2012 was a big year for electronics, with the launch of the iPhone 5 and the battle of the mini-tablets, but 2013 looks to eclipse that as tech firms unveil their latest offerings at the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas.
With a seemingly limitless range of gadgets and appliances on display, the event gives companies big and small alike the chance to show what they hope will dominate the electronics market in the coming year.
The next generation of super HD TVs seem to be taking centre-stage, but there are some surprise innovations elsewhere in the market - not all of which will set cash registers on fire. Either way are a few that stand out.
• Samsung Youm - The flexible phone
A stranger device you could not have imagined. A smartphone unveiled to a shocked audience at the CES showed a device which is apparently almost unbreakable. The prototypes used by Samsung may be a while off being available to the public, but the company hopes that the technology used in the flexible screens will be taken on across the industry in the near future.
• OLED TV - Super thin, and super sharp
LG recently started taking orders in South Korea for their new Organic Light-Emitting Diode TVs, boasting superb clarity and colour while remaining impressively thin.
• The Pebble - Wireless watch that can connect with your phone
Imagine reading text messages on your watch. Fitness fanatics should love it. Anyone who’s tried to pull out their phone while cycling will understand - though it does beg the glaring question of safety; Should you really be cycling and reading at the same time?
• The Huawei Ascend Mate - The world’s largest smartphone
Huawei may not be the best known maker of high-end smartphones in the gadget world, but they’re hoping to change all that with the Ascend Mate and its 6.1-inch display. While also boasting a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, the cost is rumoured to be around 20% lower than its competitors, so Huawei may just gain a foothold yet.
• The HapiFork - Stops you eating too fast
We all enjoy a good meal, but would you really take a telling off from your own cutlery when it thinks you’ve had enough? Me neither. But working in conjunction with your phone, the fork can tell if you’re eating too quickly or not chewing enough, in which case it indicates when you need to eat less.
• Panasonic’s bone-conducting headphones - Vibrate through your skull
The latest Bluetooth headphones have a strange new idea; headphones which leave your ears uncovered while they vibrate the wearer’s skull to give a sound which they say has less chance of being heard by others nearby. It’s definitely different, and it’s thought that the technology will appeal to joggers or cyclists who will want to listen to music while being able to hear oncoming traffic.
• The Sony Xperia Z - The waterproof phone
Another highlight of this year’s CES so far has been the Sony phone which they claim can survive being submerged in water for up to half an hour without being damaged. With a 5-inch screen, the Xperia Z runs Android and features a 13-megapixel camera. This looks like Sony’s big stab at muscling in on the smartphone market and could be the one to grab them a share.
• IdeaCentre Horizon desktop tablet - the gamers’ device
27-inches may seem big for a tablet, given that 2012 saw most manufacturers make theirs smaller, but Lenovo have taken things the other way with the Horizon. Listed for a summer release, the Horizon runs Windows 8 and aims to attract avid gamers with joysticks and accessories geared towards a fun user experience.
• Samsung Ultra HD TV - With 85-inch display
In what looks to be the home equivalent of Imax cinema, Samsung has been showing off its gargantuan TV screens in Las Vegas. The S9 range of Ultra HD TVs are due to become available this year but if you want one, you’re going to need a giant wad of cash, and an even bigger living room.
• Monster Genesis Headphones - Noise cancelling technology
A sturdy-looking yet remarkably light set of headphones are Monster’s pitch for this year. Claiming to give a high-quality output while eliminating background noise these won’t come cheap, but hardcore audio geeks will surely appreciate what they can do.
• And a special mention must go to the Samsung T9000 refrigerator, which features a touchscreen display and apps.IT won’t be long before you get tweets from your own fridge whil you’re at work; “@Scott The cheese has gone off, lolz #stinking”