The cool gear coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show continues, including the latest trend in desktop PCs: curves! I don’t mean the case, manufacturers are taking what they’ve learned with those curved Ultra HD TVs and are applying the same treatment to PC displays. The latest USB standard (more interesting than it sounds) is also being shown off, iPhone 6 case choices are ramping up and Nabi is offering new wall-mounted kids tablets that are probably bigger than your TV.
PCs go curved
Tom Brauser can tell you all about the latest generation of curved OLED TVs, but the news out of CES that I’m excited about is curved PC displays.
To me, having a slightly curved PC monitor is an ideal use for the technology. After all, when you’re sitting at your PC working, you are front and centre and usually the only one looking at the monitor —the ideal position to take advantage of the curved effect.
These new PC displays are ultra wide (we’re talking 27 to 34 inches) with resolutions ranging from Full HD to WQHD. As someone who sits in front of a big PC monitor all day, I have to say that a curved option has me very intrigued and I can’t wait to try one out. Look for curved PC monitors this year from Samsung, Dell and HP.
As often happens at CES, Samsung has taken this idea to the next level. It’s not only offering a curved PC monitor, it’s also built an entire all-in-one PC around a curved display: the Ativ One 7 Curved.
Samsung thinks the curved form factor won’t just offer a better overall computing experience, it will take PC gaming up a notch in terms of an immersive experience and I think they’re right. It’s not quite IMAX for the PC, but it’s getting closer. Now combine curved with 4K resolution, and that might just be the ultimate PC monitor…
Nabi Big Tab kids tablets get monstrously huge
When it comes to kids tablets, you probably recognize the name Nabi. The company offers a line of kid-friendly tablets protected by big, cushy, colourful bumpers like the Nabi 2S.
Last year, they added a massive 24-inch model, designed to provide touchscreen play and activities on a tabletop.
At CES 2015, Nabi has supersized its tablets. Or maybe its added touchscreen and apps to a big TV? Whatever you want to call it, the Nabi Big Tab is a wall mounted touchscreen device that runs Android 5.0 with the kid-friendly Nabi blue skin over top. No TV tuner (so it’s not really a TV), but it does have HDMI ports, so you could plug in an Apple TV or other media streamer to effectively turn it into one. Nabi says this massive tablet it will be offered in sizes ranging from 32-inches to 65-inches, with a table mount option if having a massive tablet dominating a wall isn’t your thing.
USB Type-C gets real
Technical standards can be as exciting as watching cement dry. But the appearance of devices equipped with ports conforming to the latest USB standard —USB Type-C— is actually pretty big news. And it’s likely to make your life a lot easier in the future, especially if you use mobile devices, a PC notebook and USB peripherals.
Here’s why USB Type-C is getting so much attention. For one, both ends of the cable are identical and the connector is reversible. This means there is no “wrong way” to plug in a USB Type-C cable —no matter how you plug it in, it works. It’s similar in size to those microUSB cables many smartphones use for recharging.
It’s also wicked fast. USB 2.0 could move data at up to 480Mbps. USB 3.0 upped that to 5Gbps. USB Type-C ports can transfer data at 10Gbps.
Perhaps more important than the speed boost, USB Type-C has a big increase in power output, up to 20V compared to 5V for USB 3.0. So what? With this kind of capability, a USB Type-C port can be used to power a device as large as a laptop instead of requiring a proprietary power port and adapter.
The net result of the eventual move to USB Type-C ports is that the number of cables needed for a laptop and peripherals should be reduced. Notebook PCs will be able to shrink a little, because the number of different ports needed should be reduced. And connecting devices to the remaining cables will be easier —no more squinting to try and figure out which way is up.
Devices on display at CES using new the USB Type-C port include the Nokia N1 tablet and MSI gaming notebooks.
iPhone 6 accessories ramp up
I love my iPhone 6, but the problem with having a relatively new smartphone —especially one with dramatic physical differences from the previous generation— is that accessories can be in short supply. Throw in Apple’s recent change to its “Made for iPhone” licensing requirements and it’s been hard to find specialized cases.
Sure there was the initial round of covers and protective gear, but it takes a few months for manufacturers to ramp up and start producing the specialized accessories like battery cases. CES 2015 saw a flood of new gear designed for the latest Apple smartphones including options with interchangeable telephoto lenses, waterproof cases and lots of battery extending options.
Morphie announced new Juice Pack cases for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus (up to 120 percent longer battery life), Otterbox is releasing the Resurgence series for iPhone 6 (2600 mAh battery plus military-grade drop protection) and LifeProof has the Fre Power (2600 mAh battery, drop protection and waterproof to 2 meters).
If you own an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus and haven’t found the perfect case yet, based on what’s been revealed at CES 2015, you won’t have long to wait.
If anything new and interesting shows up on the final day of CES, expect to read about it here. And if you missed yesterday’s reveals — including what’s been called “the most insane wireless router in the history of mankind” — now’s the perfect time to catch up.