PhotoEach January the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) wows the public with the latest gadgets. The 2015 CES, which kicks off January 6, should be no exception.

Companies will show off their latest tablets and smartphones as well as digital cameras. In recent years, even automotive companies have gotten in on the act.

This year Hyundai is promising to unveil a new display audio system with no CD player or embedded navigation system. Instead, its high resolution 7-inch color touch-screen display has been optimized for enhanced smartphone integrations and the latest generation Blue Link system.

Integrating smartphones

Consumers with an iPhone will be able to use Apple CarPlay to transfer the familiar features from their iPhones to the touch-screen display. Android users will find their apps can be projected directly into the system.

"Hyundai will offer more technology than ever before inside affordable Hyundai models, allowing owners not only to text message through voice commands and stream their favorite music apps, but also to make calls in a safer way, and navigate using phone-based, off-board navigation through the car's screen and controls," said Hyundai's Cason Grover. "As affordable car buyers are often younger, Hyundai aims to provide what they want most in their car – all the latest smartphone-enabled technologies at a lower price."

Not to throw cold water on Hyundai's new in-car technology, many safety experts would disagree that wireless connectivity completely removes distraction while driving. We reported in October that a University of Utah study directly contradicts the idea.

Taking exception

“Even though your car may be configured to support social media, texting and phone calls, it doesn’t mean it is safe to do so,” said University of Utah psychology professor David Strayer. “The primary task should be driving. Things that take your attention away make you a poor driver and make the roads less safe.”

Video games

Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics and Sony Computer Entertainment will display the newest wrinkle in video games – the PlayStation Now game streaming service that will be available on select Samsung Smart TVs in the first half of 2015.

The joint venture means Samsung Smart TV owners in the United States and Canada will have access to hundreds of PlayStation 3 games streamed from the cloud, with no need for consoles, downloads, or trips to the store.

The service will launch as an app that can be accessed through Samsung’s Smart Hub. Visitors to CES 2015 will be able to try to system for themselves at the Samsung exhibit booth.

Television

LG Electronics (LG) said it will unveil an expanded TV lineup featuring the company’s new “webOS 2.0” Smart TV platform at CES. LG calls webOS 2.0 improves on key features found in the current generation of Smart TVs using webOS system introduced earlier this year.

The company said it is also working with content providers like Amazon and Netflix to ensure that LG 4K ULTRA HD TV owners have access to a wide range of 4K viewing options.

Though a TV set called “webOS TV” might sound complicated, LG says the upgraded product is designed to “make TV simple again” by addressing the growing consumer frustration with overly complex smart TVs.


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