CES Roundup Continued: Mini Drones, Hybrid Devices, and Mobile Carrier Wars

By Jeremy Del Nero on 10 January 2014
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IMG_6078The annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is winding down, and after a week chock full of innovative and exciting new products, it’s time to sift through the hundreds of ideas out there and pick out a few of the more promising ones.

Audi and AT&T announced a partnership to bring 4G LTE data service to select Audi vehicles, starting with the 2015 A3 Sedans.  The connection will support navigation, including Google Earth and Streetview, as well as picture viewing, social media integration, and Internet radio.  AT&T customers can add their Audi vehicle to an existing smartphone data plan.

In a competitive move, T-Mobile announced it would offer to pay early termination fees for customers switching from AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon.  The contract-free carrier will compensate early termination fees of up to $350 per line.  Additionally, switchers can trade in their eligible smartphones for up to $300 in statement credit, beginning now.  Before the show started, AT&T announced it would pay T-Mobile customers up to $200 per line and up to $250 for a smartphone trade-in to switch over to AT&T.

iMobile3 and Ingenico joined forces to produce a painless mobile payment solution called PassMarket.  Using a Bluetooth LE-enabled device, the cloud-based app supports both Apple Passbook and Google Wallet for cross-platform payments.

Kwikset showcased Kevo, a smart lock that will allow remote locking and unlocking doors via, you guessed it, Bluetooth LE.  Right now, the Kevo app is only available for Apple iPhone devices 4S and higher.  Users can send friends eKeys to grant them access to a Kevo smart lock. The Kevo Fob, a Bluetooth keychain, is bundled and pre-programmed with the Kevo and functions independently of a smartphone to unlock doors.

Lenovo unveiled no less than 23 new models at CES, including laptops, smartphones, tablets, desktop comptuers, and hybrids.  The Yoga 2 Pro device can rotate 360 degrees to rest in laptop, tablet, tent, or stand mode.  The company also showed off its flagship Vibe Z smartphone, the Horizon 2 table PC, and the new ThinkPad 8 laptop.

LG debuted its Life Band Touch, a fitness smartwatch that pairs to your smartphone via Bluetooth to display exercise info, such as length of workout and calories burned.  It also doubles to display incoming alerts, including texts or calls.  The Life Band pairs with iPhones and Androids, but excels when paired with the company’s Heart Rate Monitor earphones, also debuted at CES, which tracks the wearer’s heart rate through the ear canal.

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