CES 2012: The big themes to look for next week

CES 2012: The big themes to look for next week

Summary: CES 2012 is upon us, and it's time to get ready for a whole new year in gadgetry and other tech goodness.

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CES 2012: The big themes to look for next weekThe world's largest tech trade show is just about to get underway, and even though there will be thousands upon thousands of products on display, many of them can be narrowed down and traced by a few major themes.

Yes, I'm talking about the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The scale of the show gets bigger each year, and there is just so much going on that it can becoming daunting (if not impossible) to stay focused and sift through everything.

Last year, many of the world's biggest companies tended to focus on trends such as the Internet-connected living room (meaning, an ecosystem of home entertainment within a single brand), the dawn of 4G-enabled smartphones, and just about anything to do with 3D.

CES 2012: See CNET's news and product coverage

We'll likely see continuations of these themes next week, but here are some of the bigger themes to watch out more for this year:

TABLETS: We saw a bunch of these last year, but really none of the tablets that debuted at CES last year really made a dent in the market. The iPad 2 and the Kindle Fire, neither of which had even been announced prior or around CES 2011, were the real money-makers last year.

So why should we even care about tablets at CES 2012? Well, the technology for tablets (and smartphones, for that matter) has improved significantly, and one can only hope that manufacturers have learned a few lessons in the last year. Furthermore, with the debut of Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) later in 2011, there's definitely room for more potential.

ULTRABOOKS: Poised to replace netbooks and compete heavily with tablets and other laptops in the same size range, 2012 could be the year of the Ultrabook. Intel has already boasted a bunch that there are 60 Ultrabook designs with OEM partners set to roll out this year. Thus, you can expect everyone at CES to be promoting their own Ultrabook. It remains to be seen which ones will come out ahead -- if any at all if these new laptops can overcome some hurdles.

WINDOWS 8: Supposedly, some Ultrabooks are supposed to be running on this operating system, so we should see more about its launch soon. That could be as soon as next week as Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is lined up (once again) to give the main keynote address. Besides Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 itself is one of the only other big-ticket items that most consumers will likely be concerned with in 2012.  If not, expect him to talk about Kinect for another hour.

GREEN: Even though it seems like old news at this point, the eco-friendly trend is never going to go away and will likely always have a growing presence at CES and similar trade shows. In a way, that's a good thing. While the upfront costs are still rather expensive for most products that tout this facet, green technology has the potential to save a lot of money in the long run, and the more that developers keep this in mind, those upfront costs will eventually drop.

What not to look for? Apple or Google. These two prefer to host their own events -- Apple doesn't even exhibit at Macworld anymore, and there is Google I/O later in springtime.

And if you're a Microsoft fan, enjoy them at the show while you can as they'll be gone by 2013.

Be sure to check out CES 2012 news hub as we'll have full coverage and special reports live from the show floor in Las Vegas next week!

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Topics: CES, Apple, Tablets, Smartphones, Microsoft, Lenovo, Laptops, Intel, Hardware, Windows

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11 comments
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  • RE: CES 2012: The big themes to look for next week

    I also here that higher resolution HDTVs are going to be shown also. I think they are refered to ask 4K as in over 4,000 pixels.

    I personally am hoping for large (60+ inches) 3D HDTVs without glasses or at least movie theater glasses from more manufactures at a reasonable cost.
    rmark@...
    • RE: CES 2012: The big themes to look for next week

      @rmark@...

      3D TV = FAIL
      NoAxToGrind
      • Shhhhhhhhhh ...............

        @NoAxToGrind

        Let the shills have their say, it's the only way they'll go away.

        Plus, let others fall for 3D and pay the price of R&D in getting the bugs worked out, THEN the rest of us can buy into it assuming they get the bugs worked out.

        Or maybe not, I think I'll always want script and acting over a visual experience.
        rmhesche
  • CES

    Ballmer is the best CES can do for a speaker? He put Microsoft in the toilet and now it's time to flush him down it.
    dcowsky@...
  • CES: The Kiss of Death for Products.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45897016/ns/technology_and_science-tech_and_gadgets/

    NEW YORK ??? The largest trade show in the Americas must be a great place to show off new products, right? Wrong. The International Consumer Electronics Show is quickly becoming a launch pad for products that fall flat.
    NoAxToGrind
  • Heres the problem ...

    [b]Tablets:[/b] "So why should we even care about tablets at CES 2012?"
    I'm still trying to figure out why I should care about tablets at all.

    [b]UltraBooks:[/b] Basically a reduced function laptop at a higher price. Sure their thinner, lighter, boot quicker (maybe) and longer battery life (maybe) but my mind keeps going back to 2 or 3 times more expensive than a lap that does more. I figure this laptop has 2~3 years left on it, they may have the Books figured out by then, because really, the UltraBook is just the evolution of the laptop. Or have people already forgotten the first portable computers?

    [b]Win 8:[/b] Only thing I've heard about Win 8 that matters from the end users point of view is a touch UI. Since I don't care about pads and my phone is only a phone ... Yeah, I'm a Dinosaur.

    [b]Green:[/b] Isn't that what Chinas for? Seriously. Its been bout a decade since I first read about us sending our electronic waste to China so their children could open burn the plastic and recover precious metals. That 'Green' hasn't been implemented or mandated just tells me that Green is lip service and a thing we talk about to make ourselves feel better.

    [b]Entities no longer attending CES:[/b] Well, yeah, wouldn't there need be one of these every week or at least month to keep abreast of the changes? To stay on the cutting edge? Who am I kidding, about the time tech hits the shelves it's outdated, about the time tech is at a convention that tech is already old news. And it IS a convention, and conventions are just an excuse for a drunken party and debauchery. Not that I have anything against drinking and (sex) but it does cut into the profits.
    rmhesche
  • My interest?

    Windows 8 on ARM.
    Cheap ultrabook.
    Cheap tablet.

    Anything unexpected and genuinely innovative.
    jacksonjohn
  • what's the point of this article?

    I guess she had to produce something to meet her quota but REALLY .......

    ............ it's all just more of the same
    Mike.Moller@...
  • RE: CES 2012: The big themes to look for next week

    I heard the Mujjo touchscreen gloves are at CES. Does anybody know if I can buy these gloves in their booth? Or does anybody know if I can get these gloves somewhere in Nevada? As I can only order the at http://mujjo.com as far as I can see...
    Stevenravenstein
  • RE: CES 2012: The big themes to look for next week

    Herd Hardware's new mobile phone with advanced anti-collision hardware and software should be on show. Here is the basics -
    By utilizing forward, back and side facing cameras and with ultrasonic distance sensors, the advanced software integrated into the operating system it will alert the operator, both visually and aurally, on the best collision avoidance strategy. By activating the iShoal software the users that have gathered into close proximity can easily maneuver just like a flock of err sheep.
    Developers are said to be working on an vehicular version.
    Agnostic_OS
  • RE: CES 2012: The big themes to look for next week

    Inreference to the "Green" heading, what will be some of the new devices?? I've heard a bit about OLED replacing the rather archaic LCD, but I'm not entirely familiar with the actual scope of this product. Is it something which will completely change the way people look for, and buy TV's? Or is this another anecdotal development like 3D, which is quirky, and will be relatively short-lived??
    James Keenan