They say that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But, as 2013 International CES (the world’s largest innovation event) kicked off in the Sin City last week, the technology industry went into a spin on the search for the hottest gadgets for 2013 to report back around the world. I had the pleasure of attending the show to check out some great gadgets in action. ‘Trade shows wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t innovation,’ said Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of CEA. ‘The optimism and positivity at this year’s show is very high and what excites me is that this industry is encouraging access to education and entertainment.’ And with that positive note in mind, here’s a closer look at some top home gadgets seen at the show…
[Above and below: Play-Fi and Samsung stands at 2013 CES International]
1. Prepare for even better TV picture quality
Among the 3,250 exhibitors, there were some novelty gadgets unveiled such as Hisense’s stylish transparent 3D TV, which looks positively stunning. The prototype won’t be coming to the UK TV market anytime soon (and I’m quite happy hiding away the torn wallpaper behind my current black TV set, thank you very much) but it does illustrate the exciting design possibilities for the future of our homes. Beautifully curved OLED TVs, with a stunning screen, were also launched at the show by the likes of LG and Samsung, which gives us a taste of things to come.
Unlike last year, 3D TV technology wasn’t the main talking point at this year’s show – not everyone wants to wear bulky specs when watching movies and 3D TVs that are glasses-free aren’t quite accessible yet. So this year the main focus was on Ultra HD TVs (also known as 4K or UHD or even 4K Ultra HD!).
But we’ll call them Ultra HD TVs for now. And these have four times as many pixels than the current Full HD 1080p TVs, to give you a sharp and detailed picture display with smooth movement. They make the TV screens we just bought at Christmas look retro by comparison – doh! One of the first sets coming out this year in a size that could fit in our homes is by Sony, at 55inches, and if all manufacturers can produce designs without a hefty price tag, and the Ultra HD content becomes available, these new-year high-resolution TVs could be the way forward. But not for quite some time. . .
[Above and below: Samsung and Sony launch versions of the Ultra HD TV]
2. Look out for voice-activated smart TVs
Samsung’s clever F8000 LED TV is a voice-activated TV – ask it what to watch and it will help you find something you might like. Its Smart Hub will learn about your viewing habits, suggest shows and give you internet access and easy access to apps.
3. No need for docking – listen to music and radio wirelessly
There are some stunning designs coming our way in the way of audio. Cambridge Audio Minx Air Wireless Music System is a wireless speaker that lets you play music from your tablet, smartphone or computer via Bluetooth, without the need for messy cables, up to a radius of 10 metres. It’s great because it supports Airplay, so it’s suitable for Apple devices and gives you control apps for Android devices, so everyone’s happy.
It also has internet radio on board that instantly gives you access to up to 20,000 stations – so you can listen to your favourite Ibiza radio station from the comfort of your sofa in Ipswich. The bass is easily adjustable too, so you can turn it down when you’re tuning into your Radio 4 in the early hours, or turn it up when Friday night comes and only David Guetta’s Titanium at full blast will do…
4. Check the kittens aren’t ripping up the sofa while you’re out
This ‘Outdoor Cloud Camera’ for the home by Y Cam is a new plug and play secure camera and the first-ever Wi-Fi enabled residential monitoring solution for both indoor and outdoor installations, offering true cloud-based viewing and recording. This means you can view footage of your home from the convenience of your computer, tablet or smartphone, wherever you are. Use it to check up on children, elderly relatives, record clips each time someone approaches your front door or check up on pets! Now pass the popcorn please…
5. Update an old stereo
If you want to play synchronised music throughout your home but don’t want to fork out for an expensive system then take a look at Pure’s Jongo range. The Jongo A140B wireless Hi-Fi adaptor lets you transform your existing hi-fi into a music streamer and include it in the Pure Jongo multiroom music system. It includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth so you can stream audio content from your iPad or Smartphone to your hi-fi and other speakers in the Jongo range.
6. Play Monopoly on a touchscreen computer ‘table’
Touchscreen style for the living room is a thing we can all expect in the future as this 27-inch touchscreen ‘table’, aka the IdeaCentre Horizon from Lenovo, proves. Lay it flat on a coffee table or attach to its custom-made stand and it turns into a gaming device for all the family.
7. Make life easier with smart appliances
Internet fridges have never really taken off in recent years but Samsung has unveiled its T9000 design with Wi-Fi, which looks very promising. Its features a 10inch touchscreen LCD screen, running a version of Android. It includes a calendar and weather application as well as Evernote. This lets you jot down your shopping list and sync it to another internet-enabled device such as your Mac, PC or smartphone. No need for retro paper shoppings lists next time you’re in the supermarket .
8. Clean the gutters with a gadget
Make sure the gutters around your home are as smooth as a Thorpe Park water slide with iRobot Looj 330 Gutter Cleaning Robot. It has a powerful 4-stage auger that breaks apart clogs and throws them to the ground and away from your roof. It’s been a round for a while but is stepping outside the US for the first time and making a splash…
9. Never forget to water your plants
Parrot Flower Power’s plant monitor is practical and useful. Insert into your plant pot to send messages to your phone to keep you posted on your plants nutrition, moisture and sunlight levels.
10. Rethink that last mouthful of chocolate mousse
One for the dining table, the HAPIlabs HAPIfork is a fork that measures your eating habits and alerts you when you’re eating too fast with the help of indicator lights and gentle vibrations. Makes you rethink that last slice of New York cheesecake before it’s too late. Genius!
For more gadget news from 2013 CES International click here
Check out 3D printing at CES in action here.
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Emily Peck, Editor
View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor