What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. But, what gets launched at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegaswill likely dominate tech industry headlines for the coming year.
CES 2013, which runs from today until Jan. 11, is expected to be the biggest show yet with over 3,000 exhibits showing off 20,000 new products. The focus this year will be on phones, gadgets, cars and televisions, with “smart,” being the key word in every category. While some of the old giants in the tech industry, such as Apple and Microsoft, won’t be at the show, a number of major released from Sony, Samsung, LG, Panasonic and even Ford are expected.
As with any tech show worth its salt, smart phones will be in abundance.
While a number of mobile phone makers, including Nokia and HTC, will probably hold off on any major announcement until the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, Sony and Samsung are expected to be leading the way. The talk is that bigger screens, some up to 5.5-inches, will be the latest trend.
Sony, which has been making a serious push into the smart phone arena the last couple of years, is expected to launch a new lineup of phones, which could be very different from their current Xperia lineup.
Wearable gadgets also seem to be a major attraction this year, especially where health and fitness are involved. Expect Jawbone and Fitbit to lead the way in this category. We’re hoping to see someone wearing Google’s augmented reality specs, called Project Glass, but that may just be wishful thinking.
And while Microsoft will no longer be hosting a booth at the show where Bill Gate’s keynote speech once reigned supreme, the Washington-based company will still have a heavy presence following the launch of Windows 8. It will be on mobile phones, laptops and tablets, which will be, to put it mildly, located just about everywhere.
One of the hottest lineups will be televisions, which are expected to have bigger and thinner screens. Last’s years technology de jour was 3-D, but more sets this years will feature OLED, or organic light emitting diodes, a technology which allows televisions to be thinner and lighter.
Ultra High definition TV, which is also known as 4K resolution, will also be center stage. UHD TV has a resolution four times greater than standard HDTV. On smaller sets, its overkill, but the technology makes it possible for high def to work with screens up to 84 inches.
You can also put down that TV remote control after this year’s show, with voice and gesture control expected to dominate the lists of new features.
The automotive portion of the shows is usually one of the most overlooked, with most technology focused on how many screen you can fit in a dashboard. But this should be the year we see something very different. Lexus is expected to highlight what it’s been doing with Toyota’s Advanced Active Safety Research Vehicle and Autonomous Car development program. That sounds like jargon – and it is – but autonomous is another way to say self-driving vehicle. Audi, too, is expected to make an announcement on its driverless vehicles.
Ford is also expected to make a major technology announcement, but don’t expect to be able to take your hands off the wheels of your Expedition at 90 kph just yet. The company will probably focus more on its in-dash technology.
The Consumer Electronics Association, the organization which runs CES, says the markets for tech features in cars to grow 11 percent this year to $8.7 billion.
There will also be the usual assortment of the unusual. Pre-show videos showed offers such as fingernail styluses for your smart devices, camera attachments for your smart phones, keyboards and mice tailed for the gaming community, and wireless mobile speakers.
This year CES is once again taking a page out of Comic-Con’s playbook. Felicia Day, a mainstay of geek culture who rose to internet fame as the creative force behind the original The Guild, an original web series that was based on her life as a gamer, has been named the CES Entertainment Matters Celebrity Ambassador. Entertainment Matters is aimed at and for Hollywood’s film, television and digital communities.
Also appearing with be Will.i.am, a member of the hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas. Will.i.am, who is also known for promoting astronomy education, is a shareholder in Beats Electronics, the creators of the Beats by Dre™ headphones, and is a panelist on the Next Generation of Innovators roundtable held today.
Other celebrities include Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, who is schedule to appear tomorrow at the SMS Audio booth; Kelly LeBrock, who stared in the John Hugh’s film Weird Science, is scheduled to appear daily at the Velodyne Acoustics booth; LL COOL J, who stars with Chris O’Donnell in ”NCIS: Los Angeles,” will be interviewed by CNET’s Brian Tong; and Tim Tebow, last year’s standout star in the NFL will be at the SOUL Electronics suite on Thursday, January 10, for the launch of the Tebow product line.