10 Takeaways From CES: iPhone Stun Guns, Iris Scanners, A Camera-Shy Movie Director And Crazy Party-Crashing CEO

Jan 9 2014, 5:58am CST | by

10 Takeaways From CES: iPhone Stun Guns, Iris Scanners, A Camera-Shy Movie Director And Crazy Party-Crashing CEO

With more than 20,000 new products expected and 300 presentations delivered at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, putting together a definitive list of noteworthy products, trends and happenings is no mean feat.

Which is why I’m not even going to try.

Instead, let me confirm what you may have already heard: that wearables of all kinds (particularly smartwatches and fitness monitors), 4K TVs, smart cars and robots were this year’s standouts.

Here are 10 other things to takeaway from this year’s confab.

1. Crop circles trump social media. Forget tweeting. To help create buzz for its new 3-D graphics chips, Nvidia hired some crop circle experts to create one in a barley field in a small town about two hours south of San Francisco, leaving locals scratching their heads over what the heck it meant. One reporter figured out that the circle repeatedly spelled out the number 192 in Braille, but she didn’t’ know. Nvidia CEO Jen Hsun-Huang explained all when he announced the new Tegra K1 chip, which has 192 cores. The crop circle, intended as a low-cost marketing ploy, did generate publicity. Said Huang: “People thought aliens had done it.”

2. Party crashing is also a good publicity stunt. T-Mobile CEO John Legere proved himself a savvy marketer after he crashed the developer party held by rival AT&T and was, as my Forbes colleague Parmy Olson notes, escorted out when CNET reporter Roger Cheng tweeted a photo of him at the bash. Legere, who showed up to the AT&T party in a leather jacked and hot pink T-Mobile shirt, retweeted reaction to his stunt, much of which praised him for being so outrageous. He said he crashed the party because he wanted to see the headline act, rapper Macklemore. At a keynote speech today, Legere said of the incident that “AT&T is a continual source of entertainment to me.” It’s the latest salvo in the increasing war between T-Mobile and AT&T, which recently started offering $450 in credit to T-Mobile customers who switched.

3. The best place to stun someone is in the groin. Yellow Jacket, a startup out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has collected about $1 million in funding to create the world’s first iPhone case that is also a non-lethal stun gun. For $149.99, you get a rubberized case that prevents the iPhone 5/5s from breaking when dropped, that charges your smartphone, doubling battery life, and that delivers 950,000 volts to anyone threatening you or trying to steal your iPhone. While the fritzing sound the stun gun makes may be enough to serve as a deterrent to criminals who are “Apple picking” – a term coined by the New York police department to describe iPhone thefts — this device isn’t just a noisemaker. Said Yellow Jacket CEO Sean Simone, “This cause pain. It has brought people down.” The challenge with any self-defense device is knowing how to use it properly and Yellow Jacket called on expert Donavin Britt of Krav Maga in Las Vegas, who said if you’re going to use the stun gun, go for soft tissue. That means zap your attacker in the face or the neck. But if you really want to take someone down, Britt says go directly for the groin. The Yellow Jacket for the iPhone 5/5s will be available in February.

4. When the going gets tough and you don’t have a Transformer robot to bail you out, head for the exit. Samsung likely asked Transformers’ director Michael Bay to help tout its new 105-inch curved TV because they thought it would be a good public relations move. Well, Bay definitely got a lot of attention — but not for the TV. He abruptly exited the press conference after a teleprompter glitch left him script-less. Improvisation apparently wasn’t his thing. The one-minute video of the minute-long “Michael Bay Meltdown” has been the talk of the show. Bay wrote on his blog that he was embarrassed by what happened. “Wow! I just embarrassed myself at CES – I was about to speak for Samsung for this awesome Curved 105-inch UHD TV. I rarely lend my name to any products, but this one is just stellar. I got so excited to talk, that I skipped over the Exec VP’s intro line and then the teleprompter got lost. Then the prompter went up and down – then I walked off. I guess live shows aren’t my thing. But I’m doing a special curved screen experience with Samsung and Transformers 4 footage that will be traveling around the world.”

Intel, Sony and Cisco had better luck with their celebrity picks. Intel called on DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg to talk about 3-D animation, Sony had Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan talk about how low-cost cameras have allowed TV shows to have more cinematic shots, and Cisco relied on stand-up comedian Sarah Silverman to pitch the Internet of Everything. he always irreverent Silverman lived up to her reputation, telling Cisco CEO John Chambers: “Hi I’m Sarah Silverman, comedian, actor and writer — though I didn’t write this shit,” she says. “I’m here to talk to you about the new Internet of everything. It ill cook your food for you, drive your car and make you more interesting…And if you order it now, you will get a free set of Ginsu knives.”

5. Big TVs, small potential. TVs — 4K, large-format, curved and flexible, smart — might be among the most touted products based on new models showcases by Samsung, LG, Sony, Hisense and others, but the market potential for monster, expensive 4K sets may be minimal. Predicts Forrester analyst James McQuivey: “TV makers are primed to be disappointed because the most important thing that will happen in TV in 2014 will be the continued expansion of online video into the TV screen via over-the-top solutions like the Xbox One, Roku, and Google’s Chromecast. Instead of raising the quality and cost bar like 4K does, these over-the-top devices and services lower consumer costs while expanding viewing options.”

6. Women in tech take one step forward. This year’s lineup of keynote speakers included a woman, something that wasn’t the case last year. It was Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who used her time on stage to talk about the company’s media efforts with help from a variety of celebrity speakers, including new global anchor Katie Couric. Even so, CES continues to be a male-dominated event, notes Webby Awards creator and filmmaker Tiffany Shlain. “CES is the only place where a whole bunch of men come together and compete over how small their stuff is.”

7. The eyes have it. Apple is doing a good job of getting people talking about how biometrics can be used to replace passwords, thanks to the fingerprint scanner built into the new iPhone 5s. But after DNA, the next best biometric source for authenticating users is not your finger. It’s your eye. That’s according to EyeLock Inc., which of course has an iris-based authenticating technology. Called myris, it identifies more than 240 points of “unique characteristics” in each eye, compared to the 12 to 20 characteristics read by fingerprint scanners, marketing chief Anthony Antolino said. EyeLock will myris, to sell for less than $300, in the first half of the year. Will consumers really want to stop typing passwords and instead hook up an external iris scanner to their laptops, even if does authenticate your eyes in a split second? Antolino predicts passwords will no longer be the major verification mechanism and that iris scanning will be built into laptops and tablets by the end of the year. We’ll see, pun intended.

8. Bring on the drones. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is years away from realizing (if ever) his plan to use drones to deliver packages by air to customers. But just the fact that he’s touting drone delivery has been a boon to drone makers. French-based drone maker Parrot says Bezos’ drone pitch helped drive up holiday sales at the Paris-based drone maker. “Thanks to Amazon, people are now even more curious about drones,” said Parrot sales and marketing exec Peter George. Parrot, which offers the AR.Drone, plans to release a smaller, inexpensive mini drone called MiniDrone into the toy market later this year.

9. If you want your bedmate to stop snoring, elevate their side of the mattress by 6 degrees. That advice comes courtesy of Sleep Number, which introduced what is says is the world’s most technology advanced bed. The dual-sided SleepIQ x12 tracks and monitors how you’ve slept by tracking heart and breathing rate among other things, and helps identify what support adjustments you should make to the mattress through firmness setting and adjustable air centers to get a better night’s sleep. And then there’s the Partner Snore feature, a voice-activated feature that allows you to elevate their side of the bed ever so slightly — about 6 degrees — to stop snoring temporarily. The bed goes on sale in selected markets in February and is priced starting at $8,000. If you think that’s too high a price to pay to reduce snoring, Sleep Number also offers a “snore reduce foam pillow” for $60./>/>

10. Blue and purple are the new black. Don’t be surprised if many new tech products are blue and purple. That’s because those are this year’s trending colors. Blue was the “it” color at New York fashion week. And Pantone has named purple, or rather Radiant Orchid, the color of 2014. “A captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid emanates great joy, love and health.”

Source: Forbes Auto

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

IPad Air Giveaway 2014 is Online
IPad Air Giveaway 2014 is Online
Our sister site I4U News is giving away a brand new iPad Air or if you can wait an iPad Air 2. This is an $499 value.
 
 
Your Parent Or Kid Moved In: Are You Covered?
A record 57 million Americans now live in multigenerational family households — double the number in 1980, according to a new Pew Research Center study. And I bet many of them have the wrong homeowner’s or renters...
 
 
Pandora Looks to Challenge Terrestrial Radio's Dominance in Cars
Pandora Media is one of the largest Internet radio providers in the U.S. with more than 75 million active users. While the company’s active user count has increased at a robust pace historically, it is likely to slow...
 
 
Are General Manager Salaries About To Skyrocket? Will There Be A Front Office Salary Cap?
Are General Manager Salaries About To Skyrocket? Will There Be A Front Office Salary Cap?
It’s January 2026. New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner gets out of his driverless car and triumphantly marches before the gathered press to introduce his prized new free agent. It’s a record-breaking contract—over...
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

I nearly died: Phil Collins
Los Angeles, Sep 30 (IANS) Veteran musician Phil Collins says he was forced to quit drinking after he was diagnosed with a severe case of pancreatitis. The 63-year-old says he began drinking heavily after stepping...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Sea turtles find safe haven in Costa Rican national park
Tortuguero (Costa Rica), Sep 30 (IANS/EFE) Nestled in the Costa Rican Caribbean is Tortuguero, a small village surrounded by fresh water, the sea and the splendours of nature that it has learned to preserve for its own...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
UN welcomes inauguration of new Afghan president
United Nations, Sep 30 (IANS) The UN Security Council welcomed the inauguration of new Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, which marks the first ever peaceful transition of power in the country. The Security...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Argentine inventor of vanishing spray slams German ban
Buenos Aires, Sep 30 (IANS) Argentine inventor of football's vanishing spray, Pablo Silva, denied claims made by Germany calling the product "unsafe." The canned foam, used by referees to mark the spot players should...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Amalraj-Madhurika eliminated in mixed doubles TT pre-quarters
Incheon, Sep 30 (IANS) The Indian mixed doubles table tennis team of Anthony Amalraj and Madhurika Patkar was eliminated in the pre-quarterfinals of the 17th Asian Games here Tuesday. The Indian pair lost 1-3 (5-11,...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
AZ appoint Van den Brom as new coach
The Hague, Sep 30 (IANS) John Van den Brom has signed a contract until mid-2016 as head coach of AZ Alkmaar, where he will be assisted by former head coach Marco van Basten. AZ and the 47-year-old Van den Brom reached...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Argentine crowned world youth chess champion
Buenos Aires, Sep 30 (IANS) Argentine Alan Pichot was crowned the under-16 world champion after beating Russian Maxim Litvinov during the World Youth Chess Championship in Durban, South Africa. The 16-year-old became...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Jesse Tyler Ferguson's dad found his stash of gay porn
Jesse Tyler Ferguson's father found out he was gay at the age of 14 after he discovered his stash of gay porn. The 'Modern Family' star, 38, was just a teenager when his dad Robert learned he was homosexual after he was...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Gwyneth Paltrow celebrates birthday with Chris Martin
Gwyneth Paltrow celebrated her birthday with her estranged husband Chris Martin over the weekend. The 'Iron Man 3' star marked her 42nd milestone with the Coldplay frontman, whom she spit from earlier this year...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Ron Gardenhire Out as Minnesota Twins Manager
Ron Gardenhire is out as manager of the Minnesota Twins.Gardenhire, who had been the Twins' manager for 13 seasons, had a year remaining on the two-year contract extension he signed last year, per a Sept. 29 update from...
Read more on Sport Balla