The Consumer Electronics Show was back in Las Vegas this week (Jan 6-9) and wowed techies with the latest gadgetry, software and trends. Wearables, ultra high-definition tellies and the connected home topped the billing, but connected cars and virtual reality were the highlights of this year.
1) Vroom, vroom
Keynote speakers from Mercedes-Benz, Ford and General Motors came to Vegas this year to talk up the connected car, while firms like Audi and BMW were showing off new technologies. Audi had a specially made A7 car called Jack drive itself most of the way to the show to mark the debut of its Piloted Driving technology, which only requires the driver to assist in urban environments. Meanwhile BMW was one of a few different auto firms demonstrating wearables that connect people to their vehicles.
2) VR edges closer to reality
Virtual reality isn’t there yet, but it’s being talked about more and more. Oculus Rift was at CES to tease techies once more with the latest update to its long-awaited headset, Crescent Bay. Meanwhile, video-game peripherals maker Razer announced an Open Source Virtual Reality Initiative to try to get other firms to help it develop the perfect VR headset while 3D Head debuted an “Oculus killer” its own VR headset and various makes and models were in use throughout the stands at the show.
3) Wearables move beyond watches
Companies are coming up with new ways to connect everyday objets with the internet – particularly those we can carry around with us. Even before the show kicked off, people were talking about The Belty, a belt that continuously monitors your waistline in order to adjust itself and (apparently) aid general fitness. Logbar’s Ring was also back with a new model, after the original Kickstarter-funded one didn’t quite come together. The simple device allows the user to control things like curtains, lights and their TV with a wave of their hand through infrared signals.
4) Flogging 4K
Electronics manufacturers aren’t giving up on getting us all to upgrade our TV and brought their ultra high definition versions to CES in an attempt to woo the audience. Sony launched the “world’s thinnest” 4K television at the show, running on Android TV, while Panasonic was showing off its voice-activated Firefox OS 4K TVs. But 4K isn’t the only game in town. LG and Samsung both released their first stabs at panels using Quantum Dot technology, while OLED tellies were also being touted by LG.
5) The weird, the wonderful and the blast from the past
CES is nothing if not a place to bring your out-of-the-box thinking. Which is why you could find gadgets like the AIR², a floating Bluetooth speaker that levitates over its base, the Edyn Garden Sensor, which tells you when to water your plants and the Melomind, a brain activity measuring headset that reads your mind to figure out which soothing tones will relax you most. This year, CES also featured a blast from the past – a new Sony Walkman. The ZX-2 will set you back nearly £1000 because of the firm’s Hi-Res Audio, which claims to produce sound that’s over three times richer than a CD and high-quality wireless listening too.
6) Lenovo wins Best in Show
Lenovo’s lightweight LaVie HZ550 won the prestigious CES 2015 Best PC award. Weighin in at just 1.7 lbs (or 770g) and powered by Intel’s new fifth-generation Core processor, the LaVie HZ550’s battery has up to eight hours charge. It’s convertible cousin, the LaVie HZ750 has a 360-degree hinge transforming it into a tablet for those eager to work, and play, on the move. For more information, visit the Lenovo CES product showcase here.