The annual Consumer Electronics Show has kicked off, drawing eager consumers and investors to Sin City.
The world’s largest technology conference kicked off Monday in the larger than life city of Las Vegas. This year’s Consumer Electronics Show introduced new smartphones, gadgets, a HAPIfork that keeps track of your eating habits, as well as upgraded cars that let you send out emails and check out gas prices from behind the wheel.
Stephen Baker, a consumer technology analyst with NPD Group, said it’s about more than the headline-grabbing gadgets, reports Fox Business.
“The value of this show isn’t the latest and greatest most fabulous thing, it’s how do I make my devices do more for me and integrate them more seamlessly into my life.”
This year’s show is said to be as influential as ever, featuring a record breaking exhibit space, with a show floor of 1.87 million net square feet for all 3,000 exhibitors. While Apple, Google and Microsoft weren’t present, opting in favor of hosting private product unveilings, lots of tech heavyweights were there to strut their stuff. Among the top players at the event was Samsung, bringing in the heat with the unveiling of its latest SmartTV: an 85” SmartScreen television, fully equipped with “Evolution Kits” that can automatically upgrade its hardware and software on a regular basis. The new TVs are expected to put the ol’ remote control out of business, as they will also be able to recognize body gestures, so people can breezily swipe through on-screen menus.
But as far as SmartTV’s go, Samsung is running a close race with Panasonic, who unveiled an impressive new feature on My How Screen— a tool which figures out which family members are watching TV through facial recognition, and then brings the viewer’s favorite shows to them based on personal preference.
Another Panasonic reveal was a set of wireless Bluetooth headphones, which resemble hearing aides more so than the traditional headphones currently in use.
The headphones work by transmitting soundwaves via cheekbones, delivering content straight to your head, which allows one to watch TV in bed without waking up a sleeping partner.
Intel also made its mark with a 3D camera capable of voice, gesture, and facial recognition. The company is said to be working on building this “human-like” technology into their next generation of PCs and ultrabooks.
Baker said he’s seeing a lot of products that make it easier to access entertainment, work and personal documents from home, Fox Business reports. He believes that this year’s show will prove to be vital to the industry.
“You get a group of people together to talk about how to improve what people do every day of their lives … what’s more important than that?” he told a media outlet. “Say what you want, but 150,000 people wouldn’t trek out into the middle of the desert for nothing.”