Best Tech Innovations 2012

Courtesy Bang & Olufsen

A look at some of the year’s buzziest gadgets.

If visitors of January’s Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas, believed the goal of the convention was to convince people to buy something from a brand other than Apple, they can be forgiven. However, attendees quickly realized that not all of this year’s great tech innovations are destined to originate from Cupertino, California.

Television makers, in particular, are introducing new technologies aimed at offering a better picture and easier ways to connect to the Internet for video streaming and use of other web applications. The most promising of these is LG’s new Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) TV, which produces gorgeous color and will soon be available in a 55-inch size. And as WiFi video streaming becomes more pervasive, TVs are becoming more portable. Sharp, for example, is introducing Freestyle TVs that can be easily moved from room to room; there’s even a handle.

Other products center around programming. For instance, Sony is extending its popular PlayStation games beyond the console for use on other devices. And to continue a trend seen last year, there is now a raft of Android-based tablets competing against the iPad. Nokia, meanwhile, aims to challenge the iPhone with its Windows-based Lumia 900 model.

The ease with which tablets connect to the Internet is being passed along to a myriad of other devices. Canon’s new cameras and camcorders use an iPhone application to upload photos and videos to social-networking sites—and you don’t have to use a computer to do it. Internet connections are becoming a standard feature in cars as well: Cadillac, Audi, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Kia and more are offering access to Internet-based applications like Facebook and Pandora.

Could this could be the year that proves that Apple isn’t the only big shot in the tech arena?