6 cutting-edge gadgets to watch

A sneak peak at the new technologies and products you're going to see--and want--later this year.

Every once in a while, new tech innovations come along that set the bar a little higher. Maybe they introduce a powerful, new design or capabilities you've never seen before. Or maybe they simply make your life easier. Click on to discover a slew of new technologies that do all of the above--and more. Then watch for them to come to market later this year. --John Brandon

What It Is:An amplifier for the iPhone 4 or 4S that adds punch to your music collection, improving the quality and power of the sound. Why It's One to Watch: V-MODA VAMP uses better digital to analog conversion than the iPhone itself, so the music quality is crisper and more authentic. Plus, the device also works as back-up battery, which is handy for long plane rides.

What It Is: As the name implies, this video camera works from anywhere. While many security cameras for business are incredibly complex to configure and use, this camera has a fast set-up. You select your Wi-Fi network and configure a few quality options, and can then tap into the live feed. Why It's One to Watch: It's perfect for small businesses that don't have the time to install and configure commercial security cameras.

What It Is: This new video-based virtual receptionist uses a proximity sensor that detects when guests arrive. They can use the touchscreen display to contact your employees and chat with them over video or voice only. Why It's One to Watch: Large touchscreens have been around for a while. But this all-in-one virtual receptionist works out of the box with some customization for your company and your needs.

What It Is: This new, business-friendly Android phone has a fast 1.5GHz processor, a 4.7-inch display, and a light and sleek design. Why It's One to Watch: This powerful device has a unique twist: There’s a separate chip to handle camera features like a continuous shoot mode (99 photos at the rate of four frames per second) and the ability to shoot HD video while you capture photos at the same time.

What It Is: Microsoft's SmartGlass is a new technology that takes the Xbox 360--the company's hit home entertainment device--well beyond games. The application will let you turn a smartphone or tablet into a super-powerful controller that's connected to your HDTV. With gestures on your mobile device, you’ll be able to control media--photos, videos, music, and games--on your big screen. When the technology debuts later this year, you’ll be able to use it with the iPhone, iPad, Android devices, and Windows 8 tablets. Why It's One to Watch: SmartGlass points to a larger business trend: mobile devices controlling other products. You might be able to tap directly into your office printer and copier next, using your phone screen.

What It Is: This flexible, curved glass made by Corning, the company famous for making the display in many new smartphones, is only 100 microns thick. That makes it thin enough to wrap around a wall or device. Why It's One to Watch: You might have already seen the technology if you saw the sci-fi movie Prometheus. But soon you may see the glass on your desktop as a monitor, as a flexible e-reader, and maybe even a replacement for your iPad. Read more: 6 Major Tech Innovations for 2012

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