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1/4/2014
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CES 2014: 8 Technologies To Watch

Giant TVs, laser-equipped cars, wearable computers -- it must be the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show. Which products will dazzle?
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The Consumer Electronics Show kicks off next week in Las Vegas, which means somewhere in the neighborhood of 150,000 people will flock to the desert, eager to learn where the tech industry will  place its bets for the upcoming year.

"Bets" is an appropriate term -- and not just because of the venue. Some of the technologies recently hyped at CES haven't paid off. None of the exhibitors gambling on 3D televisions have been rewarded yet, for example.

But CES is also a launchpad for many of today's most compelling trends. Smartphones with bendable or curved displays could become the norm before long -- and Samsung prophesied as much at last year's CES, when it demonstrated its flexible glass technology. 3D printing, smart cars, connected fitness devices, and wearable technology were other CES 2013 trends that appear poised to break out in 2014.

CES 2014 will feature more than 3,000 exhibitors. That's more than the Las Vegas Convention Center's 3.2 million square feet can accommodate, so attendees will be scrambling not only around the crowded exhibits, but also into meeting rooms and conference halls spread across nearby hotels. Product demonstrations aren't the only attraction. The keynote lineup includes such heavy hitters as Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Cisco CEO John Chambers.

Las Vegas is a monument to conspicuous consumption, so some of the hubbub inevitably will revolve around vapid first-world problems. I'm looking at you, $650 crocodile-skin iPhone case. But even if you're a hardened cynic, CES should offer something to inspire; from wearable devices to the Internet of Things to solar-powered cars, many of the products at this year's show use technologies that could literally change the world.

And if you're not a tech cynic, you're in for a treat. There will be enough tablets, ultrabooks, TVs, and cameras to exhaust even the most enthusiastic of technophiles. TV manufacturers appear determined to make 4K sets a bigger deal than their 3D predecessors, and though the biggest, most glorious models still target people who also own private jets, some will be available to mere mortals.

In a sign of the PC industry's ongoing power shift, several manufacturers will showcase desktop machines that run operating systems other than Windows. 3D printing also could push further into the mainstream at CES 2014.

This year's show runs Jan. 7-10 and InformationWeek will be there to bring you news and analysis. In the meantime, we've collected some of the cooler products slated to appear. Will a car with laser-beam headlights enthrall your inner motorist? What about a big-screen TV that curves around you? Or perhaps one of the new low-budget tablets? Click through our slideshow to see what's cooking at CES 2014.

Michael Endler joined InformationWeek as an associate editor in 2012. He graduated from Stanford in 2005 and previously worked in talent representation, as a freelance copywriter and photojournalist, and as a teacher.

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Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
1/6/2014 | 11:22:36 AM
Chrome
I'm excited to see Chrome OS laptops and desktops evolve. The "Mac or Windows" two-horse race in this area has gotten old. Not that Macs and Windows 8 devices aren't beautiful and useful, but Chrome OS has been on the verge of shaking up the market with a new stripped-down and affordable PC experience. Is this the year of Chrome?
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
1/6/2014 | 10:38:12 AM
VR Headsets
I'm surprised there was no mention here of the Oculus Rift headset or its contemporaries? Valve could be showing of its own virtual reality hardware and there's supposed to be an HD (possibly 4k) Oculus Rift set to debut too. 

It's pretty exciting what changes virtual reality could have to our media viewing. 
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
1/6/2014 | 8:33:07 AM
Falling Tablet Prices
I've been waiting and waiting to see tablet prices drop the way PC prices dropped when they became main stream.  The component parts should be less expensive than a low end laptop but we are seeing a stall in getting those higher end tablets down to budget laptop prices.  I can't say I'm excited to try out a $38 tablet but a name brand tablet (Acer) with decent hardware under $200 is tempting.
virsingh211
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virsingh211,
User Rank: Strategist
1/6/2014 | 4:05:23 AM
Re: Technology is great but...
Please don't me saying, as if now i am not so optimistic about wearables and specially smartwatches , it has to have some functionality that's just killer otherwise why someone will invest into same.
samicksha
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samicksha,
User Rank: Strategist
1/6/2014 | 3:00:12 AM
Re: Technology is great but...
Wearables wave is still in its early phases, the most recent one we saw was Samsung smartwatch which arrived to shopping malls but did not made much difference and one of the reasons i see was cost, apart from the glass and smartwatches i would also like include wearables which offer health related statics like your heart rate monitors.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
1/5/2014 | 10:41:32 PM
Re: Technology is great but...
Android is a great invention not only from pure technical perspective but also from conceptual level. It's based on open platform concept so that the manufactures can have budget tablet produced, which will definitely drive BYOD trend and the prevailing of mobile devices. I do not want to see that it becomes less open and protected behind IPR. Nowadays in many restaurants you can place the order by using the tablet, which is quite convenient. In the future with the development of curved LCD, we can predict that soon we will have the menu printed on "electronic paper".
kritik1
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kritik1,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/5/2014 | 6:22:13 PM
Re: Technology is great but...
People look forward to open platforms as they are a collective success.  If Android were to become "less-open" then it would be Android's loss.  An empty open slot begs to  be filled by an innovative open platform from some creative platform in the making either as an open project or an existing project that feels by going open it would meet more rapid success.
melgross
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melgross,
User Rank: Ninja
1/5/2014 | 1:40:24 PM
Errors
There are a number of glaring errors in this article, but I'll point out just one. In the case of 4k Tv. It's totally incorrect that one must sit further back to eliminate seeing the pixels. The facts are totally different. In order to see each pixel, which is the only reason to buy 2k HD or 4k HD, one must sit CLOSER. The author doesn't understand what's happening here. With SD, in the old days, the resolution was so low, and the scan lines so prominent, that you didn't want to sit so close as to see them. That's no longer true. Now you so want to see them, small as they now are. There are two opposed concepts that are at play here. The first is the one that deals with resolution. The higher the resolution, the closer one must sit to get the benefit of it. But for the movie industry, they have another concept which has nothing to do with resolution. They go by the angle of view, which they say should be around 55 degrees so that the view is large enough to fill our field of wiew, but not so large so as to force us to move our heads back and forth. So going by the latter, the bigger the screen, the further back we should sit. For a 100" dia screen we should sit about 9' back. That works out well for 2k HD, which is the current 1080p, because we can see all the detail it offers at that distance, and actually we can sit back almost 12'. But for 4k HD, we need to sit much closer to see all the detail, which would be about 6'. This is clearly too close for comfort to such a large screen. But if you don't sit that close, then there's no point in getting 4k. So we can see that the two standards are in opposition. For best viewing, we need to sit further back, but for full detail we need to sit further forward. Deciding which is more important should decide what resolution screen is needed.
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
1/4/2014 | 7:41:18 PM
Lasers and Glasses
The Laser headlights sound interesting. I wonder if the bounce-back reflection of a laser signal could be useful for a collision avoidance system? Yes it's true that Google Glass has been talked about for a while, but because of the high initial costs involved, the first devices here will likely be commercial and not consumer.
asksqn
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asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
1/4/2014 | 6:10:16 PM
Technology is great but...
Personally, I'd like to see the Android platform less shackeled to Google.  With each passing version, Android becomes less open and more proprietary, which simply means less functionality for the consumer.  All that being said, caveat emptor...anything a brand name for profit company attaches itself to open source, it doesn't stay open for very long.
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