CES 2013: Day 1 roundup
This year the highlight seems to be "Smart Technology" and manufacturers seem to be geared up to make all gadgets smarter.
The Consumer Electronics Show is the world's biggest technology trade show and plays a vital role in deciding the trends of the year. As the first day at the CES 2013 comes to a close, it leaves us with an array of announcements, gadgets and smart technologies to talk about.
This year the highlight seems to be "Smart Technology" and manufacturers seem to be geared up to make all gadgets smarter - be it televisions, cameras or phones. Read on to know about the best tech displayed at the Day 1 of CES 2013.
Almost all leading TV brands have taken home entertainment and smart technology quite seriously and put forth an array of superior television options for users. Samsung unveiled its flagship LED TV dubbed F8000, which will be available at a maximum of 75 inches.
The new high-end TVs are fuelled by a quad-core CPU and Samsung has also redesigned the 'Smart Hub', which is now prettier and faster than before. If you own a 2012 model, then Samsung makes available its 'Evolution kit', which is a small box that pugs into the rear ports of your existing Smart TV, giving you the new features.
Panasonic spoke about the new "my Home Screen" feature, offering a 'personalised menu' page for the company's 2013 Smart TVs range. It also showed how to control the YouTube app on the TV using your smartphone.
Another highlight was the HSN (Home Shopping Network) Shop by Remote app that lets you buy products directly from the TV.
LG showed its new OLED TVs with WRGB techology, wide viewing angles, infinite contrast ratio, realistic colours etc.
The Upscaler plus allows playing mobile games on your UHD screen in 3D without worrying about the resolution as the new wireless streaming ability of their smartphones can feature games not only in UHD quality, but in 3D as well.
This isn't all, LG also put forth a 100-inch Mega Smart TV, which isn't just a prototype or for demo, but will be available for purchase. The company's new line-up of 4K TVs will be Smarter with 2.2 channel sound and Cinema 3D; the company is working with industry partners like Activision, Google and Disney to produce more 4K content.
The Search feature has been made intuitive for recommendations based on your history of viewing and search habits and the new LG magic remote has been designed to understand "natural" language so you can speak comfortably and not like a robot with the voice control on the remote and not TV. LG is also showcasing Google TVs and 3D TVs. Moreover, LG plans to go 100 percent LED and no more CCFL.
Sony showed off its all new user experience, which involved watching TV with multiple screens simultaneously. Its TV Sideview is a new way to interact with the television and swiftly navigate to what you want to watch.
It will also bring features like universal remote, social networking, alternative content on second screen to its smart TVs. Its 2013 2K and 4K range will see unique tri-luminous display technology.
It has also announced the launch of the world's first 4K video distribution service in the US, which will allow owners of 4K TVs to download and enjoy native content.
On the camera front, we saw Samsung flaunt its new NX300 mirrorless camera with 2D/3D lens. The company also revealed a compatible 45 mm f1.8 2D/3D lens that it claims is the first one-lens 3D system capable of capturing both stills and HD video.
Connectivity seems to be the fad for the next gen cameras and the NX300 shows this with its dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing users to connect a smartphone to the camera with the Samsung Smart Camera app for Android and iOS. One-touch sharing of images to social networks is enabled by a hot key on the camera.
Samsung also teams up with Dropbox to bring the out of the box cloud service for its upcoming Smart Cameras and also smartphones like the Galaxy Grand.
Another Wi-Fi-enabled camera was announced by Sony - the Cybershot WX80. It can share directly from camera to phone and tablet. It also has a built in projector and Wi-Fi accessory for instant sharing and upload.
Sony will also be showing the first 4K consumer camcorder prototype. It will create a full 4K world with upscaled 4K content to enjoy.
Samsung has put on display the 4G LTE Galaxy Note 10.1 running on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean while Intel announced that 10 OEMs are now making Atom-based Windows 8 tablets. Intel further said that it's all about the Z2760 Atom up to 1.8 GHz dual core with 10 hours battery life.
If all these tablets are priced right and enter the market quickly, there is some competition to look forward to in the tablet space. Intel also spoke about its next generation Bay Trail platform for tablets, which will be twice as fast and available later this year.
Qualcomm also revealed its next batch of Snapdragons that tout to deliver up to 75 per cent better performance than the company's current menu of SoCs. The specifications include the Krait 400 architecture running at clock speeds of up to 2.3GHz. On the other hand, Nvidia has also unveiled the Tegra 4 mobile platform.
The high-end smartphone space is getting competitive by the day and the CES 2013 gave us a glimpse of the new features underway. Intel spoke about its new "Lexington" platform for smartphones, which has been crafted for emerging markets, specifically India and China.
It will bring features like dual SIM with dual standby, FM radio, microSD slot and Wi-Di. Acer, Safaricom and Lava will be the first to market these phones.
LG also showed its new UI for mobiles with hand written memos, live zooming for running videos etc. LG also focused on appliance connectivity via NFC and Wi-Fi so that users can connect to appliances like refrigerators to see a list of groceries in the fridge while they're at the store.
Imagine asking your vacuum cleaner to start cleaning up before you even get home. Now that's true smart technology, we must say. The Vu II features a 5.0-inch, 4:3 ratio IPS display while the Optimus G claims to be the world's first Quad-Core LTE-enabled smartphone using Snapdragon's S4 processor.
Sony finally unveiled the much anticipated and highly leaked Xperia Z smartphone. The highlights of the Xperia Z are a 5-inch full HD display, 13-megapixel camera, NFC and HDR video. Click here to know more about the Xperia Z handset.
Along with the Lexington platform, Intel spent most of its time talking about Ultrabooks (obviously). The company spokesperson said that Ultrabook models are shipping and the goal is to ramp volume and hit lower prices with Ivy Bridge gen.
The company's 4th Gen Core Haswell is also due out this year. Touch, voice will be mandatory on all Haswell-based Ultrabooks.
It also showcased Northcape, an incredibly slim design with its battery and motherboard in the lid instead of the base, like a tablet with a dock. It has a detachable keyboard with its own battery.
The AIO category has been flourishing wherein we can use it as a standalone table top display. Intel announced a new AIO ecosystem with software from Microsoft, EA and more. For instance, EA's new digital board games, will allow a family to sit around a table and play.
In one of the pre-announcements, we'd seen the Lenovo Horizon that can be transformed into a digital family table. Intel also demoed "Perceptual computing" that combines senses, emotion and context. This literally means better eyes and ears for computers. It showed face recognition along with gesture controls to unlock a Windows 8 PC.
Clearly, the first day had a flurry of big announcements, giving us a glimpse of the kind of tech we can expect all through the year. Manufacturers are trying to put their best foot forward by making gadgets smarter. Smartphones are trying to emerge as powerful computing devices with larger, better displays and solid hardware.
And more importantly, the trend seems to be focusing even more on a smarter and more integrated environment, be it at home or outside. Visual media with ultra high definition will also be a big trend in 2013, one we're looking forward to testing. Let's hope we see more 4K content making itself available this year as well.