Waterproof phones and super sharp TVs feature at CES

10 January 2013
By Sofia Mitra-Thakur
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Bluetooth speakers using electrostatic loudspeaker (ESL) technology are displayed at CES 2013

Bluetooth speakers using electrostatic loudspeaker (ESL) technology are displayed at CES 2013

The next generation of super sharp televisions took centre stage at the Consumer Electronics Show – but waterproof phones, bone conduction headphones and even a smart fork forcing users to slow their eating were on display.

Panasonic unveiled the state-of-the-art headphones, which sit just outside the ears and vibrate sounds directly into the skull.

The technology could prove a blessing for train and Tube passengers, as it enables users to listen to music without forcing it on others. It also allows listeners to hear other sounds, meaning joggers will be able to hear traffic, among other things.

Health and fitness gadgets also feature at the show – running until Friday in Las Vegas – with a fork which vibrates when users are eating too fast. The HapiFork features Bluetooth technology and uses a sensor to work out the speed at which the user is eating.

Among the companies eager to show off their latest televisions are Samsung, Panasonic, Sony and LG, who demonstrated technologies such as ultra-high-definition (ultra-HD) and OLED.

OLED stands for organic light-emitting diode, while ultra-HD – also known as 4K – offers resolution four times that of current high-definition sets.

The Panasonic prototype set combining the two technologies was unveiled by company president Kazuhiro Tsuga during a keynote speech. Sony also announced its own prototype combining OLED and ultra HD technology. Both prototypes featured 56in screens.

Another TV to grab the headlines was Samsung's ultra-HD S9, which was unveiled in 85in and 110in models.

The ultra-HD sets use Precision Black Pro technology which makes blacks look even darker, and sit inside a "Timeless Gallery" frame, which give the impression the TV is floating.

The 85in S9 is expected in the first half of this year.

Ultra-HD TVs offer screens with more than eight million pixels. LG was also among the manufacturers launching new 4K TVs at the Vegas show.

Away from TVs, Sony launched a smartphone which can be used in the shower or bath. The new Xperia Z was unveiled in Vegas, with Sony saying it can be submerged in water up to one metre deep for 30 minutes.

It also features near-field communication technology, with a chip that enables it to communicate with other devices by tapping them together.

PC and laptop manufacturer Lenovo unveiled a 27in tablet designed to sit on a table-top. The IdeaCentre Horizon runs Windows 8 and its touchscreen can support as many as 10 fingers using it at a time.

Gameplay is a big feature with the Horizon and it comes with e-dice, joysticks and other accessories. The Horizon will go on sale in the summer.

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