The world’s biggest gadget-fest, CES, officially kicked off in Las Vegas today. The gaggle of products on display ranges from the weird (smart bras) to the derivative (a slew of Surface knockoffs) to the undeniably cool (a drone with built-in VR headset that lets you share its birds-eye view? Yes, please!).
Amid all the hardware hype, here are some news items developers should pay attention to:
AT&T announces new developer tools
Calling the Internet of Things “the Industrial Revolution 2.0,” the wireless carrier made available to developers its cloud-based Flow Designer for building IoT apps. It also debuted two new features for developers to play with: Flow Edge, an efficient way for apps to process real-time data only, and M2X, which allows for publishing different data sets to various user groups.
Microsoft touts car tech partnerships
Microsoft’s smart-car strategy hinges on providing software to a range of manufacturers, not building its own cars a la Google, the company’s car tech czar, Sanjay Ravi, told Business Insider. “Cars of the future are going to look like your office on wheels,” Ravi said. And just like in stationary offices, Microsoft hopes to provide the tools to keep the office running. The company announced a partnership with Harman to add Office 365 to Harman’s infotainment systems. Nissan has also said that its Leaf and Infiniti models in Europe will have connectivity systems powered by Microsoft Azure.
Intel, HTC debut VR kits
Virtual reality is shaping up as one of the biggest trends at this year’s show, with VR unit sales in the US expected to increase by 500 per cent in 2016, according to the Financial Times. Intel’s new Daqri smart helmet includes a set of glasses that simulate X-ray vision using the company’s RealSense technology. Unlike consumer-oriented devices like Microsoft’s HoloLens, Daqri targets the industrial market, such as construction workers who need to see what’s happening behind a wall or pipe. It will be available for purchase early this year.
HTC’s second Vive Pre development kit, now shipping, includes a front-facing camera that allows the user to switch back and forth between a virtual environment and the real world. A consumer version is expected to launch in April. With the Oculus Rift set for release around then as well, and HoloLens developer kits purportedly arriving soon, it should be an interesting spring for VR.