Day 2 at the International CESWed, 09 Jan 2013 00:00:00 -0800
If you have never seen a 110-inch, ultra-high-definition TV screen, where every molecule of digital delirium dances across the screen in pulses of pixelated promiscuity, well, you're really missing out. Samsung had one such monster screen at the corner of its booth, sporting 4000 pixels per square inch and the techno geeks swooned in front of it like the truly faithful in the front row of a Celine Dion concert at Caesars Palace. For our part, we sat transfixed before it more like the monkeys in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Such is the stuff of CES: high-def TV, home entertainment, internet-based multimedia services, telecommunications infrastructure and, on a somewhat smaller scale and sequestered in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, stuff that goes into cars.
We were there for the latter.
All week long, Audi was giving demos of an A7 that not only drove itself, but which you could leave at the entrance to a parking structure and the car would then drive off, find an empty spot and park itself, without you in it. We have video which we'll edit together soon.
Other developments were less thrilling.
We got to see one of the Technology Development Kits (TDKs) that app developers can use to test their new Sync apps (Ford announced Monday that it had opened up the Sync platform for free to developers). The TDK is about the size of a tall breadbox and looks on one face of it like the dashboard of a Fusion. Ford has not yet decided whether to charge developers for their use or to simply give them away.
Kia showed the 2014 Sorento, which will be the first to sport its UVO eServices infotainment system. It will be in showrooms later this month, followed by the new Forte and other models. eServices adds a telematics suite powered by your smart phone for in-car connectivity. Hyundai, which uses a different system and a different supplier for its Bluelink system, also showed improvements in infotainment, in addition to a nuance touchscreen (let's hope the latter is better than Cadillac's).
OnStar showed the voice-activation feature for its customers with smartphone-based remote link. It starts with a shake of the phone, then you speak your commands. OnStar also now allows you to send locations from your calendar or Facebook to the NAV system for easier and quicker navigation.
Chevrolet added the worldwide streaming audio capabilities TuneIn to the Spark and Sonic and will make it available in the Spark EV. It will be available later this year.
CES continues through Friday. We don't know if we can.
By Mark Vaughn