The way in which we digest news as a culture these days is not only drastically different than it was five, 10, 15 years ago, but the pace at which it continues to change only seems to increase over time. The explosion of social media and the ubiquity of cell phones have made sharing and viewing our favorite content so easy a caveman could do it –- to coin a cliche. In addition, video gaming technology and juiced-up televisions enhance our sports intake in ways that generations before us never even thought possible.
Nothing combines the sensory overload that is our technologically-infused culture quite like the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). This year’s edition recently took place in Las Vegas and featured a bevy of new goodies for the techie within us all. In case you missed it, here are five things that could revolutionize your sports enjoyment in 2011.
1) 3D Televisions: It’s only a matter of time
Not many people are excited at the prospect of watching sports while wearing a clunky pair of glasses. And even if they are, they certainly won’t be excited about the prices of those glasses after dropping a boatload on the television itself. But that isn’t stopping companies like Sony, Panasonic, Vizio and Samsung from pushing this new tech harder than ever. CNET did a nice job of detailing exactly where the industry is looking
to go, so it’s worth a read for those who aren’t really familiar with the differing perspectives from a tech standpoint. The bottom line is this: 3D televisions aren’t quite far enough along to convince Americans that they are a must-have device. However, the commitment to improving the experience is clearly there, and many industries, including the sports industry, have begun to tinker with the possibilities. So be patient, bide your time, and check in every now and again to see just how close you are to witnessing Troy Polamalu jump right on into your living room on that next interception.
2) 3D Gaming: The time is now
One technology that will always be able to use sports as a platform for success is the video game industry. Every year there are multiple games for each major professional sport, and they fly off the shelves at $50 a pop or more. Thanks to Nintendo, the Wii quickly became an overnight sensation and triggered a domino effect from Microsoft and Sony, who have established themselves as players in the motion gaming space. But the video gaming industry is not one to stand still; 3D gaming is in the crosshairs and baby steps are being made to bring the idea to market. So although it might take a while before you can affordably watch your favorite characters on The League compete for the Shiva in 3D, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be some options for delivering a curveball or tossing a TD pass in 3D on your gaming device soon. In fact, rumors are that Nintendo’s portable 3D gaming device, called the Nintendo 3DS, will be available in the United States this March. You can check out a video that was taken at CES demonstrating the abilities, but parents, be forewarned: many are concerned that this type of gaming in the hands of young kids could cause stunted eye development. In other words, it might be prudent to wait on some studies before investing in 3D gaming for youngsters. In the meantime, there’s always Jerry Rice & Nitus’ Dog Football.
3) This ain’t Fred Flinstone’s tablet
As expected, another hot item at CES was the tablet. After the booming success that Apple has had with the iPad, competitors have started to see the writing on the wall. In short, it reads: Americans like the tablet. Perhaps the only flaw with the iPad is the price point; most people already have a PC or laptop, so the investment in this added luxury could be hard to justify for many. Well, not anymore. With the explosion of tablets in Vegas last week, there’s now a price point for everyone; Engadget has you covered with a list of all
the tablets, complete with specs, notes, prices, and expected launch dates. Considering all the sports-related apps, widgets, magazines, games, and other features that have already debuted on the iPad, it would stand to reason that these competitors would be offering more of the same. Multimedia breathes life into yours sports through these tablets; just check out SI’s iPad-rendered magazine on this YouTube video for an example of the innovative features you might be accessing from the palm of your hand soon. Then, of course, there are the Twitter programs that will allow you to follow what Chad Ochocinco is up to, play mobile games, check apps for updated scores, and stream live games. And that’s just scratching the surface.
4) Going Gaga for snapshot convenience
First, the disclaimer: No. 4 on this list makes it more for the concept than the state of the current device. One of the big splashes at this year’s CES was when Lady Gaga unveiled some new products on the convention floor. Among them were some new Polaroid cameras and a mobile printer. But the product that got all the attention was the GL20 Camera Glasses. Now anyone can pretend to be James Bond or Ethan Hunt when
they don this accessory, which can easily take pictures and even display them on the other side of the lens. Setting aside the whole fashion element (the glasses are on the larger size), the concept is compelling. Think about all those times you were at a sporting event or happened to spot a celebrity or athlete walking by. Chances are you frantically tried to capture a moment by reaching for your cell phone to pull up the camera functionality in time to do so. But what if you were wearing your camera at all times and could snap a shot in an instant with the touch of a small button? You could finally be able to discreetly capture that moment when A-Rod scurries out of a cab and into his pad with his 2011 version of the Alex Rodriguez centaur. It might be a little down the road, but it’s certainly feasible to predict a wide variety of stylish sunglasses that boast this nifty feature in the years to come.
5) The sporting life, tech-nically speaking
All right -- so far we have improved ways to watch sports, play sports video games, access sports applications and widgets, and take pictures of athletes and sporting events. That all sounds great, but, aside from a little motion sensor gaming, this list won’t help you burn any of those calories that are sure to be absorbing while you spend time playing around with all these gadgets. So No. 5 on this list is reserved for a device that will inspire tech lovers of all ages to get motivated and get into shape.
The Nike+ Sport Watch is impressive because of all the functionality it packs into such a small device. For instance, the watch compiles information like the pace, distance, calories burned, and heart rate of each run you complete. The GPS receiver works in tandem with the shoe-based Nike+ Sensor to deliver all of this data in a user-friendly format. Once you complete a new run, you can then access your information on NikePlus.com, where you’ll also be able to set goals, map out new running paths, and much more (all you need to do is sign up for a free account there). By letting this device track all your data, you’ll be able to monitor your progress and set realistic goals. The watch is expected to debut between $199 and $299.