Sunday, January 6, 2013

CES Preview: New gadgets big and small


A new year brings new high-tech products that promise to make our work lives more efficient and our home lives more entertaining. Many of those new gadgets will be on display this month in Las Vegas at CES, the annual trade show for the consumer electronics industry.

The show attracts more than 150,000 people and more than 3,000 exhibitors from around the world. They include big names like Sony and Panasonic as well as tiny startup companies hoping to show off a new invention.

Here's a quick look at a few of the new products I'll be looking for:

SpareOne's emergency mobile phone is powered by a standard lithium battery, so it can be stored for years yet always ready to use. It functions in severe heat or cold and it can work anywhere in the world except Japan or Korea.

Dell will be among several computer makers to show off new PCs that take advantage of Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system. Dell's XPS 12 is combines a laptop computer with a portable tablet. It has a full keyboard and a 12.5-inch screen mounted on a flip-hinge so the computer can easily switch from a desktop PC to a touch-screen tablet.

The Smart Communicator from a Korean company called Maneual helps you tend to your potted plants.
It senses the soil conditions and reports them to your computer or smartphone over your home Wi-Fi network.

The Musshoof GreenZero Charger is both a wall and a travel charger. It senses when your device
is fully charged and automatically turns off the juice.

Polaroid is one of several companies that will target children with tablet computers designed just for them. The Junior Kids Tablet is preloaded with child-friendly apps and videos and has built-in blocks that prevent kids from surfinng inappropriate content.

CES will again be a battleground for TV manufacturers promoting bigger, thinner, and sharper television screens.
This 90-inch LED model from Sharp will be among the largest.

Sony's lineup of new products includes a receiver that delivers all the functions of a smartphone to a 7-inch
display on  a car's dashboard. Using a technology called MirrorLink, the receiver displays apps,
plays music and allows hands-free phone calls.
The Find My Stuff (FMS) App and Wireless Tag System uses discretely designed Bluetooth tags with a smartphone app to keep consumers from losing valuable items such as bags, laptops, clothes and more.
Samsung and LG will be among the companies showing what's being called Ultra Definition 3D - sets that have a resolution that's about four times greater than standard high-definition sets - with super-sized price tags to match.


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Follow me on Twitter @ricmanning and read my technology columns at My Well Being.


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