Smartwatches and Ultra HD 4K televisions don't impress me much. Neither do smart toothbrushes or beds. What, then, has us all hot and bothered from the wave of CES announcements from Las Vegas? It's all about practicality. Well, mostly.
Our top three things that we've learned from spending way too much time on Cnet.com's CES coverage include:
1. More Windows-Based Tablets
We've been over this concept before, but imagine how great it would be if an iPad was capable of running all of your law firm software.
That time is here. It's why were were so excited by Intel's release of their low-power Bay Trail version of their Atom processors. (Multiple codenames sound better than cheap, relatively fast, low power chips.)
Over the past few months, we've watched as companies all released the same product: an 8-inch tablet with mediocre screen specs and not enough storage. Asus' 10-inch Transformer T100, which has a detachable keyboard, was intriguing, but constantly sold out.
CES brought a few more options, including the intriguing Asus VivoTab Note 8, which comes with a Wacom stylus (other companies' come with less accurate alternatives) and the Lenovo ThinkPad 8, which comes with a lot more goodies (including a 10-megapixel camera) than the rest of the flock.
Personally, if a company combined the Wacom stylus feature with the 10-inch detachable keyboard form factor, I'd bite immediately.
2. Cell Carriers' Rivalry Gets Nasty
Over the past week, the T-Mobile CEO John Legere has been thrown out of an AT&T party that he crashed, rebuffed AT&T's claims that it has the fastest network, called Sprint a waste of spectrum, and made other colorful assessments of the industry.
More importantly, T-Mobile is now offering to pay off your early termination fees if you switch from a competing carrier. You can now escape your contract with, say, Sprint, and leave T-Mobile with the bill.
Meanwhile, Sprint introduced their "Framily Plans," which drops the price per line when more people are added to a family plan. You can also have the bill split and sent to multiple people, which makes splitting an account with far-away family members easier.
The war between carriers means one thing for you and me: cheaper and better service.
3. Phones With Keyboards
How many of today's smartphones have a physical keyboard? One? None?
If you're craving your BlackBerry fix, your options will soon expand. Typo, a $100 accessory for iPhones, is a fully functional BlackBerry style keyboard case. It's so close to the real thing, in fact, that BlackBerry has already sued.
Speaking of BlackBerry, they are somehow still alive and plan on outsourcing the creation of a sub-$200 phone in hopes that cheap hardware will help the company survive. A keyboarded phone is also expected.
Bonus! A Projector That Turns Your Wall Into a Tablet
This is wholly impractical, but it does sound insanely fun. The TouchPico is a $500 projector that runs Android apps on your wall. Much like a tablet, you can control the apps using a touch pen applied to the projected image. There is also a $150 sensor-only DroidBox that adds touch functionality to an existing projector.
Imagine the meetings you could have with this thing. Draw on sideshows, scribble on an associate's sub-standard memo in front of the entire firm. The possibilities are endless!
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