CES 2015: A Closer Look at the Top Tech Showcased
This past Tuesday when I was in taxi in Las Vegas, the driver told me that he loves the city so much because he can find the best shows and food here. While I’m not sure whether he is right, I agree that the best electronics show in the world is hosted here, the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). This year, CES recorded 170,000 attendees, more than any previous year. It’s always exciting to see what new technologies and products are being showcased.
My first impression after visiting several manufacturers’ booths is that everything at this year’s show was connected and smart. All TVs are smart TVs, streaming video content through the Internet from content providers such as Netflix or Amazon. Additionally, Samsung TV also is adding Slingbox-like features which will allow consumers to switch between watching content on their TV and mobile devices. I also witnessed a lot around the socially networked kitchen. Provided by Whirlpool, it projects the future of the kitchen — a concept cooking environment and fully connected social media hub that syncs all of your devices and kitchen appliances. Another smart household item was Sleep Number’s smart SleepIQ Bed, for example, which tracks children’s sleeping habits — complete with a monster detector to make sure there aren’t scary creatures hiding under the bed. There’s also an adult version called the Sleep Number x12 Bed. This theme continued to be a huge aspect of CES 2015 – taking everyday products and making them smart, Internet-enabled devices. Very interesting applications!
In years past, digital TV has always been a key part of CES with, big consumer electronics giants such as Samsung or Sony showing off their latest and greatest every year. While 4K (Ultra HD) is not something new, it was something that was everywhere at the event. When 4K began to take over as the standard of high-quality display resolution, some people pointed out that 1080p is already “retina” quality at reasonable display size and distance. However, manufacturers pushed forward as TV buyers are responding, especially now that 4K TV prices are more affordable. Besides 4K, ultra slim and curved are other new features showed off by many TV makers. Sony, for instance, announced its floating 4K TV which is just 0.2-inches thin (even thinner than its Xperia smartphone), and TCL showed off its 110-inch display, the world’s largest curved 4K TV at CES. With increasing display quality requirements, TV makers are continuously working with semiconductor suppliers to meet these needs and Spansion’s flash memory has been selected by several big TV makers for the latest TV models. Stay tuned for more on that in another upcoming blog.
Self-driving was also a hot word this year. In fact, I personally was impressed by Mercedes-Benz’ demo of the F015 Luxury in Motion concept, a fully autonomous vehicle powered by a battery and fuel cell that produces no carbon emissions. BMW showed its i3 electric car which is equipped with ActiveAssist technology. This system utilizes four laser scanners to provide a 360-degree view around the car, serving as the basis of the automated valet system BMW unveiled at the 2014 show. BMW’s demonstrations this week focused not only on how the car can park itself, but also on how it can monitor for blind spots and prevent collisions at speeds up to 15 mph. Ford has been leading the way with safety-based driver assistance tools that include warning indicators for lane changing and collision detectors. Hyundai and Volkswagen also showed how their cars could park themselves.
Wearables continued to be a big trend at CES, with many companies showing off their latest products. Withings showcased several – from a fitness band to a smart watch, while Garmin highlighted its updated Vivofit bands. Not every wearable was geared towards healthcare or sports. I saw digital cookies from the Girl Scouts, smart hearing aids that use Bluetooth to connect to a smartphone and tablet from ReSound LiNX and hands-free temperature monitors for babies (Temp Traq). Seeing the innovation taking place in the wearables market, I couldn’t help but imagine how smart our life will be one, five and even ten years from now. Spansion and its partner Sensoplex already released one wearable platform reference design which can help manufacturers to create their own wearable product quickly.
Overall, this year was a very exciting show. The innovation is tremendous and the Spansion team greatly enjoys showcasing our technology to 170,000 attendees annually. Thanks for a great year at CES; we’re already looking forward to the next. And to my taxi driver, while I didn’t have time to make any of the great shows in Las Vegas, I did enjoy several great meals.