The biggest names in consumer electronics are about to storm into Las Vegas for the biggest technology show in the world, CES. EFTM will be there all next week, here’s a teaser of what to expect.
Here are six key themes to watch out for at CES 2013. With little to go on other than my own tech intuition it will be interesting to look back on this at the end of the show. Feel free to add your own predictions in the comments below.
Big Screen TVs
Yeah, no S@#t Sherlock! Of course Sony, Samsung, LG, Hisense and a whole stack of other names we’ve rarely heard of will be at CES with the biggest and most expensive exhibition stands you’ve ever seen. But what will they be showing? Last year we saw OLED as the ‘highlight’ of the TV announcements, however that fluttered away to nothing, most likely due to production and pricing issues.
This year, the focus will turn to the Ultra High Definition (4K) screens. We saw these last year too, but in 2013 they actually hit the market. This CES, we expect everyone will have them, and they will be big. Very Big. And yep, they’ll be expensive, but don’t expect prices to be announced, they’ll save that for the local launches later in the year.
New TV interfaces
What’s wrong with all these Smart TV’s today? They aren’t actually very smart. Well, they may be deep down inside, however the user interface is – how do I put this politely? – shocking / appalling / useless. They are just TV’s with a button on the remote which takes you to a menu which isn’t at all intuitive when you put it in the hands of a regular every-day user. Sure us “techies” can use it, but that’s not going to drive the usage of Smart TV.
You won’t see many stats about Smart TV “usage” out there – sure they sell a lot, but how many people are actually using that feature? This is the statistic the big brands want to drive upward over the next few years.
Samsung has teased a new interface – I’ve seen some of what it is thinking of with its television EPG and page by page “Application” menu system, and it’s pretty good. Is it great? We’ll have to wait and see for sure.
Every single manufacturer needs to get this right and soon. LG’s use of the Google TV interface could prove the big mainstream breakthrough that Google TV needs, and that Smart TV in loungerooms needs too.
At CES 2012 there was a lot of voice control and gesture control on show in the TV space, and while that will continue, the PC world is where we’ll see a big move to “touch”. Ultrabooks from a load of PC brands will be shown with touchscreens, twist and swap screens, removable screens and dual screens.
A lot of this relates to Windows 8 (see below), and the reality is that Windows 8 really was designed for touchscreens, so until these big PC brands like HP, Lenovo, Acer, Asus have a good range of touchscreen PC’s and Ultrabooks on the market Windows 8 will not be seen in its true glory.
At the same time we’ll see new Windows 8 Tablets and also a stack of Android smartphones and tablets too.
While Microsoft isn’t at CES itself (a big deal given it normally headlines the show) its biggest product right now – the all new Windows 8 operating system – will be everywhere you turn. On PCs, all-in-ones, tablets, Ultrabooks and smartphones. It’s important that the cross device integration of Windows 8 gets a good showing as it is a key learning feature for users.
Expect a lot of cool Windows 8 devices from all the big brands (well, most of them), and plenty of smaller brands too.
It’s not just tech brands that rock the house at CES. There’s a stack of automotive companies on show as well. Cars are after all almost more computer than engine and wheels these days. Aside from the obvious in-car entertainment systems or head-up displays, companies like Ford will be keen to showcase their green credentials alongside their “smarts”.
Those infotainment systems will nudge the greenies to show off voice control and smartphone or app integration – it’s an exciting area of innovation in the automotive industry.
It’s pretty easy to bet on this one. One whole hall of the Las Vegas convention centre is basically taken up with covers, cases, apps and gizmos to go on your iPhone or smartphone.
Separating the wheat from the chaff is the hardest part for mobile accessories, but we’ll be there pounding the pavement to find the hidden gems of the show.
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