Samsung trotted out souped-up versions of its high-definition televisions sets, smart appliances and even unveiled a new two-in-one Galaxy tablet at CES, the annual technology conference in Las Vegas.
The most eye-catching product was the company’s 2016 SUHD (or ultra-high-definition) television sets, which will be offered with screen sizes ranging from 49 inches to 88 inches and include a 10-bit Quantum dot display meant to make picture quality as true to life as possible.
The TVs have an expanded color range — displaying up to 1 billion colors — and offer brighter, lifelike images without distortion, said Joe Stinziano, executive vice president for Samsung Electronics America.
Perhaps more practical, all of the company’s 2016 smart TVs will blend traditional TV, streaming services and gaming devices into a single viewing experience through an updated version of the Smart Hub operating system. The idea is to eradicate the tedious chore of changing video inputs or operating multiple remotes to switch between content types.
The TVs can also double as remotes for the rest of a consumer’s connected home, controlling around 200 smart devices also running Samsung’s “SmartThings” smart home technology.
The smart home concept was a recurring theme in the news conference, with Samsung also introducing new Internet-connected appliances. The company, for instance, showed off its Family Hub Refrigerator, available in the spring, with its quirkiest feature being three cameras inside the fridge so that owners can peek inside and check inventory when they’re not at home.
The new fridge also comes with a 21.5-inch HD LCD screen in the right door that looks and acts like a giant smartphone so family members can post social media updates, leave digital notes and even order more groceries.
Samsung also announced a coming-soon tablet: the Galaxy TabPro S. Meant for the professional user, the tablet-laptop hybrid has a 12-inch display, runs Windows 10 and includes a full-sized keyboard cover. The TabPro S will be available for purchase in February.
The company did not disclose pricing for its newest products.
Hyperloop work begins
Also at CES, Hyperloop Technologies Inc., the futuristic downtown Los Angeles transportation company, said it has begun work on a propulsion system test site in North Las Vegas with the aim of completing it by the end of the quarter.
The propulsion system will be the first of a handful of tests the company is planning for the year that will lead up to a full-scale system test of the pod-and-tube-based transportation network in the fourth quarter. The full-scale test, which executives are calling the “Kitty Hawk moment,” will aim to demonstrate levitated Hyperloop capsules running at 700 miles per hour in a low-pressure environment.
During an interview Tuesday, Chief Executive Rob Lloyd said the company plans to live-stream all of those tests to the public. If everything goes as planned, Hyperloop Technologies would begin work on its first project next year with a proposed completion date of 2020.
“Hyperloop is an architecture and we think that the engineering of that architecture is certain,” he said. “Hyperloop Technologies is building a portfolio of products that will fit the important use cases that we see, which will include both people and freight.”
The hyperloop concept was proposed by billionaire Elon Musk in a 2013 white paper, which led to speculation that the network — if it was ever built — could transport people from L.A. to San Francisco in 35 minutes.
Since then, several companies have taken on the mission, hoping to create a super-fast ground transportation network in the near future; Musk and SpaceX are not affiliated with any hyperloop companies.
Hyperloop Technologies, which now has 85 employees at its Arts District headquarters, has raised $37 million to date from Silicon Valley venture capital titans and big-name advisors, including a former President Obama campaign manager and a former Snapchat executive.
Lloyd said the company — which was announced a year ago — is in the process of securing $80 million in Series B funding. It plans to have 300 employees a year from now, 200 of them based in downtown L.A.
“What we don’t want to do is build an amusement ride,” Lloyd said. “What we do want to do is build something that demonstrates the real transformational power of Hyperloop.”