E3 2017: Video Games Take Centre-Stage as Spectator Sport

Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/ Getty Images North America/ AFP
HIGHLIGHTS
YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook turned gamers into online stars at E3 2017
The e-Sports matches were hugely popular at the annual gaming expo
YouTube billed itself as the biggest gaming platform with record audience
Long fiercely guarded video game industry terrain, the Electronic Entertainment Expo kicked off Tuesday with YouTube, Twitch and Facebook turning gamers into online stars.

A hot trend of video game play streamed as spectator sport and “YouTubers” becoming famous for skills or pithy commentary pervaded the annual gathering, from unveilings of titles to major ‘e-Sports’ matches staged for the first time on the show floor.

“There is a reality now that the influencers of the gaming industry are no longer the games, but the YouTube creators,” YouTube head of gaming Ryan Wyatt told AFP.

E3 2017: Video Games Take Centre-Stage as Spectator Sport

“It is smart to bring creators into the fold so the feedback is constructive, and not scathing reviews.”

Players who have risen to stardom by streaming play online took part in theatrical press conferences held by game and console makers in the days ahead of the formal opening of E3.

Unveilings of eagerly-awaited titles and new franchises were streamed live on platforms including Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube – drawing hundreds of thousands of viewers.

YouTube billed itself as the biggest gaming platform, and said that broadcasters from E3 racked up record-sized audiences.

“Before publishers caught on to the power of the creator, I think creators felt alienated,” Wyatt said, referring to players who stream game action and comment online.

“All of that has changed now. They are integrated into the show and their feedback goes into the design, marketing and promotion of games.

Outshining real-world sports
Video game competition as spectator sport is driving the industry in many ways, according to Craig Levine, chief of leading e-Sports company ESL.

Developers are building games with features to be attractive online spectator events, offerings at E3 showed.

“There are more people watching these games than playing them; it has more than crept into the design cycle,” Levine told AFP.

As competitive performance climbs as a priority, hardware makers push to field better computer chips, screens, controllers and more.

This week, for the first time at E3, there was an e-Sports zone powered by ESL where video game battles were fought and streamed online.

“ESports has one of the fastest growing audiences in not just video games but all of entertainment,” said Rich Taylor, senior vice president of communications at the Electronic Software Association behind E3.

The eSports industry will accelerate from roughly $200 million (roughly Rs. 1,288 crores) in revenue in 2015 to $1-billion (roughly Rs. 6,436 crores) by 2018, according to Baird Equity Research estimates cited by E3 organisers.

In the coming three years, the global audience for eSports was predicted to grow to a half-billion viewers, eclipsing the numbers watching traditional real-world sports, according to Levine.

And, while the focus at E3 was on games for consoles or Windows-powered computers, mobile game play is consistently in top ranks when it comes to viewing, according to YouTube.

More women gamers
The gaming community is huge at Facebook, which returned to E3 this year with an area for live-streamed chats with developers and personalities, and where visitors could share thoughts about the show at the social network and capture memories with 3D or augment reality technology that put them into game scenes.

During the past month, 43 million people have made some 115 million posts, ‘likes,’ and comments related to E3 and major titles.

More than a third of that sharing came from women, who are a growing part of the gaming community, according to Facebook.

“We’ve seen this community of gamers continue to grow and evolve each year – with women now taking a growing share of the conversation around E3,” said Facebook head of global console and online gaming Franco DeCesare.

About 800 million members of the social network play at least one Facebook game monthly, director of global games partnerships Leo Olebe told AFP.

Facebook worked with ESL, video game giant Activision and others at E3 to create content for the social network.

“The fact that the player really is at the center of everything is really powerful,” Olebe told AFP.

“As the player takes a larger role in what’s happening inside our industry, Facebook is perfectly positioned to facilitate that process.”

BSEB Bihar Class 10 Results 2017: How to check

The Bihar School Education Board (BSEB) is all set to declare the matriculate or class 10 board results on Tuesday, June 20.

Once the Bihar Class 10 results will be declared, all the candidates can check the same at biharboard.ac.in

Here’s what BSEB chairman Anand Kishor said:

“We are working out the modalities. Things are in an advanced stage,” BSEB chairman Anand Kishor said in recent HT report.

How to check Bihar Class 10 board results:

  • Go to the official website, biharboard.ac.in
  • Click on relevant link
  • Enter you roll number and other required details in prescribed format
  • Click to submit
  • Results will be displayed on the computer screen
  • Download the Class 10 results and take print out of the same for future reference.

After Ruby Rai, this year also, Bihar board came under the topper scam fiasco.

BSEB Bihar Class 10 Results 2017

Bihar Class 12 toppers scam:

This year, Ganesh Kumar from Ram Nandan Singh Jagdeep Narayan Higher Secondary School in Samastipur secured the first position in Arts stream with 82.60 per cent.

(Read: Bihar Board 41-year-old topper Ganesh arrested for fraud, possessed fake name and has two kids)

The 24-year-old Ganesh Kumar scored 65 out of 70 in music practicals.

While speaking to Rohit Kumar Singh, India Today, Ganesh said, “I don’t know much about music. I just attended a couple of music classes in the last two years that I spent in college before appearing for the intermediate exam.” He further added, “I never thought I would become a topper in Bihar Board. I was a satisfactory student but never thought that I would top the exams.”

Verification of toppers:

Leaving no stone unturned, the board has also planned to conduct verification of top 10 performers to prevent any chance of forgery.

The Bihar board conducted the Class 10 examination in the month of May.

Total number of Bihar Board Class 10 students:

It is said that nearly 17 lakh students from Bihar appeared for matriculate (class 10) board examination this year.

Important note: Unlike Class 12, in matriculation (class 10), there is just one topper.

About BSEB:

The Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) is established for holding and conducting an examination at the end of the Secondary School stage, for prescribing course of studies for such examination and for carrying out such other objects and duties as may be considered necessary for the purpose as stated in the act, rules and regulations of the board.

iPad Pro 2017 Models Outperform New MacBook Pro Models in Some Benchmarks

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The benchmark tests pitted new iPad Pro models against MacBook Pro
  • The 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models were included in the test
  • Benchmark also included 2016 MacBook Pro models

Apple’s new iPad Pro models are as capable as the refreshed MacBook Pro models, matching, and even surpassing the laptops in certain benchmarks. Bare Feats, a benchmarking blog, posted some CPU and GPU test results that pitted the 2017 MacBook Pro models against the new iPad Pro 12.9 inch and 10.5-inch models.

The devices were tested with a series of benchmark tests like GeekBench and GFXBench giving an idea about the CPU and GPU performance of the new iPad Pro and MacBook Pro models. The tests also included older 2016 MacBook Pro and iPad Pro models to get a better idea about the improvements that the new hardware brings to the hotel.

In terms of GPU performance, the new iPad Pro models outperform the MacBook Pro (2016 and 2017) models in Geekbench 4 Compute Metal test. The test results showed the 10.5-inch iPad Pro model scoring 27,814, and was closely followed by 12.9-inch iPad Pro which scored 27,597. MacBook Pro 2016 and 2017 models came third and fourth with a score of 27,631 and 26,353 respectively.

In the single-core GeekBench 4 tests, the all-new MacBook Pro 13-inch was seen scoring 4,650, which outperformed the new iPad Pro models which scored around 4,000 mark. Though, the test also saw that the 12.9-inch and 10.5-inch iPad Pro models scores were on par with the older MacBook Pro models.iPad Pro 2017 Models Outperform New MacBook Pro Models in Some Benchmarks

In the multi-core CPU tests, the 2017 MacBook Pro models yet again outperformed all the iPad Pro models with a stunning score of 10,261. The new iPad Pro models, however, beat the 2016 MacBook Pro models, which can be seen as a big improvement for the tablets.

The benchmark scores may indicate that the new iPad Pro models can match CPU and GPU performance of MacBook Pro though we want to stress that these scores aren’t indicative of real-world usage usage.

To recall, Apple refreshed the 12.9-inch iPad Pro model at the WWDC 2017, and also launched the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro. The company also refreshed the entire MacBook lineup, including a new 13-Inch MacBook Pro configuration.

Apple iPad Pro (10.5-inch) Wi-Fi

Apple iPad Pro (10.5-inch) Wi-Fi

  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS

Display

10.50-inch

Front Camera

7-megapixel

Resolution

2224×1668 pixels

OS

iOS 10

Storage

64GB

Rear Camera

12-megapixel

Also See
  • Apple iPad Pro (9.7-inch, Wi-Fi, Space Grey, 32GB) MLMN2HN/A Space Gray –
    Rs. 43,496
  • Apple iPad Pro (9.7-inch) Wi-Fi (Space Grey, 32GB) – OFFER
    Rs. 47,405
  • Apple iPad Pro (9.7-inch) Wi-Fi (Rose Gold, 32GB) – OFFER
    Rs. 47,405
Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch) 2017 Wi-Fi

Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch) 2017 Wi-Fi

  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS

Display

12.90-inch

Front Camera

7-megapixel

Resolution

2732×2048 pixels

OS

iOS 10

Storage

64GB

Rear Camera

12-megapixel

Also See
  • Apple iPad Pro (9.7-inch, Wi-Fi, Space Grey, 32GB) MLMN2HN/A Space Gray –
    Rs. 43,496
  • Apple iPad Pro (9.7-inch) Wi-Fi (Space Grey, 32GB) – OFFER
    Rs. 47,405
  • Apple iPad Pro (9.7-inch) Wi-Fi (Rose Gold, 32GB) – OFFER
    Rs. 47,405

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 codename “Gr3at” leaks, expected to launch at IFA 2017

Rumours about the Galaxy Note 8 have been rampant in recent months, with the flagship phone believed to get launched  ahead of iPhone 8’s September unveiling. Now, the Note 8’s internal codename has been leaked months ahead of the launch.

According to serial tipster Evan Blass, the Note 8 is actually codenamed ” Samsung Gr3at”. The number 3 in the end might hint at the new features coming to the Note 8, though at this point this is pure speculation. Samsung could be adding new features to the Note 8 and thus codenamed the device “Gr3at”. In the past the Galaxy Note 8 was internally codenamed “Great”.

Note 8, Galaxy Note 8, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Note 8 codename leaked, Note 8 launch rumours

It’s hard not to believe that how crucial the Galaxy Note 8 launch will be for Samsung, especially after the Note 7 fiasco. One cannot deny the fact that there will be immense pressure on Samsung to make a better device in the form of the Galaxy Note 8.

While Blass did not reveal any other details about the Note 8 other than the codename. But the phone is rumoured to come with the similar design and specifications as the Galaxy S8, barring a few changes here and there. It’s being said that the Note 8 will have a 6.3-inch QHD ‘Infinity’ display with a resolution of 2960×1440 pixels, and no home button.

The phone will reportedly feature a Snapdragon 835 processor, and it will feature a dual camera setup with a 12-megapixel  wide-angle lens, and a 13-megapixel telephoto lens. A separate report had claimed that the Note 8 was being tested running Android 7.1 Nougat, rather than the beta version of the upcoming Android 8.0 which is Android O.

In April, Samsung itself confirmed its plans to release the follow-up to the ill fated Galaxy Note 7 in the second-half of the year but declined to exactly reveal when the launch would take place. Earlier this week, a report from South Korea had claimed that the Galaxy Note 8 could be launched in mid-August.

But a contradictory report from Sam Mobile suggests that Samsung is planning to launch the Galaxy Note 8 at IFA 2017, which kicks off in Berlin on September 1. Samsung traditionally launches a new Galaxy Note device each year at the IFA tech show in Berlin, however, the Note 7 was exception which made its debut in New York in the first week of August.

New Nissan Qashqai 2017 – Veteran crossover returns better than ever

Nissan Qashqai 2017 UK price and specs have been revealed
The latest iteration of the Nissan Qashqai will go on sale in the UK from July 2017 and features an upgraded list of specs.

Qashqai is the best-selling urban crossover in Europe and recentyl celebrated its 10 year anniversary.

Philippe Saillard, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Nissan Europe, commented: “The second-generation Nissan Qashqai has been an outstanding ambassador for our innovative crossover range and the Nissan brand since its launch in 2014.

“It has been a sales phenomenon, keeping us at the number one position in the segment.

“With these premium enhancements to its design, quality, technology and driving dynamics, we are confident this will continue.”

One thing you could’ve criticised the current Qashqai for was its relatively safe design.

The latest iteration of the car looks to have been given the same treatment the brand-new Micra was given earlier this year.

This Qashqai features an integrated new front bumper, glossy contrasting cladding, new air vents flanking the front bumper.

Nissan Qashqai UK 2017PH

It features bold new styling to help it compete with the burgeoning market

At the heart of redesigned front face of the Qashqai is the latest incarnation of Nissan’s iconic ‘V-motion’ grille, which frames the Nissan badge.

There are two versions of the badge, a standard contoured version or the N-Connecta.

N-Connecta has a completely flat finish because the upgraded radar, which is used by the Intelligent Emergency Braking system, is located behind it.

The front camera is now housed in the chrome surrounds and are used for the 360 parking camera system and Around View Monitor.

New front-headlights and LED daytime running lights are now a feature of the new car with certain trim levels.

Nissan Qashqai 2017PH

Qashqai is the best-selling urban crossover in Europe

The clam-shell bonnet is an evolution of the last and helps the car look bolder and more dominant.

Two new exterior colours are now available – Vivid Blue and Chestnut Bronze.

N-Connecta grade and above seats have been completely redesigned claiming to offer superior comfort compared to previous generations.

Boot space is a decent 430 litres which increases to 860 litres when the 60:40 split rear seats are folded flat.

Every new Nissan Qashqai comes with six airbags as standard, plus driver assistance systems including anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution and stability control.

Nissan reveal BRAND NEW enhanced Qashqai

Other standard equipment includes manual air-conditioning, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, DAB digital radio (in most markets), Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control with speed limiter, and electrically adjustable heated door mirrors.
Depending on the grade chosen, available features include dual-zone climate control, automatic headlights and wipers, folding door mirrors and privacy glass. Many of the higher-grade features are available as optional extras on lower grades.

Additional options include the full-length panoramic glass roof with one-touch shade, exterior styling plates and side styling bars. Genuine Nissan accessories include a dog guard, roof bars and a fixed towbar with electric hook-up.

The infotainments systems have been upgraded based on customer feedback. DAB radio will now comes as standard and the NissanConnect touch-screen satellite navigation unit features a more app-like appearance, to make it more user-friendly.

Nissan Qashqai 2017PH

ProPilot semi-autonomous functionality is also available on the new crossover

One of the most talked about features is the Nissan Intelligent Mobility ProPILOT function which offers autonomous driving The system controls the steering, acceleration and braking in a single lane on highways during heavy traffic congestion and high-speed cruising and is based on three technologies – Lane Keep Assist (LKA), Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC) and Traffic Jam Pilot (TJP).

The Qashqai continues to be offered with Traffic Sign Recognition, Intelligent Driver Alertness, Intelligent Park Assist, Intelligent Around View Monitor and Lane Departure Warning and Stand Still Assist (SSA), which supplements Hill Start Assist (HSA).

On top of this the Intelligent Emergency Braking has been upgraded with Pedestrian Recognition using a combination of forward-facing radar and a camera.

The Qashqai’s range of engines has been carried over form the previous generation, offering the choice of petrol or diesel, six-speed manual or CVT XTronic automatic transmissions, and two or four-wheel drive.

This line-up includes the 1.5-litre 110PS diesel which, with CO2 emissions of just 99g/km and fuel economy of only 3.8 litres/100km, is the segment leader.

Qashqai is Nissan’s most successful model in Europe with over 2.3million sold since the original version went on sale in 2007. Since then it has racked up our 80 awards including 19 Car of the Year titles.

The car will be built at Nissan’s manufacturing facility in Sunderland, UK.

 

2017 Hyundai i20 Facelift Spotted Testing In India

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Hyundai i20 facelift will come with considerable cosmetic changes
  • Hyundai recently launched a slightly updated two-tone version of the car
  • Mechanically, the 2017 Hyundai i20 facelift will remain unchanged

simplezoom-img

The 2017 Hyundai i20 facelift was recently spotted testing in India and this time we have some clear pictures of the car. While it was just back in April that Hyundai India launched a slightly updated version of the car in new dual tone colour option, the upcoming model will be a proper mid-life facelift with considerable cosmetic changes and feature upgrades. While there is no official word on the launch date for the Hyundai i20 facelift, we expect the car to go on sale by the end of this year. This will give Hyundai a few months of a head start before the new-gen Maruti Suzuki Swift arrives in India.

Hyundai Elite i20
5.83 Lakh * On Road Price (New Delhi)

Hyundai Elite i20
hyundai i20 facelift spied

Hyundai i20 facelift has been spied with new alloy wheels

Now, the latest images of the Hyundai i20 facelift were shot really up-close so, while we do have some detailed shots of the car, we cannot be certain about any major changes to its silhouette. Although, what we can tell you is that the new Hyundai i20 will come with an updated front, featuring the company’s new signature cascading grille design and restyled headlamps. Projector lamps and LED daytime running lights will certainly be a part of the package but only in the top-end variants. The test mule was also seen sporting a new stylish set of alloy wheels, that looks quite premium and should enhance the overall appearance of the car.

hyundai i20 facelift spied

The 2017 Hyundai i20 facelift will come with the same engine options

The rear portion and the cabin are heavily disguised so we can’t entirely be sure about the amount of updates Hyundai has made. Having said that, we do expect to see revised LED taillamps, a new rear bumper design and a small roof mounted spoil, whereas, the cabin will get a slightly upmarket treatment with new interior trim options and features. A touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, automatic climate control and faux leather upholstery are some of the comfort features we expect to see. Airbags and ABS with EBD might be a part of standard offerings.

In terms of powertrain options, we do not expect to see any changes so the car will continue to be powered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine with a 5-speed manual unit, a 1.4-litre diesel engine with a 6-speed manual gearbox and a 1.4-litre petrol with a 4-speed automatic transmission.

Image Source: Motorbeam

CES 2017: World's Largest Tech Show Looks Beyond Smart at New Realities

The mega-extravaganza of the tech world in Las Vegas is showcasing an array of new devices that get smarts from computer chips, sensors and artificial intelligence, but go further by opening doors to augmented or virtual realities.

The Consumer Electronics Show, which begins with a series of media events Tuesday will offer trade professionals a look at new robotics, connected cars and a dizzying assortment of gizmos from connected sneakers to drones.

This year’s show will see results of a boost in computing power from artificial intelligence, which can help power things like autonomous cars, and deliver new experiences such as augmented or virtual reality.

“Virtual reality is changing the game for a variety of industries including health care, agriculture, manufacturing and business,” said Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Technology Association that organizes the annual show, in a Reddit chat.

“Doctors are using VR to enhance traditional therapies, architects use VR to design stronger buildings and travel agencies are using it to simplify vacation planning.”

CES will celebrate its 50th anniversary at the gathering, and organizers promised it would have the largest showcase of VR technology ever.

One CES panel discussion will examine how virtual reality is transforming television, movies and even news with immersive forms of video.

A host of virtual reality experiences will entice attendees at the trade-only show.

CES 2017: World's Largest Tech Show Looks Beyond Smart at New Realities

Cars will feature virtual reality displays to provide a better sense of the environment around them, while similar technologies will be showcased for smart glasses, medicine and beauty makeovers.

Enhancing reality
Robin Raskin, who heads the Living in Digital Times center of the show, said augmented reality is catching on with try-and-see beauty apps, in-store virtual mirrors and toys.

Augmented reality, she said, “lets us look at the real world and add valuable, entertaining and immersive information to it.”

Analyst Jack Gold at J. Gold Associates said that despite the potential benefits of virtual and augmented reality in business or industry, “gaming is where it is going to take off first,” because that’s where people are spending money.

“The issue is not whether it has the potential to transform things, but whether you can put it into a space where consumers can afford it and give enough additional information so people are able to use it,” Gold said.

CES is among the world’s biggest trade shows, and last year drew 177,000 attendees over exhibit space of 2.47 million square feet (230,000 square meters). This year, 150 countries will be represented.

It will include big industry names such as Sony, LG and Samsung in electronics, with the perennial battle to have the sleekest most gorgeous television screen.

(Also see: Samsung Unveils CH711 Curved Quantum Dot Monitor for Gamers Ahead of CES 2017)

 

Meanwhile, in attendance will be more than 600 startups from 33 countries, including first-time participants – the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Ukraine.

Auto-industry titans including Ford and BMW are increasingly using CES to show off technology packed into vehicles for efficiency, safety, entertainment and navigation.

Race for autonomy
The show will feature demonstrations of autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles, including one from Japan’s Honda said to be equipped with an artificial intelligence “emotion engine” that aims to better understand its occupants.

Electric car startup Faraday Future, one of several manufacturers taking on Tesla, is expected to unveil its first production car a year after showing a prototype.

Renault-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn has promised to discuss “a major technological breakthrough in the realization of a zero-emission, zero-fatality world for everyone,” according to a statement from CES organizers.

Humanoid robots
The show is also expected to feature advances in robotics, with more human-like robots and the public debut of “Professor Einstein” from Hanson Robotics.

Getting a boost from artificial intelligence, some new robots at the show will keep an eye on the kids, play chess or help with homework.

Gold said he expects to see a large number of drones looking for a slice of a surging market.

“This is really the year of the drone, and everybody is trying to get into this market,” he said.

But he added that the strongest potential for drones may be with businesses, with uses including aerial photography.

On the smartphone front, South Korea’s LG will show a range of new “mid-range” handsets and China’s Huawei has a smartphone event scheduled. TCL, the Chinese firm which owns the Alcatel brand, will unveil new BlackBerry handsets following its deal for the troubled Canadian brand.

(Also see: BlackBerry Mercury aka DTEK70 Tipped to Launch With Snapdragon 625 SoC at CES 2017)

The show floor will see a host of new and improved connected home technologies that manage everything from light bulbs to refrigerators.

“We’re pretty close on things like the smart home, where we’re going to get up one day and everybody is going to speak to their refrigerators,” said NPD analyst Stephen Baker.

Carolina Milanesi of the consultancy Creative Strategies said 2016 “has seen material progress” in some new technologies that will result in products hitting the marketplace, even though not all will be hits.

“In some cases, it’s because the consumers weren’t really asking for it,” she said.

CES 2017 – Top Trends: From Drones to AI

CES is one of the world’s largest trade shows and is the forum for many tech companies and startups to unveil their plans for the year. Its influence has waned over the years, given that many leading companies including Apple, Google and Microsoft hold their own events. But the CES show still draws a lot of attention.

The event starts Tuesday with two days of company announcements on new products and services. The show floor itself opens on Thursday.

Top trends expected to emerge at CES this year include an explosion of voice-controlled interfaces, subtle integration of artificial intelligence into everyday life and increasing digitisation in areas like health and wellness.

The 50th annual CES this week in Las Vegas is expected to draw 165,000 attendees. In the past, it has been a showcase for stunning new gadgets, but in recent years it has evolved into an event where more incremental steps forward are revealed.

Gadgets expected include TVs with new capabilities and better picture quality, as well as all sorts of household products with Internet connections, including refrigerators, doors and security cameras.

CES 2017 - Top Trends: From Drones to AI

Shawn Dubravac, chief economist of the Consumer Technology Association, said in a panel Tuesday that voice control will be far more prevalent this year than it has been in the past. Voice-activated systems are expected to double to 10 million in 2017, he said.

Meanwhile, artificial intelligence is finding its way into more products, such as a refrigerator that can self-adjust its temperature for optimal humidity.

“The broader theme is how we’re increasingly allowing these small things to be automated,” he said. “It started with changing the temperature in the room, and now it’s changing the temperature in your refrigerator.”

Elsewhere, look for a surplus of new drones, personal robots and connected and self-driving cars on display, as well new wearable devices that give insight into specific health and wellness categories like preventing concussions or measuring vitamin D deficiency.

Neither the holiday season nor New Year’s fitness resolutions seem to be helping wearable gadgets break into the mainstream.

 

Research firm eMarketer has lowered its outlook for smartwatches and fitness trackers such as the Apple Watch and Fitbits. It’s not that the craze has died down – it’s more like there never was one to begin with.

The research comes as gadget makers large and small prepare to unveil new wearable devices at the CES tech show in Las Vegas this week.

In October 2015, eMarketer expected wearable gadget to grow more than 60 percent among US adults in 2016. That’s now down to less than 25 percent. While fitness trackers are relatively cheap and straightforward to use, eMarketer says smartwatches haven’t caught on because they are expensive and lack a well-defined purpose.

(Also see: Xiaomi-Backed Yi Technology to Showcase New Action Camera, Drone at CES 2017)

But multinational corporations – no, really – could save the day. Gartner predicts that by 2019, nearly all big employers will encourage the use of fitness trackers to “improve corporate performance.” Big Brother, apparently, won’t just be watching, but tracking your steps.

Technology may soon change the way you shop in brick-and-mortar stores, not just online.

Last month, Amazon unveiled a test store that lets shoppers fill their bags and walk out without seeing a cashier or scanning any items.

Many other stores have been experimenting with digital enhancements aimed at luring shoppers back from online sites. Many of these technologies will be unveiled or demonstrated at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas, which begins Tuesday with media previews.

Robots, for instance, could help guide shoppers to the right aisle, while augmented reality apps could help you see how a particular shade of paint will look in the living room – or how you might look in a pair of jeans.

But plenty of retailers have learned through trial – and error – that technology can’t get too far ahead of shoppers. It has to be easy to use and beneficial to shoppers in some way.

New Year 2017 Wishlist: What Gadgets 360 Staff Are Looking to Buy for Themselves – and Why

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Predictably, there’s a couple of new iPhones in there
  • VR gets a couple of shouts too
  • Gaming seems to be the most in-demand category for 2017

Now that 2017 is upon us, the talk inside the Gadgets 360 lab has shifted to things such as CES, MWC, and of course, iPhone 8 rumours. And, since we spend too much time shopping for tech, we’re also predictably talking about all the gadgets we want to buy.

For many of us, this is also a bit of a break from reality – we’ve had people in our team dream of buying an Xbox One for a couple of years before taking the plunge – but who doesn’t enjoy planning that next big tech buy?

If you’re curious about the gadgets that will be filling the Gadgets 360 office in the coming months – hopefully – then read on to see everyone’s top pick for buying in 2017.

Abhinav Lal: HTC Vive – While this will also entail a PC upgrade for me, I want to enter the world of PC gaming VR, and the HTC Vive looks like the best bet so far.

Akhil Arora: 4K HDR TV – Good 4K HDR TVs are way too expensive right now. I was lucky enough to witness the capabilities of one such TV when it landed in our office, and when Netflix showed off the high-end version. Despite the lack of content heading into 2017, I’m sold on the idea of buying one – if money was no barrier – more so because of how much TV I tend to watch.

Sony Z9D

Devika Chitnis: JBL GO – I am in dire need of a portable speaker. JBL Go has a clean design which is awesome and comes in different pop colours that make the speaker look alive. I am eyeing the orange one. The sound quality is surprisingly good for an affordable portable speaker.

Gagan Gupta: Bose QC35 – Now that I’ve said goodbye to the 3.5mm jack thanks to my iPhone 7 Plus, I need a good pair of over the ear headphones that can keep out noise, expecially on flights and cabs. While the Bose QC35 may not be every audiophile’s headphones of choice, it’s still the best when it comes to active noise cancellation, and it sounds just right with my classic rock collection.

Gopal Sathe: Zotac VR GO Backpack – I’ve been interested in VR since the Oculus Kickstarter first got off the ground. That we are finally “there” is hard to believe. That you can now put on a backpack and enjoy a (largely) mobile yet high quality VR experience is nothing short of magical. If I have the money, I’d absolutely be getting the Zotac VR GO Backpack.

zotac vr go box contents

Jamshed Avari: Geforce GTX 1070 – It really is time to get serious about tackling my Steam backlog. I’ve been putting this off for a long time, but looking at the kind of performance that both Nvidia and AMD have both brought to the table this year, it’s finally time. I’m leaning towards the GTX 1070 because I want enough performance headroom to drive top-tier games at 1920×1200 pixels for at least a few years. The specific graphics card will depend on prices and availability at the time of purchase.

Ketan Pratap: Next iPhone – I have been an Android user all of my life but I guess it’s about time to go for my first iPhone. Considering this year is the tenth anniversary of the first iPhone launch, I expect the next one to come with decent changes both in terms of innards as well as design.

Kunal Dua: What Gagan said.

Naina Gupta: Next iPhone – I have heard too much about iPhone around me but never used it. I want to take experience of 3D Touch, Live Photos, and other unique features of iPhone.

Pranay Parab: Board/ Card games – I’ve been meaning to reduce screen time and spend more time with my friends and family. Card games and board games sound like a way to accomplish this, without spending obscene amounts of money at cinemas and restaurants.

We’ve all played and hated Monopoly (aka Business), but there are great alternatives such as Pandemic, Resistance, Catan, Game of Thrones, Star Wars: Rebellion. I’m also planning to play funny card games such as Exploding Kittens with my friends.

Ravi Sharma: Nintendo Switch – I am not much of a gamer, but the Nintendo Switch (and its hybrid form factor) may finally be the device that pulls me into the fold. The rumoured price tag of $250-300 makes the Switch cheap enough for me to afford it, without sacrificing my budget for a mid-range laptop that I am also planning to buy in 2017.

And games such new Sonic, Mario, Dragon Quest X, Legend of Zelda titles that are expected to be released for Nintendo Switch are enough to satiate my appetite for nostalgia, while the exclusives will hopefully be engaging enough to retain me on the platform.

switch

Rishi Alwani: Project Scorpio – The PS4 Pro has a one year headstart over Microsoft’s next iteration on the Xbox One, that will remain a highly competent piece of kit in 2017. However I’m extremely curious to see how Microsoft leverages its fantastic first-party franchises, such as Forza and Halo to make full use of Project Scorpio, more so with the likes of Scalebound and Crackdown 3 on the way.

Rohan Naravane: Google Pixel 2 – It was great to see Google finally taking hardware into its own hands, and launch the Pixel phones. Since there’s been only one Pixel phone till now, there’s no guarantee if, or when, we’ll see another one. If Google does release a ‘Pixel 2’, which I’m hoping will happen around the end of 2017, then I would certainly want to buy one.

Roydon Cerejo: Manfrotto Advanced Camera and Laptop backpack – I’ve been looking to replace my Lowepro Photo Hatchback (which is still serving me brillliantly) with something that can accommodate a laptop too. This particular Manfrotto backpack seem like the prefect combination of size, versitality and price, for me anyways.

manfrotto bag backpack

Sandeep Kumar Sinha: Sony Smart TV – I need to synchronise my playlists and other streamable content on the devices I own, and, in 2017, my television should have this feature. A Sony Smart TV is a likeable product that I am looking to buy in 2017 as most of the apps I use could be mirrored and projected easily.

Sanket Vijayasarathy: PlayStation 4 – I’ve been meaning to get my hands on the PlayStation 4 for a while now. I’ve played a bunch of PS4 titles at friends’ places, but seeing as how the console is now available for around Rs. 26,000 (for the 500GB model, whenever there’s a sale on), I think the time has come for me to move on to a current-gen console.

ps4 black white

Shekhar Thakran: Tekken 7 – I still have fond memories of playing Tekken 3 as well as Tekken 5 on my Playstation 2 from several years ago. As the game franchise is finally coming to PC with Tekken 7 next year, it is a no-brainer for me. With much-improved graphics and the same old characters, nothing that can go wrong.

Shubham Verma: Microsoft Surface Studio with the Microsoft Dial – The beautiful, large-screen monitor is worth swooning over, and the Microsoft Dial takes things to another level. I keep making different art designs on my laptop, and the Microsoft Dial and Surface pen would make this so much easier. While the price will probably keep me from ever actually buying this gadget, if I had the money, the considering the features and the advanced actions enabled by them, this would be the must-buy package of 2017.

Nokia 6, Asus ZenFone AR and Other CES 2017 Launches, Vodafone's Rs. 499 Plan, More News This Week

HIGHLIGHTS

  • New products at CES 2017 dominated the news this week
  • Nokia 6 launch on Sunday stole CES’ thunder a little bit
  • Vodafone now has a Rs. 499 unlimited calling postpaid plan

Predictably, CES 2017 dominated tech news this week with a range of exciting launches and demos, but just as we were putting the finishing touches to this piece, another launch grabbed the headlines. HMD Global, the new custodians of the Nokia brand, announced the launch of Nokia 6, a phone that runs Android 7.0 out of the box.

The Nokia 6 has a 5.5-inch full-HD display wrapped in 2.5D Gorilla Glass. The smartphone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 SoC alongside 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. The Nokia 6 is a dual SIM smartphone that is backed by a 3000mAh non-removable battery. See full specifications of the Nokia 6, which will unfortunately be a China-exclusive smartphone. HMD Global confirmed more Nokia Android phones are coming soon.

Before we get to all the CES launches from this week, let’s take a look at some important stories from closer home. Vodafone is taking the battle to Reliance Jio and Airtel with the launch of a new postpaid plan that offers unlimited calling, and 3GB of 4G data each month. The revamped Vodafone Red postpaid plans come soon after Airtel started offering 3GB of free mobile data per month to prepaid and postpaid customers switching to its 4G network.

Nokia 6, Asus ZenFone AR and Other CES 2017 Launches, Vodafone's Rs. 499 Plan, More News This Week

Friday saw the launch of the Samsung Galaxy J1 (4G) in India – the same phone was launched in Russia in March last year, after quietly making its way to Dubai in January. In both those markets, it was sold as the Samsung Galaxy J1 (2016). This is an entry level phone from Samsung, priced at Rs. 6,890.

From CES, one of the highlights was the launch of the Asus ZenFone AR, the first smartphone with 8GB of RAM. It also come with support for Google’s Tango augmented reality programme and DayDream virtual reality software. Asus ZenFone AR, like the other Tango device – the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro – is designed around machine vision with a camera and sensor setup that provides motion tracking, depth perception, and area learning.

In addition to the ZenFone AR, Also also unveiled the Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom camera smartphone with 5000mAh battery at the event. The phone has dual rear cameras and offers 2.3x optical zoom.

Samsung used CES to showcase the new A (2017) smartphones launched earlier this week. The Galaxy A3 (2017), Galaxy A5 (2017), Galaxy A7 (2017) sport “enhanced” cameras compared to their predecessors, optimised for low-light conditions.

Later, pricing of the two of the new Samsung phones came to light as well.

LG also unveiled its K-series phones on the CES floor – the range covers the LG K3 (2017), LG K4 (2017), LG K8 (2017), and the LG K10 (2017).

LG also showed the LG Stylus 3. The South Korean company says that the new 2017 variants of the LG K3, K4, K8, K10 smartphones, and the Stylus 3 will strengthen its portfolio in the mid-range segment.

At its CES 2017 event, Xiaomi unveiled the latest Mi TV 4 and Mi Router HD, apart from announcing a brand new White colour variant of the Mi MIX smartphone. All the Xiaomi CES 2017 devices will be available later this year in China. Slimmer than an iPhone 7, the Mi TV 4 is the company’s thinnest TV to date.

The Xiaomi Mi MIX was unveiled as a limited edition concept smartphone, made in collaboration with French designer Philippe Stark, in October last year, and it will go on sale later this year.

Chipmaker Qualcomm finally took the wraps off its Snapdragon 835 SoC. Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 packs an Adreno 540 GPU, and is 30 percent smaller than the Snapdragon 820. The first 10nm chip by Qualcomm comes with longer battery life and will enable thinner designs.

Nvidia launched a new version of its Shield Android TV, called just Shield, at CES 2017. It comes with Google Assistant integration and supports 4K HDR. The new Nvidia Shield will cost $199 (roughly Rs. 13,200) but the company has not announced the availability of the device yet. It will be the first Android TV with Google’s Assistant, but others will follow, and it will come to other platforms over time.

There were also a lot of laptop launches at CES – Dell launched a range of products including a Latitude 2-in-1 business laptop, XPS 13 2-in-1, as well as new Alienware and Inspiron 7000 Gaming laptops. It also launched the new XPS 15 laptop, a Rose Gold variant of the XPS 13, and the XPS 27 AIO.

Asus launched the ZenBook 3 Deluxe UX490UA, and unveiled a new, slimmed-down business laptop, along with a VR-ready compact PC.

LG launched its new Gram 14 laptop, which it claims offers a battery life of around 24 hours. However, the benchmark test used by the company for this claim has turned out to be a 10-year old measurement tool. LG’s new Gram 14 laptop weighs around 980 grams, and is powered by Intel’s latest Kaby Lake processors. It comes with up to 16GB of RAM and houses up to 512GB of SSD storage.

Toshiba expanded its Portege laptop portfolio to launch a 2-in-1 offering – Portege X20W – pricing details of the 2-in-1 have not been announced yet. The Portege X20W convertible’s main highlight is touted to be its 16-hour battery life. Meanwhile, HP unveiled the refreshed EliteBook x360, a 15.6-inch Spectre x360, alongside the new Envy Curved AIO 34, the new Sprout Pro by HP, and Omen X 35 Curved Display.

Lenovo refreshed the ThinkPad X1 line, launching a host of products under its portfolio including the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, ThinkPad X1 Yoga, ThinkPad X1 Tablet, Miix 720, Lenovo Active Pen 2, Lenovo Legion Y720 Laptop, Lenovo Legion Y520 Laptop, Lenovo Smart Assistant, Lenovo Smart Assistant Harman Kardon Edition, Lenovo Smart Storage, Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller, and Lenovo New Glass C200.

Asus also showed the Chromebook Flip C302 2-in-1 convertible, a high-end Chromebook. Samsung unveiled a Chromebook with stylus support, while Acer showed off a rugged Chromebook, targeted at classrooms.

Dell also launched a range of new gaming laptops in its Alienware and Inspiron lines, and Lenovo showed its range of Legion gaming laptops, and also a new VR headset, which will work with Microsoft’s Windows Holographic Program. Samsung also showcased a new gaming laptop, the Notebook Odyssey. The most jaw-dropping of the lot though was probably Razer’s Project Valerie concept laptop, which comes with three 4K displays, for “total immersion gaming”.

On the audio front, JBL launched the Pulse 3, Flip 4, Playlist, and BassPro Go speakers; Sennheiser unveiled wireless headphones and recording earbuds; Sony showed Google-Home friendly soundboards, along with new headphones and speakers; and LG announced a Dolby Atmos capable soundbar.

As usual, CES also saw a number of wearables being launched – some of the highlights were the Misfit Vapor, the Casio WSD-F20 rugged Android Wear watch, and the Motiv fitness ring, which comes with a heart rate sensor. There were a few VR related announcements for new accessories from HTC Vive, while the other products are still works in progress.

Outside of CES, we had two more launches in India this week. We saw the launch of the Xolo Era 2X – the 2GB RAM variant has been priced at Rs. 6,666 while the 3GB RAM variant has been priced at Rs. 7,499. It replaces the Xolo Era 1X, which launched with a price tag of Rs. 4,999 last year. Other than this, we had the launch of the Sennheiser HD 200 PRO closed-backover-ear headphones in India, priced at Rs. 6,490.

Besides this, TRAI released a consultation paper on net neutrality – you have till February 15 to send in your responses to the regulator on this important issue.

Paytm also announced an interesting development this week – it’s finally received approval to launch its payments bank – the actual rollout will still take a little time, but it’s expected in the coming months. Paytm had earlier announced that it’s going to merge its Wallet and Payments Bank, so your wallet balance will automatically become your bank balance.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai visited India this week, and launched new programs to help SMBs go digital. He visited his alma mater IIT-Kharagpur, where he talked to students, and told NDTV’s Vikram Chandra in an interview Google is keen to work on UPI. He also met IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad who says Google should tailor its services to local needs.

These were the highlights of the week for us, let us know via the comments what caught your eye this week.