After smartphones it’s time to get ready for smart home appliances and cars.
The microchips are down in Las Vegas at the world’s largest consumer technology trade show, with companies betting on the success of everyday items transformed into connected, smarter machines.
On show are ever bigger TVs with even sharper pictures alongside driverless cars and a host of other gadgets connected to your phone or tablet – and which can be controlled by voice – through speech recognition – and even gestures.
They include devices that track your movements and design a custom fitness and diet programme for you and automatic window cleaners.
Two of the biggest participants, Intel and Qualcomm, are highlighting improvements in “perceptual computing,” which involves using cameras, GPS, sensors and microphones to make devices detect and respond to user activity.
“The idea is that if your devices are so smart, they should be able to know you better and anticipate and react to your requirements,” said analyst John Jackson with consumer technology research firm IDC.
In the past the Consumer Electronics Show has been the launch pad for the VCR, the camcorder, DVDs and High Definition TVs.
Those looking for the next super-cool hit product include retailers keen to stock their shelves as well as Wall Street investors wanting to connect with start-up firms, and make the big money that comes from backing a must-have gadget.