CES 2013: The Verge reports

ces lead

We're on the ground in Vegas at CES 2013. CES is typically an event which sees a lot of news and product announcements, but over the week, we'll also be bringing you original reporting and features. This is the place to find them all.

40 updates and 5029 comments below.

Jan 17 2:45p

A modern gaming ecosystem emerges, with Microsoft gone and Sony silent

CES is not a games show, as Sony CEO Kaz Hirai pointed out to us in our interview with him last week. That's his reason for the dearth of PlayStation news at CES this year — the PS3 and Vita were hardly even mentioned at Sony's press conference. And of course, Microsoft didn't come at all, so we weren't treated to any Xbox hype at the annual Steve Ballmer keynote (which was replaced with a mind trip from Qualcomm).

And yet, this sure was a great CES for gamers. We got the new high-powered T...

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Jan 16 2:45p

Ultrabook, round two: can Intel control the future of the laptop?

There aren't many companies that can set a new direction for the entire computer industry. Right now, three come to mind: PC manufacturers march to the beat of Microsoft's Windows drum, and many follow Apple's design. The third is Intel, which influences the market behind the scenes with ever more powerful processors and aggressive marketing campaigns.

In 2011, Intel told every PC manufacturer that it needed to have an answer to Apple's MacBook Air, and offered $300 million, among other...

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Jan 14 12:32p

Microsoft just teased the next Xbox at CES

Microsoft didn't have a booth or even an official press event at the Consumer Electronics Show this year, but that didn't stop the company from jumping on stage twice. CEO Steve Ballmer joined Qualcomm for its bizarre opening keynote, and more importantly Microsoft’s Chief Technology Strategy Officer, Eric Rudder, joined the Samsung keynote to showcase the IllumiRoom technology. Based on a combination of a Kinect for Windows camera and a projector, IllumiRoom combines the virtual and physical...

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Jan 13 3:43p

The Chinese Electronics Show: can China's biggest brands buy their way into America?

Huawei, Hisense, Changhong. These names are unfamiliar to Americans for now, but in a few years they will be as synonymous with consumer electronics as Sony and Samsung.

That’s the party line out of China, at least, where major electronics makers seem to have simultaneously decided that this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas would be their coming-out party.

When Microsoft decided it was too cool for CES and abandoned its anchor booth this year, Chinese megabrand Hisense jumped...

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Microsoft's partners fly the Windows 8 flag, but the future is Surface

Microsoft might not have been at CES this year, but its partners and OEMs were out in full force. A quiet showing from Redmond at a time when the company is trying to push Windows 8 to the world could be seen as an unusual move, but looking around the show this week it made a lot of sense. Why waste millions of dollars on a CES booth to promote Windows 8 when your struggling PC OEMs can do it for you?

Jan 12 11:57a

Heading home: here's what it takes to leave CES

First, the bad news: CES is ending. All the cool stuff on the show floor is being packed into crates, loaded into tractor trailers and shipped home. The television walls are coming down and the demos are being dismantled. By Tuesday, all this stuff will be somewhere else. And by now, it should be painfully clear that there's a lot of stuff at CES.

In the next three days, it's all coming down

Here are a few numbers to put everything in perspective. Before the first booth has been installed,...

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Jan 11 6:10p

I rode the ZBoard in Las Vegas and it changed my life

I'm something of an electric skateboard veteran. Last year at CES I rode the Board of Awesomeness, an electric skateboard that uses a Kinect and a Windows 8 tablet to function. This year at CES I had the opportunity to ride the ZBoard; an electric skateboard that works like a Segway — leaning forward makes you accelerate, and leaning back slows you down. The ZBoard is yet another Kickstarter success we've seen here at CES 2013, and it blew my mind.

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Invasion of the body trackers: take me to your leader

There's no doubt about it — CES 2013 marked the point where fitness- and health-tracking devices became a legitimate affair. The category until now has been dominated by a few success stories — Fitbit, FuelBand, and so on — and true to CES form we're seeing a lot more companies attempting to cash in. After all, "people in America, frankly, are really fat" as Fitbit CEO James Park told The Verge in an interview yesterday; the obesity problem has been a hot-button issue for decades, and...

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Body request: give me back my fitness data

At CES this year, a horde of companies brought devices that track every metric of fitness: steps, runs, weight, heartbeats, skin temperature, air quality, and even how fast you eat. Much of the choice seems to come down to ergonomics (wristband or beltclip?), and color (pink or blue or gray?), but there’s another important distinction that needs attention: does the data this device tracks belong to me, or to the maker?

The answer is obvious. Naturally, information that’s tracked about my...

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Bitcoin punks go corporate at CES

The controversial digital currency Bitcoin has a display at CES. It's a good-sized booth, featuring a giant picture of a smiling woman holding an iPhone running a Bitcoin app. Crystal Campbell, a waitress who works at an Orlando restaurant that accepts Bitcoin, greets curious conference-goers with a friendly but not overeager smile. "It's basically like the cash of the internet," she explained to a tall brunette who had heard of Bitcoin, but wasn't sure exactly what it was.

It was a...

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At CES, self-driving cars dance with believers, skeptics, and governments

"Sensing what's around you versus understanding it [are] vastly different," said Lexus VP Mark Templin, waxing philosophical about the company's so-called advanced active safety research vehicle — "AASRV" for short — at a dimly-lit CES event early this week.

From the unapproachable, awkward name, you'd probably never guess that the AASRV is actually a self-driving car, every bit as autonomous, advanced, and buzzworthy as the ones Google has been driving around California for the past several...

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The Apple economy dominates CES 2013, but Samsung isn't far behind

Apple hasn’t made an appearance at CES since 1992, but its products are everywhere. At CES 2013, iPhones and iPads adorn the sides of booths for everything from Bluetooth speaker manufacturers to car audio companies. Booth after booth is named iFrogz, iSkins, and iLounge. Row after row of companies like Otterbox and Speck have made fortunes building cases for Apple products. Just Mobile’s booth is something like an aluminum shrine to Sir Jonathan Ive, Apple’s lead industrial designer.

At CES...

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How Kickstarter stole CES: the rise of the indie hardware developer

They said the wristwatch was dead, but they were wrong. Forward-thinking watches are making a big splash at this year’s CES, the largest technology trade show in the country, and two watches stand out: the ultrathin, ultrasimple CST-1, which looks like a metal slap bracelet with giant numbers, and the Pebble smartwatch, which interfaces with the owner’s smartphone and can also run apps of its own.

Those two watches have something else in common: the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. Pebble...

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Your robot butler is still a decade away, iRobot CEO says

I got a chance to speak with iRobot CEO Colin Angle at CES this week, and he gave me a nice refresher on the state of the industry — an industry that iRobot continues to lead in both the consumer and military realms.

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The weird and wild interfaces of CES 2013

The public side of CES may all about showing off consumer gadgetry, but there's another, more lucrative CES going on behind the scenes. If you toured the private meeting rooms of the South Hall instead of the display booths, you'd find dozens of small manufacturers pitching themselves to the behemoths of the tech world, angling for an OEM deal or a partnership or even an acquisition. This year, the hottest commodity is a new take on UI. Depth cameras, gaze trackers, motion sensors: the...

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RIM says it has the apps it needs for successful BlackBerry 10 launch

Three weeks.

That's how long until RIM officially launches its new BlackBerry 10 phones. One year ago, I explained why RIM had a long road to getting developers enthused enough to create apps for the new platform. The company has spent that year going down it, honing its developer message, offering $10,000 guarantees, posting insane videos to rally the troops, and launching zero BlackBerry 10 devices.

This year, as I sat down with RIM yet again to discuss the state of its app situation, my...

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4K at CES 2013: the dream gets real

Almost exactly a year ago, upon these parched steppes of Nevada we know as Las Vegas, Vizio told us it was keen to get into the 4K TV market, but the timing wasn't quite right yet. Vizio asked for a year's worth of patience and, atypically for an electronics company, it's back at CES with the delivery of its 4K promise.


Sen. Ron Wyden on FISA surveillance law: 'We are going to win this'

Civil liberties advocates suffered a major setback in December, when the US Senate voted to extend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) — a bill that allows the government to conduct warrant-less electronic monitoring on suspected terrorists overseas and, as has become increasingly evident, its own citizens. Renewed on New Year's Eve, just before the inauguration of a new Congress, the law has come under intense criticism from those who argue it gives the government dangerously...

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Pebble smartwatch finally shipping January 23rd, we talk to CEO about its future

The Pebble smartwatch is best-known for being a smash hit on Kickstarter. It broke records and leapt to a total of 85,000 orders by the time the campaign ended. The only thing left to do was ship, but unfortunately the company quietly announced a pair of delays that left an actual ship date in limbo — an unfortunately common problem with Kickstarter campaigns.

Today at CES, CEO Eric Migicovsky announced that the company now has a firm shipping date for its backers: January 23rd. It will go...

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ARM CEO says Windows RT is just a start, launch has been restricted so far by Microsoft

I spoke with ARM CEO Warren East at CES on Tuesday, who was kind enough to explain the complexities of his company’s business model, along with addressing some of the exciting opportunities and challenges ARM is up against — in short, Microsoft and Intel.

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Innovating a racket: the awards sideshow at CES

UrbanHello, a new home phone, proudly displayed its CES Innovations Award at a press event early in the trade show.

The Chinese electronics maker Hisense won two CES Innovations Awards this year, one for a 55-inch Google TV-enabled television and one for a 65-inch ultra-HD television with 4K resolution. But product manager Chris Porter isn't entirely thrilled about the achievement.

"Every company I've worked with, every time we get a CEA Innovation Award, the product does not do as well in...

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Jan 08 6:53p

Will.i.am is the most CES celebrity ever

CES introduced an entrepreneur-focused keynote this year called "Next Generation of Innovators," part of a larger strategy to pull in smaller startups to the trade show. Black Eyed Peas member-turned-techie will.i.am stole the show with his Jetsons-esque prognostications.

"Have you ever thought about the bathroom?" will.i.am asked, recalling a conversation he'd had with a construction contractor. "The mirror should be a camera with a display system. What the fuck do we have mirrors in 2012...

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It's official: 3D is dead

There's something about 2013's Consumer Electronics Show that's different from every other iteration this decade. You might not realize it immediately, for it's marked by the absence rather than the arrival of a new technology, but it's there and we're all sensing it on a deep, subconscious level. And it feels good.

3D is gone.


Sony CEO Kaz Hirai: 'We need to be a more focused company'

I just had a chance to sit down with Sony president and CEO Kaz Hirai for an enlightening chat about the electronics-maker's past, present, and future. Topics up for discussion include the company's new line of 4K televisions (including that new prototype OLED model), the Xperia line of Android phones and potential expansion to other platforms, and what the road ahead looks like for Sony. Kaz offers a glimpse into the mind of the Japanese monolith, with a surprisingly candid take on the rough...

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Sony CEO Kaz Hirai wants 4K standard; disc format unlikely, but not out of the question

Sony is riffing on its wide-open 4K distribution strategy at CES. After announcing vague plans for 4K distribution at its press conference, Sony’s been filling in the details in more private conversations with members of the press that show just how unsettled the market for 4K content really is.

Sony CEO Kaz Hirai compared 4K distribution to Sony’s Video Unlimited service when asked if the planned online 4K content service would be exclusive to Sony customers. “We should be able to bring it...

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The delicious snacks of CES: tradeshow tailgating

This year's 'exclusive' Digital Experience was a tribute to the American experience, complete with faux cheerleaders and gridiron heroes Continue reading »


App makers highlight TV's utter failure to help you find anything good to watch

"I have a fundamental belief that the 10-feet UI as a concept sucks and is broken," says Jeremy Toeman, Dijit CEO and creator of NextGuide, a modern TV guide app for iPad. "It doesn’t matter what kind of lipstick you put on a pig." Toeman spoke yesterday in Las Vegas at the 2nd Screen Summit, a group of marketers and executives bent on invading your iPad screen while you watch TV. While that might sound scary at first — Toeman’s software works a lot better than your service provider's "GUIDE"...

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Qualcomm's insane CES 2013 keynote in pictures and tweets

A night of cringeworthy conversations, product demos, and music Continue reading »


Offline: why am I here?

When I was a kid I had a box of “electronics.” Basically, it was cannibalized parts from various decrepit gadgets, like RC cars, walkie talkies, and cassette players. I always dreamed of mashing together a few circuit boards and making something new, but obviously had no knowledge of that process. But I kept the box. There was something intrinsic to that tangle of wires and transistors that felt like technology to me.

CES is televisions, and car stereos, and iPod nano armbands

I still have...

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Could the next Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram ever debut at CES?

"Software is eating the world," the legendary Silicon Valley investor Marc Andreessen said in his influential Wall Street Journal editorial which served as a sort of state of the technology industry address in 2011, a bullish argument for the supremacy of internet startups. It's no surprise that the trend is taking over even at International CES, the 46-year-old trade show that has seen the debut of some of the most exciting advances in gadgets, from the VCR to the CD player, high definition...

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Jan 07 6:01p

Dish Network takes on TV Everywhere by integrating Slingbox into its Hopper DVRs

Dish Network is taking its own approach to solving the riddle of how to keep up demand for subscription TV services in the face of over-the-top streaming options like Netflix. While other TV operators have been working to expand authenticated TV Everywhere services, Dish is looking to bring content to customers while altogether avoiding content deals by building a Slingbox into all of its future Hopper DVRs. The new set-top box is called the Hopper with Sling, and it allows subscribers the...

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Why Amazon is the only unstoppable monster in tech today

On Monday, Amazon briefly broke its all-time record share price on the NASDAQ exchange, hitting a high of $269.30, and closing at $268.51. The company now has a market valuation of a shade under $121 billion; that's roughly half a Google, twice a Facebook, or 44 Netflixes. This is despite most other big tech stocks like Apple or Google being down or flat on the day (with the exception of Netflix, which briefly broke $100 again on some good news). It's also despite Amazon losing $274 million...

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The cheerleaders and skeptics at CES

CES Unveiled, an early press event at the show, usually serves as a well-mannered appetizer before the face-stuffing free-for-all that is the CES floor. This year was no different, offering up GPS-enabled drones and eye-tracking gizmos. But alongside the gadgetry, it also brought the first taste of the strange mix of rumor and gadgety anticipation that can only be found at CES. After months of speculation on what this year’s hot new gadgets would be, this was our first chance to find out what...

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Exclusive: Teenage Engineering makes a wireless speaker for serious adults

Teenage Engineering has built a reputation for uncompromising hardware design, unconventional products, and a sense of simplicity and fun in everything they do — and its new OD-11 Cloud Speaker looks like it will do all of this in spades when it debuts this coming summer. Anders Halvarsson and David Möllerstedt from Teenage Engineering just gave us an exclusive early look at the hardware they'll be showing off at CES this week, and told us all about how the company's thoughts on the home...

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The future is now, the future is weird: an expedition into the dark heart of CES

In a world where everyone’s mom has an iPhone, how is technology supposed to feel futuristic? Continue reading »

Jan 05 10:30p

Organized chaos: here's what it takes to build CES

Days before opening, the enormous show is a whirlwind of activity Continue reading »

Jan 04 1:26p


Incredible photos from the CES vault: 1967 to 2013

The future arrives over and over and over again Continue reading »
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