Each year our designers visit many trade fairs and exhibitions. In the world of consumer electronics, CES is a great showcase of what is to come and what brands to look out for over the next year. Design Partners have a great track records in winning CES Awards. Below, DP’s Marten Helwig gives his highlights of the 2012 show:
A new bar has been set in terms of quality of build, materials and finishes. It was evident at CES that brands like Apple, Samsung and Corning are paving the way as consumers’ heightened awareness of value is consistently raising the expectations of product quality.
Authentic materials such as metals, fabrics and leather were more prevalent than ever as Ultrabooks, laptops, tablets and their cases were embracing these quality finishes.
The Polaroid camera, for me, was an example of a letdown because it lacked that final attention to execution that I would expect from an interesting brand with such a great heritage and so many possibilities. It sent too many different messages as a product and I don’t think it worked as an ambassador for the brand.
A lot of the products that stood out were veering away from the standard electronic black and silver into a refreshing, inviting and more homely aesthetic. The Urban Ears headphones had great use of materials because as they kept it simple with no extra fuss and the LG clothes manager had interesting furniture-inspired finishes on the front face. A beautiful copper metallic finish stood out in many booths as a more feminine and fashionable statement.
The Nokia’s stand was really colourful and bright — it stood out from the sea of black and metal and was a reassuring sign that the brands are trying to own their own space in the marketplace.
All of the Ultrabooks and TV brands were competing for the title of slimmest product. Both categories were becoming increasingly thinner with much better screen quality than last year. LG boasted a super slim 55 inch TV which was a jawdropping 4mm thin!
Working with material experts in Design Partners, we know that glass is one of the key intelligent materials of the future. Definitely the Corning Glass bending demonstration was the most interesting stand. It was amazing and really showed off the strength of their glass! It was incredible to see what can be done with glass and the different finishes on both sides of a single piece of glass.
Smart synching and intelligent software was a reoccurring innovation trend but few products truly captured something magical this year.
If I had the money, I would definitely buy the Ford Evos car (that actually worked). The way the doors split and lift up on the Evos is just cool and they even expose the fuel caps. The Razor gaming laptop was also beautifully made. Everything had a confident, matte black finish and it had impressive LCD programmable buttons.