Trends from CES

With the doors closing on CES today it seems fitting to take a look back at the hottest trends of the show and highlight some of my favourite tech pieces.


Wearable technology has been a dominating trend at CES this year, especially in the fitness arena. A host of bands, watches and detachable gadgetry were unveiled with the promise of improving our sleep, training our brain and enhancing our fitness. Launches such as the Garmin vivofit (www.garmin.co.uk), available from March for around £99.99, intend to monitor your personal activity levels and use the information to set tailor made goals. The water-resistant band tracks your sleep, counts your steps, monitors calories burnt and sets out to help you achieve your fitness goals with its progress tracker and inactivity sensor.


The term “the internet of everything” was key at CES 2014. The phrase essentially identifies that technology firms are working hard to  make our homes, lives and cars smarter using interactive technology and data communication. From the aforementioned fitness trackers, to LG’s smart fridges and washing machines that you can text, the major tech players are aiming to use technology to improve the efficiency of our day to day activities.

Earlier on in the week we focused on Ultra HD and curved technology. Both elements have played a huge part in CES 2014. With smartphones and televisions literally bending – our visual experience becomes highly immersive and our calls more ergonomic.


In the automotive sphere, hydrogen powered cars and self-driving capabilities caused quite a stir. Toyota announced the as yet untitled hydrogen and oxygen powered car, set to launch in 2015 (www.toyota.com/fuelcell). Toyota claims that despite its sustainable fuel, the car will perform in the same way as a ‘regular’ car – achieving 0-60 in 10 seconds and reaching top speeds in excess of 100mph. The firm acknowledged and commented on the challenge of refuelling the fuel cell car with niche and currently sparse refuelling systems, announcing that certain areas in the US are becoming focused on significantly multiplying the number. BMW showcased its latest autonomous driving tech at the show in its 2-Series Coupe and 6-Series Gran Coupe. The technology facilitates the cars to navigate bends and hurdles without driver intervention thanks to cameras, radars and sensors.


In addition to these key trends I want to highlight some other stand-out products from the show. The Griffin Wireless Powermate, available from Summer 2014 for around $59.99 (www.griffintechnology.com). Achingly stylish in its metallic, circular form, the Bluetooth LE running Powermate can be programmed to carry out six key commands for most computer applications in a click or a spin – from simply adjusting computer volume and replacing repetitive keystrokes, to becoming the hacker’s choice for programming smartly. The rather quirky, russian-doll inspired styled Mother product from Sen.se caught my eye, available to pre-order now for $166 (www.sensemother.com). The ‘doll’ assumes the role of a nucleus and four connectors are then attached to items that you want to essentially make ‘smarter’. A connector can for example be attached to a pill bottle and if the bottle remains untouched an alert will be sent to your smartphone to remind you to take your pills. I was really impressed by the ranges on show from Ozaki (www.ozakiverse.com) – the Taiwanese company got is so right with its array of cool smartphone and tablet accessories including the mini piano keyboard for iPhone and interactive chess set for the iPad – Chesspoly.

Goodnight from Las Vegas!



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Gorgeous white rCube wireless speaker

The rCube is portable, easy to use, and its sound quality is pretty exceptional. Just launched in cool white this summer, it’s funky cube design is physically smaller than your average handbag and has been designed to fit in with the décor of most rooms.


Take your music with you – Built in carry handle and batteries that last up to 8 hours mean you can enjoy your music anywhere – relaxing in the bath, drinks in the garden, whipping up a storm in the kitchen, entertaining in the dining room or wherever takes your fancy.

Wireless – Nifty rWand dongle allows you to stream music wirelessly from your iPhone, iPod or iPad from up to 15 meters away.

Unlimited music and radio – Don’t have a iPhone? The rWave USB dongle allows you to wirelessly listen to whatever’s playing on your computer from up to 100 meters away. Whether it’s the radio, an online music library or a party playlist.

World class sound – Unique speaker system delivers exceptional clarity and room-filling sound.

Mix and Match – If you ever get bored of your tracks, you can stream music from friends and family’s iPods or pass the rWand around at a party to share soundtracks.

Easy to use – Can be operated from your iPhone or the pocket-sized remote control.

Price around £500

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Sky Go – TV on the move

The new Sky Go App brings together online and mobile TV in a single, simple service for Sky TV customers. You can now get flexible access to Sky content across iPad, iPhone and iPod touch and it is now available in the App Store.

Sky Go lets you watch live channels (in line with your subscription) while on the move in the UK and Ireland. On iOS devices, Sky TV customers can access all five Sky Sports channels, ESPN and Sky News, with further channels to be added over time. This means that Sky Sports customers will be able to watch a top line-up of live sports on the move for free and a  selection of Sky Movies.

Sky Go brings together two existing services, Sky Player, Sky’s online TV service and Sky Mobile TV, the UK’s largest mobile TV service – the services now rebranded as Sky Go.

The Sky Go App is now available for free from the App Store on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch or at www.itunes.com/appstore.

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Hit the beach with the Hi Sun Beach Towel

Say hi to a world of beach, sun and music with the hi-Sun beach towel. It’s essentially a beach towel with built in speakers and when you’re done sunbathing it becomes a backpack. The perfect solution for the beach, camping of just chilling in the park  so you can soak up the rays listening to your favourite tunes.

It’s compatible with iPhone®, iPod® or any other MP3  player that has a 3.5mm universal jack, and when it needs washing simply remove the speakers and pop it in the machine.

Available from http://www.hi-fun.com/en


  • Dimension: 180 cm x 80 cm
  • Material: 100% cotton
  • Speaker power: 2W/4ohm X 2
  • Frequency response: 100HZ—20KHZ
  • Output:4.2V/250MA
  • Li-ion battery
  • Colors: red, black, blue, pink
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All about touchscreen gloves

Smartphones, iPads, iPhones, mp3 players – few of us can get through the day now without tapping or swooshing on those oh-so-cool touchscreens, marvelling at how a little swipe of the finger can open an app or zoom through a cluster of status updates. For all their cleverness, however, there is one major drawback to these modern wonders – reliant on your skin’s natural conductivity of electricity, they require bare fingers. Not such a big deal if you live in a friendly climate, but for those of us who spend several months of the year bundled up against the elements, using your phone or tablet outside involves an elaborate off-again, on-again, off-again juggling of gloves, generally resulting in freezing fingers and a mouthful of dirty fluff from pulling your handwear off with your teeth.

Now, though, a few companies have recognized this problem and come up with various solutions that let you leave your gloves on to text or scroll, by altering the glove to allow for the needed conductivity. Some versions merely have a small slit in the thumb and index finger that permit you access to your bare skin with minimum exposure to the cold. More sophisticated recent styles either weave conductive thread into the fingertips, or place conductive fabric on top.

Firebox.com offers the Touchscreen Glove and the Isotoner SmarTouch Glove (from £12.99), both of which have conductive thread woven into the thumb and index finger. Fivepoint Gloves (£24.99) from Etre work on a similar theory, but weave the conductive material into all five fingertips on each glove. Dots Gloves ($20.00) have little dot-shaped patches of conductive fabric on the index and thumb, while North Face Etip gloves (£22.00) also opt for patches of fabric. Not to be outdone, Apple have naturally created their own patented iGloves (from £13.99), which would appear to work on similar principles to the others by incorporating special conductive material in the fingertips.

All sounds too good to be true? Some of the drawbacks reported with these gloves include complaints that the conductive thread can sometimes unravel pretty easily; others find that, while allowing you to text and email, they don’t actually keep your hands that warm in more serious weather. Overall, however, they seem to provide a good option to the numb-fingered among us.

If you don’t want to buy a separate pair of gloves you can always take the DIY approach by sewing conductive thread into the fingertips of any pair you already own. GloveTips ($19.99) are a product based on this idea, providing you with a kit which includes three buttons, conductive material, and a special installing needle that lets you turn your favourite pair of gloves into a techie’s winter delight.

As for this techie, my fingers are still cold. The problem? These products have proved so popular, most of the stores are sold out. More stocks are promised by the end of January.

Until next time..


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