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2013 CES Preview: The Good, the Bad and the Just Plain Fun

It’s almost that time of year again - Nerd Christmas - also known as CES, the great big huge technology and gadget convention that happens every January in Las Vegas, and the 2013 show starts this week. The 2012 show seems like so long ago, like so last year. And still, the 2012 show debuts a few gadgets that really made a splash this year, like Sony and LG’s newest 55” entries in the on-going flat-screen TV wars; the first glimpse of Intel’s touch-friendly Ultrabooks; and the roll-out of Windows 8’s Metro interface.

Because Microsoft launched Windows 8 in the middle of 2012, a lot of Windows-based laptops and tablets have already been released, maybe dampening the punch of 2013’s CES. But don’t worry, there’s still plenty for nerds to drool over.

So what does the 2013 show have in store for us? Here’s a quick preview of the good, the bad and the just plain fun. You decide which is which.

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Samsung Bendy Screens

At first blush, bendable screens seems like a gimmick, and not much application for this technology beyond flashy marketing displays - but when they say that they will display not just a 55” big bendable screen, but also a 5.5” cell-phone-size bendy screen... that gets us thinking about a possible flip phone renaissance.

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Samsung Giant TV screens

At the 2012 CES, the biggest screen TV was 55 inches. What’s bigger than that? Double that -- Samsung is apparently planning a 110” screen for CES this year. That’s big.

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Android + Polaroid = (And + Pola) x (-roid)

One brand you may have thought you’d never hear about again is Polaroid. Yes, it had gone the way of Kodak and the Marlboro Man, and yet... this new partnership with Google to offer an Android-powered camera with changeable lens looks pretty spiffy, but no internal printer? Come on, guys.

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ZTE Grand S

Are you tired of the Apple vs Google vs Samsung smartphone wars? You’re in luck. Starting at CES, the Chinese smartphone maker, ZTE, will enter the fray with its Grand S, which will claim to be the thinnest 5” smartphone on the market.

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Technicolor’s Magic Ruby

It’s retro! It’s creepy! It’s Magic Ruby, a biometric scanning system that detects emotion in audience members in real time, and also coordinates information for second-screen synchronization. Yes, it’s very 1984, which happens to be the last time we heard from Technicolor before this.

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Samsung Galaxy Note Tablet

Yes, it’s beginning to look like Samsung might emerge from CES 2013 as the winner with just too many new gadgets to count, including the possibility of a new 7" tablet to compete with Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Apple’s iPad Mini.

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Monster Find My Stuff App

Monster is best known for pricey high-end cables, so it is stepping outside its business model’s comfort zone to bring you the Find My Stuff (FMS) app, which employs a Bluetooth-enabled wireless tag to stick on any easy-to-lose item (like your keys) that then interacts with a smartphone app. Your keys are in your pocket. No, the other pocket.

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piQx Scanner

Flatbed scanners are a pain in the bones. Now here’s one that cuts out all the busy work, takes pictures of what you’re scanning, uses optical character recognition and a bunch of other fancy tools to turn your scanning project into something much more simple.

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EcoVac WinBot

OK, here’s a robot that washes windows. And it looks like a Roomba. Who would have thought we would get this before hover boards?

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