The tech world heats up as soon as we all step into another year as all companies look to make a mark at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that is held in Las Vegas.
Simply put, CES is the Mecca for gadgets as they are on display everywhere. Last year we saw some cool trends like rideables and cool washing machines along with some great smartphone features. This year, we expect that it will be mostly about driverless cars, bigger and better TVs and might be it is time to return to PCs. Here is what to expect:
Bigger and better TVs
Apart from cool-looking washing machines, TVs have always captured the stage at CES. With the price barrier gone, 4K is already being adapted by the market. So, it is time for bigger and better displays. Also, it is the year when TV makers will try and sell content to customers.
Players such as Samsung, LG, Sony, and Panasonic will come to the show with their latest displays which might include OLED TVs, UHD TVs and TVs with HDR. LG will be back with its stunning OLED TVs, and it’s been rumored that Sony might be releasing some OLEDs of its own in 2017. Samsung loves its curved TVs, so you can expect to see the latest iterations of those, plus whatever other players like Panasonic and firms like Hisense, TCL, LeEco are planning in order to make a mark.
So, all in all,, expect to see plenty of Android TV, Chromecast, Roku TV, Tizen, and webOS (well, at least for LG) as well.
Driverless or self-driving cars galore
Several auto-reporters in the industry have started joking that CES has been turned into the Car Electronics Show instead of the Consumer Electronics Show.
The trend had started a few years back with Ford being the first company to grace the floor. Now, it seems that all car companies want to show their latest tech developments on the floor. So, please don’t expect anything else this year.
Autonomous cars are all set to steal the show this year and companies will make sure that they make these cars as normal as any other car on the road. Another important aspect will be the connected cars side of things. As IoT develops, our cars are all slated to be more smart. This year might see more and more vehicles come equipped with cellular data connections to send information back to the cloud on everything from maintenance issues like low tire warnings to reminders about upcoming service requirements.
Self-driving cars will need to be way more connected, sharing and receiving data on road conditions, changes to traffic flow, and restrictions on where they can and can’t drive. Expect a glimpse of all this in CES.
Time of the rideables is gone
Electric hoverboards or popularly known as skateboards stole the show at CES last year. There were plenty of booths that had all kinds of jazzy stuff with wheels and a motor.
However, controversies that these things can explode has drifted the limelight away from them. Even if they have a presence in the show, people wouldn’t be paying much attention.
Virtual Reality (VR) to take the next leap
If you remember, Virtual Reality or VR, dominated the floor in CES 2016. But a lot of work has been done in VR till then and it will be interesting to see what new incremental updates or features companies will come up with to make more use cases or get more mainstream.
A big crop of headsets are expected to be aimed at the Chinese market — a particularly interesting, fast-growing part of the global VR industry. A lot of these products feel more like one-off pieces of hardware than the relatively robust Rift and Vive platforms, but they could also create a larger VR ecosystem in the long term. And big electronics companies like Qualcomm and Intel, both of which are likely to be talking virtual reality at the show, could help lift all boats by building better core components.
Augmented Reality or AR will also be seen at the show. With Microsoft’s HoloLens acheiving perfection, we might see some consumer products come to the fore.
Smartphone companies may take a break
We have earlier seen several companies make big announcements in CES every year notwithstanding the success of the product but this time it might be a little quiet. Xiaomi and others might show off their latest products and create some hype and fan following for the actual launches at the Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, to be held in February.
Drones may go wild
This CES may see drones go wild. This means that they may start coming in different shapes, sizes and capabilities. Drones might be designed for indoors, high speed racing and diving underwater.
All these changes are expected as DJI is the only company which took advantage of the drone revolution with a simple camera-fitted drone. There will also be hordes of drones that mimic the look and feature set of DJI’s Phantom drones, but at lower price points, and with bells and whistles throw in to make them seem cutting edge.
YouTube stars have made drones into the ultimate prop, something to set your selfies and vlogs apart from what your peers are publishing. So there is plenty of room in the market for cheap alternatives to line the shelves of camera shops and electronics retailers. Intel is expected to push its new Aero line of drones and compute boards that have been lighting up the skies at Disney World.
The reign of wireless audio may start
If you think audio, then wireless is the word on the street. Long have we looked to cut off those cables which get tangled and are infitely exposed to wear and tear. The phenomenon really started when Apple removed the 3.5mm headphone jack from its latest iPhone series and also brought in AirPods.
Other categories like gaming and audiophile-grade headphones — as exhibited by the Bowers & Wilkins P7 Wireless in December — are likely to also see new wireless choices to pick from. And as to speakers, any manufacturer that wants to sell speakers that aren’t wireless will probably need a strong justification for it.
Wearables will look to move from the wrist
Wearables have been struggling to make it mainstream but is right now stuck to the wrist. While 2016 saw many wearable companies haul or sell production/assests, it also saw Apple with its Watch climbing the charts.
2017 will also see a lot of health-focused features beyond basic step-counting and heart rate tracking, but since many of them aren’t FDA approved, that also means a fair amount of bogus claims will be made. There will be wireless patches that claim to “taste” your skin to analyze physiological markers, wristbands that are supposed to curb nausea while you’re wearing a VR headset (a wearable to cure the ails of wearables), and smartwatches that are supposedly powered by body heat. And there’s always room at CES for stuff that doesn’t exactly go on the body but is related to it, like a “smart” spoon that will analyze tremors.
But wearables also go beyond health trackers, and there’s a good chance that the most interesting wearable tech we’ll see at this year’s show will appear in places other than the wrist: VR and AR headsets, “smart” glasses, sensors embedded directly into clothing, maybe even some exoskeletons. Because if wearables are going to make the leaps and bounds that people have been predicting for years now, there’s going to have been some value beyond being the thing that just sits on your wrist.
Will it be the return of the PC?
PCs simply refuse to die. And companies like Intel, Nvidia will use CES 2017 to show off their latest hardware in fashionable designs -- to create the look of power and absolute beauty.
Also, when you speak about design, you can expect to see compact machines, 2-in-1s, super-slim notebooks, rollable displays and a lot more. VR and gaming will also play a vital role for PCs’ revival. Accesory-making firms like Razer will also use this as an opportunity to make accesories that go along with these powerful machines.
That brings us to VR and gaming. Even with consumer headsets on the market, VR is still a niche technology. But the PC now plays a more important role than ever in bringing it to mainstream consumers. At this year’s show, we can look forward to a whole new slate of VR-ready PCs and even laptops that should be more affordable and more capable than past models. Bringing these PCs under $1,000 — into the price range of everyday buyers — will go a long toward realizing VR’s mass-market potential.
Of course, hardware PC gamers always have something to forward to at the Las Vegas show. Last year, Razer announced its Blade Steal gaming laptop and Blade Core combo that essentially transformed a mobile machine into a desktop powerhouse with a cube of additional GPUs. It’s that kind of creative thinking companies bring to CES.
Smart Homes will take the next step
With IoT in focus and people adapting to technology fast, Smart Homes, will be tagging along all other categories at a jaunty pace.
What seems to have made the difference is that is the companies manufacturing these devices are making it easy for consumers to buy them separately, install and operate them on their own. Costs also are coming down.
This CES is expected to see a ton of new products like smart thermostats to air-quality sensors to security cameras and even cars. Apple’s HomeKit platform will also stay under the lens as it looks to expand to cover a wider array of products than its current lineup of mostly power outlets and light switches, and if Google’s Android Things platform makes an appearance... basically at all. Samsung has also committed to making all of its products connected by 2020.