CES 2014 pre-show news wrap

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CNET Editor

Nic Healey can usually be found on a couch muttering about aspect ratios and 7.1 channel sound - which is helpful given that he's the home entertainment guy at CNET.

CES hasn't officially begun yet, but the fun has already started. Here we sum up the most interesting tech news from today.

South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center is very much under construction today in preparation for the show opening later this week.
(Credit: James Martin/CNET)

Lenovo seemed to make the most of the pre-show period, revealing an extensive range of tablets, hybrid devices and phones.

Lenovo's Horizon 2 is the company's newest attempt at kickstarting the 'tabletop' market. The 27-inch touch-screen is essentially an enormous Windows 8 tablet that, when paired with keyboard and mouse, operates like a desktop PC.

The Horizon 2 sports an higher resolution screen over its predecessor, boasting 2560 x 1440 pixels versus the 1,920x1,080 of the original Horizon 27. It's also thinner and lighter: just 19.5mm thick and around 7kg. The Horizon 2 will be available in June, starting at US$1,499.

Lenovo also showed off the ThinkPad 8 business tablet, which is an 8.3-inch Windows tablet, with up to 128GB of storage and 4G support, as well as the revamped line of Flex laptops which aim to offer lower cost options for those who can justify the cost of the Yoga 2 or Yoga 2 Pro. To round things off, Lenovo revealed the Vibe Z, its first LTE-enabled smartphone and a revamp of the Y-series gaming laptops.

Home automation

Belkin was also having a busy pre-CES, pushing a raft of new devices in its WeMo home automation range. These included dimmable LED light bulbs, a connected slow cooker and a rather impressive WeMo Maker Kit.

The Maker Kit is a boon for serious DIYers, as it can be used to remotely power any gadget you can control with a DC switch, all on the same free Android or iOS WeMo app as before.

Keeping fit

Fitness fanatics got some love as well, with Fitbug promising to bring personalised fitness programs to its Fitbug Orb tracker. These are targeted 12 week fitness regimes that work like a personal trainer, helping you make your fitness goals via the Fitbug Orb and companion app.

The Tinke sensor device from Zensorium is a wireless health monitor that can measure your respiratory rate, blood oxygen level, heart rate, and heart rate variability and upload the data via your Android phone. The company has had an iOS version for while, but the Android Tinke is the first to work via Bluetooth.

Schwinn revealed a low cost (US$59.99) GPS unit for cyclists. The satnav clips to your bikes handle bars and directs you using flashing lights and voice prompts. You use an iOS or Android app top determine your route, which you then send to the Schwinn via Bluetooth.

While you're riding or using your Fitbug Orb you may want to add the Netatmo June to your increasing array of wearable fitness trackers — it's a personal UV monitor that will warn you when you've had enough sun for your skin type.

The PrioVR full-body tracking suit will be paired with the Oculus Rift's immersive headset at CES 2014 for an unprecedented virtual reality experience.
(Credit: Nic Statt/CNET)

Don't call it the Tegra 5

Nvidia used its Sunday night press conference to show off the Tegra K1 graphics chip. This is the anticipated successor to the Tegra 4 but, according to Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, "it's almost inappropriate to call it Tegra 5, because it's simply not linear".

The Tegra K1 incorporates Nvidia's Kepler GPU and will once again be aimed at powering mobile devices with the company expected to make a big push for the smartphone market — something the Tegra 4 failed to gain traction with.

Finally, Gamers and virtual reality enthusiasts alike got a buzz from the news that the PrioVR mo-cap 'exoskeleton' was not only still alive and kicking, it was being paired with the Oculus Rift VR headset.

The PrioVR is basically a motion-capture suit designed to replicate your body's movements in-game on the fly, letting you be your own controller. The suit failed to make its recent Kickstarter goal, but the company behind it, YEI Technology, seems undaunted and has paired with Oculus Rift to show off a full body virtual reality experience later this week at CES.



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