Toshiba’s Encore 2 Write tablets pair Wacom pens with two screen sizes

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More and more Windows tablets are using stylus support as a differentiator, and that list gets longer today with Toshiba’s Encore 2 Write devices. The 8-inch and 10.1-inch slates both feature digitizer pens with Wacom TruFeel tech, which works alongside Toshiba apps to help you take notes, annotate photos, and other things that you might just find more fun with a pen than a finger.

Basic specs include an Intel Atom processor, 2GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, and battery life of up to 11 hours. Both models will go on sale January 11th starting at $349.99 for the 8-inch variant and $399.99 for the 10-inch version; those prices include one year of Office 365.

Toshiba is also announcing a new…

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SmartThings announces a new subscription service to connect every device you own

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At the main CES 2015 keynote, Samsung CEO BK Yoon focused on the Internet of Things. The cool kids just say IoT here at CES, because it’s a shorter way to refer to the massive influx of devices that have an internet connection and utilize cloud services to tie them all together. This past August, Samsung bought SmartThings, and it’s using that purchase to full effect in 2015. SmartThings is releasing a new home hub that features a more powerful processor, backup battery, and contains a cellular connection for when the power goes out. Finally, the hub will also support Bluetooth Smart, which should help it connect to more devices (including, of course, Samsung phones, watches, TVs, and whatever else).

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This is Samsung’s grand vision for the Internet of Things

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In 2020, every single product that Samsung sells will be connected to the Internet of Things. But what is the Internet of Things? For one, it’s a dry buzzword that basically every company at the Consumer Electronics Show this week can’t stop talking about (it’s been that way, to a somewhat lesser extent, for a couple years now). But this year, Samsung is really trying to make it a big deal. On stage during a keynote presentation this evening, Samsung CEO BK Yoon finally began to define what role Samsung sees the Internet of Things taking.

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Acer makes a strong play for the inexpensive smartphone market with the Liquid Jade S

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Acer hasn’t exactly made a significant dent in the smartphone market, but that isn’t stopping the company from trying again — CES 2015 has brought a new pair of handsets, the Liquid Z410 and the Liquid Jade S. The Jade S is the higher-end model, featuring a 5-inch, 720p screen, a 13-megapixel camera with a f/1.8 aperture, and Android 4.4 at launch (upgradable to Lollipop). It comes with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. The Liquid Z410 steps the screen down to 4.5 inches with a 960 x 540 screen, while the camera only comes in at 5 megapixels. RAM and storage are dropped to 1GB and 16GB, respectively. Both phones include LTE and both appear to be running chips that we don’t commonly encounter in most phones. The Jade S is running on a…

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Sony’s Symphonic Light is the classiest speaker you’ve never seen

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Technology only ever starts to feel magical when it disappears. The best manmade devices are described as feeling organic, distilled to a purity of purpose and function, stripped of wires and sharp edges and other things that betray their artificiality. Sony’s Symphony Light speaker is that kind of technology. It’s a bedside lamp, seemingly like any other, and it can also be hung from the ceiling to add a subtle bit of class to your living room’s decor, but it has the extra trick of being able to play music. It is by no means alone in that respect, with Sony today also showing off a basic LED light bulb and a beefier floor-standing lamp that also integrate hidden speakers within them, but the Symphony light is just so… pretty. And the…

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The Assassin’s Creed movie is coming December 2016

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The good news: 20th Century Fox’s Assassin’s Creed film is back on track for a theatrical release. The bad news: you’re going to have to wait until the end of next year to see it. Fox said today that the film, based on Ubisoft’s popular video games and starring Michael Fassbender, will arrive in theaters December 21st, 2016. The film was originally scheduled for August 7th this year, but was pushed back late last year.

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Budgee the rolling robot will carry your bags. Unless he doesn’t feel like it

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We’re at the second night of gadget unveils and this one is chock full of mechanical butlers aspiring to turn your life into a episode of the “Jetsons.” Budgee is a $1400 unit from Five Elements Robotics designed to carry up to fifty pounds of luggage. You clip a small transponder onto your belt and Budgee follows the radio frequency it emits. In theory he should follow you around, maintaining a respectful one and half foot distance.

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This is the reversible USB plug of your future

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What you’re looking at above is probably the most exciting cable you’ll see at CES 2015 — it’s the type C USB 3.1 reversible USB cable. Finally, trying to plug in a USB device only to meet with soul-crushing failure will soon be a thing of the past.

Type C USB 3.1 is spec’d to have speeds up to 10Gbps and can scale down to slower speeds easily if being hooked into older devices. The specifications were finally set in stone back in August, and cables should be entering production soon. The older USB plug that you’ve come to love and hate over the past few decades will surely endure for a long, long time, but at least we have hope for a reversible future.

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The HiSmart convertible messenger bag will answer your phone calls for you

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Smartwatches are one way to use your phone while it’s stuck in your bag. Lepow, creator of the HiSmart Pack, has another idea: what if the bag itself could sync with your phone? The HiSmart Pack is a combination backpack and messenger bag, with a waterproof canvas body and a leather strap. The real draw, though, is the metal wheel embedded in that strap, which acts as a simple control system for your phone. If you connect via Bluetooth and plug a microphone into the connected jack, your bag will vibrate when you get a phone call, and you can answer it by pressing a button.

The version on display at CES wasn’t much more complex than that. But Lepow is announcing an Indiegogo campaign later this year for a second prototype, which will…

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Nikon announces the D5500, its first ever touchscreen DSLR

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Nikon has just announced the touch-enabled D5500 here at CES, the first of any of its DSLR cameras to offer a touchscreen LCD. It’s an area in which Nikon has lagged behind — Canon introduced touch capability to its line of Rebel DSLRs back in 2012.

In just about every other way, the D5500 isn’t much more than an iterative follow-up to 2013’s D5300. (Nikon skipped the D5400 name in this line for some reason). It uses the same 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensor that’s found in the previous version, can shoot up to five frames-per-second, and uses a 39-point autofocus system. Like in the D5300, Nikon has also obfuscated the use of a low-pass filter, which trades the ability to keep ugly moiré at bay but allows for sharper detail in images.

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Watch all of Samsung’s first CES 2015 announcements in just five minutes

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Samsung’s first press conference of CES is usually not a super weird affair. The company got that out of the way early at a party the day before. There’s no time for weirdness (or Michael Bay meltdowns) when you need to unveil washing machines, ovens, streaming VR services, robotic vacuums, and an all-new line of “seductive” TVs — including one designed by none other than Yves Behar. Plus, all those smart TVs are running on a new operating system, Tizen, with a new interface that might owe a little of its look to LG’s webOS.

Oh, and Samsung surprised us with a portable 1TB SSD drive that’s about the size of a business card — and it looks great. It’s a lot to cover, but don’t worry, we’ve put the entire press conference together in this…

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This is Sony’s answer to Google Glass

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While Google seems to have boxed Glass up in a dark, musty corner of Larry Page’s attic, at least for now, Sony is pressing forward with a pair smart glasses (henceforth “SmartEyeglass”) on display at CES. The SmartEyeglass Developer Edition, due out in March, feels like a more robust pair of 3D glasses. The display — available only as a slightly-transparent green hue — is projected in front of both eyes. There was no weird overlap and I could close either eye without any jarring effects. Navigating the menu and controlling the device happens via a small handheld remote, which looked like a small hockey puck with a couple of buttons and a “bite” missing for your thumb to rest.

But while the Developer Edition is consumer-facing, Sony’s…

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Samsung Is Trying To Pull Off A Bang & Olufsen

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15955680410_d5a0d30e09_o.0 Samsung’s CES press conference was pretty dull. We mostly saw TVs, an SSD hard drive and of course washing machines and other home appliances. But the most interesting part of the conference was the focus on design for boring items, such as the Chef collection for the kitchen, a new lineup of 360° speakers and a TV designed by Yves Behar. In other words, Samsung is trying to pull off a… Read More

Apple Said To Kick Off SIM-Free iPhone 6 And 6 Plus Sales Tomorrow

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iphone-6-6-plus-stacked-macro Apple is set to start finally selling the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus without SIMs, completely unlocked in the U.S., according to 9to5Mac’s reliable Mark Gurman. The SIM-free version of the iPhone has been available in the stores of other countries before now, but a debut stateside would be the first time it’s officially unlocked and without any carrier ties or SIM since its launch this… Read More

Twitter Is Back

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twitter-analyst Twitter went down for over an hour this evening, setting in a slight digital panic across the Internets. Twitter messaged that it’s aware of the Timeline issue and working on whatever happened there now. You could tweet earlier. You could go to people’s profiles and see their latest tweet. You could even tweet that Twitter was down. Only some people could see that tweet… if… Read More

With a new stainless steel edition, Sony’s SmartWatch 3 is now a fashion statement

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Sony’s fifth-generation SmartWatch — its first with Android Wear — is getting a fashionable upgrade. The company today announced a stainless steel edition of SmartWatch 3 will be rolling out worldwide starting in February. All other specs seem to be the same, including a 1.6-inch, 320 x 320 transflective LCD display and built-in GPS to help track your running (that part is unique to Sony’s Android Wear device).

While this isn’t the first stainless steel smartwatch (c.f. Pebble Steel and the Android Wear-powered Moto 360), it’s still a welcome change. Sony’s always placed a heavy emphasis on design, and a smartwatch is nothing if not technology embedded into a fashion statement. The metal band is sturdier and weightier than its silicon…

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This is the new Sony Walkman

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All signs pointed to a new Sony Walkman (literally) at CES 2015, and the signs didn’t lie. The new Walkman ZX2 is real, and it’s designed exclusively with high-end audiophiles in mind — as Sony puts it themselves, this is “the fruit of continuous refinement in high audio quality technologies.”

A lot of people like the design of the ZX1, Sony’s previous flagship Walkman. I wasn’t one of them. But I love the new ZX2. I love the texture of its matte black casing. I love the playback buttons carved into its curved side — in the little time I’ve had to hold the device, my fingers curled right onto the play, pause, and rewind. It’s heavier than you’d initially expect, in a good way. It’s solid. The distinctive gold-toned headphone jack juts…

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Sony adds 4K recording to its Action Cam lineup

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Sony is expanding the capabilities of its Action Cam cameras today with a new model that can shoot 4K video. The $499 (or $599 with a live view remote) X1000V has the same shape and design as Sony’s earlier action cameras, but it can now shoot 3840 x 2160 pixel video at 30 frames per second. Prior to this model, Sony’s action cameras could only shoot up to 1080p video. It will be available starting this March.

The 4K video captured by the X1000V can be played directly on a 4K TV via an HDMI cable. Other camera specifications include an ultra-wide-angle 170 degree lens, a back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor, and Sony’s Bionz X image processor. The X1000V also has the full pixel readout technology Sony employes in its higher-end…

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