CES 2017 Day Two: New laptops, new phones, and old ideas made new

CES 2017

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Update all the laptops

With new 7th-generation Core chips from Intel landing in the months before CES, it was time for a seemingly every PC manufacturer to update their lineup. In the cards for everybody: thinner, lighter, marginally faster, longer-lasting batteries, Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C, and a notable decrease in bezels.

The new BlackBerry that's not made by BlackBerry

BlackBerry's back, alright!

From the looks of the BlackBerry Mercury you'd think that BlackBerry hadn't changed at all. But this is a phone from TCL, the new licensee of the BlackBerry brand, even if it looks and feels every part a BlackBerry. We're still light on practically every detail, from specs to the actual production name, but we're still kind of excited to see that the shifting of the BlackBerry brand doesn't mean the abandonment of the classic keyboard.

Honor's Magic is a design showcase as a phone

Curved all around, because they can.

Huawei's never been a manufacturer that shied away from making crazy hardware, and their Honor sub-brand has generated a phone that's a truly beautiful piece of design: the Honor Magic. The glass is curved in every direction more substantially than any phone we've seen before, married to a thin metal frame. As Android Central's Andrew Martonik described it, it's similar to the "Galaxy S7 edge, but it's even more impressively thin and compact." More impressive, however, might be the software: Honor baked in artificial intelligence to help the phone predict what you'll want to do, such as dynamically rearranging your home screen.

  • Honor Magic hands-on: Huawei puts its design prowess on display

The first Chromebook designed for Android apps

Google and Samsung partnered up to design an impressive new pair of Chrome OS devices: the Samsung Chromebook Plus and Pro. These convertible Chromebooks are the first designed with running Android apps in mind, and as such they're equipped with full motion sensor suites. Beyond that, Samsung also built in their stylus tech — pop out the docked pen and you'll be able to write and draw to your heart's content on the hi-res 12.3-inch display.

  • Samsung's new Chromebook is a convertible with a stylus

ASUS announces two new phones with four cameras

ASUS took to CES 2017 to unveil their newest ZenFone devices: the ZenFone 3 Zoom and the ZenFone AR. The ZenFone 3 Zoom is the follow-up to the unique if flawed optically-zooming ZenFone Zoom, and its ditching of the mechanical optical zoom is both a disappointment and not a surprise. In its place are a pair of cameras — one standard, one telephoto, not unlike the iPhone 7 Plus. On the flip side is the ZenFone AR, which uses its cameras and sensor array to scan your surroundings in full 3D. It's not the first phone to do this, but it's certainly the most compact Google Tango phone we've yet seen.

  • ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom joins the dual-camera train, adds a 5000 mAh battery for good measure
  • ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom hands-on: Focused on being more than just a camera
  • Tango and Daydream finally coexist in a single phone thanks to the ASUS ZenFone AR

NVIDIA's Shield TV box has been something of a sleeper hit — those that know it love it, but it's never really got a heavy push behind it. We don't know if that's going to change with the latest update, but we do know it's an impressive update. Coming to the Android TV party is Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings integration, HDR video, and a whole bunch of new games.

  • New NVIDIA Shield Android TV box includes Google Assistant, 4K HDR streaming
  • Google Assistant is coming to Android TV
  • NVIDIA Spot peripheral extends the Shield Android TV's Google Assistant throughout the home
Derek Kessler

Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm (the old one), and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.