Best of CES – Tech Time Podcast Ep. 21

CES 2019 Highlights for Day 1

  • CES starts today (Jan 8) and appears to be all about AI.
    • Hisense (China’s leading electronics manufacturer) has a TV (TriChroma laser) that can detect what you are watching and adjust the settings to give you a better experience.
      • Sports = higher motion rate for smoother viewing.
      • Movies = 24 frames per second and make it more surround sound.
  • LG introduced a machine called “Home Brew”.  It looks like a Keurig for beer. You put in capsules with malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring and two weeks later you have a gallon of cold beer.  
    • Do people really want to wait two weeks?  The craft beer people may not want to be so automated…
  • LG has the rolling TV.  OLED TV R, It’s 65” paper thin and rolls up to save space.
    • LG also says it will be one of the first with at 5G phone this year.
  • Harley-Davidson will be announcing it’s first electric motorcycle LiveWire.
  • P&G (Known for pampers and Tide).  
    • Heated razors,
    • Toothbrush with AI &
    • a wand that scans the skin and releases serum to cover up age spots.  
      • What is this magic serum???
    • Head & Shoulders device that uses ultraviolet light to uncover scalp issues and recommend products.
      • You’ve got dandruff!
  • John Deere has self driving tractors and an 18 tonne combine harvester with AI.
    • It can track the quality of grain coming into the machine so that its kernel-separating settings can be adjusted automatically.  The Farmer can monitor it from their phone.
  • Byton – Chinese electric car maker is releasing a steering wheel that has an LED screen.  When you turn the wheel, the screen stays level. Sounds dangerous.
  • Samsung, LG, Vizio & Sony will support Airplay II
  • Samsung
    • 98” 8K TV – need to remove a wall to get the TV in.
      • HDMI 2
    • Robots – Care.  Can take your vitals and call an ambulance.
  • Lenovo Smart Clock – Google Assistant built in (like a mini).
    • No smart home, no videos, but has weather, time, calendar, alarms.
  • Google
    • Google Assistant  gets new feature
      • Conversational translation (types words that someone says in 27 languages), boarding pass support and improved auto reply.. Adds punctuation to sentences (no more “period or coma”).
      • Being built into more things like – Sonos and most TVs.
      • Will be on a billion devices next year (Amazon has sold 100 million Alexa’s).
  • Apple – “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone”.  
    • Dig at google and facebook.

Huawei Has Suspected Ties To Front Companies In Iran and Syria, New Documents Reveal

  • The U.S. case against the chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies, who was arrested in Canada last month, centers on the company’s suspected ties to two obscure companies.
  • One is a telecom equipment seller that operated in Tehran;
  • the other is that firm’s owner, a holding company registered in Mauritius.
  • U.S. authorities allege CFO Meng Wanzhou deceived international banks into clearing transactions with Iran by claiming the two companies were independent of Huawei, when in fact Huawei controlled them.
  • Huawei has maintained the two are independent: equipment seller Skycom Tech Co Ltd and shell company Canicula Holdings Ltd. But corporate filings and other documents found by Reuters in Iran and Syria show that Huawei, the world’s largest supplier of telecommunications network equipment, is more closely linked to both firms than previously known.
  • The documents reveal that a high-level Huawei executive appears to have been appointed Skycom’s Iran manager. They also show that at least three Chinese-named individuals had signing rights for both Huawei and Skycom bank accounts in Iran.
  • Reuters also discovered that a Middle Eastern lawyer said Huawei conducted operations in Syria through Canicula. Huawei, U.S. authorities assert, retained control of Skycom, using it to sell telecom equipment to Iran and move money out via the international banking system.
  • As a result of the deception, U.S. authorities say, banks unwittingly cleared hundreds of millions of dollars of transactions that potentially violated economic sanctions Washington had in place at the time against doing business with Iran.

Sony Appears To Be Blocking Kodi On Its Recent Android TVs

  • Several reports indict that at least some of Sony’s recent Android TVs are actively blocking Kodi, the open-source, cross-platform streaming and media player that allows you to access and play local, network, and remote content.
  • Android Police reports: The official Kodi project Twitter account pointed out Sony’s deficiency a couple of days ago, but reports on the Kodi forums of issues installing and running the app from the Play Store go even further back to last year.
  • A handful of affected enthusiasts believe they have discovered the cause of the problem: Sony seems to be blocking the package ID for the app from being installed/run.
  • Supporting this theory is the fact that recompiling the app from scratch with a different ID allows it to work.

NVIDIA Launches $349 GeForce RTX 2060, Will Support Other Adaptive Sync Monitors

  • NVIDIA launched a new, more reasonably-priced GeForce RTX card today, dubbed the GeForce RTX 2060.
  • The new midrange graphics card will list for $349 and pack all the same features as NVIDIA’s higher-end GeForce RTX 2080 and 2070 series cards.
  • The card is also somewhat shorter than other RTX 20-series cards at only 9.5″ (including the case bracket), and its GPU has a few functional blocks disabled.
  • Although it’s packing a TU106 like the 2070, six Streaming Multiprocessors (SMs) have been disabled, along with 20% of its Tensor and RT cores.
  • All told, the RTX 2060 has 1,920 active CUDA cores, with 240 Tensor cores, and 30 RT cores. Although the GeForce RTX 2060 seems like the next-gen cousin to the 1060, the RTX 2060 is significantly more powerful and more in line with the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti and GTX 1080 in terms of raw performance in the benchmarks.
  • It can also play ray-tracing enabled games like Battlefield V with decent frame rates at 1080p with high image quality and max ray-tracing enabled.
  • NVIDIA has also apparently decided to support open standards-based adaptive refresh rate monitor technology and will soon begin supporting even AMD FreeSync monitors in future driver update.

Samsung Smart TVs Will Support Apple AirPlay 2 and iTunes Videos in Spring 2019

  • If the late 2018 deal that brought Apple Music to Amazon Echo speakers wasn’t surprising enough, Samsung today announced a similar partnership with Apple for 2018 and 2019 Samsung Smart TVs: support for iTunes movies, iTunes TV shows, and AirPlay 2 will be coming in spring 2019.
  • From a report: The deal is all but unprecedented for Apple, which has historically restricted playback of iTunes videos solely to its own devices, including Apple TVs, iPods, iPhones, iPads, and Macs, with no support for competing media players such as Roku, or various smart TV platforms. (I still have hundreds of songs on iTunes with DRM!)
  • That said, PCs running iTunes have been able to play iTunes videos, and the company has allowed third-parties to license both AirPlay and AirPlay 2 for years.
  • According to Samsung, a firmware update to 2018 Smart TVs will add a new iTunes Movies and TV Shows app in more than 100 countries.
  • AirPlay 2 will become available on Samsung Smart TVs in 190 countries around the world. There are lots of unanswered questions about this iTunes deal. The Verge: Is Apple going to allow Samsung’s smart TV tracking to snoop on iTunes viewers?
  • Smart TVs are notorious for tracking what people watch, but Apple’s entire brand is privacy.
  • What usage data will Samsung see from the iTunes app? Samsung smart TVs run Tizen, Samsung’s wacky custom operating system.
  • Is Apple building a Tizen iTunes app?
  • Is there a Tizen team inside Apple? Or is Samsung building this app? Who will be in charge of updating it and fixing bugs?

AT&T’s Android phones now lie about having 5G

  • Like it or not, AT&T’s not-really-5G icon is reaching phones. The carrier has started rolling out the indicator to Android handsets, including Samsung’s Galaxy S8 Activeand LG’s V30. Install the update and you’ll see a “5G E” (5G Evolution) indicator where you used to see “LTE.” More eligible devices will see the new cellular icon in the spring, so don’t think you’ll escape it if you have a reasonably modern device.

As before, AT&T isn’t really upgrading anyone to a 5G service. This is still 4G LTE, just with a mix of technologies (4×4 MIMO antennas, 256 QAM and carrier aggregation) that potentially supply faster-than-usual speeds. It’s rehashing the strategy it used when it labeled HSPA+ as LTE — this is more about marketing the network than providing useful information. We wouldn’t rule out other carriers jumping on the pseudo-5G bandwagon as they ramp up their real 5G networks, but that won’t make it any less confusing.

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