What to expect from CES
As the technology industry once again flocks to Las Vegas for the annual sensory overload known as the Consumer Electronics Show,
many commentators are beginning to question the relevance of the event.
The 24-hour news cycle and a year-round focus on consumer technology
have diminished the importance of a once-a-year gathering. While CES
still attracts the biggest and the best in the industry – with the
notable exception of Apple – there is a feeling that most major
announcements now take place elsewhere.
That was particularly the
case last year. While CES was showcasing 3D TVs and e-readers,
everyone’s eyes were on Cupertino, where Apple was getting ready to
unveil the iPad.
But CES is still a great place to get a feel for
the latest tech trends. If it’s not quite the breaking-news event that
it used to be, there are still plenty of products and services that will
help shape our technology-driven future.
So what can we expect
from this year’s event? Here are a few topics and trends that we are
likely to hear about over the next four days.
Tablets, tablets, tablets
a difference a year makes. Tablets were around at CES last year but
mostly as raw prototypes. Nobody was sure there was a market for them or
whether they could compete with hugely popular netbooks. Well, the
success of the iPad changed all that. This year, netbooks will look like
relics of a bygone age, as PC manufacturers fall over themselves to
jump on the tablet bandwagon.
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab has shown there
can be a viable alternative to the iPad. Expect more Android-based
devices from Motorola, Toshiba, and Vizio among others. Also, expect to
see Windows-based tablets, and maybe even an announcement from HP on the
The benefits of 4G networks
phone companies will spend the next four days convincing us why we
should abandon our recently-purchased 3G phones in favor of must-have 4G
capability. Verizon and Sprint will lead the charge, with both
companies showcasing 4G phones, including the HTC Thunderbolt from
Verizon and the HTC Evo Shift from Sprint.
Expect phones to be
even bigger than they are now, with beautiful HD screens, front and
rear-facing cameras, mobile hotspot capability, and video chat as
standard. Monster screens have always dominated at CES, but instead of
60-inch TV screens, it’s now 4-inch smartphones!
The connected automobile
the last few years, certain areas of CES have started to feel more like
an auto show than an electronics show and we can expect that trend to
continue. Ford CEO Alan Mulally is a keynote speaker for the second year
running, and this year the show will actually host the unveiling of the
2012 Ford Focus Electric.
Meanwhile, manufacturers such as
General Motors, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz will also be there in force,
showcasing everything from Internet radio services to remote start and
security systems to in-car text-blocking devices.
TV takes a back seat
could be the first year in a long time that CES isn’t dominated by TVs.
The lukewarm reception for 3D TV (the star of last year’s show) and the
uncertain future of web-based TV has cast a pall over this usually
thriving sector. There will be a few demonstrations of so-called passive
3D technology – which means cheaper, throw-away glasses – but the
revolutionary fervor from last year will be noticeably absent.
the teething problems of Google TV, set makers haven’t given up on the
Internet. In fact, 50 percent of the TVs currently being shipped are
Internet-enabled in some way. Content delivery services like Netflix and
music site Pandora will continue to be the big winners, as the
traditional networks struggle to figure out an acceptable revenue model.
CES and video gaming
consumer technology continues to have an impact on everything we do,
there is an argument for consolidating smaller niche shows into CES,
making it even bigger and even crazier. The video game industry’s
flagship event, E3, is a case in point. Video game consoles are now
firmly established in the living room, used as much for their
movie-playing capabilities as they are for playing games. Meanwhile
devices such as Microsoft’s Kinect motion controller for the Xbox 360
continue to open up video gaming to an all-family audience.
year, we will again see more video games and video game equipment at
CES. Expect that trend to continue – and expect the big boys in the
video gaming industry to take a hard look at where they think they
Comment by Milcah, posted 1/5/2011, 3:59 PM:
I'll so be looking forward to whatever info you bring back. Thanks for being eyes and ears for those of us who can't be there!