In less than 12 hours, the annual Consumer Electronics Show will finally kick off in Las Vegas, and it promises to showcase the most exciting technologies that we’ll see this year. The 46-year-old show is one of the biggest technology events on the planet and is home to a wild selection of electronics from the weird and quirky to the slick and sublime.
Not everything sees the light of day, of course. Here’s what looks promising this year.
1. Wearables – Take Two
Wearables looked promising but were a big letdown last year. Most devices that were announced failed to live up to the hype or were never released. But over the last year, most tech giants have begun to show some promise in this space. The big plus has been the arrival of Android Wear, a cohesive and established ecosystem that ensures a strong app library. We expect LG, Samsung, Sony and others to wow us with their new smart watches and bands. HTC is also teasing a new wearable, which will be a wrist-worn device "very different" from anything currently on the market.
2. Forget OLED, Quantum Dot TVs are coming
The hot new buzzword on the block is “Quantum Dot TVs.” LG, Samsung and Sony are all pushing Quantum Dot TVs over OLEDs. OLEDs had been for long touted as the true successors of ‘Plasma TVs’ but they are difficult and expensive to produce and there are question marks over the longevity of OLED panels. CNET has a great explainer on Quantum Dot technology.
3. Virtual reality beckons
It’s 2015 and Marty McFly’s promised hover boards aren’t quite here yet. But head mounted computers that transport us into virtual realms are. Virtual reality gear has been the show-stopper for the last couple of CES events, but this year it is set to make the big jump from proof-of-concept to consumer hardware. The $2 billion elephant in the room, Facebook’s Oculus Rift, is expected to show off its final consumer version that we hope to see hit stores by the end of this year. Also expect to see omni-directional treadmills and augmented reality glasses make a splash.
4. Make Stuff @ Home
We’ve seen tabletop manufacturing and 3D printing being touted as the future of production. That future is now. We expect to see companies like MakerBot announce new, inexpensive 3D printers that make 3D printing more accessible to consumers. This could be revolutionary and change manufacturing as a whole.
5. The Internet of Things
Every major tech and appliance manufacturer has been trying for a few years to stick processors and WiFi on every household appliance. But the reason we don’t live in smart homes yet is because most of these devices don’t “talk” to each other. Apple and Google have made efforts to solve this. Apple’s HomeKit and Google’s “Works With Nest” are technologies that are designed to help your smart appliances interact with each other using your smartphone as a hub. Expect more intelligent devices this year.
6. Smart and driverless cars
CES is not an auto show but the most exciting news from the world of automobiles might come from this year’s CES. The smart car will see your car’s dashboard run either Google’s Android Auto or Apple’s CarPlay (yes it’s those two again) and pair intelligently with your phone to help you access music, contacts, maps, text messages and more. There will also be the automobile Holy Grail of self-driving cars. Google has a head start in this space, but expect to see traditional car manufacturers like Mercedes, Ford and BMW enter this space.
Top technology trends that will dominate 2015