Software is becoming a bigger part of CES, which is a bit ironic since Microsoft has begun to pull back its presence. CES 2012 saw the rise of familiar software names powering your living room TV, augmented-reality apps that created a new way to interact with the world around you, a stone-cold assassination attempt on the QWERTY keyboard, and a deft program that ports Android apps into Windows 8.
Let's start with, our Best of CES Award winner in the Software and Apps category. We first looked at a last year. Now, many of the kinks have been ironed out as it prepares to bring you the entire Android app catalog in Windows 8, complete with individual tiles for each app. Angry Birds Metro, anyone?
One of the most common questions that CNET readers ask is, "How the heck do I cut the cable TV cord and still watch my shows?" While there are numerous paths up that particular mountain, one new answer is to get a Web-enabled TV. We saw a smorgasbord of quality TVs powered by software at CES 2012, including a demo of; ; and the . (There was also an Android TV by an outfit called Nyxio, although we didn't get a chance to see it.)
There was even a Ubuntu TV prototype. Yep, that's "Ubuntu" as in "Linux," which will have built-in DVR functions, support 1080p, and like BitTorrent TV, it'll be able to share media across devices.
Another must-see app is the. Snapkeys is an invisible keyboard that uses 2i technology and predictive typing to eliminate the need to actually look where you're typing on touch-screen devices. It's a bit ridiculous that in the age of nascent augmented reality we're still typing on keyboards that haven't evolved much in 100 years.
Speaking of augmented reality, the show also proved that mobile apps are getting smarter. And by smarter, we don't mean they're simply adding more functions or refreshing their user interfaces. No, we're talking Skynet kind of smarter, and it's kind of scary.
Take, slated for release in the US and Europe sometime this year. You may recognize the name as a popular iPhone and Android app, but Vlingo is now bringing its natural voice command capabilities right onto that big screen in your living room. You can ask Vlingo what comedies are playing, tell it to flip the channel, or even have it rent or buy movies--all by speaking to it with natural language. And the scary thing is that it will actually understand and comply
There's alsoin the world around you. Its image-recognition technology is so smart that it can be programmed to augment almost any object you can think of, like a computer component or even a front door. It's a huge step forward from the simple augmenting of magazine ads that we've seen in the past, and it works like a charm.
And finally, there's. Magisto can take your iPhone videos and edit them in exactly one click. Well, that's not true, because you have to tell Magisto what kind of music you like. But after that, it's seriously one click. Magisto adds the music track, drops in the transitions, and even uses its superadvanced algorithms to choose what's important and what to cut. Amazing.