Archive for January, 2020


Home, James

For the last several years, BMW showed new tech at CES that may be added to its cars at some point. This year it wasn’t the tire shredding capability of an M-car, but more of a concept display and it included some of the best snacks at the show. (Although the Dell/Alienware area takes top prize on snacks and beverages.)

BMW also did something unprecedented for CES; they gave rides anywhere you wanted to go in Vegas much as an Uber/Lyft. But not in any standard BMW. There were a few prototype i3 “Urban Suite” cars for this purpose. The i3 is one of their two true electric cars … the only car under six figures probably sold anywhere on the planet that is totally constructed of carbon fiber. That is mainly the calling card of Ferrari and Lamborghini. Crazy expensive, but probably the future of all cars due to the extreme strength and lightness of carbon fiber. I have a wallet made of it and titanium that is so light it’s easy to forget it’s in your pocket.

The Urban Suite (I’m betting) will never hit the production lines and that’s a shame … I’d buy one. In Asia and Europe, big shot execs commonly use extra length cars that are essentially rolling offices as they are chauffeured around.  Extra long BMWs, MBs and Audis are the norm for this type of use. The i3 prototype is a mini version that can actually maneuver around tiny streets in Asia and Europe. It even has a desk! (oh, and an electric footrest!)

The car itself is dead-silent as it gets around and the size is perfect for congested streets. I was struck by the “common sense” this thing made. Safe, practical (at least for BMW) and within the ability of most folks to own one. Super cheap to operate … Essentially there is almost NO maintenance beyond keeping it clean, beyond the obvious tires and wiper blades. Many electric cars do require an inexpensive battery cooling system fluid flush every five to ten years. Beyond that and a new air freshener, there’s really not much to do to keep it running.

Note: A chauffeur may add some cost …

Size matters

It’s exceptionally odd when I find the winner of a CES show in just a few minutes, but, that’s exactly what happened. After leaving the enormously packed LG area, I wandered towards the Samsung display. Immediately, I knew something was going on … I couldn’t get close to the entrance. After the usual bit of pushing and fighting the crowds I saw why. On display was the rumored 292-inch MicroLED (quantum dot) television called “The Wall.” Upon first impression it was truly jaw-dropping. The more I watched I realized it wasn’t perfect compared to an OLED set, but to the best of my memory I can’t remember an OLED this huge. Additionally, there is NO size limit … only the limit of the size of your wallet. I got to the front row and as I watched, the video of a semi-truck came roaring straight at me. While I knew it was only a video, I still found myself flinching when it sped directly toward me. It was that overwhelming. At this point, the size stops being a draw as no normal home would hold anything larger than that … and it’d still have to be a large multi-story home. And to make a 1000-inch unit would need a stadium (current stadium screens are comparatively crude) and would actually be less impressive than standing 20 feet away from this particular “Wall.” It represents a quantum shift in how we can view TVs … As the prices begin to drop these things will become more common. Oh yeah, it’s going to take more than a few years, but the “writing is on the wall”, so to speak. 

As you look at the picture below, bear in mind the entire picture you’re seeing is the TV.