Every year, the nerds of the world descend on Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show, a trade show/press release machine where companies debut new products and tantalize us with proof-of-concept devices that may or may not ever be made, as well as nifty ideas that don't make much sense, like a Wi-Fi-enabled tea kettle.
So what products came out of CES that lawyers will actually care about? Especially the ones that will actually get made and not just chattered about but never released?
1. Intel's Broadwell Platform.
One of the few things to come from CES that will be real and concrete is Intel's new chipset, which promises greater performance at lower power levels and better battery life. Broadwell is the expected precursor to the fabled Retina MacBook Air, which until now was a pipe dream thanks to the graphics and processing requirements that such a machine would demand. (Life lesson: Don't buy an Apple laptop right now unless you really really need it.)
2. Dell XPS 13 (2015 Edition).
The new iteration of Dell's XPS laptop looks pretty slick, thanks to a teensy-weensy bezel surrounding a Leviathan 3200x1800-pixel display -- and remember we're talking about a 13-inch laptop. It's made of aluminum and carbon fiber, weighs under 2.8 pounds (that's less than a 13-inch MacBook Air), and promises 15 hours of battery life. Want to know if this is all true? You can: It went on sale on Tuesday.
3. SanDisk Ultra Dual USB Drive 3.0.
I want this file on my smartphone to be on my computer, or I want this computer file on my smartphone, but they don't talk to each other. I don't have cables, and they're not using any of that "cloud" software. (Maybe I'm using someone else's computer.) Thankfully, SanDisk's USB drive plugs into your smart phone and your computer, letting you transfer files between them. Not bad.
4. About 10 Jillion Smart Watches.
Even though the world is hungrily awaiting the arrival of the Apple Watch, CES is full of smart watches, mostly designed to track your fitness. The ones that offer any kind of functionality have to be paired with a phone, just like Samsung's Galaxy Gear. Many of them have "notifications" to let you know that someone is calling, but do you really need to spend $250 on that?
5. Home Automation ... to the Extreme!
The other field that everyone and his mother jumped into this year was "smart home" technology. Google is integrating more stuff into its Nest thermostat, and Samsung debuted "SmartThings Hub," a way to interconnect all the smart things in your house (like that Wi-Fi-enabled tea kettle) -- even if they operate on different platforms.