In my pre-CES 2014 predictions I put "Contextual computing" on the list, admitting that it wasn't well-known thing yet and I basically made up the name because I had to call it something. However, at least one tech company was comfortable enough with the phrase to start using it.
When we interviewed Lenovo executive Tom Butler, he showed us how the new ThinkPad X Carbon has a new adaptive row of virtual function keys that change depending on the application you're using. He also introduced us to the X1's touchless camera gestures and voice controls that Lenovo added on top of Windows 8. All of this is about your technology adapting itself to you rather than you having to learn the special procedures to operate the machines. That's contextual computing. Watch a little bit of it in action in this three-minute video clip.
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Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks.