Think you’re not geeky enough to go nuts over the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year?
Unless you live an unplugged life, you’ve probably used (or are using) some of the very products unveiled over the years at the annual showcase of technology. The minidisc debuted in 1993. Play on a Microsoft Xbox? It was introduced at the 2001 show. And the revolutionary videocassette recorder burst onto the scene at CES 1970.
What will be the crowning highlight of the 2013 show?
Here’s a handful of “wow” gadgets and technology we hope will follow up a big splash with a huge wave:
ASUS Transformer A-i-O
How about the digital version of a Swiss Army knife: An OS Transformer All-in-One Desktop? It’s a PC and tablet hybrid, which runs Windows 8 AND Android Jellybean. What’s inside? How about a 3rd-generation Intel Core processor and Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core, easily toggled between with the touch of a switch? Undock the 18.5-inch IPS 1080p display for tablet use. Yes, an 18-and-a-half-inch tablet.
It’s versatile, sleek, and comes with an integral handle to use when in tablet form. Its built-in stand makes for easy tabletop use, too. ASUS’ concentration on becoming the Convertible King has paid off in this ultimate all-in-one, a perfect device for use with Hughes Net.
Estimated cost: $1199
Just wait: Tegra 4, estimated for a Q1 2013 release, will tantalize gamers.
Tablets, for all their inherent coolness, are high-maintenance creatures. They need cases. Cleaning cloths. To be handled with care. Technology by Intel Labs, Plastic Logic, and Queen’s University could transform the tablet as you know it from a rigid, touchy device to one that can roll with the punches – and provide an ease-of-use and document transfer like never before.
The PaperTab looks like a book report in one of those protective plastic sleeves. PaperTabs are used together, each as windows to separate apps. Their proximity to the hot zone determines whether they have live apps showing, or just icons. Content sharing is as easy as tapping pages together.
Estimated cost: Not released
Just wait: Queen’s University Human Media Lab director Roel Vertegaal estimates “within five to 10 years, most computers, from ultra-notebooks to tablets, will look and feel just like these sheets of printed color paper.”
The Pebble smart watch, which can show notifications your smartphone (and even control some smartphone functions), isn’t just secret-agent inspired – it’s handsome and powerful, too. Its e-paper screen can display incoming texts and notifications of calls, and manage music playback.
Pebble, powered by crowdfunding, last May reached the $10 million level for small donations from the public. The result: A stylish smart watch with a range of watch faces capable of smooth animation.
Estimated cost: $150
(Watches will ship this month to backers who contributed at least $99)
Just wait: Perhaps Pebble’s mammoth success with crowdfunding will reverse a trend of distrust in this method of bankrolling small companies in techno-development.
OK, so this one isn’t as sexy as, say, curved-screen televisions, social bunnies or miniature quadrotor helicopters, but it could have a significant impact on the home-security sector as we know it.
This system takes out the security company middleman and puts the notification and operation of home security in the homeowner’s hands. It includes the CubeOne, a small base that controls a system of motion and contact sensors, a camera and remote control. No monthly fees, no installation.
Estimated cost: $250 with camera, $80 without
Just wait: A la carte purchases of sensors and cameras will allow users to customize systems.