The tech industry and gadget freaks alike wait for the Consumer Electronics Show each year like it’s Christmas 2.0, and in many ways, it is. For most of us, it’s a good thing that the event happens so soon after the holidays, considering “shut up and take my money!” only works if you actually still have money left.

Image courtesy of networkinvegas.

Image courtesy of networkinvegas.

This year’s event has all the shock and awe of previous years, and like many other stagings of the iconic event, there seems to be a few themes. Gaming is an entire category by itself, with the unveiling of gaming laptops (seriously… to take your intensity with you to the local coffee shop or mall food court) and virtual reality footwear that lets you “feel” a response when your limbs do something in your game world. Speakers are also a major focus, with a lot of companies demoing a suspiciously Alexa-like device, right down to the shape and size.

Amazingly, some of the most talked about categories of gadgets are the world-of-tomorrow household appliances. Yesm really. Some of the buzz-worthy devices include smart touch-panel refrigerators, ovens with multiple compartments for cooking different foods at different temperatures, even washers and dryers that can wash two different articles of clothing in separate compartments so their colors don’t run or you can use bleach in one of them.

Of course, CES isn’t all over-the-top gadgets and gizmos. Some of them are taking things decidedly basic, like an iPhone case that finally keeps your little one’s fingers off the buttons, preventing in-app purchases and baby-sized butt dials to your boss even if your youngster is playing Candy Crush while you wait in line. The unveiling of the newest in the Sleep Number bed also had a lot of attendees spending a few extra minutes lounging, er, testing it out, and getting a reprieve from walking the convention floor.

The only downside to the annual event is the waiting game: a number of these demos won’t be available until well into the year, if even that soon. Until then, we’re hard at work programming Alexa to turn the washing machine on… if only we could get her to fold the clothes when they’re done.

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