With the Consumer Electronics Show floor opening up on Tuesday in Las Vegas, thousands of companies are pitching their latest wares and innovations to the tech cognoscenti and media from all over the world.
CES is the type of show that is the place to see what the big trends are coming for the next year, as well as plenty of gadgets that will create some buzz and likely never be heard from again.
Here is a selection of what piqued our interest from the first batch of announcements out of CES.
Sony unveils super expensive Walkman: Are you a nostalgic audiophile with way too much money burning a hole in your pocket? Because then the new Sony NW-ZX2 Walkman might just be for you. At a cost of $1,200 (U.S.), this new portable digital music player supports high-fidelity audio formats, including WAV, AIFF, FLAC, Apple Lossless and supports Bluetooth for wireless streaming and NFC for one-touch connection to speakers and headphones.
Dish network and the new unbundled cord cutting plan: Targeting cord cutters and cord-nevers, Dish Network announced its Sling plan which is a $20 (U.S.) bundle of channels that includes ESPN, ESPN 2, Disney Channel, ABC Family, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, TNT, CNN, TBS, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim over the web, which will be available for set-top boxes including the Roku line of products, among others. Technically, it is a small bundle, but since it not tied to an existing satellite or cable plan, it is being touted as another important move in the unhinging of television content from traditional plans.
Opening up VR and the Internet of Things: These are two of the most hyped technology trends of the oncoming year, but both are dealing with several different approaches and initiatives, and with nascent technologies, format wars are confusing for consumers and could hold back acceptance. To that end, it is interesting the companies attempting to create open standards. Samsung has announced SmartThings, a hub that serves as a central organizing device for connected devices on multiple platforms. Also coming out sometime this year is Razer’s OSVR, which means Open-Source Virtual Reality, with the company hoping the community can help build its technology and software to improve and help bring VR to market.
Everything Smart (even if it sounds a little dumb): How would you feel about a kid’s bed that let you know if your kids are asleep of not? That’s what Sleep Number SleepIQ Kids bed purports to do. The other device getting early buzz is simply called Ring, and it is a device that lets you control household appliances by drawing symbols in the air. Parrot’s Pot and H20 monitors sense when your plants need water and will hydrate them as needed. Then there is Belty, from Paris-based Emiota, which is a smart belt that contracts and expands depending on your position (like if you are sitting) and also if you’ve gorged and need some waistline relief.
Stop using your legs like a sucker: As the year turned over to 2015, there were many social media posts about the predictions the seminal Back to the Future made so many years ago. Yes, we still lack the hoverboard, but companies still want to figure out ways to get us moving. Zboard announced two models of its second generation of its electric skateboard, while Rollkers dub themselves ‘personal transit accessories”, which look like in-line skates that attach to the bottom of your shoes and promise to double your walking speed.