One of the fun things about CES is that we get to bring a good portion of the Mobile Nations team together. Being that we're out around the world, it's rare to have two of us in the same room, let alone 20. So we take that as an opportunity to do fun things, like in-person podcasts. Our first podcast came by way of Phil, Alex, Richard, and Andrew of Android Central. You can expect that at the close of each day we'll have another site's podcast up and running, giving WPCentral, iMore, and Smartwatch Fans a chance to jump onto the big fancy stage. Watch the podcast, and then let's get to the news.
Today saw the launch of our #CESlive coverage from the show floor at CES 2014, and one of our first guests was mobile game developer Gameloft. They dropped by to show off their upcoming game Brothers In Arms 3: Sons of War. Due to be released in the first quarter of this year, Brothers In Arms 3 continues on the great Brothers In Arms tradition and will actually be free-to-play — hopefully without too many nagging in-app purchases
- Gameloft lets loose the Sons of War with Brothers In Arms 3 at #CESlive
A 27-inch Windows table, er, tablet and a high-powered 8-inch tablet
Lenovo's getting into the touchscreen Windows game in a little way. And a big way. In the flurry of product announcements from Lenovo, two products stood out: the 8-inch ThinkPad 8 and the 27-inch Horizon 2.
The ThinkPad 8 sports an 8.3-inch screen with a resolution of 1920x1200. It runs Windows 8.1 Pro (that's the full version with support for desktop apps) on a quad core Intel Atom processor, backed up by 128GB of storage and an LTE radio. The ThinkPad 8 should hit stores around the end of the month and start at around $399.
While the ThinkPad 8 is an expected kind of product, the Horizon 2's a bit less expected. Granted, this isn't the first time Lenovo's outed a meant-for-tables touchscreen computer, but the Horizon 2 is still mighty impressive. We'll start with the size, which is 27 inches from corner to corner, and 19.5 mm thick. While that would be thick for your standard tablet, the Horizon 2 packs a huge battery to power that giant screen and a traditional PC-style Intel Core i7 processor, which should be good for four hours of untethered use. Lenovo's baked in a new Aura interface that's intended to make getting media onto the Horizon 2 even easier.
Health tracking means life's good
Wearable fitness technology has proven to be a huge area of interest for dozens of companies at CES this year, and LG is no exception. Announced on Monday, on Tuesday we were able to get our mitts on two of the more interesting ones: the Lifeband Touch and Heart Rate Monitors.
Both connect to your smartphone over Bluetooth and both monitor your movements and serve as communications tools. The LifeBand Touch has the ability to track specific workouts (say, a run), while the Heart Rate Earphones can not only play music but can actually measure your pulse. In case the Heart Rate Earphones name didn't give away their purpose for being. Both are expected in the spring of this year with a price of $179 for each.
- LG's fitness wearables: Lifeband Touch and Heart Rate Earphones
Tegra, K1 and gaming, oh my!
Nvidia's no stranger around these parts, and they always have some impressive gear to talk about. So it was no surprise that they wanted to talk about the newly-announced Tegra K1 graphics processor, which features a mind-blowing 192 graphics cores. Apart from the silicon, Nvidia's Shield mobile gaming device was a topic of conversation for #CESlive
Throaty Kias and infotainment
When it comes to automotive technology, it's always fun to swing by the QNX booth. What they're demoing is usually years away at best, but it's cool nonetheless. This year at CES 2014, QNX is showing off two cars: a Kia Soul and a Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG.
The Kia demonstration was wild, with QNX Acoustics leveraging microphones and speakers to cancel out in-cabin engine noise. But that same system can also be used to change the sound that passengers hear from the car. Using inputs from the accelerator and breaking pedal, the system, can replicate the aural sensation of a completely different vehicle. Is it a silly and suporflous system? Sure, but it's still fun.
The Mercedes CLA45 AMG — an amazing car in its own right — saw a complete revamp of its infotainment system. A massive display now dominates the center dash, stretching from the edge of the steering wheel to the center of the passenger-side seat. The giant display supports standard operations like media control and navigation, but also can run Android apps and be controlled with natural speech recognition. A second smaller (but still large for a car) display sits behing the steering wheel where the gauge cluster would normally go, replicating those functions in a more customizable manner.
Finally, a compact Android phone without compact specs
As part of Sony's marathon press conference, the company unveiled expansions to the Xperia Z1 line. The interesting one is the Z1 Compact, which as the name might suggest, is a smaller version of the full-size Z1. What makes the Z1 Compact interesting is that Sony didn't follow the HTC One Mini and Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini route and produce a smartphone with lesser specs than its namesake.
- In pictures: Sony's new phones at CES 2014
They say that buying in bulk is better, and Sprint is finally able to pass that opportunity down to you. The carrier's new Framily (yes, that's how it's spelled: Friends + Family = Framily) offers shared plan owners to add up to 9 additional lines (for 10 overall), starting a $55 per line. But to make things interesting, you can achieve savings per line by adding more. Each new join on the account sees per-line costs reduced by $5, down to a minimum of $25.
- Sprint further expands Spark coverage, introduces new Framily Plan