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Tech News Today for January 3, 2017

Tech News for Tuesday January 3, 2017

CES is still a few days away, officially, but you wouldn’t know it by the amount of products streaming in from the pre-show. So today, we’ll check out some of the more interesting announcements. First up is Lenovo who has a few things on tap. First, its entry into the Microsoft Windows Holographic platform, with its as yet unnamed prototype VR headset with two front facing cameras for mixed-reality applications, inside out tracking, and two 1440x1440 OLED displays besting the resolution on the Vive and Rift. Read more at theverge.com.

That might not be anywhere near release to consumers, but Lenovo did launch its own Echo competitor called the Lenovo Smart Assistant. The device utilizes Alexa for its brains and skills integration. The design looks tall and cylindrical like the Echo, but the lower half more resembles a Google Home with colorful fabric options. The Smart Assistant start at $129.99, the same price as a Home, and $50 less than the Echo. Read more at businessinsider.com.

Amazon teamed up with Seiki, Westinghouse and Element Electronics to launch a slew of lower cost Fire TV powered 4K TVs. All TVs, ranging from 43-65 inches, will offer 3GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and a remote control with a microphone for interaction with Amazon’s Alexa assistant. No price or availability is listed at the moment, but Amazon says to expect more details later this year. Read more at variety.com.

Dish Network launched the AirTV Player, an Ultra HD 4K capable set top box running Android TV that integrates Netflix and Sling TV along with over the air capabilities when coupled with a OTA antenna. This allows for Dish to include local networks with its Sling TV service without the need for retransmission deals. The AirTV Player with OTA AirTV Adaptor runs $129.99, and there’s a streaming-only version for $99.99. Read more at variety.com.

2016 showed us how insecure IoT is right now. The security company Norton has a home security device to protect IoT devices in the home and the WiFi networks they run on. Norton Core is a unique looking geodesic dome shaped router that’s meant to be out in the open, and has a multitude of access control features for guests, family, by device, and including prioritization settings. But it also does deep packet inspection for malware, viruses and other baddies, giving the core the power to quarantine an infected device. Read more at pcmag.com.

Hopping on the in-home Wi-Fi mesh network train is Linksys who unveiled the Velop, a tri-band system that prevent speed drop offs that are noted in two-band systems like Google Wi-Fi. Linksys says the Velop can achieve the best Wi-Fi speeds around, and at $499, this is one of the pricier options so it had better live up to that promise. Read more at theverge.com.

CES wouldn’t be complete without at least a small sampling of robots. Mayfield robotics showed off its Kuri robot which is designed to be informational and helpful, and a delight to be around thanks to its audible chirps and beeps. Its 1080p camera can be used as a security measure in the home. It’s 4 microphone array allows inhabitants to talk to it and ask questions like (you guessed it) “What’s the weather?” And when not directly interacted with, it can wander the halls like Kane from Kung Fu, playing music, reading audiobooks, and turning off the lights you forgot to switch. Read more at venturebeat.com.

Megan Morrone has off today, so Jason Howell will be joined by Ron Richards on Tech News Today. You can watch live every weekday at 4PM Pacific, 7PM Eastern at twit.tv/live. Subscribe and get the show on-demand at twit.tv/tnt.

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