Whoever put CES on the calendar just the week into the New Year had a cruel sense of humor. Just as we recover from our post holiday stupor and return to work – the tech world explodes with products, press releases, rumors, and tech – all reminding us that the New Year has arrived and is ready to be powered up.
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Unlike years past, when CES was a mystery - full of surprises, this year’s run-up to CES has all but made it clear what we have in store.
2014 will be the year of Wearable Computing.
Glasses. Headgear. Watches and more. If you don’t already have a device you wear that connects you to the web – you will by the time the class of 2014 makes it way to market. “The internet of things” is about to emerge.
Let’s take a look at the devices and categories that are likely to matter most:
Google Glass As a Google Glass Explorer, I’ve had a pair of Google Glass for most of the past year – and I’ve enjoyed being on the leading edge of the wearables trend. Google Glass is a remarkable 1.0 device, and now with the new hardware shipping – likely to continue to lead the market. The software blurs the line between creation and consumption – with video and still capture now even more seamless Google Glass video now moves to YouTube with a simple click – making video sharing easier than on any other device. While it’s early days in the wearing of a ‘heads up’ display, I think Sergey had it right back at TED 2013 when he pointed out that we’re all walking around with our nose in our smart phones. No longer is it a question of wether or not it’s ok to be connected 24/7 – we all are. Now the question is how do we balance the real world with the virtual one? And Google Glass is the early leader in this space. Now Glass 2.0 will come out with prescription lenses and more.
Smart Watches and Wearables Samsung’s efforts with Galaxy Gear resulted in shipment of 800,000 units in just the first 2 months. The crowd-funded “Pebble” watch continues to grow rapidly with its smartwatch. iOS 7 integration and an updated SDK give Pebble a room for continued growth. “The market for smart wearables is extremely dynamic. This space is going to look very different in 12 months’ time,” said analyst Daniel Matte of Canalys. And Apple seems to have a watch of some sort on the horizon. There’s no doubt that CES 2014 will be the year of the wearable – with market leaders, fast followers, and knock-off competitors all competing for a piece of the emerging pie.
Consoles In the video game sector, the promise of the death of the video platform has been promised and missed for years now -and this years massive sell-out of the Xbox1 and PS4 suggest that the predictions of their death may be premature. But the big new player on the horizon is the virtual reality headset known as Occulous Rift. The Occulous is predicted to break the VR market wide open – giving developers and users the first really consumer friendly 3D environment.
The barrier of wearable tech today is battery life and screen resolution. But expect both of these to evolve quickly. And because these devices are web connected, the entrepreneurial startup software world is likely to hack, modify, and evolve these connected platforms quickly.
So – 2014 is the year computers break out of their desktop bounds – and become connected and evolving.
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