I drove in Sony Honda’s EV simulator

Since Sony Honda Mobility revealed its EV collaboration at last year’s CES, not much has changed externally. The Afeela EV does now have a LIDAR notch above the windshield, and there’s been some design refinements and tweaks, but for CES 2024, the company was trying to express exactly how all of Sony’s entertainment and sensor expertise would combine with Honda’s automotive know-how, and why we should care about its high-tech EV.

The Afeela will create its own noise cancellation bubble, apparently “tailoring the cabin for entertainment” using Sony’s Spatial Audio technology. According to SHM’s renderings, there appear to be roughly 30 speakers. These were put to use in one of the most surreal experiences I’ve had at CES: playing Horizon Forbidden West inside a car.

No, there isn’t a PS5 baked into this concept EV, but a demonstration involving PlayStation’s long-running Remote Play feature. Sure, the Bluetooth connection to the controller was temperamental (CES is just hundreds of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals clashing), but conceptually, it works. I also got to “test-drive” the Afeela through a simulator in a realistic computer-generated city, courtesy of Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5, with even the digital wing mirrors reflecting what they would see in real life. The simulator’s dash display then offered an AR overlay, showing vehicles, objects and pedestrians, flagging nearby hazards in red.

I’m sure many wonder if SHM’s EV will ever exist as a consumer vehicle, but at CES, it’s found the perfect audience for its gadget-packed car.

— Mat Smith

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CES is all about pet tech.

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At CES, a startup showed off TheButter, a four-key instrument with light-up pads your dog can “play.” Your pet has to follow along the sequence of lights, each one triggering another few notes of whatever song you’ve equipped it with. Once done, you should reward their effort with a treat or some other form of encouragement — no, it’s not automated. TheButter is now available to buy in the US for $99, and you’ll also get the companion app to set your dog’s training routine.

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CES may soon be over, but…

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Samsung is running its first event of the year a little earlier than usual. It will start on January 17 at 1PM ET. We’re expecting the company to unveil its Galaxy S24 smartphone family and possibly a few more gadgets. Fortunately, thanks to leaks, we have a good idea of what to expect from the company’s latest smartphones.

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We’ve heard the difference at CES 2024.

While MEMS drivers may be the next big thing in true wireless earbuds, the first models with the solid-state components still require a hybrid setup. These products pair a MEMS speaker with a dynamic driver. The current-gen driver from xMEMS, a California-based company that develops audio components, is called Cowell, and it’s already available in earbuds from the likes of Creative. Its new driver will arrive in products in 2025. We’ve tested them out, and you can really hear the difference.

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Available, now.

In a rare twist for anyone that’s followed product announcements at tech shows, a lot of the tech at CES 2024 is actually available to buy already. While it may not be a Sony Honda EV or a transparent TV, some of the latest monitors, headphones and more are already up for grabs.

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