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Foldables, smart home, automotive: here's what to watch for at CES 2020 – MobileSyrup

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The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 kicks off in Las Vegas on January 7th. Owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), CES is one of the largest technology events of the year.

Companies gather in Las Vegas to announce, demo and show off new products and technology. A lot happens at CES, and it can be tricky to see through the noise. It’s also a place for companies to announce outlandish prototypes that may never go anywhere — The Verge has an excellent roundup on which CES announcements actually made it to market last year.

With all that said, we thought it’d be helpful to offer up a few areas to keep an eye on at CES in 2020 based on announcements we’ve already seen and trends we’ve noticed.

Phones, particularly ones that fold, and other mobile tech

CES is always a bit of an odd duck when it comes to mobile technology. Phones manufacturers don’t always use CES as a launching ground for the latest smartphones, preferring to hold their own separate events where products can get more individual attention.

That said, foldable phones made a big splash at CES last year, likely owing to the show’s more outlandish nature. But foldables have changed since then; they’re less a far-away concept and more an approaching reality. Motorola has an affordable folding device on the wayalbeit a delayed one — and rumours have it that Samsung is developing a follow-up to 2019’s Galaxy Fold. Even Microsoft has two folding devices slated for later in 2020.

I’d expect this trend to continue in 2020, and foldables will have a large presence again this year. It may be as simple as companies pointing to upcoming devices, but expect foldables to be the big mobile tech at CES.

Also, Apple will have an official presence at CES this year after 28-year absence. Jane Horvath, Apple’s senior director of global privacy, will appear on a January 9th panel dubbed the Chief Privacy Officer Roundtable. It’s not much, but it’s more than a billboard promoting the privacy of its devices.

Don’t expect any new hardware from Apple, however. The Cupertino, California-based company is also expected to show off its HomeKit smart home platform at CES, and I don’t think we’ll see much else.

Smart home products

Google and Amazon’s battle for the living room is in full swing, and other companies want to capitalize on smart tech in the home, so expect a massive amount of smart products ranging from the potentially useful to arguably insane.

We’ve seen everything from heated razors to smart toilets at CES in the past, so nothing is truly off the table. But in terms of realistic products that will hit the market at or after CES, look to Alexa- or Assistant-powered devices.

Of course, there will likely be smart speakers and displays on both sides, but keep your eyes out for more interesting devices such as Kohler’s Alexa-powered showerhead speaker combo.

8K Televisions

TVs are usually a big item at CES, but if the typical pre-show announcement preamble is anything to go by, then 8K may be a big segment this year.

LG announced a bevy of new TVs slated to be shown off at CES sporting ‘Reak 8K’ experiences. The South Korean company claims its 8K OLED displays exceed the industry’s spec for 8K Ultra HD screens.

I’d expect other TV-makers like Samsung and Sony won’t be far behind with expanded lineups of 8K televisions to match.

However, there’s likely to be a run of much more interesting TV panels as well. For example, LG also announced it’d show off an evolution of its rollable OLED TV technology. The company showed off rollable TVs at CES in the past, but this year the TV rolls down from the ceiling, not up from a stand. Granted, LG’s past rollable TVs never met their 2019 launch and at IFA, LG said they may not arrive outside Korea until 2021. Plus, we still have no idea how much these screens will cost.

Automotive

Another area to expect lots of interesting CES announcements is automotive. The electronics show has been a hotbed for electric vehicle announcements for some time, from both traditional carmakers and new start-ups.

With continued evolutions in the technology, and more traditional car manufacturers moving to electric — like Ford — CES 2020 will continue to be a playground for automotive demos.

However, cars aren’t the only electric automotive tech that will have presence on the show floors in Las Vegas. Vancouver-based motorcycle company Damon will unveil its new Hypersport Pro all-electric motorbike at CES. BlackBerry recently announced it partnered with Damon to implement its QNX technology as the base for the motorbike’s systems, including the CoPilot advanced warning system.

Laptops, gaming and everything else

Of course, it wouldn’t be CES without laptops. We’ve already seen laptop announcements from several manufacturers, including Dell, LG and HP ahead of CES. Considering Intel’s 10th Gen processors are available, Wi-Fi 6 is taking off and 5G is growing (but not in Canada), we’re likely to see a massive array of portable computing devices with those features.

Further, Qualcomm announced an expanded line of Snapdragon Compute chips at its Snapdragon Tech Summit in December. With new 7c and 8c chips joining the Snapdragon 8cx, as well as an 8cx variant for enterprise, and Microsoft pushing ARM-based Windows with its new Surface Pro X, expect several new devices in this category.

We’re also likely to see crazy new gaming equipment, from laptops to PC parts and more.

However, laptops, PCs and gaming aren’t the only other tech we can expect. With the rise of true wireless earbuds, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more audio products in this segment at CES.

Finally, with some of the other big trends, expect privacy, health and wellness, services (especially streaming) and IoT to have large presences on the show floor as well.

To keep up with everything coming from CES 2020, keep your eyes on MobileSyrup, as well as our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages. We’ll have the latest news along with pertinent Canadian details served up fresh every day.

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New photos reveal more details about Google’s Pixel 9 Pro Fold

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Google’s secret new line of Pixel 9 phones isn’t that big of a secret anymore. Taiwan’s National Communications Commission (NCC) released new photos of the phones including the Pixel 9 Pro Fold from almost every conceivable angle.

Android Authority found the photos in the NCC archives and uploaded galleries of each of the four phones including the Pixel 9, 9 Pro, 9 Pro XL and 9 Pro Fold. They reveal some interesting details about the new Pixel phones.

The charging rates will be a little faster than the last generation of Pixel phones: Taiwanese authorities measured 24.12W for the base model, 25.20W for the Pro and 32.67W for the 9 Pro XL. The Pixel 9 Pro Fold, however, was the slowest of all of them at 20.25W. These numbers don’t often match up perfectly with the advertised ratings, so expect Google to be promoting higher numbers at its event.

Speaking of chargers, it looks like Google needed a bigger charger to power its new phones. Photos included in the NCC leak show each phone will come with a wall charger that’s around 45W depending on which model you purchase. The charger’s plug moved from the middle to the top of the brick.

The Google Pixel 9 Pro Fold can fully unfold.
NCC/Android Authority

The latest photo dump also shows the 9 Pro Fold unfolded for the first time. Google has moved the selfie camera to the inside screen for a wider field of view. The 9 Pro Fold also has a slimmer top and bottom, a reduced fold crease on the display and a full 180 degree unfolding angle to make a screen that’s just over 250mm or just under 10 inches.

These photos are the latest in a very long list of leaks of Google Pixel 9 photos. The last Pixel 9 leak came down yesterday showing two prototype models of the base and XL models. Google might look into buying a new combination lock for the high school locker where they apparently keep all their unreleased gear.

 

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Apple Wallet now supports Canada’s Presto card, with Express Transit

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Apple Wallet now supports the Presto transit card used in Ontario, Canada. The card can be used for travel in Toronto, Hamilton, and Ottawa.

The digital version of the card includes the Express Transit Pass feature, meaning that you can tap in and out without having to authenticate …

 

Ontario’s Presto card

The Presto contactless smart card system was first trialled back in 2007, and started the full rollout in 2009. The card can be used across 11 different transit systems in the areas covered.

Apple Wallet support was first promised many years ago, but things went quiet until a “coming soon” announcement back in May of this year.

Although the contactless terminals allow the use of credit and debit cards for regular fares, a Presto card is needed for monthly passes and discounted travel.

Apple Wallet support now available

The company made the announcement today.

Tap to ride with PRESTO on iPhone and Apple Watch.

Traveling around town just got easy with your PRESTO in Apple Wallet. With Express Mode, you don’t need to wake or unlock your iPhone or Apple Watch or open any apps to use PRESTO in Apple Wallet. Just hold your device near the reader to pay and go.

Ride, even when your iPhone needs a charge

If your iPhone needs a charge, PRESTO Card in Apple Wallet will still work. Power Reserve provides up to five hours of support, so you can still ride.

Reload on the go. 

With your PRESTO card on your iPhone and Apple Watch, you can easily load funds, right from Apple Wallet or PRESTO App. No need to visit a customer service outlet.

Extra security. Built right in 

PRESTO in Apple Wallet can take full advantage of the privacy and security features built into iPhone and Apple Watch. Your PRESTO card is stored on the device, which means Apple does not see when you use it—helping keep your data private and secure.

If you lose your iPhone or Apple Watch, you can use the Find My app to lock and help locate the device and suspend your PRESTO card or remotely erase the device and its cards.

Mobile Syrup reports that you can choose between adding your existing card to your Wallet, or creating a new one.

There are two ways to add a Presto card to Apple Wallet. You can either buy a new card or move your old one over using the Presto app.

That being said, for simplicity’s sake, unless you have a discounted Presto agreement like a student or senior plan, I think most riders will be happy just making a new card in Apple Wallet and loading funds from that app.

As with any digital card or pass, you can use either your iPhone or Apple Watch, but because each generates a unique virtual card number, you need to use the same device at both ends of your journey.

Express Transit feature

To minimize delays, Presto offers Express Transit support. This means that you don’t need to authenticate using Face ID or Touch ID on your iPhone, and you don’t need to double-tap the side button on your Apple Watch. Simply hold your device close to the pad and you’re good (a number of clues are used to detect fraudulent use).

Express Transit also has the advantage that it continues to work in Low Power mode, so you’ll still be able to complete your journey even if your phone or Watch is almost dead.

Image: Presto

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The OnePlus Pad 2 Wants to Be the iPad Air of Android Tablets

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The original OnePlus Pad was a decent all-around Android tablet, but it was not amazing in any one area. Now, OnePlus is back with a new tablet device that packs more power, has a better screen, more speakers, and a higher starting price. OnePlus offers an Android tablet alternative that costs less than the latest iPad Airs, though it seems like it’s hewing very close to the rendition from 2023. 

The OnePlus Pad 2 is a one-size-fits-all 12.1-inch 3K tablet. At $550 for 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, it’s $70 more than the first OnePlus Pad, though it starts with more memory and twice as much internal storage as the first go around’s paltry 128 GB. It’s bigger than the 11.6 LCD on last year’s Pad, though now it’s beefed its resolution to 3K (3000 x 2120) with a stated 600 nits typical and 900 nits peak brightness. It has a variable refresh rate between 30 and 144 Hz, though it’s still an LCD screen, the same as the 2023 OnePlus Pad.

Just like last year’s version, the new Pad supports Dolby Atmos, but it boasts a six-stereo speaker configuration on either side of the device. It may not be as specifically sound-tailored as the Lenovo Tab Plus, but what’s promised is a solid middle ground. 

Last year’s tablet used MediaTek Dimensity 9000 CPU, which was good enough for most applications but not exactly top of its class. The Pad 2 is now powered with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 mobile chip. Gizmodo has already experienced some of the chip’s capabilities in Samsung’s latest foldables, and already it’s very promising. We haven’t yet had the chance to compare a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 tablet to Apple’s latest iPad Air with M2, though on the whole, M2 usually performs better than Qualcomm’s mobile chips in bare benchmark tests. How much that matters depends on what programs you expect to use on your tablet. 

Image: OnePlus

Every device maker thinks they need AI to compete, and OnePlus isn’t an outlier here. There are promised “AI Toolbox” features like AI text-to-speech and recording summaries. The AI Eraser 2.0 will also work like Google’s Magic Eraser to remove unwanted photo elements. 

There’s a new $99 OnePlus Stylo 2 and a $150 Oneplus Smart Keyboard to accompany the new tablet. Despite the size and price difference, there will be many similarities between last year’s and the 2024 model. The Pad 2 has the same 9,510 mAh battery as last year’s, plus the 67W “SUPERVOOC” fast charging. It promises 43 days of standby time, though in our experience, the first Pad’s lifespan and promised “one-month standby life” was far more modest in practice, lasting most of the day before needing a recharge. 

With a bigger screen, the upcoming Pad 2 is slightly heavier than last year’s rendition. It weighs about 1.3 pounds, so it’s exactly between the 11- and 13-inch iPad Airs or slightly more than the base 11-inch Galaxy Tab S9 (and far less than the humongous Tab S9 Ultra). It will be relatively thin at 6.49 mm, but it’s not beating the iPad Air’s 6.1 mm or the iPad Pro 13-inch’s holy grail 5.1 mm.

The first OnePlus Pad didn’t exactly break new ground in any one category, though it did show Android tablets had legs. We’ve seen attempts from Goole and its Pixel Tablet, though that, too, wasn’t the pioneer of Android tablets. A better chip and more speakers do seem promising, though, in its effort to be everything to everyone, we’ll need to see if it manages to stand out in any area.

The OnePlus Pad 2 is now available for preorder. It should be available on the OnePlus website starting July 30 and on Amazon starting August.

 

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