Deisgners and editors are returning from the Consumer Electronic Show, which took place last week in Las Vegas, full of inspiration for new ways to incorporate technology in design.
LG's Thinq line of appliances can be controlled by a smartphone or a computer, and offer households greater efficiency and ease. Some of the innovative new products include refrigerators that alert owners to expiring food items and allow them to view the contents of the refrigerator from a smartphone—while shopping for groceries, for example. LG also introduced an oven that can download and display preprogrammed recipes, a washing machines can be programmed to run at cost-effective times, and a vacuum cleaner can do its job while no one is home.
Major technology trends also included the launch of more than 80 tablets, wireless 4G LTE, connected TV technologies, smart appliances and electric vehicles. In addition, trends in the home appliances category attracted a lot of buzz among the design community.
According to Shawn Dubravac, Chief Economist and Director of Research, Consumer Electronics Association, 2011 is The Year of the Tablet. He explained, "With competition heating up, each and every aspect of differentiation will be on the table – OS, screen size, color, and available applications."
The 2010 CES was also defined by a more subtle emphasis on 3D content, hardware and services. A plethora of hardware offerings were launched including 3DTVs, Blu-ray players, and AV receivers.
The most significant trend was internet-enabled everything and the meaningfulness for the end-user of marrying the TV with the Internet.
"Bringing the Internet directly to the TV has been long discussed and the merits thereof veraciously debated. But with these TVs just now hitting the mass market, the real battles—and the big questions—begin. With TVs now readily connected to the Internet the question becomes not how or if, but what to do with this new found feature?" said Dubravac.
Finally, an "app-lification" phenomenon was in full force. "Apps are a conduit for the Web and consistent with the growth of Internet connectivity, I expect to see apps gain significant inroads in cameras, printers, in the vehicle and digital displays like photo frames."