Inside CES 2014: At First Glance

I arrived in Las Vegas early this evening and, as usual, I had to hit the ground running. Although the show doesn’t officially start until Tuesday, Monday is Press Day. Press Day is basically a little preview of the delights this year’s CES has to offer. This event is open exclusively to registered media and offers press conferences with some of the major exhibitors.

Of course, in addition to Press Day, manufacturers sometimes announce products right before the show. Las Vegas is also abuzz with chatter with predictions and tidbits from people who are familiar with the manufacturers presenting at the show. I’ve collected some of this information to give you a first glance at the show.

Kolibree Smart Toothbrush

It’s here: the world’s first connected toothbrush. You’re probably thinking, “What do I need a connected toothbrush for?!” Surprisingly, it comes in pretty handy, especially if you have younger children.

To use the Kolibree Smart Toothbrush, the user simply needs to download the accompanying app on their smartphone and connect the toothbrush via Bluetooth. Once that’s done, the toothbrush records information pertaining to the user’s brushing habits. It collects data on how effectively the user brushes their teeth. For example, it tells if the user brushed long enough, if they missed any parts of their mouth and even gives them suggestions for improvement.

The app can connect to and collect data for multiple brushes. That means the whole family’s brushing habits can be tracked. While that seems a bit odd for adults, it’s a great way to make sure that kids are doing a good job of brushing their teeth.

Kolibree toothbrush

Pebble Steel Watch

Last year, Pebble’s Smartwatch was a hit at CES. This year, Pebble is back with a new and improved version in the Pebble Steel. The Pebble Steel features a new design with a stainless-steel or black matte body. Both versions come with a black leather strap and a stainless-steel strap. Its screen is made of Corning Gorilla Glass—the same material used to make smartphone screens—making it very durable and scratch resistant!

Although the aesthetic overhaul is a welcome improvement, the biggest news from Pebble is the launch of its app store at the end of the month. The Pebble official app store will launch with several partner apps, such as Yelp and ESPN. I’ll be interested to see the complete app list when the store launches.

LG webOS and Curved TVs

You may be wondering where you’ve heard the term “webOS” before. Let me jog your memory, webOS was the platform that Palm launched back in 2009. Several of Palm’s mobile devices ran this operating system. webOS then moved to another device with questionable success—the HP TouchPad tablet. This time, webOS has been revived in LG’s new line of smart TVs. Though I haven’t had a chance to explore the system extensively, I did get to see it briefly and I’m impressed! The interface seems very easy to navigate and brings HTML5 to television sets. What’s really exciting about this is that it opens the door to implement this new incarnation of webOS on other connected home devices. Since LG manufactures a lot of other home appliances, they are in a prime position to make it happen.

Another new innovation from LG’s TV division this year is the 105” Ultra HD television. If you’re wondering what Ultra HD is, don’t worry; you haven’t fallen completely out of the loop. Ultra HD is just another way to say 4K. What’s really cool about this TV is that it’s curved. The curve makes it feel like you’re immersed in what you’re watching. The colour on this TV is quite amazing as well. Don’t get too excited though, this baby is quite pricey at $69,999.

Hungry for more CES news? Check out what everyone else is saying by searching the #CES2014 hashtag on Twitter.

By Mike Agerbo

January 07, 2014