Last week in Las Vegas, Nevada the annual CES convention descended upon the desert. Hundreds of thousands of investors, venture capitalists, technologists, media writers, tech enthusiasts, company executives and hopeful product ambassadors gathered in the largest and most egregious display of modern consumer electronics since last year. The world opened up and Japanese tourists wearing an abundance of plaid held camera in hand as they draped badges around their necks, hoping to get a glimpse of the next great gadget. American suits with their hopes pinned on a product with celebrity endorsement threw lavish parties. Companies put their names on banners, the city, from hotel to hotel was full of technology, in every suite and casino floor. This is CES. This is madness.
GUNNARS was there in force, with a decked out suite at the Venetian and our Gunnar Optiks RV (check out the photo gallery here), which stood idle in a parking lot after visiting this season’s New Media Expo at the Rio. The benefits of wearing glasses that protect you from the harsh realities of visual technology was being explained to many folk, all curious as to the appearance of amber lenses in their tech midst. Opening their eyes to the value of protecting the eye muscle was enthralling to many, to some they simply walked on by. Such is life. Yet, that was outside the convention center, where there was no walking on by anything.
Rather, there was shuffling and shoulder to shoulder engagement. Mind your wallet! The convention center, a scene of tech chaos reminiscent of the show floor during San Diego Comic-Con. New products being revealed every other booth, updated machines carrying branding that we are familiar with stood idle, ready for our ogling. LED televisions, 3D virtual reality headsets and a television from Samsung allowing multiple viewers to watch multiple shows on one screen with individual glasses drew our breath from our mouths and caused men in rumpled suits to nearly wet their trousers. This tech nirvana shows us all year after year all the neat shit that we’re missing out on in our previous thought tech savvy homes.
For instance, Razer touted their Razer Edge gaming tablet, complete with snap on grip bar controllers. It’ll retail for about $1000 bones, and sadly for all you iWhatever honks, it’ll be running Windows 8. Then there was the Samsung T9000 Refrigerator. This $4000 fridge will run Android and come integrated with EverNote. While it still won’t tell you if the milk has gone bad, you can display recipes on screen while cooking. For you big spenders though, the LG OLED 84-inch 4K Ultra High Resolution TV is what you are looking for. I mean, if you’ve got $20,000 to blow. Yet, once you get past those booths, CES was all about the little stuff. The stuff we’re actually going to buy in quantity, like iPhone cases.
Someday, GUNNARS may provide customizable options for glasses. Right now, the arms of the Phantom & PPK frames can be interchanged for other colors. How cool would it be to upload your own artwork? Or perhaps get styles from other artists? That’d be pretty cool, and that’s the kind of market when it comes to phone cases. Though you won’t need a case for the most impressive phone at the show, the Sony Xperia Z. This phone is waterproof, has anti-shatter film and did I mention waterproof? It was in a fishbowl and working. While I tend to use my phone for a camera, and the Sony Xperia will have a nice camera, I am partial to the Fujifilm X100s. This camera has that sweet 1972 retro look to it, but of course is a digital camera. A great field of view with a fixed 23mm f/2 lens I can’t wait to get my hands on this camera to take pictures of a reality that is little more than an SD card in the hands of the universe.
There were a lot of iPhone cases, and more iPhone cases. All begging for that sweet venture capitalist money. There was also a guy in Starbucks having a sex chat with his girlfriend. In public.
The ridiculous was out in force as well, prospective tech grounded in smart thinking but either too late to the party or stuck in a misconception of what people really want. Take the imWatch for instance. This video explains it well, that it’s a watch that connects to your phone to show you things that are on your phone. There is a heavy dose of redundancy here, something the designers may have missed. Though, with proper marketing I can see something like this becoming popular, if the right rap stars are wearing it (see: Beats Headphones).
In the end, there was way too much at CES to sum up in one article. Stay tuned in the weeks to come as the PR folk start sending out releases and review items for the pieces that actually make it into production. For now, I have to say that my favorite item from CES (other than GUNNARS of course) would have to be the Hapifork. That’s right. Of all the tech, virtual reality gaming, giant televisions, awesome cameras, high end tablets and SSD drives – a fork. Frankly though, I really wish it was the Hapispork.