CES 2014: Final Round-Up

I'm back home -- finally. We planned to leave Vegas on Thursday night, but Thursday night for us is really more like Friday morning. We ended up hittin' the highway at approximately 4:55 a.m., so we didn't get back until around 3 p.m. Friday, including puppy pit stops (we stopped at a dog park in Fresno).

I'm pretty beat, but I leave for Detroit Sunday morning. So there's that.

Anyway, this year's CES wasn't too bad. I spent just one day on the show floor, and even got some regular (read: sleeping til 3 p.m.) sleep in. But here's what I covered:

The new Ford Mustang (TechHive): I won't even try to hide it -- I love Mustangs. I always have, since I was about six. I also drive a Mustang convertible as my primary car, so yes, I had to see this debut. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of other cars that also capture me with their sexiness (did you see the new Chevrolet Corvette Stingray? Swoon.), the Mustang just has a special place in my heart.

Hi. I love you, too.

Hi. I love you, too.

Anyway, the big "tech" news here is Sync AppLink -- Ford's technology that lets you interact with your phone via your car's voice recognition controls. There's a new version, and it's debuting on the 2015 Mustang. I'm actually kind of excited for the new AppLink, because the old AppLink...needed some tweaking. And every little tweak counts when you're zooming down the highway, trying to use your voice to open an app or change a song -- trust me.

This weird Sensus iPhone case that puts a touchscreen on the back (and sides!) of your phone (TechHive): Yes, you heard me correctly. Snap this baby on your iPhone and suddenly, voila!, the back of your phone is touch-and-pressure-sensitive (as are the sides). Why might you need something like this? Uh, games, I guess. And convenient scrolling without touching your screen. And to keep your phone fingerprint-free. And for fun.

The Snakebyte Vyper, an Android-based entertainment hub with too many y's (TechHive): I commend Snakebyte's vision -- throwing my tablet into a dock and getting a smart TV is a pretty neat trick. But this costs $250 and they're kind of trying to brand it as a gaming machine. Just to be perfectly clear, this is a tablet with many accessories, and it's cool...but it still runs Android 4.2. I don't know about you, fellow gamers, but the last time I played COD on an Android tablet running on a 1.6GHz processor was...nope. If you want a smart TV, the Vyper is sweet. If you want a gaming system, GET A PS3.

The Elio Motors three-wheeled car, which is funky and looks like a dragster (TechHive): This car has three wheels, gets 84 mpg, and has no technology. Why is it at CES? That's what I asked Paul Elio, founder and CEO of the company. He responded, "Well, there are a ton of journalists here and we want to get the word out." Using CES as a publicity platform for your non-techy product -- sneaky.

Anyway, this car is pretty self-explanatory. It gets 84 mpg -- and it's not a hybrid -- costs $6,800, and seats two people, one in front of the other. It also looks super weird and has a top speed of 107 miles per hour. I showed it to Ron and now he is obsessed with obtaining one. Go figure.

The TrackingPoint AR Smart Rifle (TechHive): Didn't I just watch a Law and Order episode where a sniper used some high-tech fancy-schmancy rifle like this? No, I didn't, says a TrackingPoint PR person, because this rifle is aimed at hunters...of animals.

The TrackingPoint AR Smart Rifle is a closed-system rifle with a super smart scope that tags multiple targets, tracks about 20 different variables, and then only shoots the bullet when you have the perfect shot. It also records HD video and takes photosets of shot sequences. All things that hunters want, right? Hunters of men! And yes, TrackingPoint is in talks with the military.

A round-up of eight fitness gadgets that are more than just activity trackers (Men's Health): Fitness tech is kind of RIDIC this year -- seriously, everywhere you look there's something that tracks some sort of health stat, including trackers for your dog, your kid, your spouse ("health tracker," suuuuure) -- but I am glad to see smarter pedometers than the smart pedometers we saw last year.

Let's face it, at the end of the day, all a smart pedometer is is...a pedometer. Not terribly useful, unless you're my grandma, who walks laps around the mall. Are you my grandma? No, no you are not. So I'm super happy I managed to find at least eight fitness gadgets that are not aimed at the senior/incredibly lazy/extremely out of shape crowd. In this round-up there are gadgets that track weight workouts (Atlas), a gadget that measures Muscle Quality (Skulpt Aim), and a device that you can actually squeeze really hard if you want to get a workout in (Tao WellShell).