By Paul Ndiho, Washington D.C
The 46th annual International Consumer Electronics Show opened this week in Las Vegas, showcasing a new generation of “smart” gadgets. Some are controlled by voice and gestures, some let you dictate emails or check real-time, gas prices, and others incorporate innovations in cars.
Las Vegas is arguably one of the most populous cities in the U.S and perhaps primarily known for gambling, shopping and great entertainment. But this month, the city came alive — Putting a spotlight on upcoming technology trends. This show attracted thousands of exhibitors and was attended by more than 150,000 people.
Each year, Consumer Electronics Show or C-E-S showcases upcoming products ranging from cellphones to giant televisions. This year H-D televisions that promise four times the picture resolution of current TVs are among the “must see” items. TV makers Sony and Samsung are among the tech giants looking to set the pace for the “Ultra HD” or “HD 4K” market.
“The main thing this year is TVs, HD TVs, either 4k, which they are also calling ultra-high definition or OLED TVs. The 4K TVs we are seeing from everyone across the board. I saw, at least 8 different 4k Ultra high definition TVs yesterday.”
Sony Japanese electronics maker lost in the large shadow cast by Apple and others, seems renewed at this year’s show, unveiling a 25,000 dollar (USD) 4K TV that literally looks more vibrant and life-like than real life itself.
Sony hopes to make an impact with its new 5-inch smartphone, the Xperia Z, which comes equipped with a high resolution camera and a powerfully updated core processor.
South Korea’s Samsung meanwhile continues to draw large crowds at the convention, offering a wide-variety of charismatic products, including a 110-inch HD set. The tech giant, which makes more chips, flat-screens, handsets and TVs than any of its competitors – including the world’s best-selling smartphone – is aiming to sell 55 million flat-screen TVs this year, up from 51 million last year, even as the industry is set to remain stagnant due to the weak global economy.
Another hot item at the show is “the driver less or self-drive car” Google, Toyota and Audi were on hand to present their technology that aims to take you out of the driver’s seat. While there are still real challenges to overcome, Toyota believes that the goal is attainable.
“Ultimately, there will be a driver-less vehicle. But, for now, being realistic about it, we believe that driver-less autonomy is not just driver-less yet.”
Connectivity continues to play a major role at CES, with electronic makers displaying the ability to connect everything in your home and car through your smart phone. ADT, a home security provider, is among those at the convention.
“So we built it on a fully opened standard, so we have WiFi, it is all wireless and you can manage any appliance, you can manage any light, you can manage your thermostats, you can integrate your entertainment systems, like we are demonstrating here on Samsung.”
The ability to monitor yourself has also never been easier. Wearable device maker FitBit, who is among the leaders in an industry that didn’t exist 5 years ago, allows users to track their physical fitness now on several different levels.
“Many of our users say that by having our device with them all the time, that gives them real time feedback about how many steps they have taken at that moment, makes them have smart decisions about moving a little bit more.”
While there has been much speculation concerning the waning influence of CES – software maker Microsoft was a no-show this year, joining Apple as non-participants – the event is still the world’s largest, offering more than a glimpse into the future of technology.