CES 2013: 20 Standout Products From Opening Night11:00 AM EST Mon. Jan. 07, 2013
Before the official kickoff of CES 2013, some companies set out to reach the press a hair ahead of the curve at an event called Unveiled. The event allows some of CES' lower-key but still important players to reach audiences before they are lost in the shuffle, hustle and bustle of CES proper.
We peeked behind the curtain at Unveiled and came away with 20 products worth sharing, some because they're great, some because they're cool and some because they're just hilarious.
Lenovo took the wraps off a number of new Windows 8 devices at CES 2013, including its new IdeaPad Yoga 11S, a souped-up and touch-ready version of its popular convertible PC.
Like its predecessor, the Yoga 11S can be twisted and turned into a variety of use models, including traditional clamshell mode, tent mode and stand mode, a form factor ideal for watching movies or browsing through PowerPoint presentations. The Windows 8-based device has an 11.6-inch display and measures just 0.68 of an inch thick.
Inside Lenovo's latest Yoga is a third-generation Intel i5 Core processor. Gesture control is also supported, allowing users to advance through photos or other files with the swipe of their hand. The IdeaPad Yoga 11S will launch in June, starting at $799.
HzO is seeking a place in the tablet and smartphone manufacturing supply chain. Tough luck, right? Maybe not.
HzO's proprietary technology waterproofs a phone from the inside out. We saw a Galaxy S III, Nook E-Reader and Kindle Fire all totally submerged in water and then removed still dripping and astonishingly still totally functional. HzO is set to reveal its first manufacturing partner this week, with the first phone treated with the HzO process due in April.
Pure's new line of Wi-Fi (or Bluetooth) speakers called the Jongo series made a colorful splash. The marvelously attractive trio pairs with the Pure Music app, itself set for a refresh in the spring, to route audio throughout the home. Pure looks to beat out Sonos in price, with the flagship speaker beating the Sonos competitor by a more than trifling $70 ($229 to $299). We will have to wait and see how the Jongos stack up in terms of sound quality.
Home automation is shaping up to be a major theme at this year's CES, with Alarm.com, a provider of interactive security solutions, aiming to shake things up.
Through a single mobile app, Alarm.com users can manage everything from the locks on their doors to in-home alarm systems and light switches. The free app, which works with iOS, Android, Windows and BlackBerry devices, also lets users remotely control their homes' thermostats and keep better tabs on energy costs -- all from their smartphone or tablet.
Touch screens will be a big deal at CES 2013 -- just ask 3M Touch Systems.
The company showcased an 84-inch, multitouch display, one of the biggest touch-screen-equipped systems at the event. The display, which could either be used as an interactive table or wall, can support multiple users at any given time and proves just how big a concept touch has become.
3M Touch Systems also touted a 42- and 32-inch display, both of which were targeted at vertical markets such as hospitality, retail and food service.
Eton's Rukus XL is a solar-powered, absurdly loud, Bluetooth-enabled boombox. Though quick to avoid the older "boombox" moniker, Eton's marketing chief referred to the Rukus XL as a "portable sound system." It doesn't quite roll off the tongue but, then again, it isn't the '90s anymore. The Rukus XL takes about five hours to charge in direct sunlight and, laudably, will last about eight hours on a full charge. Smartly, it also lets users charge the smartphone that's providing the tunes. The Rukus XL costs $200.
Apple might not be at CES 2013, but its iPhone and iPad are still stealing the spotlight with products such as Kubxlab's Ampjacket.
Intended to amplify the sound of an iPhone 5, iPod Touch or iPad, the Ampjacket is a plastic case that can be attached to the back of a device to double its volume. The Ampjacket also uses built-in acoustic technologies that redirect a gadget's sound for an overall richer audio experience. The cases come in eight vibrant colors and start at $34.95.
Another standout CES product in the home automation category is Lowe's Iris Smart Kit, a cloud-based, do-it-yourself system that lets homeowners monitor their home from anywhere using a smartphone or tablet.
Lowe's showed off a number of next-generation Iris products, including apps for remotely monitoring lawn sprinklers, smoke detectors and home energy costs. For pet enthusiasts, there is even an app that keeps track of pet doors so it's easy to tell when the family dog is coming and going. Lowe's Iris kits are compatible with iOS- and Android-based devices, and most start around $179.
Lenovo stole the CES show floor with its new IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC, a unique gadget that doubles as an oversized Windows 8 tablet and an all-in-one PC.
The 27-inch, touch-enabled device can be paired with accessories including "e-dice" and joysticks for multiplayer game play, or can be propped upright using a built-in smart hinge and transformed into a desktop PC. Simply put, the IdeaCentre Horizon offers a ton of screen real estate for both work and play. Lenovo said the new IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC will be available this summer through its channel and via its website and is priced at $1,699.
The Chevy Spark and Sonic are both set to see a serious dashboard upgrade in this quarter. For the first time in the automotive industry, Siri has been integrated into the vehicle. Siri can tune the radio through the TuneIn radio app in the dashboard. That app pulls content from radio stations all over the world and will track down content based on listening habits. Siri will not answer questions that require a web page to be pulled up and also will chide drivers, imploring them to drive safely and undistracted. Sports scores and the like, however, are still a go.
Ion's Party Rocker looks like a starter guitar amp. At least, it does until you notice the disco ball that crowns the machine. Yeah, a disco ball. LMFAO-inspired name aside, the Party Rocker borders on the absurd. It's the kind of device you'd expect to see in a Bud Light commercial, right next to the frat boys doing a keg stand. The Party Rocker can stream tunes over Bluetooth and that crazy disco ball will pulse in time with the music. For those especially silly nights, the Party Rocker has a microphone input for the inevitable karaoke session.
The iLP Lightning was the more classy of Ion's product lineup. It's a turntable that will convert your vinyl collection to AAC for playback on iDevices and any other number of machines. A conversion system for vinyl is always welcome, and an old-school touch on the modern world has a powerful appeal.
Imagine if your oven was smart enough to do the cooking for you? Well, Dacor just made that possible.
Dacor at CES 2013 unveiled the Discovery Smart Series Oven, an oven that comes with a built-in Android tablet that lets users remotely monitor, control and keep track of their oven-baked meals. Bake times or temperatures can be altered on the go from a smartphone or tablet, and users receive notifications when a meal is ready.
Meanwhile, the oven's built-in tablet is a fully functional Android tablet, meaning users can search for recipes (or anything else on the Web) directly from the kitchen. Dacor offers a single smart oven for $4,000 and a double smart oven for $7,500.
Belkin's Thunderstorm dock, currently compatible with iPad's with 30-pin connectors, essentially locks an iPad into a protective case that has a speaker bar running the landscape length of the device. The speaker has great sound, spitting out the trailer for "Star Trek: Into Darkness" with an impressive dynamic range. The Thunderstorm retails for about $200 and a model compatible with newer Lightning dock connectors will land in Apple stores this spring.
The Bodymedia Fit is a Bluetooth-enabled, fitness tracking band that comes in three different models. The simple elastic option is the cheapest, while a bangle-like model slots in at the highest. A new waterproof model sits between the two. Prices range from $119 to $149. The bands act as pedometers and sleep monitors. Through an iOS (only) app, the Fit can also calculate caloric input. With all of that data, the Fit will chide users to eat less or walk more based on weight loss goals.
Lenovo's venerable line of ThinkPad Edges recevied an update. The new models, the E431 (14-inch) and E531 (15-inch) are both full-size (read: not thin) laptops that will start at $539 and will launch in May. Each model can scale from Intel Core i3s to i7s, up to 16 GB of RAM and 1 TB of hard drive space. New on this year's Edge is a redesigned trackpad that does away with the traditional TrackPoint physical buttons. Also, touch screens are now options on both models. Like many ThinkPads, both models come with pleasing matte screens. Users that still need optical drives in their laptops could find plenty to love come spring.
CES always ushers in the best and brightest in TVs, and 2013 is shaping up to be no exception.
LG was among the first to wow attendees with its 84-inch Ultra HD TV, boasting a super-crisp 3,840 x 2,160 resolution and a pixel count that's four times higher than a traditional full HD TV. At 84 inches, LG's latest TV can transform any living room into a full-fledged theater, 3-D technology and all. Granted, all this cinematic glory will cost you -- LG said pricing starts at a hefty $20,000.
Dish is making it a lot easier to find something worth watching on TV with its new Explorer Second-Screen App for the iPad.
Part of Dish's broader Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR platform, the new Explorer app for the iPad recommends certain TV shows to users based on realtime information trending on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. If a certain program or show is creating a lot of buzz on these sites, the Explorer app will alert users to get in on the action. The app, which will be available in iTunes later this month, can also transform iPads into remote controls for Dish's Hopper DVR system.
Lenovo used CES 2013 to debut another new convertible PC called the ThinkPad Helix Ultrabook.
The super-thin laptop can be used as either a traditional notebook or as a stand-alone tablet by detaching the 11.6-inch display. It includes a unique hinging system that, like the new IdeaPad Yoga 11S, lets it take on a third form factor called stand mode.
Lenovo said the device will start shipping in late February, starting at $1,499.
One of many home automation systems vying for the CES spotlight this year is Allure Energy's EverSense 2.0 solution.
Like many home management systems, EverSense 2.0 allows users to keep close watch over their monthly and annual energy costs via their smartphone or tablet. But what sets EverSense apart is its ability to automatically adjust a home's thermostat in realtime, depending on the homeowner's' location and preference. For example, the system will automatically turn off heat or air conditioning when the last family member leaves the home (with their mobile device, of course), and will power it back up just prior to folks making their return.
The system is compatible with Android and iOS devices and starts at $349.