Fresh from CES, the world’s largest consumer electronics trade show, the hottest, weirdest, high-techest gadgets of 2013.
A stylish analogue watch that links to your smartphone wirelessly, with embedded Bluetooth and notification icons. The watch lets you see missed calls, Facebook message alerts and calendar reminders etc. instantly on the face, without fishing in your pocket for your phone. A "command" button on the watch also lets you perform programmed actions such as remotely taking photographs from your phone's camera or tagging your location to the app's map. Bluetooth 4.0 LE means it runs off a standard CR2032 battery and doesn't need weekly recharging, and while the app is iOS only so far, Android will be along soon. It's even waterproof to 5 ATM.
Sony Xperia Z
CES was awash with 1080p full high-definition 5in screened Android smartphones. But undoubted star of the show was this. Not only does it tote an amazing screen but also 13MP camera with Exmor RS sensor that shoots HDR (high dynamic range) video as well as stills, 1.5GHz quad-core processor with 2GB memory and LTE/4G data built in. Not quite flash enough? How about IP55/57 water resistance? The Zperia Z is water-resistant to 1m and to water jets and dust ingress. Tough, stylish, seriously high-specced – Sony just became top smartphone dog (at least, until the Samsung Galaxy S4 goes official).
Belkin WeMo range
Belkin's WeMo range ties Wi-Fi and iOS device controls to simple home automation products. Already launched are the WeMo Switch plug socket to turn off plugged-in electronic devices over the Internet, WeMo Motion detector and WeMo Baby monitor that turns your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch into the receiver. At CES, Belkin announced another product to join the range – WeMo Light Switch. Yes, now you can turn off the lights over the Internet, or even turn on a light without moving from a chair, if you're that lazily inclined. Everything's controlled by a very simple app – so it lacks the complex programmability of home automation rivals such as X10.
Lego Mindstorms EV3
At CES, Lego announced the third iteration of their amazing robotic Mindstorms range. Lego Mindstorms combines central processing blocks with a range of plug-in sensors and technical Lego pieces to let you create, well, just about anything you can come up with – NXTLog, Lego's forum for user projects, currently lists over 17,000 projects from vending machines to pinball tables to artificial forearms. As well as a heavily upgraded CPU using a Linux-based OS, the new Mindstorms feature app control and 3D Autodesk-derived construction videos as well as inbuilt Wi-Fi and SD card slot. The robotic upgrade is due to commence in Autumn 2013.
Gaming hardware specialists have trialed their "Project Fiona" concept for some time – at CES it went on sale. The Razer Edge is a 10.1in touchscreen gaming-designed Windows 8 tablet. It's got the tech specs to run high-end PC games (Intel Core i5 1.7GHz processor, 4GB RAM and 1GB nVidia graphics processor minimum), but key to its appeal is the optional extra Gamepad Controller the Edge slots into – delivering gaming-friendly controls on the go (although, of course, a wireless Bluetooth gamepad's a fine alternative). But against it, nVidia used CES to announce its "Project Shield" – a 5in Android screen-and-controller combo that runs Steam games.
It's being billed as the real-life equivalent of a tricorder, but while the Scout may not feature the same body-scanning visuals as Star Trek's legendary portable medical system, it's not far off in other respects. Hold the Scout to your forehead for 10 seconds and it'll scan heartrate, temperature, pulse transmit time, electrical heart activity, heartrate variability and blood oxygenation, transmitting the results wirelessly to a smartphone app – allowing you to work out whether you need to just lie down, call a doctor or an ambulance. Also in the pipeline – ScanaFlo urine analysis reader and ScanaFlu saliva analysis reader.