<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - CES]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/feature/ces http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Sat, 19 Apr 2014 13:56:05 -0700 Sat, 19 Apr 2014 13:56:05 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Celebrities and Tech: CES Gets Its Groove On]]> Wed, 08 Jan 2014 18:41:02 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/edt-AP646937929861_2.jpg

With thousands of people buzzing at the same time about the Macklemore show and a robot that cleans your windows, it could only be CES in Las Vegas, hitting its stride.

The most attended year for the biggest convention of its kind is already proving to be exhausting to those who love a steady stream of gadgets, with a little entertainment thrown in. How to keep track of it all? Well, there are new ways to do that, too, thanks to Yahoo's new entries into the tech news market, with an online magazine called "Yahoo Tech," and a new show to be anchored by Katie Couric.

In true CES fashion, the Yahoo news was delivered both by CEO Marissa Mayer, and by members of the cast of "Saturday Night Live," along with a very cool closing set by John Legend. Tech and celebs, joined again.

As for the gadgets, some new ones are getting noticed. For you parents out there, Intel has a chip inside a "onesie," to monitor your baby's, um, functions. Part of the "wearable tech" craze that has allowed me, though a wrist band, to tell you that I walked about six miles yesterday, this one comes as part of the "Mommy Tech" section here at the show.

Robots are also hot here at CES. While we monitor ourselves, a robot can take care of our cleaning needs. You may already know about the Roomba floor cleaning Robot (from iRobot). Now, we've seen the "Winbot," a bot that uses suction to hang on your window, move around, and clean it. It's made by Ecovacs, and will cost about $400. One of those things that, if you see it in action, you'll want one - if for nothing else than to start conversations among visitors.

Scott is on the show floor now. Also on Twitter: @scottbudman



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[CES: 3D Printing, Virtual Reality Highlight Tech Show]]> Tue, 07 Jan 2014 18:59:18 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/edt-AP327271946558_0.jpg

Yes, there are still monster TV sets here, with some that actually bend, and one that witnessed a very bizarre moment with the director Michael Bay.

But, unlike the last couple of CES events, the TVs aren't dominating the show. CES is living up to its reputation this year, featuring technology that is truly futuristic, and that's generating lots of lust among techies here in Las Vegas.

CES 2014 PHOTOS: The Coolest New Gadgets

First off, virtual reality. A staple of "futuristic" tech, now coming to your livingroom. We visited a company called Virtuix, which makes a gaming system that takes you - virtually - to another world, strapped into a turning, wheeling base, complete with grooves so your custom shoes can move around. It's loud, very realistic, and will have you working up a sweat. Look for it to move beyond gaming, into physical fitness and military operations.

Another big theme this year at CES is 3D printing. No longer a "someday" theme at the show, this rapidly growing area gets its own pavilion in 2014, and it's cool. Companies like MakerBot, announcing big printers to move from business into personal use. NASA wants them to build rocket parts; you'll want one just because it's cutting edge.

CES officially starts today. We'll get updates from CEOs like Yahoo's Marissa Meyer, and lots of product announcements. We'll also print something in 3D. Because now, we all can.

Scott is at CES, and on Twitter: @scottbudman 

<![CDATA[The HAPIfork: A High-Tech, Weight-Loss Fork ]]> Thu, 10 Jan 2013 09:37:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/HAPIfork.JPG

You've undoubtedly heard of the self help book.

Now, meet the self help fork.

The HAPIfork, from Hong-Kong based HAPILABS, has got to be the most checked out, buzzed about, griped about product at this year's CES. And it's a fork.

OK, not just a fork. HAPIfork is a high-tech fork that tracks you. Specifically, your eating habits. It tracks how long you take to eat. How many bites you take when you eat. And it actually buzzes if it feels that you're eating too fast. Mayor Bloomberg's big soda thing has nothing on this guy.

In this era of big data and tracking everything, HAPIfork will, after every meal, sync with your computer or smartphone to track what you've eaten (and how fast you ate it), with the goal of helping you to lose weight.  It's kind of like the technology that tracks your daily run or bike ride for you. Except, it's a fork.

It costs $99, and I really don't know if that's a good price or not. It seems to be an expensive fork, unless you're registering for your marriage to Paris Hilton. Then again, if it helps you drop ten pounds, I'd call it a bargain.

When I spoke to the HAPIfork executives at their modest CES booth, they seemed surprised and a bit overwhelmed by all the attention. At this point, some of the forks upload data to your devices via Bluetooth; others have to be tethered to a USB cable. That's cumbersome, not to mention ridiculous. Think about it: Your fork, tethered to a USB cable.

It's too early to tell whether the HAPIfork will catch on.  It goes on sale soon, though, and like diet books to read and hot coals to walk on, it will likely find an audience eager for improvement.

Scott can be found on Twitter: @scottbudman

Photo Credit: Scott Budman]]>
<![CDATA[Samsung shows off bendable phone screen]]> Thu, 10 Jan 2013 17:57:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/011013-ces-samsung-phone.jpg

LAS VEGAS (AP) - By showing off a phone with a flexible screen, Samsung is hinting at a day when we might fold up our large phone or tablet screens as if they were maps.

The Korean electronics company provided a glimpse of such a device at a keynote speech Wednesday at the International CES gadget show in Las Vegas. It's an annual showcase of the latest TVs, computers and other consumer-electronic devices.

WHAT IT IS: Brian Berkeley, head of Samsung Electronics Co.'s display lab in San Jose, Calif., demonstrated a phone that consists of a matchbox-sized hard enclosure, with a paper-thin, flexible color screen attached to one end. The screen doesn't appear flexible enough to fold in half like a piece of paper, but it could bend into a tube.

The company also showed a video of a future concept, with a phone-sized device that opens up like a book, revealing a tablet-sized screen inside.

HOW IT WORKS: The screen uses organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs. Only a thin layer of these chemicals is needed to produce a bright, colorful screen. They're used in many Samsung phones already, though with glass screens. For the bendable phone, Samsung laid the chemicals over thin plastic instead of glass. That's a trick you can't pull off with liquid crystals in standard displays.

WHY YOU'D WANT IT: You could pack a bigger screen in your pocket. In a more conventional application, Berkeley demonstrated a phone with a display that's rigid, but bent around the edges of the device, so it can show incoming messages even with a cover over the main screen. In short, OLEDs free designers to make gadgets with curved screens.

WHY IT MIGHT NOT WORK: It's tough to use a touch screen if it bends away from your finger. Flexible OLED screens have been demonstrated for years, but the OLED chemicals are extremely sensitive to oxygen, so they need to be completely sealed off from the air. Volume production of flexible displays that remain airtight has so far stumped engineers. Samsung's screens aren't yet flexible enough to fold, just bend.

AVAILABILITY: Samsung didn't say anything about when flexible displays might be commercialized.

"The concept of the flexible screen has been around for some time, but it finally looks as if Samsung is really going to deliver on that technology,'' said Steve Bell, a technology consultant and president of KeySo Global.

<![CDATA[High-End Gaming Gets Bay Area Tech Boost]]> Wed, 09 Jan 2013 20:38:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/010913cesbudman.jpg It's one of the world's most profitable businesses, and it's following music and movies to your mobile devices. Scott Budman reports from CES on how high-end gaming is getting a boost from Bay Area technology.]]> <![CDATA[Gadget Heaven: 2013 Consumer Electronics Show]]> Thu, 10 Jan 2013 17:59:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CES_Thursday_P10.jpg The 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show runs until Jan. 11 in Las Vegas. The annual event will tout the latest gadgets including sharper TVs, new phones and souped up computers.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[CES 2013: Inside the Numbers]]> Thu, 10 Jan 2013 17:59:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/010913-ces-numbers.jpg Scott Budman breaks down the numbers from CES 2013.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Thin, 3D TVs Top Show at CES]]> Tue, 08 Jan 2013 19:38:03 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/tv5.JPG

Yes, we love our smartphones and tablets. Our robotic vacuum cleaners make us (and our friends) flush with how futuristic and cool we are. But for sheer madness as the Consumer Electronics Show, nothing can top TVs.

Every year, I look forward to something new taking over the CES spotlight. Then, like clockwork, the TV booths (LG, Sony, Panasonic, etc) remind me what true claustrophobia feels like.

They're mobbed.

In the past, it was 3D TVs .. Then, sales were slow, and TV makers went back to the drawing board to focus on what viewers really want (well, besides shows about beauty pageants and towing people's cars). Improved pictures, thanks to enhanced HD. Thinner screens that take up less room and are more sustainable. And, better LED lighting through science.

Some of these sets (hello, Sony) are still way too expensive, but that's what we said about HD and flat screens, before prices dropped big time.

I've seen the future. It makes me want to start saving for a new TV. And, maybe a new couch too.

Scott can be followed on Twitter: @scottbudman


Photo Credit: Scott Budman]]>
<![CDATA[Televisions of the Future at CES]]> Thu, 10 Jan 2013 11:04:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CES_Tuesday_P9.jpg Scott Budman reports from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas where TVs of the future still rule the runway.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Samsung Gadget Are Big Ticket Items - Like Refrigerators]]> Tue, 08 Jan 2013 18:26:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ces5pm_8117940_722x406_14006851965.jpg Scott Budman shows us what Samsung is up to at CES 2013.]]> <![CDATA[TV Speaker-Equipped Pillow Launched at CES]]> Tue, 08 Jan 2013 13:43:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CESSPEAKERPILLOW16x9_8110878_722x406_13979203606.jpg Scott Budman has a pillow that has tiny speakers so spouses can watch TV overnight without bothering anyone. It will be ready by Father's Day and cost $129.]]> <![CDATA[CES Buzz: OLED Technology]]> Tue, 08 Jan 2013 18:28:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/oled.JPG

 As expected, most of the spotlight at this year's CES is shining on the big devices. Just hours after Samsung and LG teased us with giant screens boasting what's being called "4K," a much sharper than HD picture, Sony outdid all the other TV makers with a prototype 4K TV that also comes with something called OLED technology.


Yes, it's a buzzword here at CES this year, it stands for Organic Lite Emitting Diode, and the whole thing has to be seen to be believed. Even our TV cameras can't do it justice, because you're watching at home on a TV that isn't 65 inches, with OLED and 4K. Don't worry, there's not a test afterward, and so far, the Sony model, which will cost you as much as a car, is not out yet.

But after all the hype over the giant TVs, a much smaller, less expensive piece of technology just might steal the show. A steady line of consumers and reporters wanted to check out a pillow. Not just any pillow, but a pillow with speakers inside.

It's a "why didn't I think of that?" product from Brookstone. Two wireless speakers inside your pillow, so you can watch TV while your partner sleeps. Deceptively simple, it's just what many couples would love to have.  It's expected to hit the market in the spring (just in time for Mother's and Father's Day), and will probably cost about $130. 

Why is it such a hit? Maybe because, unlike the giant television sets, we can all imagine something as simple, yet helpful, as speakers tucked inside a pillow (still comfy, by the way). Also, the pillows don't cost an arm and a leg.

But they may save your arms and legs .. As your significant other gets a good night's sleep.

Scott's CES reports can be found here, and on Twitter: @scottbudman

<![CDATA[Famous Faces at CES Through the Years]]> Fri, 04 Jan 2013 17:40:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/169*120/51924198_8.jpg A look at some of the famous faces that have graced the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with their presence over the years.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[CES Features Cool Gadgets, Gutter-Cleaning Robots]]> Mon, 07 Jan 2013 10:38:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/ces1.JPG

The football hangover is -briefly- over, and the Bay Area has now cast its gaze (and cashed in its planes tickets) toward Las Vegas and the Consumer Electronics Show.  Once again, CES promises a boatload of new gadgets to be perished by about 150,000 people. Some of the gadgets will make sense, some will seem crazy.

Come to think of it, you can say that about many of the 150,000 people who will attend CES, too.

While the show officially kicks off Tuesday morning, we'll be getting our hands on some cool stuff tonight, including a couple of robots heading to a back yard, and front yard, near you.

iRobot, famous for its Roomba floor cleaning robot, has two new offerings to show off this year. One, which will clean your floors, is called the Mirra. It's for your pool. Yes, the pool cleaning man in your life is being replaced by a robot. The Mirra actually looks like many pool cleaners you've seen - it's brand new,and while it looks cool on the show floor, we've yet to see it action.  Look for one when the weather warms up.

As for the front yard - that would be the Looj. It's is a gutter cleaning robot that's thin, fits in your gutter and will do what we all know is a tough, thankless job.  Put it together, charge it up, plop it into the gutter, and it goes. While it's cool to watch, it's a lot less messy for you if you come down off the ladder, press the remote control, and stand back as the leaves fly out of your gutter. It's also something your neighbors will gape at. Trust me, I've tried a demo model.

The Looj will run you close to 300 dollars. Worth it? Hard to say, but it's the same criticism people have had through the years about the various Roomba models, and they keep selling.

Face it, robots are cool, and iRobot has done a pretty good job of bringing them into the home. Now, they're aiming for the outside.


Photo Credit: Scott Budman]]>
<![CDATA[Panasonic Unveils Bone-Conduction TV Headphones]]> Mon, 07 Jan 2013 18:43:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/188*120/010713-ces-panasonic-headphones.jpg

LAS VEGAS (AP) - People who don't want to disturb sleeping family members could use a new product from Panasonic that doesn't need speakers or even your own ears: wireless bone-conduction headphones.
The headphones connect to a TV via the Bluetooth wireless standard and attach to your head like a normal set of headphones. But instead of using your ears, the headphones work like hearing aids by transmitting sound waves through your skull.
They are one of several innovations Panasonic unveiled at the International CES show in Las Vegas. It also showed off a new user interface for its “Smart Viera'' TVs, featuring a TV-mounted camera that recognizes the user and sets viewing preferences accordingly.
The Japanese electronics maker also showed off an easy way to send YouTube videos from smartphones to the TV.

<![CDATA["Wearable" Tech is Talk of Electronics Show]]> Mon, 07 Jan 2013 10:38:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/01-medinatech.JPG

Forget about 3D or tablets or ultra-books, the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show will be a leap into the future with uber high definition and wearable technology.

Tim Alessi, product manager for LG, proudly decries the birth of the 4K.

"It's the clearest, crispest picture you will see on a large screen display," he said.

The set was unveiled to the press at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on Sunday.

4K is four times the resolution of any high definition TV on the market today.

The resolution on the 84-inch set displayed was 3840x2160.

Yes, you could nearly see pores on people's faces.

The 4K technology also for not only intense resolution, but a 240 Hz refresh rate which makes the images have almost a 3D effect.

It’s also a “smart” TV with built-in WiFi and apps and is outfitted with a three-way, 10 speaker audio system.

LG, along with most of the big TV makers, will unveil a version of 4K or OLED, which is a similar super high definition TV, at the event this year.

Another emerging trend is wearable technology, first pioneered by BodyMedia at CES a few years ago.

The technology allows you to connect your smart phone to another piece of technology like an ear piece or headset to expand its capabilities.

Vuzix is one of the technologies.

It's new lightweight set of smart glasses that is less augmented reality, more a wearable smart screen that pairs to your tablet or smartphone.

You can see a 16:9 aspect ration horizontal screen displayed across your right eye.

The screen can display text messages, emails and social networks. The device can use its 1080i camera to view items that might be in different languages and translate them for you on the screen.

It's being released to developers this year who can create applications and software for the technology.

Lastly, CES gave the media a sneak peek at smart cars.

Google has led the way with testing of self driving cars, but Toyota and Ford are plugging away with turning economy style cars into smart hubs, connection your smart phone to the car to runs apps for navigation, music and social networks.

<![CDATA[CES '13: Lucky For Consumers?]]> Mon, 07 Jan 2013 10:39:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CES-Gadgets-P17.jpg

 Last year, it was all about the tablet.

This year, expect a bigger screen.

The 2013 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show is expected to be just as crowded and crazy as last year, with products that, thanks to an improving economy, companies actually think they can sell.

Starting with TVs.

Sure, smartphones will still be everywhere, and we'll again see lots of tablets, but stepping away from the 3D dream, you'll likely see a new round of TV screens that come loaded with apps, including some you can talk to. We predict that will spur a new round of Apple TV set rumors, with Siri playing a big role in that speculation.

Television will also start to look more like movies, with enhanced HD and ways for people to see a clear picture, no matter where they're sitting. Intel, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, and others will be leading the way here.

We'll do our best to send you a clear picture.

You can follow Scott on Twitter: @scottbudman



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Boxee Introduces Facebook App at CES]]> Fri, 13 Jan 2012 10:48:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/boxee003.png

Television was the name of the game at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.

And who better to involve in any discussion about the future of television than Facebook?

Boxee announced a new app at this year's CES event that will integrate itself with Facebook and attempt to socialize viewing habits.

The app will bring movies, Internet videos and shows directly into Facebook's new Timeline feature.

Users can share what they have been watching on the Menlo Park-based social-networking site.

But one thing Boxee stressed was that the service would be entirely opt-in.

If users choose to share their information, the app will post what users are watching after it's been on for two minutes.

<![CDATA[Photos: Consumer Electronics 2012]]> Thu, 12 Jan 2012 12:31:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CES-Gadgets-P5.jpg The International CES is the world's largest consumer technology trade show, and features more than 2,700 exhibitors.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[YouTube Unveils the Future of TV ]]> Sun, 15 Jan 2012 08:53:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CES-Gadgets-P17.jpg

While the eyes of the tech world were watching the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week to catch a glimpse of what exactly a smart television was, Google may have answered that question before the event even started.

Google’s Vice President for Global Content Partnerships Robert Kyncl delivered a keynote address in the closing minutes of CES Thursday, he revealed the future of intelligent television doesn't involve a lot of hand-waving, talking to a box or even Apple.

According to Kyncl, the future of television is YouTube.

[Click here for our entire week's worth of CES coverage and video.]

In a tech conference that otherwise lacked a lot of sizzle and saw the exit of one of the last tech giants to attend the show, Kyncl delivered perhaps the most interesting news of the four-day seminar.

Kyncl laid out the future of YouTube and said that it plans to offer more channels on the Google-owned, video-sharing site.

He said by 2020, Google believes that 75 percent of all channels that are being watched will be online. That number includes television channels.

Kyncl said the change in video consumption has the potential to attract an audience that television has failed to draw to this point.

He compared the future expansion of Internet television and its potential impact on content development and what we are watching in the future.

Google of course has positioned itself perfectly for this future vision of television. The Mountain View-based search company unveiled its latest iteration of GoogleTV this week at CES.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Best Gadget at CES ]]> Sun, 15 Jan 2012 08:55:03 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/107910591.jpg

In a year where the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show lacked any major surprises, a pencil thin television took home the honor of being named the best gadget at the fair.

LG had one of the biggest exhibits at the four day electronic show in Las Vegas, which came to an end Thursday, and it also took home the week's biggest honor.

The company's 4mm thick OLED screen was given the honor by tech site CNET, who also had a huge presence at the show.

The LG 55EM9800 won the honor over an entry from rival Samsung partly because the LG television had a release date of later this year.

Samsung's entry is still a prototype.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[CES Wrap: Big Show, Big Winners]]> Fri, 13 Jan 2012 07:30:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/136590619.jpg

To paraphrase a Canadian singer who does huge business here in Las Vegas (and no, I'm not talking about Justin Bieber), somehow, the show will go on.

At least, when it comes to CES, we think it will.

All skepticism aside, CES was bananas this year. It was huge, with more vendors than we've seen, and more people cramming into the booths to see the new merchandise. Yes, there is a big question mark with Microsoft stepping away, but, really, does Microsoft represent the future direction of technology anymore? 

Perhaps next year, we'll get a keynote address from an up-and-coming CEO, now that Microsoft's Steve Ballmer has decided to step aside, taking his tweeting gospel choir with him.

As for the big winners, we found some: Pandora, from Oakland, scored big by announcing that the music service will be in lots of cars this year. Good for some nice buzz on the CES show floor, good also for a stock pop (Nasdaq: P) on the news.

Nokia is also, arguably, a winner. It's soon-to-be-released 900 smartphone got consistent crowds checking it out every day.  It comes with a slick design, and a more powerful, easy to use Windows software inside. Can it deliver big sales?  We'll see, but people haven't been interested in Nokia for some time.

Speaking of phones, can Intel deliver with its phone? Not available during the actual announcement, Intel let some people check out the phone later in the show -- initial impressions have been mixed. Intel did a bit better with its Ultra Books. This is the latest laptop craze, thin design with lots of power. Companies like Asus and HP will try to distract consumers from the Apple MacBook Air.

Speaking of Apple, they always seem to look good by not showing up to CES. With the gaggle of "smart" TVs getting touched and talked to at CES, I got the feeling that companies like Samsung, Panasonic and LG are hoping that Apple someday makes this a must-have category, like they did with tablets.

LG, by the way, had the biggest crowds I've seen at a non-Lady Gaga CES event. Their TVs were popular, no doubt, but so much attention was paid to its refrigerators, we had to check them out. One of them, the "Blast Chiller," rotates your drink (soft drink, beer, wine, whatever) while blasting with cold air to chill it faster than we could before. It's a conversation piece, if you have the extra dough.

Finally, the lesson of CES this year might come from that very refrigerator. OK, so Microsoft's leaving, and OK, Apple's probably never coming. CES is bursting at the seems, but still ought to make some changes to stay relevant. Let's see some younger, faster-moving companies in here.  Maybe some software makers who are really changing the game for consumers.

Would it kill the convention to start with a Jack Dorsey or Jeff Bezos or Alan Mulally? I'm guessing it would probably help.

Let's be like that refrigerator, and chill. Consumer products are only going to multiply, because we love them.  Why not have a place where we can get together and check them out?

Agree?  Disagree?  Let me know.  I'm on Twitter:  @scottbudman

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sony Unveils Android-Powered Tablets]]> Thu, 12 Jan 2012 07:47:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/187*120/sony-tablet-ces.jpg

The 2012 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show was supposed to be about tablets and ultrabooks.

Sony wants to make sure consumers didn't forget that there are cool tablets on the market that don't start with a stubborn "i."

The Japanese computer-maker unveiled two tablet computers to go along with its Sony Vaio line.

Much like the line of Vaio laptops, the prototype tablets are sleek and thin and easy on the eye.

One of the two tablets comes with a thin docking station, which includes a keyboard and speakers.

The second tablet comes with two 5.5-inch screens and it can easily folded and pushed into a pocket.

Both tablets run on the Android operating system.

Sony did not reveal pricing information or when the products would be launched.

<![CDATA[T-Mobile Unveils Windows-Powered Smartphone]]> Wed, 11 Jan 2012 20:11:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/nokualumia710.jpg

If you're new to the smartphone market, T-Mobile and Nokia have a phone for you.

The two companies partnered up at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show to unveil the newest Windows Phone on the shelves.

The Nokia Lumia 710 is the first Nokia Windows-based phone on the market. It features a 1.4-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, a 3.7-inch ClearBlack scratch-resistant display, a 5-megapixel camera and 8 GB of storage.

It is priced at $50 for a two-year commitment to T-Mobile.

The phone is similar to other Windows Phone 7 platforms. It features the Microsoft Metro interface and Live Tiles and it is simple to use and navigate.

And that is exactly what Nokia and T-Mobile are going for. With the low price and ease of use, the companies are hoping first time smartphone buyers will pop their cherry wih the Lumia 710.

In terms of performance, the phone is fast and responsive. Several potential customers all commented on the responsiveness of the phone in T-Mobile's testing room at CES Wednesday. The phone is available in both black and white.

The phone is available at T-Mobile and Best Buy stores now.

<![CDATA[SOPA Becomes a Hot Topic at CES]]> Wed, 11 Jan 2012 23:02:28 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/computer2.jpg

The 2012 Consumer Electronics Show took a break from gadget lust Wednesday to talk politics.

Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Ron Wyden were in Las Vegas Wednesday to talk about the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, better known as SOPA.

The controversial Congressional measure would give the US Justice Department the ability to track and go after Internet piracy.

But some critics say its gives the government too much power and it even requires too much from Internet Service Providers and tech giants like Google and Facebook.

Both Issa and Wyden said they were concerned about SOPA becoming law and both men were in town to push an alternative measure called the OPEN Act.
OPEN would task the International Trade Commission with going after Internet pirates instead of the Department of Justice.

The measure is scheduled to be introduced to Congress on Jan. 17, a day before the debate over SOPA is set to resume.

View more videos at: http://nbcbayarea.com.

<![CDATA[App Developer Turns iPhone Pics Into Cash]]> Wed, 11 Jan 2012 11:35:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/iphone005.jpg

Apple and Google are not at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show but plenty of companies are making the two tech giants' presence felt in the Las Vegas Desert.

One of those companies is Ivoke Mobile of San Clemente, Calif.

[Click here for our complete, week-long coverage of CES.]

At CES, the company announced the launch of ivokeMOBILE, which gives mobile app developers the ability to turn photos taken with their app into personalized products.

There are hundreds of photo apps on the App Store, according to company president and CEO Garry Green, but few give users the ability to turn their tweaked images into a product.

ivokeMobile allows developers to add on to their apps a function where users to turn any image into a product such as an iPhone case or a canvas poster.

Ivoke in turn promises a quick turnaround and full integration into the app.

For more information on the company or where to download its app, visit ivokenow.com.

<![CDATA[Carmakers Show Off Their Goods at CES]]> Wed, 11 Jan 2012 11:36:12 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/161*120/audiconceptcar.jpg

The annual Consumer Electronics Show is known for gadgets but this year's convention in the desert has a heavy presence from carmakers.

Ford, Audi and Mercedes Benz are three of the major car manufacturers unveiling new features in their cars at CES this week.

But there are over 480 car technology exhibitors at the convention, according to automotive review site Edmunds.com.

For its Ford unveiled a mobile app that connects drivers of the official car of CES, the electric Focus, with electric charging stations, fellow drivers, Facebook and Twitter.

Mercedes introduced a new iPhone app that will sync with an in-dash display on 2013 model vehicles.

Fellow German luxury car-maker Audi not only held a fancy party at the celebrity-infested Ghost Bar at the Palms Resort on Tuesday night, the company also showed off some of its fancy concept cars.

Audi also introduced an in-dash display that projects three different images on a car's windshield and accepts hand gestures to control content.

One of the displays would be invisible to drivers but visible to passengers and it would be capable of playing movies and other forms of entertainment.

Audi said the technology was not currently being installed on its vehicles and it had no timetable of when it might go live.

General Motors also was present at CES and making news. The Detroit company announced a partnership with LG to provide drivers of the  with an in-dash system that uses apples to connect to cloud-based content.

<![CDATA[Dish Network 'Hops' a Smart DVR Onto the Market]]> Wed, 11 Jan 2012 00:31:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/252*120/dishnetwork-joey.jpg

It's difficult to walk across the Consumer Electronics showroom floor and not see a drawing of a red kangaroo.

That's exactly what Dish Network wants. The satellite television provider is hoping to catch consumer's eye -- and dollars -- in the age of Netflix, On Demand and DVRs.

Dish Network introduced a new 2-terabyte DVR-recorder capable of recording six television shows at once in high-definition.

It has enough memory to 2000 hours of video and it gives users the ability to "hop" between rooms and continue watching the same show using a second reciever named Joey.

Hence the cute name and the catchy logo.

The Hopper also comes with the ability to record eight days of prime time programming from ABC, Fox, CBS and NBC.

Full disclosure: In case you didn't know NBC owns this website.

The hopping feature appears to be an attempt to compete with Comcast's On Demand feature. The recorder will also have built-in apps and the ability to help users find a missing remote control.

And Dish Network already has introduced its answer to Netflix, by announcing a partnership last year with Blockbuster to offer its customers Blockbuster Movie Pass as part of its package.

<![CDATA[Bob Marley Inspired Tech Appears at CES]]> Wed, 11 Jan 2012 07:14:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/houseofmarleyspeaker.jpg

There is something strange about using Bob Marley's image to sell technology but somehow when the items being hocked have to do with awesome sound it makes sense as well.

But that is exactly what earphone-maker House of Marley is doing. The company was showcasing its new line of earth-friendly headphones at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show.

House of Marley already features a stylish line of in ear, on ear and over the ear headphones that have a look you would expect cool enough to carry the name of he legendary reggae singers name.

The retailer carries a full line of headphones named after famous Marley songs, including "Jammin.'"

At CES the company is showcasing a new iPhone and iPad docking station with two 4.5-inch speakers and a built-in charger.

It is made from environmentally-friendly material in honor of the Marley family's believes and practices.

The company also introduced a new line of in-ear and on-ear headphones made out of environmentally friendly material as well.

To see a full line of products or to dance to your own natural mystique,  visit the House of Marley online.

<![CDATA[CES Day One]]> Wed, 11 Jan 2012 10:30:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CES-Gadgets-P5.jpg NBC Bay Area's Scott Budman reports from CES 2012 in Las Vegas.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Google Wants to Power Your Refrigerator ]]> Tue, 10 Jan 2012 20:34:20 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/168*120/97604139.jpg

Two of the biggest stars of the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show were suppose to be mobile phones and tablets.

Two of the biggest players behind those devices - Google and Apple - didn't bother to show up.

But Tuesday Google's Executive Chariman Eric Schmidt broke both those norms. First he appeared as a panelist during CNET's Next Big Thing panel and then he proceeded to talk about the company's mobile operating system, Android, powering everything in your home.

Schmidt said it is only a matter of time before Android is powering everything from your refrigerator to your television to your microwave.

"You want to be able to walk into your house and have all the appliances adjust (and) know it's you," Schmidt said.

But at the center of all the connectivity will still be smartphones, according to Schmidt.

He said Android users will be able to control all their devices and sync them together via their smartphone or mobile device and the "differentiation" would drive competition and drive the price down on multiple devices.

Google is already powering televisions with Android, the rest of your household gadgets and appliances is only a matter of time.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[PayAnywhere Rivals Square's Ease]]> Tue, 10 Jan 2012 20:06:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DSC09746.JPG

Square may have done $2 billion in mobile payment transactions last year but a new kid on the block wants small businesses to know that they have another option.

In fact PayAnywhere may have only started in April but its parent company, North American Bancard, has been processing credit cards for over 20 years.

Now the company processes more than $1 billion in credit card transactions a month.

And there are plenty of differences between PayAnywhere and Square.

First the similarities: both are free attachments that hook up to mobile devices to process credit cards using a free mobile app.

The differences are perhaps more stark and what PayAnywhere is hoping will attract users to its system over others mobile processing options out there, according to director of marketing Jeff Alderman.

Aesthetically PayAnywhere is black and locks into place once plugged-in into the mobile device's audio jack.

Square is white and moves around freely.

The plastic device also is available on BlackBerry devices, in addition to iOS  and Android.

The app also comes with the ability to integrate completely into Quickbooks and features that save and process sales even when there is no Internet activity.

PayAnywhere users are also given the ability to offer discounts for specific items and it undercuts other companies in the market by only charging 2.69 percent per transaction.

The app is is available as a free download and the attachment is available for from PayAnywhere's website.

Photo Credit: Sajid Farooq]]>
<![CDATA[Our Social Media Coverage of CES]]> Tue, 10 Jan 2012 15:54:28 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*160/spectre.jpg

NBC Bay Area's tech guys Scott Budman and Sajid Farooq flew out to beautiful Las Vegas to bring us the inside scoop on all the latest and greatest gadgets on display at this year's CES.

Stay posted to this page as we update tweets and images from our tech duo.

Be sure to check out feature page as well for more in-depth coverage of events and products.



Photo Credit: Scott Budman]]>
<![CDATA[Samsung, LG Unveil Smart Televisions]]> Tue, 10 Jan 2012 10:49:17 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*160/samsung-smarttv.jpg

Yelling at the television will no longer be a strange thing in the near future if Samsung and LG have anything to do with it.

The two South Korean television-makers announced at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show plans to build televisions that respond to voice commands.

LG will begin selling a flatscreen with a built-in microphone that will allow users to speak commands to the television to have it conduct web searches or update a Twitter account.

Samsung not only launched a television with a built-in microphone that will respond to voice commands, the company also unveiled a box with a built-in camera.

The camera will keep an eye on you to see if you give it physical commands to move an on-screen cursor.

Samsung also introduced a device called inTouch, which will give televisions WiFi connectivity and the ability to surf the web and the ability to Skype straight from your television.

The new line of interactive televisions are part smart televisions, which are expected to be a major trend at this year's CES event.

<![CDATA[Social TV Could Change Viewing Habits]]> Tue, 10 Jan 2012 18:03:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*127/1-10-2012+5-01-06+PM.jpg

Struggling to find something good to watch live on television?

You're not alone and there are companies out there trying to do something about it.

The popularity of services such as Netflix, On Demand and DVRs has proven that television viewers have grown tired of not having more control over what they watch in real time.

The changing viewing habits has seen the rise of the likes of Apple and Google reportedly trying to change the way television programming is distributed.

It has also given way to the growing phenomenon of live-tweeting and live-facebooking television events.

That's where products such as BlinQ by RyzMedia comes in.

The 2-year-old company is trying to pick up on the socialization of television and make your viewing experience more enjoyable and they are sharing their ideas at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show.

A free iPhone app -- an Android app will be out shortly -- and a small plastic "Q" plugged into your phone's audio input not only turns your smartphone into a universal remote, it also connects you with what your friends are watching.

The service allows users to share what they are watching on the mobile app, which then takes it users data and displays what shows are trending.

Users can even check out what their Facebook friends are watching and switch over to the same show if they are so inclined.

Future versions of the app will give users the power to gift pay per view movies or events to their friends all through the mobile app and across cable providers.

For now, BlinQ is looking to keep things simple and social.

Photo Credit: BlinQ]]>
<![CDATA[Ballmer Quietly Leads Microsoft Out of CES]]> Tue, 10 Jan 2012 10:49:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/gadgetadddN.jpg

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has been known to give animated talks.

But Monday evening's keynote at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show was anything but colorful.

The easily excitable tech leader delivered a calm, focused and anything but rememberable address to the thousands amassed in the Las Vegas desert for four days to hear the latest in consumer technology.

Ballmer and Microsoft are two of the bigger names to attend CES this year and in that lies the problem for some.

Many of techs biggest names no longer attend the annual convention, where companies are expected to announce new products.

This year was Microsoft's final swan song as well. Ballmer had announced before Monday's keynote that he no longer intended to bring his company to he dessert to start the new year.

But Microsoft did not cite the lack of big names, like other tech insiders have, but instead the company said the event did not align with its normal product design cycle to make an announcement.

With that in mind Ballmer did not talk about new products. Instead he addressed where Microsoft has been the past year.

Ballmer spoke about Windows 8, the status of Windows Phone devices and XBox Live.

He released sales information for Microsoft's strong video game business.

Ballmer said the company has sold about 66 million XBox 360 devices, it has about 40 million XBox Live subscribers and it has sold 18 million Kinect sensors.

And like that, Microsoft joined the ranks of Apple and Google on becoming another tech giant that will no longer make news at CES.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[NBC To Broadcast London Olympics in 3D]]> Tue, 10 Jan 2012 09:57:10 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/3dtvglasses.jpg

The London Olympics will air in 3D, bringing the games right into living rooms equipped with cutting edge televisions.

NBC, which won the rights to broadcast the games, and Panasonic announced the plans Monday at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. In addition to having a 3D-capable set, viewers must have service with a carrier that will provide the enhanced coverage. Presumably Comcast -- which owns NBCUniversal -- will be in the mix, along with DirecTV, which has aimed to be the leading provider of 3DTV in the U.S.

"NBC has a history of utilizing technological innovations to distribute the Olympics in new ways for viewers," NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel said in a statement. "We are proud to continue that tradition by partnering with Panasonic and Olympic Broadcasting Services to distribute the first 3D broadcast of the Games in the U.S. in partnership with our multichannel video programming distributors."

Panasonic is the exclusive Flat-Panel HDTV and Blu-ray Disc Player advertiser for NBC's coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Last year, Panasonic announced it would partner with the International Olympic Committee and Olympic Broadcasting Services to make the London 2012 Olympic Games the first ever 3D Olympic Games.

The more than 200 hours of 3D telecasts, to be produced by OBS and shown on next-day delay in the U.S., will span multiple competitions throughout the games, including the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, gymnastics, diving and swimming. OBS will produce the 3D coverage using Panasonic's 3D production technologies.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[I Kissed a TV, and I Liked It]]> Tue, 10 Jan 2012 09:44:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/LG-CES-2012-OLED-TV-thumb-550xauto-80269.jpg

I kissed a TV, and I liked it.

Of course, I was a gentleman, and took it to dinner and a show first.

It's a strange feeling when you become a remote control, but get used to it.  As another reporter in the throng put it,. "things are gonna get loud in my livingroom."  It's a good point.  As TV sets become Siri-ized, are we really all going to be shouting "NBC," or "That show about people who hoard stuff" across the room at our sets?  A cool idea, if we can make it smooth, and somehow civilized.

After all, who needs yet another remote to lose?

But  we do, as it turns out, need another thin, sleek laptop.  Apple tried, and almost succeeded, in killing the category for everybody else with its MacBook Air.  But the just-introduced "Spectre" from HP at least makes the field a little more interesting.  It's got Gorilla Glass all over it, a big screen, and a sleek look that will turn heads.  $1399, when it comes out in early February.

Oh, and speaking of interacting with technology, you're gonna love a cool new app from Aurasma - just download it and try it out.  It turns everyday objects into moving things.  Very cool.  Who needs a movie poster, when you can have a movie playing on your smartphone.

Also peeking into the future, we saw the next prototype from iRobot.  This one doesn't just roll around and clean your floor, it will hold a tablet, and deliver whatever you need.  it looks like a robot from a futuristic movie, and with healthcare companies already interested, will likely change the way medicine is ordered and delivered.

Lots more coverage to come, on its way to your soon-to-be-interactive TV screen, as well as on Twitter:  @scottbudman