LAS VEGAS -- CES this year was as crowded and crazy as ever. The show floor is absolutely jammed with tech companies large and small vying for attention for everything from cars to iPhone cases. Yet many of the things we saw won't be released for years; some will never come to life.
So what did we learn and which announcements will really matter? Here we've put together a collection of the biggest trends and takeaways, told in pictures from the show.
The traditional cable TV model is being challenged by a string of over-the-air and online streaming video services. Dish's Sling TV (shown in this picture) was one of the biggest announcements at this year's show.
The kings of CES are still the giant, impossibly thin TVs that dominate the show floor. 4K, OLED and curved screens are now ubiquitous. But this year we also saw a revival of LCD TVs boosted by quantum dot technology, including this Samsung JS9000.
We tend to concern ourselves more with picture quality when it comes to TVs. But if thin is your thing, you're in luck, as manufacturers still compete to squeeze that great picture into the most streamlined packages they can. Sony's X900C is currently the world's thinnest LCD at 0.2 inches thick at its skinniest point.
Volkwagen had a working e-Golf on demo in the parking lot outside the Las Vegas Convention Center, showing how the electric car can park itself and back itself out of a tight spot, responding to voice commands delivered via a smartwatch.
While we did see quite a few smartwatches, the more interesting developments in wearables were the fitness trackers, medical gadgets and health sensors that monitor just about any data point you can imagine. Wearable tech right now is all about the sensor. And those sensors are getting smarter and stealthier than ever before.
This picture shows a device called Quell, which uses electrical nerve stimulation to treat chronic pain.
Talk about shine. One of the most eye-catching gadgets of the show was this Misfit Swarovski Shine, a fitness tracker that puts a heavy emphasis on two areas where wearables have suffered--style and battery life. A violet-blue version of this device harvests energy when exposed to sunlight, so Misfit says it should never need a charge.
One of the most exciting areas in tech right now is virtual reality. In fact, we're so interested in where VR might be going, we made it the subject of our 13th annual Next Big Thing panel at CES this year.
At the show, we got to test out Crescent Bay, the latest version of the Oculus Rift, which makes some hardware improvements and gives you the ability to move around more naturally while wearing it. Still no word on when it will be commercially available though...
Smart home devices like connected light switches, power plugs, and hubs were ubiquitous at CES 2015.
But the most buzz-generating household tech came from LG when it debuted, of all things, a new washing machine. The LG Twin Wash has one main wash basin, with a second, smaller one in a drawer beneath it, which can be used to simultaneously wash small loads of delicates.
Apple didn't have a booth at CES, but that doesn't mean they didn't have a presence. We got a first look at many of the first products that will be compatible with its upcoming HomeKit platform, including this iHome Smart Plug. The Smart Plug lets you use Siri to remotely control any appliance that uses a wall socket. Android users will be glad to hear the device can also link to an Android app.
Drones. Everywhere drones. Drone makers are so plentiful at CES 2015, the show gave them their own space called the Unmanned Systems Marketplace. That's where we found the Lantronix and Torquing Group showcasing their aerial photography and HD video nano drone called Zano.Fresh from its ridiculously successful Kickstarter campaign, the palm-sized quadcopter is controlled with your smartphone and can that can "avoid obstacles, hold its position and know exactly where it is in conjunction with your smart device."
3D printing might not have hit the mainstream yet, but the technology is definitely advancing. This year we saw printers that can work with materials such as metal, wood, stone, nylon and, yes, even chocolate. Meanwhile, printer technology is getting faster and simpler to work with.
At $1,499 (about £990, AU$1855, the XYZprinting Nobel 1.0 shown here is currently the most affordable 3D printer on the market using Stereolithography Apparatus technology. SLA printing uses a liquid ultraviolet-curable photopolymer, called resin, and an ultraviolet laser to build a 3D object, layer by layer. It can make objects with much higher detail than other 3D printers.
Audio at the show was all about cutting cords, with Bluetooth headphones, Bluetooth speakers and multi-room setups to challenge Sonos around every corner.
But a more interesting story was the effort being made by two companies pursuing high-end digital music. Neil Young's Pono Player (shown here) and Sony's reborn ZX2 Walkman both deliver high-resolution digital audio and will be available soon.
We didn't see much in the way of new mobile phones, but that's for good reason. Manufacturers now typically hold that news for Mobile World Congress, a mobile-focused show in Barcelona in early March. We'll, of course, cover all the news out of that show.
As for CES, the most interesting phone announced was the LG G Flex 2. The second-generation of the curved smartphone features a 5.5-inch screen, a Snapdragon 810 quad-core processor and 'self-healing' capabilities.
CES is held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. New this year was an entirely new show floor held at a second location, the Sands Expo. As opposed to the enormous booths of tech's heavy hitters, Tech West housed mostly startups showing off up-and-coming technology like drones, 3D printers and wearable tech.