Four trends which dominated CES 2014
12 Jan 2014|
The world's biggest tech extravaganza - the Consumer Electronics
Show - has come and gone for another year.
But what were the main trends at this year's International CES in Las Vegas?
We spent the week on the strip and took in everything from curved TVs to smart toothbrushes (as well as hotels with rollercoasters and gondolas inside them - it was Vegas, after all).
Here are the main trends of CES 2014 that racked up the column inches from Vegas.
The curved TV - the 'next chapter of TV viewing'
The world of super-sharp, super huge TVs strayed off the
straight and narrow at this year's CES with TVs that were ahead of
the curve. Alongside 4K Ultra HD, curved screen TVs were a
major trend at CES 2014.
Samsung is the world's leading TV brand and is always at the forefront of the latest innovations so it was no surprise to see the firm leading the way with curve.
Samsung launched two whole series of living room friendly curved TVs, as well as a huge 105 inch one that you'd never get through the front door of a semi in the suburbs.
Samsung UK and Ireland president Andy Griffiths said curved TV is "the next chapter of viewing".
"With the curve screen" he said, "you have this fantastically immersive experience, so it's the natural cinematic view.
"It's the natural way the human eye looks at visual pictures and it's another aesthetically beautiful stage of TV design."
4K Ultra HD - cheaper and more content
At CES 2014, 4K Ultra HD was the technology of the show -
promising TVs with four times the resolution of regular full HD.
But the mammoth, 85inch sets unveiled last year were not the kind
you could put up on your living room wall.
At CES 2014, this all changed. Although smaller 4K TVs were released later last year, it's the developments revealed in Las Vegas that make it truly living-room friendly.
Samsung and LG were again the main candidates, with both unveiling a range of 4K sets in smaller sizes. LG even announced a 49-inch set available for less than £2,000. This meant, according to LG UK commercial director Andy
Mackay, that people could have 4K for £2K in time for this summer's World Cup in Brazil.
Meanwhile in the US Vizio 4K TVs will go on sale for 999 dollars, suggesting 2014 is the year we'll start seeing 4K in our living rooms.
Another issue with 4K to this point has been the lack of content. But with LG announcing that Netflix will be streamed in 4K to its 4K Ultra HD TVs in a "couple of months" that seems to be changing.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings appeared at many a CES press show, revealing House of Cards season 2 would be shot in 4K, as would every major series from now on.
The connected home - texting your fridge
The internet of things refers to how the web is increasingly
being used to connect things more than just our phones, tablets,
laptops and TVs - and it was everywhere at CES 2014.
Samsung and LG picked up most of the headlines on the connected home.
Samsung launched its Smart Home service, which allows people to switch off the lights and TV by saying 'going out' to a smartphone app.
Another feature is Home View, with which you can check on your empty property via your smartphone or tablet thanks to cameras built into your home appliances.
LG also announced its HomeChat app, which allows you to talk with your appliances via text message - as though you were texting a friend. Think texting your fridge to ask if you have any sausages in for tea, or your washing machine to set a load into action from the bus.
A report in Cnet said: "The notion of 'smart appliances' and 'home automation' have been dominant themes at CES for years - decades, even - but they always seemed to be just over the horizon, a Jetsons fantasy that would never come true.
"But technology has a funny way of catching up with fantasy. The Connected Home is - finally - becoming a real thing. And not just for gadget tinkerers and eggheads, either."
Wearables and fitness tech - helping your new year fitness kick
In the run up to CES 2014 everyone from analyst house Gartner to
tech bible Cnet was predicting this year's show would be all about
wearable tech - of course, they were right.
Garnering most of the headlines were LG's new fitness band and the new Pebble smartwatch. The LG Lifeband Touch was named best fitness gadget by Stuff magazine and Tech Radar.
Will Findlater, Global Online Editor, at Stuff, said fitness tech went from "niche to mainstream at CES 2014".
The wristband tracks your distance covered and calories burned and helps you make sense of it all with a smartphone app. But what really impressed was a touch-enabled OLED screen which could also be used for notifications on your calls or texts.
Meanwhile, the Pebble Steel smartness up the smartwatch - repackaging its achingly hip rubber-covered tech and repackaging it in a smart steel office-friendly case for the exec.
The guys at the Verge said: "The moulded plastic is replaced by forged steel, the side buttons are much improved, and there's a leather strap in every box now."
There's no wonder they voted the best smartwatch of CES 2014.
What do you think is the best product released at CES this year? Tell us in the comments below...
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