12 Jan 2015

CES 2015; the tech gadget wrap

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the first major global event on the tech calendar for the year. At the show all the hottest upcoming gadgets are unveiled to give the media and consumers an idea of the stuff they’ll be lusting over and buying in droves over the course of the year, and CES 2015 was no different in this regard. From the Internet of Things to wearables and even some gadgets for entrepreneurs, CES 2015 gave us a very clear picture of the year ahead for technology.

It would be impossible to highlight everything that was on show through the event, but here are the ten gadgets that impressed us the most:

Sony SmartWatch 3 Steel

Sony’s been a struggling company of late, but one thing it has always done reliably is produce products that match, if not exceed, Apple in terms of pure style. The SmartWatch 3 Steel was the most impressive smart watch at CES 2015 precisely because Sony understands that when it comes to watches, function has long ago been a secondary concern. Watches are a fashion accessory now, and the SmartWatch 3 looks like it belongs on the wrist of a fashionable person.

Livescribe 3 Smartpen

The latest product in the Livescribe series finally works with some Android devices. For people who haven’t used one of these before, the Livescribe pen works as a normal pen would, but additionally records the motions of your hand to seamlessly recreate the text that you’ve written in your smart phone or tablet Livescribe app. It’s the most efficient way to digitise written notes.

NeatConnect

Designed to scan receipts and other small pieces of vital information, the NeatConnect scanner is wireless and Cloud-ready. What this means is that after scanning a receipt, the scanner extracts the relevant tax information, categorises expenses, and then either sends the information to you (or your accountant) via email or uploads it to a range of different cloud services. A useful device to help organise one of the most painful tasks in business management.

FINsix Dart

Road warriors are going to love this one – with laptops becoming ever lighter, the heaviest, bulkiest thing to stick in the bag is now often the charger. That’s where the FINsix Dart comes in. This charger is tiny and light and designed to work anywhere in the world, saving you from carrying around the bulky waste of space charger that laptops come bundled with.

OLED TVs

OLED technology has been available for years, but has always been expensive thanks to a difficult manufacturing process that generates more useless panels than ones that can be sold. Improvements to manufacturing has meant that OLED TVs will finally be on the slightly-higher-but-affordable spectrum, and for people that take their lounge room entertainment seriously, the experience will be worth the purchase, thanks to OLED’s ability to provide superior contrast, minimal blur, and deeper levels of black.

Connected Cars

The automotive industry has been slowly merging with the technology industry for years now, and CES 2015 showed us the most definite signs of that process at work yet. At the show there were demonstrations of driverless vehicles, electric cars and all kinds of useful apps that can be installed into the dashboard. There were also innovations in other forms of transport, such as a bike pedal that behaves like a fit band, collecting data on where you’ve travelled and how fast you’ve gone.

Fuz Designs Noke

Security has always been an opportunity for technology, and the Noke is a good example of that. This is a Bluetooth-enabled padlock without a place to stick a key. Instead, you unlock it using your mobile phone and an app. That way, even a locksmith can’t break in (don’t worry, if something happens to your phone you can set up a Morse Code-like sequence of taps on the device to manually unlock it).

HP Mini PCs

HP’s on board with the tiny computing phenomenon that’s happening at the moment with some gorgeous little PCs. The $180 Stream Mini comes with a 32GB hard drive and 2GB of RAM, while the $320 Pavilion Mini works more like a standard PC should. They run Windows 8.1 as well as work connected to the TV as a media device as in a standard PC environment.

Kube

This thing is perfect for a day at the beach or the cricket. The Kube is a speaker/ cooler combo with plenty of space to keep your beers cold, and on the side are speakers that can blast out your music at 100dB without distortion. It’s naturally wireless and will give you 20 hours on a single charge.

Edwin the Duck

And the award for the strangest gadget at CES must surely go to Edwin the Duck. On the surface this fellow is a standard rubber duck. But that wouldn’t be much fun, right? Edwin is a app-enabled duck that is meant to go with the child everywhere. In the bath he can play bath-time songs and even alert the parents if the water is too hot. He can then read a before bed story to the child, and act as a LED nightlight for sleepy time.

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