Attendees preview the latest gadgets -- and a live trampoline act -- in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Credit: CES
Apple won’t be there. Nor will Google. And for the first time in
many years, Microsoft won’t have its own booth. But the International
Consumer Electronics Show (Jan. 8 - Jan. 11), one of the largest and
longest running tech trade shows around, is still expecting one of its
biggest years ever.
Despite a couple tepid years following the recession, CES is back to
setting records. The Las Vegas show remains the ultimate platform for
thousands of companies to show off their latest wares with aplomb with
the arrival of the new year.
CES 2013 will be the biggest CES ever with over 3,000 exhibits
showing off 20,000 new products across 1.87 million square feet of floor
space, the CEA (the Consumer Electronics Association, the show’s
governing body) announced last month. Here’s what we can expect from
what is still one of the greatest tech trade shows on Earth.
The Rise of the Startups
Microsoft isn’t the only juggernaut bowing out of the gadget
extravaganza. Nokia, Dell and HP are all skipping this year’s CES along
with perennial no-shows like Google, Amazon and Apple. This isn’t
necessarily a bad thing for a show that’s traditionally been dominated
by heavyweights like Intel and Sony.
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Hardware is the new software and, as The Wall Street Journal reported
in August, a new generation of Silicon Valley start-ups are turning
their back on the web and actually making stuff now. In the age of
Kickstarter, expect big ideas from bit part players (like the Pebble smartwatch, which raised $10 million). From an innovation perspective, this can only be a good thing.
Samsung’s Big Party
This year could be all about Samsung, which will be one of the
biggest players strutting its stuff. The Korean conglomerate has rapidly
taken up the mantle of “the other Apple” with an endless array of
smartphone and tablet devices, including the blockbuster “iPhone killer”
the Galaxy SIII (there are rumors Samsung may even unveil the SIV).
Samsung has a lot in store this year, including “unprecedented” smart
TVs (check out the teaser) and even a state-of-the-art bendable phone display.
The Ghost of Microsoft
Officially, Microsoft is done with CES, but the company will be
there in spirit thanks to the flop that is Windows 8. This will be
another chance for Ballmer and co. to push their controversial operating
system through a plethora of newly imagined hybrid touchscreen devices.
Lenovo, Asus and others will be trying desperately to catch our
attention with "post-pc" devices that swivel, twist and fold.
Smarter TVs, Smarter TV Subscriptions
Another year at CES means another year of bigger, thinner, better
TVs. If last year was about 3D, this year is all 4K and OLED, which
means higher resolutions, sleeker frames and more vibrant colors. And
pricier sets. Much pricier sets.
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The flipside of that is content for our big expensive screens. Intel
is introducing its own set-top box and TV service in an effort to get
its chips into our living rooms (after missing the boat on getting their
chips into our pockets), according to Techcrunch.
The proposed service would theoretically allow consumers to pick what
channels they’d like to subscribe to versus paying $80 for 200 channels
you never watch -- which sounds great, but we’ll believe it when we see
The “Internet of Things”
Chips are getting smaller, networks faster (slowly but surely at
least) and everyone’s got a smartphone -- which means smarter, well,
everything. Indeed, after many false starts, the “smart home” may have
finally arrived with Internet-connected appliances, like the Philips Hue
and Belkin WeMo. You know, “smart” lightbulbs (and of course, there's
an app for that).
It’s about time we started moving away from the mouse, home row keys
and perpetually misplaced remote controls. With the advent of
technologies like facial recognition, eye-tracking, voice recognition
and gesture control, expect brand new ways to communicate with your
Phones With Gig Screens
Bigger isn’t necessarily better but trust us, it’s inevitable.
Phones with even bigger screens are on the way. We’re talking 5 inch
screen, or even 5 and a half inchers. Just don’t call it a phablet.
Over 100,000 square feet of show floor space will be filled just by
automakers. Companies like Ford, Audi and Kia will all be hawking cars
that seamlessly integrate with your cloud.
The Continued Slow Death of the Point-and-Shoot
The industry response to Android phones with incredible built-in cameras? Cameras with built-in Android. Ugh.
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