The Future of Tech (and Gadgets)

Category: Reference

The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is where the immediate future is unveiled. Tech companies large and small show off the innovations and fads they hope to sell to us during the coming year. While there are thousands of new products to be seen at CES, some are more newsworthy than others. Here are some of my favorites…

Best of CES 2017

The big trend in TVs this year is to move all the smarts out of the display and into an external box of some sort. Sony, LG, and Samsung all did this to their flagship TVs. The draconian redesign enables fantastic displays like the LG W7, a OLED display that’s only 5 mm thick.

Sony’s equally thin flagship TV moves the brains into a subwoofer and vibrates the display for mid-range and high frequency sound. Samsung’s display is thicker but the external box is the size and shape of a doughnut.

Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant was heard in a lot of CES prototypes this year. One of the most exciting demos was the Ford SYNC 3 AppLink, which puts all of Alexa’s power at a driver’s fingertips. The system allows you to start your car remotely, lock and unlock doors, even check fuel levels using Alexa voice commands. Of course, you can also ask for ball game scores, traffic and weather reports, and your favorite music.

Best of CES 2017

Samsung’s Chromebook Plus ($450) sports a 12.3 inch touchscreen display with Quad HD resolution (2560 x 1440 pixels), a 2.0GHz hexa-core processor, and a spiffy 360-degree hinge that lets you use the Chromebook Plus in laptop, tent, or tablet mode. It runs Android apps as well as Chrome OS apps, and the Google Play store comes preloaded. The Chromebook Plus starts shipping February 5; pre-orders can be placed here.

Dish Network’s AirTV products integrate all of your favorite streamings services with free over-the-air broadcast stations. The AirTV Player includes $50 of Sling TV programming credits. The AirTV Adapter connects a digital antenna to the Player, seamlessly integrating available OTA channels with streaming services. The bundle costs $130; the Player alone is $100, and the Adapter is $40.

A laptop battery that lasts 15.5 hours is pretty mind-boggling. So is the rest of Lenovo’s Thinkpad X1 Carbon, perhaps the best laptop unveiled at CES 2017. The 14-inch IPS display has been squeezed into a 13-inch machine’s chassis. The fifth-generation X1 weighs only 2.6 pounds, and comes in either black or silver. Closed, the X1 is only 0.65 inches thick. Its chassis is reinforced with carbon fiber and passes 13 military-spec ruggedness tests. Wireless connectivity includes 4G LTE-A(dvanced), roughly 50% faster than 4G LTE. The processor is an Intel i7-6600U. Several SSD storage options are available, including the Samsung PCIe NVMe variety that reads and writes twice as fast as SATA SSD. Prices start at $1141.

Remember the Google self-driving bicycle spoof that showed a 2-wheeler staying upright on it's own? Honda has somehow made that a reality with their Riding Assist technology, which enables a motorcycle to keep itself upright at low speeds, such as in a parking lot, or at a stop. No word yet on when this tech will be available to riders.

If you want to explore other technology and gadgets recently unveiled, start at the CES 2017 home page. Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "The Future of Tech (and Gadgets)"

Posted by:

11 Jan 2017

LG website says the W7 is 0.2" thick, which is a bit over 5mm.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks, I corrected the text.

Posted by:

11 Jan 2017

Speaking of Alexa, I assume you saw the news report about a TV station repeating a story about a kid ordering a doll house using Alexa. When the TV station repeated the story, people who watched it and happened to also have Alexa discovered that Alexa heard the TV report and then ordered the doll house.

EDITOR'S NOTE: That's hilarious! "Alexa, cancel my dollhouse order!"

Posted by:

11 Jan 2017

I heard that these Smart TV can be used to spy on you, the viewer, which I tend to believe. If that is true - would the changes mention above hinders this spying?

Posted by:

11 Jan 2017

Huh??? All over my head, but I really love the advert for Hilary toilet paper.

Posted by:

11 Jan 2017

Bought a smart TV a couple of years ago. Wasted my money on the smart part. Use a TIVO OTA, it does everything i need, except Sling. Signed up for sling for the second time so I could watch the bowl games and the national championship game. Will be taking it off again. It's like driving a model T on an interstate.

Posted by:

Oliver Fleming
11 Jan 2017

Jim, 2 inches is just a fraction over 5 Centimeters 10 times 5 millimeters. Time America went decimal.

Posted by:

Sarah L
11 Jan 2017

0.2"=5.08 millimeters. Jim was correct.
Yes we should go metric!

Posted by:

Ken Driver
12 Jan 2017

I was told we were going metric in the fourth grade. I'm now 66 and still waiting.

Posted by:

12 Jan 2017

I think the CES2017 was another meh event!
But at least it was better than the CES2007 version which was highlighted by more smartphone skins than the population of Vegas.
I must remember that 2.54cm=1.00inch when I am purchasing that 65" LG OLED TV and carry it home in my wallet!

Posted by:

17 Jan 2017

Does anybody actually think about the blurbs they put out?
Why on earth would you want to have a very expensive piece of computer around so that you could ask it to check and tell you what your fuel level is?
Look at the fuel gauge - it's quicker - unless of course you can't read.

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