Robots everywhere at CES 2017Roger and Ben break down the big robot trend we're seeing, in this giganto-size episode of The 3:59.
[MUSIC] Hello everybody, and welcome to day to of CES 2017 at the CNet stage. I'm IA Zach Turner. I'm joined once again by Roger Cheng and Ben Foster for a giganto sized episode of our excellent bite sized news podcast. The 359. If you're new to the show, Roger and Ben break down the most important tech stories in about four minutes. Today, we'll be talking for a lot more than four minutes. Let's talk about T-Mobile first up. Roger, you're a T-Mobile expert. [LAUGH] Let's talk about what they introduced last night. So it's really just a set of discounts, a set of incentives really to get you to switch to their unlimited data plan The first thing is basically removing taxes and fees so it's whatever the advertised rate is whether it's $400, $70 for your plan. It's exactly what you pay right? Your phone bill you probably see a listing for the actual rate and then a whole number of line items adding up to a huge huge bill and so what. There trying to do is simplify that, so what you see if what you get. So they basically cut the price again? Yes, actually they essentially cut the price and absorbed the taxes themselves. Yeah, so I've seen some headlines reading, and this is incorrect, that they've eliminated taxes and- [CROSSTALK] By the way, my headline had it in quotes. Which is why I explained it- Yeah can't like, avoid taxes. That [CROSSTALK] You were saying Ben is that they've taken the price of the actual plant, cut it and then [INAUDIBLE] Arguably for the customer, ultimately they do lose the, they don't have to pay the taxes anymore so that's, I mean they're paying taxes but that's- Yes, there are two things that are certain Roger. Nope. Three things that are certain. Wait, Death, taxes, And T-Mobile John Legend wearing pink Yeah, well that magenta, actually. My, my god. The other feature that they announced. If you use 2 gigs of data or less, they will give you a credit of ten dollars a month. A month. A month, yeah. So as long as you're on WiFi, and you're not bogging down their network, they're gonna give you another discount? Well it's not really designed for people who are heavy users, right? This is for your father, grandfather Someone who doesn't use a phone that much, or really who just texts and emails, and 2 gigs of data is plenty of data for them. I think what this is really, this isn't really a game changer at all. What this is is fixing the issues with the last T-Mobile One announcement, right? When they first said that we're going to move to unlimited data. Everyone's going to get unlimited data. People were pissed, right? People weren't happy about that because That was one price. Like, if I wanted a cheaper plan with less data, I no longer had that option. So, what T-Mobile did yesterday was offer enough incentives to get everyone to switch onto that plan. Okay, so, we've got their simplified plans, when it comes to that. There's also The idea that this one is another Uncarrier movements. They've stopped numbering these things in a regular article because they were like Uncarrier 12. Well this was an Uncarrier 13. And I- At some point when you're at carrier 20 or 25, it's going to sound really Old and dumb, right? Well, my question is are they making any money, they keep doing these added incentives, it seems like they're getting additional customers? But is it working for them? Is it helping the bottom line at all? Financially speaking they're actually doing pretty well. Okay. Look, the deal with the limit plan, it did raise the price for a lot of people. If they were jump into a new plan now. It's more expensive than it would've if they had a basic plan. So, what they- And that 2 gig model that you're describing. Exactly. So, they've actually kind of stabilized how much money they've made. After all the crazy incentives that they threw in early, like in the Uncarrier movement, they've actually started to make money. It's starting to pay off for them. Yeah. Okay, fine. I'm a Verizon customer though. Are they gonna start giving me free pizza? Well, I don't think Verizon's gonna be- T-mobile backed out of that free pizza deal with Dominoes I know, but one free pizza. That took like a day or two? I think about two weeks that was dead, so the question is, yeah Verizon so the question is, will other manufacturers, no not manufacturers, will other carriers follow suit? Like T-Mobile now and then they seem to like rattle the cages of the wireless carriers to the point that they change what they're doing So, do you think that this is gonna change what Verizon or AT&T or Sprint does? Well you saw Sprint already kind of moved to unlimited plan. And Verizon has said they're still not gonna do it. But if you look at the history of what T-Mobile has done in terms of [UNKNOWN] kill subsidies, kill contracts. The rest of the industry has moved in that direction. And really T-Mobile's hoping that we get to this point where all mobile data is unlimited. You're watching a video version of the 3:59 on podcast. It looks like Roger's about to drop a beat. That's right. [LAUGH] He's got the mic- Most people hold the mic at the bottom, but- [NOISE] He's dropping a beat right now. Wow! And I'm done. Okay, so this is a super extended giganto episode of 3:59. And you would luckily, [CROSSTALK] We had a special appearance of Brian [UNKNOWN]. So thank you very much for showing up. He showed up. Yeah. And so let's keep talking about this. So you had John the [UNKNOWN]. Yep. Did he offer you any [UNKNOWN] tips cuz the man [UNKNOWN]. Yeah, well I've got bright yellow shoes so There he is. I've got bright yellow shoes which he took offense to because it's, all these [UNKNOWN] guys always see colors in branding. Like if I'm wearing blue, I'm AT&T. If I'm red, we're We're Verizon, apparently, so- So is that why you flipped me off when I was wearing that yellow shirt? Exactly. [LAUGH] So that didn't actually happen, but that's like something [CROSSTALK] [CROSSTALK] He was like, you should get new shoes. Yeah, you shouldn't wear yellow- By the way, my shoes are awesome, and I'm not changing them. I like the yellow and black Thank you. Like a bumblebee. Thank you. It's a good thing. That's why you're called Roger the bumblebee Chang. I will be now and that is so sad. Now we've got bumblebees, we've got a fox, we've got the wolf. We've got [UNKNOWN] is the wolf. That is the wimpiest Nickname. I like it. I do. I think it is actually very becoming of you so. You look great bumblebee you look great. [LAUGH] Okay let's talk about robots okay guys robots are a huge trend at CES this year. We've seen all kinds of things, LG's got like a whole bunch of them there at their booth. There's like Links of the human elective, the humanoid elective thing. Where do you wanna start on this? I think LG's have had the most interesting things because they're like, we've got robots and this is now going to be normal. Yeah, well look so that's the thing, I kinda take some issues with it. The hub robot that they announced I thought it moved around, and it's really- It does move, it- Move. It has a- But it doesn't move around. It has a face- It has a face but it doesn't move around, it'll- It's not really a robot or is it just a speaker with a cool little gimmick? The actual device, the hub, it's a little two part snowman if you look at it that way. Right. And it does wiggle, and it can turn around. But it can't drive itself to you. [CROSSTALK] What's the point of doing that? Like, what exactly, why would you give the thing a face if you don't. So actually, I talked to him about that. They said the design was intentional. It was really to create this emotional attachment. Okay. And it is cute. It's adorable. [CROSSTALK] And the weird thing is you interact with it on its face, it's a touchscreen, it's got two little eyes on it, and it's just a fingerprint magnet. Yeah, I feel like I'm doing something rude when I'm touching its face, like- Yeah yeah, you're touching its face. I'm sorry, I'm sorry. To interact with them. You know what, okay, I'm solved, I wanna swaddle this thing. I feel emotionally connected with it now. [LAUGH] This really feels very good for me. You're joking about emotional connection, that seems to be a huge thing that this company is trying to do, to have an actual ->> Totally Connection to this robot. Yes [CROSSTALK] People will. Personify these things, if they can interact with them in a certain way, absolutely, but I mean this is like, maybe it's a little too simplistic to just give it two simple little eyes, I just, I don't really see how that works exactly, but Maybe people really like it. I don't know. Right know we're seeing a video of the airport vacuum cleaner robot which they didn't mention on their Keynote [LAUGH] but that is a thing. They didn't announce any partnerships. Wait a vacuum cleaner? [CROSSTALK] Not the air robot. What makes it a robot and not just a A vacuum? a vacuum cleaner? It's got a face. I think that's the actual, what's the line. Is that the criteria? Does it have to make it a robot? I don't know. Have you seen pepper on the floor? I like pepper. Pepper moves around. It looks like a robot. It looks like what you think a robot is. It's got like this touch panel. And it looks very non-threatening, right. It's a very friendly face. That was the whole intention. It's super friendly. But granted, if I bumped into pepper in a dark back alley somewhere and pepper was like Angry, I think that would be terrifying because it's so cute looking. Look you bring up pepper and that's right cuz our reporter Katie Collins actually managed to play a game of Cards Against Humanity against Pepper. The best part about Cards Against Humanity is just how vile it can get. Yeah. So how can pepper Play Cards against Humanity. It's a program to be violent off and on. So it could be the [UNKNOWN]. It doesn't offer the answers. It gives you the combination and you're suppose to select it. It acts as the judge, it's like the MC. You give the answers and it judges which is the funniest. How is Pepper qualified? It's qualified. But how? So it had the database with basically every single term and every combination, and it could do that because it's a robot, right? And it sort of stacks against the best answers, the answers [INAUDIBLE]. I would like to try that, that's actually kind of cool. So it's basically using big data. Well that just means that somebody has pre-judged the best combinations, and told this robot this is the way to go. Yeah, but it is based off of sort of crowd source. So it can change then? Absolutely. Okay. Yeah. So what's interesting about that too is that why would Pepper do Cards Against Humanity? It's another one of the, going back to the original point of, we want to make these things have an emotional connection. We want people to personify them in a certain way. We want people to keep interacting with this stuff, so, that's why you see certain little things like Cards Against Humanity. That's why Alexa tells jokes. And different things like that. So I think we're gonna see a lot more of that kind of stuff from robots, voice assistance. Just to get people a little more comfortable with this stuff. It's still very new to a lot of folks. I find this very troubling, cuz the thing is, remember the Sony Ivo dog robot, People had a whole bunch of these things and the thing is they're becoming sad because they're trying to repair them and there's no longer parts. So they have an emotional connection to these devices and they're dying. No. So the thing is you should buy 20 or 3D printer parts. People are actually 3D printing parts to save their [INAUDIBLE] so these robots that people are having attack. That's incredible. Yeah cuz you're creating this emotional attachment. you're also causing grief with people so be aware that you're buying delayed sadness anytime that you buy anything. My god. I hope that people don't start burying their robot dogs. They recycle them. Let's go into the next big thing. We've got all kinds of stuff. It's on Ben's list. What are we talking about? So the next big thing was yesterday with Brian Cooley and Lindsay Turintine, it was this whole big effort about the smart home. How do we get the smart home to be much more significant. One of the points that I thought was really interesting that was mentioned there was a lot of these smart home and home automation features maybe 6 or 7% of the US population has actually interacted with them so far. Upwards of 90% of folks haven't talked to Alexa. They don't really know what a lot of this stuff is. They don't know how to turn on and off their lights using their voice. So, there's this enormous amount of opportunity to get people to really start using the smart home a lot more. So we'll see if it happens. You also brought up that [UNKNOWN] concerns, right? That was the [UNKNOWN] issue? Yeah, they showed this Mr. Robot video onstage that was just kind of this terrifying potential of everything that could possibly go wrong in a fully integrated smart home, where this woman was in the shower while some hacker Made it really, really hot and she had to get out of the shower. All of a sudden, the alarms were blasting and she was on the phone with some tech somewhere and they said well, unplug it, unplug the system. And it'd be like, there is nothing to unplug, it's all in the walls. So eventually she had to leave her house and the Mr Robot people took over or whatever. This was just this scary notion of As we automate more things, as we add more Wi-Fi connections into things, like a worst case scenario. And it could be potentially even worse than that->> Look, this isn't even worst case scenario though, right? Yeah. Like we saw that with the botnet attack last year. These connected devices were all kind of put together sort of an army of botnets that took down the internet, right. So There's definitely I think a legitimate threat there. And I think that's part of the reason why a lot of people haven't tried this stuff. It's a little scary right? It's a little intimidating, and their privacy concerns are legitimate. Yeah, and in fairness to Google and Amazon who were on stage they said, anytime we develop these platforms we do it with security is paramount. They're obviously very mindful of the fact that this is new technology, they wanna get people Interested in it and they wanna get people comfortable with it. Well look, the thing of it is, yes, Google and Amazon, all these big companies have lots of resources to put into security. Where you get into trouble is with a lot of these smaller companies that are building products that don't have the resources for security. Their focus is building a product, getting it out, selling it. I imagine for a lot of them, security and privacy are fairly low on the totem pole. Very good point. They may not say that. But it's clear that all these companies are not thinking about security. So Google specifically referenced that and they said that it's incumbant on us to really try to find these smaller companies and help them and give them the tools that they need. Because it doesn't help us if there are theses botnet attacks that are really kind of hurts that situation. One other thing I want to mention that was Kind of referenced that the next big thing was the idea of, what does a future smart home look like? And it's basically, everything is automated. So we talked about what could go wrong if everything is automated. Well, we have this cool video about well, here it is right here. You basically walk to your door. It unlocks, it opens for you. The lights turn on. The blinds change exactly how you want them to be. The oven turns on and you can start cooking your food. The refrigerator tells you what may or may not actually start going bad. So maybe you want to make a salad tonight. Something like that, so. It was all very integrated from front to back and it, I don't know. I thought it was kinda cool. Obviously, we're a couple years away from that but I don't know. What do you guys think? Would you want to live in a house like that? Of course I do. I live in a house like that now. No. You don't want that? No. Okay, we're gonna have to, we're actually running out of time, you believe this? Move it off. All right let's talk about smart pajamas, is that what we're talking about? $200 PJs? We are talking about Under Armor. Okay you tell me about it, cuz I saw this and I'm like, why would you pay $200 for PJs? Cuz, you're comfy but, $200 Yeah well, this is sleep wear technology apparently. These are some very expensive pajamas, about 100- Are they connected? They are not connected. Not connected. Fortunately hackers cannot get to your pajamas. Good to know. Fortunately. There's no [UNKNOWN] for it. No, what it does is, is that there's special fabric that absorbs some of the far infrared heat that your body emits, and transfers it back in. It's supposed to Promote better sleep and better by recovery. Now this is somehow tied to Tom Brady the, is it quarter back, is that right? Yes, so under armour part of the Tom Brady to basically pitch this. This is gonna be the subject of the under armour keynote. The CEO is speaking later today at the show. So Tom Brady is pitching PJs for under armour, is this correct? This is correct. [CROSSTALK] This is where technology is going now. [CROSSTALK] To help you recover. Technology is a hot, hot trend, right. You see->> Well, yeah, [INAUDIBLE] the heat back. Ha-ha, iPhone and night. [LAUGH] Sorry, guys, big derail. No, look, a lot of these companies are looking to. There are motion trackers for sleep. They're in the bed. There is night mode, or night vision for, or night shift? What is night mode for iPhone, right? Yeah. Technology companies are increasingly conscious of the fact that people need to get more sleep, better sleep. And as a father of a nine month old, I completely agree Hope one day that actually happens. Do we try to cram in the PC talk right now what do you think guys? Of course. This is 359 let's cram in as much as possible. Do you believe that we're talking about PC's personal computers right now? No. Okay so there's [INAUDIBLE]. There's a Dell Latitude 7285 so one of the first laptops from Dell that actually has a wireless charging base. I've seen that on the floor for the longest time. Intel was like wireless charging. We're gonna have it on a laptop. I'm like when? When it finally happens. Wait, wait, wait. But it's a fairly large base, I mean- Well yes. You just keep it that, why don't you just plug it in? It's not- Come on Roger. It's not that much harder to plug it in. What fun are you? [LAUGH] Come on. What is your beef with wireless charging? No, I love wireless charging, it makes sense for phones where you could move them around and like, you could charge at Starbucks or whatever, but This is just moving the charging plate around. If you took a laptop with you- Well you'd have multiple plates I'd imagine. That way you could put your device down right away. How many plates are you gonna have? Three. Maybe you could buy a laptop bag for your plate. Yeah, a separate bag though. Okay, well you guys are ridiculing this, I find the video, I thought it was cool. When I go to my desk, I put the laptop down, I don't want to plugin a whole bunch of stuff. I could have wireless USB which is not a thing. By the way, the plate Has to be plugged in. You realize that right? Well yes of course it's like a key charger. I'm just saying. No wireless charging is truly wireless. Its not like a [UNKNOWN] Tesla situation. I just think it makes less sense for a computer than it does for a phone. I don't agree at all. I think those things should be built into desks at some point where we can just put that down. Yep, that's the Dell there, that's a two in one, it's taking it apart right now in the video and it's supposed to be a charging plate as well for it. I still think that wireless charging- There you go, look at that. Look at that baby, whoo. Imagine you go to a boardroom and there's all of these charging plates without having these ridiculous proprietary You know what, I'll stay for whatever else. You have a good point. They have them build into that. That sort of integrated the vision of future. That, I can get the mind, for sure. That's not my future stuff a little bit more of a razor because they had a- [UNKNOWN] Crazy laptop called project Valerie. It's a concept device. Now Razor does, they show a lot of concept device, right and sometimes they never come out but then you're like Razor will come up with this and here's your laptop supposedly. And so we've got this three screened laptop. [LAUGH] And the- What? Yeah. Yeah. Those two screens pop off the sides and this is enormous. They actually have it on the show floor. There's no plan for this to actually come out by the way. There's no product release date. This is Not mention that. I feel like a lot of these gaming laptop companies that's what they do with these shows. They come out with the craziest, funkiest product you can find to get the attention and then maybe it shows up. We'll see. I mean it is pretty amazing. I'm not even a gamer and I kind of want one. It's fantastic looking. I like the idea. I don't think I would ever buy it. Okay, I think one day when they're rollable, I see that happening a lot, but I do like the idea that they bother to do it. Because that's crazy, that's great engineering, you're right, it's a nice show piece to get their attention, but if they find out that people actually want this, Razer is crazy enough to do it I think. Yeah, absolutely. Could charge like $7000, and people are like yeah. Someone will buy it. Gamers will buy that thing. Yeah. Or if you do a lot of CAD work or video editing. You have this thing on you. I like it. If you're running storage for CNET. Yes. [LAUGH] Three giant screens- I could actually see how I would use that, that would be awesome. I like it. Anyway I think that's gonna have to wrap it up for us guys. You think so? All right, all right. You can find us 359 on iTunes, Sound Cloud, Google Play and? Of course! CNET.com. For the 359 podcast, I'm [UNKNOWN] I'm Roger Chang. I'm Ben Fox Ruben. Thanks for watching. [MUSIC]