Friday, January 13, 2012

Everything Connected!

From looking at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week, it seems that we have a connected future ahead of us.  So if you want that really cool fridge that can sync with your smart phone and blast chiller that can cool your favorite soda/beer in 5 minutes or a car that can answer calls, download music from the web, check emails, weather and (my favorite) has a socially connected radar detector or that plain old 55-Inch OLED that has GoogleTV preloaded so you can use the TV to connect to Netflix (which is all GoogleTV is really good for right now), these and more were on display at CES this year. 

The theme seemed to be connectivity, while some things I'm not sure that they're ready to be connected (like my fridge), I am encouraged that the first steps are happening.  For a while I've thought "Wouldn't it be nice if my washer could send me a text when it's done", well with connectivity your washing machine would be able to speak with an app on your phone or TV and let you know when it's time change loads, or you could load your laundry in the morning and then have your car tell your washer to start running (using an ETA of when you'll get home, based on traffic, weather, etc...).  To get back to the connected fridge, it would be great to be able to do an inventory of your fridge from your phone while you're at the store, no more thinking "Do I really have enough heavy cream on hand?", you'd simply pull up an app and it would tell you that currently you have half a pint of cream on hand.  You could also have the GPS dog collar that will send you a text message if your dog goes "out of bounds".  Of course some of this connectivity could get creepy, like you would be able to tell who was watching what on your TV at any given time.

Toys

My favorite gadgets are the toys.  The quadricopter that we've probably all have seen in your local Brookstone has been upgraded with a better camera and the ability to follow a preset path (this could be great for people wanting to video tape their own movies), though the one I'm tempted to get is the remote controlled ball, I think it's a little expensive for me to buy for myself, but if anyone wanted to buy me one, I'd be happy to play with it.  I think this could be the ultimate dog/cat toy, think of all the fun you could have by having your cat chase this ball.

Ultra Portables & Hybrid Tablets

Outside of connected gadgets, the big thing at CES wasn't tablets or phones (though they were announced by many, including Lenovo).  I think the big thing is the concept of the ultra portable laptop, these are the minimalists of laptops, just a screen, keyboard and hard drive.  I'm thinking that one of the next big computer gadgets out of Apple will be a hybrid tablet, we've seen hints of this coming, both from the patent Apple was recently awarded and from the changes we've seen in OSX Lion to make it more "Tablet-like".  I can see Apple producing a tablet that behaves like the ASUS Transformer Prime where it's both a tablet and a computer, this would be a great symbiosis of hardware and I think something that we'll see more of in the future (especially for the business community).

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