January’s Consumer Electronics Show, held in Las Vegas, is always a great place to find out about the cutting-edge new products that’ll be released in the coming months, as well as giving an overview of predicted technology trends for the rest of the year.
This year’s glittering showcase was no different, with around 20,000 new products from every area of the electronics market on offer. TV’s, for example, are getting ever thinner and moving into the realms of convergence by having television and internet services combined inside one ‘smart set’ product.
Tablet computers look like taking an ever-larger share of the market too. Toshiba unveiled what is currently the world’s thinnest tablet with its Excite C10, at just 7.7mm deep. Meanwhile, ultrabooks were also cited as big news, although it remains to be seen if these super-thin laptops will be popular enough to tempt consumers away from the appeal of a tablet device or smartphone.
Handset and camera heaven
CES showcased phones that offered improved connectivity thanks to 4G mobile technology on new handsets from HTC, Sony and Nokia. The former also introduced us to the mighty Titan II, which comes complete with a whopping 16-megapixel camera built-in. Sony showed off their Exmor R-equipped Xperia Ion, while Nokia raised hopes for their fortunes with the Lumia 900 and that too, had an impressive f2.2 aperture camera.
Meanwhile, latest digital camera models from Samsung featured Wi-Fi-enabled functionality. This is an innovation that allows you to share photos instantly, no matter what your location. With the Android operating system proving to be a huge hit with consumers, Samsung has also ensured that owners of the 21x optical zoom WB850F through to the 10-x optical zoom ST200F can sync up with their smartphones in order to offload and share images.
Camcorders from Canon arrived sporting Wi-Fi capabilities and the new Sony Bloggie Live pocket camcorder comes complete with a capacity for live streaming of footage. In addition, there were big-zoom lenses squeezed into pocket-sized compact cameras, including models from Canon, Olympus and Panasonic. All three showcased some diminutive new models that boasted impressive zoom capabilities. The Olympus 10x optical zoom VG-160, for example, is just 0.75 of an inch deep.
And, linking all of this activity together was an abundance of apps; the little software programs that make everyone’s life easier one way or another. Even those smart set TV’s are enlisting their help, but it’s using apps in conjunction with tablets, smartphones and digital cameras where the really exciting stuff is happening.
Apps provide the best indicator for the high-tech year ahead, with digital printing being a key area for software development. Although many consumers tend to put a lot of their images online now, the market for printing out digital documents is a segment of the industry that’s actually booming.
The main reason for this is because of mobile gadgetry, such as smartphones and tablets. Many people run their whole lives from these portable devices these days, so there’s an increasing need to print digital photos and other documents on the move, which is a great way of complimenting your home printing set-up if you’ve got one of the latest All-in-One devices.
Quick, easy and convenient
Latest printer models from the likes of HP, Epson and Canon come with touch-and-go printing capacity meaning you can set the job up and simply let your printer get on with it. Better still, every one of the Kodak Hero All-in-One printer range automatically detects the paper size and subsequently predicts how much ink and paper will be required to get the job done.
Kodak offers an extra dimension to mobile printing thanks to its apps and the ingenious Home Center Software. One of the most exciting innovations is the capacity for printing on the go from a smartphone, laptop or tablet device using Google Cloud Print-enabled apps that include popular online tools including Gmail and Google Docs.
Your flexible friend
Owners can also send emails and attachments to their printer from anywhere in the world and using any email account, simply by calling on the power of the Email Print Service. Adding extra appeal is the way that friends and work colleagues can similarly send emails and attachments to your printer in exactly the same way, using any email account. Fans of handheld devices will also love the Document Print tool, which is available for the entire range of Android devices.
This means that anyone with a mobile gadget or gizmo can send documents, including web pages and Microsoft Office documents, from their mobile phone or tablet directly to an All-in-One printer using Google Cloud Print. It’s also possible to send photos wirelessly to print directly from the likes of an iPhone, iPod touch, the iPad or BlackBerry devices too.
Powerful printing tools
Kodak Home Centre software also offers 3D photo printing, the capacity for printing directly from video plus tools for editing digital images. And, judging by the high-end cameras and camcorders that were unveiled at CES, it looks like 2012 could be the year when more of us move on up to join the ranks of more experienced shooters who want to print out the results using tools like these.
There was certainly plenty to choose from with Nikon, as a prime example, taking the covers off one of the grandest models of the show, with its $6,000 professional-level D4. This beauty has Full HD video at 1080p, a 10fps burst mode, an autofocus system that works at narrow aperture settings and a whole truckload of other high-tech goodies inside its delicious body.
Considerably cheaper, but no less impressive, is the Canon PowerShot G1 X with its full manual control options, HD video capacity, built-in ND filter and a 14.3-megapixel sensor. So then, if that’s any kind of indication, 2012 looks like being a year packed full of smart TV’s, tablets, printers, apps and, above all, premium cameras.