Right now I’m in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronic Show for the 4th year in a row. At this conference, the biggest names in technology (with the exception of Apple) unveil their new innovations they will be selling in the upcoming year. Production on these products usually hasn’t begun yet, and price points haven’t been determined. But! We can see and play with what’s set to hit the market.
This year has been the least impressive yet, honestly. The booth displays have been dialed back and no one seems to be buzzing about one game-changing product. That being said, following are a few of the things I saw yesterday I think you’ll enjoy.
FLAT SCREEN TELEVISION TECHNOLOGY
The television technology is always the most interesting to me. 3D and resolution are the two major features that continue to improve. As you very well know, all of the major brands produce amazing tv’s. Samsung and Panasonic historically have been the most impressive in my opinion. Surprisingly this year, the LG flat screen has the sleekest design of all of the sets I saw. Toshiba still leads the way in 3D, although LG is making a major play for that market too. But the most notable tech for tv actually came from Sharp! The old dog has a great new trick – the first 8k LCD with the absolute best resolution you’ve ever laid eyes on. My picture stinks, so check out this video where you can see the clarity of the picture. It’s seriously like you’re actually seeing the image with your own eyes!
This is one of the new Samsung screens. What’s on display here is Comcast‘s xfinity On Demand feature that has a new look and integration. To get Comcast, you’ll no longer need a set-top box because you can have the app on your tv.
Samsung is upgrading the wifi “social media” camera I’ve enjoyed using over the last year. Now it has 18x zoom and a bigger screen in the back. My model is $199 so I’m guessing this will cost about the same.
What I didn’t snap a picture of was their bigger digital cameras with removable lenses. Those bad boys are impressive on every level. Anyone from a novice to a professional who wants to create truly beautiful images can use it. These models are for people looking to capture “art” instead of just memories that will only live on your computer.
Canon didn’t show anything noteworthy in my opinion.
COMPUTERS AND LAPTOPS
Last year the super small Sony laptop was the hot topic. Within seconds of playing with it, I had more complaints about it than applause. I haven’t heard much about it since. Samsung showed a 3D laptop last year and are continuing that feature on their asymmetrical desktop. The design is sleek in an effort to compete with Mac, but at the end of the day, it still runs Windows.
DIY solar panels for your house from Sharp. They all come in a box and you simply snap them together on your roof. They claim it’s super simple, which I can’t imagine, but your man can probably figure it out. It also has a system that quantifies how much energy it’s generating and saving you from purchasing. The panels should cost $600-800 and you can buy them a la cart so you can grow the system and your energy bill savings over time.
Now, I’ve also heard rumors that there will solar “paper” you can simply unroll on your roof in the near future. This will be easier and cheaper to install. The technology comes from the same thing they use to make flatscreen tv’s so “they” (whoever that is) will also develop lights and tv’s you can unroll on your wall.
Surround sound systems changes the game when it comes to watching movies and playing video games at home.
Dolby always has a huge booth and is probably the best in the market. Samsung is renovating the vacuum tube sound technology (above) to create “clean” sound which displayed notably better surround sound than Panasonic‘s traditional system.
I’m not sure if I showed you the Samsung “social media” refrigerator from CES last year. Well, here it is again. There is no denying the fridge that sets different temperatures for each compartment, syncs with all of your devices, incorporates every social media platform you’d like it to, reports the weather and the news, and serves as a display for family photos is awesome….but I was disappointed to see they hadn’t improved upon it from last year.
For example, LG‘s refrigerator has a “blast chiller” to instantly cool a bottle of wine or beer. We’ve all been there in desperate need to pour a glass of sav blanc only to discover there isn’t a bottle already cold! This is tech we actually need!
I played with the new Nokia Microsoft Lumia 900 4G phone (on the far right in the photo), an upgrade from the current model that runs Windows. Please note, this is NOT an Android phone. The interface is user-friendly and the design is cool, but it has a completely different set of applications than the iPhone and Android phones. So, are all of our favorite companies going to create a new app for this thing?? I just don’t get it. I guess if all of your eggs aren’t in the Apple basket, you’re excited for these launches.
For more details and a credible review, go here to see what the LA Times says. (Photo from LA Times)
Everyone was talking about the Comicbook app that you can use to draw on pictures on your Samsung mobile devices. Considering how much people are enhancing their snapshots right now, it’s a strong marketing play, but again, not enough for me to ditch my iPhone.
OTHER COOL STUFF
G-shock (from Casio), another blast from the past, is a making a play for my money with their new watch. It’s UGLY, but so helpful with the warning that beeps to say, “hey blondie, left your phone somewhere…again!” and then helps find my phone when I’ve misplaced it. Would be an awesome gift for your forgetful man, the style is a little more up his alley than mine :)
Both Motorola and Panasonic (above) both displayed programs for you to quantify your fitness regemin and goals so your progress is tangible. An article in the NYTimes the other day said people who write down and track their fitness progress are more likely to maintain it.
The other cool thing about these systems: they use Google maps so you can run or ride a real route anywhere in the world.
I have no idea why you would need a wearable camera, but it looks pretty cool and the quality of the video is impressive. The headset looks comfortable and unobtrusive, so if you’re hunting for a wearable camera, look no further than Panasonic.