Celebration of the new year isn’t complete without CES. Every year, the industry flocks to Las Vegas to show off the hottest gadgets and trends in tech for the months to come, and they tend not to disappoint. Well, maybe some do. But, it’s a big show, and there’s a lot of tech to sift through. We’re always guaranteed a few winners. Look below for all the good stuff that’s going to make the tech industry great in 2014.
You know you’re in the future when the tech we have looks even better than its Star Trek counterpart did. Spock’s tricorder has been shrunk down into a tiny, palm-sized device called Scanadu that will give approximate health data, like your pulse, just by holding it up to your head for a few seconds. Now, you’ll actually have an idea of those numbers that the doctor scribbles down and never tells you.
Will you be seeing anything on sale from Intel? Probably not. But, this will be the year that you’ll start seeing Intel processors powering a lot of wearable technology. Their new Edison mini-computer is the size of an SD card, but can power all kinds of devices and provide Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. Intel created some to give the rest of the industry a few ideas – earphones with built-in fitness trackers, baby onesies with advanced sensors, and a smart bracelet co-developed with a few friends from the fashion industry. And that’s just for starters – keep an eye on wearable tech this year.
I know, right? How, in 2014, could a smartphone case be a highlight? Well, Mophie has managed with the Space Pack for the iPhone 5/5S. Mophie has been putting battery packs into their cases for a while now – the kicker here is that the Space Pack also adds more storage space, either 16 GB or 32 GB. All that, without adding too much bulk to your phone – that’s worthy of some buzz.
In the past couple of years, T-Mobile has established itself at the agitator of the telecom world. Case in point: CES 2014, where CEO John Legere announced that, in an effort to lure customers away from other telecoms and to T-Mobile’s sunshine world of no contracts, they would start paying off early termination fees incurred by breaking contracts with competitors. Maybe we can’t get subsidized phones from T-Mobile anymore, but we almost like this subsidy better.
We were pretty impressed last year when Lenovo’s Horizon first made its debut. The next generation; the Horizon 2 is here and they have only turned it up with NFC integration for Android Smartphones, a thinner, lighter frame with a few new bells and whistles tacked on. All while still making this the ultimate family tabletop PC.
The trouble with the dawn of the smartwatch last year is that they weren’t actually autonomous devices, just Bluetooth-enabled smartphone accessories. Not so with the Neptune Pine Watch – it’s its own device, capable of making and receiving calls (including video chats) over Wi-Fi or 3G. There’s even built-in GPS and fitness sensors, and the device can be detached from the watch straps, so you can use the 720p camera on the back. It’s not for everyone – a 2.4’’ display on your wrist isn’t exactly subtle – but if you found yourself pining for a true smartwatch in 2013, your time is now.
Yup, it’s a smart bed. Just about everything in the home is going to get an IQ boost this year, and few are as important as the place you spend a good third of your life. The Sleep Number X12 bed has passive sensors that monitor breathing, heart rate, and movement to evaluate the quality of your sleep and make suggestions as to how you can improve it. It’s all in the name of getting better shut eye.
Not getting enough adrenaline playing those first-person shooter games on your iPhone? Grab one of Incipio’s gun controllers - you can mount your iPhone up top, then play any number of augmented reality games made just for the controller. The controller is loaded up with a trigger and several buttons, so it provides a full gaming experience for mobile users.
It’s admirable that even in 2014, Polaroid has been able to keep the instant print photography thing relevant and desirable. The Socialmatic carries the torch nicely – a 14 MP camera with a 4.5’’ touchscreen and a 2 MP camera facing the user. It looks a lot like the Instagram logo, and for good reason – it has Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, so you can immediately share photos online. And, yes, you can still print photos from your Polaroid – they’ll come out the side, no shaking necessary, with a little QR code in the corner that your friends can scan to get a copy of the picture instantly.
One major theme at CES this year wasn’t just wearable tech, but wearable tech that is actually fashionable. Cue the CSR Bluetooth Necklace Pendants, pieces of high-tech jewelry with Bluetooth connectivity. Each one has a light that can flash to notify you of new emails or updates. Oh, and you can alter the color of the light to match your outfit, too.
Except for Venus and Serena Williams – Tennis itself is far from a sexy or innovative sport. We leave the innovation to the players who know how to work the crowd and the turf. That is what makes Sony’s Smart Tennis racket will be able to better track track your swing, ball speed, and overall performance on the court. Will this actual product see the light of day? Lets hope so – it’s about time that the Tennis Racket got a facelift.
The PadFone mini will feature a 4” smartphone that can be seamlessly docked into a 7” tablet. In a way, that makes it a little more attractive than the larger PadFone devices, because you get a smartphone and a tablet that can both fit in a pocket, if need be. Of course, the smaller size means that there’s going to be some sacrifice when it comes to specs. It’s hard in such a congested market to make both Smartphones and Tablets exciting nowadays, but the Padfone Mini might just do both.
Do you like TV? How about a lot of TV? Well Samsung is unleashing a beast of a TV onto the masses. The Samsung 105” Curved UHD 4K TV is stunning in person and will transform any room into an state-of-the-art theater. The brand is releasing several new UHD TVs in addition to their curved 105” model. There will be 78”, 65”, and 55” curved models, along with 110”, 85”, 75”, 70”, 65”, 60”, and 55” flat screen models. The future of TV is here, just bring your wallet.