CES - Halfway through

As usual, CES is filled with a lot of things that are products....but not really products. So I wanted to sift through a lot of the releases that have flown at us and talk about some of the products that might fit for you. 

Aibo III 

While Sony isn't officially calling 2018's Aibo using the Simpsons method of naming pets, I feel like they should. Let it be a firm reminder that the last time that Sony did this the owners of these wonderful robo-pets did eventually...turn off. Though there is no North American pricing yet, the model in Japan is to pay for the dog and a monthly subscription. The Subscription allows little Aibo to gather data for it's cloud AI to process, giving this robo-pup the ability to recognize its owners. All in all this might now be something that you'll sell a ton of but did I mention that holy-mother-of-all-things-holy is it freaking cute!

 

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Nanoleaf - now in squares!

From actual use, Nanoleaf triangles are a ton of fun. I use them in my house for a number of completely superfluous lighting tasks like making my hallway light up so I can re-enact the Darth Vader fight sequence at the end of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The real story here is the sheer amount of functionality the lights have. With connections to Google Assistant and Alexa voice control, proximity sensors and touch control these little light panels can do a lot. Able to produce millions of colours, sync with music and program in individual scenes make these some of the most functional and high tech dorm dressing to ever replace a string of Christmas lights. The current generation of triangles is available as a 9 pack. 

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HyperX Cloud Flight - pillows stuffed with awesome

As an early adopter of bluetooth headphones I have seen things change pretty rapidly from the days prior to Apple's bravery.  No we are talking about headphones that last more than a day, are insanely comfortable, and have near 0 latency. From everything I have seen and heard from CES I think that HyperX Cloud Flight wireless headphones give all the things that gamers want - great sound, easy controls, and easy wearing - without the enormous price tag. Canadian Pricing is currently at $199.99

 

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Smart Beauty Product that isn't stupid

L'Oreal brought the most functional piece of smart beauty tech to CES that I can imagine - this coming from the person that wears SPF 30 on a cloudy day. The L'Oreal UV Sense is a tiny dot that you can wear on your skin or clothes that tells you your UV exposure. It needs a connection to a phone to alert you, but the dot itself is 2 mm high by 9 mm in diameter. Stick it on a pair of sunglasses and know you aren't going to burn/get skin cancer? Yes please!

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Broader Themes

AR Toys Again

There are going to be a lot of AR toys with ARKit and ARCore (Apple and Android respectively) running on flagship phones. The biggest things to look for in this onslaught of accessories is going to be addons with six degrees of freedom (6DoF). This, as I talked about in the VR article, allows you to move in natural ways and have the addons follow your movement. 

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Consumer Hardware as a Service

There have been a bunch of announcements of being able to pay monthly for a better rig on the other end of the internet. I am not going to go through them all, but Nvidia has the one that is currently most functional, as there is a free open beta right now for the service. The good news is that a $200 computer can function with a $5,000 rig on the back end. The bad news is that you need 25mbps down and Nvidia thinks it should actually be a minimum 50mbps. Expect this to keep being a growing market as more and more companies piled in at CES. 

Voice controls in everything

Smoke alarms, light switches, light bulbs, multicookers, cars, robots, robot-maids, and a bunch of other things I have forgotten. Google is using literally every microphone to connect to Assistant. Amazon builds an army of skills. The entire thing is sort of silly at this point, but as the saying goes "Put a Voice Activated Assistant on it."

Qi charging 

The now universal wireless charging standard is in full force after Apple announced its phones would have wireless charging. So now that nearly every flagship phone has this insipid technology baked in there are just a ton of accessories featuring Qi charging. Think of these as phone cases with even less specialization. There is no model numbers to keep track of or changes in model years. Qi charging as a standard is set and is universal. So go nuts in getting a variety of options.