The Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, rolled through Las Vegas last week, exhibiting thousands of new devices, accessories and services of every ilk to trade show goers and the tech media. Absent several of the biggest tech behemoths, Microsoft, Google and Apple (big surprise there!), what breakthrough products did we see this year? Let’s have a brief look at some standouts from this year, good, bad, and meh.
PlayStation Now. Take Sony’s wealth of PlayStation titles and combine it with the high-quality cloud-based streaming technology that Sony gained when it purchased Gaikai and you get PlayStation Now. PlayStation Now promises to enable the instant streaming of a variety of games that wouldn’t have otherwise been possible to play (and with the bulk of processing and rendering being done on Sony’s servers rather than on the device itself), and then streamed to the PS4, PS3, PS Vita, Sony Bravia TVs, etc. If this scales well, Sony has just solved the PS4 compatibility issues and have opened up a ton of new devices to purchase and play PlayStation games.
Oculus Rift (Crystal Cove Prototype). The Rift, which was introduced at last year’s CES, is the first Virtual Reality headset that promises to live up to the expectations set forth in decades of science fiction and consumer technology flops. This year, the company is packing millions in funding, gaming legend John Carmack, and a slick new prototype, codenamed “Crystal Cove”. I can’t wait to check one of these things out once they come to market.
Netflix 4K Streaming. As best reported by a feature on The Verge, Netflix announced that it will be filming all its future exclusive content in next generation Ultra-HD 4K resolution, starting with House of Cards Season 2, and that this content and more will be available on new 4K TVs starting immediately. This allows them to take a huge leap out in front of cable and satellite broadcast companies, who are years out from providing 4K content in homes, and also step out in front of its main streaming rivals, Amazon and Hulu.
Sony Z1 Compact. The same powerful, waterproof Android phone as Sony’s Z1, but in a slimmer, stylish package and solving the biggest problem of its predecessor by incorporating a beautiful IPS display. It’s nice to see the old Sony coming back (crosses fingers).
The Samsung Keynote. Nothing really impressive to announce, and wouldn’t have been particularly notable one way or the other. But then, Michael Bay. I mean, just watch:
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Curved TVs. Show me any benefit whatsoever and I will change my tune, but as of now I just don’t see the point. And it’s going to really need a reason, in my humble opinion, to justify the obscene costs to consumers over the next few years. (As in, a 55″ curved OLED TV already on the market from Samsung just dropped to the low, low price of $9K.)
Big-ass curved phones. Guys. Seriously? Again, I just don’t understand the benefit here.