While the International Consumer Electronics Show is always guaranteed to offer plenty of fun, cool and shiny gadgets that everyone wants but no one really needs, it's also the launching pad for some seriously useful innovations -- and not just for consumers, but for business. This year's show, wrapping up Jan. 9 in Las Vegas, has introduced a number of tech products that could prove especially handy for the business world's mobile warriors.
Among them: assorted sources of green and pocket power for devices on the go, some new ways to make it easier to manage content and data across devices, and the "smallest 13-inch laptop on the planet" (more explanation on what that means later).
So, without further ado, let's look at the CES 2015 standouts that are the opposite of the smart "Hapifork" from 2013 that lit up when you ate too fast, 2014's electro-shocking iPhone case (the Yellow Jacket phone case/stun device) and this year's "Belty," a smart belt that automatically adjusts size as your waistline expands. What follows are some of the more useful business tech innovations we've seen make their debut this week.
Dell XPS 13
Dell calls its XPS 13 laptop the "smallest 13-inch laptop on the planet" for good reason. With a 5.2mm (0.2 inch) bezel, UltraSharp Quad HD+ infinity display, it's the mobile computing equivalent of one of those edgeless-appearing infinity swimming pools.
Forbes writer Jason Evangelho's review of the laptop, published Wednesday, was actually titled, "Dell's New XPS 13 Laptop Makes Me Seriously Regret My MacBook Air Purchase."
The XPS 13 starts at a weight of just 2.6 pounds, features a 5.7-million-pixel display and comes with a battery that delivers up to 15 hours of runtime on just one charge.
Opera Software's Opera Max app is free to download, but promises value far beyond its $0 price-tag. Using video and data compression technology, the app promises to give users up to 50 percent more data bang for their mobile bucks.
Based in Norway, Opera Software says the app also "opens up new branding opportunities for operators, and provides an analytics framework that helps them make better network planning and marketing decisions." The app was picked as one of this year's CES Innovation Award winners.
Several other of this year's CES Innovation Award winners fall into a category every business person on the go understands the need for: mobile power.
There's Lynktec Corp.'s Reeljuice, described as "the world's first backup battery for mobile devices to integrate a fully retractable cord reel design." There's also the WakaWaka Power+, a solar-powered charger that can not only help keep a smartphone or other small device running but also provides a source of light for up to 150 hours.
Then there's Zolt's Laptop Charger Plus (shown above), described as an "ultra-small, smart charger." Available in bold shades of blue or red, the Zolt has three ports so users can charge not only a laptop but two other mobile devices at the same time.
Lima: Cloud Convenience Without the Cloud
Finally, there's Lima, another CES Innovation Award winner in two categories: software and mobile apps and computer accessories.
By combining a hardware adapter with a multi-platform upgrade for computers and mobile devices, Lima lets users access the same data from any device -- without having to go into the cloud.
"Our goal is to remove the frustrations and inefficiencies that result when files are scattered across different places," said Lima CEO Severin Marcombes. "We want users to enjoy a single, continuous experience when using technology without the hassle of having to manage, store or locate files across different devices and certainly without the fear that private information will be leaked."