Saturday, February 1, 2014

CES 2014

The Global Stage For Innovation




Well the start of a new year brings CES, The Consumer Electronics Show, or, perhaps, THE GLOBAL STAGE FOR INNOVATION. This annual event held in Las Vegas featured over 3200 exhibitors and attracted some 150,000, including 35,000  international attendees. This year, considering the unusual worldwide weather conditions, could still be a record breaker since official figures will not be released till some time in late spring.

This show was originally created as a semi-annual preorder sales event for retailers with a summer show in Chicago. In recent years it’s become a sort of testing ground for new products and gadgets such as Ultra HD 4K Television and wearable technology. It gives the manufacturer the opportunity to meet the resale giants and show many prototype products allowing them to evaluate interest, make improvements prior to a release and to brainstorm on what to offer in the future. In short, it’s a toy store of interesting gadgets many of which may never make it to the market place. Interestingly enough, the exhibitors over the years have expanded to include automobiles and some appliances along with computer related products, and all the technology that makes them appealing. The show is not open to the general public, although a few years ago the show did sell tickets on the last day to consumers. Typically, exhibitors send most of the staff home on the show’s last day so one would assume that they were unable to cope with the inquiring consumers and thus the show remains industry affiliation only. Unlike CES, European shows generally offer public access on specific days.

Ford showed the C-MAX, a Solar Energi Concept car that’s a plug-in hybrid with photovoltaic panels on its roof that when parked can fully charge the car in one day. It has a 620-mile range, but can only rely on sunshine energy for 21 miles. C-MAX is a series of energy efficient models that currently exist, but minus the solar power feature. As usual, cost and availability is unknown, that’s why it’s a concept car… BMW and Audi unveiled their latest driverless cars with demo rides on the streets of Vegas. Nevada is one of the few states where it’s legal to test drive self-driving vehicles, although a person must sit in the driver’s seat… 

Toyota showed a four-seat concept car that looked like a futuristic Prius. It’s powered by a hydrogen fuel cell and will also be capable of powering your home for a week during an emergency. Toyota plans to start selling a version of this car in the U. S. next year. No price available, however they claim a big cost savings by utilizing an electric powertrain already in production in their current hybrid models. Bosch showed a smartphone app that parks your car in tight spots. No availability given… Chevrolet showed its “APP SHOP” feature that allows owners to add features to their cars thru apps. Sounds like a GM moneymaker to me!

Phonesoap Charger is a gadget that’s available for fifty bucks. Not only is it a phone charger, but it also sanitizes your phone by using UV technology, and it’s an acoustic audio amplifier. The two UV-C lamps in the device produce a very specific wavelength of light, which encompasses your phone, and pass through the cell walls of bacteria and virus to impair their DNA. Once exposed the cells die. Works with most smartphones and comes with a micro USB cable or you can use the 30 pin cable that came with your phone.

Wearable technology was all over CES. Exhibits included a Zepp sensor that mounts on golf balls, baseballs and tennis balls or even on a golf glove to analyze 1,000 data points per second that create 3D representations of a player’s swing. Or how about the Qardiocore heart monitor that can send an EKG to a smartphone and then forward to a physician for remote heart monitoring? And many more smartwatches that interface with your smartphone to provide duplicate functions on your wrist. Still waiting for one that’s totally compatible with the iPhone. Maybe Apple will offer one soon that’s really smart? Apple pulled out of CES several years ago to devote their time and efforts to their own events.

Last, but not least, Ultra 4K HD was again much on display. The difference this year was Samsung’s new concept of curved screens that create the ultimate immersive experience. Much like the old Cinemascope days that have come and gone, this technology promotes a new dimension to your viewing experience. They offer several large sizes including 105 and 110” models which seems to indicate that size is a factor to enjoying the experience. While certainly interesting, the big problem is there’s little to no programming available for the Ultra 4K format and none really on the horizon. The networks certainly are not gearing up for Ultra 4K HD since it’s all they can do to keep afloat with the competition of competing media of all kinds and there’s no prerecorded software since devices capable of such quality are presently out of the consumer’s price range. Think this may go by the way of all the 3D attempts of the past as that technology is slowly disappearing too? Your guess is as good as mine, but then that’s what creates the excitement in the technology industry and keeps us wanting more!

MSRP: Curved Ultra 4K HD unknown, but could be $5K - $10,000+ (Probably five years off from product availability at retail, if then)

Graphic credits: Google Images

Bob Skidmore is a freelance writer, who may be contacted at, or followed at for the latest gadget industry news. He does not represent, or endorse any of the products he reviews and his opinions are solely his points of view and not those of the manufacturer. The manufacturer generally supplies products at no cost for the articles and no other compensation is received. THE GADGETEER is highly selective as to products he feels worthy of review so as not to waste the reader’s time, thus the reason for many superior ratings. Some information for this article may be gathered from various sources available to the author.


No comments:

Post a Comment