CES 2012 takes place January 10-13, 2012 in Las Vegas, NV. Which means before your Christmas tree is even fully disassembled and the leftover turkey and New Year's Eve champagne consumed, it's time to hop on a plane and head to Sin City.
What can you expect at the show this year? What can you do to prepare? Where can you take colleagues, existing, and potential business partners to have a good time? In this pre-CES guide, I'll discuss all of the above.
What to Expect?
As the go-to technology show for every facet of the industry, CES is THE place to see the latest, and upcoming trends, in flat-panel TVs, audio, wireless, appliances, gadgets, gizmos...you name it. But every year, the show tends to focus particular attention on certain areas. Last year, it was items like smart TVs, connected devices, headphones, wireless devices and tablets. This year, what might we look out for?
Superphones: It's a new term coined to describe those devices that go beyond even the "smart" phone. They boast ultra-larger, uber-vibrant touch screens; often AMOLED, or even Super AMOLED; ultra-fast dual-core processors, and 4G connectivity. They're essentially mini computers that take things far beyond the typical smartphone. Examples we've seen already of such devices include the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the Motorola RAZR. Expect to see plenty more on this front at CES.
Tablets: The iPad still reigns supreme, especially with its latest incarnation, the iPad 2. But competitors are, and will continue to, work hard to come up with viable alternatives. Samsung's Galaxy series has been one of the most notable, but we'll likely see plenty of other major companies come out of the woodwork with interesting followups to their inaugural launches. Research in Motion (RIM), for example, is already working on its new BB10 operating system to include in both new smartphones and tablets. Might we see a BB10-powered PlayBook by CES? Who knows.
Ultrabooks: Meant to marry the laptop/netbook and tablet worlds, Ultrabooks are the latest rage in computing. And we can expect to see major players reveal their offerings in this space at CES. Look to booths like Microsoft and Intel for some good indications of what's to come on this front..
Smart-er TVs: Smart TVs were a major part of this year's CES, but with the latest updates, and more content partners, this area will likely dominate once again in 2012. Look especially for new ways that smart TVs can interact with smartphones and tablets, and vice versa.
Other Display Advancements: Along with the latest technologies to product the best, crispest, most vibrant pictures, we're bound to see new developments in 4K technology, as well as potential for larger-sized, commercially-available OLED TVs. Might 2012 be the year we see this come to fruition on a mass scale?
Connected Devices: The idea of being able to watch TV on a large screen display, then continue on a computer, tablet, and even smartphone; or to listen to music at home, and continue with that same stream as you get into the car and into your office, is at the core of technology today. And devices and technologies that make this possible will be central to CES 2012.
Smart Appliances: Once just a periphery category of consumer electronics, appliances today have become full-fledged technology products in their own right. Last year saw a full display of connected appliances. Look for a similar, if not enhanced, presence in 2012, including more focus on how these appliances play into the larger home AV, and even home automation, experience.
Content, Content, Content: It's all about content. None of these devices would be relevant if people didn't consume content; from movies and TV shows, to games, music, books, news...the list goes on. That said, content, where it originates, how we get it, and who manages it, is at the heart of every tech experience. So understandably, it'll be at the heart of every demonstration at CES. And what's available is becoming almost a defining factor in what products consumers choose.
Photography: With the Photo Marketing Association's PMA Expo now taking place at the Sands concurrent with CES, attendees can expect a larger focus on photography and imaging, should they choose to visit this area. Will this mean imaging will have less of a presence on the main CES show floors? Probably not. But if photo is your game, it'll be worth it to spend a few hours over at the Sands.
NEXT: Tips for First-Timers to the Show...
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