The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

CES 2013: New Year, New Buzzwords

"Second-screen devices" and "superphones" among new tech jargon

1 min read

Each year the consumer electronics industry coins a few new words to describe the next big thing. Some catch on (smartphone), some don’t (remember “convergence?” It was supplanted by smartTV.) As some 150,000 members and watchers of the consumer electronics industry gather in Las Vegas this week, they share new buzzwords as easily as they share flu germs. I’d heard of ultra before (as in UltraHD, the TV format formerly known as 4K). But the rest of these were new to me:

Second-screen devices: You think of your smartphone or pad computer as, well, a smartphone or pad computer. To the TV industry, they are something entirely different. They are second-screen devices, to be used while watching your TV, or to control your TV. These are also being called companion devices, but that makes them sound like guide dogs; I think second-screen will be the buzzword that catches on.

Superphone: Smart phones are, well, not that smart. Or not as smart as the next generation of smart phones will be—that’s why they’re being called superphones. I’m still trying to find out what exactly makes a smart phone earn the super title.

Linear content: What is linear content? It’s the opposite of streaming content. I think.

I’ll be updating this post with new consumer electronics buzzwords as they buzz by me.

Follow me on Twitter @TeklaPerry

The Conversation (0)

Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford

Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

Keep Reading ↓Show less