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CES 2014 Trends

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CES has become U.S.’ default technology show where marketers from all walks of life preview new technology trends for the coming year. As USA Today put it “It’s becoming increasingly clear that the road to the future of cars passes straight through CES.”

  • Connected Car – Of all the connected car technologies shown, Audi previewed a useful future feature, Intelligent Traffic Management, that was able to tap into the Las Vegas traffic control center, to display what the next traffic light on the road was about to do.
  • Connected Home – Belkin introduced its LED Lighting Starter Set ($129), which At $129, the set comes with two LED Smart Bulbs and the WeMo Link. The package lets you schedule and dim the lights from anywhere using the WeMo app, which uses a Wi-Fi signal to control appliances with your smartphone. Belkin also showed a connected crockpot, that can be controlled from your mobile app, and that’s not a bunch of crock.
  • Curved TVs – This could well turn out to be a fad but both LG and Samsung showed high-definition TVs featuring a curved screen. In some cases, the TV screen bends with the touch of a button, giving users the option to watch programs with a flat or curved display.
  • 4K TVs – Many a vendor claimed that this would be the year that Ultra HD TVs, or 4K TVs, would take off. Read our report on the Sony Reference Standard.
  • Wearables – LG unveiled Lifeband Touch ($180), a smartwatch that connects with Android and iOS devices and can show a variety of information on its OLED display, including time, calories lost, distance traveled and other physical activity data. The company’s other CES wearable was a pair of Heart Rate Monitor earphones that tracks heartbeats by measuring signals from the inner ear.
  • 3D Printers – CES brought new low-cost printers from 3D Systems and MakerBot, the Cube 3 ($1,000) and Replicator Mini ($1,375), respectively. But the coolest 3D printer may well be the ChocaByte ($100), which prints in chocolate.
  • Soundbars – CES brought a number of new soundbars, including the LG SoundPlate LAB540W ($TBD), which includes a built-in Blu-ray player, WiFi, HDMI and a wireless subwoofer, effectively making it a 4.1-channel setup with 320 watts output. A cheaper version, the SoundPlate LAP340 ($400), without Blu-ray player is already available in the U.S.
  • Virtual Reality – At its second CES, Oculus showed a new version of its Oculus Rift featuring a new AMOLED screen with low persistence, and positional tracking, which allows users to lean and move within the game environment by simply moving their head. But what generated the most excitement was a new prototype — known as “Crystal Cove.”

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