Tuesday, February 14, 2012

2012 Consumer Electronics Show - The Gadgets

All right guys, here is the one you have been waiting for: what was the coolest stuff at the 2012 CES?  Well here are a few thoughts, trends, and gadgets groundbreaking and absurd that stood out at the CES.

You're flat screen looks great with that scarf!
- Wireless TVs the next great accessory
As I noted in an earlier post, the lines between different technologies are blurring.  Computer monitors are now nearly as clear as televisions.  Televisions now have wireless and portable capabilities.  Your phone or tablet can act as a remote for any component in the house including turning lights or heating on and off, or even start you car.  Basically what is happening is users are demanding access to data and performance, and there is a race to provide it.  Which means there are legions of people creating technologies, platforms, and apps all tailor made to give the public the easiest and most streamlined answer for any and every issue we have.  Becoming the leader in any little niche is going to be big business.  That means there are many options for users, and it also means many solution providers are not going to make it.  The competition is ongoing, and we will see what ends up being the standard in the future.  But for now, lets enjoy the ride, and revel in the innovation.

TVs - One thing that stood out is the push for 3D TVs.  Every major TV maker had some new hi-def 3D model they were rolling out.  I think this is for a couple reasons: 1) there is more, new, and better 3D content than there has ever been, and 2) the pressure being put on TV makers by computer monitor makers and the cost advantage of streaming instead of paying for cable or satellite.  If I had to pick one that stood out from the rest I would say the Sony 3D Dynamic Peak LED, but there were several high quality competitors, and they all seemed very good.
Apple rules the world -
Wrist watch style holders for iPod Nano
What comes around...
An "old time" handset for your smartphone
iPad - If there was one seed that had grown the most branches it would have to be the tablet, more specifically the iPad.  There were aisles and rows of iPad related items.  Backpacks designed specifically to hold tablets, external key boards and mouses (or is it mice?), and covers of all shapes and sizes.  There are thousands of products specifically invented and created to make your relationship with your Apple components stronger, easier, and optimized.  Realize, Apple doesn't even present at the CES.  Nonetheless, the iPad accessory market is booming.  But here are a couple that help with the tactile performance, one is a touch screen friendly glove so you don't have to take it off to use your touch screen called Agloves, and the other is a set of thumb controllers to aid in ease of use called the Logitech Joystick

Apple rules the world II - A Steve Jobs portrait,
made by automated sewing machine

I had never really given much thought to how the advancement of technology had effects on traditional industries.  Take for instance the textile industry.  I guess when I think of textiles being made I assume it comes from 3 sources: 1) large factories pressing out carbon copies of "today's fashion", 2) economical yet morally questionable sweat shops, and 3) our knitting aunts and grandmothers of the world.  And while those assumptions may be true to a point, I had never given thought to what innovations might be made.  Well someone has given it some thought, otherwise computerized sewing machines would never have been invented.  That's right, fill up the spools, lay down some fabric, program in whatever image or pattern that you want on a touch screen interface, and let 'er rip, eh... sew, the opposite of rip. 

Was this how the last star fighter started?
 Is your office not comfortable enough?  Are you not getting the productivity you would like when you are lounging in your Lay-Z Boy?  Wouldn't it be great if you never had to move from a single spot ever, at all, for any reason?  Well, before you throw out your toilet and gym membership, that is probably never going to happen.  But, this thing is about as close as we can get.  It is the Emperor 1510 by MWE.  It is a total command center and recliner in one.  Using it's novel "Scorpion" shape, it allows for total connectivity and relaxation at the same time.  With up to three 24" monitors it will keep you in touch even when you're slacking.  I don't think I need one of these, but it would sure be fun, even though it is named after the head honcho of the dark side.

Solo is right - The biggest issue:
No Back Seat

Now let's say that you do have to get up and go somewhere.  What?  Are you just gonna get up and walk like some sucker?  What if your boss won't give you that parking space you've had your eye on, and earned several times over?  What if you are having trouble latching the bike chain to your segway?  Well, check out the Solowheel.  It is a gyro-balance, rechargeable, electric unicycle.  You heard me.  Is it silly?  Yes.  Is it safe?  Mostly, we think.  But what it is for certain is an innovative way of solving transportation issues.  And you can store it under your desk, or in a closet once you get where you are are going.  Seriously though check the video (some of you other PDXers might recognise some of the background).  I'm not sure if these things are going to be seen on every corner, but you have to tip your hat to the inventor and designer for ingenuity and giving some thought to solving several major problems.

Cooler then a cooler
One major flaw of the Solowheel, and the Segway, and scooters, and all sorts of other personal movers: No Tailgate.  If there is no tailgate, there is not tailgater.  And if there is no tailgater the is no reason to have a "Tailgater", the new portable satellite dish from Dish Network.  It wasn't so long ago that fans of every team would huddle around in a crowded parking lot, consuming fire roasted meats and frosty fermented beverages just wishing that they knew the score of some game that they weren't attending.  The only thing better than being at a tailgater, is being at a tailgater and watching your rival that you won't play till the last game of the year lose to someone else in the mean time.  And now you can get HD quality content for a reasonable $350 (I'm assuming there is also subscription required).  Break out the brews and brats, and get me an extra ticket, because this guy is coming with me. 

All that being said, my favorite gadget the I saw by far (and shame on me for not getting a picture or footage of it) is the multitouch table.  These things have been around for a couple years, but they are super cool, and super futuristic.  You can take a look at a video of what I'm talking about here.  I look at an innovation like this, and mind goes wild.  I hope that some time in the near future I can walk into a restaurant and order through the table, and pay by just laying my card down.  Or walk in to a meeting and pass out copies of a document by the swipe of a finger.  Or have all contact information shared by simply laying my business card on the desk.  Obviously cost is going to be the major factor in adoption, and then the software and apps designed for these machines will have a huge effect.  But I think if we are going to have tables in the future these are the kind of tables we will have.

Overall the CES was a pretty fascinating experience.  There are new and different ideas coming all the time.  And there are going to be substantial changes to our world through brilliant advancements.  As I said on my first CES post, technology is amazing, I hope to return and see what the future holds.

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  1. A great event to see how amazing concepts of gadget and how overwhelming our technology is.

  2. Great read! The more CES blogs I come across the more I get jealous that I didn’t get to make it out this year. Hopefully I’ll be able to make it out next year because if it’s anything like what I’ve seen so far from 2012, I think we are in for an even bigger treat. I love all the technologies you came across and wish I would somehow need them in my life, but unfortunately don’t think I will. Out of all the ones mentioned the Tailgater is definitely my favorite. I’ve actually had it since it released thanks to my co-worker at Dish’s recommendation and really do enjoy it. I used it during this past football season and am looking forward to bringing it along camping when it starts to warm up a little here in Colorado. It does require a Dish subscription to use, but is totally worth it because you can bring all of your HD channels with you on the go! Who doesn’t love HD tailgating or camping right? :)