Tech expert and Emmy award winner, Mario Armstrong just got back from the annual International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and he joined me for an interview yesterday to dish on the must have tech trends for 2014. If you’re a music lover or fan of Beats, are a gamer or want the scoop on the latest in 3D printing, you won’t want to miss on the technology must haves Mario says you must own!
Candace Rose: Are you seeing anything new in streaming music for 2014?
Mario Armstrong: Yeah I’m seeing some great things. There’s a lot of activity around music, a lot of excitement – there’s more speakers and things to play great music on, so HP has launched the connected music app. It’s great, you get access to an awesome library of music. You can stream it, it’s super convenient. One of the things that I also noticed is, not only did they launch the music app…they also launched a brand new all-in-one touch computer, and it’s called the HP Envy Recline Beats Edition, so it has Beats audio built in. People know that I’m a big fan of Beats, I know a lot about the history and the science of how they actually refine that sound. So Beats Audio is built into this computer, it has Quad Speakers, and all that means is the music and the audio sounds amazing. You normally don’t get that on desktop computers. The other thing about this too is it has a unique hinge, so I can lay it completely flat, and then be able to use 10 fingers. It’s multi touch as well, which has been a popular trend over the last two years so more and more people can play it, touch it and use it. I just think it’s a great all-in-one entertainment device. It has everything you need, a beautiful screen and access to the connected music app as well.”
Candace Rose: When do you think we’re going to see consumer 3D printing?
Mario Armstrong: “I think consumer 3D printing is here now. People are starting to buy these printers, prices have come down tremendously. At CES there was a huge section dedicated to 3D printing, so I think it’s really getting closer to being everyone’s household the minute prices drop just a little bit more. I think it’s one of those things that is so cool to see, but you have to really experience it. In order to experience it, it’s got to be easy to use. Microsoft has come out with some software that’s an app, it’s called the 3D Builder app, and you can access the app right from your Surface or your laptop or your desktop. As long as you’re on Windows, pull up the app store, go download the 3D Builder app. It’s free, and once you go there you can get access to a bunch of different designs that you can then print out. That’s how these printers work, you actually take an image of something or you scan something and you turn it into a physical product. I’m holding a red shoe (please see Youtube video for details) that was actually made and built by a 3D printer. This can be worn. It’s not just for show or display. If you wanted to come up with ideas or different thoughts, rapid prototyping, lots of cool uses for 3D printing. But you have to have great software to interact with that, so I’m happy to say that Microsoft has that built in now.”
Candace Rose: What’s new for gamers?
Mario Armstrong: “Gaming is always big, Candace. I go to the CES show all the time and I don’t want to look at the console for this or the console for that. I really wanted to see what gaming was happening on the go because I feel more and more people are using their phones and their tablets as gaming devices anyway. Logitech has come out with a Powershell Controller + Battery. So this is gaming on the go, you can put your iPhone 5 or 5S or your 5th Generation iPod right into this controller. You have the buttons on the left thumb there and your trigger buttons at the top for your index fingers on both sides so you feel like you’re playing a video game controller at home in your basement, but it’s right there with you so you really are feeling that immersive gaming console in your gaming device. It also has a battery built into it on board so it’s going to extend roughly double the amount of playtime for it as well.
I think when you’re at CES and I’m looking at all this technology (33 football fields full of technology there) when I think about the holidays and people getting gifts of technology and consumer electronics…unless you have a teenager that’s you’re built in help desk at-home (and sometimes that can’t even cut it) you might want to start taking a look at a new service that is by HP, that’s the SmartFriend service. This is really cool because maybe you’ve got a tablet but you’re not using it fully or you have a computer and you’re stuck on some problems- whatever it might be, it doesn’t have to be HP products. They’ll support you over the phone for any of those types of products. If you’re stumped, give them a call they’ll check that out and hopefully it’ll help you not be overwhelmed and help you to get more out of your technology.”
Candace Rose: Are there any other must haves that we need to know about?
Mario Armstrong: “There’s a lot of excitement coming out of CES- you’re going to read a lot, you’re going to see a lot…but know that a lot of things won’t hit the market this year. Some of these things are prototypes or concepts that will come out years later. Always, always, always before you invest in technology, make sure you understand what you’re trying to get out of it. If it’s something for entertainment, if it’s something to help you run your business or be more productive – just don’t get caught into the hype and the excitement of just getting cool stuff, really make sure it has some value for you.”
Candace Rose: I’m sure it can be overwhelming!
Mario Armstrong: “It can – 33 football fields, that’s a lot of exhibit hall space full of stuff and not everything is good, so you have to really have to make sure you understand what you want to buy.”
Candace Rose: It’s like Christmas all over again!
Mario Armstrong: “Yes, in January!”
Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information?
Mario Armstrong: “We have a lot of this laid out, so people can really dig in if they want to- head over to the website: ThunkNews.com/TechTrends.”