We took a few days to let the things surface that most impressed us from the exhibits at the recently-closed (and already announcing CES 2014) CES 2013 weeklong event, before putting our thoughts to pixels.
Who wasn’t there? Who was?
Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft – those names were notably absent from the International Consumer Electronics Show of 2013. The heaviest hitters, for one reason or another, passed on attending this year’s CES. Is that a harbinger of ill winds, or a glimmer of light for the rest of the market? Was there anything worth seeing?
Well. Samsung, Panasonic, Sony and Intel showed up in the main space, among a few others. Big dogs still ran in the streets, but there was room for the younger pups to join in. For some smaller producers, it was their first time at CES, an opportunity to break into the US market, seeking that one investor who could make all the difference. This year’s CES was actually a good event for them, because without the behemoths, the attention could turn to them.
It Bends! It Folds! It’s Youm!
We’ll share a few of the most interesting and promising entries here, starting with the Samsung flexible screen device with an odd name – Youm. Samsung’s prototype of a flexible display can almost be folded like a piece of paper, and smartphone sporting a curved OLED screen, are made from an ultra-thin, flexible and unbreakable plastic. The exhibited phone ran Windows 8. The screen also used OLED (organic light-emitting diode) which generates its own light rather than relying on backlit LCD screens. Just imagine what sorts of clever applications there could be for this technology.
For Dual Monitor Road Warriors
This very intriguing and very portable USB-powered monitor from HP is a great size for traveling, with its own built-in case. If you’ve craved a road-warrior-worthy second monitor to add to your laptop, this is light and thin enough to take on your next trip. It’s friendly to your pocketbook, too. The resolution of the monitor could be better; perhaps the next iteration will address that.
Oculus Rift Brings Us Closer to Virtual Reality
The Oculus Rift is a Kickstarter funded project; contributors will receive a developer version of this virtual reality headset in just a few weeks. The device has the hands of gamers across the globe itching, hearts beating faster, eyes eager to take in the experience of a completely encompassed field of vision, taking immersion to a new level. An added feature is support for the Unity game engine which rocks one’s world, as long as the computer to which the headset is connected can maintain a fairly steady 60 fps framerate. It will be fascinating to see which games eventually provide support for using the Rift in the coming year or so. There are a few glitches as with any new software/hardware, but gaming enthusiasts will enjoy the Oculus Rift, especially as its features continue to be improved.
2D Designs, 3D Models Print to 3D
Last but not necessarily least, while 3D printers have not quite arrived in the consumer market, the offerings from 3D Systems, FormLabs (another Kickstarter beneficiary) and Makerbot at CES last week gave some exciting glimpses into what’s coming in the next few years. A few things will happen before consumers start buying – prices will likely come down, the printers will become easier to work with for the average user, and said user won’t have to be a CAD designer or engineer to develop and create 3D objects. They’re not here yet, but they are definitely coming.
You can see other highlights of CES 2013 below, or at the Wall Street Journal site.