Reflecting on International CES 2014 [Pictures]


As International CES 2014 winds down, we took some time to reflect on what we saw. We learned that wearables and the “connected home” are still just buzzwords and that we’re still waiting on the promise of the concepts to be realised — both are coming however. We saw how big companies like Samsung and LG, as well as smaller ones, are working on home automation frameworks and with Intel and Sony’s miniature computer announcements, now more than ever, we’re ready for wearable sensors — we just need think further than their fitness, digital health and smartphone-pairing use cases.

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4K saturation is still years away — seven more or less, if you heed Sony CEO Kaz Hirai’s prediction — but that didn’t deter every major hardware manufacturer from announcing new UHD TVs. If only we had more 4K content to watch. Luckily, Netflix has seemingly taken that task upon itself, announcing and reiterating partnerships with Sony, LG, Samsung and Panasonic. 4K adoption is inevitable, especially with Vizio’s US$999 UHD TV on the horizon, but CES’s 4K theme was merely an affirmation of what’s to come.

It’s clear that driverless cars and automation technology continue to be huge interests, but following the announcements at CES, we’re still waiting on the grand future to arrive. Following the show, we know that we can look forward seeing more electric cars on the road — and on TV, thanks to Formula e — increasingly interacting with Android infotainment systems, talking about the world’s first commercially available driverless car, new smart technology like that of Audi, which wakes you up if you fall asleep at the wheel, and perhaps we’ll get to drive a sub-US$7 000 car that can do 84 miles per gallon.

We haven’t seen any game changing announcements on 3D printing, but Makerbot’s US$6 500 Replicator Z18 will now allow you to print objects the size of your head, and we’re seeing cloud 3D printing companies like Sculpteo join the likes of Shapeways to bring the cost of 3D printing down. Speaking of bots, while Moneual’s robotic vacuum cleaners and KEECKER‘s home entertainment robot were interesting, most new commercial robotics products still seemed to be toys: Parrot’s Jumping Sumo and MiniDrone, Ozobot and MiP, for example.

CES isn’t a gaming convention, but one of the most significant gaming announcements came when Sony mentioned the progress it made with Gaikai, its cloud-based game streaming service. It will officially be called PLayStation Now. The cross-platform solution, gave us a look at a future where the gaming console is irrelevant and the quality of our gaming experience depends simply on the speed of our internet connection — as long as you have Sony DualShock controller that is.

CES left us with a sense that we’re all sharing a ride on a wild technology rocket, and that no one is really steering it — but that it doesn’t make the ride any less thrilling. For example, with Oculus demonstrating Crystal Cove, its latest iteration of the Rift, we’re pretty excited about the implications of a commercial virtual reality experience. It’s just that it’s not quite ready yet.

Here’s to seeing the crazy, wonderful ideas showcased at CES turn into coherent stories that change our lives this year. Enjoy these scenes from this year’s CES.

Scenes from International CES 2014
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