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CES 2011: Three Things To Watch

Jacob Chung |
January 4, 2011 | 8:50 a.m. PST

Staff Reporter

If presenters at the annual tech conference get it right, sales of 3D televisions may actually take off this year. (Creative Commons)
If presenters at the annual tech conference get it right, sales of 3D televisions may actually take off this year. (Creative Commons)
It’s already that time again. Jan. 3rd marks the start of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) which means, techies, people in the industry, and press alike will be making the journey into the wilderness that is Las Vegas to revel in the future of gadgetry and tech innovations.

Though last year’s electronics show was quiet due to the crippling recession, many in the industry are expecting this year’s conference to be a foreshadowing of our economic recovery. And as always, show-goers are expecting to see new wonders in major categories like phones, computers, TVs, etc. The theme of this year seems to be tablets and app-enabled everything. 

Several big names are listed to kick off the show this year, among them: Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer; Verizon CEO, Ivan Seidenberg; and AUDI AG Chairman, Rupert Stadler to name a few. 

So what can we expect from the CES 2011? 

Tablets/Phones

Mobile devices have taken center stage for the past several shows and it’s looking to be no different this year. Industry analysts like CNET News Editor Erica Ogg and Senior Editor Molly Wood both agree that the tablets will be the new battleground for mobile tech. 

Apple—considered by many as the trailblazer of the tablet market—will likely see many competitors vying for a piece of the pie.  Since Wired reported in last May that the iPad reached its 1 million in sales, twice as fast as the iPhone, other tech giants have set their sights on this new market for consumer electronics. Most recently Vizio—a television manufacturer from Irvine, California—made an unexpected entry into the mobile computing market with the introduction of a tablet and a smartphone. 

In other mobile device news, some have posited that Ballmer’s keynote speech may mean the introduction of new Windows Phone 7 devices as well as a glimpse into Windows 8. 

Rumors have also been rising of new smartphones taking advantage of the soon to be released Verizon 4G (LTE) service. Others are going even further speculating the announcement of a Verizon iPhone with Seindenberg’s keynote, but don’t hold your breath for that one. It doesn’t seem likely that Apple would allow for Verizon to take the lead on such a momentous revealing.   

HDTVs

In CES 2010 the talk of the town was 3D technology in high definition television. The manufactures desperately attempted to hype 3D in home entertainment to little avail. 

This year’s show is also expected to push 3D technology but what may set it apart is an evolution to glasses-less viewing—one main stumbling block in the push for mainstream consumption. 

It’s also likely TV manufacturers will introduce new lines of web-application-enabled TVs for 2011. Most companies already have a few of these TVs in the market, but we may see a heavy push for this technology in multiple lines this year, following the not so successful introduction of Internet set top devices like Google TV.

All this will, of course, be packaged in yet a thinner and more compact form.  

Car Tech

CES has always been more about in-the-home gadgets than anything else. But this year, the car tech pavilion may share in on the buzz. 

Currently the in-car technology is being led by Microsoft with their Sync technology, which seamlessly integrates gadget-friendly and Internet-connected tools inside the car (in other words data syncing from phones to the car's dashboard interface). 

This year, Microsoft will likely see some competition in this field. Both Ford and Toyota have announced their intention to introduce something fresh in car tech. That, coupled with Audi Chairman Stadler’s keynote will set the stage for innovative wonders in future cars. Following trends, we can expect Internet and application integration in the car as well.  

Though these are some of the things to look for in CES 2011, there are plenty of sights to be seen in the weeklong tech festivities. Stay tuned. 

Reporter Jacob Chung is reporting from CES in Las Vegas. Want him to take a look at something specific? Contact him here.



 

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