AutoMatters: 2013 Consumer Electronics Show & PMA@CES

By Jan. R. Wagner

For a few amazing days every January, Las Vegas is transformed into the biggest, most amazing showroom of consumer electronics products imaginable. The event is called the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). This year, more than 3,250 exhibitors were there, occupying 1.9 million net square feet of exhibit space. Around 20,000 new products were launched.

By day the sprawling Las Vegas Convention Center, as well as numerous area hotels, were filled with 150,000 attendees, including more than 35,000 from over 170 countries outside the United States. They were there to see and experience the very latest technological innovations in consumer electronics products from around the world, some of which were still in development. Massive amounts of floor space were filled with towering, colorful, synchronized video walls – some in 3D and others in ultra high definition, well beyond what we already enjoy in our homes. Elsewhere were the latest in car and home audio, computers and tablets, cell phones and their accessories, electronic games, GPS devices, accessories for every conceivable purpose, amazing new automobiles and so much more. The enormity of this spectacle truly defied the imagination and, as if CES wasn’t enough, an entire show was added: PMA@CES, which showcased digital imaging and photography gear.

Each evening, after the exhibit halls closed, special events featured a mix of new products, wonderful food and world-class entertainment – including this year’s annual Monster Retailer Awards, starring Alicia Keys in concert. Add in the after-parties and there was not enough time left to sleep.

Since it was impossible to see everything, my strategy included covering several Press conferences; attending multi-product, invitation-only showcases; and walking the seemingly endless, long aisles of the exhibit floors in some of the buildings. Here is a brief sampling of what I saw. Look for more thorough reviews in future AutoMatters columns.

Lexus Advanced Active Safety Research Vehicle

GM and FORD demonstrated their latest versions of in-car infotainment systems, as did KENWOOD, which offers drivers the option of replacing their factory systems with full function in-dash units, complete with built-in Garmin navigation and very well integrated smartphone compatibility.

AUDI and LEXUS featured prototype self-driving cars, but while Audi’s was actually demonstrated to a lucky few members of the national Press in attendance, over at Lexus they told us about and showed us theirs in a Press conference. Autonomous cars will not be available for several years but you’ll already find some of their innovative technology in cars that are on the road today.VOXX showed their Audiovox “car connection” device, which plugs into the OBD port of your vehicle and enables you to get diagnostic and maintenance reports, track your vehicle, save fuel by learning how to drive more efficiently and more. OTTER BOX and BALLISTIC showcased model-specific, protective cases for phones and tablets. ECOVACS demonstrated an amazing window cleaning robot that uses powerful suction while it systematically moves around and cleans windows, inside and out. At their Press conference, MONSTER used a choreographed break-dancing routine performed by the incredible “Monster Kids,” also known as “Chi-Town’s Finest Breakers,” to dramatically draw attention to MONSTER’s new lines of headphones. Speaking of headphones, relative newcomer BOOM attracted our attention with the awesome nighttime view from high atop The Palms Place, in order to show us their line of rugged yet stylish headphones and speakers, designed for use with extreme sports. The new Bluetooth AFTERSHOKZ open-ear headphones enable people to hear audio and their surroundings at the same time, wirelessly. DISH NETWORK’s Hopper now has Sling for access to video almost anywhere. There were various chargers and portable battery systems for iPhones, including slim UNU DX protective battery cases and VENTEV universal chargers with flat, tangle-free cables.For photography, BLACKRAPID presented their newest versions of one- and two-camera strap systems, which I use and highly recommend. They enable photographers to shift some of the load from around their neck to their shoulders. DEXIM makes a Bluetooth remote camera control and stand for iPhones. HUFA demonstrated their clip-on lens cap holders and pre-moistened lens wipes, while LENSPEN exhibited easy-to-use, carbon cleaning compound lens pens and even larger screen cleaners for smartphones and tablets.As always, I would like to hear from you with your comments and suggestions. Please write © 2013 Jan R. Wagner – #264AutoMatters