CES 2014: Pebble

Pebble announced Pebble Steel. As the name suggests the chassis has been upgraded from plastic to steel. A few notables: The incredibly thick display bezels remain. Pebble decide to adorn the bottom of the front face with its logo, a massive one. The result? A butt-ugly smartwatch. It’s also an ugly watch, period. Here are some tips:

  • Make it a square.
  • Make it flat.
  • Make it thinner.
  • Reduce the display bezel. None would be best.
  • Get rid of any logos from the front face of the watch.

At least Pebble did one thing right: The e-paper display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass.

CES 2014: Samsung

Samsung Tomorrow: Samsung announced a ton of new products, but the most impressive is the curved display technology. Samsung unveiled a 21:9 105-inch curved 4K Ultra HD with a 5120×2160 pixel format, much like the LG 105UB9. One unique design element is the single curved piece of wood that’s used for the back panel of the massive TV. Other curved 4K TVs are in the works: 55, 65, and 78 inches. In terms of nomenclature I’m guessing all TVs with more than 2160 vertical pixels with an aspect ratio of 16:9 or wider will be called “4K Ultra HD”.

In related news, Samsung announced M-GO, a Technicolor and DreamWorks Animation joint venture, will stream both natively 4K and streamed 4K movies to its latest 4K Ultra HD TVs. M-GO already has agreements with LG, Roku, and Vizio, but so does Samsung: 4K content from Amazon, Comcast, DirecTV, and Netflix will be streamed to 4K Ultra HD TVs from Samsung.

Next up are tablets: Samsung announced Galaxy TabPRO and NotePRO tablets. The Galaxy TabPRO will come in three sizes: 8.4, 10.1, and 12.2 inches. The Galaxy NotePRO will come in only one size: 12.2 inches. All four tablets sport a 16:10 2560×1600 LCD. The focus on these PRO tablets are productivity and multitasking with the goal of replacing traditional notebooks. Of course the NotePRO comes with the Samsung S Pen, which is popular among those who prefer the experience of writing and doodling the old-fashioned compared to typing.

Getting a little bigger, Samsung updated its ATIV line of notebooks with the ATIV Book 9 2014 Edition, which sports a 20% brighter 15.6-inch 1920×1080 LCD. Even with a brighter display the ATIV Book 9 2014 Edition has a claimed battery life of 14 hours. In other ATIV news, Samsung unveiled its ATIV One 7 2014 Edition all-in-one sporting a 10-point touch-enabled 16:9 24-inch 1920×1080 display with 178-degree viewing angles and an anti-reflection layer. Not at all revolutionary, but at least both display brightness and battery life as well as multitouch are all incrementally getting better at the same time.

CES 2014: Vizio

The Verge: Vizio showcased its consumer-focused P Series 4K Ultra HD LCD TV with 64 active LED zones for local dimming. The P Series will be priced aggressively. On the other hand the Reference Series is Vizio’s high-end 4K TVs sporting HDR and targeting videophiles and custom integrators: 800 nits, Dolby Vision, and true-to-life contrast. Both series sport HVEC codec for streaming, 4K playback at 60fps, but no 3D. Good riddance.

Update 2014.01.07

Nathan Ingraham:

[…] its consumer-grade P series lineup of 4K TVs will start at only $999.99 for a 50-inch model. The top-end, 70-inch model will go for $2,599.99 […]

Vizio wasn’t kidding when the company said the P series would be priced aggressively.