From CES 2016: A Happier, Healthier New Year Sounds Good

It’s a few days after CES and I’m finally winding down from the relentless press events, press releases, and my feet have forgiven me for the miles of hiking the floors of the Convention Center. My waistline, however, may take a while to recover from the receptions and cocktail parties that manufacturers love to host during CES.

Luckily, one of the biggest trends at CES was health and fitness technology. Gone are the bulky and uncomfortable heart rate monitors that strapped around the chest. Now, clothing has monitors built in, as do wrist bands and even earphones. Scales have WiFi or Bluetooth to make tracking your weight and BMI easy with apps that let you, your personal trainer, or even a larger fitness community help keep your motivation lasting long after New Year’s resolutions are forgotten.

VR was another hot new trend. Some of them look like you’ll get quite the workout while wandering around in foreign and fantasy lands. VR connected to actual fitness devices were on display as well - a stationary bike with a VR controller puts you right in the middle of the best cycling roads in the world.

Drones were another huge category at the show. While it might not make my new year healthier, it will definitely be happier playing with these. How can you not delight in soaring around your own private drone? I have no idea why I want one so badly, but I do.

The other hot new trend at the show was hoverboards. Now, if only someone could figure out a way to combine drones, hoverboards and VR into one package, we might have something really, really awesome. While hoverboards might not be the healthiest pastime (for me, I’m sure it would end with a compound fracture or two) it is exciting to see technology that gets kids off the couch and unglued from their smartphone screens.

Finally we get to what made me truly excited at the show. For years, our industry has complained that no one cares about sound quality anymore. Not everyone can afford a high-end home theater, and not everyone cares to spend quality time listening to their music at home. Sadly, gone are the days of appointment listening. However, all is not lost. What was most impressive to me was the number of really good, high-quality headphones that some old-school companies and newcomers alike were showing off. AKG, JBL, Audio-Technica and Sennheiser, along with newcomers like Audiofly, Audeze, and Urbanears. For a while, it seemed that many listeners were content with the crappy earbuds bundled with their phone; now a whole new market is emerging for cool, hip headphones that sound spectacular. What is most hopeful is that because of these new headphones, listeners will begin to hear the differences between low-res and higher quality audio files - and care enough to begin purchasing those better music files.

2016 is starting off on a very pleasant high note. May your year be filled with health, happiness, and fabulous-sounding music.

Mool's picture

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