The devices promise to be slimmer, bigger and faster – but is CES itself still relevant?
Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas its ready to unlease new gadgets and software.It is a chance for tech makers, big and small, to highlight the innovations and trends they think are about to take off.
Some things did not developed as planned, smart TV services and 3D screens going mainstream have failed to pan out.
But never mind, say the organisers, there is another round of next-generation technologies such as 4K ultra-high definition televisions and bendy phones ready for a go.
New displays will definitely be one of the year’s big themes.
But other tips include:
• a flood of devices and apps focused on making us healthier
• a push towards the connected home with all our various devices talking to each other
• self-driving cars and other technologies to make journeys safer for the driver and more entertaining for passengers
• and wearable computing including augmented reality glasses and smart watches.
“We have over 150,000 people coming,” the man responsible for the event, US’s Consumer Electronics Association president Gary Shapiro, tells the BBC.
“We have retailers, manufacturers, distributors, the financial community and everyone who matters in the ecosystem. It’s all about the innovation industry getting together in one place each year.”
Sales of many devices, such as digital cameras, camcorders and MP3 players, are tumbling. Smartphones and tablets are overtaking the market, and firms have typically held back New Year launches of these products until February’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
But for now CES seems to be in rude health – 2013’s event is bigger than ever. Microsoft’s floor space was snapped up within minutes – much of it, tellingly, by a Chinese company: HiSense.
And CES has embraced mobile, boasting that this year’s event will be the biggest app showcase the world has ever seen. Furthermore Sony, LG, Huawei, and ZTE will be among those unveiling new flagship smartphones at the event.
One of this year’s first-time attendees is Paul Landau, chief executive of the British firm Fitbug.His company makes a range of activity tracking devices that transmit details to computer servers detailing how much exercise their owners do, allowing the business to provide feedback such as congratulating them on their efforts, or giving them a nudge to do more.
The company recently expanded to the US and Mr Landau is now trying to drum up attention for new products to be launched at the show.”But it’s probably the show of the year where the tech writers are all there, looking for the emerging trends and the new technologies coming out.
“Not many people have heard of us because we’re a small British company who have jumped into a very big pond over in the US. We feel this will be a great showcase to spread the word.”
Another Uk based tech firm will showing its wares: Imagination Technologies’ Pure division; has a stand to promote its latest internet radio streamers and TV set top boxes.
But its newly knighted boss will be spending most of his time in nearby private meeting rooms where he will focus on his company’s core business: licensing its graphics processor chip designs to tablet, smartphone and TV manufacturers such as Samsung, Sony and LG.
Sir Hossein is a CES veteran. He reckons this will be his 17th year and despite his lack of love for Sin City’s attractions he would not entertain the idea of skipping a year.
The commitment underlines the point that while the hi-spec stands and flashy presentations dominate press coverage, much of the real work that goes on at CES takes place out of sight.
“We have three to four rooms and we have almost continuous meetings all the way through the show. To be honest, the deals never get concluded at the show – they get concluded by the sales and contract people later – but it moves discussions forward significantly.”
Tags: consumer electronics show, gadgets., las vegas, technology