T-Mobile’s John Legere Steals the Show—and AT&T’s Mojo—On Day 2 at CES 2014

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T-Mobile President and CEO John Legere’s performance wins day three at CES 2014. He took to the stage, can of Red Bull in hand, and excoriated his competitors, attacking AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon for poor service, high prices, and for generally not being cool.

But his most vehement attack was on AT&T, whose CES party Legere infamously crashed earlier this week. “AT&T is a total source of amusement for me. They are the ones that take my bullshit. Dumb move. They take the bait.”

Continuing on its ‘Uncarrier’ streak, T-Mobile announced it will pay customer’s up to $350 per line to cover early termination fees and release them from an existing plan on a competing carrier. “We’re giving families a ‘Get Out of Jail Free Card,” Legere said in the press release.

The announcement adds wood to the already smoldering fire between T-Mobile and AT&T, which last week announced it would pay $200 for every line T-Mobile customers switched over (requiring those customers buy a new AT&T phone.) Legere called AT&T’s promotion a “desperate move,” and countered, “Try the network, try what we’re doing. And if it doesn’t work, these pricks will pay you to come back!”[more]

On the digital radio front, Tim Westergren, who launched Pandora in 2007, introduced a new alarm clock app for Android devices, (a version for Apple devices was released in December) that wakes you in the morning with personalized Pandora stations, the result of requests from listeners who said, “We want to wake up to Pandora.”

The company also showed off a Pebble smartwatch with a Pandora app and an Internet-connected Samsung refrigerator with a built-in speaker. “The mobile revolution totally changed how Pandora was being used,” he said. “Now some 80 percent of its listeners are on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, while just 20 percent listen on desktop computers.”

Pandora’s next big move is connected cars. “It’s a massive category,” said Westergren. “Half of all radio listening takes place in the car,” and Pandora is already available in nine of the 10 best-selling passenger vehicles.

Continuining to prove that CES is an unofficial auto show, Audi brought high-tech vehicular demos including a system that feeds upcoming traffic-light data directly to your dashboard so speeds can be adjusted and performance maximized. But even more impressive was its traffic jam assistant, leveraging sensors and processors that will self-drive a car in slow traffic on the highway—and alert you if you fall asleep at the wheel.

Other action and interesting reveals at the show:

Actor Christopher Lloyd pulled up to CES in his iconic time-traveling DeLorean from Back to the Future and posed as Doctor Emmett Brown (wearing Google Glass) to help fete the 120th year of Gibson guitars. The car was an authentic re-creation of the time-machine from the movie, with a flux capacitor and eco-friendly “Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor.”

Virtual-reality company Oculus showcased its latest Rift headset, now with less “simulator sickeness.” Rift is capable of positional tracking, allowing users to lean and move within the game environment with head movements. 

Sony also announced a new head-mounted display for movie viewing and games, but their unit gives wearers a 45-degree field of vision, while Rift’s delivers 110 degrees. Sony’s HMZ-T3Q has a virtual screen that reaches up to 750 inches and it sits on top of your head like a coal-miner’s headlamp. “The head-mounted display is a theater on your head,” said Michael Fasulo, Sony Electronic’s President and COO. 

Babolat’s Play Pure Drive connected tennis racket utilizes an LED light with sensors (from Movea’s motion-sensing technology) at the bottom of the handle to measure power, impact location, number of strokes, spin, and type of stroke, and holds a USB charge for up to six hours. The data is delivered via Bluetooth to an iOS or Android app for analysis, along with feedback on how to improve your game. Amazingly, the International Tennis Federation has approved the Babolat Play for tournaments.

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