From computers embedded into tables and wearable computing devices the size of a wristwatch, the offerings at CES 2013 may show the way to the often-imagined connected home of the future.
Many consumers today watch TV while simultaneously using a smartphone, tablet or (OMG!) a desktop computer. You download media on multiple devices, depending where you are in your home. (You're still not inserting DVDs are you?)
But with tech gadgets advancing and TV manufacturers seeking the next big thing — especially as television sales decline — companies at the International CES convention this week are hoping "killer apps" and connectivity nudge households into a lifestyle of effortless interactivity. And the gadgets' new functions will extend beyond traditional personal-computing tasks such as surfing the web or online shopping. Consider devices that track your sleeping patterns and robotic vacuums that sweep your floors.
"Sensor-laden devices (SLDs) such as wearables and embedded devices — sometimes called 'the Internet of Things' — will drive the next phase of growth in personal computing and have the potential to transform how we live and work," said Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps in a 2012 research note. Smartphones and tablets may soon become so 2012.
(Read more: Here's What to Expect at CES 2013)