With CES having grown into a mega-conference with over 50,000 exhibitors, it can be hard to sort the wheat from the chaff. What areas are actually worth paying attention to and what will be next week’s landfill? What are the bigger trends that we can see forming amongst the background noise? Recent experience shows that what’s cutting-edge today will be common in businesses and homes sooner than you think.
The first clues towards some of Google’s plans begin with Nest.
After acquiring the smart thermostat maker in early 2014, their CES appearance began by boasting an impressive lineup of new partners for home automation. The new project is called “Works with Nest” and some of those involved include LG, Mercedes Benz, Whirlpool and plenty of other big names to excite all of us gadget geeks about what’s still to come.
Google’s efforts in the home won’t stop at automation, though.
One of the biggest features of consumer electronics each year is the new technology involved in somehow displaying an even higher definition high definition TV. Sony was one of the biggest exhibitors of 4K TV’s at CES 2015, showing off their KDL-W850C series with Android TV integration. But Sony isn’t the only ones to offer Android TV integration, there’s a whole host of big name brands opting for Google’s OS, which marks the first ever unification of the smart TV market.
Google has also shown their dedication to the video streaming market with the recent release of their Nexus Player and an updated version of the Chromecast. In addition to video streaming, there’s good news for music lovers as they also announced the impending launch of Google Cast for audio. This means users will be able to stream audio from any of their devices directly to compatible speakers, untangling even more wires from your life!
Possibly the biggest development of Android at CES was the Android Auto initiative. Android Auto is the new OS behind many vehicle manufacturers infotainment displays.
Android Auto faces plenty of competition in this market from others such as Apple’s Carplay which was also displayed at this years CES. But there does seem to be more opportunities for the integration of Android Auto, one of which being Hyundai’s Blue Link. The service provided by Hyundai is built into their cars alongside plenty of other cool toys. They’ve also included an Android Wear app which allows users to locate their car from their wrist, start/stop the engine, lock/unlock the doors, flash the lights and honk the horn.
With all the recent and future developments of Android, it’s still in essence, a mobile operating system. At CES there was a big focus on this and in our opinion that’s still what it’s best at. One of the many new phones on display using the OS was the LG Flex 2.
The Flex 2’s most attractive feature has got to be its curved screen. It’s 5.5 inches, so it’s just on the borderlines of becoming a phablet, but whether that’s a plus or a minus is really up to the individual. Powering the device is a Snapdragon (great name) 810 quad-core processor running Android 5.0.
The ever-expanding wearables market was another topic of interest at CES, and Google’s Android Wear took a lot of the focus. One of the most interesting smartwatches being showcased was the GoldKey Secure Communicator. What separates this watch from the others is that it has it’s own secure storage and payment tools, giving it huge potential to become a real enterprise contender.
It’s not just video and audio streaming services that are trying to vanquish tangled cables and messy wires from your life, there are companies out there attempting to allow products to roam free from all attachments. Even power sockets.
WiTricity offer wireless charging solutions that allow users to charge the phone or chosen device by simply being in the same room as, or nearby a charging point. The device doesn’t even have to be aligned with the charger like in other previous solutions we’ve seen in the past, such as the Powermat. This makes for extremely convenient storage locations such as within a desk, under a bed or tucked away in a cupboard. During WiTricity’s time at CES they even displayed their product working through a variety of materials to show off its functionality, passing through concrete, desks and more to deliver a charge to multiple devices at once!
What to take away from CES 2015
There didn’t seem to be many spectacular breakthroughs to be seen at CES 2015 but there have been clear signs of new areas maturing like the Internet of Things (IoT) and in-car tech. There’s a lot to look forward to as we see these new features and hardware incorporated in many of our lives throughout the year.