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Ford SYNC Brings Multiple Apps to the Dashboard at CES

April 18th, 2017

Ford logoIt might seem surprising to find a car manufacturer like Ford at CES, as the convention is primarily focused on gadgets and consumer technology. But Ford has been present at CES for several years now, focusing on its Ford SYNC in-dash system. Todd met up with Stefan from Ford where Stefan showed off some of the latest developments in SYNC. Including:

  • Integration with Amazon Echo (Alexa voice commands)
  • Driver Score app calculates a score based on your driving behavior that could be used to negotiate coverage rates with insurance companies (SYNC only provides scores to vehicle drivers, it doesn’t report directly to outside parties)
  • Speed Pass+ integration allows drivers to find nearby Speed Pass-enabled fueling stations where they can see which pumps are available and select and set up a pump before pulling into the station
  • SYNC has a built-in mobile navigation app that integrates with third-party apps so drivers can select the navigation app(s) they prefer to use

Ford SYNC is currently available in many vehicles and will be added to more vehicles as the company continues to roll out and improve the platform.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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Ford SYNC Integrates with Amazon Echo at CES

April 18th, 2017

Ford logoIn our previous post, we touched briefly on the latest version of Ford SYNC, and how the platform will integrate with Amazon’s Echo (Alexa) service. In this video, Todd spoke with Jack from Ford who gave some more detailed information on how SYNC will be able to integrate with Echo:

  • Voice recognition allows drivers to give hands-free voice commands using Alexa
  • Drivers will be able to access third-party services and functions thru Amazon Echo that allow them to do things like turn on garage lights in connected homes
  • Drivers will be able to use home or office-based Echo units to ask about the status of their SYNC-enabled cars to get information like battery charge rate, etc.
  • Alexa integration will allow drivers to ask their cars where nearby stores, restaurants, and other locations are and seamlessly get directions to those locations that are then sent to the car’s built-in navigation system

Ford is planning on adding Alexa/Echo integration to Ford SYNC 3 in the summer of 2017.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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OtterBox Brings uniVERSE Phone and Tablet Cases to CES

April 18th, 2017

Otterbox LogoWho’d ever have imagined that the truly most powerful and (potentially) versatile devices we’d own would turn out to be our cell phones. But in the era of the modern smartphone, that’s exactly what’s come to pass. People are using mobile devices like smartphones and tablets to do way more than just take calls. And while these devices have an impressive array of features built-in, their usefulness can be infinitely extended thru the use of accessories.

Todd met with Kristen at the OtterBox booth during CES. Kristen educated Todd about the new OtterBox line of phone and tablet cases called uniVERSE. The uniVERSE case system creates a full ecosystem of possibilities for adding all kinds of accessories to phones and tablets, while leaving the uniVERSE base case on the device. uniVerse cases and accessories start at $59.95 and should be on the market by the end of first quarter 2017.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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iOB Labs is Analyzing Your Skin at CES

April 18th, 2017

iOB LogoThe Internet of Things is bringing new products and concepts into our lives every day. We’ve got smart devices and apps all around us that measure and quantity everything from our vital statistics to the air we breathe. It seems only natural that this technology would enter into more specific areas of measurement.

That’s exactly what iOB (“Internet of Beauty”) Labs is doing. Todd spoke with Vincent from iOB Labs. Todd was willing to be Vincent’s guinea pig for a demonstration of iOB Labs’ Skinscopy skin analysis system. The system uses your phone’s camera to analyze the state of your skin. From there, it can suggest products you can buy from company partners that can help to improve the quality of your skin. The app also allows users to track the condition of their skin over time, making it easier to track progress and changes.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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Amadas is Opening (and Closing) Doors with Smart Levers at CES

April 18th, 2017

Amadas LogoIt’s no surprise that connected/smart devices could be found all over the place at this year’s CES. Proving that, at some point, every facet of the modern home will have a chip in it, Todd met up with Min from Amadas. Min demonstrated her company’s new smart door lever lock. The lock has some impressive features:

  • Unlock door using either Amadas mobile app or PIN
  • Built-in emergency solar panel lets you recharge the door lock’s battery using just the light from your smartphone’s camera, in case the battery dies while you’re out
  • Control the smart door lock from anywhere, at any time, using the Amadas mobile app
  • See a login history of who has accessed a specific door lock
  • Amadas door lock hardware comes in a variety of designs with customized options available
  • Uses Z-Wave technology to ensure security

The Amadas smart door lever lock is expected to retail for between $300 and $400

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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Jameasy Helps You Practice the Violin at CES

April 18th, 2017

Jameasy LogoIt’s only natural that musical performance and technology would collide in some interesting ways at this year’s CES. Musicians, music teachers, and students are always looking for new ways to hone their skills. And eager hardware/software developers are stepping up to provide some innovative tools to help.

One such company is called Jameasy. Todd met with Dawon from Jameasy. Dawon is a violinist (and a capable one at that). She showed off the Jameasy system which uses a Bluetooth-enabled sensor on her violin that measures all kinds of information from the instrument and transmits it to the Jameasy app on her iPad. The app then tracks her performance and shows her where her playing might be off from the original composition. Correct notes show as green, wrong notes as red, and notes that were just a bit off show up as yellow.

The Jameasy system is expected to retail for between $59 and $99. Jameasy is planning on expanding its product to all stringed instruments, but the product will be available for violin first.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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Spartan Underwear is Protecting the Family Jewels at CES

April 18th, 2017

Spartan logoUnderwear isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when you ponder CES. But if you think about it, clothing is probably one of the first (and oldest) forms of technology. Sure, we mostly take it for granted in the 21st century. But, there was definitely a time where you were on the leading edge if you left the cave with anything at all covering your body.

With that spirit in mind, Todd stopped by the Spartan booth. There, he spoke with Anthony, who believes in his product so much, Anthony wore it through the entirety of the convention. Spartan makes underwear that’s specifically designed to help its wearers protect what is probably their most important asset: the “family jewels.” Spartan’s boxer-briefs are made from a unique fabric blend that blocks up to 99% of cellphone and WiFi radiation. Each pair can be washed up to 300 times before they start losing their potency. Spartan underwear are priced at $35-$45 per pair, depending on the amount purchased at one time.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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Cosmo Connected is Ensuring the Safety of Motorcyclists at CES

April 18th, 2017

Cosmo LogoTechnology can do a lot to help keep us safe on the road. And that’s exactly what Cosmo Connected is doing with its rear-mountable helmet light for motorcyclists. Todd spoke to Roman at the Cosmo Connected booth during CES. Roman showed how his company’s smart light easily attaches to the back of a standard helmet (using magnets) to help provide visibility while on the road. Here are some highlights:

  • Connected brake light with built-in accelerometer, light is engaged when driver reduces speed
  • Built-in gyroscope can detect if the driver has fallen or been in an accident
  • In the case of a fall or accident, the light sends a confirmation to the driver’s phone to see if they’re OK, if no confirmation is received, the light will prompt an incoming call from an operator to check on the driver, if there’s no answer after two attempts, the operator will contact emergency services and the driver’s emergency contact
  • Cosmo Connected light charges via USB connection
  • The light can be set to flash mode so it can be used by bicyclists or other non-motorcycle drivers

Cosmo Connected is expected to retail for $99 for the light. The remote operator service may run between $2 and $3 per month.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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Vivint Partners with AirBnB at CES

April 18th, 2017

Vivint logoVivint has been a leader in smart home technology for years. It was only a matter of time before the company partnered with AirBnB to provide tools to hosts who rent out rooms thru the service. Todd had a chat with Trevor inside of Vivint’s booth (which is really more of a home than a typical CES booth) at CES.

Trevor explained how Vivint has developed a range of tools that will be useful to AirBnB hosts:

  • Hosts can use a Vivint smart door lock to issue unique pass codes to renters so there’s no worries about keys, and hosts won’t have to be on site when renters arrive
  • Vivint’s products can monitor and manage security and energy of the property during the rental period
  • Using a connected doorbell camera, hosts can confirm the identities of renters and see how many people are actually in their parties

Pricing for Vivint products varies. For more information, visit their website.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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Synology’s New 2600 Router is Packed with Features at CES

April 18th, 2017

Synology logoSynology is a real innovator when it comes to computer networking. The company is well known for its NAS devices but Synology also makes routers. Last year, Synology showed off its RT2600ac router at CES. And they’re back this year with an updated version of that same router.

Todd spoke with Chandra at the Synology booth. Chandra shared some of the new RT2600ac’s features:

  • QOS layer
  • Control bandwidth of connected devices down to the application, not just the device
  • Router can function as VPN
  • VPN+ software package allows for VPN cloaking
  • Two built-in USB 3 ports for connecting storage devices
  • Built-in SD card slot
  • Synology CloudStation software runs right on the router
  • 1 WAN port and 4 LAN ports

The new version of this router will be released later this year. Retail pricing has not yet been determined.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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