The Student News Site of Taipei American School




International CES Roundup


Many new gadgets were introduced this year at CES (Consumer Electronics Show), an annual technology convention. In fact, last year, it was here in Taipei – too bad you missed it! If you haven’t been up-to-date with all things tech, here is Blue & Gold’s round-up of the coolest gadgest and tech toys from CES 2014.
Pebble Steel
pebble steel
Ever thought of buying an iPod nano to use as your watch? Well, look no further: Pebble Steel’s got that covered. You might have heard of the Pebble smartwatch and may have even thought that it was dull, plasticky and clunky, but the company has completely revamped it this year at CES. It’s back with a steel wristwrap and lots of new apps. There’s even an app that updates you while you’re on the road: if cars ahead are experiencing slight traffic, you’ll be notified immediately with a distinctive vibration on your wrist. Following basketball, softball or soccer? You can set it to tell you when your favorite team scores. You’ll be able to set it as a pedometer, and of course, you’ll  be able to tell the time with this cutting edge gadget.
Razer: Project Christine
razer christine
More of a concept than a real product, Razer’s Project Christine is the company’s first attempt at making a fully customizable gaming PC. The goal? Razer tries to dumb down the “build-your-own-PC” that many more intense gamers prefer over prebuilt computers (including me), to get the bang of their buck on their hardware. Every component of the machine, including the memory, storage, or graphics card, will be fully modular and have its own “box/connection tray” so users can switch the insides to their needs on demand. Need more graphics cards or RAM? Just plug the sections in. For now, it’s a concept, but Razer hopes that gamers will be able to embrace this idea in the near future.
Gigabyte Aorus X7 
PCWorld claims that “when it comes to gaming laptops, few companies worry about device bulk and heft, since powerful innards capable of rendering amazing graphics at blazing speeds are what really matters for the category.” Gigabyte’s Aorus X7 fits this description – what doesn’t correspond, however, is its streamlined external design. The fully-aluminum clam shell that holds two Nvidia graphics processors and a CPU into a sleek 2.26 cm thickness is truly a thing of beauty – the engineers at Gigabyte have truly outdone themselves. Cooling, surprisingly, is not a problem here, as the X7 uses five  thermal pipes, four external vents, and two fans to increase air intake and exhaust. While the price is still up in the air, it’s expected to hit shelves this year, with prices ranging from $2100 to $2800 (eek!), depending on what you’ll want inside. FPS (frames-per-second) benchmarks for games, however, have not been taken into consideration, but with a SLI configuration in a laptop, it’s sure to wow many gamers.
Oculus Rift
All of the people who went to CES have something to agree on –  Oculus Rift is completely reinventing the gaming experience.The company’s new Crystal Cove prototype has extreme head tracking, which allows you to incorporate body movements. For example, looking at an object while leaning closer will correspond to what exactly happens in real life – it gives a bigger view of the object. It also allows you to peer around corners, and look at objects from multiple angles. The company also claims that there’s no motion blur, which is amazing for a gadget so small.
Sony 4k ultra Short Throw Projector
sony shortthrow
There’s nothing new about projectors – they’re ubiquitous in TAS classrooms, drooping from the ceilings and pointing at the whiteboards. The Sony Short Throw Projector changes everything. It sits right next to the wall and fires upwards. It produces a massive 147 inch 4k screen, yet this mighty visual punch is packed into a tiny, sleek, minimalist gadget that can easily fit into your home. What’s even more amazing is that it includes a true theater-quality video and audio experience. Sony, however, has not announced the pricing of this projector, but consumers can count on a hefty pricetag for a product of this quality.
Intel Smart Earbuds 
intel smart earbuds
Intel has joined the wearable tech section this year, with their body-monitoring earbuds. The tracker inside the earpiece syncs to your iOS or Android device, collecting miscellaneous body data, including calorie consumption, walking pace, distance, and time data. Not only that, it also tracks your heartbeat in real time, and projects the data onto your phone simultaneously. It’s the perfect tool for every hypochondriac out there. If you’re falling below or jumping above your regular heart rate, the smart earbuds will automatically plays corresponding songs to pump you up or calm you down, perfect for those of you who can’t work without music (which is basically every single one of us, unless you’re a supernerd). Intel will not sell these earphones by themselves, however. They will pair up with a company which already has trackers, such as Nike, Strava or FitBit.
StickNFind Bluetooth Proximity Detector
Do you have a grandad who’s always losing his glasses? StickNFind, the Bluetooth Proximity Detector, is just the thing for you. The concept is simple: a sticker “beacon” which has varying battery lives (from 9.6 months to 9 years) can be stuck anywhere. Never have that sinking feeling of losing your beloved posessions again. Utilizing Bluetooth, your phone can track where your tagged items are. The paired iPhone app will show you where your items are on a map. Its small, button-like beacons and its reasonable price make this a good buy for your forgetful grandad.
Mophie Space Pack
Cell phone battery life has always been a problem for TAS students with our busy and connected lifestyles. Ever rush home with only 1% left on your iPhone battery? Well, battery death begone with the Mophie Space Pack. With built-in data storage to add to the capacity of your phone, this gadget comes in 16 and 32 gigabyte versions. Users are able to take pictures and store them directly into their Space Pack, without wasting storage space on their phones. It also provides double the battery life of a regular iPhone, so your device will be up and running for quite a bit before it requires charging. It’s a bit pricier than normal cases, however, with the 16GB model coming at $150USD and $180USD for the 32 GB version.

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