Officially, the International Consumer Electronics Show – better known as CES – kicks off tomorrow, but the press previews have already begun so let’s take a look at what we can expect from the event in the Las Vegas Convention and World Trade Center.
CES 2013 promises 20,000 new product releases as more than 3,000 exhibitors set up in a record 1.87m sq feet of space, awaiting more than 150,000 attendees. Already we know that both Audi and Toyota will be exhibiting self-driving cars, Ubuntu will be unveiling a new mobile OS and Sony will have two new high-end Xperia smartphones for us to check out, while there are also rumours of a Windows 8 tablet from Nokia, US$99 tablets from Asus and Acer, and LG’s follow-up to the Optimus G Android smartphone.
Other smartphones expected to be showcased at the event include Huawei’s Ascend Mate 6.1-inch ‘phablet’ – a potential rival for Samsung’s Galaxy Note II – and ZTE’s Grand S Android smartphone with a 5-inch screen.
Corning Gorilla Glass – which keeps innumerable smartphone displays safe from scratches and cracks – sees its third-generation composition unveiled at the event. Gorilla Glass 3 is said to have enhanced durability, with 40pc less scratches visible to the human eye.
Aside from smartphones and their components, ultra-HDTVs (which claim four times the resolution of standard HDTVs) will also be a key feature at CES, with LG’s €27,000 84-inch 84LM960V on display at the event.
A lot to see from Samsung
Apple steers clear of CES, preferring to keep all the limelight for its product announcements to itself, and Microsoft appears to have decided to do the same, opting out of CES for the first time in m a decade.
However, this leaves Samsung room to throw its weight around as the biggest brand at the event, and the South Korean manufacturer has plenty of products spanning almost every category, including a new smart TV it says will feature “unprecedented shape and timeless design”.
Samsung’s new Smart Hub
While details on the new TV are scarce (we may have to wait until Samsung’s keynote on Wednesday to find out more), we do know Samsung will have its 2013 Smart Hub for smart TVs on display at the event, as well as the final version of its Evolution Kit.
Samsung’s Evolution Kit
This kit was first introduced at CES 2012 and will allow users to upgrade a 2012 Samsung smart TV to a 2013 model by attaching to the back of the set. This will give the older TV the hardware enhancements and technology improvements it needs to be on par with newer models.
Samsung will also release its new Smart TV SDK at CES, with support for Linux and Mac, as well as Windows. The new SDK provides a local cloud development environment that will allow developers on Macs to team up with Windows developers, while HTML5 support will enable interaction and communication with external devices.
Samsung also announced two new Series 7 Windows 8 laptops that will be unveiled at the event, both of which feature full-HD screen resolution at 1,920 x 1,080.
Samsung Series 7 Chronos laptop
The 15.6-inch Chronos multi-touch laptop features a 2.4GHz Intel quad-core Core i7 processor, a 2GB AMD Radeon HD 8870M GPU, hard drive storage up to 1TB, and a choice of 4GB or 8GB of RAM, which can be expanded using RAM accelerator software providing speed increases of up to 150pc by taking advantage of existing memory.
Samsung Series 7 Ultra ultrabook
The smaller and slimmer Ultra ultrabook features a 13.3-inch display, Intel Core i7 or i5 processors, AMD graphics, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to 256GB SSD. A touch model with 4G connectivity is also said to be in the works.
New monitors from Samsung on display at CES include the Series 7 SC770 Touch Monitor with a multi-touch display optimised for Windows 8, ultra-thin bezel, wide viewing angles, and a flexible ergonomic stand allowing for 60-degree tilt; and the slim Series 7 SC750, capable of a 90-degree pivot and premium picture quality with a 5,000:1 contrast ratio – five times that of a standard monitor.
Samsung Series 7 SC750 monitor
These monitors will be available worldwide in the first quarter of 2013.
Finally, Samsung has also announced the NX300 camera and the NX 45mm f1.8 2D/3D lens – the world’s first one-lens 3D system that can capture stills and 1080p full-HD video in 3D. The new flagship compact system camera from NX series features a 20.3MP APS-CMOS sensor, 3.31-inch AMOLED touch screen, ISO range from 100 to 25,600, and a DRIMe IV imaging engine for better colour reproduction and greater noise reduction.
Eye-tracking control for Windows 8 devices
Moving away from Samsung, we will also see the Tobii REX featuring at CES 2013. This peripheral device enables eye-tracking technology when connected by USB to any Windows 8 machine. The device uses Gaze UI, an interface that allows users to navigate, zoom, select and scroll using their eyes.
“We expect some of our manufacturing partners to be making versions of this peripheral available to mass-market consumers in 2014, and by 2015 we anticipate Tobii Gaze will be integrated into mainstream computers,” said Carl Korobkin, vice-president of Tobii Technology North America.
Measuring slightly larger than a pen, the REX adheres to the base of the computer monitor and is intended for use with other control systems like the keyboard, mouse or touchpad. The device is available now for software developers (priced at US$995) and 5,000 units will be made available to consumers in autumn this year, with pre-order invitations coming in spring 2013.
Health seems to be a key theme at this year’s CES, with many exhibitors showcasing products that integrate with mobile devices to help users get healthy, including a smart heart-rate monitor that connects to iDevices and a wireless fitness monitor that sets exercise goals for users based on their physical activity.
Previews of Hapilabs’ Hapifork were well-received by the press. This piece of cutlery connects to iPhones using Bluetooth and, using motion sensors, alerts the user through vibrations that they are eating too quickly. Inventor Jacques Lépine believes that breaking this habit will help users to eat sensibly and therefore lose weight.