Every year, the Consumer Electronics Show brings swarms of tech companies & B-list celebs to Las Vegas, and leaves millions of tech geeks worldwide (myself included) dreaming of the cool gadgets that may, someday, become reality.
While CES 2015 had no shortage of fantabulous things — from the self-driving Benz and ridiculous selfie sticks to the second showing of the Avegant Glyph* and whatever the hell this is supposed to be — from an outsider’s perspective (because, really, who would want to leave Chicago this time of year for a desert??), there’s a few noteworthy products & categories that I feel deserve special attention.
UHD and 4K Everything
For those of us with newer 3D HDTV’s, the rise of 4K (which offers, supposedly, four times the resolution) is bittersweet: sure, the screens will look amazing; but, this is just another upgrade that nobody’s wallet quite needs right now (though, let’s face it: we’ll all be buying one sooner or later).
A wide range of TV manufacturers were on-hand for this year’s CES, of course — everyone from Samsung to Sony to LG (pictured above) came to Vegas with their bendable, OLED, quantum dot-fueled next-gen devices. All of which, btw, will likely start selling this year in the five-digit price range — though, if you can wait, history proves that these will drop like snowflakes in the Winter in as little as 12-18 months.
And waiting, well, might not just be a bad idea. As anyone who currently owns a 4K TV would tell you (if they’d even talk to the likes of us lower-class), there’s not a plethora of ultra-high definition content available just yet. Sure, many of these new 4K models can upscale from 1080p (remember when that was premium??); but, for now, there won’t be much actual 4K-designed entertainment on the market.
Which is why CES brought us another exciting development — the formation of the “UHD Alliance“, which has major studios, electronics companies, and content distributors working together to standardize criteria for 4K resolution. With a unified process, ideally, this will lead to less in-fighting amongst the various entities (see: Betamax vs VHS or DVD vs Laserdisc) — which, together with increased production of technology, will hopefully provide the means for more availability of 4K content in the near future.
Sennheiser Goes Wireless
As a radio broadcasting major (not a degree I’d recommend pursuing, kids), music is, appropriately, a major part of my life. Though over-the-ear headphones have just recently made a resurgence — mainly due to Dr. Dre’s (overpriced, IMO) Beats brand — I have been rockin’ a pair of DJ headphones (Sony) at home for years now.
I’ve been tempted to shell out the near-$400 for a pair of Beats Studio wireless; honestly, I’m glad I waited.
Family-owned & audiophiles’ BFF Sennheiser have a simply amazing pair of sub-$400 headphones of their own — the Momentum. I’ve given these a test-run (or two…or, OK, stores have asked me to leave); but, I’ve been holding out for a solid wireless pair for my commute, as I feel the wire on my headphones combined with my klutziness is likely to one day lead to my iPhone hitting the pavement.
Fortunately for me, Sennheiser premiered their own wireless, noise-cancelling Momentum headphones at CES. No word yet on price or availability — I could imagine these running upwards of $500; and, if they maintain anywhere near the same sound quality as their wireless predecessors, they’d be worth every dime.
Modular is the Future. The Future is Here.
Though Google’s been working on their own modular cell phone for several months (nicknamed “Project Ara“), CES 2015 brought a slew of new “piecemeal” products to the table — including a PC you rent for $200/year (with the option to upgrade every six months), smartwatches, and, most enticing of them all, Intel’s Curie, which will give the ability for companies to turn any of their products into a wearable, in a hardware the size of a button.
Why does this pique my interest? Well, despite my current devotion to Apple (with their walled-garden approach), I believe that modular technology, while relatively new, will become much more than just a tech buzzphrase in the next 3-5 years. And personally, I find the “ground-floor” of technological breakthroughs very damn exciting — don’t you?
Were their any products/announcements at CES 2015, not mentioned, that you’d like to share? Let us know below!
*Full Disclosure: Avegant is a client.