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LG Pushes Smart Technology, Ultra High Def and Connectivity

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LG introduced an updated Magic Remote at their press conference, complete with gesture controls and voice activation.

LG introduced an updated Magic Remote at their press conference, complete with gesture controls and voice activation.

It’s press day at CES 2013. It’s a marathon of press conferences held by some of the largest technology companies in the world. This is the chance to get products in front of the press for the first time, to drive up excitement for new gadgets and to get the scoop on all the competition. The first press event I attended today was held by LG and they set the tone early — everything was all about smart technology, connectivity and finding new ways to control your electronics (presumably so they don’t control you).

I was most intrigued by LG’s One Touch Connectivity technology, which allows you to coordinate your various technologies within your home using the gadget you’re most likely to have by your side any time of day — your smartphone. Using near field communication (NFC) technology, you can tap your smartphone against specific LG appliances and gadgets to connect and control things from a centralized source. LG’s example showed a washing machine with an NFC pad. Tapping a smartphone to the pad updated the machine’s cycle capabilities. I never considered getting firmware upgrades to my washing machine but I was definitely intrigued.

The company also showed off an updated Magic Remote. This control lets you navigate an LG smart television using buttons, voice commands or even gestures. Some of their televisions also incorporate high-definition cameras, allowing you to control the television by making specific motions. Want to change the channel to 42? Just draw the numbers in the air in front of you and the television switches over for you.

The ultra-high definition sets at LG promise to bring greater clarity, contrast and vibrant colors to home television sets. LG announced that the OLED television, which has been on sale in other parts of the world already, would hit stores in the United States by March. The suggested retail price for a gorgeous, big-screen OLED TV? Just a measly $12,000.

I found the NFC information most exciting at LG’s conference. The other updates were mostly improvements upon existing technology. While that’s always a welcome thing, it’s less exciting than something really new and innovative. I’ve written several articles about NFC and its capacity to do more than just share contact information between phones or act as a payment system with certain vendors. I like seeing those possibilities become reality. I hope to encounter more of that this year at CES.

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