The 2012 Consumer Electronics Show offered a much more important glimpse into the future than any single fancy tablet computer, smartphone or massive flatscreen TV. Looking past the trees to perceive the forest, CES showed us how our daily lives will be changed in the very near future.
Rather than focus on any one category of gadget or some special unveiling, trends on the convention floor pointed the way toward our future needs and what technology will answer them.
It’s safe to say that the immediate future will make cords an endangered species. Physical connections are breaking down for our interacting tech. For example, Portable Sound Labs out of Los Angeles introduced an extensive line of iPad, iPhone and iPod speakers that interact by wifi. Soundmatters marched out the FoxL V2 Platinum connects via Bluetooth while also including a 25 watt subwoofer in a speaker about six inches long.
Jaybird featured quality designs of Secure Fit Wireless Bluetooth earbuds hat tuck snugly around your ears with no external cable to jerk free of your MP3 player.
While our cables are disappearing, we’re also looking to have less physical contact with our machines. The general public is already familiar with Xbox Kinect, Playstation Move and the concept of gesture control. But, SoftKinetic, a Belgian company, is bringing that technology into living rooms for more practical purposes with its new DepthSense Camera and iisu Middleware for developers. The hardware allows users to control their electronic entertainment, surf the web and access their multimedia collection from the couch with simple hand gestures.
A repeated theme throughout the event was our growing need for power. I don’t mean some James Bond villain tendency to rule the world. I mean we need our gadgets and technology to be juiced up and ready for us whenever we need them. Our impatience and demand for constant power is leading multiple companies to invent new ways to keep our phones and tablets energized.
Duracell is looking to make a big splash with Powermat – a widespread, wireless charging technology that could spread through our cities. The system requires users to purchase a Powermat case for their smartphone. Duracell will be installing charging pads across the country in stadiums, restaurants, coffee shops, airports and (potentially) cars. You charge your device simply resting it on the pad. And, if you find a spot that needs charging pads, a new app will allow users to urge Duracell to approach the facilities owners.
New York City readers should keep an eye out at Madison Square Garden as that legendary arena is among the first major public venues to be getting the charging pads Duracell Powermat cases should arrive this spring.
Meanwhile, Powerskin and Scosche are expanding their competing lines of high quality charging cases.
Powerskin already makes smartphone cases that offer tactile protection against drops and dings with a reserve battery onboard. Soon, Powerskin fans will be able to buy the new SolarCharge case for sun charging and a KeyCharge keychain that will back up any connected device.
Scosche introduced the reVOLT h2, reVOLT c2, reCOIL II and reviveLITE III, devices that charge multiple devices at once.
Finally, Belkin turned its attention to the ability to control household power supplies, appliances and other devices remotely via a smartphone. The Wemo Home Control Switch is an online power outlet that can be controlled entirely via a smartphone app. You can turn on your lights, turn off the iron, start an appliance, etc., all from any distance via wifi or 3G as long as the Wemos are on an online network.
In addition, the Belkin WeMo Motion Sensor plays off of gesture control technology, turning any outlet or switch into a motion sensitive device.