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CES 2014: 8 Technologies To Watch

         

Large TVs, laser-geared up vehicles, wearable computer systems — it should be the 2014 Shopper Electronics Convey. Which products will dazzle this CES 2014?

ces 2014

A highway-important sunlight-powered automobile

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Announced Jan. 2, Ford’s C-Max Solar Energi concept car achieves an EPA-estimated 108 MPGe in the city and 92 MPGe on the highway. Given that it’s a solar-powered car, its great mileage is not all that surprising. What is surprising: the vehicle’s overall capability.

With a range of 620 miles, it equals its predecessor, the plug-in hybrid C-Max Energi. Ford claims the Solar Energi could reduce the average car owner’s annual greenhouse gas emissions by four metric tons, and that the vehicle, which retains an electrical charge port, absorbs enough sunlight daily to equal a four-hour electrical charge. The Solar Energi is just a concept for now, but Ford plans to test the car in conjunction with Georgia Tech to determine if it is viable for mass production.

Rise of the budget tablets

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While Apple sticks with premium pricing, other tablet manufacturers have turned to budget-priced models to drive volume. Acer on Friday announced two affordable Android tablets that will be on display at the show: the Iconia A1-830 and Iconia B1-720. The 830 features a 7.9-inch, 1024-by-768-pixel screen, 1 GB of RAM, an Intel Atom 1.6-GHz CPU, and 16 GB of online storage. Acer said the tablet lasts seven hours on one charge and will sell for $180. The more modest B1-720 sports a 7-inch screen and a 1.3-GHz dual-core processor and has a battery life of only five hours. It will retail for $130.

Other tablets will be even easier on the wallet. Datawind’s $38 Android-powered UbiSlate tablet (pictured above) is coming to the U.S. market and will be displayed at CES. The company claims the device already outsells the iPad in India, where it has been available since last year. The UbiSlate and other budget tablets will command attention — but must deliver a decent user experience to make a real impact.

Plus-size Galaxy tablet

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Online reports and supply chain rumors coming out of Asia predict that Samsung will launch a new product at CES. Samsung watchers predict the company will wait at least until February’s Mobile World Conference to launch its next flagship smartphone, the much-anticipated Galaxy S5. But the reports also claim Samsung may debut a 10.5-inch Galaxy tablet in January at CES. Samsung has certainly shown a willingness to experiment with many different screen sizes, and a premium full-size tablet could help it compete with Apple’s iPad Air for the attention of well-heeled technophiles, schools, and businesses.

Giant curved, super-high-def TVs

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Both Samsung and LG have already confirmed they’ll be bringing huge 4K TVs with curved screens to CES. Neither company has yet confirmed what will inevitably be astronomical pricing for the biggest sets, each of which has a 105-inch screen and measures more than eight feet wide. The TVs ostensibly target the affluent cinema enthusiast. Both models feature a 21:9 aspect ratio and a 5120-by-2160-pixel resolution — good enough for 11 million total pixels, or around four times the resolution of the now-standard 1080p TV.

The largest curved sets rely on LED technology, but OLED screens and their deeply saturated colors will also be a big part of the luxury TV announcements. LG has already confirmed it will showcase curved OLED models with screen sizes ranging from 55 to 75 inches. LG is also rumored to debut a smart TV interface based on WebOS, the platform that once powered Palm and HP devices. LG acquired WebOS from HP last year.

Manufacturers seem determined to make 4K a bigger success than 3D has been. Sony, for example, has said Ultra HD resolutions will be a theme in its CES exhibits. But 4K sets come with challenges; to enjoy a Retina-like experience on a large 4K screen, with no pixels individually discernible, the viewer must sit fairly far from the television. In affluent but housing-challenged cities such as a New York and San Francisco, even the wealthy people who might be able to afford an $80,000 television might not have the space to use it.

There’s also a current dearth of native 4K content to watch on these expensive sets. Looking ahead, movie makers are shooting more films in high resolution, and both YouTube and Netflix say 4K streaming is in the pipeline.

Desktop computers that don’t run Windows

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CES will feature desktop PCs that don’t run Windows — and we’re not talking about the new Mac Pro.

LG has already announced that its new Chromebase all-in-one desktop will be at CES. The iMac-like computer runs Chrome OS, boasts a 21.5-inch 1080p screen, 2 GB of RAM, an Intel Celeron processor, a 720p webcam, and a variety of peripheral ports. In keeping with Chrome OS’s cloud-based vision, it comes with a relatively stingy 16 GB of storage, though. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but Chromebooks manufacturers have carved out a niche by targeting budget prices, and it’s possible LG will follow the same strategy with its new desktop.

In a related vein, The Verge reported that Intel has worked with PC manufacturers to produce Windows 8.1 devices that can run Android apps without having to reboot. The concept isn’t exactly an endorsement of the Windows Store’s selection of touch apps, but it could make Windows 8.1 devices a more viable choice for consumers. Samsung has already experimented with the concept with its Windows-based Ativ Q tablet. With a spate of Windows-Android hybrids reportedly coming to CES, the strategy could be spreading.

Wearable devices: ready for mainstream?

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Wearable devices will be one of the major themes at this year’s CES. Though the fledgling product category continues to generate headlines, we haven’t seen one breakout success among the current examples, such as Samsung’s Galaxy Gear or Google’s Glass.

A slew of fitness-oriented start-ups will showcase bracelets that track the wearer’s activity and report the data to a smartphone app. With the “quantified self” a popular meme, look for these gadgets to grab a lot of attention.

Bigger players also want to join the wearable-device game. According to an online leak, LG will debut the Lifeband Touch, a fitness-tracking wristband that will monitor the user’s exercise and synch with LG smartphones.

Sony is also expected to release a new smartwatch, if its FCC filings are any indication. But will anyone beat Microsoft by debuting a market-ready smart bra?

4K TVs for the rest of us

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Not all 4K TV sets will be prohibitively expensive. Several companies will show 4K sets priced for the rest of us.

Polaroid plans to debut a $999 4K 50-inch set at CES, as well as a $599 50-inch 1080p smart TV that will include a Roku streaming stick that can access over 1,000 entertainment channels. Whether these and other budget-priced 4K products will deliver a quality picture remains to be seen. The fact that Polaroid is making budget TVs instead of high-end camera equipment is indicative of how far the once-mighty company has fallen. But Polaroid’s aggressive pricing will stand out.

Though it’s not a TV, Dell’s 28 Ultra HD Monitor could be a 4K standout. Atless than $1000, the monitor could be a major draw for gamers and digital artists.

Smartphone and tablet OEMs have also begun to duel over screen resolution, so it shouldn’t be surprising to see small screens with eye-popping new resolutions, too.

Cars with lasers for headlights

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While Ford has turned to sunlight for automotive innovation, Audi has focused on lasers. The German car company will bring a concept car called the Sport Quattro Laserlight to CES, an almost identical twin to the 700-horsepower Sport Quattro concept car it showed off earlier this fall. The difference? The new model uses lasers instead of LEDs for headlights. Audi claims the brand new tech illuminates the highway as much as 1600 ft beforehand, offering twice the sunshine vary and 3 times the brightness of as of late’s excessive beams.

Cruising down darkish streets with a laser-outfitted luxurious coupe now not your factor? CES will supply different car advances to go away you yearning for the open highway. The Client Electronics Affiliation estimates that 17% of U.S. households now personal a automotive with a related communique and security gadget, which used to be a main theme finally year’s exhibit. It is virtually sure that CES 2014 will embody extra of the identical, on condition that this year’s car shows will quilt greater than one hundred forty,000 sq. ft, 25% greater than in 2013. Audi chairman Rupert Stadler is likely one of the convention’s audio system, so the corporate may have a couple of surprises past lasers up its sleeve.

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