4K, Schmor-K. Here are some of the coolest and most fun concepts and products we’ve seen so far at this year’s CES show.
Parrot Drone Toys
So far, CES has been a little, well, humorless. Aside from the unintentional hilarity of the Michael Bay walkoff and the super hot dancing chic at the DTS booth, the CE industry seems pretty serious right about now (and even the hot chick had a serious face). That’s probably because there is so much ‘splaining to do about fairly new technologies, like 4K, curved screens, and smart home technology. At the Parrot Booth, however, peeps were looking to unwind, which is probably why the really cool flying and jumping Drones that you can control with your mobile device were drawing huge crowds. Three cheers for smart toys! Check out the vid:
Super Sexy Toshiba Concepts
Toshiba entered CES rather quietly this year, and didn’t seem to be competing too aggressively in the 4K wars. However, they were actually showing off some very sleek concepts (and no announcements about them either, from what I can tell), one of which is a sort of mirror wall. When the displays behind it are off, it’s just a nice, big mirror. Turn them on and you have multiple things going on–like TV and background tasks. The photo below doesn’t do it justice.
The company was also displaying 5K “Extra Wide” Ultra HD, which of course, doesn’t really exist from a content perspective. The Toshiba representative I talked to said that these units would be more ideally suited for digital signage applications in the commercial market, but it looked pretty awesome anyway, especially the industrial design.
ClearView Audio Clio Clear Acrylic Glass Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
The Clio wireless Bluetooth speaker ($349) is rad because not only does it look like a minimalist work of art in its own right, but the clear acrylic glass acts as a transducer (if you touch it, you can feel it vibrating). Even better, it was designed so that it would not take away from the beauty of your home. Say you have a wall of carefully curated art books on your shelf designed to make you look super cosmo. If you put a regular speaker on the shelf in front of the books, your guests won’t see the books and therefore won’t know how sophisticated you are, and things will just snowball from there. Put the Clio in front of them, and guess what? Your guests can still see those books. People will think you are sophisticated, artistic, and tech-savvy and you will surely gain friends and become more popular. When we talked with the company, they said they had plans to develop a similar acrylic-glass sound bar. Clio available in March.
Revolv Smart Home Awesomation
Last, but most certainly not least (maybe even first), is Revolv, a smart home gateway and app. We all know that to make it really big in the competitive CE marketplace, you have to have a culture, a swagger, a pinache that consumers are drawn to and feel they want to represent them. Revolv has all that. From it’s tagline “Life & Smart Home Awesomation” it renders what would be the normally intimidating concept of home “automation” funny and more awesome. Consisting of a gateway and app, it’s very easy to install, not to mention unique. You plug the gateway in, then you hold your tablet on top of it. A series of pulsating lights, impressively, pair the devices. When it’s done, you’ll achieve “Huge Success.”
Aside from style, what is impressive about the Revolv smart home system is that the gateway has eight or so different radios built-in and Wifi support, meaning any device should be potentially integrate-able. Of course, for the CES launch, Revolv chose the most popular smart home products, like WeMo, Phillips Hue, and Nest. Like Smart Things, Revolv aggregates all your app-controllable devices under one app, and lets you combine them to make a sequence of commands, or macros as they are known in a remote control, for a desired effect. (Example: Turn lights off, draw shades, and turn thermostat up at 11 PM.) To keep things simple, Revolv dumbs down some app functionality. For example, you can’t match the color of your Phillips Hue bulb to your picture of the Malibu sunset via Revolv, but you can use the color wheel to select bulb colors. Of course, if you want to go back and play with any of the original app’s functions, you still have that option via your regular non-Revolv device app (in this case Phillips Hue). Geofencing means that when you are within a certain range of your home, Revolv will sense you and react accordingly–maybe turning on your Sonos music, unlocking the front door, and drawing you a nice bubble bath (ok maybe not that last one). For its wit, app-aggregating user interface , and interoperability, we give Revolv a big thumbs up. (Apparently, we aren’t the only ones attracted, as Home Depot is going to begin selling them soon.) Stay tuned, we hope to get an actual review unit in the future.