Every January, thousands of press and industry members flock to Las Vegas to the latest in technology and gadgets at the Consumer Electronics Show. And while we rave about the innovation and the nifty concepts that companies show off, they don’t always end up coming to fruition.
So while CES 2015 is in full swing, we’re looking back to 2014 to run down our top picks from last year’s show and see which ones have delivered and which ones are still on their way or have disappeared from the scene altogether.
This compact desktop computer was aimed at gaming enthusiasts, and good news: you can order one right now, customized precisely to your liking. But though one of its touted capabilities was support for Valve’s SteamOS, the gaming-optimized operating system is still not ready for primetime, so you’ll have to stick with Linux or Windows for now.
Horizon 2 Multimode Table PC
Wouldn’t it be cool if your coffee table was also a computer? That was the promise of Leonovo’s Horizon 2, the second in its line of desktop computers that can also lie flat, tablet-style. The machine went on sale last summer in the $1500 range, and got decent reviews, though the tabletop mode is perhaps a little bit on the gimmicky side.
RealSense 3D Camera
Cameras are always popular, and Intel’s tiny unit—designed to fit into laptops and allow for sensing in three-dimensional space, à la Microsoft’s Kinect—is no exception. It uses a combination of a traditional camera, infrared camera, and infrared laser projector to detect 22 points of motion and translate that into software. This tech is just coming to market; it’s been integrated into tablets like the Dell Venue 8 7000 and laptops like the Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro, which go on sale this month.
Sony promised to make getting games even easier with its PlayStation Now game-streaming and rental service, unveiled last year. The system was in a lengthy beta for most of the last year, but just this week Sony announced that it would be offering much more affordable monthly subscriptions to the service starting later this month. (Previously, you had to pay a steep-ish fee to rent a single game for a week.)
Biometric security is all the rage these days, and at CES 2014 Myris announced its eyeLock iris-scanner. At $280, it’s more affordable than a professional-grade solution, but you get what you pay for: reviews have been less than positive, citing slow performance, an unwieldy corded connection, and incompatibilities. But there’s always the next version to look forward to.
It seems as though 2015 may be the year curved screens start really catching on, but LG may have been ahead of the game with its G Flex smartphone. The phone ultimately got mixed reviews, with the curved screen proving not particularly compelling and the price tag a bit too high—but that hasn’t dissuaded the industry from continuing the march on curved screens. Perhaps the LG G Flex was simply…ahead of the curve?
MiniDrones Rolling Spider
Everything gets smaller, including drones. Parrot, no stranger to flying robots, expanded its offerings last year to include a $100 compact model that can climb walls as well as soar in the heavens. The downside, of course, is that its small size translates to limited battery life, meaning shorter excursions, and a less powerful camera. But overall, its reception has been towards the positive side.
Cosmos 90GT WiFi Telescope
This $400 WiFi-enabled telescope was aimed at those upgrading their stargazing experience, and from what we can tell, it accomplished that mission. While a little pricey for the casual astronomer, its app integration seems to set it apart from the conventional telescope crowd.
We admired the sci-fi nature of this gadget, which purports to collect health information about your body, including temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and more—all by sticking it to your forehead. Sounds a little crazy—and maybe it is, because the device hasn’t yet appeared, though Scanadu says it’s planning to ship by the end of January. But we’ll have to wait to see if it is, in fact, just what the doctor ordered.
Not unlike the Weebles of yore, this $100 robot’s key selling feature is that it can actually maintain its balance. Packed with games and apps, the MiP is controllable from a smartphone, and that seems to be how to get the most out of it. But folks seem pretty pleased with what it offers, especially for the budget price.
What’s better than an electric car? An electric car that drives itself. This automated golf-cart-sized shuttle can go up to 12.5 mph and avoid obstacles, delivering you to the destination you’ve chosen on a touchscreen. Though tests are being carried out around the world, the Navya probably still isn’t coming to an airport or theme park near you for a while yet.