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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.

Most consumers still can't afford smart refrigerators, but smaller home devices are now well within reach of many prospective buyers. Both LG and Samsung are exhibiting Roomba-style robotic vacuum cleaners during CES.

Samsung's Smart Tango Corner Clean features a pop-out brush and the ability to get into hard-to-reach corners. LG's Hom-Bot Square features improved sensors and longer brushes, plus two cameras that can scan and map the rooms in your house.

Auto innovations

Most trends in car technology have been years in the making. But a few are finally coming to fruition at this year's CES.

Car makers and third-party manufacturers alike are working on fully integrating technology into vehicles. The automotive portion of CES figures to be heavy on high-resolution displays, touchscreens, voice activation and dictation, and Internet connectivity. Updating your Facebook status from the road will no longer be exclusively a Mercedes Mbrace2 feature.

And processors are not just for PCs anymore. Chips figure prominently in cars these days, and chip makers will showcase electric vehicles that have processors powering their infotainment system, digital instrument clusters, rear-seat entertainment, and driver assistance tech.

Plenty of automakers and third-party manufacturers are focusing on safety. From self-driving car technology to driver assistance tech--including "third eye" cameras and a seat-back driver fatigue monitor--companies are making a serious effort to keep drivers safe (and awake) behind the wheel.

We probably won't see a new car at CES 2013, however. Audi has been teasing a high-tech interface for its A3 since last year's CES, but the company will likely postpone the debut for the Detroit Auto Show. Of course, we'll be at that event later this month, so we'll keep you updated.

Connected cameras

Wi-Fi cameras will become the norm in 2013; in fact, we may see more connected cameras than non-Wi-Fi cameras in the next 12 months. The tipping point for Wi-Fi-enabled models will mean that many more (if not most) DSLRs, mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras, and compact cameras will be able to upload photos and video to social media sites, offload images wirelessly to phones and tablets, and stream high-definition video as you record it.

We'll also see more and more devices like Samsung's Galaxy Camera and Nikon's Coolpix S800c, two cameras that run the Android operating system and come loaded with mobile apps such as Instagram.

After introducing the SC1630 Smart Camera last January, Polaroid plans to roll out its next Android-based camera during CES 2013, according to Imaging Resource. The new device will feature interchangeable lenses, but little else is known about the upcoming camera--including which version of Android it will run. Current rumors suggest that the camera will have an 18.5-inch megapixel sensor and a 3.5-inch touchscreen. Allegedly leaked images of the camera dubbed it the IM1386.


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