The 2013 Consumer Electronics Show wrapped up last week, and while I wasn't there personally (you'd think The IT Guy would have a travel budget, but nooooo), I followed along as best I could to bring you the gadgets I thought could be given the highly sought-after "IT Guy Best of Show" awards.
As usual the focus of the show was on what the big tech companies hope will be in your living room a few years from now. I say "hope" because 3-D TVs were all the rage at the show a few years ago, but the consumer has clearly spoken on that issue, and it's been a resounding "only if it comes with the TV I was already going to buy." Of course, that won't stop them from trying to pry that wallet out of your pocket. To wit...
SAMSUNG 4K EASEL TV:
Otherwise known as "Ultra HD." 4K TVs will offer up to 4320p resolution -- because apparently the 1080p on the TV you just bought two years ago isn't good enough. Because I didn't see one in person, I admit it's easy to dismiss it. And I'm sure it looks amazing, but as with 3-D, I doubt it will be a reason to get people to upgrade early. Best in Show award goes to Samsung's Easel TV, which features a "floating" design and will start at 85 inches.
Better start saving those pennies, though -- it will run you $30,000 dollars. Maybe by Christmas 2016, it will be priced for normal humans.
Fitness trackers that sync with the iPhone have been around for a while, but the Fitbit Flex coming this spring takes it to another level. The Flex is a slick looking wristband that will track your steps taken, calories burned, distance traveled, hours slept and quality of sleep (as well as a silent wake alarm) and then let you view your stats on your iPhone (a few Android phones are supported as well), PC or Mac. As someone who's recently gotten on a fitness kick, I think this will come in handy, and I can't wait to see what my "quality of sleep" becomes once my baby girl moves into her own room.
NVIDIA PROJECT SHIELD:
If you're a gamer, be on the lookout for this new handheld from Nvidia running Android. It's a 5-inch LED display attached directly to a very Xbox 360ish-looking controller. Inside you'll find the all-new Tegra 4 system-on-a-chip and 32GBs of storage. Most exciting for me was the ability to live-stream Steam games directly from the PC. Definitely a niche market, but I'd buy this over a Sony PSP in a heartbeat as it's far more functional.
As a "Star Trek" fan, I've come to terms with the fact that I probably won't live to see warp drive, but I still have high hopes to have my own Holodeck one day. The Oculus Rift gets me one step closer as a virtual reality headset. Unlike VR headsets of years gone by (Virtual Boy anyone?), the Rift will provide a fully 3-D immersive experience. No word on pricing or a release date, but developer kits will be going out this March, and that's when we will hopefully see some groundbreaking software created for it.
Morgan Bonner is pre-press manager and a systems administrator for the Packet and Gazette.