The latest on gadgets: Intel buys German drone maker

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The latest developments surrounding the consumer-electronics show in Las Vegas known as CES (all times local): 11:55 a.m. Fiat Chrysler is joining the parade of automakers incorporating Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto into their infotainment services. The company says...

 
              A worker drives by a sign at the Las Vegas Convention Center before the start of the International CES gadget show Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, in Las Vegas. The show officially kicks off Wednesday, Jan. 6. (AP Photo/John Locher)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The latest developments surrounding the consumer-electronics show in Las Vegas known as CES (all times local):

11:55 a.m.

Fiat Chrysler is joining the parade of automakers incorporating Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto into their infotainment services.

The company says both smartphone systems will be available on some unspecified models worldwide starting later in 2016. They will be part of the fourth generation of Fiat Chrysler's Uconnect touch-screen system. Fiat Chrysler says the new Uconnect system will start faster with quicker and more vivid touch screens.

Automakers have gradually been adding the Apple and Google systems to their infotainment systems, largely because customers want the screens to mimic their familiar smartphones and perform tasks the same way.

On Monday, Ford also announced plans to add the systems to its Sync infotainment centers. General Motors is rolling the systems out on select models, and others are also moving in that direction. At the same time, automakers are developing their own systems to control car functions.

Among the holdouts: Toyota says it has no plans yet to add Apple's or Google's system yet to its Toyota and Lexus infotainment services.

The announcements come as the CES show in Las Vegas is set to open Wednesday.

—Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer, Las Vegas

___

11:35 a.m.

Intel, the giant chip company, is buying a German drone maker.

The move is part of Intel CEO Brian Krzanich's broader strategy to promote the use of Intel chips for new technologies — including drones, robots and a variety of sensor-equipped devices. This comes as sales decline for makers of personal computers, which are traditionally among Intel's biggest customers.

The German company, Ascending Technologies, already uses some Intel gear in its flying devices. At last year's CES gadget show in Las Vegas, Krzanich showed how Ascending Technologies is using Intel's RealSense three-dimensional optical sensors to help its drones navigate.

Intel has recently invested in several drone makers, including Ascending, China's Yuneec and California-based Airware.

Now Intel is buying Ascending outright. Intel wouldn't disclose the sales price, but says Ascending's 75 or so employees will be offered jobs at Intel.

Krzanich is scheduled to give the opening keynote at CES on Tuesday evening.

— Brandon Bailey, AP Technology Writer, San Francisco

___

11 a.m.

Toyota will link all of its new vehicles to cellular networks starting with 2017 models in the U.S.

Driver and passengers get access to selected Internet data, but Toyota's "Data Communication Module" won't be a wireless hotspot just yet.

Drivers will get improved navigation and get updates on vehicle health and service. They'll be able to locate, lock, unlock and start their vehicles from a smartphone. The system will notify authorities if air bags are inflated in a crash.

Eventually passengers will be able to get broader wireless access, but Toyota had no details on timing or fees.

The company also plans to set up a data center to communicate with the cars, and it's joining Ford and Livio to develop the bones to link smartphone devices and apps to vehicles.

Toyota says it has no plans yet to add Apple's CarPlay or Google's Android Auto to Toyota and Lexus infotainment systems.

—Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer, Las Vegas

___

10:40 a.m.

Smart TVs running Roku's streaming TV software will display better pictures this spring as Roku introduces sharper, 4K resolution and an emerging technology known as HDR.

With HDR, or high-dynamic range, TVs will be able to display a greater range of color and contrast. It's a feature expected in many TV models to be unveiled this week at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas.

Roku said Monday that Chinese manufacturer TCL will be the first to offer 4K, HDR sets using Roku's system. Like other Roku TVs, the new sets will not only display traditional TV channels, but also thousands of streaming services including Netflix and Hulu. It's largely the same software used in Roku's stand-alone streaming devices.

Although CES doesn't open until Wednesday, many companies are unveiling their new products and services earlier.

— Anick Jesdanun, AP Technology Writer, New York

___

10:10 a.m.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your headsets.

Oculus says it will start taking orders for its much-hyped Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset at 11 a.m. ET on Wednesday. The company says this is the final product that will go on sale, not a developers' kit. However, it is staying mum for now on the price or shipping date of the headset.

More details are expected to emerge Wednesday. Oculus founder Palmer Luckey will also do a Q&A on social media site Reddit on Wednesday.

The company, which was bought by Facebook in 2014 for $2 billion, says the headsets will come with two video games, "Lucky's Tale" by Playful and CCP's "EVE: Valkyrie."

The Rift will require a fairly powerful computer. Oculus plans a certification program so consumers can look for a sticker on PCs that support the Rift. Asus, Dell and Alienware will have certified models that cost less than $1,000.

Oculus was also behind a $100 Samsung VR headset. It is less powerful than the Rift and works with a Samsung phone rather than a PC.

— Mae Anderson, AP Technology Writer, New York

___

8:45 a.m.

Microsoft says Windows 10 is now running on more than 200 million computers and other devices, five months after the new software was released.

The company says Windows 10 is seeing faster adoption than earlier Windows versions, with 40 percent of Windows 10 devices activated since the holiday shopping season started after Thanksgiving.

Microsoft made the announcement in a blog post as PC makers prepare to unveil new Windows 10 products at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas this week.

Microsoft is hoping the new software — which runs on personal computers, tablets, game consoles and other gadgets — will help it regain ground as it battles Apple and Google for consumer loyalty. It hopes to have Windows 10 on a billion devices in three years.

But it has a way to go. Analysts say the most common PC operating system is still Windows 7, which was released more than six years ago and lacks capabilities of newer releases.

— Brandon Bailey, AP Technology Writer, San Francisco

___

8:20 a.m.

Ford is joining several other automakers and adding Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto to its Sync touch-screen infotainment system.

The automaker also plans to install a 4G LTE wireless connection to its vehicles starting with the 2017 model year.

The familiar Apple and Google systems will be mimicked on the car's screen, with voice commands available. Ford said Monday that owners of Sync 3-equipped 2016 models in North America will get a chance to update software later this year, and the systems will appear on all Sync-equipped 2017 models.

Initially the wireless modem will let drivers find their cars in parking lots, unlock and start them from smart phones, and check the gas level and tire pressure. While the car is moving, smartphones will still be needed for Internet access. But spokesman Alan Hall says eventually the modems will be available for use as wireless hot spots. He says there won't be any recurring service fee for the first five years.

Ford also will announce additional apps that will be compatible with Sync.

Hall wouldn't comment on reports that Ford and Google will announce an autonomous car partnership at the gadget show. But he says Ford will have an autonomous car announcement.

— Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer, Las Vegas

More in Home