Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Paul Ridden

The Xshot from China's Vivo benefits from a two-stage physical camera button on the side

As the image quality and resolution of smartphone cameras continue to increase, extra baggage in the shape of a compact camera becomes less and less appealing. China's Vivo is about to release a flagship LTE-capable Android phone that makes a standalone snapper even more of an unnecessary burden. The Xshot features a 13 MP camera at the back with a deliciously fast F1.8 lens and optical image stabilization, and an 8 MP selfie cam to the front, along with 4K video and high-end audio as added pot-sweeteners.  Read More

Luminlay's MA19 series glow-in-the-dark guitar knobs

Playing a bum note or starting off in the wrong key because you can't see where your hands are in a dimly lit club or quiet corner hideaway can be more than a little embarrassing, it could lose you money. Rather than lighting up a fretboard with LEDs to indicate fret positions on the neck (or just show off), Japan's Luminlay developed some glow-in-the-dark inlays that could be installed out front for everyone to see, or just up top to aid the player. Now the company has spread the idea to volume and tone knobs, making the numbers visible even when the lights are turned down real low.  Read More

Bang & Olufsen's new 55-inch UHD BeoVision Avant television

When the first Ultra HD televisions first started to trickle into the consumer space, early adopters paid quite a premium to be the first in the neighborhood to enjoy all that eye-popping visual goodness at four times the resolution of bog standard High Definition. Thankfully, prices soon began to drop and viewers today can get hold of a good-sized 4K TV for under a grand ... unless it carries the mark of Bang & Olufsen. The Danish luxury consumer tech manufacturer today released its new 55-inch UHD BeoVision Avant television for a cool US$8,000.  Read More

Google and Intel have announced that the number of devices running Chrome OS is about to s...

The number of devices running Google's Chrome OS is about to significantly increase. At a press event in San Francisco yesterday, Intel and Google upped Chrome system designs to 20 by introducing a bunch of new computers and notebooks from OEM partners like Acer, LG, Asus, Dell and Lenovo, including a few powered by the latest generation Core i3 processors.  Read More

The Chromebook N20p can be used in laptop mode, or Stand Mode

Lenovo has followed the recent release of student-only rugged 11e laptops running Google's Chrome OS with its first pair aimed squarely at consumers. Both the N20 and N20p sport an 11.6-in HD display, but only the latter boasts a hinge that allows its keyboard to be swiveled so far back that it becomes the base of a touch-enabled screen angled for movie viewing comfort.  Read More

Snapshot from aerial footage of the aircraft in hover filmed by a quadcopter drone Advanced Tactics Inc. has now received permission from the US government to release video footage showing the first test flight of its Black Knight Transformer prototype demonstrator.  Read More

The new Life Pure XL from Blu Products

Miami-based Blu Products has unleashed a new 5.5-inch display smartphone that's reported to include market-leading processing, memory, display and camera tech. The Life Pure XL is built around Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 mobile processor, which gets support from up to 3 GB of RAM, and features a 16 MP rear-facing camera with a compact camera-like image sensor and an AF selfie snapper to the front.  Read More

The FretPen one-stringed guitar and pen

As fans of old delta blues will already know, even two or three strings on a guitar can be too many when belting out soulful music on a guitar-like instrument. Rather than changing the pitch of a long piece of tuned wire with a glass bottle or steel blade though, the FretPen uses technology to offer players three full octaves from just three frets on a real wood neck and a companion iPhone app. Oh, and it's also a pen.  Read More

The PiPhone from software engineer and photographer Dave Hunt

Since its launch and slightly delayed shipping in 2012, we've seen Raspberry Pi computers used for everything from a bartender to robots to a bizarre musical instrument. Now dedicated tinkerer Dave Hunt has used a Model B to create a touchscreen smartphone called the PiPhone, though he readily admits that it would be easier and cheaper to pick up an (arguably much better looking) budget cellphone from a shop in the mall, "but hey, where’s the fun in that."  Read More

The Drumstooled combines a kick drum, reversed pedal and height-adjustable stool

France's Patrice Bardin has come up with a stylish and eye-catching twist on self-accompaniment. Rather than stomp out a backbeat on a kick drum, home-made rhythm board or even an empty suitcase out front while thumping the strings of a battered acoustic guitar and throwing out soulful vocals, the Drumstooled is a mash up of a stool and an acoustic kick drum, with some colorful LED lighting thrown in for good measure.  Read More

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