CES 2012: 10 Quick Takeaways

NEWS ANALYSIS: The Consumer Electronics Show has just kicked off, but already, some major themes are clearly apparent from the news coming out of the show.

It's quickly apparent from the early announcements and from the sights on the show floor what are the prominent news themes of the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, industry's biggest trade show. In previous years, such trends included the deluge of tablets or the influx of touch-screen-based smartphones. The show has also been home to some of the first glimpses of HDTVs and interesting new computer concepts.

But this year, a host of trends are taking hold.It seems that going into CES, several prominent companies had similar ideas in mind for what they should try to accomplish this year, and their engineers developed products that, by the look of things, only build upon those that came before them. So by and large the show is filled with products that aren't all that revolutionary. And that is making some people wonder if this year CES is really worth paying much attention to.

Inevitably, that decision is best left to those on the sidelines waiting to see what kind of news comes out. But for those who want to get an overview of the major trends already emerging from the show, take a first look at some of the top trends emerging so far at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show:

1. The big companies don't care

As Microsoft showed at its CES keynote on Jan. 9, it really doesn't care much about the show any longer. Its decision to no longer attend the event after this year only further supports that argument. But Microsoft isn't alone. Some of the top companies in the world, including Sony and Samsung, haven't made CES their top priority this year. Sure, they've announced some new things, but in many cases, they've decided to hold back their top announcements for a later time. It appears big companies just don't care as much about CES.

2. Bigger and better HDTVs are everywhere

If there is one thing that's very obvious on the CES show floor it's HDTVs. From Sony to Samsung to LG, just about every TV vendor is showing off some neat new products. They include features like 4K resolution, ultra-wide-screen viewing and OLED screens. HDTVs might just steal the CES show this year.

3. Voice recognition is a must-have

When LG unveiled its new HDTVs at CES on Jan. 9, the company also discussed the integration of voice recognition with those sets. But LG isn't alone. Countless companies have been showing off products that feature voice recognition in some form. Is a Siri-like experience going to find its way into more product categories this year? It certainly seems so.

4. Ultrabooks galore

Ultrabooks are everywhere at CES. The lightweight, thin notebooks are currently on display from HP, Acer and many other companies. They underscore where the PC market is headed this year. The only question now is, will ultrabooks ultimately be successful?

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...