We’re in Las Vegas for the 2017 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). You won’t find new announcements from Apple or Google here, nor Oculus for that matter, but it’ll be a feeding frenzy for thousands of the big TV, wearable, drone, smart home and automotive companies. (Follow #CES2017 on Twitter and you’ll get the picture.) Here’s what to expect. Every day, big reveals will come, along with some bizarre ones. We’re here to filter out the best products that you need to know about.
Additional contribution by Eric Adams.
This is Part III of our coverage of CES 2017. You can view Part I, here, and Part II, here.
Chrysler Portal Concept
This “minivan for millennials” promises to banish the anti-minivan bias for the next generation of youngling-spawners currently launching their families on Kickstarter. It’ll achieve this miracle with tech. Lots of it. Green-friendly electric propulsion with a 250–mile range, dynamic exterior LED lighting, configurable interiors that let you slide the seats back and forth on rails, hyper-connected interfaces that will keep the crowd engaged, a retracting steering column for autonomous mode, zoned audio that lets passengers listen to their own soundtracks without headsets, and — buckle up! — a group selfie-cam built into the ceiling. Millennials are going to eat this up. But don’t worry: even if you’re not in that demo, you’ll probably still dig it just fine.
Outdoor Tech Rhinos Headphones
At $130, Outdoor Tech’s new Rhinos over-ear headphones offer a truly unique value proposition — they’re rugged and wireless and affordable. The headphones stream wirelessly over Bluetooth 4.1 and have an impressive IPX6 water-resistance rating. They also have a built-in mic and can operate as a walkie talkie when using the ODT Audio app. Expect the Rhinos to be available mid-2017.
Razer Project Valerie
We don’t associate multiple displays with laptops, and that won’t change anytime soon, yet that didn’t stop Razer from building the completely ludicrous, completely amazing Project Valerie. The concept laptop has three 17–inch 4K IGZO displays (two of the displays slide out from over the main display), weighs roughly 12 pounds and supports Nvidia Surround technology for immersive gaming. Want to hook up your Oculus Rift or HTC Vive to it? It can handle that.
SanDisk Extreme PRO USB 3.1 Solid State Flash Drive
The fastest USB flash drive to date is here. The SanDisk Extreme PRO reads speeds up to 420MB/s and can write speeds up to 380MB/s. In practical terms, that means it can transfer a two-hour 4K movie using a USB 3.1 port in less than 15 seconds. If you share large files regularly, meet your new best friend. The drive comes in two sizes: 128GB ($80) and 256GB ($180) and will be available in late January 2017.
Technics Grand Class SL-1200GR
Beautiful turntables are in right now — well, they’ve always been in, really — and the new SL-1200GR by Technics should keep it that way. At its core, it’s a simpler and more lightweight version of 2016’s SL-1200G, with a lower price; rumor has it that the SL-1200GR will cost half as much as its 1200G predecessor (thankfully).
These audiophile earbuds pack considerable innovation: high-quality, durable titanium housings; replaceable silver-plated copper cable; and changeable acoustic filters that let you fine-tune the audio according to your preferences toward bass, treble, or Echobox’s reference standard. Plus, they come with thick memory-foam tips that expand to fill your ear canal when warmed up by your body heat, so they’ll stay in place and more effectively block sound than even the best electronic noise-canceling earbuds. As for the sound quality? It’s sublime. ($400 too steep? The brand also just launched its affordable $100 Traveller earbuds.)
This compact, urban electric runabout has, in Honda’s words, “emotional intelligence.” Probably more so than most of us, actually — it can read the driver’s emotions and recommend music or other mood-enhancing strategies. (Presumably that means that if you get in the car and it starts playing Alice Cooper or Ozzy, you should consult your therapist immediately.) It’s also meant to be part of a larger ride-sharing program, eliminating downtime when you’re not using it yourself, and making YOU money. How’s that for mood enhancement?
Kodak Brings Back Ektachrome Film
Kodak announced that they will be reviving their classic film line, Ektachrome. Production ceased back in 2012, but now the company says they’re reviving it to coincide with the resurgence of analog film. The new 35mm film be available in Q4 of 2017.
HTC Vive Tracker
Virtual Reality fans should be stoked about the Vive Tracker. The small device works with the HTC Vive VR system and can be attached to any accessory — baseball bat, tennis racket, toy gun or swords — to be integrated into the VR experience. So far, HTC says there are only a couple games and experiences that the tracker is compatible with, but expect developers to come up with plenty of new ways to use it by the end of 2017.
LG Hub Robot
Some critics knock voice-activated assistants like Amazon Echo or Google Home for not having faces; without a face, the argument goes, it’s more difficult to connect. That’s why companies like LG are unveiling the next generation of smart home assistants, like the Hub Robot. It uses Amazon Alexa to play music, set timers and do other simple tasks — but because it has a face and spinning axis, the robot can turn to face whoever it is speaking to. The face alternates between friendly expressions and can also display images and video clips. And, when music is played, the face even bobs around. Currently, there’s no release date for the adorable robot.