International CES 2015 – In Brief!

The Consumer Electronics Show 2015

Well it is all over for another year! This is what I liked and would not mind trying! But at the end I link to a ‘best off’ awards that you might prefer. I have kept it brief and that is difficult with such a huge event spanning miles on Vegas real estate!

So, it was held in Las Vegas, and the town is taken over by geeks, nerds and big tech business selling everything from Bluetooth enabled toothbrushes (pun there), to cars that drive themselves.

So what were the highlights of this year’s show?

“Home! HAL!”

Well the biggest stir was caused by autonomous vehicles, or cars that drive themselves. Audi have what looks like a car you can actually buy. However Mercedes excited the crowds most, and it does remind me of the vehicles in Woody Allen’s film ‘Sleeper’. When I first saw that film as a kid I thought, how come nobody is driving(?) – well now I know why! Over to you Mercedes…

Mercedes (above) went one better than Audi with a car with no windows – after all why would you need them? As a result the interiors of the ‘future cars’ are more like comfortable lounges as the space does not require seats facing forwards, or even steering wheels, or gear shifters. Some are a bit freaked out by the concept. Only a prototype for now – but certainly the shape of things to come. Jeremy Clakson must be p*ssed as he wants to drive them!

Game of Drones!

Yup this was the year of drones and it is now getting to the point that almost everyone will have one soon, this now creates a major headache for the government as they could also be used for malicious intent, from dropping explosives to taking photos over private property by Paparazzi, but the biggest risk is injury as they have been know drop out of the sky if they lose range with the handset controller. And they make a lot of noise, so will likely ruin your beach holidays from now on, if they don’t crash into you that is! Imagine you have moored your yacht off St. Tropez (Simon Cowell) and are sunbathing nude you hear a buzz and there up in the sky is a camera shooting video. You get a shotgun and shoot it out of the sky – but too late it is a public space and the record footage was being streamed back to the pilot! Yup the latest drones allow for two people. A camera operator and a pilot! The most exciting Drone for price/tech was from a company called DJI and it is the inspire (pictured).

dji Inspire

(Image Source: DJI).

if you want to get one that is. What is particularly cool is the camera lowers when in flight, the undercarriage, raises so the blades can spin without legs being in the way that may spoil the illusion and video footage. They also have amazing gimbled cameras that now are making their way to hand held cameras meaning you camera remains level almost like a Steadicam – but that is another story.

The Internet of Things?

Yes this was HUGE! It is clear that the home will soon be ‘on the net’ and this opens up a huge can of worms. On the one hand you can change your thermostat on the way home from work so you house is warm when you arrive, you can check who is at the door and speak to them whilst on a beach in another country – to appear as if you are home. But all these things mean that there will likely be a huge array of computers that will unlikely be updated and thus ripe for attack. I have said this joke before but a security expert once said, “in the future you may see a major DDOS attack [say like at Sony] caused by a botnet of refrigerators,” funny, scary, but true! Check out the new offerings from Belkin Wemo – you can turn your lights on via your smartphone – but will it scare burglars?

UHD

Ultra High Definition has now got some formal agreement with all the top brands. Look out for its growth in 2015. Otherwise known as ‘4K’, ‘5K’ even ‘8K’! meaning it is 4 times sharper than what HD TV is now! And as mentioned a few posts back. The Quantum Dot will help make this happen. The problem now is this spells the end of Blu-ray as the format is not big enough to handle what will now have to be streamed. This may well be quickly adopted as the file sizes make it less attractive to pirate and download.

VR Headsets – Since the original ‘Oculus Rift’, we have had ‘Google Cardboard‘, but this year everyone else was getting in on the action. In particular Samsung (pictured). It transpired that a tear-down of the OR was using a native Samsung Screen anyway (although that may have changed since Facebook bought them out). OR was touting its new Oculus Rift ‘Crystal Cove’ prototype with a new 3D audio concept (as audio is an important part of the illusion and has to ‘move right as you turn you head – doppler effects n all that) and increased depth perception. Razer had an open source version. Now even Second Life allows you to look through your Avatar’s eyes, next stop ‘The Matrix’?!

ssgvr
(Image source: Samsung).

Health and Fitness

Getting a little board of all the ‘Fitbits’ and wrist monitors, truth is little beats the ‘Polar’ Chest monitor, and most new wearable wrist watches will likely have some form of pedometer and heart rate monitoring built-in as time goes on. So this range may well be the mp3 player to the smartphone. In that, why would you need one if you have an smartphone that can play mp3’s anyway? In the link below from Engadget you can see what they rated fitness-wise. Nevertheless, if you swim or jog in the elements or bad weather something less expensive maybe preferable.

There were some great charging products that can supercharge phones. And something to think about soon is the remote charging. Where the electrical field can charge products from a distance (think WIFI but with electricity!), but that is another story, and a bit worried it might fry our insides? And of course 3D Printing is getting cheaper for the ‘makers’ out there. That’s cool. But not really ‘new’.

Microsoft and Apple did not attend – why would they? They don’t need to they have their own world launches.

Well after watching all the coverage, that was what caught my eye. And seemed to be the general trends this year.

If you would like to see what the Engadget thought of the best of CES was then click here.

Roll on 2016 – blimey doesn’t that sound scary!