Ostensibly, technology device makers gather in Las Vegas this time every year at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to unveil the latest innovations designed for consumers and their homes. TVs get bigger and sharper; home appliances grow smarter; and PCs act more like tablets, and vice versa.
But technology vendors also use CES to showcase their latest products designed for business—evidence of how strongly the consumerization of IT trend influences the direction of the commercial technologies. Luckily, this means that the top brands in electronics put the same—if not more—effort into their small business hardware as they do with their stunning new consumer gadgets.
Whether or not you're considering a tech refresh in 2016, take a look at five small business technology highlights from this year's CES.
The Latest in New Small Business Technology
1. Lenovo's Modular ThinkPad X1 Tablet
Why compromise? Lenovo's new modular ThinkPad X1 Tablet supports several configurations, which lets workers tailor their systems to the way they conduct business day-to-day. For road warriors, a Productivity Module provides five extra hours of battery life along with HDMI and USB 3.0 ports.
Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Tablet
Dabbling in 3D printing? The 3D Imaging Module features an Intel RealSense R200 3D camera, effectively turning the ThinkPad X1 Tablet into a 3D scanner. The Presenter Module's Pico projector can splash a PowerPoint presentation onto a wall.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet goes on sale in February with a starting price of $899.
2. HP's Thin and Light Premium Laptop
The days of clunky business laptops are officially over. At CES this year, HP announced an update to its line of razor-thin EliteBook Folio notebooks. Clad in an aluminum enclosure and measuring 12.4-mm thick, the new EliteBook series is HP's Windows 10 Pro-powered answer to Apple's svelte new MacBooks.
HP's EliteBook Folio notebook
The new notebooks feature Intel's 6th-generation Intel Core processors, fast PCIe solid-state drives (SSDs) and 8GB of RAM. The optional 12.5-inch 4K touch display is an absolute feast for the eyes.
Prices will start at $999 when the new EliteBook Folio goes on sale later this year.
3. Dell's Eye-Watering Displays
Though famous for its PC and server hardware, Dell has also made a name for itself in the display world.
This year's monitors promise to provide small business owners and employees with a great view of their desktops and a vibrant canvas for their designs. Highlights include new 24- and 27-inch UltraSharp InfinityEdge displays with barely-there bezels that not only look sharp, but are perfect for increasingly popular, and productive, multi-monitor setups.
Dell's UltraSharp InfinityEdge displays
Dell also unveiled its first 30-inch OLED monitor—the same technology that helps Samsung Galaxy smartphones displays inky blacks and colors that pop off the screen—and a wireless monitor with Miracast support.
Dell's UltraSharp InfinityEdge monitors are scheduled to ship on Feb. 25 in the U.S., and prices will start at $349.
4. Samsung's Speedy External Storage
Solid-state hard drives (SSDs) already speed up PCs and servers, so why not use them to boost external storage speed?
Samsung's Portable SSD T3 external drive
Samsung introduced the highly-compact Portable SSD T3. This tiny external drive can hide in the palm of your hand, and it packs up to 2 terabytes (TB) of storage (also available in 250 GB, 500 GB and 1 TB capacities); that's enough space to lug around massive 4K video files with ease. With speeds of up to 450 MB per second and a USB 3.1 interface, you can quickly offload those files once you reach your destination.
Samsung's Portable SSD T3 goes on sale in February; at the time of this writing, pricing is unavailable.
5. Intel's Upgraded PC on a Stick
Intel crammed its latest quad-core Atom and new 6th-generation Core M chips into its latest Compute Sticks providing them with enough power to run full-fledged operating systems like Windows 10.
Intel's Compute Stick
The Compute Stick lets you turn practically any HDMI-enabled TV into a presentation board or digital signage by plugging in a device that's about the size of a pack of gum. Connectivity and expansion options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB ports.
Prices start at $159 for an Intel Compute Stick with Intel Atom processor and Windows 10 preinstalled.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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