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CES 2012 and other Tech from


Come check out the goods and emerging technologies presented on covering the 2012 CES (consumer electronics show)....
CES 2012

Its the largest show of its kind anywhere in the world. 

Phones: Smartphones are all the rage, but not in my picks.

Ultrabooks: a new class of full powered laptop thin and light computers.

Cameras: a lot of Camera news this year!

Tablets: quality android tablet hardware is finally about to launch.

Home Automation: best of the field will be on display!

Gaming: Some new gear and games for the new year with new names!

Home Theater: 3D flopped hard / and so did "smart" TV's. Roku and others have the streaming on lock down and few people found a compelling reason to upgrade for "smart" on their tv's. Perhaps OLED will hit prime time this year at CES. I predicted that 2012 would be the big year for large format OLED TV's and monitors. We shall see.

The above was directly adapted from the CES Preview article:

Handpicked Noteworthy Announcements 

1. Gigabit Wifi (802.11ac) ^^ I still roll with G speed stuff! lol : this news should bring the cost of N speed hardware down (routers ect) win!

2. Nikon announces the new D4 flagship DSLR for $5999 : ouch! I will stick with my S95!

3. Kodak looking at filing bankruptcy soon :(

4. Fuji leaks a new Mirror-less APS-C called the X-Pro1 with retro style: no price yet:

5. Microsoft Flight Simulator to be released as a free download in the spring of this year :)

6. Apple's AirPlay technology coming to other devices:

7. Google creates android app market standardization for all 4.0 installations: User Win!

8. Over a billion mobile apps were downloaded during the Christmas season of 2011!

9. The coolest article ever published on a tech blog about Cameras goes online :)

10. Chrome Browser is on the up and up!

11. Heads up Display Glasses by Vuzix! Cool! I have been dreaming of this for a long time.

12. Add Full Sized Images to Facebook with Instagram Upgrade

13. Largest Free WiFi zone in Europe to be created in London  : I love free WiFi

14. Tesla Announces an All Electric SUV : Model X on display in Feb : Cool!

15. RIAA calls online piracy terrorism : they would! The RIAA is an abusive legal tool!

16. ViaSat 12Mbps Satellite Internet $50/mo for Americans : Cool!

17. Toshiba Auto Glasses Free 3D 55inch TV for only $10,000 coming to the US soon.

18. Consumer 3D object printers getting even more options in 2012! Cool!

19. MSFT research : 3D Hologram that you can touch: with video~

20. 4K resolution Consumer Video Camera for $5K JVC

21. Nylon 3D printing on the web: dont buy a 3D printer you can use one online :)

22. Toshiba Launches Streaming Camera that Shoots 1080P and broadcasts Ustream over Wifi :)

23. Augmented Reality Gets HD Transparent Glasses Hardware :)

24. Comcast Live TV on iPad soon to come via app :)

25. Sunlight readable color video capable mirasol based e-reader from qualcomm :)

26. Wifi Control of Washer and Dryer from Samsung :) Apps to come soon as well :)

27. Parrot (makers of the AR drone) produces some interesting headphones :)

28. Kinect controlled electric Skateboard : wow!

29. Wifi App Controlled power socket adapter: Goodbye Phantom power consumption!

30. LG 55inch OLED : only 7.5KG and 4mm thin at the thinnest point: Amazing Color!

31. Intel to partner with Nuance for voice control!

32. High Tech induction cooking range is techtastic!

33. AR Drone 2 with 720P video and easier controls!

34. Thunderbold Drives and Devices Launch : Many devices!

35. Windows 8 to possibly launch in October 2012?

36. Wireless HDMI : that is slick! I will stick to airplay, but this is interesting in its own right!

37. 300lumen 720P pocket projector Shine : I have an interest in these kind of things...

Extension and Commentary
Now on the last day of CES I will start writing my conclusions: updates pending...

Internet Television 
TV's turned out to be the big thing at CES this year. There is this interesting scramble to blend TV with internet / mobile software even though Google TV and other models like it did not go over well. Roku is the leader in streaming space on TV's, followed closely by the Apple TV

I use Internet on my TV
I currently use an Apple TV because I can airplay music, movies and other content from my macbook, iPod touch or Apple Tablet directly to my home stereo and TV. In the past I had to use special cable adapters and optical cables to connect, but now the Apple TV works as a wireless device connect: cool! I also use the Apple TV on its own to stream movie rentals from iTunes and to watch podcasts (mostly TED videos).

I also have a sony bluray player BDP-360 (thanks Meg) connected to my AV setup. The blueray player is internet ready, but requires this proprietary wifi-dongle from sony $79 (no thanks) to actually access the internet. My 42inch TV is only 720P and I am not an audiophile by any stretch. I love music and films but not enough to blow my wad on special gear or to waste precious space on my macbooks ssd/ or iPod touches ssd with lossless audio formats; most of my audio is 256kbs AAC, so air-play through that tiny black Apple TV puck works fine for me!

Roku perhaps?
I have often thought of getting a Roku HD to stream content to my av, but my receiver only has 2 HDMI's inputs (bluray and apple tv) so adding the Roku would require a special HDMI splitter cable or switch: so that is a negative on the RoKu for me. If you do not have an Apple TV and are interested in internet streaming content to your AV setup on a small silent device, then the Roku might be a good buy at $49 to $99 depending on the model.

Why Internet on TV? 
Paul Miller suggests that the Television Networks are tired of the "comcast / time warner" control" and that by going through the internet onto the TV, this gives the networks a compelling interface to bypass comcast/ time warner cable box duopoly control of user access. I agree with Paul, it sounds plausible that this could be true, especially because big money is involved.

The other reason TV makers are scrambling to get internet connected TV's into the market place revolves around the fact that most younger people (under 60) use a laptop/ tablet/ smartphone while they watch content on the largescreen: increasingly people are spending more time online and less time behind a boob tube. Why is it called a boob tube? Watching passive TV where you surf the content randomly is hypnotizing. When a person is online they have to search and find content to absorb: user navigated content that more accurately matches what a person is interested in, not what the networks want them to watch. This freedom and active thinking with the internet is appealing to a growing generation of information competent consumers. Where people once used to largely buy items blind, now we can access user review and product feedback on an item before purchasing it. Many items are poorly designed in a way that is not obvious until one uses them. The internet allows people access to this kind of product feedback through consumer reports, consumer reviews, cnet, and other review sites, that help the consumer to navigate away from bad products. The internet has changed the way people access information and connect to one another in a socially, fiscally, and personally transfiguring way. Its almost hard for some of us to image a world without twitter or facebook. Can we imagine Facebook and Twitter on our TV? perhaps....

The major TV innovations were super thin screen, super thin screen bezels, improved energy efficiency per inch, 4K resolution, Ubuntu TV and OLED.

LG 55inch OLED at CES 2012 : Image via
The large OLED was the most interesting: they offer unparalleled contrast and color saturation: better than even the best plasma TVs. Unfortunately OLED is not as bright as LCD, so for many people the CCFL/ LED LCD is still going to be the best bet. OLED also suffer for accelerated wear, their color and brightness fades over time, similar to plasma. Also Noteworthy: PC maker Lenovo showed off its first TV's: what? lol Interesting

Thin and light full powered laptops were another big theme at CES 2012. Dozens of different models from a handful of different OEM/ ODM's with thin and light were on display. Also noteworthy, Vizio is entering the laptop space.... perhaps some value prices in ultrabooks will be seen on items stamped with the vizio brand.

Nikon launches its heavy lifter pro DSLR D4. JVC launches a 4K video camera. Polaroid puts android in a point and shoot. Toshiba launches video cameras that live stream and a 3D camera with 3D viewfinder. Cannon launches an $799 point an shoot called the G1 X. Olympus refreshes its entire product line. Sony launches 3D video cameras and cameras that have projectors built in. Panasonic updates its Lumix camera lineup. Samsung adds wifi to its point and shoot and camcorders. Fujifilm launches the X-Pro1 mirror-less ILC. GE upgrades its camera lineup. Canon adds two new models to its powershop elph series.

Largely a flop with consumer thus far because of the required active glasses: many TV makers have gone with passive cheaper polarized setup that can accept lighter battery free stylish glasses. Autosteroscopic (glasses free 3D) is getting closer to consumer TV reality. Auto 3D displays made their way into many laptops, phones, tablet computers, and various mobile gaming devices.

Windows Phone is making a major effort to break into the smartphone space: a booth even challenged people for $100 cash prize to pit their smartphone of choice against a new windows phone: interesting PR move. Many other innovations, but nothing noteworthy in my eyes: more of the same: hundreds of different fragmented android handsets without a hint of ice cream sandwich anywhere to be found...

Augmented reality
A handful of new hardware devices launches, but most are half baked, overpriced, unavailable or all of the preceding. Of note at the transparent wearable "glasses" displays that superimpose and HD screen image onto and optical clear lens to overlay data into your visual field.

After reviewing the literature in detail I must note like the authors of the Verge noted that nothing particularly exceptional stood out at CES this year. There we many cool innovations and products, but nothing really ground breaking. The only really super cool thing for me was the large format OLED monitors. I have been looking forward to the commercialization of OLED monitors in larger sizes. They sip power and have exceptional hue depth and contrast that really outperforms everything else. I was hoping for auto-3D monitors (no glasses required), and while some were announced, its going to be a while before something really worth buying comes to market. My next monitor purchase is going to be a high resolution computer screen for my desktop :) My current monitor tops out at 1280x1024 which is really low resolution compared to my digital cameras 3648 x 2736 pixel images. I am not really excited about 1080P either, 1920 x 1080 is not really a major improvement over my 18inch 1280x 1024 IPS Dell Monitor from 2003 ($940 back then).

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