The annual Consumer Electronics Show is all about the never-before-seen gadgets of the future. But these early-unveiled technologies have us itching to get on that plane to Vegas.
The 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, which runs throughout next week, will showcase many of the gadgets, and technologies that will dominate the marketplace for the foreseeable future. Companies will unveil more than 20,000 products during CES, and we’ll be there to show you the good, the bad, and the totally nutty of CES 2012. Luckily for us all, we already know there are a few products that we’re just itching to get our mitts on. Here, our top 10 most-anticipated products of CES 2012.
After years of seeing teaser OLED televisions hit the Las Vegas Convention Center floor, this year the technology is ready for prime time. LG, which debuted the “world’s thinnest” OLED display in 2010, has announced that it will show off the “world’s largest” OLED television, with a 55-inch screen, at this year’s CES. OLED displays offer darker blacks (100,000:1 contrast ratio) and more vivid colors than their LCD counterparts. Unfortunately, they also cost as much as a car.
It’s not often that we get excited about a refrigerator, but Samsung’s app-capable LCD cool-box has us salivating. This Wi-Fi-enabled 4-door fridge sports an 8-inch touchscreen, making it possible to use apps like like Epicurious for recipes, play music through Pandora (yes, it has speakers), read the news, take notes, display photos and mark events on Google Calendar. Oh yeah, and it will keep your food cold, too.
2012 is a make-or-break year for Google TV. After a muddled debut that left customers wanting more, Google redesigned the Google TV software from the ground up, has switched from Intel’s Atom processors to Marvell’s ARM-based chipset. Google TV is expected to come loaded in a wide number of televisions and set-top boxes during this year’s release scheduled, and we’ll get the first look at Google TV 2.0 at CES. Considering its track record thus far, there’s no guaranteeing Google TV will be a winner. But with all the potential that a fully-Internet-connected TV system like Google TV can offer, we’re keeping our fingers crossed.
Consoles may be dominating the gaming scene these days, but hardcore gamers still have some impressive hardware to look forward to. Of these is Razr’s Razer Blade gaming laptop. Despite it’s massive 17.3-inch screen, the Razer Blade only weights seven pounds, and measures just 2.2 cm thick. It packs a robust 2.83GHz Intel Core i7 2640M processor, 8GB or RAM, and a 320GB 7200rpm SATA hard drive. Two gigs of dedicated GDDR5 video memory, and the NVIDIA GeForce GT 555m video card ensure seamless graphics loading. But what really makes the Razer Blade stand out is the integrated LCD touchpad, which works as multi-touch panel and a trackpad, as well as the 10 customizable touch-buttons. Our only question is, what if you’re left-handed?
When it comes to home audio, there’s plenty of beautiful, but far too expensive systems out there (like the D-Premier audio rig from Devialet). But nothing edges so far into the absurd as the iNuke Boom doc for iPhone and iPod. Measuring a ridiculous 4-feet tall and 8-feet wide, the iNuke Boom from Behringer pumps out 10,000 watts of ear-bursting sound. It costs about $30,000 — and that doesn’t include the price of removing a wall, so you can get it in your living room. Needless to say, this thing has to be seen to be believed.
As you’ve likely already heard, we’re going to see a ridiculous number of Ultrabooks at this year’s CES. But so far, a true stand-out in the crowd is Lenovo’s Thinkpad X1 Hybrid. At a mere 0.6-inches thickness, the X1 appears to be the perfect combination of portability and performance. By including a dual-core Qualcomm processor usually only found in smartphones and tablets, the X1 is able to run for up to 10 hours while in “Instant Media Mode,” which switches the system from Windows 7 to a Linux-based OS, and limits it to standard tablet-ish functionality (like watching videos and browsing the Web).
This nifty device started, as so many do these days, as a Kickstarter Project, and has since propelled into the upper echelons of CES wonder. Cloud FTP enables users to connect any USB storage device — USB drive, SD card, digital camera, etc — to become a wireless server — your own personal cloud. The makes it possible to share files wirelessly from any of these devices to you iPad, iPhone, laptop, or any other Wi-Fi-enabled device. It can also automatically connect to other cloud storage services, like DropBox or iCloud. Basically, Cloud FTP makes moving files from one device, or to the Web, easier than ever. And that’s the kind of innovation we can get behind.
Micro four-thirds (MFT) and mirrorless ICL cameras have just recently begun to come into their own, with releases from nearly every camera manufacturer in 2011. Canon, however, has been conspicuously absent in this increasingly popular segment of digital photography. And so far, we have no indication that they’re ready to jump on the bandwagon. They are, however, reportedly prepping a comparable device: The G1X, which allegedly sports a 1.5-inch screen and a 14.3-megapixel CMOS censor capable of tackling low-light conditions. Purportedly priced at a whopping $800, the G1X will surely compete with the growing variety of similarly-costly MFT shooters, despite its fixed lens. But can it stand up to the competition? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see.
As the line between gadget and vehicle blur, cars are becoming an increasingly prominent staple of CES. And Ford is smudging the boundaries even further with its MyFord Mobile app, which allows Focus Electric drivers to control the charge levels of their car, pre-heat/cool the interior and locate charging stations, all from their mobile phone or the Web. By itself, MyFord Mobile may be nothing more than a marketing tool — but it hints at a future of connectivity only seen in the realms of science fiction.
The mouse will go the way of the dodo bird, if Tobii has any say in the matter. The company’s “Gaze” interface for Microsoft’s upcoming tile-based Windows 8 OS enables users to move the cursor with their eyes only. Simply look at the tile you want to select, and the cursor goes there. While this is surely one of those behavior-alterting technologies that will take some time to catch on, it’s witnessing this level of groundbreaking innovation that makes the suffocating crowds and frantic schedule of CES totally worth the while.