After a week of several companies revealing their hand a little early, the once-Las Vegas-based CES goes online for 2021, and officially kicks off today.
Judging from what we’ve seen and heard already, it’s likely to be a quieter show than normal, as many smaller companies and start-ups forgo the online-only event. The realities of a pandemic have slowed production, not to mention adding more hurdles to creating and iterating new devices. That’s not to say there won’t be plenty of product announcements, especially when it comes to TVs and PCs.
This would have been my tenth CES, so it’s a little odd not to be in Las Vegas for the start of the year. I won’t, however, miss the aggressive aircon, the gridlock getting to locations and that brutal jetlag.
Remotely, and in our normal time-zones, our team will report on all of the biggest announcements and what you can expect from tech in 2021. Engadget is in charge of the official Best of CES Awards once again, and the process has already begun. We’ve also got a run of live programming on a virtual stage — check-out the full schedule right here.
— Mat Smith
Let the CES PC deluge begin!
HP’s CES showing is a combination of new devices and upgrades. HP claims its new Envy 14’s 16:10, multitouch-enabled IPS display has a viewing area that's 11 percent greater than a typical 16:9 ratio screen. You'll get up to 16.5 hours of use with a single charge, with 11th-gen Intel Core processors and up to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q graphics. The laptop, starting from $999, should arrive later this month. Continue reading.
A balloon mission will also detect neutrino signals.
NASA has chosen to investigate more smallsat and balloon mission concepts for exploring the cosmos, and this time the goals are particularly ambitious. All four are part of a recently established Pioneers program, which promises to help relatively new researchers conduct experiments, but only so long as the mission fits under a $20 million cost cap. While that’s inexpensive compared to many NASA missions, there is a chance the concepts might lose out if they run over budget.
The first smallsat, Aspera, will study galaxy evolution by monitoring the ultraviolet light from hot gas in the space between those galaxies. Pandora will try to separate the signals of 20 stars and their 39 exoplanets by scrutinizing infrared and visible light. StarBurst, meanwhile, will look for gamma rays from events like neutron star mergers and gravitational waves.
There’s only one balloon mission concept, but it could be particularly important. PUEO would launch from the Antarctic and detect the signals from ultra-high energy neutrinos. Continue reading.
They'll work in tandem with the company's fitness band or the Apple Watch.
How’s that new year’s fitness resolution going? It’s a difficult time to focus on workouts, but companies aren’t going to stop pitching possibly better ways to get fitter at home. Wondercise, whose system already works with Apple Watch and Garmin devices, is adding a new "multi-point matching system," and new IMU (inertial measurement unit) sensor straps potentially increasing the accuracy with which you can track form and mirror workout movements.
Currently, Wondercise's videos focus on yoga, tai-chi, HIIT, weight training and similar exercises. The company plans to add more over time, and doing so involves tweaking its motion-tracking algorithms to fit the moves featured in new routines.
While Wondercise hasn't released pricing information for its new sensors yet, we know they'll be available in a two-pack when they launch later in Q1 2021. It’s worth mentioning that Wondercise is fairly affordable when compared to other at-home workout services. VIP access to the service costs $5 per month, or $35 per year (roughly half the cost of Apple Fitness+) and has more wearable options than Fitness+. Continue reading.
VW has also had trouble.
Chip shortages aren’t just affecting new phones, PCs and gaming consoles, not in 2021. Ford and Nissan are scaling back production in response to semiconductor shortages. Ford is idling an SUV factory in Kentucky this week, moving up downtime previously scheduled for later in 2021. Nissan, meanwhile, is reducing output at one of its plants in Japan.
Other carmakers may face trouble as well. Volkswagen said in December that it was altering production in China, Europe and North America due to the shortage. Continue reading.