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The On CE Top 10 for 2014

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2014As this year in consumer electronics comes to a close, we get around to decide which industry stories were the most important. Was the HP split the biggest story of the year, or was it Apple buying Beats? Take a moment to gather your Top 10 before comparing it with ours below!

More wearables, everywhere: It's been a long time coming, but 2014 is the year where the idea of wearables truly hit the mainstream. And we really mean the idea, as the actual devices (fitness trackers aside) are still to become a bona fide hit. But that might change once the Apple Watch reaches store shelves, meaning that's one to check on next year. Then again, isn't that what we said last year?

Dixons and Carphone Warehouse merge: May 2014 saw the creation of a so-called "merger of equals" as Dixons and Carphone Warehouse reached an agreement on "Dixons Carphone," a mega-retailer with 3000 stores (across Currys, PC World and CPW outlets) and combined sales worth nearly £11 billion.

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Quantum Dots for 2015 LG 4K TVs

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LG announces it will show off new UHD/4K TVs featuring quantum dot technology at CES 2015-- a "complement" to the company's existing LCD and OLED models promising wider colour palettes and improved colour saturation.

LG 4K tVQuantum dot technology uses a film of nano crystals (aka "quantum dots") in front of an In-Plane Switching (IPS) LCD backlight. The quantum dots range from 2 to 10 nanometers in size, and emit different colours depending on the size.

LG also claims the quantum dot film improves viewing angles by over 30% compared to LCD/LED TVs, while manufacturing involves no camdmium or other toxic heavy metals.

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Gartner: The Future of Wearables is Inconspicuous

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According to Gartner the smart wearables of the future are inconspicuous-- the analyst predicts 30% of such devices will be "completely unobtrusive to the eye" by 2017.

Samsung Gear"Already, there are some interesting developments at the prototype stage that could pave the way for consumer wearables to blend seamlessly into their surroundings," Gartner says. "Smart contact lenses are one type in development. Another interesting wearable that is emerging is smart jewelry. There are around a dozen crowdfunded projects competing right now in this area, with sensors built into jewelry for communication alerts and emergency alarms."

Meanwhile "obtrusive" wearables currently on the market, such as smart glasses, will take cues from their more subtle peers and evolve into forms disguising their technological nature.

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The High-Tech Earplugs

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Dubs"Hearables" maker Doppler Labs claims it wants to take care of your customers' hearing launches the Dubs Acoustic Filters-- a high-tech take on the humble earplugs acting as an "audio filter" against too loud noise.

According to the company the Dubs use "advanced acoustical physics" to reduce audio levels by an average of 12dB, with construction featuring 17 discrete parts. The result is audiophile-grade noise reduction, or at least an effect ideal for the listening of things such as conversation and music.

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Darty Cautious Despite Improvement

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No. 3 European CE retailer Darty sees improvement in the 6 months ending 31 October 2014, with revenues growing by 3.5% Y-o-Y as the retailer continues to narrow focus on its core France, Belgium and Netherlands businesses.

DartyIn part such improvements come through the sale of majority stake in Datart, the retail business in Czech Republic and Slovakia. It also dropped loss-making operations in Italy, Spain and Turkey. As a result net losses for the 6-month period reach €4.7 million, an improvement from €19.8m last year, while operating profit totals €9.3m (against a €1m loss a year ago).

However sales drop by 1.2% due to "strong comparatives in Q2" and a "challenging" market.

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