Samsung Smart TV leads the way at CES 2012

The Consumer Electronics Show 2012 in Las Vegas has started – with all the big names in technology gathering to wow us with hot new product launches for the 12 months ahead.

But what can we look forward to in the months and years to come: Here are six of the best early announcements.

Samsung Smart TV

Samsung may have shown off its thinnest ever LED and Plasma TVs at its CES press conference, but it's the insides of these devices that really matter.

With Microsoft's Xbox 360 Kinect device leading the way with motion-sensing and voice control technology for home entertainment, it makes sense to build such features straight into the telly itself.

So Samsung has used CES to show off its own version with a Smart TV controlled by voice, motion and face recognition. Using a built-in HD camera and dual microphones, it works by spoken commands such as "Hi TV" to turn it on and "Web Browser" for getting online. You can even turn the volume up or down using hand gestures.

Samsung is also trying to future-proof its TVs to stop you having to buy a new one to get new features, a welcome move if it works. A slot in the back will allow it to evolve with the addition of some kind of add-on being plugged in – although it’s not going to make the screen any bigger is it!

Kinect for Windows

After its massive success on the Xbox 360, Microsoft is now bringing Kinect to Windows-based computers.

From February 1, the hardware to connect to your PC along with software to play on it will be released in Britain - but it sounds like it won't be cheap, likely around £200.

BlackBerry 7.1 OS

A software update for any piece of technology is always welcome, especially if it means you don't have to upgrade the actual device for a new one. This latest BB software brings a host of new additions to BBM and other features.

Due out in the next few weeks to download, it includes a tagging feature that can share content between two NFC-enabled BlackBerry handsets while 7.1 also turns the device into a mobile hotspot, which can be shared by up to five Wi-Fi products.

An updated BlackBerry Traffic app is also included while owners of the 9360 and 9380 will now be able to tune into FM radio when BlackBerry 7.1 OS is on board.



Huawei ultra-thin smartphone

According to Huawei, the Ascend P1 S is the world's slimmest smartphone… at least for now. With Mobile World Congress happening next month in Barcelona, that record could soon be eclipsed but this still looks like an awesome handset.

At just 6.68mm thick with a 4.3 inch Super AMOLED display, it runs a dual-core 1.5GHz processor and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

Expected in the UK after the summer, it has an eight megapixel camera and 1080p HD video recording.

LG smart appliances

Although these white goods aren't set to come to Britain, they certainly give an idea of what we can expect in the future within our homes.

LG's Smart ThinQ technology has been built into fridges, washing machines, dryers and ovens and they've already won a CES 2012 "Best of Innovations" award.

A Blast fridge has a drawer that can chill a can of beer or soft drink in under five minutes while an LCD panel on the front can be used to monitor what food is inside and when it will go off. You can also see the information at a glance via your smartphone.

Other clever ideas include being able to monitor your washing machine through a TV or smartphone or add aromas to your clothes as they are cleaned.


Sony Android Walkman

Sony was the company that first brought portable, personal music players to the masses with the introduction of the Walkman in 1979, but for the last 10 years it has been Apple ruling personal music player roost. That’s something Sony is looking to change with the Z Series Walkman due out in Britain later this year.

Essentially an iPod Touch for people who don’t like Apple or want to deal with iTunes, the Z Series Walkman runs a version of Android that allows owners to download apps and games from the Market as well as play music and watch video.

It also lets you connect wirelessly straight to other media devices, so can be used to send content to DNLA-enabled TVs for example.

It comes with a large 4.3 inch touchscreen and 32GB of storage, but it’s not cheap at £299 – £50 more expensive than the equivalent iPod Touch.
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