The Consumer Electronics Show has become extremely important for the global technology industry. It’s no longer just a show for the latest consumer gadgets. It’s the place where manufacturers, international media outlets, retail buyers and so many other stakeholders go to find out what the future will look like for the industry over the next year.
Now even enterprise IT managers have to pay attention because a lot of what debuts at the show will soon require corporate support of one kind or another.
As with previous years, this CES-taking place Jan. 6-9 in Las Vegas-will have a theme. CES 2011 will focus most heavily upon tablets. Companies ranging from Toshiba to Motorola and others are expected to show off their iPad competitors. It’s certain that Google’s Android platform will have a significant role in many of those products. There is also speculation that the show will be home to new 4G smartphones from Verizon, as well as a slew of 3D televisions that companies hope consumers will jump on this year.
But there will also be several things that won’t happen at this year’s CES. And it’s the absence of certain companies and products that are detailed below.
If there is any product category that won’t make a splash at CES this year, it’s netbooks. The lightweight computers were expected to be the next big thing when 2010 started, but a year later, they’re being ousted by tablets. In 2011, expect netbooks to be practically eradicated from store shelves as most vendors opt for tablets and lightweight notebooks to replace them.
As is its custom, Apple will not appear at CES this year. That means the company won’t be at the Las Vegas show to unveil a new iPad, talk about the Mac App Store launching on Jan. 6 and more. It’s unfortunate that one of the top tech companies won’t be at the biggest tech event of the year, but that’s Apple’s way. It won’t change its ways for anyone.
3. A Microsoft tablet
When Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer takes the stage at CES on Jan. 5, many believe he will talk about a new version of Windows designed with tablets in mind. At least for now, that seems awfully likely. In any event, Microsoft won’t be unveiling a tablet of its own. For one thing, it’s not Microsoft’s method. It prefers to make the software and rely on vendor partners to develop the hardware. Secondly, it might send the wrong signal, making Microsoft look like an Apple-wannabe. In today’s marketplace, that’s something that Microsoft isn’t keen on doing.
4. A Google tablet
If Microsoft won’t be unveiling a tablet of its own, Google won’t either. Like Microsoft, Google simply provides the software to vendors and doesn’t necessarily want to get into the hardware business. Granted, it has offered Google-branded smartphones, but Google isn’t in the business of being Apple in the tablet market. And that won’t change any time soon.
Same Old Microsoft Will Land in Las Vegas
5. The Verizon iPhone
Speculation abounds over when Apple will finally offer the iPhone to Verizon customers. Unfortunately, both Apple and Verizon have been tight-lipped about it, making some wonder if they might show it off at CES. But that won’t happen. Apple likes having all the attention on itself. The last thing it wants to do is share its time in the limelight with its competition for such huge announcement.
6. Significant Google TV talk
Recently reports have been swirling that Google might be requesting vendors to hold back their talk of Google TV products until the company is ready for them to do so. That speculation has caused critics to question how well the Google TV platform is doing at retail. That said, there will likely be talk of Google TV at CES, but it might not be as momentous as some originally thought.
7. Affordable glasses-free 3D TVs
The next craze in the television market is 3D TV. Many vendors are getting in on that craze. At CES this year, companies will undoubtedly unveil some glasses-free 3D TV sets. That said, like the Toshiba offering that’s already available to customers in Japan, they will be outrageously expensive, making them not so commercially viable for years to come. Simply put, expect some glasses-free 3D TV talk, but don’t expect to see them in stores at affordable prices any time soon.
8. A Motorola-Microsoft marriage
Motorola has found success with Google’s Android platform. The company’s devices, including the Droid X, Droid 2 and Droid Pro, are being purchased quite often by consumers. At CES, Motorola will undoubtedly show its support for Android by unveiling more products. But it won’t do the same for Microsoft and Windows Phone 7. As much as consumers might want to see a Droid X-like device running Windows Phone 7, it just won’t happen.
9. A direct Chrome OS competitor from Microsoft
As Google preps Chrome OS for its eventual launch, some are wondering if Microsoft will respond. At CES, it won’t. Microsoft seems most concerned with focusing on Windows 7, Windows 8 and tablets. The company doesn’t necessarily see the value of the cloud the way Google might. Could it come back to hurt Microsoft? Time will tell. But at CES, don’t expect much cloud talk.
10. A changed Microsoft
Perhaps more than anything, CES will prove that Microsoft really hasn’t changed. In fact, those looking for a different, more sagacious Microsoft will be sorely disappointed by the company. Microsoft is still focused heavily on software, and it believes that its strategies in the mobile market will work even though Windows Phone 7 is having trouble keeping up with Android and iOS. Simply put, a changed Microsoft won’t make its way to CES. In Las Vegas, CEO Steve Ballmer will be leading a company that hasn’t changed one bit.