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CES Opens with an App Scavenger Hunt and the Reinvention of the PC




CES2013The 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (aka CES) officially opens on Tuesday, but already there’s plenty of news coming out of the showroom floor.

Over 3,000 exhibitors are getting ready to unveil the hottest new gadgets and gizmos including new advances in computing, mobile, car tech, wearable tech and just plain fun stuff. What you won’t see at CES is an Apple booth or a Microsoft booth. Both of these companies prefer to be the center of attention and that’s okay because it means more room for the start-ups and under-appreciated innovators that will change how you interact with the world.

CES is a huge event and the Consumer Electronics Association wants to make sure every attendee sees all there is to see, so they’ve gamified the convention. When an attendee visits a designated area, he receives a special badge through the CES mobile app. The first three people to collect all of the available badges will win a prize.

The trigger mechanism is the Radius Networks iBeacon. This short range, low-energy transmitter tags a mobile phone when a person comes within 100 feet of the target. This ability to micro-locate can be used to guide people at a theme park, provide self-guided tours in a museum or push relevant offers at a mall.

TCL_RokuTV_Home_300DPI__14inRoku TV

Roku is known for their streaming box which hooks to almost any TV. Now, they’re eliminating the box with the new Roku TV. The company says theirs will be the first simplified smart TV. An easy to read onscreen menu allows the user to quickly choose from live TV, streaming movies, music from a service like Pandora or one of hundreds of built-in apps.

They’ve even streamlined the remote to under 20 buttons, or toss the remote and control your TV with your iPhone.

The new TVs are expected to hit stores this fall and I think I want one.

Think Thin

Lenovo came early to the party with the world’s lightest 14-inch Ultrabook. The ThinkPad Carbon X1 tablet weighs only 2.8 pounds which is lighter than the MacBook Air. It’s all about working on the go, so they’ve packed in 9 hours of battery life and  Rapid Charge technology which gets it back to 80% in under an hour.

The X1 also has voice and gesture controls and the keyboard dynamically changes to feature the most used keys for whatever program you’re in. A fabulous feature if you’re a fiction writer because most mobile keyboards hide the quote key on the second level.

They’re also releasing the ThinkPad 8, an 8-inch tablet that docks with a full keyboard for a more PC experience.

hpslateHP Reinvents the PC

HP is looking for that perfect blend of the PC and the tablet and they’re close with the new HP Slate 21 Pro. This Android tablet doubles as a monitor and comes with USB ports, web cam and mic, stereo speakers and an excellent digital display. It also comes with a software suite aimed at business owners including Kingsoft Office, Evernote, Hulu Plus, Skype, and Box.

For those of you who don’t like change, HP is also releasing a traditional desktop tower and a pretty spiffy laptop that retails for $400.

Just Getting Started

CES hasn’t even officially started yet, so I’ll have much more for you as the week goes on. I expect to see a variety of wearable tech items, new tech toys for the car and mobile upgrades, 3D printing and a few surprises. Prepare to be amazed.