Best of CES 2014: Intel dominates trade show full of promise

Lenovo X1 Carbon Ultrabook (2014) arrives & Corning unveils anti-microbial Gorilla Glass.

The buzz at CES 2014 was around 4K TVs and wearable tech. But were there any useful, business orientated products on show? We take a look to see if there was any substance to the annual tech bonanza in Las Vegas or if the glitz masked a lull in the tech world.

Intel puts Edison in the spotlight

Intel showed off a range of reference designs including a Bluetooth headset assistant known as Jarvis and plans to start integrating 3D cameras into products such as Ultrabooks at the end of the year.

Arguably the most impressive piece of tech to come out of the Santa Clara-based chipmaker was Edison', the PC the size of an SD card. Intel missed the boat on the smartphone market - and the firm is keen not to fall further behind chip designer ARM, which has become the defacto design manufacturers are using within low-powered computers.

With the ability to run the full Linux operating system and support Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, there are a raft of potential commercial use cases for Edison. Intel demonstrated how the chip was able to monitor vital signs when embedded into baby clothing and a coffee cup. Keen to get developers on board, the firm's "Make it Wearable" competition is offering up prize money totalling $1.3 million for the best applications of Edison.

The mid-2014 release date is a way off and pricing is going to be crucial if it is to fulfil its promise. We're not expecting it to be as low-cost as the 30 Raspberry Pi, but if Intel is serious about challenging ARM in the wearable tech market, it's going to have to price it aggressively.

The end of an era

On a side note, CES marked the demise of the McAfee brand name. Intel announced that it would be rebranding its security software products as Intel Security', a move which was inevitable since the acquisition in 2010.

Although the eccentric founder John McAfee claimed Intel has done him a favour by disassociating his name with the "world's worst piece of software", we bet he'll secretly miss being attached to the product he founded.

Toughpad sets the standard for tablets 

Tablets continue to be one of the fastest growing pieces of hardware, and vendors including Asus and Samsung announced a raft of products.

However, it was Panasonic which caught our eye. Its 7in ruggidised Toughpad tablet runs Windows 8.1, and its fully customisable nature means users are able to add in everything from a Barcode Reader, to NFC connectivity and battery hot swapping capabilities.

Panasonic has also managed to squeeze in pure processing power into the device. The Toughpad comes with an Intel Core i5 vPro chip - giving it capabilities you'd associate with a larger Ultrabook. Launching in February, it's not going to be cheap, with prices starting at 1,183. But this could be the ultimate travel device for those working in the logistics, medical, construction and transportation industries.

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