Amazon and Samsung lead ‘4K’ TV drive

Amazon.com is teaming up with Samsung and other media companies to bring “4K” ultra high-definition television to the masses.

Amazon and Samsung lead ‘4K’ TV drive

The companies are hoping 4K TV — so-called because they are said to offer four times the resolution of conventional high-definition images — will recharge television sales.

To date, ultra high-def TV has been slow to take off, partly because of the high cost of the new-fangled displays and insufficient content. High-definition television took years to become mainstream after TV prices came down and content became more widely available.

At the world’s greatest electronics tradeshow, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the South Korean tech giant said it will work with other content distributors, including Netflix on promoting 4K TV.

In other technology news, one of the creators of Twitter unveiled a new mobile app which is seeking to improve the way people search for and find information, by querying people instead of internet search engines.

Investors include his other Twitter co-founders Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams, venture capital investor Reid Hoffman, as well as U2 frontman Bono and former vice president of the United States Al Gore.

“Everyone is mobile, everyone is connected. So if you have a question, there’s somebody out there that knows the answer,” said Biz Stone, the CEO and co-founder of Jelly in a video on the company’s website. Jelly became available for download yesterday.

Meanwhile, Intel unveiled a major new push into wearable devices in Las Vegas with a range of products that included a health monitor integrated into baby clothes

They have also been working on integrating electronics into everyday devices as part of their efforts to leapfrog competition in the mobile computing sector. One of their products on display at the CES was a heart monitor embedded in earphones.

Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich demonstrated a turtle-shaped sensor on baby clothing which can send information to a smart coffee cup about an infant’s breathing, temperature and position.

He said the Intel earphones would enable runners and athletes who listen to music while exercising to get detailed health information in real time.

“We want to make everything smart. That’s what Intel does,” he said.

Meanwhile, French company Induct demonstrated the first driverless vehicle to be commercially available in the US. The Navia shuttle isn’t ready for US street traffic yet, but this standing-room-only shuttle can transport up to 10 people from point to point on university campuses or in airport parking lots at speeds topping out at 12.5 mph. It even charges itself wirelessly.

The shuttle is already being tested on college campuses in Switzerland, Britain and Singapore, said Induct’s founder.

Director bolts during TV launch

Autobot warriors in Transformers films stand firm in the face of pressure, but the director of the blockbuster action films bolted when a teleprompter failed him at a Samsung press event.

Michael Bay, below, joined a Samsung executive on stage to extol the wonders of a new curved 105-inch ultra high-definition TV. He got as far as saying that he got to dream for a living and that his job was to “take people on an emotional ride” before being forced to go off script. He stumbled at the prospect. Samsung executive vice president Joe Stinziano prompted Mr Bay, albeit to no avail, by asking his thoughts on how the curved television screen might enhance viewing.

Bay said he was sorry and then stormed off stage in an apparent huff, prompting one of the hundreds of journalists in the packed audience to quip that it “must have been a Decepticon sensor”.

Transformers fans know Decepticons as the fearsome enemies of the Autobot heroes, sentient robots that can convert into any of a wide array of vehicles.

“Wow! I just embarrassed myself at CES,” Bay said in a post at his website.

“I got so excited to talk, that I skipped over the Exec VP’s intro line and then the teleprompter got lost. Then the prompter went up and down — then I walked off. I guess live shows aren’t my thing.”

Bay’s meltdown replaced the curved TV as the highlight of the press event.

* http://exa.mn/1m2

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