Techilicious columnist Rajiv Makhni
CES at Las Vegas. As you read this, I’m already on a flight to the Land of the Rising Sin. This is the mecca of technology and the most serious showcase event for every company to set the ball rolling for the new year. Here are some of the big ones to look out for this year.
Samsung, The Yes and the Maybe
Samsung has seen much slower sales for the Galaxy S4 phone and thus the rumour is that they will make a big splash by bringing in the S5 faster and before time. Well, that’s THE reason it won’t happen at CES, where it’ll get buried under thousands of other announcements. S5 will beat its own individual drums very soon. A big 12-inch-plus tablet may also be shown and this one is almost assured. Also, the world’s biggest curved TV will be unveiled here. At 105 inches, with an incredible 11 million pixels and an astounding resolution of 5120x2160, this is a Super TV. The only thing, Sony and LG will have something similar, and will ALSO call it a world first. Oh, and the price will make you cry tears of pure joy at money saved as curved TVs will remain technology that nobody will really want.
After Apple went 64 bit with their iPhone processor, 64-bit madness will hit CES fast and hard. Qualcomm’s 64-bit processor, the Snapdragon 410, will be showcased and a few phones and tablets with the chip will be outed too. But it’s the Snapdragon 805 that has everyone super excited. This chip can do ultra-HD and has 4K built right in. Thus tablets and phones can go to 4K resolution without a hiccup. Also, expect a lot of all-new reference designs and also for Nvidia to also come in bigger and stronger in the same arena.
Microsoft is back
Microsoft abandoned CES last year, but rumours suggest it’ll be back with its all-new Nokia glory. The Surface 3 may be announced, new phones may be launched, more about the Xbox One may be known and a new smaller tablet maybe showcased. Also, new devices with all the awesomeness of Windows RT may be shown and will be met once again with similar yawns.
Sony’s Big Splash
This year, Sony may be all about 4K everything. 4K TVs, 4K source players, brand new 4K ultrabooks and 4K tablets. Its eBook reader will get a much-needed upgrade, newer add-on lenses for your phone may be zoomed into, three new phones from the Xperia series and the PS4 may get its 4K pipe opened. Also a rumour of virtual headwear like the Oculus Rift is growing stronger by the minute. Sony has a lot at stake and its 2014 horoscope may get written at CES.
Around the bend: New big curved TVs will be launched at the event
LG is the comeback kid
Well, LG never actually went away, but somehow people like the whole romantic idea that LG is making a great comeback in every category. Still, LG seems to be all set on some really strong showcasing. It may beat Samsung with a 105-inch curved TV that has a aspect ratio of 21:9, a line-up of over 10 different 4K TVs, a new Chrome-based business series of notebooks, a follow up to the Flex phone that actually bends and a whole slew of new phones that follow the super success of the G2.
The Fitness revolution
Mark my words, they are calling CES 2014 the year of 4K – but it’s wearable fitness technology that will wear the crown. With a dedicated hall to just this category, and over 100 companies ready to showcase the next revolutionary little trinket that will make sure your body turns into a lean, mean, fighting machine – this is the hottest category in tech; barring none.
The next wave: I’m hoping to be excited by 3D printers
The one exhibition hall that got sold out the fastest and has no space left. And while the whole world seems to think that this is the next big thing, I still have my reservations. This really isn’t consumer-level tech. It’s still very ‘rocket science degree needed to operate’, it still isn’t for the common user, what do you do after you’ve printed a few wristbands and toys, it’s still very expensive and it still needs a huge amount of effort to get very little out. Still, maybe CES 2014’s 3D Hall may just surprise me.
Tablets grow bigger
It’s a trend that is coming in strong and hard. Tablets that have some serious resolution and some serious screen size; tablets over the 12-inch size band. Samsung, Sony, Toshiba and about a dozen other 12-inch plus slates will all show up at CES 2014. I’m just not convinced this is the way to go. Tablets were successful because of their portability, not in spite of it. Bigger isn’t better when you need something to quickly consume some content.
SmartWatches have a second go
The first line-up left a lot to be desired, but that doesn’t mean it’s all over. New players like Qualcomm, Google and others may have their own versions ready and willing. In fact, a whole pavilion has been dedicated to tech on the wrist. I’m still worried though as this category has started off as a dud and nobody seems to have any idea how they can truly make a wristwatch that qualifies as the next big tech revolution.
It’s an OS that is all about gaming on machines that may just make everything else look like dust. We saw prototypes last year, but this time the Steam may just get scalding hot. Lots of companies may showcase their own Steam Machines, and some of them may be all set to make the Steam revolution roll out in 2014.
Those are the expectations. Time now for some real CES reports in the next two weeks, right here. Watch this space, with bated breath.
Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3.
From HT Brunch, January 5
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