January 21, 2016

The CES 2016 products you should be most excited about

By Team Ventev Topic:

An engineer, a sales rep, and a product developer walk into a casino…. It’s not a joke. It’s CES!

We sent 15 Ventev staffers to Sin City for CES 2016. Here, they recap what’s going big, what’s going in your home, and what went bust.

Three things that will take off in 2016: IoT, wireless everything, and virtual reality

The Internet of Things is knocking on your door – literally. From Bluetooth padlocks to a sleep-tracking mattress, we saw more home gadgets and appliances at CES than ever before. All of them were designed to make life safer, easier, and more fun – furkids included.

Part of what’s making that possible is next-generation wireless connectivity. And it was everywhere. The show floor whispered an iPhone 7 rumor that Apple is ditching its headphone jack in favor of wireless options. Whirlpool cooked up a range that’s controlled via smartphone. Qualcomm and Audi showed off a connected car that gives passengers intuitive infotainment across multiple displays, and also charges itself wirelessly while parked over an external inductive charging pad. But more on wireless charging later.

If wireless connectivity is how we’ll unplug physically, virtual reality is the tech to help us unplug mentally. We knew it’d be popular, but not THIS popular. It definitely took longer to get through the line at the Oculus Rift booth than it did for its pre-orders to sell out online!

 

But VR’s capabilities go well beyond gaming. It will challenge travel. It makes immersive training possible for medical, military, and construction professionals. It’s already being used as a new marketing and advertising platform – just check out 20th Century Fox’s VR trailer for The Revenant. The price is coming down, and the demand is going up. We’re calling it now as the hottest holiday gift of 2016.

There were also plenty of less-hyped, cool products that are certain to land in many households, like the Keurig Kold brewer and the LG TWIN Wash system. Big innovation? Not so much. Big application? Definitely.

Competing charging technologies are battling for 2016’s best battery improvements

Everyone seems to agree that battery tech needs to catch up with device capabilities, and 2016 might be the year it finally does.

As portable power experts, we gravitated toward conversations about charging. We saw a few small, high-capacity backup batteries that pack a big punch while being light and portable. There was great debate about whether USB-C or Quick Charge 2.0 charges more effectively. And there’s still a lot of confusion around rapid rate charging and USB Power Delivery. (We’ll clear that up for you in a blog post coming soon).

Detaching from the cord, wireless charging tech is finally shacking up with your home, your hotel, and your coffee shop. The charging range is now broader, and placing your device requires less precision. No more “put your phone within 2cm of this exact spot to charge.” New long-range transmitters are smaller – about half the size of what was shown last year – and can hide behind a TV or furniture.

All in all, the advent of USB-C and the search for alternative battery types will make for an interesting, if not transformative, 2016.

Actually, that seemed to be the theme of CES.

2016 will be all about intelligence: Smart homes, clever devices, and effortless integration

While some journalists speculate that 2016 is an interim year – a preview of what’s to come – we think that this is the year it’s all happening.

CES reflected that. The technology is here. Products on display were less prototype and more polished. Market adoption may be slow, as a lot of this is still new to consumers, but overall, we’re ready. Here’s to a 2016 that’s intelligent, entertaining, and enjoyable.

 

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