CES Shows Off Smart

By Stephanie Blanchard, Digital Editor — January 07, 2014

The CES show in Las Vegas is going so well, Michael Bay simply walked off the stage. In an awkward moment during a Samsung press conference on Monday, the Transformers director had a teleprompter malfunction, and decided to just….leave.

That odd moment, however, shouldn’t sum up the event, at all. Nor should T-Mobile's John Legere getting thrown out of the AT&T party later that evening be any indication.

For starters, the event officially opens today and runs through Friday. And aptly, Intel’s CEO, Brian Krzanich, gave a forward-thinking  pre-opening keynote speech yesterday evening, where everything is bound to be connected….and smart. (Bay also quickly noted on his blog that he embarrassed himself, and Legere's incident made a big splash on Twitter, solidfying him as the cool face of the "uncarrier.")

Intel, while not acting as dramatically, is ramping up for 2014, for mobile and other developments. Proclaiming its Tri-Gate transistor the most powerful product the company has ever created, Krzanich also announced Intel’s “Make it Wearable” challenge, demonstrating smart earbuds, a smart headset and a smart wireless charging bowl.

Wearable technology, by the way, is projected to be a $19 billion dollar market by 2018, according to Juniper Research. Where does it stand now? Just $1.4 billion for 2013. (Other analyst firms project a more conservative figure.) But getting in on the action is, well, everyone, as Samsung, Google and Apple all made announcements earlier this year, and recently, at CES, vendors are expected to launch the next big thing. Perhaps.

Several vendors have already launched wearable gadgets. LG unveiled its activity-tracking wristband, for example, while Kolibree debuted a Bluetooth-enabled toothbrush and Heapsylon showed off its smart socks. How these particular products take off is yet to be seen, but the market is certainly vast, as fashion industries and device manufacturers collide with unlikely players.

“Wearables are not everywhere today because they aren’t yet solving real problems and they aren’t yet integrated with our lifestyles,” Krzanich said. “We’re focused on addressing this engineering innovation challenge. Our goal is, if something computes and connects, it does it best with Intel inside.”

He noted that Intel Edison, the company’s new Quark technology-based computer housed in an SD card form factor, can support multiple operating systems, which will enable rapid innovation and development across the eco-system.

Mobile Security
Not stopping there, Krzanich also debuted Intel Security, and noted that the company will offer McAfee mobile security products, for free, to protect mobile devices and improve enterprise security, as data and device security is too critical to ignore.

“The complexity of keeping digital identities safe grows as mobile applications and devices become a more important part of our daily lives,” Krzanich said. “Intel’s intent is to intensify our efforts dedicated to making the digital world more secure, and staying ahead of threats to private information on mobile and wearable devices.”

With 3,200 exhibitors this year, CES is expected to attract more than 150K visitors. Today’s speakers include the CEOs from Sony, Yahoo and Cisco, while Wednesday features Facebook, Twitter, Ford and Salesforce, so more news is bound to unfold, along with other wearable gadgets and the smart future.  

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