1. Water-resistant phones? Yes, please. 

    Sony’s flagship phone for 2013, the Xperia Z, comes with a 5-inch HD display, runs a glitzy version of Android, and is only 7.9mm thick — stuff we’ve come to expect from most high-end phones. What makes this one special is that its connection ports (Micro USB, micro-SD, and its SIM card) are all hidden under little panels to make the Z water resistant — you can dunk the thing in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes at a time. You’re probably not the type to bring your phone into the tub — or are you? Either way, this sort of water-resistant technology will hopefully become common enough that we don’t have to worry about our phones on rainy days or on trips to the beach

    More cool products and gadgets from CES 2013

     

  2. Like Xerox, Kleenex, and Google, Sony’s Walkman was the rare brand that was so popular it became the thing itself. The Japanese electronics giant was ubiquitous in other ways, too, and there was a time when it seemed as if everyone owned a Sony device, whether it was a television, a camcorder, or a stereo. But in the iPad age, Sony seems to have all but disappeared from the marketplace for must-have gadgets. 

    The company is set to post a loss of $2.7 billion for the current fiscal year. It was worth $100 billion in 2000, but since then has lost 80 percent of its value. And it’s even struggling in its native Japan, where for the first time, Apple was just voted the country’s top consumer brand.

    What happened? And how can its new CEO, Kazuo Hirai, turn the company around?