Some of the biggest news at CES was how little news came out of the show. Most of the exhibition floor featured larger and more advanced television screens but, as most buyers can’t tell the difference between 720 and 1080, it is evident that this industry is swiftly approaching the point of diminishing returns. TVs have grown so huge that most living rooms simply can no longer accommodate them, and manufacturers are finding that it may not be enough to count on upgrade paths motivated by “I simply have to replace my old 55 inch TV with a new one since it has a half-inch thinner bezel!”
The other major “innovation” at CES was the ultrabook, which most will recognize as a MacBook Air without the Apple symbol. The question of whether consumers in this economy will shell out about twice as much as comparable notebooks to gain the cleaver cross-section will be one of the defining market determinations of 2012.
There were plenty of the usual CES wacky stuff that makes you wonder how it ever found its way to market, and here are some of the more entertaining eccentricities:
Atari Arcade iPad Dock. You can now plug in your state of the art tablet and use its advanced technology to play Centipede or Asteroids, just like it was 1979!
Autocorrecting Glasses. A $1,200 LCD array in the frame turns your reading correction on or off. What happens if it turns on while you’re driving? “Watch out for that bus!” “What bus?”
Beer Blast Chiller. A new feature on an LG refrigerator allows you to chill your suds to Rocky Mountain Cold in five minutes. It’s better than putting the brew in the freezer because… er…
GPS Tracking Dog Collar. With this hi-tech chain, you can set up a virtual fence, and if Fido wanders past it you can receive an SMS or email alert, and even locate him on a map.
Motorized Video Recliner. For those couch potatoes who find that pulling on the lever of the La-Z-Boy recliner is too much like exercise, for just $6,000 the actuators will do it all for you!
Net-Connected Baby Scale. For $179 you can access your baby’s weight from any mobile device and share it on social media or with the Doc. Sure beats typing out “9 lbs. 7 oz.”
OCZ 16 TB SSD. If you just have to be able to access your entire collection of 726 Star Trek episodes right now, nothing short of this drive will do the job… albeit at the price of a 2012 Mercedes S-Class.
Phone-Controlled Robotic Ball. It can change colors while it rolls around the house, and your cat will agree it’s the best $129 you ever spent.
Smartphone Car Proximity Warning. Your phone can now display a stopping distance overlay onto the image seen through your windshield – for those drivers who would rather watch their phones than the road.
Swiss Army Knife with 1 TB Flash Drive. The perfect survival tool when you find yourself stranded on a mountaintop and have to watch every episode of Survivorman and Man Vs. Wild to stay alive.
Tailgater Satellite Dish. Fully portable, enclosed satellite dish that will autolocate Dish Network and make sure that just because you’re camping you don’t have to miss the latest antics of NeNe Leakes.
Underwater Smartphone. The Casio GZ One Ravine is perfect for when you fall down a Ravine and into the river. It’s also the only phone endorsed by Aquaman.
Video Recorder/Player Fridge Magnet. Why bother sticking a Post-It note to your fridge when you can record a full video shopping list for your significant other?
Wi-Fi Bathroom Scale. Your weight, percentage of body fat and BMI can now be autouploaded to your favorite social network. The definition of a nightmare come true.
Of course that’s not mentioning the net-connected rabbit; the smartphone cover bottle opener; the fridge that checks expiration dates; the phone that holds a charge for 15 years; the heads-up display of your biometrics; the 360 degree iPhone camera; or the robot baby seal: the perfect gift for the Newfoundlander on your list!