The Consumer Electronics Show officially kicked off in Las Vegas Tuesday with some of the biggest names in business, technology, entertainment, automotive and consumer products expected to make big announcements during the conference.
While the event just got underway, we've already got a few early favorites in the gadget department. Here, in no particular order, are five of the coolest new gizmos from the show we've seen so far.
1) Huawei's Ascend Mate (no price yet)
Bigger is always better. At least, that's the logic behind Huawei's new tablet-like smartphone the Ascend Mate. The device from the Chinese phone maker is the largest smartphone yet, dwarfing even the Samsung Galazy Note II "phablet," with its 6.1-inch, 720p display.
The Ascend Mate packs a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and 8-megapixel camera, and comes with a 4050mAh battery, which the company claims will support over 20 hours of use on a single charge. The device ships running a Huawei customized version of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with the company's own "Emotion" interface.
"The overlay includes tweaks such as floating windows that allow you to run multiple apps at once (much like on the Galaxy Note II), and a one-handed control scheme that shifts the keyboard and keypad depending on which hand you're holding the phone in," said PC World.
The Ascend Mate will be released in China next month, according to PC World, though Huawei reportedly has no current plans to bring the phone to the U.S.
2) Samsung S9 UHD TV (no price yet)
Coming in at 85-inches, the U9 is the largest Ultra HD TV yet.
"Samsung's proprietary up-scaling engine can up-convert HD or Full-HD to UHD-level picture quality by restoring detail information to create greater precision and real-life picture quality," says Samsung on its website.
The TV, "combines an extremely high contrast ratio and Ultimate Dimming control functionality - which utilizes hundreds blocks of LEDs and precise BLU control - to deliver sharp resolutions previously unseen on large format displays."
What's almost as interesting as the TV itself, though, is its innovative new "Timeless Gallery" frame design. The frame is minimal and elegant, and removable if you'd rather wall-mount your TV. Sadly, pricing and release date information are unavailable at this point.
3) Sony Handycam TD30V ($1000)
Good news for aspiring filmmakers: With the Sony Handycam TD30m now anyone can make their own 3D movies.
Sony's new model is both smaller and more affordable than its previous versions of the camera and allows you to view 3D directly on the camcorder's 3.5-inch LCD without the need for 3D glasses. Only drawback is the Handycam TD30V lacks the manual parallax controls and the internal memory of its previous 3D Handycam models.
4) Sculpteo's 3D Printing iPhone Cases ($24)
Smartphone customization hits an impressive new height with Sculpteo's 3D printing iPhone cases. The company's 3DP Case Creation tool allows you to design, print, and order your own unique iPhone case directly through its free Sculpteo app for iOS. The app lets users select any image or design they want, pick a color, a material, add additional detail, and then have the case printed and shipped anywhere internationally.
"Originally, designs were limited to face profiles, but now you can print more complicated designs. Examples shown at CES included a 3D skull, a tactile map of a mountain range pulled from Google Maps, and a DIY-style crocheted Apple logo," noted PC World.
We've always been told flying cars were the hallmark of the future, but until we get there, Toyota and Lexus' research into autonomous cars is an enticing promise of what's to come. Not flying - self-driving vehicles.
Toyota announced plans at CES to begin testing new research vehicles in its Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) proving grounds, an 8.6-acre area "designed to mimic an urban driving environment, complete with roads, traffic signals, simulated real-life driving situations such as other vehicles, and pedestrians," according to PC World.
"In our pursuit of developing more advanced automated technologies, we believe that the driver must be fully engaged," Mark Templin, general manager of Toyota's Lexus division, said in a statement. "For Toyota and Lexus, a driverless car is just part of the story. Our vision is a car equipped with an intelligent, always-attentive co-pilot whose skills contribute to safer driving."