What Up At CES?
The 2017 Consumer Electronics Show is on the verge of kicking into full gear, and for the umpteenth year in a row, I won’t be there.
Despite my penchant for showing up at trade shows and conferences and wandering the aisles aimlessly in search of the next new thing, I’ve never made it to CES, and I’m starting to have a complex about it.
But that doesn’t stop me from watching the announcements from afar, trying to decipher if there’s any technologies out there that may be absent from my life that I so desperately can’t do without.
Obviously, the traditional CES course of events has been dramatically altered by our cloud-enabled, IoT and smartphone convergent world. That is to say, it’s am event no longer largely about bigger and better TVs and their associated devices (DVRs, new sound systems, etc.)
Much is pushing down into the smaller form factor — stopping, for the time being, I suspect, at smart watches and fitness devices, and maybe a few smart ear buds. But I expect it won’t be long before nanodevices start showing up on the CES scene.
So what are the emergent memes for 2017? I would have to expect more AI capabilities will permeate many of these devices.
The “smart assistant” sector is exploding, what with Amazon’s “Alexa” family of voice-powered smart assistants, and Google’s move into the space with “Google Home” (My hometown Best Buy sold out 200+ Google Homes in the two finals days before Christmas, so I expect smart assistants go right up to the top of the list in terms of new desired devices).
Lenovo’s moving into the smart assistant space with its own “Smart Assistant,” one modeled on Amazon’s Echo and that uses the underlying Alexa technology and phone app. Amazon everywhere, including now Lenovo.
Perusing early CES coverage from CNET, The Verge, and others, it seems that a whole slew of new laptops and notebooks have been announced. Allow me to stifle my enthusiasm.
The only one of those that looked interesting to me was the new Acer Predator 21X, a gaming laptop that weighs 17 pounds and has a 21-inch screen. Put that in your backpack and lug it around Manhattan all day. And don’t forget to take out a second mortgage to cover the $8,999 cost.
If you’re hankerin’ for a smart watch, Chinese telco provider ZTE’s throwing its smart watch into the ring, one expected to run Google’s Android Wear software, but that device won’t be available until later in the year, and thus far details are thin.
If you’re feeling self-conscious about that really bad haircut you got for $10 from your cosmetology-aspiring second cousin, there’s the Kerastase Hair Coach smart hairbrush.
It includes “3-axis load cells” to let you know if you’re brushing too hard, an accelerometer and gyroscope to help you count those brush strokes, and a microphone that helps identify your hair type….or, just provides an assist as you break out into full-on Tom Cruise/Bob Seger singing mode in your undies, a la “Risky Business.”
Of course, if you’re gonna go full-on Tom Cruise, you need some cool shades, and if there aren’t any Ray Bans about, maybe try the new Osterhout Design Group’s R-8 and R-9 AR/VR smart glasses, which are based on ODG’s 50 degree Field of View (FOV) and the Project Horizon platform. They range in price from $1,000 to $1,799, and will be targeting markets including sports, gaming, navigation, and education.
These new glasses will use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 chip, which is making its debut at CES 2017 and generally being used for heavy image processing tasks in mobile devices (including ODG’s smart glasses).
So you thought it was funny to watch people play Pokemon Go at your local park with their smartphones? Wait until they’ve got a pair of these R-8s about, circumnavigating trees and kid’s swings and cyclists with the greatest of ease.
Pokemon better get ready to up its game. That is, of course, assuming anyone’s still playing it.
You see why it’s so hard to get excited about a trade show I’ve never attended but always wanted to??!