The Consumer Electronics 2014 show has gotten underway in Las Vegas, Nevada, with some of the world’s biggest tech manufacturers showing off the gadgets that they hope will find a place in our homes in the coming year.
One of the biggest unveils at the show so far has come from Samsung. The Korean electronics giant, associated with the Galaxy range of tablets and smartphones, unveiled two new tablets which it believes will offer both business and home users an excellent platform. The nearest challenger to Apple in both tablet and smartphone markets openly signaled its intention to become the market leader in 2014.
Samsung’s two new tablets
Samsung revealed the NotePro and TabPro, with both devices benefiting from an interface derived from Google’s popular Android operating system. Samsung boasts that both of these tablets feature the most advanced and function-packed version of Android that has yet to be released. The Notepro is seen as the more premium of the two tablets, offering only one model featuring a 12.2” screen, while three TabPros will be put out featuring 8.4”, 10.1” and 12.2” screens. Both tablets will go on sale later this year, with Samsung making the lofty claim that their new tablet portfolio will “redefine what a tablet can do”.
These are devices that are not merely intended to set new standards of quality, but also to break records with regard to screen size. The Korean manufacturer stated that the 12.2” version of the two tablets will be the largest mainstream tablets available on the market, and will naturally offer a full HD display.
Could the first 4K tablet be coming soon?
Meanwhile, with both Samsung and Sony already fully committed to the already commercially available ultra-HD format, many people were wondering how long it will be before someone produces a tablet computer with four times the screen resolution of HD; a possibility which is already technologically, if not economically, viable. It may not be far away, though, as Toshiba unveiled the world’s first 4K resolution laptop at CES.
One of the most interesting aspects of the new tablets is that they will be able to display four applications simultaneously, as opposed to the two which Samsung tablets have been limited to previously. The company hopes that this will make them particularly appeal to busy business users, although those of us who tend to open twelve applications and twenty-seven web browser windows at once on desktop machines and laptops will also welcome this news.
Samsung also showed off its new Bendable TV, which is possibly the most striking piece of consumer electronics seen at the festival so far. This is a truly fantastic looking piece of technology, which features a curved screen intended to enhance the viewing experience. With the only prototype model presently produced 85” in size, this won’t be a television for everyone’s budget; not that Samsung has confirmed when it will be released, let alone how much it will cost.
Michael Bay’s less-than-smooth presentation
Not everything at the festival went according to plan, though. Samsung made an extremely big deal of having the Hollywood director Michael Bay appearing as part of their presentation of their curved television. Unfortunately, not everything went entirely according plan. Evidently, the teleprompter which the director was intending to read from went kaput, leading to a rather embarrassing scene in which Bay looked extremely uncomfortable, failing to answer any of the attendant Samsung’s executives remotely competently, before stalking off the stage.
If this was a painful experience for you, Mr. Bay, at least you now know how everyone felt having to sit through Transformers II…
Other news from CES
Elsewhere in the CES show, LG unveiled one of the biggest innovations, and one that while rather quaint and gimmicky on the surface may actually play a big part in changing people’s lives. Like Samsung a Korean manufacturer, LG has previously earned a reputation as delivering unpretentious but good quality electronics at an affordable price, so the announcement that they were working on a range of ‘talking’ home appliances came as quite a surprise to many.
David VanderWaal, the firm’s head of appliance brand marketing in the United States, presented products to an amused audience that can tell you how many bottles of milk you have left in your fridge, or how many minutes are left in a particular washing machine program.
The concept of smart home appliances is hardly a new one; it has been floated for some time. While the concept may take a little while to get used to for some, it being all a little too redolent of artificial intelligence become rather too intrusive, there is no doubt that these systems will potentially make domestic life very much more convenient.
In addition to being able to speak to the washing machine and garner a response, it will also be possible for people to text LG’s range of smart appliances and get a response. A series of pre-determined responses have been built into the washing machine, meaning that you can expect to be texted by your washing machine to inform you that it’s undertaking a spin cycle, which will be completed imminently.
The HomeChat system will be integrated into LG smartphones, tablets and TVs, and is part of an overall vision that the Korean corporation has to create a data-sharing network within one’s home which it describes as “the internet of things”.
Other major highlights of the show thus far include Valve’s range of Steam Machines, which purport to provide a rivalry to the Playstation 4 and Xbox One consoles, and an updated version of the Pebble smart watch known as Pebble Steel, which will go on sale in the US later this month.
CES 2014 is ongoing until January 10, with many more innovations still to be unveiled.