CES 2013, What to Expect

It’s time once again for the greatest gadget show on earth; CES 2013. We’ve been going every year for as long as we can remember and can’t wait to see what Samsung and others have in store for us this year. Speaking of Samsung, this should be more their show than ever now that they are such a dominant force in the market. Microsoft won’t have a booth and won’t do the keynote for the first time in years. Apple and Google have never exhibited at CES although they along with Microsoft will be well represented by many Windows 8 products, Apple accessories, and Android devices. Last year we were impressed with the 4K HDTV sets now called UHDTV (Ultra HD) along with the much classier auto hall, and the vast number of exhibitors in the iLounge which is supposed to be even bigger this year. Here’s a rundown of some trends we expect to see at this year’s show.

Will 4K UHDTV Sets Make Your TV Obsolete?For those who were impressed with the improvement in picture quality that high definition TV made over standard definition, be prepared to be wowed once again. Although some cynics claim the difference is barely noticeable (particularly in smaller sets), the level of detail and image quality we saw in the few UHDTV sets we saw last year was quite noticeable to us. The move up to 4K resolution could also make good quality, glasses-free 3D possible or passive glasses 3DTV look much better. Although we can imagine how good HD content will look when it gets upscaled to 4K, we still wonder what the industry has in mind as far as a delivery mechanism for 4K content.
IGZO Will Make Super High Resolution Displays PossibleIf you haven’t heard the term IGZO, be prepared to hear it more often in the future. It stands for Indium, Gallium, Zinc Oxide which are the materials used in a new display backplane technology that will make the move to very high resolution displays more practical. IGZO isn’t the only metal oxide backplane technology but the point is that higher resolution TVs, smartphones, tablets and other devices will begin appearing at events like this year’s CES. These new amorphous metal oxide backplanes will also make high resolution bendable displays practical too.
New Chips and Technology From Intel and OthersWe look forward to roaming around Intel’s booth every year where they typically offer impressive demos of processing power and plenty of products made with Intel “inside.” This year, we expect to see the next generation quad-core 22nm Bay Trail-T Atom processor taking over for dual-core 32nm Clover Trail. Unfortunately, we hear that the new processor is still a year away from being released but we’ll be interested in seeing how this chip stacks up against the current crop of ARM-based processors. A SoC (system on a chip) version called Valley Trail is also expected to be announced at the show. Intel needs to do something big (or should we say small) in order to keep from being left behind in the mobile (phone and tablet) device space.
ARM Wrestling MatchSpeaking of Intel’s competitors, we anticipate getting word of a new Nvidia Tegra chip at the show. We understand that Nvidia will be announcing the Tegra 4 which is supposed to offer twice the performance of the Tegra 3. There is plenty of competition in this ARM processor space coming from Qualcomm’s S4 line which uses a Krait core similar to a Cortex A15 which Samsung uses in its quad-core Exynos processor. The fate of Texas Instruments OMAP chips that currently power the Amazon Kindle Fire remain in doubt in light of recent layoffs and announcements. We suspect that Amazon may have to find a new processor for their tablets however, CPU processing power is only part of the processor story as Nvidia and Intel bring their graphics processing prowess into the picture. It will be interesting to watch this horse race play out at CES this year.
Samsung Is Getting a MakeoverFor the last several years, Samsung has had the largest and most impressive booth at the show. This year, we hear Samsung is going to present a “rebranding” of itself that could mean a new image and emphasis as they continue to dominate the consumer electronics market. We understand the old blue Samsung logo will give way to a new version. We expect to see huge TVs, new tablets and possibly the new Galaxy S IV, successor to the S III.
Cars and Tech Will Be Bigger Than EverFor many years visiting the exhibit hall that housed automobile products required ear plugs to keep out the roar from competing sound systems. Last year we noticed a big change with car manufacturers like Mercedes Benz, Audi, Ford and others creating designer-quality booths featuring their latest cars and car tech. Analysts say with automakers building so much tech right into their cars, the aftermarket industry is being hurt.
Health, Fitness and Other Niche Market Products Will Figure ProminentlyWe hear, one exhibitor category expected to be larger than last year is the digital health and fitness technology one. We understand more than 200 exhibitors will present gadgets and gear to go beyond calorie counting moving into remote monitoring and more serious health and fitness products.
Anything You Want Us to Check Out?If you see or hear of anything that sounds interesting that you would like us to check out while we’re busy running around the show floor, leave a comment or send an email to editor@retrevo.com

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