At CES every year, we cover hundreds of products. They’re usually only barely differentiated from previous models. But sometimes, companies trot out devices and technology that could bring something new and wonderful to the market — it’s just too bad the odds of this vapourware ever being for sale are slim to nil. Here’s the best fantasy tech that wowed the gadget-lusting masses in 2013.
There’s no denying the technology makes for some beautiful TVs, but OLED-based displays are still incredibly expensive. So maybe instead of adding a graceful curve — and making them even harder and more expensive to produce — LG could funnel a few R&D dollars into making the existing technology affordable for consumers.
E-ink displays have always come with a promise: One day, it goes, this technology will appear as a flexible display you can roll up to stow. Every year at CES, we see new prototypes. They never materialise. If the idea of a paper-thin tablet wasn’t so tantalising, this annual broken dream wouldn’t be so painful.
Last year, Haier showed us a see-through TV, which no one wanted. So the company’s designers went back to the drawing board. This year, Haier brought us a transparent washing machine with a blinding neon glow. Will this one be a hit? Maybe. We already know what’s inside a washing machine — dirty clothes.
Self-driving cars were one of the minor trends this year. But this technology — kind of like a flying car — has to be absolutely perfect when it rolls out. And beyond safety concerns, no one’s going to want to drive around with a massive spinning LIDAR camera on the roof. This hardware needs a heck of a lot of refinement before it ever hits the road.
4K TV technology has only just started to appear in some very expensive TVs. Already, Panasonic wants to cram this insane amount of pixels into an equally insane 20-inch tablet. So much resolution, and such a huge tablet — you practically need a trolley to carry it around. We’re still happy with retina displays, Panasonic.
Lawmakers across the country are working to make the roads safer by banning the use of smartphones while driving. Harman’s solution: Fill the windshield with widgets and info — basically, other distractions. You can watch YouTube videos when you should be watching the road. How can that be any safer?