LAS VEGAS — Electronic ink technology has some amazing properties. It's ultra-low power, uses no backlighting, can illustrate both images and black-and-white text, and can produce a display that closely resembles paper. All of this has made "e-ink," also known as electronic paper, the perfect medium for e-readers from Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Now, those same properties are helping e-ink move off the page and into a new class of products like ClockOne
ClockOne from Twelve24 is a wall clock based on e-ink. At about 1 meter wide and roughly 4 millimeters thick, the lightweight clock hangs on the wall with one screw and a special wall mount
You're bound to see a wide range of products at International CES: ones that are hitting shelves this year, prototypes that may be years away from becoming realities, and inspiring keynotes and conversations that could change the way you look at technology.
Then, there's the weird stuff at CES. Like any nerd fest, the conference not only packs innovative technology into a convention center in Las Vegas, but also delivers on some of the most eye-catching — or simply odd — experiences you may ever see.
If you’re at CES and come across something that seems just plain weird, take a photo or record a Vine or Instagram video and tag it with the hashtag #weirdCES. We’ll be collecting some of your images and videos into the RebelMouse page below to show the world just how odd (and awesome) CES can be
T-Mobile CEO John Legere has been causing quite a stir at CES this year, and the culmination of all of his antics will be the company's big press event later today. T-Mobile is expected to announce the next phase of its Uncarrier movement, which Legere has promised will shake up the wireless industry once again. Will T-Mobile put its money where its mouth is? Follow along as we find out live today at 3PM ET / 12PM PT today.
Wearables are everywhere. It's hard to find a big technology company at CES this year that isn't unveiling a gadget that straps a sensor or a display to your body in one way or another. The idea is nothing new, but we're seeing companies start to make more of them, in more forms, that can perform more functions. To see exactly what these manufacturers are turning their wearables into, we're looking across some of the most exciting, intriguing, and gorgeous products that have been announced so far.
What wearables enthusiasts will be most happy to see is the emergence of increasingly premium smartwatches. Both Pebble and MetaWatch have unveiled new designs this year that are highlighted by strong, industrial-metal styles. They're both huge steps up from their former plastic builds, and they bring smartwatches ever closer to matching up with the quality of analog watches.
Smartwatches are turning into beautiful accessories
Pebble's Steel and MetaWatch's Meta probably aren't the smartwatches that will open the product category up to the masses, though. They're still fairly involved products underneath, and they're still only as smart as what you connect them too. But the important change is that they no longer look like early, emerging products — they finally have the polish of something worthy of being worn on your wrist all day, and that's an important step forward for the devices at the forefront of the wearable category.
But as Pebble and MetaWatch step up their wearable game, plenty of others are just stepping into it. LG, Garmin, Razer, and others are unveiling fitness trackers at this CES. They're all stylish — if basic — products with surprisingly robust feature sets for being so new, from their ability to display biometrics to the inclusion of their own companion apps. They're starting to do a lot more than just track how far you've walked, as well: a number of new fitness trackers, including Razer's and LG's, have taken some inspiration from smartwatches and can now also display smartphone notifications.
It isn't really wearables that are everywhere: it's sensors
It isn't simply wearables that are exploding in popularity though — it's sensors. From motion trackers to heart-rate monitors to UV-ray detectors, manufacturers have been taking these increasingly small and affordable sensors and building them into simple, often single-purpose products. Neatamo's June sunlight detector is one of the best examples: the device looks just like a bracelet — with barely any sign that it's actually something more — yet it's able to pair with an iPhone to tell its wearer if they're getting too much sun and recommend what SPF sunscreen to wear.
Sony takes the idea even further. It introduced the Core fitness tracker yesterday, but the Core is a lot more than something you strap around your wrist or clip to your belt. Sony is viewing the Core as a bundle of sensors that can be repurposed over and over again. Right now it's a fitness tracker, but Sony eventually wants its technology to be put inside of smartphones and other hardware, giving manufacturers an easy way to add sensors that can let hardware learn about the world around it.
So while most wearables haven't necessarily gotten better just yet, they're on their way toward being able to do more and more with ease. That's exactly what we're seeing here as manufacturers start bundling trackers and sensors into everything from headphones to bracelets, and it shouldn't be long until one device can do it all — and look good while doing it.
The creators of Yellow Jacket, a unique combination of smartphone case and stun gun, think this product could be the answer to New York City's most frequent crime: iPhone theft. "Legalize our device and [it] would stop overnight," says co-founder and CEO Sean Simone.
The Yellow Jacket is a pretty basic rubber iPhone case that snaps on to a larger attachment; it holds a battery pack and electric prongs. The device takes about four hours to get to full charge. After that, the Yellow Jacket can be used to double the battery life of an iPhone or zap a wannabe mugger about 50 times.
The previous models of the Yellow Jacket sometimes left users with a dilemma: use that last bit of charge to keep the party going, or conserve it in case something bad goes down? The newest models, released today for the iPhone 5C and 5S, remove that uncertainty. "Our new Yellow Jacket always holds a bit of reserve charge so you'll be able to defend yourself," says Simone.
The first versions of the Yellow Jacket, built for the iPhone 4 and 4S, were $99. The new version, introduced here at CES 2014, will cost $149 but the company has added on some extra juice. The case now produces 950,000 volts and 1.3 milliamps, up from 650,000 volts and 0.8 milliamps. I sampled both versions. The first-generation Yellow Jacket felt like a bee sting, painful but not debilitating. The second generation felt far stronger and caused the muscles in my arm to spasm.
"There are a lot of different weapons you could stick on this bad boy."
The Yellow Jacket doesn't have much competition from other smartphone stun guns. But a company named Spraytect makes a phone case with built-in pepper spray that retails for a much more affordable $39.95. But while the Yellow Jacket seems like a clear-cut piece of hardware, the founders would prefer you think of it more as platform. "There are a lot of different weapons you could stick on this bad boy. Instead of a Taser it could carry a flashlight or a knife," says Simone. "That's all in the works."
Barnes & Noble has had a rough few quarters, with the company losing tens of millions or dollars on lagging sales of its Nook tablets and e-readers. But throughout all that pain, one man has consistently acted as Barnes & Noble's most outspoken advocate: Michael P. Huseby, formerly the company's president and CEO of its Nook Media division. Today, the company announced Huseby has been promoted to CEO of the entire company, filling the vacancy left in the wake of the resignation of William Lynch last summer. The promotion is largely a ceremonial one, given that Huseby has been in charge of operations since Lynch's ouster six months ago.
Huseby has consistently defended Barnes & Noble's Nook devices, saying that the company's problems came about not from a lack of hardware quality but from "decisions that were made by [previous] management" with regards to the Nook forecast. He also has an extensive background in media, having worked as an executive at Charter Communications, Comcast, and AT&T, as The Wall Street Journal points out. But with a wave of cheap Android tablets now flooding the market and Amazon dominating e-book and paper sales, Huseby's newest job may is almost certainly his toughest yet. Still, for now he's staying the course, saying in a statement today that he believes Barnes & Noble is "positioned to maintain and grow its leadership position in the worlds of book-selling and the sale of digital media."