The majority of products you see at CES are forgettable, but every year there's also a handful of innovations that are either the next big thing, or so ambitious and imaginative that we can't help but shine our spotlight on them. These are Gizmag's picks for the best of CES 2015.
Lounge on wheels
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,500 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
With the F 105 concept car, Mercedes takes us on a trip into the future to show us what autonomous driving will look like from the passenger seat. It looks pretty damn good. The F 015 features a roomy lounge interior, in which four passengers are surrounded by digital displays. They’re basically driving to work while kicking back in a comfy mobile entertainment center.
Oculus Rift gets even more immersive
At its third CES, Oculus VR has gone from small newcomer to the booth with the longest lines on the floor. Fortunately we were able to avoid those Disneyland-length waits and chat in private with Product VP Nate Mitchell, who showed us the mind-blowing 'Crescent Bay' Oculus Rift prototype.
The best virtual reality headset (by a longshot) is now lighter, with a higher-resolution display and positional sound – only adding to the immersive experience that is Oculus' virtual reality.
Dish cuts the cord
American cord-cutters will soon rejoice when the new over-the-top streaming app from Dish goes live. Sling TV will start at US$20 per month and allow subscribers to stream live news, sports and other programming from channels like ESPN, CNN and Disney via a mobile app, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and select smart TVs to start.
The Thync mood-changing wearable zaps your brain to make you feel either calm or energized (or, in our case, both), after just 15 minutes of use. After years of snake oil pitches from the technology world making similar promises, this is a mood-altering product that really works.
Android goes to work
Not long ago, three guys left Google and landed in Beijing, where they founded a startup to bridge the gap between tablets and PCs. The result of that effort is the Remix, a modified Android tablet aimed at mobile productivity. It supposedly brings in the best qualities of Windows and OS X to create a solid Surface competitor.
Two loads are better than one
At CES 2015, we saw plenty of "throwing a chip in mundane houseware and calling it part of the bold new smart home." But LG upped the ante a bit with one new appliance that was not only smart (through its HomeChat platform), but actually innovated on how we define a washing machine.
The company introduced its new dual-load Twin wash system with an extra compartment to do a simultaneous – but separate – second load. For once, it's almost enough to get us excited about doing laundry. Almost.
Next to every Starbucks, perhaps?
One of the more ambitious ideas we saw at CES 2015, Gogoro has a unique take on the challenges facing electric urban transportation. The company wants to install battery refill stations at various points across cities, so when your Gogoro Smartscooter is almost out of juice, you're never far from a recharge.
Startup out-specs the biggest names in mobile
Any startup making a smartphone faces astronomical odds, but this could be one worth paying attention to. The Saygus V2 is waterproof and expandable to 320 GB, in addition to sporting a fingerprint sensor, the ability to beam HD video across a room and 3D sound. And the company says this specs beast will cost less than an iPhone.
Outside, the Volkswagen Golf Touch R is a Golf with a fancy fade paint job. Inside, however, it’s a futuristic look at how digital technology will transform the car’s cockpit. The concept car surrounds the driver with a trio of digital displays – a supersized 12.8-in infotainment screen, an 8-in touchscreen control center and a 12.3-in digital instrument panel. Camera-based gesture recognition technology means there’s no need to smudge up the displays with fingerprints.
Never get lost again
Garmin makes navigation easier than ever with the all-new Epix mapping watch. The Epix pops out of the box with a 1.4-in color touchscreen, omni-directional EXO steel antenna with GPS and GLONASS, worldwide shaded relief base map, one-year subscription to BirdsEye Satellite Imagery, and 8 GB of memory for additional maps.
It also includes the ABCs (altimeter/barometer/compass) and ANT+ wireless connectivity. Garmin fancies the $600 watch an eTrex that you can strap to your wrist. We fancy it a reason never to get lost again.
Taking light and thin to new extremes
Ultrabooks have looked pretty much the same for the last two or three years, but Samsung's updated Ativ Book 9 is 31-32 percent thinner and 12-29 percent lighter than the most recent MacBook Airs.
Dick Tracy's favorite booth
The Spur Atomic smartwatch breaks the shackles from the smartphone, offering a host of features without the need for a pocketed phone running the show.
App selection could be a red flag (though it supposedly ships with the Play Store), but the touchscreen watch has an ARM Cortex-A7 processor, 4 GB of storage and Android 4.2. It can make calls, browse the Web, play videos and perform many other functions that you’d typically need a larger smart device for. Best of all, it isn't super heavy or uncomfortable on the wrist and retails for a relatively inexpensive $250.
In today’s busy world, who has time to prepare a piping hot, homemade meal? Your new best friend Cooki, that’s who. This meal preparation robot makes cooking as simple as selecting a recipe and throwing ingredients into the hopper. Cooki adds the ingredients at just the right time, heats and stirs everything into a meal and sends you a text message when it’s time to eat. It’s a real meal based on fresh ingredients without the hassle of cooking or expense of a personal chef.
A portable console you (might) already own
Though interest in tablets seems to be waning a bit, Wikipad's MFi controller turns the iPad Air and iPad mini into powerful portable game consoles, to pair with console-meets-mobile titles like Bioshock and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.