As you read this post, the 2016 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is officially underway. During the next few days, the tech press and public are going to be inundated with new products, hype, and attempts by startups to be noticed in the flood of information pouring out of Las Vegas. So what’s new and exciting? Let’s take a look at a few of the areas that seem to be capturing the attention of the press.
Virtual Reality has been one of those product areas that has always been “just around the corner”. In 2016, it appears that we may finally see VR taking off. At CES 2016, VR startup Oculus announced that the long-hyped Rift VR headset (below) is available for pre-order for $599 and will ship to 20 countries beginning on March 28.
The Rift consists of a high-resolution headset with built-in headphones and microphone, a sensor, a remote (designed to allow users to easily browse the Oculus store), and an Xbox One controller. The company says that it will introduce more than 20 VR games during 2016, and that over a hundred titles from a variety of game studios should be available by the end of the year.
On the more affordable side of VR, we’ve seen several announcements for iPhone cases and mounts that provide access to Google Cardboard-compatible content. Cardboard makes it simple for developers to create iOS and Android-friendly VR content that can be viewed with a simple ViewMaster®-like viewer… in fact, ViewMaster has created a VR viewer as well and is leveraging its longtime association with 3D imagery with immersive apps that run on iPhone.
Ricoh has had a VR still/video camera available for a few years now (I own the new Theta S), and Nikon announced its new shockproof/waterproof 4K VR camera at CES, the oddly-named KeyMission 360 (above). That means that it’s getting even easier for anyone to produce totally immersive VR content. Nikon hasn’t announced the price of the KeyMission 360 yet, but expect it to be more than the $350 Ricoh camera.
It’s not surprising that we’re hearing more about the wearable technology market at this year’s CES. While few smartwatch announcements have been made, fitness trackers are definitely making a splash.
Fitbit announced the $200 Blaze, which has a color touchscreen and heart rate monitor. While it’s not a true smartwatch, it offers much of the functionality that people want — notifications, the ability to remotely control music, and the usual fitness tracking functions.
Withings has been in the connected self market since the beginning, and the company has announced the $69 Go. While many might scoff at yet another fitness tracker, Withings has a name in the business and the device also has something going for it — 8 months of battery life on a single replaceable battery. The device uses an e-ink display that also shows the time, and it’s waterproof up to 5o meters (164 feet).
Misfit has also made a few surprise announcements at CES, debuting a new fitness tracker that also includes wireless headphones. The Specter features Bluetooth connectivity and measures steps, distance traveled and estimated calories burned. Price is yet to be announced.
One thing Misfit has been trying to accomplish is making its trackers stylish, and with the Misfit Ray (starting at $99) it is definitely meeting that goal. The device has a tubular tracking pod that attaches to a silicone or leather band, and it looks more like a fashion bracelet than a fitness tracker.
Finally, a number of companies have produced new charging accessories for the Apple Watch that should be making it to stores soon. Some include built-in battery packs that allow mobile charging of the Watch, while others — for the first time — have a built-in charging “puck” so you don’t need to use your own Watch cable with them.
New OWC Releases
Click the links below to read about the new products OWC has announced during CES week!
- OWC Releases 4.0TB Aura SSD, Providing 16x Capacity of Standard Factory Mac Pro Drive
- OWC 1.0TB Mercury Extreme Pro 6G Provides Capacity, Speed, Reliability for Content Creation Pros
- OWC Announces Mercury Elite Pro Dual Featuring USB 3.1 Gen 1, FireWire 800 ports
Click here for more of the Rocket Yard’s CES 2016 coverage!