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A glimpse of the future

January 13, 2013

LAS VEGAS: The world’s biggest gadget show ended in Las Vegas on Friday and, like a prophet in the desert, revealed the future — bigger televisions, smarter watches, thinner humans and bendy phones.

That, at least, was the vision peddled by technology companies that unveiled 20,000 products over five frenzied days of networking and promotion at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Television manufactures unveiled bigger screens — ranging from 50 to 110 inches — with “ultra high definition” four times sharper than traditional HD. Prices range from $20,000 upwards.

2D prototypes marked the quiet death of 3D TV, a much hyped innovation at last year’s CES which flopped in stores. The technology may resurrect if the likes of StreamTV Networks convince consumers to buy 3D TVs, due out later this year, which do not require glasses.

Pebble, a Kickstarter darling, won instant acclaim by unveiling a much-ballyhooed smart watch with e-paper display which connects to a smartphone and can receive emails, control music and track your movement. Priced $150, there are 85,000 pre-orders.

The show signalled an accelerating drive by tech firms to sell the idea that technology is key to mental and physical wellbeing, with a quarter of displays devoted to gadgets for losing weight, getting fitter and improving health.

Samsung unveiled a prototype phone — super-thin plastic replaces traditional glass — which lets you fold it almost like paper. The technology, called Youm, will spread to other devices.

By arrangement with the Guardian