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Cool gadgets and hot tech that will shine at CES 2013

PCWorld Staff | Jan. 4, 2013
With less than a week to go before this year's International CES Show in Las Vegas commences, it's unclear which new products will generate the most buzz among attendees of the massive trade show. However, Ultra HDTVs, Windows 8 tablets, smart appliances, and smartphone apps figure to fight for center stage.

One of the biggest categories for connected apps will be mobile entertainment. The Mobile TV Tech Zone in the Central Hall will showcase a slew of entertainment apps, especially ones that let you stream live TV straight to your iOS device.

We expect Elgato, the company behind the EyeTV tuner that debuted at CES in 2012, to make a new announcement at this year's show. The EyeTV is a small tuner that connects to an iPhone or iPad and receives a TV signal through Dyle's mobile TV network, which then allows the user to watch live TV through the EyeTV Mobile app. Similar iOS apps designed to turn devices into "second screens" for watching televised content will have a heavy presence on the show floor as well.

Innumerable accessory makers will set up shop at CES, hoping to garner some attention for the add-ons they make for Apple's smartphone and tablet offerings. Early indications from exhibitors suggest an avalanche of cases designed to protect the high-resolution screens of the iPhone 5 and fourth-generation iPad, along with the recently unveiled iPad mini.

Accessory manufacturers have been particularly enthusiastic about fitness tech. From digital pedometers and heart monitors to scales, apps, Web services, and sport watches, fitness technology should hit its stride at this year's show.

Your future home

Of course, apps don't simply monitor your health; they can also keep tabs on your home. And those figure to be in abundance at CES, too.

The concept of a smart home that responds to the occupant's every whim has long been the stuff of science fiction; but at recent CES gatherings, the world's largest consumer electronics manufacturers have demoed connected appliances that move us closer to that future. And now many of those appliances can be controlled with a swipe on your smartphone: Look for dozens of examples at next week's show.

From Bluetooth refrigerator magnets to smart stovetops, home technology is getting more sophisticated--and more affordable. Samsung and LG are expected to showcase advanced appliances, and other companies (including Belkin) plan to display smaller gadgets for the home. Belkin has already picked up a 2013 CES Innovations award for home appliances for its WeMo Baby, an audio baby monitor that uses a smartphone as a receiver.

"You can go back to the '70s and see magazine covers that talk about the future home and home automation and how our lives will change. For us regular people, it really hasn't materialized," says Ohad Zeira, Belkin's director of product management. "Home automation should be bite-size pieces of very approachable technology that are affordable and easy for everyday consumers to adopt and get them on the first steps on the road to that automation."


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