Tens of thousands of tech enthusiasts are in Las Vegas to CES 2022 – the annual consumer electronics show – one of the most influential gadget shows in the world. But even more notoriously? How many of us have chosen to cover all the latest tech unveilings remotely for the second year in a row, thanks to the current surge in COVID-19 cases.
As Mike Snider reported in the USA TODAY preview On Monday, several large companies such as Amazon, Google, Lenovo, GM, IBM and Microsoft withdrew from in-person presence and turned to digital participation, as did the majority of journalists who cover it each year, including myself. . But that hasn’t stopped many of us from checking out some of the best gadgets and the biggest tech trends.
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Lenovo Thinkpad Z13
A gadget specifically intended to exist better with our lives and our planet is Lenovo’s latest ThinkPad Z13. Perfect for working on the go, it looks crisp with its 100% recycled, stain resistant black vegan leather uppers and 75% recycled aluminum body. A communication bar at the top of the screen allows for a larger sensor camera and dual array microphones, while the Dolby Voice and Dolby Atmos speaker system delivers more immersive sound for better conferencing. It also allows for super narrow bezels and an impressive screen-to-body ratio.
I’ve been able to spend a few days with it already and it hits the mark for progressive design, stronger security, and more modern collaboration features – a big part of what is our new standard of a workforce. more mobile hybrid work. . It goes on sale in May, starting at $ 1,549.
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One of the biggest trends I see so far is the notion of “comfort tech,” which looks like comfort food, but for gadgets. These are the devices we know best, already love, and rely on for a myriad of reasons overall, but they’ve been tweaked to make us feel even better about the time we spend with them.
An example here is the one just unveiled Galaxy S21 FE 5G. Every year, Samsung asks fans about their favorite phone’s features, then combines them into a cheaper “fan edition”, and here is the result. The S21 FE features a 6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with 120 hertz refresh rate and flagship processing power. The pro-grade camera system features three rear-facing cameras, including a 3x 8MP optical telephoto camera, while the front camera also has a 32-megapixel ultra-wide lens.
I’ve had it for last week, and the battery life is exceptional – it really lasts all day – and comes equipped with fast charging, so there’s hardly any downtime. It’s also a bit thinner than the S20, it’s available in four colors, including olive green and lavender, and goes on sale Jan. 11 for $ 700.
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On this subject of “comfort tech”, Kohler has also launched its PerfectFill smart bath technology Monday. This is a “drain kit system” that allows you to preset a bath to your ideal temperature and depth using a voice command or the Kohler Konnect app. I would love to have a full, perfectly heated tub waiting for me when I walk in the door after a long day at work or automatically fill the kids’ tub – but not as full or as hot as mine. You can configure up to 10 different presets, so everyone can have their own “swimming experience”, including the family dog.
A Kohler spokesperson told me over the phone that this new gadget is about “automating things in our homes that we don’t want to think about,” and it’s like being able to preheat an oven with an app. I guess since watching the water fill up in the tub is a bit like waiting for the water to boil, it’s an efficiency – and a luxury – that someday in the not-so-distant future we won’t. will not know how we lived without it. The price tag for this kind of smart home tech is a big splash at $ 2,700 when it releases later this year.
► Got a tech to-do list for 2022? Get help with setting up your smart home, Wi-Fi, and more.
Save the planet
Another important trend emerging from these early hours of CES 2022 is the increased focus on innovation to save the planet. An Atlanta-based company called Piana technology showed me its E / SMART ecosystem, a ‘high performance nonwoven fiber technology’ made from recycled materials that can replace the polyurethane (PU) foam found in everything from mattresses and car seats to furniture and to insulation.
“I don’t think people fully understand the damage we are doing to the environment,” Andrea Piana, CEO of the company on Zoom, told me. Piana said that by simply replacing PU foam in many mattresses, her business could help offset up to 3 billion pounds of CO2 each year.
“The modern world depends on the materials of the past. If we are to maximize our human potential, we must develop new technologies that adapt to our side,” added Piana.
Piana E / SMART fiber will be a smart sleep product at one of the nation’s largest retailers starting this month, with pricing and more details to come.
Targus also unveiled on Monday an eco-friendly backpack made from recycled materials – with ‘Find My’ technology built in. With the built-in location tracking, you can find the backpack using the Find My app, which could be especially useful if someone steals it. Conversely, if you misplace your phone, you can press a button in the backpack to ping it. Targus says that the updated version of his Hero Cypress comes with a replaceable battery that’s rechargeable via USB, and will be available in Spring / Summer 2022 for $ 149.
I have a lot more to show you including “Bob the dishwasher»And a device that sticks directly to your smartphone to disinfect everything around you. More soon!