Every year, one event brings together the innovators on technology’s cutting edge. For a week in January every year, Las Vegas glows brighter, the Consumer Electronics Show at Las Vegas, held annually in the 2nd week of January, is the biggest in the world, covering all things groundbreaking, market-leading and pioneering in the consumer electronics industry. CES and prestigious partners host awards programs, keynote addresses and special events to honor both industry leaders and groundbreaking products and technologies.
Here are some of the products which made a big impact this year.
- Flower Power from Perrot
- Coming from the French Company Perrot, known for Bluetooth audio products and quadcopters, Flower Power is certainly an unusual concept. Designed to let you wirelessly monitor your plant’s needs via Bluetooth, it could be the ultimate smart garden accessory. The Flower Power connects with your iOS device and then sends data to it about sunlight, humidity, fertilizer and temperature. All you need to do is stick it in the soil next to it. The device is designed to look like a stick or shrub, so it doesn’t detract too much from the look of the plant. The data is sent to the cloud via Bluetooth Smart for analysis before coming back to your mobile device, and you’ll be able to look up Parrot’s “library of thousands of plants” for the extra care for your herbal friends. No price has been announced for the Flower Power just yet, but it’ll definitely be out at some point this year.
- Best Gadgets : Razors Edge & NVIDIA‘s Project Shield
- While many startups are trying their hands at a home console running Android the NVIDIA Project Shield is the first one that works as a portable gaming system and a way to play full-fledged PC games. The NVIDIA Project Shield is the culmination of five years of work from NVIDIA. Using the company’s new Tegra 4 processor Project Shield can run any Android game on the market, and it can also stream PC games from any gaming rig with a compatible graphics card on a local Wi-Fi network, displaying better-than-console graphics on the 5-inch 720p display or on a HDTV.
- In the evolving tablet market the Razer Edge gaming tablet takes the concept of tablet PCs championed by Windows 8 and devices like the Microsoft Surface and applies them to gaming. It succeeds in showing where tablets, computing, and even entertainment will be heading very soon. The Edge is evolutionary computing, but in a product that is very real, with little that’s left to proprietary question marks.
- Lenovo’s ThinkPad Helix and ThinkCenter Horizon
- The ThinkPad Helix is equal parts ultraportable notebook and tablet. It doesn’t feel neither like a tablet with a keyboard slapped on it, nor a laptop that happens to have a removable screen. Lenovo built the ThinkPad Helix for the enterprise user, it’s durable enough to meet the demands of a business traveler, and with 10 hours of battery life it will keep going for most of the day. With 4G LTE and 3G the ThinkPad Helix will keep business travelers connected wherever they go. Windows 8 on the ThinkPad Helix also provides businesses with the security they need from any device and access to any and all legacy apps they might require. And because it’s a ThinkPad the Helix has the same great keyboard that road warriors love so much.
- Horizon is a Windows 8-based PC. On top of Microsoft’s new operating system, Lenovo has also added its own multiuser interface called Aura. Aura is integrated deeply into the operation of the Horizon. Drop the screen down to its table-top-style flat mode, and Aura pops up automatically, presenting you with a relatively intuitive software control wheel from which you can launch various touch-supported applications. The IdeaCentre Horizon, Lenovo’s brand new 27-inch ‘Table PC’ is an extremely versatile device, combining a massive display with an intuitive software interface that invites sharing, gaming, and more. Its 27-inch HD display is perfect for sharing photo and video with family and friends, its unique accessories which include a joystick and pair of dice make it perfectly equipped for gaming, and its Windows 8 OS gives it the feel of a typical tablet.
- YotaPhone: When Android Met E-Ink and Sony Xperia Z Smartphone
- The most interesting smartphone at CES 2013, and its only the first device prototype out of a planned total of three before launch. YotaPhone is a high-end Android 4.1 Jelly Bean smartphone with an e-ink display on the back. It’s all about battery savings, E-ink conserves more resources than color HD displays, so if you’re just reading a long article or a book, use the low-power e-ink side, and when you’re ready to watch a TV show or swipe through a photo gallery, flip the phone around to use LCD. There are two ways to get content onto the back display. The first is to simply mirror what’s on the screen by swiping down with a two-fingered gesture (check the video above for a demo.) That will give you a static image of a map, for instance, or a shopping list. The second way to program YotaPhone’s e-ink display is to use apps built for that specific purpose. Yota starts out with a few, like an RSS reader, an alarm clock, and Twitter, but plans to open up the SDK so developers can create their own compatible software. Transferring data with these apps was seamless over a strong Wi-Fi connection, just by tapping an onscreen control.
The Sony Xperia Z is Sony’s latest flagship Xperia smartphone and it packs some power which includes a 5-inch 1080p display, quad-core processor, water and dust resistant design and Android Jelly Bean. The combination of great hardware and almost-Vanilla Android software make the Xperia Z an easy choice
- Samsung’s Curve Futuristic Screen and Ultra HD TV
- Though it will take little while for consumers to get their hands on the Curved OLED TV showcased by Samsung this year, the Ultra HD TV from Samsung too has some seriously advanced technologies and features. The most striking thing about the S9 is the design: this is a floor-standing television mounted on what looks like an artist’s easel and the TV is designed to tilt up and down. The S9 TV features upgraded smarts with improved voice interaction and a quad-core processor to speed things along. The Smart Hub application has been enhanced with more content, movies, videos, and music, and a new TV program guide. This augments Samsung’s new S-Recommendation engine, which lists suggested content in thumbnails at the bottom of the screen.
The flagship TV incorporates a quad-core processor that should assist with the speed of the Smart TV interface as well as provide grunt for picture-processing tasks such as the Frame Rate Conversion engine and the Motion Judder Canceler.
The S9 offers a number of connectivity options including Samsung Smart View, which streams content between the TV and a Samsung mobile device, and AllShare has now been extended to incorporate Samsung’s “smart” appliances, enabling monitoring of air conditioners and washing machines from the TV screen.
- Sharp’s IGZO Screen
- While Samsung’s flexible display technology may have stole the show, it’s still a long way off from being put into consumers hands. IGZO display technology, on the other hand, is a reality and it will be hitting more phones in the coming year. Sharp’s IGZO displays promise to offer better battery life, improved touch and higher pixel counts for displays. They should also start arriving in 2013, potentially even in the new iPhone 6.
- Canon Powershot N
- The PowerShot N is one of the smallest point-and-shoot cameras , with many of the same features as point-and-shoots almost double its size. Canon’s diminutive point-and-shoot has a 2.8-inch touchscreen that can flip 90 degrees, making it perfect for taking photos of children or pets. The size also makes it easy to fit in a pocket alongside a smartphone.
- Lego Mindstorms
- The Lego Mindstorms EV3 and the Lego Mindstorms platform were pleasant surprise for kids at CES 2013, showing off interactive and controllable Lego educational toys for consumers and the classroom. Kids can turn the 550+ Lego Technic pieces into five robot characters that they can control with an iPhone or Android app. Kids can set program their creations to the move and interact with their environments. The Lego Mindstorms EV3 is shipping in the second half of 2013 for $349 in the U.S., so kids can play with the LEGO Mindstorms robots at home. In addition to the Mindstorms EV3 retail portion, Lego also delivers the Mindstorms platform to educational markets, with configurations that allow kids to explore science, technology and engineering at a young age.
- Fitbit Flex Wristbands Health Tracker
- Personal fitness company Fitbit has just jumped further into the wearable tech market. The company unveiled its $99.95 Fitbit Flex device, an activity tracker designed to be worn all day and monitor movement, sleep, and calories burned. The Flex is similar to other competing products in the growing personal fitness category such as the Nike FuelBand, and Jawbone Up. Built to be worn all day long, the appropriately named Flex is a soft bracelet encased in a rubbery skin. The idea is that it’s malleable enough to stay firmly wrapped around your wrist but be comfortable enough to wear around the clock. LED lights on the Flex will also, says Fitbit, glow when you’ve approached 20 percent of your preset fitness goals — for example taking 10,000 daily steps. Fitbit also plans to offer the Flex in an assortment of five colors to match various styles and tastes. At its core, the Fitbit Flex is a personal fitness tracker. The gadget uses an internal accelerometer to record steps, distance traveled, and estimated calories burned through exercise. The Flex also keeps tabs on your overall activity level and will record the duration and quality of your sleep.
- Seagate Wireless Plus
- Seagate Wireless Plus, is a brand-new mobile wireless storage expander/media-streaming server for mobile devices. Its a replacement of the first device of its type, the Seagate Satellite that debuted a year and a half ago. Seagate doesn’t want to call the new device the second generation of the Satellite, however, because the new name also means a vastly improved product. The Wireless Plus is a 1TB portable bus-powered drive, very similar to the Backup Plus that comes with a built-in battery and a Wireless-N access point. The device allows up to eight Wi-Fi devices to connect to its Wi-Fi network and then use its internal storage as their networked storage expander. The biggest feature of the Wireless Plus, however, is that you can stream digital content that it stores to all connected devices, making it a great companion for a tablet or a smartphone. The Wireless Plus now offers 10 hours of continuous battery life; the Satellite has just 6 hours. Those moving from one place to another and want to share their hotel’s Wi-Fi, for example, can also use the Wireless Plus to connect to an existing Internet Wi-Fi network and then share that Internet connection to the Wi-Fi devices connected to it.
- Best of CES 2013 (gottabemobile.com)
- What Happens At CES Stays In Vegas (lairigmarketing.typepad.com)
- Top Tech We Found at the 2013 CES (wot.motortrend.com)
- CES 2013: Hottest gadgets at the show (pocket-lint.com)
- CES 2013: Opening day of the show (photos.mercurynews.com)
- Flower Power: A Bluetooth-Enabled Smart Sensor That Monitors the Needs of Your Plants (inhabitat.com)
- CES Show Report: Parrot (ilounge.com)
- ‘Flower Power’ Alerts Humans to Dying Plants (ibtimes.com)
- CES 2013: Robot doctor makes its debut in Las Vegas (telegraph.co.uk)
- Consumer Electronics Show 2013: The best technologies serving a smart way of life (virtual-strategy.com)