It’s that time of the year again where all eyes are transfixed on what’s happening in Las Vegas. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Consumer Electronics Show 2014 has begun and we’re sure many of you are looking forward to check what has been unveiled at the show, so here’s our wrap up of some of the coolest stuff.
NVIDIA Tegra K1
As always, when it comes to CES showcases, NVIDIA is the one to keep tabs on as they always have something groundbreaking up their sleeves and this year is no different. Before the show even started, NVIDIA unveiled their revolutionary Tegra K1 mobile processor that uses the Kepler architecture that is used to power the incredible NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti. This mobile processor boasts a 192-core super chip, is available in 32- and 64-bit versions and is also the first mobile processor to support NVIDIA CUDA.
The 32-bit version of the mobile CPU uses a quad-core 4-Plus-1 ARM Cortex A15 CPU, while the second version uses a custom, NVIDIA-designed 64-bit dual Super Core CPU (codenamed “Denver”) and is able to deliver very high single-thread and multi-thread performance. Both these processors are able to support DirectX 11, Open GL 4.4 and tessellation, giving mobile devices the full PC-class gaming treatment.
Besides just powering mobile devices, the Tegra K1 will continue NVIDIA’s penetration into the automotive market. To-date, there are more than 4.5 million cars on the road powered by NVIDIA processors, including models from Audi, BMW, Tesla Motors and Volkswagen. Thanks to its performance capabilities combined with NVIDIA’s Material Definition Language – which simulates how light reflects and refracts off of actual materials and advanced driver assistances systems (ADAS), the Tegra K1 will bring self-driving cars out from the research centres to the mass market.
LG Lifeband Touch
It would seem that 2014 is the year that wearable tech finally gets a massive industry boost, and LG have started things off at CES by unveiling their latest Lifeband Touch and Heart Rate Earphones, two wearable devices that also mark LG’s first jump into the fitness technology segment.
The Lifeband Touch is an activity tracker which is compatible with both heart rate monitors and smartphones, both Android and iOS. The Heart Rate Earphones meanwhile features a unique dual-function design that offers its users an easy way to measure their heart rates when exercising. Both these devices can also wirelessly link up to each other, creating a seamless wearable ecosystem.
Much like the few smartwatches out in the market already, the Lifeband Touch features a touch OLED panel to display time, biometrics, incoming calls and music controls. The difference however, is that it also has a built-in 3-axis accelerometer and altimeter that allows you to measure your performance indicators such as distance, speed, calories consumed and projected pace. On top of that, it also supports Bluetooth connectivity so you can send that data to your smartphones.
AMD Kaveri APU
AMD’s Accelerated Processing Units, or APUs were first launched several years ago, aiming to combine the processing power of both compute and graphics into one little chip in order to reduce power consumption while still retaining the performance levels of having both a processor and a discrete GPU. AMD have certainly taken their time, and the launch of Kaveri may just be the fruit of the company’s many years of labour.
AMD has quoted that Kaveri is the company’s most advanced APU yet, powered by the company’s latest Steamroller CPU cores, which number up to 12 compute cores, the first of the APU line to support the Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA), Graphics Core Next (GCN) based on AMD’s own R9 2xx series of GPUs and support for the new Mantle API, which are used to power the graphics engine behind games such as Battlefield 4 and the upcoming Thief.
The biggest advantage Kaveri has over other APUs is that thanks to the new HSA tech, the APU shares both compute and graphics power with each other, which greatly helps improve the performance of the processor as a whole, regardless if the compute or graphics segment is being used more.
Qualcomm Snapdragon Processors For TVs & Cars
Having secured their share of the smartphone market pie, Qualcomm is setting its sights on broadening its reach to include two mainstay, yet majorly untapped markets in the form of the TV and automobile segments. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 802 aims to power a majority, if not all of 2014’s lineup of smart televisions while the Snapdragon 602 looks to turn cars into drivable hubs worldwide.
The Snapdragon 802 is based off the company’s Krait-class processor, clocked in at 1.8GHz and purpose-built to be used with HDTV sets. The processor is not only DirectX9.3 compatible, but also has a built in upconverter in the form of the Hollywood Quality Video which Qualcomm claims is capable of delivering content almost up to Ultra HD. On top of that, it is also capable of streaming multiple 1080p content simultaneously. This is especially useful if you’re using the TV for gaming or movies and video calls on the side.
On the automobile front, the Snapdragon 602A aims to go up against the offerings of NVIDIA and Texas Instruments, and has in fact snatched a deal away with Audi from NVIDIA at the end of 2012. This new processor includes an 802.11ac modem, Bluetooth 4.0, an Adreno GPU as well as a 3G/4G/LTE modem inside the package. On top of that. Qualcomm has also mentioned that the processor is able to connect up to eight devices to the internet at any one time.
Valve’s Steam Machines have been talked about for a few years now, and the first prototype was unveiled during last year’s CES. Fast forward one year later, Valve has again unveiled more details in saying that it has confirmed partnerships with 13 different manufacturers, including Alienware, iBuyPower, CyberPowerPC, GIGABYTE and Zotac amongst others who will be building gaming machines which will be powered by Valve’s own Steam OS.
In case you’re wondering how this came to be, the insides of the Steam Machines are all powered by PC components, which adds to the Steam Machine’s advantage as these components can be upgraded later on whenever necessary. The pricing also varies depending on the components used, so it can be as cheap or as expensive as you need it to be.
The Pebble smartwatch was the project that sparked off the wearable tech boom in 2012 and 2013. At launch, the device worked as a device that is not only capable of telling you the time, but also shows notifications of your messages, emails and social media platforms. Whilst it serves some pretty basic functions, the fact that the watch is capable of lasting up to 10 days on a full charge meant that users don’t have to constantly leave the device tethered to a charging cable every night.
Pebble has just announced the arrival of the Pebble Steel, which now features a Gorilla Glass display together with metal and leather straps. These watches will be on a limited run, and as such, pre-orders have already been open, and interested customers can start to pre-order these US$245 (RM805) watches, which will ship out on the 28 January this year.