includes a brand-new Beverage Center. It gives quick access to a water dispenser and an automatically-filled water pitcher. The 4-door Bespoke also comes equipped with a Dual Auto Ice Maker which makes not only regular cubed ice but also smaller ‘ice bites’ to suit different preferences for cold beverages.
This new screen features self-lit inorganic LED with a slim and nearly bezel-less Infinity Screen design that seamlessly blends into the living space. The result is a spectacularly immersive viewing experience with astounding picture quality.
The 110-inch MICRO LED also adds “4Vue” (Quad View), a four-way viewing option — so you can keep up with multiple sports at once, or stream a tutorial while playing a video game. Also, for US consumers, more than 160 free channels are available through Samsung TV Plus. MICRO LED will be rolled out globally beginning this spring.
Samsung’s cutting-edge lifestyle TV lineup includes The Serif, The Frame, The Sero and The Terrace — a recently launched 4K QLED outdoor TV — as well as Samsung The Premiere, a cinema-like quality 4K laser projector.
A new service from Samsung SmartThings is designed to make your culinary journey seamless. An automatic Meal Planner powered by Whisk’s Food AI recommends meals for the whole week, makes shopping lists with the ingredients you need, and connects to grocery retailers for one-stop shopping straight from the Family Hub refrigerator or your mobile screen.
Recipe instructions can be sent directly to synced Samsung cooking devices to minimize hassles and mistakes.
Samsung Health Smart Trainer on Samsung 2021 TVs
Samsung Health seamlessly transforms the home into a personal gym. The new Smart Trainer feature tracks and analyzes posture in real time, just like a personal trainer.
During and post-workout, Smart Trainer provides feedback on form, helps you count your reps, and estimates calories burned.
With video and interactive training via Bixby-enabled voice control, Samsung Health Smart Trainer elevates and personalizes the home workout experience.
Samsung is using its AI and Robotics expertise and applying it in housekeeping — something we can all relate to. The company’s innovations on the matter are as follows:
JetBot 90 AI+
Coming to the US in the first half of 2021, this new vacuum cleaner uses object recognition technology to identify and classify objects to decide the best cleaning path. LiDAR and 3D sensors allow JetBot 90 AI+ to avoid cables and small objects, while still cleaning hard-to-reach corners in your home.
Also outfitted with a camera, JetBot90 AI+ is integrated with the SmartThings app to assist you with home monitoring.
Samsung Bot Care
The latest development in Samsung’s growing robotics lineup, Samsung Bot Care is designed use AI to recognize and respond to your behavior.
It will be able to act as both a robotic assistant and companion, helping to take care of the details in your life. It will also learn your schedule and habits and send you reminders to help guide you throughout your busy day.
Samsung Bot Handy
Also in development, Samsung Bot Handy will rely on advanced AI to recognize and pick up objects of varying sizes, shapes and weights, becoming an extension of you and helping you with work around the house.
Samsung Bot Handy will be able to tell the difference between the material composition of various objects, utilizing the appropriate amount of force to grab and move around household items and objects, working as your trusted partner to help with house chores like cleaning up messy rooms or sorting out the dishes after a meal.
Samsung is also developing other tangible applications of AI technologies for daily life. Samsung is continuing to build on its Samsung Bot Retail, which would guide users outside the home in retail environments, and GEMS, Samsung’s health-focused exoskeleton as mobility aide.
These innovations allow robots and robotic devices to co-exist with humans, enhancing their lives and catering to a variety of lifestyles and different environments.
Tech for a better tomorrow
As part of its commitment to creating a circular economy, Samsung is developing programs and packaging solutions that promote a sustainable product lifecycle—from beginning to end:
Galaxy Upcycling at Home
Samsung also announced an update to its Galaxy Upcycling program called Galaxy Upcycling at Home. The new program re-imagines the lifecycle of an older Galaxy phone and offers consumers options on how they might be able to repurpose their device to create a variety of convenient IoT tools.
TV Eco Packaging
Additionally, Samsung announced that its eco-packaging would expand to QLED, UHD TV, monitor, and audio products in 2021.
As part of an ongoing commitment to eco-consciousness, Samsung is creating products and solutions with sustainability at the core. For example, Samsung’s new Solar Cell Remote Control — made in part with recycled plastic — can be charged via solar or indoor lighting, reducing battery waste.
Samsung has also prioritized technology education through Samsung Solve for Tomorrow, which encourages young people to creatively use technology to solve community challenges, and Samsung Innovation Campus, which helps students develop technical and personal skills for future jobs.
Samsung also highlighted at the event how it is making its products even more inclusive and accessible for all. The SeeColors application is designed to help those with color vision deficiency (CVD) to adjust the settings on their 2021 QLED TVs for a better viewing experience, and the Sign Language Zoom feature on TVs ensures that everyone, regardless of ability, can easily enjoy cutting-edge technology.
Lastly, understanding how challenging it can be to strike a balance between our digital and analog lives, Samsung presented the Digital Wellbeing feature, designed to help people take control and manage their digital time — so they can use technology to better our lives and empower ourselves.
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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