Consumer Electronics Show: 10 Things You'll See in 2012

NEWS ANALYSIS: The Consumer Electronics Show - CES - will be happening in Las Vegas next month, and there's a good chance several big things could be announced at the show. It's also the last time Microsoft will attend.

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has historically been a place for some of the industry's biggest names to showcase some of the ideas they've been working on in the prior year. Microsoft typically kicks off the show with a host of major announcements, and is followed by countless companies that try to fight for all the attention they might not get during the year.

But 2012's CES is going to be a bit different. According to Microsoft, this will be its last time at the show, and there is a good chance that it will try to go out with a bang. Plus, with advancements in tablets, smartphones and even televisions expected to be shown off, it appears this year's show is going to be as exciting for consumers and industry observers as those in the years past.

Read on to find out about some of the things companies are expected to show off at this year's CES--and some of the events that could impact consumer buying behavior in the next year.

1. Windows 8 tablets

Microsoft wants nothing more than to promote Windows 8 at CES. The operating system, which is slated to launch next year, is a key component in the software giant's strategy. And without it, there's no telling what Microsoft's future looks like. But rather than waste too much time focusing on Windows 8 PCs, expect the company to show off Windows 8 tablets. It wants to quell shareholder fears that it doesn't "get" the tablet space.

2. Kinect advancements

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that it will open up its Kinect motion-gaming peripheral for PC developers to enhance their applications. At CES, Microsoft will likely delve into that and show off some of the advancements Kinect has brought to the PC market.

3. Quad-core-based tablets

This year, all the talk in the tablet space was dual-core processors. Next year, however, tablet makers will be delivering quad-core-based tablets that far exceed the performance shown in comparable dual-core models. Whether it's HTC, Samsung, or even Vizio, expect to see several quad-core tablets at CES.

4. Maybe even some quad-core smartphones

Following that, there's also a good chance quad-core smartphones will make an appearance at the event. Apple is leading the pack with the dual-core iPhone 4S, and its competitors want to find a way to beat it. What better way to achieve that goal than to deliver a quad-core smartphone competitor?

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...