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?
Android Handsets, HDTV Ideas, Ultrabooks
5. Android handsets galore
Apple doesn’t make a showing at the Consumer Electronics Show, which this year, leaves a wide opening for Android handset makers. Each year, Android devices live in the iPhone’s shadow. But at CES, it’s an opportunity for those companies to break their products out from that shadow. Expect it to happen again this year.
6. New HDTV ideas
The HDTV market is poised for another major development in 2012. And at CES, TV makers, including Samsung, Vizio, and others, are going to show it off. The new technology is called 4K, and assuming content providers embrace the technology, it could boast resolutions that are about four-times greater than those seen at the highest 1080p level. Plus, with Apple reportedly considering launching a TV, it seems that market is heating up.
The next frontier in mobile computing is Ultrabooks. The lightweight, ultrathin computers are supposed to be the best answer yet to Apple’s MacBook Air. But so far, they’ve proven expensive and not quite up to the same level as Apple’s notebook. At CES, though, Ultrabook makers are expected to show how they can change that.
8. Maybe even some Chromebooks
Remember Chromebooks? They’re the computers running Chrome OS that Google’s hardware partners launched earlier this year. Chromebooks might not be the most successful computers, but they have some potential. And vendors are going to try and prove that at CES.
9. New video game hardware
Since it’s the Consumer Electronics Show, attendees can expect to find some new gaming hardware. Nintendo unveiled the Wii U console earlier this year, and there is some speculation that Sony or Microsoft might show off their next-generation consoles at CES. Exactly what those products will offer is unknown at this point.
10. A netbook void
Netbooks were all the rage in the mobile space just a couple years ago. But now, they’re being ignored because of the success of tablets. At CES, expect to find, well, no netbooks on display. PC vendors realize now that netbooks are dead–and they want to keep them that way.