King of All Gadget Gatherings

The Consumer Electronics Show, also known as CES, has been around since June 1967, when it was first held in New York City. It’s packed up and headed west for Las Vegas since then, but over the years, plenty of products first introduced at the show have come and gone (the VCR, the CD, HDTV, Microsoft Bob…)

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So what about this year?

Try Ultra High Definition TV. Big pixels here – 3840 x 2160 — on big screens with prices that start around $12,000 and shoot way up north from there. Samsung showed off its 85-inch UN89S9 ultra high-def set that floats on its own massive easel. No price announced yet. Want something bigger? There’s The Westinghouse UltraHD 4K TV with 110-inch screen. After the massive price tags that will certainly get cheaper, getting content in native 4K resolutions is going to be the tough part – and storing it, as some experts are calculating that a movie in the full 4K resolution will need just under 10 terabytes of space to store. So we’ll see if UHD gets any more traction than 3D HDTV.

As for smartphones, Sony announced its upcoming Xperia Z LTE phone, due out in the first quarter of this year. It runs Android Jelly Bean, has a 5-inch 1080p screen, sports a 13-megapixel camera with HDR video and runs on a 1.5 gigahertz Qualcomm qua-core processor. It also comes with built-in protection of you get a case of the dropsies. The Xperia Z has anti-shatter glass on the front and back AND it’s water-resistant; Sony claims the phone can stay submerged for up to 30 minutes and still function. As the BBC calls it, it’s a bath-friendly phone.

But aside from big TVs, phones, tablets and the usual stuff we see at CES every year, there’s always the more offbeat gadgets at every show. The memorable oddities for 2013 include:

  • The Fitbit Flex band, a wearable wristband that monitors its wearer’s movement, sleep, and calories burned all day, every day.
  • The Hapilabs smart fork, also known as the Hapifork, is a Bluetooth-enabled eating utensil that that monitors the speed of your eating so you don’t gobble too fast and make yourself sick.
  • The Vuzix M100 Smart Glasses, a tiny screen that hangs out in front of your eye to provides visual access to your smartphone display, basic Web content and other info from your smartphone and applications.

Can’t get enough of CES news? Checkout the exhaustive coverage from CNET, The New York Times and Engadget for starters. And when you’ve had enough, kick back with a nice Elvis movie. It is, after all, the King’s birthday week.

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