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  1. This is not about revenge. This is about justice. This is the best of CES 2014. By Verge Staff on January 10, 2014 04:17 pm Another year. Another CES. Another chance to find out what it feels like to truly be alive. Alive and in Las Vegas. In Las Vegas and at the Consumer Electronics Show a phantasmagoria of light, sound, and electricity. Actual electricity, and the kind of spiritual, psychic kind that only happens but once a year. Another thing that only happens once a year? The Verge Awards at CES when the editorial team of The Verge picks the best things that hit the show floor, the biggest stories, and yes, the biggest disappointments. This CES wasnt the craziest, most surprising, or even most interesting weve ever seen but it wasnt a total bust either. Between the gargantuan TVs, a sea of me-too wearables, and the 1,001 iPhone accessories youll never need, there were some truly interesting innovations out there. You just had to look really hard to find them. And boy did we look. So, here we are. The show is over. The massive displays are being dismantled. The Verge team is battered and bruised, but not beaten. And weve painstakingly assembled the hits and misses of CES 2014. Without further ado, we present the 2014 Verge Awards. And hey, if you don't like our picks go and vote for your own. Best phone: Sony Z1 Compact Its the phone weve all been asking for a 4.3-inch handset that doesnt compromise on specs and features just because its small by modern standards. Bridging the gap in flagship devices between the iPhone and the herd of 5-inch Android phones, the Z1 Compact is Sonys best smartphone to date. The only compromise it makes from the already successful Z1 is a smaller battery, but it more than makes up for it with a new IPS display that makes it the Japanese companys definitive flagship handset. - Vlad Savov Best tablet: ThinkPad 8 Lenovo surprised us at CES with a brand-new 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablet just a couple of months after it launched its first mini Windows tablet. The new ThinkPad 8 combines impressive specs with an equally impressive build quality. While initial 8-inch Windows tablets felt inferior to the iOS and Android competition, Lenovos latest effort is simply the best Windows alternative to the iPad mini with Retina display. With the ability to connect USB accessories, a separate monitor, and a keyboard and mouse, its a good option for anyone who wants the flexibility and power of Windows inside a tiny tablet. And at $399 you get a lot of tablet for your money. -Tom Warren Best gaming: PlayStation Now PlayStation Now wasnt a total surprise Sony had already promised to stream PS3 games to other PlayStation devices through its acquisition of cloud gaming company Gaikai. But the announcement that it would also work on TVs, smartphones, and tablets caught many by surprise, and the games demoed at CES were impressively smooth. Its anyones guess whether PlayStation Now will work as well in the real world when Sony rolls out the service this summer, but for now its an encouraging, progressive step towards the future of gaming. -Sam Byford Best personal transportation: Urb-e The Urb-e felt like the kind of vehicle an enlightened citizen of 2030 would own. Its fast, maneuverable, and lightweight. With a 20-mile range on a full battery charge, it could work well for most city dwellers daily commutes. It has similar specs to Terras Motor Scooter, but at around $1,250, its just one-quarter of the price. The Urb-e isnt on sale yet, but look for their Kickstarter to launch next month. - Ben Popper Best TV: Vizios $999 4K TV Vizios first consumer 4K TVs will start at just $999.99 when they ship later this year, marking a major milestone as the technology finds its way into more living rooms in 2014. Weve seen plenty of off-brand 4K sets fall below the $1,000 mark, but Vizios cutthroat pricing delivered an unexpected gut punch to major competitors like Sony and Samsung. Those companies have come nowhere close to matching it, though they may rethink strategy now that the most popular TV manufacturer in the US has undercut them. The cheap 4K TV has officially arrived. - Chris Welch Best smartwatch: Pebble Steel Whereas the first Pebble was all about spartan utility, the new Steel adds an appreciable dose of style to the originals substance. The molded plastic is replaced by forged steel, the side buttons are much improved, and theres a leather strap in every box now. The Pebble Steel successfully evolves a functional device into an aesthetically desirable fashion item. Its the only smartwatch wed recommend anyone buying right now. - Vlad Savov Best audio: Samsung MX-HS8500 GIGA Samsungs built a boombox the size of a trash can, complete with wheels and bright flashing lights. This years GIGA sound system integrates the controls on top of one of the speakers, instead of as a stand-alone unit. It may not be the-best looking speaker, but its got a big bass boost button that nearly deafened us on the show floor, and has all sorts of other effects to emulate being a DJ. The new GIGA will play music from just about every source including Samsung TV sets when it ships this year. Theres no price yet, but the old one cost $1,499. - Josh Lowensohn Best prototype: Oculus Rift, Crystal Cove We loved the Oculus Rift back when it was a low-resolution prototype with virtually nothing to do but walk around a castle and spaceship. A year later, its still a prototype, but the Crystal Cove version announced at CES amplifies its best features and mutes its worst ones. The headsets all-encompassing virtual reality is clearer and more detailed than ever, its head-tracking system now capable of letting you lean over ledges or peer around corners. And best of all, developers have started creating the first generation of VR worlds, including a dizzying, fast-paced space-fighting game that were waiting for almost as eagerly as we are the final, finished version of the Rift. - Adi Robertson Best auto tech: Audi Traffic Light Assist Self-driving car tech is incredible, but truly autonomous cars are still years away early in the 2020s, by most manufacturers estimates and this years self-driving demos at CES didnt really move the needle anyhow. (Yes, BMWs self-drifting car was an absolute blast, but its not really going to change the way we drive). Instead, it was Audis traffic-light assistant that got us excited: its practical technology with a clear path to near-term production that can seriously get us to our destinations faster and more efficiently. Who doesnt want to make more green lights? - Chris Ziegler Best car: i-Road I didnt come to CES expecting to drive a new kind of car that would change the way I thought about cars. But wouldnt you know it? That actually happened. The Toyota i-Road is admittedly not a car youre going to see in America (probably ever), and its not the kind of car youre going to take the family for a road trip in. And frankly, its hardly even a car. But as a concept, and in practice, its an awesome way to envision getting around the cities of the future. With an all-electric motor, a range of about 25 miles, and the tight handling of a motorcycle, the i-Road is at once less a car, and much more. With a plan to roll out the diminutive rides in Asia and Europe, its also more than a concept its becoming a plan. And its an awesome plan. - Joshua Topolsky Best drone: Parrot MiniDrone A swarm of companies presented drones at CES this year, but the most attractive new device was the pint-sized Parrot MiniDrone. A scaled-down version of their classic AR.Drone, the Mini is great for playing around indoors, and adds the ability to travel by land or air. Parrot is promising a price point well below the $299 AR when it goes on sale later this year, making the MiniDrone both fun and affordable. - Ben Popper Best trend: connected car Cars and automotive technology have been growing trends at CES for a number of years, but theyve been on a relatively slow burn. Not this year: the connected car was in literally every corner of Las Vegas this week, centered in a bustling section of the Las Vegas Convention Centers North Hall, which looked more like a major international auto expo than the Consumer Electronics Show. Ford even showed the latest version of one of its most important and iconic products the Mustang in public for the first time here. - Chris Ziegler Best press event: Kaz Hirai and Sony Kaz Hirais CES keynote wasnt just a list of products or an embarrassing, surreal spectacle it was an ode to weird, ambitious technology that covered everything from cars that can see in the dark to a Life space UX that would replace TVs and monitors with projectors realistic enough to be windows. His speech also heralded the release of Sonys long-awaited streaming games service and a new cloud-based blend of live TV, video on demand, and DVR service. Sony still has a lot of promises to deliver on, but Kaz made us believe, at least for an hour, that something really exciting might be coming down the line. - Adi Robertson Best buffet: Samsung We didnt think Samsung events could get much creepier than last years, with imprisoned girls in metal dresses that doubled as cocktail and cupcake stands, but somehow the Korean company managed to match itself. At a gathering that saw the debut of Samsungs 105-inch TV and bendable OLED set, attendees were invited to take champagne glasses from waiters trays. Nothing too strange about that, except the glasses were empty until filled by a female contortionist dangling from the ceiling and yes, there were spillages. CES in an uncomfortable nutshell. Due to our ethics policy, we couldn't partake, but we sure took pictures. - Sam Byford Biggest meltdown: Michael Bay Samsungs press event didnt hold many surprises, but its probably the one that everyone will remember from CES 2014 thanks to guest presenter Michael Bay. In essence, a teleprompter mishap caused the Transformers director to lose his place during the proceedings. Thats it. But Bays inability to improv his way through the presentation and his extremely bizarre walk-off made things downright cringeworthy. Bay took to his blog to apologize for the freak-out, saying I guess live events arent my thing. In hindsight, the spectacle (and the internet explosion that came with it) was about on par with the rest of his oeuvre. - Kwame Opam Biggest surprise: the bendable TV Most things at CES exist somewhere on the spectrum between utterly impossible prototype and real product. When Samsung and LG both showed off huge 4K OLED TVs that actually bend and unbend with the press of a button, promising a more immersive and lifelike picture but at a presumably enormous cost, the idea seemed like nothing more than a tech demo. Neither company did anything to dispel that notion, either, until two days later when Samsung announced it will start selling them this year. Sure, its still going to be expensive, but you might soon be able to own a TV thats a lot more futuristic than whatever you watch on it. - David Pierce Biggest disappointment: wearables In a show full of things to put on your body, there wasnt one that actually stood out. All the wearables we saw were basically Fitbit wannabes, and the ones that were even slightly different had weird functions that were not even sure we would want, or need, in a wearable. While Netatmo June bracelet is pushing boundaries as one of the first wearables attempting to be stylish, its limited functionality holds it back. And while the Sony Core shows how the industry is moving toward smaller, smarter sensors, we wont believe it until it proves how much it can do. The biggest disappointment, really, is seeing so many companies jump on the wearable bandwagon without bringing anything new to the table. - Valentina Palladino Best comeback: webOS Five years ago webOS was the story of CES, and since then its seen a series of failures, missteps, pratfalls, and just sheer dumb luck that took it from the toast of the tech world to a near-forgotten also-ran that was sold off for parts. That LG was the buyer turned out to be an unexpected stroke of good luck, because it used those parts to create a surprisingly good smart TV interface. LG says it will ship over half of its TVs with webOS, so it probably wont be long before LG has sold more webOS TVs than Palm ever sold webOS phones and thats ok. - Dieter Bohn Biggest story: Netflix Netflix may not have a booth at CES, but its presence was a massive influence on some of the biggest companies in the industry. CEO Reed Hastings was the most popular man at the show, darting from press conference to press conference to tell the world that House of Cards Season 2 would be streaming in glorious 4K later this year, and that every major Netflix series would be shot in 4K from now on. At Sonys press conference, Hastings added that Breaking Bad would be remastered and streamed in 4K as well. By the end of the show, every major TV company had announced support for Netflix in 4K. Thats a big deal: as 4K sets hit the mainstream, Netflix will be the de facto provider of ultra high-def content years ahead of broadcast and cable networks like HBO and Fox in distribution, and equally far ahead of streaming competitors like Hulu and Amazon in creating popular shows like Orange is the New Black. Thats a deadly combination; one that could disrupt the entire television industry. - Nilay Patel Best in show: Oculus Rift, Crystal Cove Last year I said the Oculus Rift changed my life. Throughout 2013, I feel like I became an evangelist for the soon-to-be-realized future of virtual reality a future being birthed by Oculus VR. I wanted to tell everyone about what was coming. I wanted everyone to experience it for themselves. And I wanted more than anything to see developers and investors gather around Oculus and companies like it so that it wouldnt just be a pipe dream, but something real. Virtually real. Weirdly, my wish came true and while the Rift still isnt a commercial product, its getting dangerously close. An infusion of $75 million from Andreessen Horowitz and a new prototype dubbed Crystal Cove prove that Oculus isnt slowing down. Theyre just getting started. Crystal Cove provides a higher resolution display, lower latency, and most importantly, positional tracking. The new features make virtual worlds far more immersive; so immersive that I was surprised by the experience of using the new headset even after spending lots of time with the previous version. After a whole 12 months, Im still blown away by what the Oculus Rift can do, and still excited for its future. 2014 is going to be a huge year for VR and Oculus is right on the front lines. - Joshua Topolsky http://www.theverge.com/2014/1/10/5277618/the-verge-awards-the-best-of-ces-2014 Comment: IMHO, the best is buffet chick :)
  2. Since the release of Windows 8, Microsoft decided to remove the start button from the OS. Ever since, a lot of developers has used that as an advantage to create apps to bring back the start bottom. Microsoft thought of this and brought it back in Windows 8.1, yet still users are not appreciating it, and still want a start bottom app to replace Microsoft's start bottom. I have come across a lot of start bottom apps - used most of them. Day inn and Day out more and more start bottom apps is been released. Which is the BEST? BringBack Wentutu Start Menu Ex7forW8 Handy Start Menu Start for Windows 8 RetroUI Pro Samsung Quick Starter StartFinity Start Menu X StartW8 Start Menu 8 StartMenuPlus8 Start Menu Reviver ViStart Win8StartButton Win8Starter StartButton Icon Pokki Stardock start8 Classic shell StartIsBack IObit Start Menu 8 Others(state with your reviews) wiki Let me know your mind below
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