Would you wear these gadgets? Wearable tech is set to be 2015’s biggest trend (but it looks anything but cool)
In the technology press, every year is the year of this and the year of that. Much of this kind of prediction is based on expectations or wishful thinking and is essentially meaningless.
But the fact is that more than a dozen smart glass products are expected to ship in the first half of next year, ranging in price from $79 to $3,000.
Oh, and Google Glass will probably ship, too.
The hype around Google Glass has inspired a division of opinion. The people who want Google Glass and smart glasses are probably in the minority, with most people saying: "No way!"
They say this because Google Glass looks weird or dorky, they're too expensive or they're thought of as creepy invasions of privacy.
But the wide range of smart glass products coming next year may change a lot of minds. Some of them don't look, function or empty wallets like Google Glass does.
Here's what's happening now and over the next year in the incredible new world of smart glasses.
Thanks to the personal investment of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, as well as massive investment by Google, the invitation-only Google Glass product has by far the leading mindshare among all smart glasses competitors.With a current user based of a several thousand people and a price of $1,500, Google Glass is hardly "mainstream." Still, it gets a lot of press and attention.
Google itself decided that allowing a face-recognition app would be rejected by the public as too "creepy," but a development group called Facial Network unveiled this week a face-recognition app for Google Glass called NameTag. Another app claiming face recognition, called MedRef, became available earlier this year.
Google announce a long list of powerful new Google Glass features recently. For starters, a MyGlass app was published for iOS devices on the Apple App Store. While not quite as full-featured as the Android version, it nevertheless provides connectivity and control options for Glass from an iPhone.
Google also enables Glass users to simply command the playing of any song with a voice command (as long as they have a Google Play Music account). This works nicely with recently announced stereo headphones sold by Google for Glass.
Google rolled out a wink-to-take-a-picture feature. It works even when Glass is in "sleep" mode, but only for the newer Google Glass 2.0 hardware.
Google also unveiled some new "Glassware" -- Google Glass apps -- including an RSS feed reader called Winkfeed and others.
Google Glass gets a lot of press. But don't think Google's is the only "smart" glass. In fact, the category has more than a dozen new entrants.
Moving on to smartwatches, Samsung may have seemingly rushed through the release of its Galaxy Gear watch at the end of last year to beat rival Apple to the punch, but the device was heavily criticised because of its large design.
A number of smartwatches were displayed at CES this year, and some learnt from Samsung's mistakes, while others didn't.
For example, watchmaker Burg unveiled its range of smartwatches including the Burg 12, also known as London, Burg 14 called Seoul, and Burg 18, known as Moscow.
There are seven watches in total in the Burg range and each have varying levels of smart features., and designs.
The most advanced model is the Burg 17 Amsterdam model. It runs Android 4.0, has a 1.5-inch screen microSD slot, GPS, 2MP camera and can be used to read messages, make phone calls.
Although the models vary in size, the more advanced models look large and cumbersome, whereas the smaller, more elegant models lack many of the smart features.
Prices range from $149 (£90) to $399 (£242) - all cheaper than Samsung's £250 device.
Another company that sacrificed the full smart capabilities in place of a sleeker design was Cogito with its Pop watch. It looks like a traditional watch, and comes in a range of colours including pink, blue, grey and black.
Instead of a touchscreen, the Cogito works in a similar way to the Pebble; it syncs wirelessly to Android and iOS watches and only shows notifications using discreet icons.
For example, a text message icon is pictured on the clockface between 10 and 11, while the email icon is between 11 and 12 and social network message notifications flash up between 12 and 1. As a result, this lack of features drops the price to $129 (£78).
Speaking of California firm Pebble, the company similarly unveiled a new version of its smartwatch at CES, dubbed Pebble Steel.
As its name suggests, the watch is made of steel and is also waterproof. It shows notifications from an Android or iOS device and comes with pre-installed apps. The new device can be pre-ordered for $249 (£151).
At the other end of the scale, the biggest smartwatch announced at CES was the Neptune Pine. It has a 2.4-inch touchscreen - almost an inch bigger than Samsung's 1.6-inch display - runs Android 4.3
This rise in wearable cameras was fuelled by the popularity of the GoPro range, which start at £185.Onto the more obscure wearable items, CSR unveiled a Bluetooth necklace at the event that connects to Android and iOS devices. It alerts the wearer to notifications using a colour-changing LED fitted inside the pendant.
The device is just a prototype at the moment and CSR has not announced when the product will go on sale.
Elsewhere, Heapsylon's Sensoria smart socks are made with conductive threads that act as sensors, producing a current when pressure is exerted on them.
They pick up pressure points in three areas of the foot - around the big toe, the little toe and the heel.
The data is then picked up by the ankle bracelet, collated with outside conditions such as temperature, altitude and terrain, and then beamed via Bluetooth to a smart phone.
Then a 'virtual coach' app analyses the information and can tell the user what they are doing wrong and help improve technique in any task involving the feet.
IT'S NOT JUST HUMANS WEARING TECH and its not just humans that can take advantage of this growing trend. A smart collar for dogs that measures a canine's heart and respiratory rates as well as counting calories was also shown off at CES.
Called Voyce, it claims to let owners know what their dog is trying to tell them when it comes to health, including if they are getting enough exercise.
The device, which is like a FitBot for dogs, uses special algorithms to provide owners with trends about their dog’s health and fitness, which they can view using an app and is set to go on sale later this year for $299 (£181).
However, the most prevalent wearable devices at the show were fitness trackers. Sony, LG and Casio were among the big names unveiling new gadgets, yet devices from smaller companies including Notch, Razer, Tinke and Wao were also on display.
Sony's foray into the world of fitness trackers includes its waterproof SmartBand that can be linked to Android phones and tablets via the Lifelog app.
The band tracks physical activity, including calories burned, distance and what type of activity the wearer was doing, such as walking, cycling or driving.
It is powered by the new Sony Core that can additionally track a wearer's moods and emotions - although the firm did not explain how it would do this, or what data it would collect.
The SmartBand and Core additionally monitor photos shared online, as well as conversations with friends.