Posted by Matt Egan 09 January 2014
10 trends and products from CES 2014 that are cool, weird, and stupid
10 cool, interesting and weird things from this year's CES tradeshow in Las Vegas.
I quite fancied heading over to Vegas to cover this year's CES. I fancied it, that is, until my wallet and my liver sat me down and reminded me of that last couple of times I went. More specifically they brought to mind the peculiar pain that is the flight back from Vegas after a week of days spent walking the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center and nights spent... well, what happens in Vegas.
Reader, I demurred. Instead Tech Advisor and PC Advisor sent a crack team of tech-hungry journalists to cover the world's most important consumer technology tradeshow. If you haven't caught up with our CES 2014 live blog I urge you to do so. And check out the dozens of great stories about new products and services our editors have unearthed in Vegas.
There are some great products our guys have reviewed, including new tablets, TVs and smart watches. But here I'm going to list 10 trends and products from CES that are simply, well, interesting.
10 trends and products from CES 2014 that are cool, weird, and downright stupid
1. Android PCs, Windows/Android tablets... anything goes
This is the year that Android hass grown up to be a proper OS, and Windows is finally being taken seriously as a portable platform. Set aside your preconception about what is a PC and what is a tablet or a smartphone, computers are everywhere and whether it is Android desktop computers or dual-boot Windows and Android devices, the old barriers have broken down and the right platform is the one that is to hand. (Here's our review of Asus' new hybrid Android/Windows laptop tablet thing.)
2. If you're doing it, you're wearing it
It was no mistake that Intel kicked off CES 2014 with a parade of wearable computing devices. Smartphones have liberated us from the desktop, but taken us back to a time of using pocket watches. Smart watches, -glasses and headsets are going to put connectivity where it is most convenient, the tech industry is saying. And in 2014 you'll be wearing your most important tech.
Either that or now that all high-end consumers have as many connected devices as they can handle, the tech industry wants to flog us more devices. We'll see.
3. This year's digital fork is a crock pot
Last year everyone got excited about a fork that helped you to lose weight. This year it is a pot for making stew. Go figure.
4. ...and staying with the internet of things, parenting is now a job for dolls
And if your cooking utensils can be connected, anything can be used for anything, right? The theory of the internet of things has been around for a long time. The idea is that everything will become connected - not just dedicated computational devices. And that way the internet and connectivity becomes an almost tangible part of our lives. Thus it is that a doll - the Sense Mother - can drop cookies on objects and, yes, babies, tracking their movements and nagging you when required. This is the future, people, and if you didn't ask for it you certainly didn't stop it.
5. Gaming got physical
Remember when the Wii's controller seemed amazing because it sensed your movements? A lifetime ago. At CES 2014 we can see the Occulus Rift HD virtual reality headset, Intel's new Kinect rival, Sony's gaming headset and more. Dedicated gamers are going to have to sharpen up because this shit just got real.
6. Tablets are now also set top boxes
We're creeping ever closer to the connected home in which every surface is a display, and every device plugs in to every other device. Where your music, movies, books etc live in the cloud, and can be accessed from any connected device. And right on cue here's a tablet that's also your TV's set top box. Neat, huh?
7. Great Scott! A battery powered skateboard
Back to the future indeed. With E-Go's Cruiser you can skateboard without putting in effort. If you can, you know, skateboard.
8. Transformers: PCs in disguise
Keep throwing aside those convictions people: Toshiba's concept PC is on show at CES 2014 and it is in fact five PCs in one chassis. Mind-blowing, yes. Cool? We think so.
9. The rise of the Steam Machines
There are 13 SteamOS devices on show at CES 2014, all dedicated to changing the way we play games. One of our editors photographed them all. Which is nice.
10. And finally... the Michael Bay meltdown
All of tech loves a celebrity endorsement, and if it isn't Lady GaGa designing Polaroid kit, or Kevin Bacon trying to remember what he did with EE's money, it's Will.I.Am putting his name to just about everything. This year: serial director of appalling films Michael Bay had a moment when his autocue broke. A priceless and pointless exercise for all concerned. Like Transformers movies.