2012 CES Highlights The Consumer Electronics Show is the yearly tech expo that sets the trend for the year, giving us a preview of what is to come in the tech industry in the coming months and years. This year wrapped up in record-setting fashion. Not only was this the highest attended CES ever, by vendors and visitors, but it was also heavyweight Microsoft’s final appearance at the show.
In this TechTip, I’m covering the Top Five Highlights of CES 2012.
Some would have you believe that the latest trend in HDTV at CES this year was OLED display technology. The organic light-emitting diode (OLED) offers a thinner display option for HDTVs by eliminating the requirement for a backlight, something that today’s common LED displays require. This is all well and good; a thin TV looks cool, but I’m betting the next HDTV technology that takes off either this year or next, is the 4K display.
A 4K display refers to a television or monitor that offers a display resolution of four times that of current 1080p technology. The moniker “4K” refers to the approximate total of horizontal pixel in the display (roughly between 3,656 and 4,096), as opposed to 1080p, which refers to the exact total of vertical pixels a display has. If we referred to 1080i/p displays by horizontal resolution instead of vertical, they would be called 2K displays because of the 1920 horizontal pixel counts. 4K displays are what you’re going to buy the next time you go shopping for a new HDTV in a few years. The only thing holding it back is the lack of 4K content, but Hollywood is already filming with this technology and the upconversion/upscaling from 1080p doesn’t make you cringe like upconversion/upscaling from 480i/p often does.
Look for the 4K TV later this year with affordable ones hitting stores in 2013.
Intel’s Ultrabook initiative, a $300 million movement to creative thinner, more powerful, and longer-lasting notebooks was the other big player in this year’s CES. Hoping to emulate Apple’s push for thinner, faster, and more productive, Intel has created this fund to help stimulate innovations using its processors in this new form factor outline.
An Ultrabook, by Intel’s definition, includes a notebook body that is less than 21 mm thick, offers at least 5 hours of battery life, may make use of a Solid-State Drive for fast boot times, and features an Intel CPU (naturally). It should cost around $1000, but this is not specifically stated by Intel. Everyone who makes PCs had their version of the Ultrabook at CES 2012. If I had to pick one, it would be the IdeaPad Yoga 13 from Lenovo. This little beauty folds over like a convertible tablet to cover the keyboard and provides 10-point multi-touch technology so you can put all your fingers on it at once. Look for Ultrabooks from every major PC vendor in the coming months.
Samsung Smart Window:
Imagine this scenario: You are in the grocery store’s freezer aisle, but someone has opened all of the doors, and they’re all fogged over. Okay, maybe this is an unlikely scenario, but surely you’ve tried to stare through a single fogged-over freezer door at least once in your life. It’s annoying, to say the least. Samsung’s Smart Window, a high definition transparent display, offers a solution to this problem: displaying the information you want right on the glass. That’s right, Samsung set up a transparent touchscreen display. Their display model was a system running what looked like Windows 8 in front of a miniature city, giving you the impression of what a real window would look like. Do I need to say it again? A window that is a computer monitor that you interact with by touch!
The Samsung Smart Window is a concept device, but it is possible that they will start production this year.
Sony DEV-5 Digital HD Recording Binoculars:
My next pick of CES 2012 is Sony’s DEV-5 Digital HD Recording Binoculars. As a sports fan and tech geek, I can’t really get more excited about a product than these bad boys. Watch your live events up close and personal from anywhere in the stadium or ballpark, and record it in glorious 1080p resolution. The only way it gets better than that is letting me record in 4K! The Sony DEV-5 Binoculars were released late last year and are available now.
The MakerBot Replicator is a 3D printer; a machine that extrudes plastic according to a blueprint in a way that is a lot like inkjet printers. The result is a three-dimensional plastic object matching the exact specifications of the design document. The Replicator is the latest of MakerBot's 3D printers, providing single and dual-head options for printing in one or two colors, and allowing for the creation of more finely detailed, larger objects than ever before; up to the size of a loaf of bread. The Replicator also comes assembled, unlike MakerBot's previous 3D printers. Along with the release of the Replicator, MakerBot has also revamped their community blueprint database, thingaverse.com, so you can easily upload and download designs for your Replicator or other 3D printer.
The single and dual-head Replicators are just under $2,000; the price of a fully loaded high end notebook, and are available for pre-order with a six week lead time.
Those are your Top 5 of CES 2012! What are some of your favorites?