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CES 2014: Yahoo’s Mayer puts on a show

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CEO Marissa Mayer of Yahoo(Photo: Tim Loehrke USA TODAY)

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LAS VEGAS — Hundreds came to see Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer speak at the International CES show today. What they got was a show straight out of P.T. Barnum.

During a far-ranging hour-long discussion on Yahoo's 2014 plans, Mayer shared the stage with John Legend, Katie Couric, cast members of Saturday Night Live, Tumblr CEO David Karp and former New York Times tech columnist David Pogue.

Hundreds waited in line to pack the 1,700-seat Las Vegas Hilton Theater to get an update from Mayer, who delivered her first major speech in months. She made her point early and often. "We are amid a massive shift to mobile," she said.

MORE: The latest news out of CES 2014

Yahoo, which recently eclipsed 400 million monthly mobile users (800 million total worldwide), is throwing its chips into the mobile game. That's where the people – and revenue – are, Mayer says. By 2017, the company expects 3.8 billion connected devices worldwide.

RIEDER: Yahoo doubles down with new tech, food sites

Mayer made a strong pitch for Yahoo's commitment to news in the smartphone and tablet age. She brought onstage Couric, who joined the company late last year, to explain her role. Couric, who poked fun at herself for famously asking "What is the Internet?" on the Today show in 1994, intends to interview newsmakers on Yahoo and bring "perspective and experience" to a "Tsunami" of data that overwhelms consumers.

"We're re-imagining how we take original and curated content and deliver it on mobile," Couric said.

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Marissa Mayer of Yahoo greets Katie Couric.(Photo: Tim Loehrke USA TODAY)

Mayer also announced Yahoo News Digest, a twice-a-day news update, which is the off-shoot of its acquisition of Summly. Pogue premiered Yahoo Tech, its new digital magazine.

They even threw in a SNL Update spoof, with cast members Kenan Thompson and Cecily Strong. Yahoo has a content partnership with the venerable NBC show.

By most measures, Mayer's first year as Yahoo CEO has been a roaring success. Its stock has nearly doubled, to about $31 per share, and she was recently named No. 1 on Fortune's "40 Under 40" list – the first woman to earn that honor.

She has overseen more than 20 acquisitions in that time, adding much-needed buzz and users to the Yahoo brand through the purchases of companies like Tumblr and an intriguing partnership with Katie Couric. And, in a chat with USA TODAY during the holidays, she strongly hinted more deals are to come in 2014.

Still, questions linger over Yahoo's long-term advertising revenue prospects, under withering competition from Google, Facebook and others.

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Latest Technology, Misc. Gadgets

CES 2014: Sleep Number rolls out a smarter bed

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The Sleep Number x12 bed will be available in select markets beginning in February, with a queen-sized x12 bed starting at a $7,999.99.(Photo: Sleep Number)

LAS VEGAS — You have a smartphone, smart TV and smart car. What's next? A smart bed.

Adjustable bed maker Sleep Number is making its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show with a cutting-edge $8,000 dual-sided bed that tracks your sleep patterns and even lets you talk to it.

If you have a partner that snores, you can tap the universal remote and use a Partner Snore feature that will adjust the other half of the Advanced DualAir bed about 5 degrees to gently move the snorer. "It actually raises the head," says Sleep Number chief product officer Annie Bloomquist. "It's an ever so slight articulation and it at least temporarily relieves your spouse's snoring."

The bed also has built-in Sleep IQ technology that monitors your sleep patterns and recommends optimal settings for the adjustable mattress. It also tracks heart rate, breathing rate, amount of time you are lying still or moving and, using an app, cross-references pre-sleep activities such as exercise and caffeine to deliver Sleep IQ scores.

The bed responds to simple voice commands, too, that can be used to turn on the anti-snore feature, as well as the built-in massage function or the under-bed lighting so you can see in the dark.

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Sleep Number's Sleep IQ technology, designed with BAM Labs, suggests the best settings for your bed.(Photo: Sleep Number)

Sleep Number's x12 beds, with technology from BAM Labs, will be available first in customizable beds (a queen-sized bed starts at $7,999) with additional smart features such as smartphone charging bays and power plugs. But the Sleep IQ features will migrate to all Sleep Number beds by the end of the year, starting at $999.

"While this bed is a first of its kind with really unique consumer benefits, everybody deserves to know better sleep," Bloomquist says. "In the coming months we will be introducing these technologies across our entire Sleep Number line."

Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider

Latest Technology, Misc. Gadgets

CES 2014: Lighting Science bulbs meet the space age

Ed Baig interviews astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria about new smart bulbs from Lighting Science.

USATODAY 2:58 p.m. EST January 7, 2014

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The "Good Night" bulb from Lighting Science.(Photo: Lighting Science)

Story Highlights

  • One bulb helps you dose off
  • Another helps wake you up
  • Technology can be applied in outer space

LAS VEGAS — You're tempted to tell a joke: "How many astronauts does it take to screw in a lightbulb?"

But retired NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria is quite serious about the about the "biologically corrected" light bulbs that he is helping to promote at the Consumer Electronics Show. The bulbs in question, both from Lighting Science, are the Definity Digital Good Night bulb that is meant to help you dose off at the proper time, and the Awake & Alert energy enhancing light, which has the opposite effect.

"Sleeping is important for everybody including astronauts, says Lopez-Alegria, who commanded International Space Station Expedition 14. "Sometimes we would launch in the middle of the night and have to shift our sleep to wake up at the right time. The way we would do that is by exposing ourselves to bright lights."

MORE : The latest news out of CES

The International Space Station or ISS circumnavigates the globe every 90 minutes, which means the astronauts experience the fully day/night cycle every hour and a half.

Though Lopez-Alegria says the lighting technology was primitive back when he flew in space, scientists have "figured out there are certain frequencies in light that when you suppress them or enhance them can either help you fall asleep or wake up."

These energy efficient LED bulbs screw in and seemingly function like any other bulb. They come with 5-year warranties, but should last much longer than traditional incandescent light bulbs that are being phased out.

According to Lighting Science, the Good Night bulb emits less of the "blue" light that would otherwise interfere with melatonin production. The 12-watt bulb is meant to replace 60-watt bulbs.

As you might suspect, the Awake & Alert light exposes you to more blue light, which is supposed to increase your energy and alertness. It's a 9-watt bulb that replaces 65-watt lamps.

In case you were wondering, you still must switch on the wake-up bulb as normal—it's not like the bulb will suddenly flash on when your alarm clock goes off.

The new bulbs are due out this spring for $69.99 each and will be available at homedepot.com as well as Lighting Science's own site.

Lopez-Alegria says the technology is not yet up in outer space but he hopes it'll be part of the next ISS launch next summer. The idea is that one light will handle three functions: to help wake the crew up, help keep them alert during the work day, and help them sleep at bedtime.

And that is no joke.

Email: ebaig@usatoday.com; Follow @edbaig on Twitter.

Latest Technology, Misc. Gadgets

CES 2014: Audio-Technica Releases Nine New Headphones

Chris Thomas, Reviewed.com / USA TODAY 4:23 p.m. EST January 7, 2014

Audio-Technica SonicFuel headphones

The over-ear SonicFuel headphones mix affordability and portability.(Photo: Audio-Technica)

Kicking off the International CES 2014 with a bang, Audio-Technica has taken the wraps off of a new line of gaming headsets, a new addition to its QuietPoint line of active noise-cancelers, five additions to its SonicFuel line, and a set of sport-oriented in-ears. Where last year the Japanese audio company was focused on the enthusiast crowd, this year Audio-Technica is courting more consumers with its new headphones.

Audio-Technica's announcements include open and closed back variants of its new gaming headsets (the ATH-ADG1, ATH-AG1). Five over-ear offerings from the SonicFuel take the stage for the first time, including the ATH-AX5iS, ATH-AX3iS, ATH-AX1iS, ATH-AX5, and ATH-AX3. The in-ear ATH-CKP200iS also made it's debut with several color options, and speaking of in-ears, the SonicFuel headphones ATH-CKX9iS, ATH-CKX9, ATH-CKX7iS, ATH-CKX7, ATH-CKX5iS and ATH-CKX5 are also shipping as of today.

Cans for gamers - ATH-ADG1 and ATH-AG1

Audio-Technica gaming headset

The new gaming headsets from Audio-Technica combine comfort and function.(Photo: Audio-Technica)

Courting gamers, Audio-Technica is swinging for the fences with high-quality components and features with two new gaming headsets. Both the open-backed ATH-ADG1 and the closed-back ATH-AG1 have Audio-Technica's proprietary 3D-wing band design, built-in microphones, and a detachable USB digital/analog converter to squeeze the most out of your games. No hard date for release has been set.

Gamers are a tough crowd to please as their demands on cans varies from game to game. To accommodate this, Audio-Technica has loaded the new gaming headsets with game-specific features to make the most out of their hardware.

New QuietPoint cans - ATH-ANC70

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 headphones

The new ATH-ANC70 is clad in a slick metal exterior.(Photo: Audio-Technica)

Designed for extended listening sessions, the memory foam-clad ATH-ANC70 headphones boasts up to 90% noise cancellation. Additionally, this pair comes decked out with the same smartphone-specific features to control track changing, in-call controls, and volume as the over-ear SonicFuel headphones. Should the AAA battery run out, the only thing that stops working is the noise-cancellation unit—not the headphones. The ATH-ANC70's also fold up for easy storage.

Sonicfuel line - A big, portable family

First for the over-ears: the ATH-AX5iS, ATH-AX3iS, ATH-AX1iS all come with a microphone standard in their design, as well as smartphone controls—the ATH-AX5, and ATH-AX3 come without. While only the ATH-AX5iS, ATH-AX3iS, ATH-AX5, and ATH-AX3 come with padded bands, the real star of the show is the ATH-AX5iS: With 40mm drivers and an aluminum housing, these cans look slick in both their black/blue and gunmetal/red color schemes.

For the in-ear fan, Audio-Technica is now shipping its in-ear segment of the SonicFuel line, the ATH-CKX9iS, ATH-CKX9, ATH-CKX7iS, ATH-CKX7, ATH-CKX5iS and ATH-CKX5. These have rather unique features, like 360° rotating tips, smartphone compatibility with call answering, and several bold colors. All headphones with the —iS designation have Audio-Technica's proprietary in-line remote. For more details, spy on the Audio-Technica website.

Prices:

  • ATH-AX5iS ($89.95), ATH-AX5 ($84.95)
  • ATH-AX3iS ($59.95), ATH-AX3 ($54.95)
  • ATH-AX1iS ($39.95)

Waterproof sport headset - ATH-CKP200iS

Audio-Technica ATH-CKP200iS headphones

The ATH-CKP200iS comes in several color options.(Photo: Audio-Technica)

Rounding off this long list of releases is the ATH-CKP200iS: A value set of waterproof and sweat-proof in-ears with an over-the-ear ear hook design. Included with each set will be four sizes of silicone ear tips, and a 2-foot extension cable. The ATH-CKP200iS will retail for $44.95 at launch, available in black, red, yellow, and blue models.

Availability of all these headphones varies, but they should hit the shelves soon if they haven't already. The in-ear SonicFuels are currently shipping, while the over-ear models are set to hit stores in Spring 2014.

Get more coverage of the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show from Reviewed.com and follow @ReviewedDotCom on Twitter.

Latest Technology, Misc. Gadgets

CES 2014: Zepp swings into gear with sports sensor

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The Zepp sensor(Photo: Nancy Blair, USA TODAY)

Story Highlights

  • The $149 Zepp sensor works for golf, tennis and baseball to analyze your swing
  • Weighs just 6 grams; pops on to your club, racket or bat
  • Compatible with Android and iOS devices

LAS VEGAS — Those of us weekend warriors who like to take a swing at things have a new gizmo to help improve our game.

The $149 Zepp sensor works for three sports — golf, tennis and baseball - capturing, measuring and analyzing your swing in three dimensions. It records 1,000 data points per second.

You just pop the sensor onto your club, bat or racket. It weighs just 6 grams. Compatible smartphone apps for iOS and Android devices crunch all the data to let you know things like velocity, arc and more.

Zepp CEO Jason Fass stopped in at the 2014 International CES to show off the product, which launched in November. It's available at Apple Stores and online at zepp.com.

MORE: Complete coverage of CES 2014

Fass, who formerly worked at Apple and Jawbone, says that as for himself: "I am not the world's best golf, baseball or tennis player. Ironically, those are the products we have."

The Zepp sensor has two accelerometers, a gyro, Bluetooth and "a bunch of storage."

This is good news, people. Connected gear and apps are starting to extend beyond the world of runners, cyclists, swimmers and gym rats.

Zepp joins an emerging niche aimed at folks who like more game-oriented sports. Startup 94Fifty's $300 Bluetooth-connected basketball bounced onto the scene earlier this year for iOS devices. And Babolat's $400 connected Babolat Play tennis racket hit the market recently.

At CES, Sony announced it too will be getting into the game. It's displaying a prototype tennis sensor that attaches to a racket and can analyze and record information including swing speed and ball spin for later review on a smartphone.

Follow @nansanfran on Twitter.

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CES 2014: Audi highlights self-driving cars and more

Keith Barry, Reviewed.com / USA TODAY 1:57 a.m. EST January 7, 2014

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Kunal Nayyar and the Audi Sport Quattro Laserlight at its world debut.(Photo: Reviewed.com)

Audi brought The Big Bang Theory's Kunal Nayyar, CEA president Gary Shapiro, and even a 1930s Horch 850 to its CES Keynote address Monday night. But none of them could outshine the laser-powered headlamps of Audi's latest concept, or outperform the A7 that drove itself onto the stage.

Audi Chairman Rupert Stadler said that today's autonomous cars herald a new era in motoring. "We are moving from refining the automobile to redefining mobility," he said.

Indeed, the technology that powered the self-driving A7 can fit on a card about the size of a desktop computer's motherboard, and pulls in laser, radar, camera, and ultrasonic data.

Stadler's looking forward to an era of what he calls "piloted driving." But today, humans are still in charge, and Audi's trying to make driving as easy and comfortable as possible.

That's why AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega came onstage to announce that the mobile carrier would partner with Audi to provide the 4G LTE connection in the new Audi A3. It's AT&T's second partnership announced at CES 2014—de la Vega was on GM's stage last night.

"If mobility used to be about connecting places and people, it's now about connecting the driver," Stadler said. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait until Audi's press conference Tuesday to learn more details about the promise of Android in the car.

Finally, Audi brought out the impressive and expected Sport Quattro Laseright concept, promising that its unique laser headlamps that can light the road ahead for nearly a third of a mile may someday make it to a production car sold in the US.

From lasers to LTE, concepts on display demonstrated what Stadler called "the full spectrum of what it means to be a leader of innovation."

Indeed, Audi's been an automotive superstar at CES so far, announcing a partnership with Android and some impressive concept cars.

Get more coverage of the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show from Reviewed.com and follow @ReviewedDotCom on Twitter.

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CES 2014: Devices to keep computer, home secure

Jefferson Graham and Ed Baig preview new security devices at CES 2014, including a Wifi enabled doorknob, a $199 home monitoring device and a USB computer attachement that replaces passwords with your eyes.

Jefferson Graham & Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY 9:45 a.m. EST January 7, 2014

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Myris, a USB connected device using your eyes for security.(Photo: Sean Fujiwara)

Story Highlights

  • New security devices use Wifi to figuire out who's trying to get in the door
  • Myris uses your Iris instead of passwords
  • Goji is a doorknob with a built-in webcam
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LAS VEGAS — What's cool on the second preview day of the CES 2014?

We especially liked new security systems on display. They include a device that doesn't require a monthly subscription, a new Wi-Fi doorknob that tells you who's at the door via an app, and a new Optical way to provide security — like fingerprint, but with your eyes.

The Canary, the new home security unit, is $199 out the door, says CEO Adam Sager. No monthly fees, unlike most security firms.

Sager says the company started with an idea on crowdfunding website IndieGoGo, where it raised $3 million. He wanted to use Wi-Fi and cloud storage to provide lower-cost security for folks.

The unit has a built-in webcam, accelerometer, motion detector, gyroscope and more, and can be used to monitor who is coming and going via alerts, texts and photos. Canary expects to begin shipping units in July.

The savvy consumer might want to add a new doorknob as part of the package.

The Goji Smart Lock, out in March for $299, provides a smart way to figure out who's our there knocking. Download the mobile app for Apple or Android devices and you get texted or e-mailed a digital photo of the person who's visiting. For security, a picture gets taken every time someone enters, so if a bad guy is sneaking in, you're alerted right away.

"You know at all times who's there," says Goji CEO Gabriel Bestard-Ribas.

You also get to use the doorknob as a keyless way to enter the home. Just fire up the app to enter, and lock the doors when you leave home.

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Goji Smart Lock(Photo: Sean Fujiwara)

At CES, Goji announced that Staples had signed up as its first retailer, and said it expects to have additional distribution as well.

Meanwhile, now that the door and home is secure, let's work on that computer.

Myris is a new device from Eyelock, a New York based startup that uses the eyes to secure your computer. The Myris device, about the size of a small mouse, will sell for around $300 later in the year, and take a picture of your eye. Now that you're set up, it's "no more user names, no more passwords," says the company. "One look is all it takes to verify your identity."

Sounds cool to us!

Follow Jefferson Graham and Ed Baig on Twitter for the latest updates from CES 2014.

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CES 2014: Amid tech behemoths, start-ups flock to show

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Consumers check products at Samsung booth at the 2013 International CES at the Las Vegas Convention Center in this January 10, 2013 file image taken in Las Vegas, Nevada.(Photo: JOE KLAMAR AFP/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS – Spinning around a makeshift oval racetrack in Induct's driverless Navia shuttle was an arresting image to gawkers and reporters who stumbled upon it this morning.

That's precisely the reaction Max Lefevre, marketing and communications director, hopes to get tonight when the small French start-up premiered what it calls the world's only commercially available vehicle of its type at the sprawling International CES show here.

"CES is the best place to launch – this is the show for tomorrow's technology," says Lefevre, a veteran of more than 10 CES shows.

The shuttle service, priced at $250,000, is designed for airports, university campuses and other businesses that require "last mile" transportation to remote spots, says Lefevre, whose father started the company in 2004.

CES is Induct's bold introduction to the consumer and business world, a chance to be seen and heard amid the din of consumer-electronics giants like Sony, Samsung Electronics and LG.

It's the same David-vs.-Goliath appeal that draws Phone Halo to the week-long bacchanal of geeks, gadgets and gadflies. While high-end TVs and smartphones from consumer behemoths are debuted, the smallest of start-ups dangle sneak peeks of their wares and furiously work behind the scenes to make distribution deals.

"Las Vegas is one of the making-it cities," Phone Halo President Christian Smith says. "Louis Pasteur said luck favors the prepared."

Since Smith and his co-founder, CEO Chris Herbert, began showing up at CES with their TrackR tracking device for lost smartphones, keys and wallets, they've struck up distribution agreements, learned manufacturing tricks from other hardware makers and networked endlessly through the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center and throughout Sin City. To date, their Santa Barbara, Calif.-based start-up has accumulated more than 60,000 users.

"The non-sexy stuff – things like manufacturing and distribution – that's what builds on a company's success," Herbert says.

A driverless car also tends to turn heads, as Navia did in an adjoining parking lot to the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The large, golf cart-shaped shuttle can hold 8 to 10 people, travel 12 mph to 25 mph, and houses four laser sensors to accurately guide it. It is being tested at several unnamed locations, including universities and businesses in the U.S., Switzerland and Singapore.

"This show (CES) shows the world we exist," Lefevre says.

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Latest Technology, Misc. Gadgets

New smart home tech will care for your loved ones

Jonathan Chan, Reviewed.com / USA TODAY 12:54 p.m. EST January 6, 2014 The Wellness system aggregates your love one's activities.(Photo: Alarm.com) Alarm.com announced the Wellness Program at CES 2014, which makes use of aforementioned company's o...
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LG unveils G Flex curved smartphone

The LG G Flex.(Photo: LG) SHARE 5 CONNECT EMAILMORE Smartphones are starting to show off their curves. LG says it will launch the G Flex smartphone, which includes a curved display, during the first quarter for carriers AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobil...
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CES 2014: Intel CEO unveils big wearable technology push

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