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5 takeaways from CES 2013

Colin Neagle | Jan. 14, 2013
CES 2013 has come and gone. In addition to "wear more comfortable shoes next time," here's what we learned at this year's premier consumer technology conference.

In the tablet age, consumers may not abandon PCs entirely, as many have declared, but they will see the advantages of a tablet's mobility and large screen size. Intel recognizes this, and with the new requirement it's encouraging manufacturers to continue putting out more devices that can convert from notebook to tablet.

In addition, several Windows 8 desktop PCs integrated touch to take advantage of the operating system's new user interface. All-in-one desktop PCs from Lenovo and Toshiba embrace users' familiarity with touch, bringing us ever closer to the post-mouse era.

The car is transforming

No, Transformers are not a reality, at least not yet. But the interior of future cars will look and operate entirely differently than what we're familiar with.

Several car companies, including Ford and GM, showed new ways their cars interact with consumer technology, from remote access to door locks to Bluetooth connectivity with a smartphone's apps and content.

The need for improved in-car technology also opens an opportunity for third-party players to step in. Livio Connect, for example, introduced its new in-car mobile app technology that displays apps on the increasingly common touchscreen that manufacturers are building into new cars' center consoles. That means drivers can use their navigation or music player apps in their cars even if they left their phones at home.

Then there's the automated driverless car phenomenon. Toyota showed off a Lexus that could drive itself, which is always exciting. The race to put a safe driverless car on the road is one that every major car company, as well as Google, has entered in some capacity. At least Toyota reminded us of that at CES.

The home is getting smarter

CES 2013 saw a lot of different companies vying for attention in the connected home market.

More and more in-home utilities are becoming Internet-connected for remote access. That could mean checking to make sure all lights are turned off or responding to an emergency alert from a security system.

Lowe's home improvement showcased smart home products, including those that monitor pets and provide communications to the elderly or people with disabilities who may need occasional assistance.

The market for connected home technology also attracted attention from startups. A company called Enado on display at CES' Startup America Stage showed its centralized control solution for connected home appliances, which aims to cut through the vast array of mobile apps that provide control to one in-home utility or another.

This market should take off in the next few years, as energy prices climb and home owners recognize the potential for smart home energy management solutions.

Solving the battery life conundrum


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