• Next in tech includes seats, wheels, gadgets

    And just think, with so little leg room, you'll be really close to the screen with Panasonic's Jazz Seats. (Panasonic Avionics photo)

    And just think, with so little leg room, you’ll be really close to the screen with Panasonic’s Jazz Seats. (Panasonic Avionics photo)

    Matt Pekarek
    It’s been a little more than two weeks since the last booth swept out of the Las Vegas Convention Center for this year’s International CES. By all accounts, it was the busy, jam-packed, swag item-infested spectacle that tech addicts crave and tech journalists bemoan.

    While there was a jaw-dropping amount of new ideas, gadgets and screens, we’ve waded through the spilled ink to find a handful of highlights for travelers.

    Panasonic’s Jazz Seats

    For the weary air traveler, never before have four coach airline seats shown so much promise. While airlines are looking to squeeze more room out of each plane, the conversation is starting to evolve on how to create a decent flying experience in spite of ever-decreasing space. Panasonic, in concert with airlines and seat manufacturers, has come closer to a solution with the next phase of their X Series inflight entertainment system (IFE). While a previous version is already in use on several airlines, the new model Jazz Seats introduced at CES bring everything a massive step further. Durable, yet lightweight chairs house 13.3 inch screens, HDMI and USB ports, charging pads, high-definition audio and near-field communication (NFC) mobile payment capability. We’re only scratching the surface on how cool these new seats are (Digital Trends has the full scoop), but don’t get too excited. These are pure prototypes for now—it’s up to further conversations with airlines to see if you’ll be in Jazz Class in the near future.

    Tech on Wheels

    While Detroit’s recently wrapped 2015 auto show focused more on engines and design, the world’s automakers used CES as their technology mainstage. We alluded to the big brands coming to Vegas in our last post, and their presence didn’t disappoint. Want a self-driving car? CES had you covered. Audi had a car drive itself from San Francisco to Vegas while Mercedes-Benz showed what they have up their sleeve for the future. For now, self-parking cars are the more attainable technological vision, with BMW, Hyundai and Volkswagen showing their cars’ aptitude in the lot. And if you think choosing between iOS or Android is a pitched battle for your smartphone, get ready for your car stereo to feel the tug of war. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will start seeing implementation from major automakers in the near future. For more info, check out CNET’s excellent breakdown of this year’s CES car tech.

    All the Things, All the Internet

    Speaking of our last post, remember the “Internet of Things”? IoT was everywhere at CES, and we can’t even begin to scratch the surface. Condé Nast Traveler put together an awesomely quick slide show of connected travel tech, while HuffPo’s Robert J. Elisberg detailed the rest of what’s went down (along with mentions of some awesome travel gadgets). And, of course, CNET also detailed everything for your browsing pleasure.

    That said, did we miss anything? What have you seen so far that has gotten you excited for 2015? Let us know in the comments!


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