Sun, Jan 05, 2014 - Page 13 News List

‘Internet of Things’ set to take center stage at CES

AFP, SAN FRANCISCO

From drones and smart cars to remote-controlled door locks and eyewear, the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show promises to showcase the “Internet of Things,” along with gadgets like smartphones and tablets.

The technology extravaganza that plays out each year in Las Vegas has evolved beyond the eye-popping television technology for which it is known, to serve as a stage for once-dumb devices given brains in the form of computer chips and Internet connections.

And smartphones and tablets have become such stars in their own rights, complete with rapid release cycles and exclusive launch events, that the titans in that market tend to leave the CES stage and hordes of press from around the world to gizmos that don’t usually get a spotlight.

“You will see a lot about the Internet of things; all the gadgets that are not a tablet, smartphone or personal computer but are attached to the Internet,” Forrester analyst Frank Gillett said of CES, which officially opens on Tuesday.

“Like your car telling you that you are speeding too much or door locks that you unlock with a smartphone,” he continued. “There are all kinds of gadgety things like that we will see.”

CES organizers are also billing the four-day show as the largest “app event” in the world, complete with hackathons and a mobile applications “showdown.”

“Apps have become an integral part of our everyday lives, from use in phones, computers, tablets and wearable technology,” said Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), which organizes the show.

“The app innovation at CES offers the opportunity for networking, showcasing technology and hackathons focused on this growing tech space,” Shapiro said.

Long a hardware showcase, CES is under pressure to adapt to consumers’ love of digital content and services ecosystems such as the iTunes library tailored for Apple iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch devices, according to Milanesi.

“So you need the health, connected home and other zones to show end-to-end value being delivered through the hardware,” she said.

Apple has made a practice of skipping CES, opting instead to launch products at private events deemed must-attend media affairs. Other major players, such as Samsung and Google, in the smartphone and tablet market have followed suit.

“Last year, CES exhibits went from an Internet fork to connected cars,” Milanesi said. “There is so much, it is easy to get lost in the noise.”

Analysts did expect arrays of smartphones or tablets powered by Google’s freshly-released KitKat version of the Android mobile operating software.

The latest and greatest in television ultra-high definition screens are expected to be on display, but analysts expected them to land in the market with a thud similar to that made by 3D televisions.

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