94Fifty Smart Basketball is How Bench Warmers Get Game
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CES 2015

94Fifty Smart Basketball is How Bench Warmers Get Game

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Even bench warmers that aren’t great at basketball could find themselves better thanks to the InfoMotion technology powering the 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball that’s being shown off at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Starting at $179.95, the 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball attempts to use technology to bridge the skills gap. Buyers who pick up the Smart Sensor Basketball get the latest in stats and criticism. There are always going to be those people who’d like to play basketball, but don’t have aim. The 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball uses sensors and software to analyze shot accuracy. Users who are bad at aiming will get an instant critique of their technique thanks to a companion app that’s available on iPhone and device’s running Google’s Android platform.

94fifty smart sensor basketball

Those same sensors and Smart Sensor Basketball companion app allow for real-time score keeping during a pickup game for up to five people. Users who are considering purchasing a 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball aren’t don’t so because they want an expensive new toy. They want to get better, they need feedback about their basketball skills because they want to improve dramatically. The companion app also allows users to track their stats over time. In theory, users who consistently use the 94Fifity Smart Sensor Basketball – and make changes to their technique – will see their ball handling and shooting improve over time. Tracked stats include dribble intensity, shooting arc, how long it takes to shoot the ball itself and feedback on wrist movement.

To communicate with the companion app for iPhones and Android devices, the 94Fity Smart Sensor Basketball uses Bluetooth technology that works within a 90 foot range of user’s smartphones. The skin of the basketball itself is unchanged from other regulation basketballs: it’ leather and water resistant. Instead, sensors inside and software inside do all the tracking. There are women and kids regulation sizes too, all available for the same $179.99. Users can update the 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball from their smartphone. To pull off the water resistance, 94Fifty uses wireless charging technology. Companion apps for the basketball are already available; and 94Fifty’s website is promising shipping times for the Smart Sensor Basketball of around 2-4 days in the continental United States. A free carrying case, power cord, charting pad and holder are included.

It was the 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball itself on showcase during today’s CES 2015 events, but it was the underlying InfoMotion technology that was honored for Best Innovation at the show. The company is showing off the technology at a booth during the show the entire week. InfoMotion itself is a technology stack, software and specifications that fitness and sports companies can build on for a well-rounded experience. The 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball is the first device to become available, but we could see it in more devices if the Smart Sensor Basketball does well.

The InfoMotion technology and the Smart Sensor Basketball are part of a new category of devices meant to enhance the lives of users, while staying out of the way. These devices are supposed to blend in, allowing users to track their health and more. Last year, baby products that track sleep time where popular. This year the Internet of Things focus seems to be on less obvious everyday products that can be improved with smartphone connectivity. Big computing companies like Intel, makers of processors, and even Microsoft are hard at work preparing for the rise of the Internet of Things.

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CES 2015

Cruising the Strip in the Polaris Slingshot with the Pocket Man

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The Polaris Slingshot turned more heads than just about anything I saw at CES 2015 in Las Vegas.  Master promoter and entrepreneur Scott Jordan offered rides to people and talk about his new ride, his book and his company.

Scott Jordan is the founder and co-owner of Scottevest, a company that make clothing with tons of pockets and discreet wiring systems that allow users to run headphone and charging cables through discreet holes. The relatively simple idea has grown into a business that’s had over $50 million in sales.

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Instead of waiting for journalists and conference attendees to stop by a booth, Jordan spent about $25,000 on the Slingshot and offered rides around Las Vegas. Jordan skinned the Slingshot with his new Pocket Man logo and blasted his new theme song, based on Elton John’s Rocket Man. It’s the kind of idea that wouldn’t pass muster in most companies, but the idea was so crazy it worked. Jordan and Scottevest got more attention than a lot of tech brands that spent several times more on booth space, PR firms, events and marketing materials.

Jordan is rightfully proud of the business he’s built over the past 14 years and shared some business advice for startups during the ride. Rather than taking money from venture capitalists, he and his wife started the business the “old fashioned way.” They took out a loan that was secured by their home so they could retain 100% of the company’s equity. Rather than making the company as large as possible for growth’s sake, they focused on building a profitable business. The business has been profitable since its second year, something most venture-backed companies fail to achieve.

The Slingshot got a ridiculous amount of attention, including appearances on TechCrunch, the Discovery Channel, Popular Science and many others. At nearly every stop light people asked Jordan about the Slingshot and who he was. The entrepreneur was so pleased with how much attention the Slingshot drew that he plans on holding some kind of contest for techies to outfit the vehicle with gadgets. He’s also thinking of buying several more Slingshots and hiring a street team to drive around the country to promote his brand.

Scottevest didn’t have any new products to announce at CES 2015, but the company did release a concept video of the Jacket X.  The  concept jacket goes far beyond Scottevest’s current products and includes features like wireless charging, an emergency beacon and biometric locks.

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CES 2015

CES 2015 Excellence Awards: The Best New Tech of the New Year

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The Gotta Be Mobile team presents our top picks from CES 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are hundreds of top-notch products and accessories here in Sin City, but there are only a handful that stand out among the pack. Those are the devices that have received one of our CES Excellence awards for 2015.

Over the course of a week, our editors combed through hundreds of products and services on the showroom floor before putting together a list of products the deserve recognition for their excellence. These are hand-picked products that we recommend without hesitation. The list includes products that not only have the potential to become best sellers but also deliver a ton of value to consumers.

While CES 2015 did produce a number of new smartphones and tablets, they weren’t the focus of this year’s event. Instead, we saw wearables, notebooks and the usual array of accessories and smart home gadgets dominate the landscape out here in the desert. It was an interesting mix of technology that saw companies continuing to push the boundaries of design. So it should come as no surprise that our Most Outstanding of CES award went to a product that we think delivers one of the best product designs we’ve seen in years.

CES 2015 was not without smartphones and tablets, and we saw two devices in particular catch our eye. These two devices deliver a ton of firepower, but they also come with designs that push the bar forward. We’ve also recognized other products that offer excellence in other product categories including gaming, sound, smart home, and more.

The team here at Gotta Be Mobile recognizes the recipients of these CES Excellence awards for 2015. Congratulations to the teams behind these products for delivering products that will significantly impact the lives of consumers around the world in 2015 and in the years to come.

Sling TV – Most Outstanding of CES 2015

Dish Sling TV is the most outstanding product at CES 2015. Sling TV is a $20 a month subscription service that lets you watch a number of primetime channels, including ESPN, on your Xbox One, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, Android and more without a traditional cable subscription.

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The device wins the award for the Gotta Be Mobile Most Outstanding product at CES 2015 because it allows consumers to cut the cord and gain access to premium stations without the cost. Dish’s new “over the top” internet TV service launches in January 2015 and does not require a standard Dish subscription to use.

For more on the Dish Sling TV, check out our coverage from the showroom floor.

Chamberlain Notifi

The new Chamberlain Notifi makes setting up a home monitoring and home security solution extremely simple and includes WiFi lightbulb, smart doorbell and a camera that virtually anyone can install.

Notifi

The Chamberlain Notifi wins a Gotta Be Mobile CES Excellence award because it removes those pain points from the installation process and because it offers several different solutions to help consumers keep their home or apartment, safe, secure and smart. The Notifi will cost $199 when it arrives in Q3 2015 but it’s a camera, a doorbell and LED light all in one.

For more on the Chamberlain Notifi, take a look at our extended coverage of the device from our week on the show floor.

Dell Venue 8 7000 Tablet

Dell’s new Venue 8 7000 tablet is a serious competitor to Apple’s brand new iPad mini 3. The $399 Venue 8 7000 series represents the best tablet at CES 2015 and it’s a device that we highly recommend as an alternative to Apple’s 7.9-inch solution.

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The Venue 8 7000 features everything you’d want from a media tablet. A gorgeous display, a speedy processor and a beautiful metal design that measures just 6mm thin. The company’s brand new tablet is currently on sale through Dell’s website and it wins a Gotta Be Mobile CES Excellence award for being one of the most outstanding pieces of mobile technology at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.

For more information about Dell’s iPad mini 3 competitor, be sure to check out our hands-on.

LG G Flex 2

We didn’t see a ton of new smartphones emerge out of the halls of CES 2015 but one in particular caught our eye. LG’s new G Flex 2 improves on the faults of the earlier model and delivers a solid all-around package that will interest the average consumer. It’s essentially a curved version of the LG G3, one of 2014’s best Android smartphones, and wins a Gotta Be Mobile CES Excellence award.

G-Flex

The LG G Flex is far and away the most interesting smartphone to come out of CES 2015 and it’s a device that consumers should have on their radar in the weeks ahead. LG still hasn’t announced a release date but it will hit top mobile carriers in the United States sometime in the next few months. For more on LG’s new curved smartphone, take a look at our early hands-on.

ZAGG Pocket

The Zagg Pocket is a small, foldable keyboard that you can connect to a number of mobile devices to up your typing game while on the go, winning a Gotta Be Mobile CES Excellence award.

Perhaps its best feature is how it folds. The keyboard doesn’t fold short-ways in the middle (thus usually breaking up the layout of the keys), but instead is folded long-ways like a hot dog bun into a nice portable form factor. 

Zagg

Users interested in buying the Zagg Pocket will pay $69 for the privilege and it will release at some point this quarter. For more on Zagg’s new Pocket keyboard click here

Simple Matters Ditto 

There were tons of wearables at CES 2015 Las Vegas, but one in particular stood out to us at the show. SimpleMatters’ Ditto wearable is an extremely simple gadget but it has great purpose. The Ditto ensures that you never miss an important call or text, and it will even alert you if you’re about to leave your smartphone behind, say at a restaurant or concert venue.

Ditto

This simple little notification device, which only needs to be charged once every couple of months, could ultimately save you a ton of money, and time, down the road, which is why it wins a Gotta Be Mobile CES Excellence award. The Ditto is $40 and it’s available for pre-order now. It will begin shipping in the near future. For more on SimpleMatters’ impressive wearable, have a look at our hands-on.

Sleep Number Sleep IQ for Kids

The Sleep Number Sleep IQ bed for kids is a smart bed that will ensure that kids, and parents, get a good night’s sleep. Sleep Number’s new bed is loaded with technology that allows parents to track their kids sleep and make adjustments to suit their child’s needs. The Sleep Number Sleep IQ for Kids also includes app support to show kids there is no monster under the bed and even track heart rate and when kids get out of bed, earning a Gotta Be Mobile CES Excellence award.

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Sleep IQ smart bed is expensive, it will cost around $1000, but it’s a sound investment for parents who want peace of mind with their child’s sleeping habits moving forward. When the Sleep IQ for Kids becomes available, it will come in twin, full and queen sizes.

Sony Bravia 4K Android TV Line

This past summer, Google once again took steps to ensure its dominance in the living room. Twice, with the Nexus Q and Google TV, the company tried to put its apps and services on user’s television sets. Both were an epic failure. Android TV is Google’s third time trying to seriously take over the living room and Sony has been wise enough to include it in all of its Bravia 2015 smart TVs.

Sony

Including Android TV on Bravia smart TVs is good for everyone involved. Users of Android smartphones will find their game purchases and save carry over to their television. There they can play them from exactly where they left off – provided the game is compatible with a Bluetooth controller. The included One Flick remote control makes browsing the Android TV interface easy with a touchpad and voice control. With great image quality, and access to the Google Play Store, the new Sony Bravia 4K TVs with Android TV win a Gotta Be Mobile CES Excellence award.

Sony plans to launch more than 30 different Bravia smart TVs running Android TV during 2015.

Mophie Juice Pack Air Plus

Mophie wowed us again this year at CES with an update to its Juice Pack line for iPhone, taking home a Gotta Be Mobile CES Excellence award with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The cases feature batteries of 2,750mAh and 3,300mAh, respectively.

The Juice Pack Air and Juice Pack Plus, as they’re called, also feature pass-through Lightning connector support, allowing users to plug-in and sync their iPhone 6 without needing to take off the battery case, which is an extremely important feature that lets users travel with only one cable and use the case on an iPhone in cars. 

Mophie

For more on the Mophie Juice Pack cases for iPhone, check out our full length coverage from the show

Lenovo Stack

Lenovo had another big presence this year at CES, and its new Stack accessory lineup has turned some heads, as a first-of-its-kind product to enter the market. The Lenovo Stack is an appealing device that wins a Gotta Be Mobile CES Excellence award.

Through an interlocking design using magnets, mobile accessories like bluetooth speakers, battery packs, USB charging hubs, extra storage, and an even a wireless access point can be stacked and organized into one complete single system, taking up less surface area on your desk and use less cables than what would otherwise be required.

Stacks

The ThinkPad Stack will be available at some point in April, and each of the accessories will be sold separately, with prices starting at $49 and going as high as $199. Our hands-on with Lenovo’s new accessories will tell you more.

Dell XPS 13

The new Dell XPS 13 is everything a Windows user could possibly want in an ultrabook. Essentially, it’s a MacBook Air with 15 hours of battery life, an optional touchscreen and, some would argue, a better design.

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The best thing about the new XPS 13 is the price point. Essentially, Windows lovers are getting a high-end, premium machine that runs all of their apps and can last an entire work session, for just $799 before any discounts. That’s an amazing price when compared to other notebooks in its class.

Pioneer Nex Second-Gen Auto

Pioneer’s new NEX in-dash receivers bring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to any driver that can replace their head unit. For $700, you can upgrade a traditional stereo to a touch screen stereo solution that ties into the solutions provided by Apple and Google — earning a Gotta Be Mobile CES Excellence award.

Pioneer

These second-gen receivers are optimized for touch, are SiriusXM ready and include Advanced Bluetooth for better sound. Four of the five units include HD Radio and all support FLAC playback. They are excellent investments for those that want to upgrade their vehicle with a connected car experience. For more on the Pioneer Nex, have a look at our hands-on.

Playstation Now Subscription

Sony’s PlayStation Now cloud gaming service is unlike anything the gaming world has ever seen. The company revealed it at CES 2014, promising users that they’d be able to play PS3 games on their PS4 seamlessly. PlayStation Now worked flawlessly, but suffered from a pricing issue. For most people, paying $6.99 for rental time of a few hours just wasn’t feasible.

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This year Sony rectified that issue with PlayStation Now subscriptions. For as little as $15.99 a month users get access to 100 different games all available from Sony and its partners. They can play these games for as long as they keep paying for the service. By comparison, GameFly charges users $15.95 per month to rent a single game. Adding cloud gaming last year was impressive, making it affordable and a must-have that takes it to an entirely different level.

Razer Forge TV

The Razer Forge TV is a new Android TV micro-console that allows you to play Android games, as well as stream games from a gaming PC to your living room TV using the Forge thanks to Razer Stream: Cortex which earns a Gotta Be Mobile CES Excellence award for the complete package of gaming and entertainment. 

Razer

At just $99, it takes on a huge market of set-top boxes, but it aims to separate itself from the competition with super-fast performance and a tight focus on gaming in the living room. For more on Razer’s new Forge TV, have a look at our extended coverage.

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CES 2015

Newly Introduced Dell XPS 13 Price Drops to Just $725

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Dell’s offering its incredibly stylish XPS 13 for just $724,99 after a $50 instant discount and $75 coupon through January. The newly introduced XPS 13 is one of the best-looking notebooks we’ve ever seen and an absolute bargain at this price.

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The new Dell XPS 13 has no business costing just $724.99, but Dell is clearly trying to make a splash and get this into users’ hands quickly. To give you an idea of how absurdly affordable the new XPS 13 is, Dell’s still selling last year’s XPS 13 (a completely different beast) for $1,199 and up.

So what do you get for $724.99?  The Dell XPS 13 has almost no bezel at all, which means the display goes almost all the way to the edge. That means the overall width and depth of the machine is a lot smaller than the competition.  It weighs in at just 2.6 pounds and has new Intel technology that helps it last for up to 15 hours on a single charge. The base XPS 13 comes with 128GB of storage and a standard display that is not touch-enabled.  It comes with an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB solid state drive.

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This $75 coupon code is good on more expensive versions of the XPS 13 as well, including the touch-screen versions. The touch-screen XPS 13 starts at $1,299.99 before any discounts. The coupon isn’t automatically applied to XPS 13 purchases. There’s a small link for the $75 coupon on the Dell checkout page, which reveals the coupon code. The code must then be copied and pasted into the shopping cart. The coupon is good through the end of the month.

The Dell XPS 13 is one of the best products we’ve seen at CES 2015. You can watch our XPS 13 hands-on video above and read more about why it might be the best Windows notebook of the year here.

For a full list of products we’ve played with at CES 2015, click here.

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Accessories

Kensington iPad Case Doubles as an iPhone Charger

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There is no shortage of new iPad cases here at CES 2015 this week, but Kensington has debuted a new keyboard case that can also charge your iPhone.

The Kensington KeyFolio Thin X3 Plus for the iPad Air 2 includes a built-in 4,500mAh battery that can re-charge an iPhone 2-3 times over, or you can use it to charge up the iPad that’s connected to.

Furthermore, the keyboard features scissor-switch mechanical keys, which is rare on an iPad keyboard and allows for a better tactile feel when typing on the go.

When closed up, the case features a hard-shelled exterior that can protect your iPad from scrapes and accidental drops, which is ideal for those that travel a lot with their iPad and don’t want to end up with a shattered display.

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It’s certainly not everyday when we see an iPad keyboard case that offers charging features other than the ability to charge the iPad itself. Most, if not all, iPad keyboard cases don’t offer the ability to charge an external device, so for those who need to give their iPhone some extra juice while out on the go, this offering from Kensington could be up your alley.

There’s currently no information on when we should expect the KeyFolio Thin X3 Plus to launch, but Kensington did say that you’ll be able to purchase the keyboard case for $119 for the iPad Air 2 and $99 for the iPad Air, which isn’t a bad price, considering that many keyboard cases sell for much higher prices than that.

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Android

Pioneer NEX CarPlay & Android Auto Receivers Upgrade Your Ride

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The new second generation Pioneer NEX in dash receivers bring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to any car that you can replace a head unit in.

The exciting part of this is that for about $700 you can upgrade the stereo in most cars to a touch screen stereo that transforms into the connected car experience that new cars are adding to their in dash entertainment systems.

Pioneer offers five new NEX receivers that slide into the Double DIN stereo opening available in most cars with 6.2-inch and 7-inch screen options and a variety of features. All of these new second generation Pioneer NEX systems run CarPlay and three of these run Android Auto.

The new Pioneer NEX second generation receivers add support for CarPlay and Android Auto.

The new Pioneer NEX second generation receivers add support for CarPlay and Android Auto.

Apple CarPlay takes over the head unit to deliver an iPhone-like experience on your dash with a focus on reducing driver distraction. CarPlay uses Siri for many of the tasks, which include dictation and the system reading back results or what you want to type. The new CarPlay feature is available for the iPhone 5 and up, including the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus on iOS 8 and higher.

Android Auto is only available on three of the models, AVIC-8100NEX, AVIC-7100NEX, and AVH-4100NEX. All of these models feature a bigger 7-inch screen that Pioneer tells us works better with the Android Auto interface. Android Auto is Google’s answer to CarPlay. When you plug-in an Android smartphone running Android 5.0 or higher, it will offer an Android-like experience on your car head unit. This looks a lot like Google Now on your Android phone with notifications, alerts and other info easily accessible on-screen.

All of these Pioneer NEX second generation receivers are optimized for touch and ready for SiriusXM. They include Advanced Bluetooth for better sound and to discover your media library over Bluetooth. Four of the five units include HD Radio and all support FLAC playback.

The Pioneer AVH-4100NEX retails for $700 with support for CarPlay and Android Auto and arrives in March. The other units are priced at $750 (AVIC-5100NEX), $900 (AVIC-6100NEX), $1,200 (AVIC -7100NEX) and $1,400 (AVIC-8110NEX) and arrive at the same time.

Check out the rest of our CES 2015 coverage to see the latest gadgets, accessories, smartphones and other cool tech for 2015.

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