The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is one of our favorite events of the year, and we're clearly not alone. More than 170,000 people attended last year, and the 2016 show has attracted interest like never before. Want to know just how competitive it is on the floor? "The maker of the Onewheel electric skateboard called in federal marshals to shut down the booth of a company making a similar product," said BloombergBusiness.
When it comes to seeing the latest, greatest, coolest must-have gadgets and gear all in one place, the force is strong. So what are the things you need to run out and buy right now - or drool over until the day they are released to the public? Here are a few of our favorites.
1. The Keurig of Homebrewing
The description of PicoBrew alone is enough to get people excited. "Think of PicoBrew like the Keurig of homebrewing," said Wired.
PicoBrew is not a new company, but the product they showcased at this year's CES is a newer, updated version of the original. "It's half the size, a little easier to use, and... available for preorder on Kickstarter for $599 right now. Don't let that dissuade you too much; the original PicoBrew Zymatic easily made its Kickstarter goal and the Pico already has over $1.4 million."
2. TV's that are thinner than an iPhone
Between 3D TVs and curved screens, flat screens have been a huge draw at CES - both from those who want the newest thing right now and those who want to get a look at what will be on sale next year during Black Friday. This year's TV draw includes LG's Signature OLED, "a 55-, 65-, or 75-inch panel that displayed the inky blacks that we've come to love and expect from organically light-emitting diode screens, and whose design inspired wide-eyed, slack-jawed awe," said Men's Journal. "It's just 2.53mm thick, or less than half the depth of an iPhone 6s."
3. Kwikset Premis Lock
It may not seem sexy next to a matchstick-depth flat screen TV, but the Kwikset Premis Lock is one of those smart home items that will make your life easier. You can replace the traditional lock-and-key deal with a touchpad that's weatherproof, works with Apple devices via HomeKit, uses voice commands, and works in conjunction with other smart home items? Yep, sign us up.
4. Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator
Other touchscreen refrigerators, this is your father. Yeah it's $5,000(!), but this smart fridge features a 21.5-inch built-in touchscreen in the door, connects with other Samsung smart appliances, and has "a bank of cameras inside that snaps pictures of your food and beams them to your smartphone," said cnet. "Silly you say? Well just think about that next time you're at the grocery store and can't remember whether you need butter." Or whether you just want to Instagram your food.
5. LG's Signature Fridge
Another of LG's Signature products caught our eye. Their fridge features a door that turns transparent when you knock on it, so you can see inside. We're picturing the hundreds of dollars we'll save by eliminating the need for every member of the family to stand in front of an open door while searching for a snack.
6. Connected cars
Self-driving and high-concept cars are all over CES, but the most interesting car we saw was the Ford Mustang and its "entry into the home automation game," said cnet. "The automotive company is partnering with Amazon to let you control your smart home from your car through Ford's Sync Connect and AppLink services and Amazon's Echo home-automation hub and Alexa voice-concierge service. Beyond Amazon, Ford announced it plans to work with the Wink smart home platform to provide similar levels of voice commanded functionality straight from your driver's seat."
PCWorld - Image: Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/TechHive
7. Smart ceiling fans
Ceiling fans are among the most exciting innovations at CES? When they're smart ceilings fans from Hunter, they are. "Working with Apple's HomeKit automation system, the fans and lights can be programmed to turn on when you arrive home, make your house look lived in by turning on and off when you're away, and even work with HomeKit-enabled thermostats to keep your air conditioning costs down," said USA Today. "Both fans will retail for less than $400 and be available late February."
Some of us have a little trouble getting up in the morning (you know who you are!), so we're always game for a new alarm clock that's going to streamline the whole rolling-out-of-bed, jumping-in-and-out-of-the-shower, scarfing-down-breakfast, getting-in-the-car thing. We've tried blaring alarms, foghorns, bed shakers, and even the kind that mimics the sunrise. Now we'll be trying the Sensorwake, which wakes you with a variety of scents.
"The scents, which include the likes of hot croissant, espresso, peppermint, and chocolate, were formulated with a French perfume house to smell good and to stimulate your nose to get you out of bed," said BloombergBusiness. "The clock will cost $109 dollars when it hits the market later this year, but the business model's fruit will come in the sale of scent capsules. Each swappable capsule is good for 30 awakenings; a two-pack will cost $10.90."