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What mattered at CES 2015 -- Day 2

With the major press events behind us and the doors officially open, CES has shifted into a different mode. Here are the highlights from Day 2 of the world's biggest tech show.

LAS VEGAS -- The back-to-back press events of CES are behind us, and our reporters are now scouring the massive show floors in search of hidden gems and interesting hands-on demos. Here are some of the highlights from today.

Smart home

Smart home technology is a huge focus at CES, and we're seeing more devices that take the smart home concept and push it a step further.

One of these is August's smart lock. Before, the smart lock was limited to short range controls because it relied on Bluetooth. Now, the addition of the new $49 (about AU$60 or £30) August Connect brings the August lock onto your Wi-Fi network, giving you the ability to lock and unlock it from anywhere you can get online.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Another is an interesting idea from Keen, which takes the effort of heating your house beyond the thermostat. The Keen Home Smart Vent is a floor vent that opens and closes depending on what room it's in, your habits, and what time of day it is. For example, if it knows nobody's typically in the bedroom in the middle of the day on Tuesday, it might shut the vent in that room while the heat is on to conserve energy.

Speaker maker iHome is jumping into the smart home scene with the Smart Plug , which allows you to control just about any "dumb" device with Siri. With apps for iOS and Android, the Smart Plug connects directly to Wi-Fi. It'll hit stores at the end of the second quarter of this year, and retail for $40 with a $50 (about AU$50/£25 and AU$60/£30 respectively) version including a USB plug. iHome announced it will be a launch partner when Apple gets its HomeKit smart-home platform rolling.

BlackBerry might not be the first company that comes to mind when you think of cutting-edge, smart home tech. But the company is hoping to be at the center of the Internet of Things revolution. Sandeep Chennakeshu, president of the company's Technology Solutions unit, today unveiled plans to push the BlackBerry IoT platform. BlackBerry said it's combining technology from its QNX platform, which powers systems in cars and industrial applications, with its secure network, for which the company and its messaging service have long been known.

On Wednesday, CNET hosted its annual CES panel on smart home technology. CNET Reviews Editor in Chief Lindsey Turrentine led a great conversation with some very smart people from ADT, Home Depot, IFTTT, Quirky and SmartThings on the direction of the smart home for 2015 and beyond. You can watch it in its entirety here:

Now playing: Watch this: CNET's CES 2015 Smart Home Panel: Openness, security...

Virtual Reality

Editor Scott Stein tests out Crescent Bay, the latest version of Oculus Rift. Nick Statt/CNET

Each year, Oculus has revealed revisions to its prototype virtual reality device, though there's still no retail version yet in sight. Today we got to test out Crescent Bay, the latest version of the Rift. Crescent Bay has some hardware updates that make for a crisper, more fluid experience. But the biggest difference is that you now have more freedom in the way you move through space. Now, for example, you can walk around, crawl, duck, turn and twist. Check out editor Scott Stein's impressions of the Oculus Rift .

Car tech

If there's one thing our cars need more of, it's lasers. Today BMW showed off a cool concept for using lasers to make your car's lights much smarter. BMW's M4 Concept Iconic Lights are headlights that can dynamically change patterns depending on the situation. It can create a dark area in the headlight so as not to blind oncoming traffic. They can also throw a spotlight on pedestrians, animals or other potential obstacles to call a driver's attention to them.

BMW's M4 Concept Iconic Lights Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Harman International showed off an idea for making long road trips with the family slightly more tolerable by creating audio zones in a car. The company's Independent Sound Zones technology work like climate zones, isolating the audio for each seat, so rear-seat passengers can watch a movie with little bleed-over to the front seats, where the driver might be listening to music.

Given the prominence of cutting edge car tech at CES, we decided it was time for us to dive into the subject on a deeper level. This year we held a panel discussion talking about what the future holds for vehicular communication. You can watch the panel in its entirety here:

Now playing: Watch this: CNET's Connected Car panel explores the future of transportation...


LG's Display concept phone Scott Stein/CNET

Most cell phone makers hold off on new phone announcements during CES, waiting instead to make that news during Mobile World Congress in February. But there are always a few phones -- or at least mobile concepts -- on display here. Today we saw a concept phone called the LG Display, which doubles down on the curved design of the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge quite literally. Yep, both the left and right edges of the phone are curved.

BlackBerry also announced a slightly redesigned version of its Passport smartphone for AT&T. It's got rounded edges but is otherwise the same as the existing phone. The company is also dropping the price of its BlackBerry Classic to $50.

Around the floor

We got our hands on Neil Young's long-awaited Pono Player , which can be ordered now and goes on sale next week for $399 (roughly converting to AU$495 or £265). The gadget isn't your average MP3 player. It promises to deliver high-quality audio and feature a balanced output for true stereo sound. Get a first look in the video below.

Now playing: Watch this: The PonoPlayer brings high-quality music to audiophiles

Those are just some of the highlights from our coverage today. We're tracking the coolest, weirdest and most interesting things throughout the show and just revealed today's picks. See all of our Must See picks from CES 2015 so far here.