CES 2014 in Review

Some of our favourite sites from CES 2014 – catch it all on CyberShack TV January 19 & 20

From virtual reality, to WiFi connected toothbrushes, to smart fridges and aerial drones, the world’s largest technology show – CES 2014, didn’t disappoint.

Some of our favourite sites from CES 2014 – catch it all on CyberShack TV January 19 & 20

Words & Vision by Eryk Bagshaw

From virtual reality, to WiFi connected toothbrushes, to smart fridges and aerial drones, the world’s largest technology show – CES 2014, didn’t disappoint.

Despite industry debate over the declining importance of CES, with the withdrawal of powerhouses such as Microsoft and the continued absence of heavyweight Apple, CES proved that for anyone outside that hegemony, it’s as important as ever.

Why?

Because first and foremost – it is a convention of tech savvy (well calculated) risk takers.

This applies as much too multinational corporations such as LG and Samsung as it does to start-ups like Liquipel or the inventors of the much hyped Wifi toothbrush.

Samsung kicked off this year’s CES with the reveal of their enormous 110 inch TV to a packed house – which was almost overshadowed by Director Michael Bay’s mid performance flip out. 

Yet still the crowds kept coming, to a stand that was as much architectural marvel as it was technical. 

Samsung's Epic Entrance:  Eryk Bagshaw

For the likes of LG and Samsung this year’s CES was the year of the TV and they were emphatic that they needed to be able to bend.

Phil Newton, Corporate Vice-President of Samsung Electronics Australia maintained that ‘this is television as the filmmaker intended it, native 4K resolution in a panoramic type experience designed to match the natural curve of the human eye.’

Whilst there’s no doubt the curve adds depth – does it justify the potentially prohibitive price tag?

I’m yet to be entirely convinced, then again, it could prove to be the most significant TV design change since the abolishment of the cathode ray tubes of old.

Over at South Korean rival LG, the story was much the same. A killer UHD 3D display drew in the masses. 

 Eryk Bagshaw

 

They also offered a flexible OLED display, although at a slightly smaller 77 inches.

The big bonus for LG was adopting the webOS smart TV platform, allowing US users to stream 4K content. 

For Australians this kind of content still might be a while off. If it comes from anywhere soon it will be through Sony who has the unique advantage of being both a content provider and a TV manufacturer.  

The Bravia sets come built in with 4K up scaling technology for HD footage, and you could be forgiven for thinking you were looking straight out of a window. 

Chinese manufacturer Hisense also stepped up its claim to be one of the top 5 TV manufacturers in the world, with curved UHD displays likely to give consumers good bang for their buck. 

‘For us being a tier two brand we can offer consumers with innovation and better value for money’ said Andre Ianuzzi, Hisense’s Head of Marketing in Australia.

 Andre Ianuzzi, Confident of Hisense's ability to break into the mainstream US market - Photo: Eryk Bagshaw

For many, this was the year that the Chinese tech manufacturing industry arrived firmly in the mainstream, with the likes of Hisense occupying the booth formerly reserved for Microsoft and Huawei gaining strong traction amongst mobile media for the Ascend Mate 2 Smart Phone.

Outside the big firms, the startups shone. As with every CES this is where a lot of the interest lies, and it’s no place for small egos or half-baked ideas.

Co-founder of startup Liquipel, Sam Winkler, had one of the strongest products that I came across on the showroom floor.

With all the enthusiasm of a baby-faced entrepreneur, this 20 something go-getter introduced me to Liquipel 360. ‘Liquipel is a lifestyle; we want that guy to know that he is protected, in whatever situation’ said Winkler; without a hint of salesman’s cringe.

 Sam Winkler, Co-Founder of Liquipel - Photo: Eryk Bagshaw

In an impressive feat of science and engineering Liquipel effectively waterproofs a smartphone via gas treatment through a chamber.

Throughout the demonstration the water literally looked as though it was running away from the phone – it simply did not want to be there. While water proofing phones may well be an admirable objective – this technology could well have higher, unforeseen consequences for all manner of industries.

Aerial Drones too were as popular as in previous years, but this year the Parrot really stood out from the crowd. Two indoor arenas were set up to house the AR Drone 2.0, the mini Drone and Sumo models.

What followed was an impressive display of synchronised aerial acrobatics, but what stood out was the fact that drones had finally become both simple and sophisticated enough for domestic indoor use.

 Powerful Propellers, Parrot's AR 2.0 Drone - Photo: Eryk Bagshaw

As a product little larger than the size of your hand and weighing only 60 grams, it packs a lot of punch into a relatively small body.

Chris Roberts, Vice President of Parrot in Australia said ‘the great thing about the mini is that it can also drive, across rooves, up walls and then fly away afterwards’

While the larger AR drones still have their inherent safety & privacy concerns, the smaller mini drones would struggle to bruise a puppy let alone fly to a distance that would raise privacy concerns. Who’s to say they won’t become the playground YoYo of the 2020’s.

 CES 2014 - 150,000 pushed through the gates - Photo: Eryk Bagshaw

As a CES first timer the show was bold and impressive, even a blizzard in the northern half of the US couldn’t keep 150,000 punters from streaming through those unholy gates.

For a week in which Las Vegas’ seedier elements were transformed into the tech superbowl it provided all the flash memory required to get excited about what’s going to become available in 2014 and beyond.

Follow @erykbagshaw on Twitter 

Catch CyberShack this Sunday 19th of January for all the CES Highlights



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