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2014 will be the year of "wearable technology"

10 January 2014 / 13:01:19  GRReporter
8157 reads

Ivan Petkov

Until recently we were used to the idea that famous actors, singers and athletes not only promote all types of products but also have their own perfumes or clothing lines. Since tech gadgets have become fashionable and sexy, and are being frequently perceived as an accessory that reflects our personal image and lifestyle, celebrities have begun investing in this type of technology business too.

The annual consumer electronics show in Las Vegas (CES) presented another technological premiere featuring a famous rapper, entrepreneur, investor and actor. Following the success of Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, popular rapper Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson attended the exhibition not as a visitor but as a producer. 50 Cent has added to his entrepreneurial biography a new line of audio headphones. The sports line of the SMS Audio headphones developed along with SYNC are offered in different colours and with HD battery, they are wireless and protected from moisture. In creating them 50 Cent has used his own list of desirable features and is fascinated by the result. In addition, the headphones will bear the signature of basketball star Carmelo Anthony.

50 Cent has also embarked on a joint venture with Lucasfilm to launch the series of Star Wars headphones (Stormtrooper, Rebel Alliance, Boba Fett and Imperial). To enhance the interest of audio fans and of those of the fantastic saga, the headphones will be available on the market for a limited period of time.

In general, "wearable technology" including not only smart watches but also all kinds of tech accessories that can connect you to your smartphone or tablet was the hot point of CES 2014.

Sony hinted at the launching of a whole line of SmartWear products beginning with the "flexible" product "SmartBand", which is a smart bracelet. It will complement and enrich your lifestyle by recording the activities of your daily life and visually presenting them through the Lifelog application by Sony. Through it, users can recall the past, make the best of the present and plan their future.
"Life is much more than the number of steps we take and make. And SmartWear Experience is emotion as well as action, entertainment and information, the way you feel and what you do, movement and most importantly, incentive."

"By offering products with open source software and hardware Sony demonstrates its willingness to build new partnerships on the market of high technologies in order to provide users with a greater choice of options," states the company. No details about the bracelet are available yet but the company promises to present additional information soon.

LG officially presented its smart bracelet Lifeband Touch. This accessory for athletes and fitness fans has an OLED display showing information about the user’s physical activity and calories burned. Lifeband Touch is waterproof and with the help of Bluetooth 4.0, it will flawlessly work with Android and iOS devices and will display information about incoming calls and messages.

According to DigiTimes, Apple and Qualcomm have serious problems with the production of their smart watches. DigiTimes sources state that, at present, the waste production is over 50% because of problems with the surface treatment of the metal frames that are manufactured using the MIM (metal injection moulded) technology. It is expected that the Apple watch will appear at the end of the year.

In addition to these companies, it became clear during CES 2014 that Sony, Samsung, Pebble, Casio, Nike, Adidas, Epson and LG also plan to launch new tech accessories.

CES 2014 will however be remembered not only for the "wearable technology" but also for the scandal with director Michael Bay ("The Rock", "Armageddon ", "Transformers") during the presentation of Samsung. Generally, Bay had to show up and help with the presentation of the new 105-inch UHD TV by Samsung. The director, however, was confused and upset when the teleprompter failed and he decided to leave the stage, putting the hosts in quite an awkward position. A little later, the director publicly apologized about the gaffe in his personal blog. "I guess live shows aren’t my thing," Michael Bay admitted.

Samsung presented in Las Vegas six models of curved UHD TVs, including the 105-inch one (the largest in the world along with that by LG), U9000 Series and curved models of the flagship series H8000 Full HD LED.

The new TVs change the way people experience television entertainment, the company stressed. The curved screen adds presence to the videos that one cannot feel while watching a flat screen TV whereas the wider field of view creates a panoramic effect that makes the screen seem even bigger.

The curved design also creates a balanced and uniform distance of the viewer from the screen, which, along with the viewing angles and the high contrast from different angles of watching, makes TV watching more realistic.

LG did not yield to their compatriots and competitors and also presented a 105-inch curved UHD TV. The screen of its model 105UC9 has 21:9 aspect ratio and its resolution is 5120x2160 pixels. The result is a cinematic experience at home.

The aspect ratio of the screen coincides with that of the shooting of the majority of films, excluding the black areas that are often seen while watching a film on many flat-screen TVs. The wider screen allows the viewers to access information available on the sides of the screen, without stopping the broadcast. The new Ultra HD TV by LG offers high-quality sound from a 7.2 multichannel sound system positioned at the front and developed in conjunction with Harman/Kardon.

LG announced in Las Vegas that, this year, 70% of its smart TVs would operate with WebOS, which will replace the popular mobile operating system Android, which LG is currently using. The TVs will feature voice and gesture control as well. They will be presented on the Korean market first and then subsequently in Europe and the United States.

AMD surprised everyone with its prototype of an ultrathin computer that very much resembles a set-top box device. The device is named Mullins after the chip that drives it and it is made ​​by Sunnyvale. It operates with Windows 8.1, has 256GB SSD memory, camera, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities, HDMI, USB connector and DockPort. The computer uses a TV as display which makes the association with the set-top box even stronger.

Do you remember Google GLASS? Since its appearance, it has had no competition. This is about to change. The technology is not developed ​​by Microsoft or Apple, as we all might expect. The iOptik system includes special contact lenses and in combination with Innovega glasses, they provide several advantages over the original by Google.

On the one hand, the appearance of the iOptik system is socially more acceptable while, at the same time, it provides its user with more information. Unlike GLASS, it is able to open several separate windows with various applications that use the peripheral vision of the device user.

Currently iOptik supports up to five windows at a time. A curious feature of iOptik is that the use of contact lenses makes it impossible for someone else to see what you are doing at that moment with your "smart glasses". According to Innovega, the first products with iOptik will be available in 2015.

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