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Tools of the Trade: February 2017

By Michael Castelluccio
February 1, 2017
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02_2017_tools

 

1. LENOVO PHAB 2 PRO

 

Unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, Lenovo’s Phab 2 Pro is the first smartphone with Google’s Tango augmented reality (AR) built in. With it, the phone can do 3D mapping of what its camera sees, and then you can project virtual objects into that space. Gaming objects can be projected into the world around you, or you can measure, place, and move virtual furniture or appliances into your rooms to see how they look or fit. If you have a virtual pet on your phone, you can let it run around the mapped space in your living room. The phone has three cameras for mapping 3D ­renderings—16MP rear and 8MP front requiring only 0.3 seconds for quick focus. The display is a 6.4″ QHD with 1,440 × 2,560 pixels. The phone’s audio is Dolby Atmos 5.1 featuring three noise-canceling microphones with 360 Voice. The unibody is 8.9 mm. aluminum with a curved back in champagne gold or gunmetal gray. There’s a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. Memory includes 4GB RAM and a 64GB hard drive. The processor is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 selected for use with the Tango program running Android 6.0. ­www.lenovo.com

 

2. LENOVO SMART ASSISTANT

 

Amazon’s Alexa was in a number of new devices and environments at CES, including Lenovo’s Assistant, which looks a lot like the Amazon Echo device. What sets the Lenovo Assistant apart from Amazon’s Echo or Google’s Home is the quality of the sound. The Harman Kardon Edition of the Lenovo Assistant has a 2″ sound cavity that, according to Lenovo, produces the most advanced sound engineering in its class. To listen for your requests, there are eight 360-degree far-field microphones that will pick up the wake word “Alexa” from more than 16 feet away, in any direction, even when there’s music playing in the background. Along with Alexa’s usual catalog of requests for music, weather, news, ordering products through Amazon Prime, or getting a difficult spelling, the Lenovo lets you control smart devices around your home, including lights, thermostats, timers, blinds, and much more. It’s available in light or dark gray, green, orange, and the matte black ­Harmon Kardon Edition. www.lenovo.com

 

3. ACER PREDATOR Z301CT

 

Acer debuted three new Predator gaming monitors at CES, including the 30″ Z301CT—the world’s first 21:9 curved monitor with Tobii Eye-tracking. The eye-tracking has a sensor that enables the screen to know where your eyes are focused. The Acer ErgoStand offers full-motion adjustments for height (up to 4.7″), swivel (25 degrees), and tilt (-5 degrees to 25 degrees). Audio on the monitor is DTS Sound from two 3W speakers. www.logitech.com

 

4. COTA CEILING TILE WIRELESS CHARGER

 

Among the Best of Innovations awards doled out at CES, the more exotic included a levitating speaker, a motiv ring that works like a fitbit for your finger, EyeQue for do-it-yourself eye exams, and a smart dog collar and tracking service for your pet. An interesting, and probably more practical, winner was the Cota Tile, a home ceiling tile from Ossia that provides wireless charging without plugs, wires, or special pads. The tile will replace a standard drop ceiling tile, and it’s designed to charge many kinds of devices, including smartphones, speakers, smoke alarms, and other smart home devices. Up to four devices at a time will access the charge point. Not yet available, the Cota Tile is promised some time later this year and might be just the first of such embedded home chargers. www.ossia.com

 

Michael Castelluccio has been the Technology Editor for Strategic Finance for 21 years. His SF TECHNOTES blog is in its 19th year. You can contact Mike at mcastelluccio@imanet.org.


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