Friday, January 17, 2014
For tech enthusiasts, Christmas didn't come in December -- it arrived a couple of weeks later at CES 2014. This year's version of the much-loved consumer electronics show kicked off with a dazzling display of technology, thrilling the thousands of gadget geeks who made the trip to Las Vegas.
Although dozens of intriguing new products were announced or put on display, a few truly stood out from the rest. Let's look at five of the most impressive product showings at CES 2014.
The wearable tech trend began to gather steam in 2013, and if CES 2014 is any indication, the trend will continue. Among the best wearable products displayed was the Pebble Steel, a beautifully constructed smartwatch. While the smartwatch category has yet to really catch fire, one truly spectacular device could change the way consumers think. While it's too early to declare the Pebble Steel a game-changing device, it certainly has a number of eye-catching attributes, including clean, modern styling and excellent functionality. Technology Entrepreneur Jason Hope, views smartwatches and other wearable tech as a likely growth area in 2014. "As people become more comfortable with the idea of 'wrist computing,' smartwatches could make significant gains in the mobile market," he said. "Wearable tech in general seems poised for near-term growth, thanks to an array of exciting new products in the space."
Sony's announcement of its "console gaming without the console" app PlayStation Now generated palpable excitement at CES 2014. Why? Because it offers gamers a dream scenario -- the ability to play classic console games without hardware. The app will work on a subscription model and is expected to be released in the United States this summer. Looking at the wider picture, this announcement could be part of an overall shift in strategy away from traditional console gaming. Cloud services are expected to play a larger and larger role in the gaming industry. PlayStation Now has the potential to be at the forefront of that trend.
LG Life Band Touch
Continuing in the vein of wearable technology, the LG Life Band Touch is a fitness wristband that can sync with Android and iOS via Bluetooth. It can also track the nitty-gritty details of a workout, such as distance traveled, workout length and calories burned or consumed. The fitness band can work in tandem with LG's Heart Rate Earphones to track your heart rate during your workout. When not measuring heart rate, the ear buds serve as standard music headphones.
Ultra HD TVs
Great looking televisions are rarely in short supply at an electronics show. But this year's examples from Sony and Samsung took high-definition to another level -- namely, ultra high-definition. Sony introduced a new wedge-shaped design for its Bravia series, and Samsung introduced a curved-display Ultra HD television with four times the resolution of a standard HD television. Though the 3D television craze never seemed to take flight, expect Ultra HD to be a different story. Once content creators catch up to the technology, it's only a matter of time before Ultra HD becomes the standard. Downward pressure on high-end television prices will likely accelerate this process.
For years, Roku has sold boxes that allow Internet-to-television streaming. Now they're selling televisions, too. The company announced its new Roku TV smart television at CES 2014. The new device will play content from services such as Netflix without requiring a set top box. Roku aims to cut through the clutter and offer an easy-to-operate way to access entertainment content across multiple platforms. The company plans to sell Roku TVs at major retailers, while keeping the price point relatively low. That strategy could result in significant market share, making Roku a player in the smart television market.
Amy Taylor is a technology and business writer. Amy began her career as a small business owner in Phoenix, Arizona. She has taken that knowledge and experience and brought that to her unique writing capabilities. She really enjoys new business related issues that are tied directly to technology.