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Tools of the Trade: February 2020

By Michael Castelluccio
February 1, 2020
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All the tech featured this month were winners at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020.

 

1. SAMSUNG GALAXY CHROMEBOOK

 

With a starting price of $1,000 for a 10th generation Intel i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of internal storage, the new Galaxy Chromebook will join the premium versions of two-in-one laptop/tablets built for the Chrome browser. Scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2020, it offers a variety of high-end specs, beginning with the 13.3″ 4K UHD AMOLED touchscreen with a resolution of 3,840 × 2,160 pixels and the promise of HDR400 support available in a software update later. The bezels are very thin, and there is a webcam at the top of the screen. The screen rotates 360 degrees so you can flip it over for use as a tablet. The aluminum body is only 0.4″ (9.9mm) thick when closed. It weighs 2.3 lbs. (1.04 kg.), and is available in mercury gray or fiesta red. The options at the top end include up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB of internal SSD storage. There’s a fingerprint sensor, two USB-C ports, and a microSD card slot. The battery is said to last about eight hours. The Galaxy Chromebook is pen-enabled, and there is a pen included. www.samsung.com

 

 

2. WITHINGS SCANWATCH

 

Withings smartwatches combine traditional analog watchmaking with health and sport activity tracking. The five current models from the French company were joined by a new ScanWatch announced at CES 2020. The ScanWatch has two detection methods for checking irregular heart rhythms. You can take an ECG (one-lead electrocardiogram) whenever you sense changes in your heart rhythm, and when these are absent, the watch will continuously monitor heart rate with a PPG (optical heart rate readings) sensor and provide alerts when changes do occur. The watch also has a sleep tracker that the company says can measure SpO2 (blood oxygen levels) to detect possible sleep apnea. Pending clearance from the FDA and CE Mark clinical evaluation, the ScanWatch will be available worldwide in the first half of this year. www.withings.com

 

3. LENOVO YOGA 5G LAPTOP

 

Lenovo, the world’s largest PC vendor, showed up at CES with the X1 Fold, which is the first PC with a 17″ diagonal folding screen, and the Yoga 5G, “the first-ever PC powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx 5G Compute Platform.” The super-fast 5G, internet-everywhere capacity and a promised 24-hour battery life make the Yoga 5G the more interesting of the two. It will be called the Flex 5G in the United States and is expected this spring with a starting price of $1,499. The other specs are relatively standard—a 14″ touchscreen with a resolution of 1,920 × 1,080 pixels, 8GB of RAM, Windows 10, and all of it weighing in at 2.9 lbs. (1.35 kg.). When delivered, the Yoga/Flex 5G will mark the beginning of the long-awaited rollout of 5G on PCs. www.lenovo.com

 

4. GE KITCHEN HUB MICROWAVE

 

Last year’s GE Kitchen Hub was a range hood, transformed this year into a 27″ Android touchscreen on the door of a 1.9-cubic-foot microwave and ventilation hood that combines what GE calls “computer vision cooking technology” and a smart home devices hub. On-board cameras look over available ingredients to help decide on recipes and then let you keep track with a view inside the oven, even from your couch. The Hub will let you live video chat with friends, connect to other smart home devices, access calendars and schedules, and access Spotify or Netflix. The new Kitchen Hub is expected in late 2020. www.geappliances.com/ge/kitchenhub

 

Michael Castelluccio has been the Technology Editor for Strategic Finance for 25 years. His SF Technotes blog is in its 22nd year. You can contact Mike at mcastelluccio@imanet.org.


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