CES 2013 Lights Up Las Vegas With Technology Trendsetters

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The 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show lit up Las Vegas on Tuesday (January 08), putting a spotlight on the upcoming technology trends.


The 46th annual CES, which attracts thousands of exhibitors and is expected to be attended by more than 150,000 people, is used by the industry each year to showcase upcoming products ranging from cellphones to giant televisions.


This year HD televisions that promise four times the picture resolution of current TVs are among the "must see" items. TV makers Sony and Samsung are among the tech giants looking to set the pace for the "Ultra HD" or "HD 4K" market.


"The main thing this year is TVs, HD TVs, either 4k, which they are also calling ultra high definition or OLED TVs," explained Donald Bell, an editor at the online tech site, CNET. "The 4K TVs we are seeing from everyone across the board. I saw, at least 8 different 4k ultra high definition TVs yesterday."


With that said, Sony, the forgotten Japanese electronics maker lost in the large shadow cast by Apple and others, seems renewed at this year's show, unveiling a 25,000 dollar (USD) 4K TV that literally looks more vibrant and life-like than real life itself.


Sony should also make an impact with its new 5-inch smartphone, the Xperia Z, which comes equipped with a high resolution camera and a powerfully updated core processor.


South Korea's Samsung meanwhile continues to draw large crowds at the convention, offering a wide-variety of charismatic products, including a 110-inch HD set.


The tech giant, which makes more chips, flat-screens, handsets and TVs than any of its competitors - including the world's best-selling smartphone - is aiming to sell 55 million flat-screen TVs this year, up from 51 million last year, even as the industry is set to remain stagnant due to the weak global economy.


Samsung, betting that large TVs with over 65-inch screen sizes will lead the growth, unveiled three models of ultra high-definition (HD) TVs that boast four times better picture quality than full HD models.


For those looking to play catch up, the television set maker is also offering an "Evolution" kit that updates 2012 TV's with this year's smart technology.


The driver less or self-drive car is also among the hot items at this year's show. Google, Toyota and Audi were on hand to present their technology that aims to take you out of the driver's seat.


While there are still real challenges to overcome, Toyota believes that the goal is attainable.


"Ultimately, there will be a driverless vehicle," said Jim Pisz, a corporate manager with Toyota. "But, for now, being realistic about it, we believe that driverless autonomy is not just driverless yet."


"Connectivity" continues to play a major role at CES, with electronic makers displaying the ability to connect everything in your home and car through your smart phone.


ADT, a home security provider, is among those at the convention promoting a totally seamless and real time access to practically everything.


"So we built it on a fully opened standard, so we have wifi, it is all wireless and you can manage any appliances, you can manage any lights, you can manage your thermostats, integrate your entertainment systems, like we are demonstrating here on Samsung," explained Don Boerema, of ADT Home Security Systems.


The ability to monitor yourself has also never been easier. Wearable device maker FitBit, who is among the leaders in an industry that didn't exist 5 years ago, allows users to track their physical fitness now on several different levels.


"Many of our users say that by having our device with them all the time, that gives them real time feedback as to how many steps they have taken at that moment, makes them have smart decisions about moving a little bit more," said FitBit spokesperson Ann Chen.


While there has been much speculation concerning the waning influence of CES - software maker Microsoft was a no-show this year, joining Apple as non-participants - the event is still the world's largest, offering more than a glimpse into the future of technology today.


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