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Quality of Life Android innovations debut at 2014 International CES

Lenovo Pro2840
The  2014 International CES consumer electronics show in Las Vegas has brought a raft of innovations for Android users that will be available within the coming months.

From the announcements at this year’s CES in Las Vegas, which attracted some 3,200 exhibitors and 150,000 attendees, major tech companies such as Google, Lenovo, Philips, and HARMAN are increasingly looking to the customizable Android OS to drive more than just smartphones and tablets.

Android is being adapted for a multitude of electronic devices to enhance many aspects of our daily lives including our driving experience, home entertainment, security and parenting to name a few.

Here are a just some of Android related products and partnerships that were touted by manufacturers at CES this year.

DRIVING

A partnership between Google and domestic and foreign automakers to develop Android to run and control on-board computers this year garnered a great deal of media attention at the show.

The partnership would be between Google and GM, Honda, Audi and Hyundai as well as mobile device processor-maker nVIDIA.

Exactly what an Android-controlled car would mean apart from “safety,” “intergration” and car “optimized” it is unclear since no details were given with announcement.

However the new alliance is destined to go well beyond using Google Earth for navigation systems. And there is no shortage of speculation what an Android car may do. CNET for example is predicting that partnership may involve Google’s self-driving technology, cars that communicate with each other and even infrastructure such as traffic lights.

In a separate announcement, the luxury car-entertainment manufacturer HARMAN, said they have integrated Google Glass – a mini computer system with tiny display that is worn like a pair of glasses — with its own driving assistance software to keep drivers informed about potential hazards ahead.

HOME ENTERTAINMENT AND COMPUTING

lenovo-beacon-mainAmong Lenovo’s new Android-based devices announced at the show, was the Beacon, the company’s first home-based cloud storage device for multi-media and data storage; and the company’s first Android gaming PC, the Lenovo N308.

The Beacon allows you to store and share multimedia data wirelessly with your PC, tablet, and smart phone and TV using HDMI digital cables.

The Beacon comes in black or white, has an Intel Atom dual core processor, a storage capacity that is expandable to up to 6TB and supports file transfer through 3G4, WiFi and Ethernet.

On the computing front, Lenovo’s first Android home computer, the N308, features an HD 19.5 inch, 1600 by 900-pixel touchscreen that runs on the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system.

The N308 comes with an nVIDIA Tegra quad core processor, 2 GB RAM, up to 500 GB hard drive storage, a 720 pixel webcam and WiFi.

For mobility around the home, the computer has a battery provides three hours run time on a single charge.

While Samsung announced the first curved ultra-HD TV, Lenovo chose Android to power its new ThinkVision 28 UHD smart monitor, which packs 3840 x 2160 pixels into 28-inch panel.

The display also acts as an entertainment center providing streamed content through a nVIDIA Tegra chipset.

Lenovo says the N308 will be available in the beginning of February starting at $450, the Beacon in April with models starting at $199, and the ThinkVision 28 TV from July starting at approximately $1199.

Hisense also launched its first Android TV Pulse Pro box with an interface that looks much like a more user friendly version of Google TV and allows users to use run Google’s apps.

Instead of having a keyboard the system responds to user commands using a built-in microphone and a remote with a motion sensor. It also has an HDMI input, built-in Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.

Philips for their part announced that they are planning to power their future Ambilight Smart TV with a quad four processor running on Android and include on-demand video services, digital program guides and even a music player.

As for Yahoo, CEO Marissa Mayer announced that the company has acquired Aviate, a company that producers an interactive Android-based technology to learn user’s daily habits to anticipate the information and apps they use on a regular basis.

Mayer said the company plans to make the Aviate technology a central part of its Android based experiences in 2014.

TABLETS

Galaxy NotePROSamsung unveiled the 12.2-inch Galaxy NotePRO and 12.2, 10.1 and 8.4-inch Galaxy TabPRO Android tablets.

The 12.2-inch version features a high definition WQXGA Widescreen with  2560 x 1600 pixel resolution so users can enjoy viewing HD video along with reading magazines in their original format.

The 12.2-inch Galaxy NotePRO comes with an S Pen for making handwritten notes and drawings.

Features on all tablets include a split screen with up to four different windows and a virtual keyboard that provides feedback to simulate typing with the real thing.

The tablets also include the Cisco WebEx Meetings platform for video conferencing.

The TabPRO and TabPRO are slated for release sometime before the end of March and include WiFi, WiFi and 3G, or WiFi and LTE.

Logitech has already announced it is offering a slim protective case for the 12.2-inch NotePRO and TabPRO. The case includes a built-in Bluetooth full-sized keyboard.

The tablets clip into the case, and the keyboard provides a row of Android shortcut keys to select recent apps, e-mail for example.

The Logitech PRO is expected for release early next month for a retail price of $130.

PARENTAL CONTROL

Parents who have difficulty separating kids from screen-based activities to get them out of the house may interested to know that GeoPalz announced it has expanded its LockerBot parental control application to Samsung and Kindle Android tablets.

The software, which is also available on Android phones and Google TV, allows parents to control which apps their children have access to, how long they can use a particular app and rewards them by earning “steps” for physically activity.

More physical activity unlocks more and longer slabs of gaming or viewing fun.

LockerBot can track activity through a ibitz device that the child wears clipped to clothing.

HOME SECURITY

simplicam-banner-1-0ArcSoft announced the launch of a home nanny cam and home intruder surveillance camera that can recognize and track facial features to identify exactly who is home and what they are doing.

The Simplicam powered by Closeli allows users to record, view, and edit live video directly from their smartphone or web browser.

In addition to hooking up to a a PC or Mac, users can activate and schedule the wall mounted or shelf camera to record remotely on Android and iOS phones and tablets via Wi-Fi network using Closeli’s mobile app.

The system also includes motion and noise detector capability.

Closeli Recording Plans will be available next month and subscriptions range from one day recording for $49 per year or $5 per month to 21 day recording for $229 per year or $23 per month. The Simplicam itself costs $149.99 and can be bought on Amazon or directly from ArcSoft.

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