CES 2012: What Caught Our Eye

By Branko Miletic

CES offered up a plethora of interesting gear that will be coming out over the next few months. As per usual, there were products that we knew were coming, those that we thought we coming out but never did, and those that were not on our radar at all, and we wonder if they ever will be. With that in mind, here’s our hits and misses for 2012.

The Best
Samsung OLED TVs

The world’s biggest TV maker just gets better as time goes by. Its Series 9 55-inch OLED TV that was just millimetres thick (or should I say, thin) with the crispest images that exist this side of Jupiter. Expect more things from South Korea’s favourite export this year and if past experiences are anything to go by, 2012 will be the start of the Great Tech War for global tech dominance- between Samsung and Apple.

Nokia’s Lumia 900
2012 will also be known as ‘Nokia Resurrection’ – after all the Finnish phone maker went from near zero to almost hero with this new Windows phone that should stave off its demise for a year or two. Now if it could only get with the program and get back to doing what it became famous for in the first place – making great phones. The Lumia 900 is a slick and cool piece of smartphone tech that if marketed correctly should add some Windows flavour to what is becoming the duopoly of iOS vs. Android.  Perhaps sitting in those Scandinavian saunas all day and whipping oneself with Birch branches does help with creativity after all.

The Cool
HP Spectre

Let’s face it, glass is the new black and HP’s all-glass Envy 14 Specter notebook certainly looks too cool for school – and most other institutions for that matter. This 14-inch laptop is supposed to be HP’s answer to the MacBook Air. We shall see about that later this year, although it has almost 10 hours of battery life it is a lot heavier than the AirBook. Then again, it looks so slick and cool maybe consumers will buy it just based on the aesthetics. After all they say you must suffer for your fashion, and carrying around a laptop that is 40 percent heavier than most of your opposition certainly is not easy for extended periods.

Moggy And Doggy GPS
Yes, that’s right – what every serious pet needs or rather what every serious pet owner needs so that you’ll never lose your ‘little buddy’ ever again. Even if you do ‘misplace’ them for a short time, you won’t have to make up those crappy looking posters on your $99 home printer and stick them up on telegraph poles in your neighbourhood. For the record it’s actually called ‘Tagg’ and is designed to send you and alert SMS text or email in case your four-legged friend leaves his designated roaming zone. This should also work a treat for wayward prisoners, old people, small children and garden gnomes (yes, mine went missing recently.)

The Weird
Samsung’s Twitter Fridge

Oh dear- after saying that Samsung will basically rule the known universe, they come up with this – a fridge that connects to Twitter. And streams Pandora. This is nice if you happen to work for rival LG, whose penchant for Internet – connected fridges borders on the obsessive – compulsive, but really, isn’t sending Tweets from your fridge is a bit over the top? Sure, it would be nice to have music streamed from a service like Pandora into your kitchen but you can do that with a wireless speaker and you don’t need to open Pandora’s icebox.

Microsoft Tweet Choir
Basically Microsoft read out tweets in song format from attendees at its keynote speech. I wasn’t sure whether this was the weirdest part of CES or the fact that Ryan Seacrest was another PR event. Either way, whatever is in the water over at Microsoft HQ should be tested for inducing mass tech weirdness bordering on goofy-like over-exuberance.  Oh wait, that’s really what Microsoft is like after the departure of Bill Gates.