SMART HOME & IoT GEAR
LENOVO SMART ASSISTANT From US$130 | Availability TBA
The Lenovo Smart Assistant seems it could be a better version of Amazon’s home speakers. It may look like an Echo clone, but there are some differences. Firstly, they come in a variety of colours, and if that isn’t important to you, then multiple far-field microphones might be what does it for you — there’s seven, as opposed to Echo’s six. The premium version of the Smart Assistant comes with Harman Kardon sound, while the regular model is the equivalent of Google Home.
LG SMART INSTAVIEW AND SAMSUNG FAMILY HUB 2.0 Pricing and availability TBA
Both LG and Samsung have been competing with each other for a long time and the clash of the smart fridges at CES wasn’t any different. In terms of features, LG’s Smart InstaView and Samsung’s Family Hub are quite comparable — touch screens on the front with cameras on the inside that make shopping a breeze. LG’s version runs Amazon’s Alexa and has a Windows-based app that taps into Cortana, while the Family Hub taps into Samsung’s voice tech. Both fridges are top of the range, with all the bells, whistles and trimmings you could ever need.
DEFENDING THE SMART HOME Bitdefender Box, US$199 | Available now in US (AU TBC); Norton Core, US$280 | Available Winter 2017 in US (AU TBC)
With IoT devices being hijacked by the likes of DDoS hackers, it wasn’t a surprise that protecting a home network was showcased at CES this year. Bitdefender has unveiled the second-generation Bitdefender Box, which makes use of network traffic analysis to maintain your privacy and security. The Box can also notify users how to better secure their smart home and offers access control. And Symantec’s first router, Norton Core, has built-in online real-time protection and gives you 20 licences of Norton Core Plus Security Suite.
ROBOT WARS LG pricing and availability TBA; Kuri, US$699 Shipping late 2017
It’s the year of the robot assistant. LG unveiled Hub Robot, a cute little white blob that can wheel around after you, performing tasks like preheating the oven, initiating the robot vacuum, report the weather, calculate your commute times and play music. And competing with the Hub is Kuri, a robot companion that could well replace a nanny. Kuri can figure out when kids get back from school, then notify parents who could be stuck at work or in traffic. It has the ability to identify individual members of a family and meet-and-greet them differently. It will even play music, read to your kids or record your cat’s antics and play back the videos when you get home (the real reason you’d want one).
LEGO BOOST Around $220 | Second half of 2017
Lego is adding another dimension to its familiar building blocks — a coding how-to for kids. In the hopes that learning to code at an early age could prove useful later in life, Lego has introduced the Lego Boost, a Wi-Fi enabled build set that can interact with motors and both colour and distance sensors to carry out instructions set through a drag-and-drop app. The free app contains tutorials and guidelines on simple coding commands that bring builds to life. UVIFY DRACO From around $680 | Q2 2017 If you’re feeling the need for speed, then the Draco drone will satisfy. This diminutive yet supercharged ready-to-fly racer weighs in at just over a pound when empty and measures only 21.3 x 16.5cm and will zoom up to 160 kilometres per hour. With a full 40-channel FPV (first person view), you can feel the thrill for yourself. With GPS and a 360-degree flip, the Draco is great not just for racing, but even freestyle flight.
Roll over, WALL-E, Lego’s Boost Robot is going to teach kids how to code.
The Bitdefender Box is a beautiful bit of design. The LG Smart InstaView fridge sports an internal camera.
LG’s Hub Robot is almost an extension of your arm.
Above: The Lenovo Smart Assistant is another Alexa-using device to control your smart home.
Left: Not quite a real dragon, the Uvify Draco is a seriously fast and agile drone.