At CES 2013, the Connected Home of the Future
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)
"Sensors are proliferating all around us, capturing data that, in the best products, are turned into information we can use to make better decisions," Epps said. Big trends to watch at CES, "smart body, smart home, smart car," she said.
Cool, Connected TVS
Among the highlights of the CES convention, which runs Tuesday through Friday in Las Vegas, will be TVs with advanced sharing functions. LG, for example, is launching its CINEMA 3D Smart TVs that will allow users to share content among TVs and devices by simply tapping them together. (Read more: Five Hot Gadgets Expected at CES 2013)
LG's "Tag On" technology is part of a larger trend called NFC or near field communication technology that allows consumers to easily exchange digital content among multiple devices. (Read More: Near Field Communication — the Next Mobile Boost? )
Personal computing is also moving beyond the TV-tablet-smartphone model. How about functionality built into your furniture?
The Korean company Moneual will be showcasing a restaurant-style table that allows consumers to perform tasks with a touchscreen interface that's built into the table. (Read More: Is 2013 the End of the PC? )
Wearable, Hands-Free Devices
Tired of typing and tapping on your smartphone and tablet already? Consider augmented reality glasses from Google or Vuzixhas — which allow for hands-free computing and tasks.
The Vuzix Smart Glasses M100 resembles an over-sized Bluetooth head piece, but it connects users to the cloud allowing them to access data hands-free. It runs applications through a Google Android operating system and includes GPS, and an integrated camera with video and still image capabilities.
Applications sound straight out of a James Bond film. Instead of fumbling for your favorite camera or video app on a smartphone, for example, Google Glass can take automated time-lapse photos and video.
(Read More: Five Things to Consider Before Embracing the Cloud )
While the new products at CES this week are sure to be exciting, TVs, smartphones and tablets remain the most advanced entry point for many tech consumers. Most product strategists are prioritizing advances related to smartphones and tablets, said Forrester's Epps.
But expect advanced technology such as wearable devices to piggyback on existing mobile ecosystems and migrate more rapidly from niche status to mainstream use, Epps wrote in her research note.
— Written by CNBC's Heesun Wee. Follow her on Twitter @heesunwee. CNBC's Cadie Thompson contributed to this report.