LAS VEGAS -- Rain nor sleet nor winter snow can possibly keep the annual Consumer Electronics Show from taking place. As long as planes can fly and taxis drive and honk, attendees, exhibitors, analysts and tech journalists are finding their way to the Las Vegas Convention Center for the 49th annual consumer tech show.
Shrugging off a constant light rain and wind chill, CES 2016 is moving along right on schedule. The conference officially begins Jan. 6 and continues through Jan. 9, but analysts and journalists are treated to previews of coming attractions, so we can write about them in stories like this one.
Here are a few highlights from Jan. 5.
LG's Roll-up UHD Television
On Jan. 5, South Korea's LG Electronics provided one of the day's true headliners, debuting some ultra-high-definition televisions, including a bendable one. It is a mere 2.57 millimeter-thin OLED (organic light-emitting diodes) television that impressed a lot of onlookers. The screen can be rolled up and stored away if necessary. (Photo courtesy of BBC News)
Putting 2.57 millimeters into plain language, the new OLED 4K TV is only about one-tenth of an inch thick -- as thick as four credit cards, LG said. Performance-wise, its resolution is clean and sharp, having no trouble whatsoever with color variations. The sound, too, was devoid of interference.
However, don't make plans to check it out in a showroom anytime soon. The one shown to media folks is an 18-inch prototype, and LG is still working the bugs out of it. For example, if a user rolls it up too hard or too quickly, the display can easily be damaged. So the company plans to make it fully bulletproof before sending it out into the world. It could be in development for another year or two.
Here's a sort of next-generation GoPro: the 360fly camera. This small device takes spherical videos that offer a 360-degree view that can be watched online or in a virtual reality headset. With increasing interest expected in VR this coming year -- in both enterprise and consumer markets -- the 360fly camera may prove to become one of the prime tools for creating VR video.
The 360fly camera has only one lens and houses a 4K image sensor inside. It can easily attach to a helmet or bike, and can be used as a regular handheld device. This device, unlike the LG UHD television, is freshly out of development and is available now at Best Buy and other retailers for $399.99.
HP's Answer to the MacBook Air
HP unveiled the solid-state EliteBook Folio as its answer to the almighty MacBook for both business and consumer markets. After all, the two sectors have never been more interchangeable than they are right now. Everybody seems to do anything they need to do on any device that's nearby.
HP decided to use consumer-type power trains -- Intel's Core M Skylake processors (there's a choice of M3, M5, or M7), because they perform just fine for basically any use case. Storage options on the Folio go from 128GB SSD to 512GB SSD; 8GB of RAM only is available.
The Folio sports a 12.5-inch 1080p display. It has its limitations, including only two USB Type-C ports and a headphone jack. Forget about a port for attaching to a projector.
The EliteBook Folio laptop is one-half inch thick and pretty light at 2.2 pounds. It is made of aluminum, and users have the option to include a touchscreen. The Folio's display can be tilted back until nearly flat, so users can sort of make it into its own projection screen for presentations.
As one might expect, because HP is still mostly about business users, it considers the Folio a business laptop first -- but still expects consumers to buy it. The company put itself on the entertainment map in October with its highly successful Star Wars laptop, so it may be in the plans for the company to produce more devices for consumer use. The Folio fills that need very well.
Pricing for the Folio starts at $1000 for a 1080p model. The EliteBook Folio is scheduled to go on sale in March.